Monday, February 17, 2014

Church Planter Anthems Part 1 of 3 | Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

Emmaus City Church Hillsong United Oceans Church Planter Anthems Part 1


My faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior  Church Planter Anthems Part 1 of 3

 

Recently, I've started a series of posts called "Songs Can Help Shape a Life of Worship Service." Previous posts include:


I could easily make this post Part 4 featuring Hillsong United, but I want to focus on one of their songs in particular, followed by two more featuring other songs by other artists that have seriously impacted me. So we'll call this new series of posts, "Church Planter Anthems." 

At the 3DM Workshop they recently held in Foxboro, Massachusetts, I was introduced to "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)," which is a gift from God to help define the next year for serving Jesus and others with Emmaus City Church. Actually, it would be a great song to define my entire life, but we'll start with 2014.


Emmaus City Church Worcester Massachusetts Acts 29 Soma Church Plant
Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United immediately captured my attention. The lyrics personified so much of my need these days as I pray for and work with others in being an expression of the body of Christ in Worcester. Below is a video of an acoustic version of "Oceans" filmed at Relevant followed by the words of this beautiful song. These specific lyrics continue to reverberate: " ... Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior. ..."



"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)"

by Hillsong United

(c) 2013 


Verse 1
You call me out upon the waters,
The great unknown where feet may fail.
And there I find You in the mystery.
In oceans deep,
My faith will stand.

Chorus
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves.
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine.

Verse 2
Your grace abounds in deepest waters.
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me.
You've never failed and You won't start now.
(Chorus Repeat)

 Bridge
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.

Final Chorus
I will call upon Your Name.
Keep my eyes above the waves.
My soul will rest in Your embrace.
I am Yours and You are mine. 


" ... the great unknown where feet may fail ... "

Even though Jesus promised He would build His church, it's extremely tempting for me to put this whole exercise on my shoulders. Whether it's because of pride or because of fear or many other reasons, the desire to control how this all goes creeps into my heart from day-to-day, sometimes hour-to-hour. And yet, He has still given me and the Emmaus City family this call because, "How can people in Worcester call on Jesus to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Jesus? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and share His good news with them in word and deed without being sent? That is why I am calling Emmaus City to be a family of missionary servants who obey My words and go and make disciples in ways they never have before. That is why the Scriptures say, 'How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!' And that is why I promised to be with you always" (Romans 10:14-15; Matthew 28:19-20).

" ... Your grace abounds in deepest waters. Your sovereign hand will be my guide. ... "

God's grace is truly the only thing that can pull me out of the selfish funk that I can get into when I realize I can do nothing to bring growth and life to Emmaus City. And this is actually a good thing! So glad Jesus has His church in His hands. Far too often, I isolate myself in those deep waters of lies that I'm supposed to operate as the savior of Worcester. In these moments of great overwhelming grace, I learn how to say again, "Sovereign King Jesus, You have only begun to show Your greatness and the strength of Your hand to me, Your servant. Is there any god in heaven or on earth who can perform such great and mighty deeds as You do?" (Deuteronomy 3:24).

" ... Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me. ... "

Learning how to listen to the Spirit is an exercise in great humility. Choosing to obey Him immediately has quickly revealed how much I let my mind orchestrate what I do in my life each day. I'm not a very faithful servant of King Jesus. It's amazing how obeying His whisper produces so much worship and joy, and yet, the next time He speaks again to show me where He's working or who He wants me to serve, I get into a discussion with Him about the possible consequences or simply choose to ignore Him. But Jesus in His loving kindness chooses to tell me again with great patience, "The Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth, Mike. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and is in you. I will not abandon you. I will come to you." (John 14:17-18).

" ... Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior. ... "

Being someone who takes Jesus seriously when He says "Go and make disciples" requires that I be at His feet and be made stronger in His presence. Apart from Him I can do nothing. With Him, anything is possible. But this does require the work of the Spirit if I'm not only going to be in His presence, but also become more like Him, bearing His image in my neighborhood, workplace, and city. Paul states this beautifully in 2 Corinthians 3:17-18: "For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Mike, you have had that veil removed and can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord — who is the Spirit — He is making you more and more like Him as you are changed into His glorious image."

" ... I will call upon Your Name. Keep my eyes above the waves. My soul will rest in Your embrace. I am Yours and You are mine." 

How beautiful is that? After everything I need to confess and repent of each day in this adventure to see His kingdom come, His will be done throughout Worcester, I am still His and He is still mine. Jesus says to me, "I give Mike eternal life, and he will never perish. No one can snatch him away from Me, for My Father has given Mike to me, and He is more powerful than anyone else, including Mike himself. No one can snatch him from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one” (John 10:28-30).

I encourage you to listen to the song again and replace my name with yours. Jesus is saying these words to you. Enjoy being with Him on His mission to extend the family of God in the places you live, work, rest, and play. You are His. And He is yours.




Next post: God I Look to You | Church Planter Anthems Part 2

 Sully

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