Set Me On Fire

A while ago, I heard a song. It was Sanctus Real’s On Fire. It broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I’ve lived the life they sing out in the song.

Remember when you couldn’t wait
to show up early and find your place.
Cause you didn’t want to miss a thing.
And your heart was open and ready for change.
Oh, those were the days.
You were never afraid to sing,
never afraid to life your hands.
Didn’t care what people would think.

I remember what that was like. Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, we were there. We were there early. We got together before and after. We were a solid unit for Christ. We were a family. We worshiped together. We mourned together. If one of us was hurting, we all hurt together. We were a force for Christ that was not to be reckoned with. And it felt as if nothing and no one could drive us a part.

You were on fire,
and church was more than a place,
and people were more than faces.
and Jesus was more than a name.

We were on fire. We loved each other and Jesus. Church was more than a place. And Jesus was definitely more than a name. We were living for Him. We ministered to each other and strangers. We came from different places. We were a crazy range of ages from young teens to early twenties.

But our age differences and where we had come from didn’t matter. We loved each other and Jesus fiercely. Nothing could stand in our way.

Remember when you weren’t ashamed.
To tell your friends about your faith.
A time when you felt the pain
of just one lost soul that was slipping away.
Your heart was soft, you had radiant eyes,
but slowly the pressures and burdens of life
pulled you into the dark of night.
But when did you lose your sight?

We weren’t ashamed. We wore our faith proudly. We wanted to reach more, do more, BE MORE. We started our own church services. We shared our mistakes, our pain, our triumphs, our hearts.

We didn’t all look the same. We covered a range of everything, from preppy to emo. We were a band of misfits with our crazy hair and piercings and our crazy love of God. And those of us who would scare strangers on the street with our looks were the most softhearted.

We took the phrase “Freedom From Religion” to heart. We didn’t need a bunch of rules and regulations. We loved God and each other.

Oh, you were on fire,
you let life put out the flame.

Oh, isn’t that the truth? Mistakes were made by people we trusted, people who should have been supporting what we were doing. And suddenly we were lost. We fell apart and away from each other. This breach of trust drove us away from each other, and some of us even away from God.

Some of us are still friends. Some of us are simply Facebook friends. There are some of us I haven’t seen in over 10 years. And while I haven’t lost my faith, I haven’t felt like I did back then since. These days church is just a place, and it breaks my heart. And there are times, even all these years later, sitting in that place, when all that hurt and anger comes back as if it just happened yesterday.

But He’s still calling out for you
cause He wants to light your heart again.
And set it on fire

Turn your eyes, turn your eyes
and don’t forget what it was like
Set me on fire, set me on fire
I wanna hold God’s people close
wanna feel the power of Jesus’ name

I don’t know how to get back there. I don’t know what I’m looking for. I pray for that fire to fill me again. I pray for that fire to fill us all again.

Set me on fire

You can find all the Worship Wednesday posts here.

If You Want Me To

This week’s Worship Wednesday is a song I have loved since the first moment I heard in about 14 years ago. As a young adult, I listened to Ginny Owen’s first album on repeat and If You Want Me To became an instant favorite of mine.

 

If You Want Me To

The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear
And I don’t know the reasons why you brought me here.
But just because You love me the way that You do
I’m gonna walk through the valley if you want me to.

Cause I’m not who I was when I took my first step
And I’m clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet.
So if all of these trials bring me closer to You
Then I will go through the fire if You want me to

And it may not be the way I would’ve chosen
When You lead me through a world that’s not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I’d never go alone.

So when the whole world turns against me
And I’m all by myself
And I can’t hear You answer my cries for help
I’ll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley if You want me to

I love the line “But You never said it would be easy. You only said I’d never go alone.” It’s just so true. We go through hard times and difficult days. There are times we don’t understand the path we are on. But through it all, we are not alone. God is always there with you.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you; therefore I will give  men for you, and people for your life. Fear not, for I am with you;” -Isaiah 43:2-5

The passage from Isaiah tells us when, not if but when, we go through hard times God is with us. You are not alone in your heartache. You are not alone in the darkness. God is with you.

This is all temporary. We are here just for a time. This world is not our home. Someday we’re going to a place that’s so great words cannot accurately describe it. A place better than anything you can imagine. We travel through the darkness, through the hard times, through the fire and the valley, but we don’t travel that road alone.

You can find all of the Worship Wednesday posts here.

This Is Now

I love music, and I will listen to almost any kind of music. Because of this, it makes sense that my favorite form of worship is song. Worship through music, whether in a church service or in my truck, is when I feel closest to God. He speaks to me through song more than any other way.

After my last post, my mother-in-law brought me the newest Casting Crowns CD, Thrive.  Today I was finally able to listen to it since we spent a good amount of time in the truck. The crazy little boys love music and were more than willing to listen to “Grandma’s music” (although Lion King music was requested once).

It is an amazing CD. I can’t say I love every song on it mostly because I haven’t listened closely to them all. When I find a song that moves me, I want to listen to it repeatedly. We found such a song today.

 

This Is Now

Standing at the water’s edge
I dropped my dreams when I dropped my nets
No hesitation, no regrets
I followed You
But that was then
And this is now
You washed my feet and You changed my name
I swore I’d never be the same
But just like the tides, I guess people change
‘Cause that was then
And this is now

[Chorus:]
I wish I could go back but I don’t know how
I remember when I stood my ground
I swore I’d never let you down
I want to be that man again
But that was then
And this is now

I watched a blind man lift his head
And look his Savior in the eyes
I heard a dead man take a breath
Dropped to my knees as I watched him rise
And I felt the sea beneath my feet
As I stepped out on the angry waves
But You s the storm raging within
You reached out and calmed me then
But this is now

[Chorus:]

Just when I thought my sin had closed the door
I see my Savior standing on the shore
With arms open wide
Just like the first time You called my name
You said that was then
And this is now

My child, I bore your cross, I wore your crown
When you couldn’t come to Me, My love came down
So take My hand, I’ll lead you out
‘Cause that was then
And this is now

My child, I bore your cross, I wore your crown
When you couldn’t come to Me, My love came down
So take My hand, I’ll lead you out
You’ll never be that man again
‘Cause that was then
And this is now

The song is based on the story of Peter. Peter, the disciple who loved Jesus. He was a fisherman who became a fisher of men. He was the man who said, “If I have to die with You, I will not betray You!” to Jesus (Mark 14:31 NKJV) and then went on to betray Him not once but three times.

How must Peter have felt? How have we all felt when we’ve fallen short, as we all do? Those moments of doubt when we can’t believe that Jesus could still love us. Those times when we realize we’ve strayed from His path and think there’s no way back. That He loved us once, but that was then, before this happened.

Every day Jesus tells us that this is now. The past is forgotten. He knows we will all fall short. He knows we will make mistakes, that we will stray. And He loves us anyway. He bore our cross. He wore our crown.

Jesus knew Peter was going to betray Him. But even knowing that, Jesus told Peter, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church.” (Matthew 16:18) If Jesus could use Peter to build His church after Peter had denied knowing Him in His time of need, what could Jesus use us for if we would just follow Him?

Jesus doesn’t ask us for perfection. He asks us to love Him and follow Him. And when we fall short, He tells us to repent and to go and sin no more. Ask for forgiveness, and the slate is wiped clean.

That was then.

This is now.