Tag Archives: Matt Redman

Eagerly Waiting

Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:7, NLT*

Waiting for Jesus’ return. The only way this waiting could be passive would be if we’d already finished everything He left us to do – so we’ll be working until He comes. Working, and waiting expectantly.

Eager waiting feeds our hope, and reminds us not to invest too permanently in this life. No matter how good (or bad) today is, there are better days coming. This attitude of eager waiting encourages us in hard times, and gives perspective when our faith leads to trouble in the here and now.

It calls us to keep active in sharing the gospel and in encouraging one another. There will be a day when it’ll be too late.

Gracious God and King, thank You for giving us the spiritual gifts we need to serve in the ways You have prepared for us. Please help us serve in an attitude of willing worship, and to eagerly wait for Jesus’ return. Thank You that Your timing is perfect and that You always keep Your promises.

May our lives give praise to “One Name Alone” (song by Matt Redman).

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

It’s All About Him

For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.
Romans 11:36, NLT*

If our lives were fiction, we’d each think we were the main character.

Some of us are passive, some active, but we’re each affected by the circumstances and individuals around us. Our minds process, evaluate, react, and scheme, as we try to make the best lives we can for ourselves and for those in our care.

That doesn’t mean we’re selfish, although sometimes we are. Each of us is the point of view character in our own story, and it’s easy to slide from there into thinking that it’s all about us.

Paul reminds us of the truth. It’s all about God.

We – and the rest of creation – matter. What He made is “good” and “very good.” (Genesis 1)

But He didn’t make us for us. We were made for relationship with Him, designed to only be complete in Him.

He intends us for His glory.

What does that mean?

Just like “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1, NIV**),  our lives, lived in loving submission to God and in reliance on His power, demonstrate that there is a Good Shepherd. There is hope, forgiveness, healing. There is an ultimate authority who defines good and bad, who can rescue and rebuke… and who would rather restore than condemn.

God our Creator and Sustainer, You alone are worthy of all honour and glory. Forgive us for those times when our perspective revolves around ourselves. Help us remember we’re to live for Your glory. Shine through us to bring glory to Your name.

Let Matt Redman’s song, “The Heart of Worship,” remind us of our focus today.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

**New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Little Idols

In the book of the prophets it is written,
‘Was it to me you were bringing sacrifices and offerings
during those forty years in the wilderness, Israel?’
Acts 7:42b, NLT*

You’d think faith would have been easier for the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings. They ate the manna: daily evidence of God’s care. Their shoes and clothing didn’t wear out. They were led by God’s pillar of fire and cloud. They carried with them the Tabernacle where their Moses, talked to God directly.

Yet Acts 7:43 says they carried their pagan gods and idols with them. They were following God’s leading, but worshipping whatever they chose.

So although God brought them into the Promised Land, it was temporary. Exile was in their future, because they wouldn’t change and devote themselves completely to Him despite all the wonders they saw Him do for them.

What patience to still work with them – with us today – and what love to keep drawing those hearts among the crowd who would truly respond to Him.

These verses call us to search ourselves now, even as believers in Jesus Christ. What are we holding onto that’s dividing our loyalty and diluting our worship? I don’t know anyone who carries around a pocket idol statue and offers sacrifices to it, but what does God see in our hearts that’s crowding on His space?

God sees these things, and they offend Him. But Scripture tells us He longs to draw us nearer, not push us away. He will point out the trouble, if we’ll only ask.

God our Creator and our Saviour, You alone are worthy of our worship and devotion. Open our eyes to those things we’ve allowed to have too much importance in our lives. Forgive us, cleanse and restore us to full fellowship with You, and grow us in the life everlasting.

Matt Redman’s song, “One Name Alone,” makes a good prayer for us.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Living for God’s Glory

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.
Philippians 2:14-15, NLT*

In Canada, we’ve recently seen what looks to many like another travesty of justice. And we see legislation in the making that has frightening possibilities.

The US political scene has sent me to read the Book of Daniel.

Around the world, terrorists spread hate and fear, innocent people are victimized, and the list could go on.

What’s a Christian to do?

We can echo Randy Stonehill’s plea, “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off,” but there’s nowhere else to go. And Jesus didn’t call us to hide, to sulk, or to turn nasty.

He told us to go and make disciples, and to teach them to obey His commands. (Matthew 28:19-20)

I’m not sure what that should look like in my life. But when I think of living for God’s glory, and what that looks like: God didn’t write us off and turn away in frustration. He didn’t get bitter or resentful. In His anger at our sin, He remained righteous – and He made a way to restore us.

As His followers, we don’t have the luxury of reacting to this world in the way that comes naturally – the way we think it deserves. We need to bring our hurt, anger, confusion, disappointment, fear, and the rest, to Him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:23). To the One in ultimate authority, whose plans will be fulfilled in His perfect timing. To the One who loves not only us but those still lost in the darkness.

Anchoring our confidence in His character, His power and His purposes, we can conduct ourselves with hope and in a manner worthy of His name. Not by denying or ignoring what’s happening, but by remembering that this isn’t over yet, and that God is with us in the midst of it.

God is our security. Whatever happens, He will be there.

Our God, You see the darkness rising in our world, and yet You are at work behind the scenes to bring Your Kingdom purposes to pass. Give us the faith and the courage to rely on You and to shine Your light. Thank You that somehow You will work all this out for good and to reveal Your glory to the nations.

Let Matt Redman’s song, “Shine,” be our prayer.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Heaven’s Prey: the Playlist

First in the Redemption’s Edge series, last to get its own playlist…

There’s only one song mentioned in Heaven’s Prey. Quick, can you name it? Without scanning the rest of this post?

Didn’t think so 🙂

Here’s the Heaven’s Prey playlist: music that complements the characters and theme. (Song list below the video, if you just want to see what’s there without listening to it all.)

Heaven’s Prey Playlist:
Come Into His Kingdom” by Sheila Walsh (I think of this as the Heaven’s Prey theme song)
Here and Someday” by Jonny Diaz (Ruth’s song for Susan)
With Hope” by Steven Curtis Chapman (Ruth’s sister Lorna’s song for Susan)
Surrendering” by Sheila Walsh (Ruth’s song for Tony)
In Christ Alone” by Adrienne Liesching and Geoff Moore (an anchoring song for Ruth)
Blessed Be Your Name” by Matt Redman (an anchoring song for Ruth)
Don’t Turn Your Back on Jesus” by Sheila Walsh
Amazing Grace” by Susan Boyle
To God Be the Glory” by the Royal Albert Hall audience and stage choirs (also a good theme song)


God Came to Us

Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Philippians 2:7-8, NLT*

When disaster strikes a nation or community, the leaders make a point of visiting the area. To assess the situation first-hand, but also to encourage the survivors, who need every bit of hope they can possibly receive.

What did God do with our sin-damaged world? He promised from the beginning that He would provide disaster relief. His timing is longer-term than ours, but that’s exactly what He did – and is doing.

He came. Into our disaster. Never mind we made the mess ourselves and then it multiplied out of control. Never mind it wouldn’t have happened if Eve and Adam had followed His instructions in the first place.

He came. Jesus experienced birth, life and death as a human being. He understands our circumstances. He showed us how to live for God in the midst of them. He paid the ultimate price to ransom us back to Himself. And He’s coming back to take His rightful place as King.

This Christmas, in the midst of all the giving and receiving, let’s remember how much was given for us. How can we not love a God who would give everything for us? How could we not give ourselves back to Him in trust and gratitude?

God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit… You came into our need, You are with us now in our need, and You will come again to reign. Thank You. You’ve proven Your faithfulness, Your love and Your care. Help us to trust and obey You, to honour You, and to receive the full life You offer to Your children.

This isn’t a Christmas song, but I love how it sums up the Divine rescue mission: Matt Redman‘s “Where Would We Be“?

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Church: For Worship

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Psalm 122:1, NLT*

Last Saturday night, thinking about church in the morning, I quoted this verse with a kind of self-mocking regret. It’s not how I’ve felt about attending in a long time. I go, but there’s no gladness to it.

A few minutes later, I climbed into bed and turned to where I’d left off in A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. You can guess which verse was top of the page. Zing!

I stopped to think about what it meant. The house of the LORD. Not a place where a group of mismatched people gather.

It’s about God – not about them, us or me. About honouring and worshipping the One who created and redeemed us. The One who still has a purpose for us, if we’ll get out of our own way and follow Him.

I know “church” isn’t a building. It’s the body of believers who are the “house” of the Lord. And I know His Spirit dwells in each of us and we don’t need to be with others to worship (although Hebrews 10:25 says not to give up meeting together).

But I’m challenged to make attending  church more than habit or duty. More than a grim choice, acting in trust that God will do something. I’m reminded to see it as going to meet with God and worship Him.

That’s a radical attitude refresher. It means not only getting enough rest on Saturday night, but preparing my heart for Sunday. Praying for the leaders, for the service, for God to prompt folks to attend. Fixing my eyes and heart on God, not on congregational issues. It even affects the care I take with my appearance.

How did Sunday morning go this week? My heart was different. I served more willingly, remembering who I was really serving. I heard God in the message. While I can’t say I felt worship, I did worship. And I didn’t come home depressed, because I’d been looking upward instead of horizontally.

Holy God, You call us to worship alone and corporately, not because You need affirmation but because it builds our faith. It reminds us of who You are and of Your love for us. Thank You for not letting us settle into negative ruts. Continue to prune, shape and guide us into followers worthy of Your Name. Make us useful and joyful for Your Kingdom.

Let Matt Redman’s song, “Here for You,” remind us why we gather to worship.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Who Does it Look Like We’re Living For?

 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
2 Corinthians 5:20, NLT*

An ambassador’s words and behaviour should reveal the character of whoever the ambassador represents.

What does that mean for Christians? If we’re living for “One Name Alone,” we can choose His will and His way (including His “house rules”) over our own, and do it cheerfully, not grudgingly, because we love Him and it’s a joy to do whatever we can to stay close to Him.

When we cultivate an attitude of trust in God, of gratitude and peace, it’s not simply for our own spiritual wellbeing. We can let others see that in the good and in the bad, we choose to rely on God, and that He is enough.

Jesus is our model, as well as the One we’re to represent. His countenance, conduct and demeanor all reflected Whose He was. He didn’t go around with a moping, frowning face. He didn’t deny His pain, either – just took it to the Father.

He spoke truth gently to the hurting, and He listened first to discern their true needs. He reserved His blunt talk for leaders He needed to call out. He didn’t complain about people behind their backs. He didn’t gossip, stew in resentment, or indulge in any of the attitudes that so often beset us.

He didn’t condemn sinners, but invited them into new life. And He showed them the new life was good.

We’re not perfect, but the more we rely on the Holy Spirit within us, the more effective ambassadors we’ll be.

Father, sometimes I get tired, or frustrated, or fearful. You understand those feelings, but You have better things for me. Help me to remember that if I indulge in cranky or moody behaviour, it reflects poorly on You. Help me press into You, my Rock and my Redeemer, and live authentically so that others will see how trusting You makes a difference.

Let Matt Redman‘s song, “One Name Alone,” settle into our hearts and remind us of our true focus.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Taking God Seriously

So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?
Luke 6:46, NLT*

Jesus’ miracles proved His power, authority and compassion. His message was direct and understandable, except when cloaked in parables. People flocked to Him.

Yet here, after a very practical sermon, He accuses them of not doing what He says. And He warns that putting His words into practice will be the difference between stability and disaster (Luke 6:46-49).

He’s just told them to love, bless, do good, not to judge or condemn, to forgive and be generous to friend and enemy alike. He’s told them to live like Himself, minus the miracles.

He tells us the same thing, sometimes through the Holy Spirit in our hearts, but it’s pretty plain in Scripture as well. And we have the Spirit to enable us.

God tells us how to live. And He means what He says. We need to take Him seriously:

  • for our own health (He designed us and knows us best);
  • as examples to show His love and care and righteousness;
  • to keep close to Him instead of letting us drift away;
  • because unrighteousness offends Him; and
  • because He has the authority to require it.

God our Creator and Redeemer, what is it we’re not doing that You say? Help us to hear and to obey, for our own sakes and for the sake of Your Kingdom – and to please Your heart. Forgive us for the times we’ve lived as if obedience were optional. Help us submit fully to Your authority in our lives, with complete trust in Your goodness.

If we lived like Jesus meant what He said, Matt Redman is right: “We Could Change the World.”

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Idols Aren’t Wooden Anymore

An idol is nothing but a tree chopped down,
then shaped by a woodsman’s ax.
Jeremiah 10:3b, MSG*

In 21st century North America, the idea of calling an inanimate object “god” sounds foolish. We’re so far advanced from that primitive idea. We know a statue has no power.

We’d never worship something like that. Not in the sense of offering sacrifices to it, or of praying for its help.

But what if an idol is anything that takes first place in our lives, anything that replaces or reduces our adoration of our Saviour?

Maybe we’ve just build more sophisticated ones. Not out of wood or metal, but out of our wants and needs. Cars, houses, technology. Mates, children, pets.

Everyone has wants and needs. God knows that. But He wants us to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33, NIV**)

We can’t claim “He will give us all things” literally—as evidenced by the lack of a red Corvette in my driveway—and more seriously as evidenced by the many hungry and oppressed Christians around the world.

But God deserves first place in our hearts, minds and spirits. When we align under His authority, we can rest in His sufficiency and His presence. With Him, we can pass through the hard times and come out the other side, even if that other side isn’t until we die.

It all comes back to trusting God. Putting him first. Checking our other affections to be sure they haven’t begun to crowd Him out. Restoring our perspective wherever it’s needed.

Holy God, You alone are worthy of our worship, praise and adoration. You’re the giver of all good things. Forgive us for the times we’ve allowed good things to usurp Your place in our hearts. Help us to appreciate Your gifts but to worship the Giver.

Matt Redman‘s song, “One Name Alone,” reminds us where to focus our adoration.

*The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

**New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.