Praise You in the Storm

photo credit: SimpleSkye via photopin cc

photo credit: SimpleSkye via photopin cc

The Christian music group Casting Crowns released a song a few years ago called Praise You in This Storm.  The chorus of the song says this:

And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

This past Sunday, as I was leading our song set, I witnessed people in our congregation living out this chorus.

I’ve mentioned before that I feel like I have a unique perspective on a Sunday morning.  Most Sundays I am up front with one of our praise teams leading our community as we sing.  I get to see people as they sing and respond to God by bowing heads, lifting hands or simply closing their eyes.  Being involved in the church for a number of years I also know some of the struggles that people go through.  I was struck by how a number of our people were able to praise God even though they were going through a storm.

Some in our church family are dealing with relationship struggles and marriage issues.

Others are experiencing loss.

There are individuals and families impacted by health concerns.

Still others carry the burden of a family member who is far from God.

Yet, many are still able to praise God in the storm.

I was moved by their example and reminded that God is faithful no matter what our circumstances might try to tell us.  One of the benefits of corporate worship is being encouraged by the faithfulness of many of God’s people who continue to praise Him in the storm.  It was a good reminder to me that I need to and can praise Him in the storm.

Top Worship Songs at WCC in 2012

worshipI got this idea from a worship leader’s blog I receive. He listed the top songs they did at his church in 2012. It was a listing not of his favorite songs, but those which they did most frequently.

It got me to thinking about which songs we used most often last year. We try to use a variety of songs (not sing the same songs over and over). We also have tried to introduce some newer worship songs while utilizing the songs our congregation responds to in worship. So here are the songs we used based on how many times we sang them in 2012.

1) At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh) – new one we introduced in 2012
2) Awesome is the Lord
3) Be Glorified
4) Beautiful One
5) By His Wounds
6) Come Just As You Are
7) Draw Me Close
8) Everlasting God
9) Give Us Clean Hands
10) Glory to God Forever
11) Hallelujah (Your Love is Amazing)
12) Here I Am to Worship
13) Holy is the Lord
14) How Great is our God
15) I Will Follow
16) It is Well (Todd Fields arrangement)
17) Jesus Messiah
18) Jesus, Son of God – this was new this year, too
19) Mighty to Save
20) Our God
21) Shout to the Lord
22) We Fall Down
23) We Want to See Jesus Lifted High
24) Worthy is the Lamb
25) You Alone Can Rescue

There were many other songs we used, but these were the ones we used more often than the rest. Kind of interesting to see. Any good worship songs that are on your list?

Parents Should Sing Praise This Spring

I follow ESPN HoopGurlz and the article below was posted today on their site.  It is a good reminder for parents who have kids playing spring/summer ball. It relates specifically to basketball, but can be modified to fit any sport.  It’s a good read for parents (including me) about what should make up most of what we say to our kids from the stands.

A girl I once coached was at the free-throw line, where she always was aces. As she went through her pre-shot routine, the crowd at the state tournament game hushed, as they all do. From that silence rang a single, familiar voice.

“Make your free throws!” the voice commanded.

It was her father. His words plunged into her psyche like torpedoes. And … she … missed … both … free throws so badly, I swear it was on purpose.

With spring comes the chirping. And I don’t mean the robins, either, although they, too, are harbingers of the new season.

It’s the symphony of the parents that I’m talking about. Their caustic cacophony is the soundtrack to club basketball. They sit a lot closer for club games than high school contests, so you literally can hang onto every word — not that you’d want to.

Sing along. You know the words:

Take care of the basketball! I often thought to tell my players to, go ahead, toss an errant pass into the front row, make it whistle past your mom’s ear. Let her know that she needs to keep reminding you, because you are considering being careless with the basketball the entire game, perhaps the entire tournament. Maybe the next game she can remind you about every three seconds to take a breath.

Let them play! I imagine that, back in the day when women were required to wear skirts and only allowed to roam half of the court, a referee lassoed the lot of them and prevented them from playing. That image somehow sticks in the DNA of helicopter parents, causing an irrational anxiety. In my experience, savvy officials do indeed let the players play. That makes for shorter games, which makes for longer rests between games or just plain going home sooner.

Shoot the ball! This is a prime example of the delayed processing that proves the futility of screaming instructions from the stands. You yell, she hears, but the moment has passed. And what sense are we to make of the parent who yells this command as his/her daughter is retreating on defense? This is the first cousin, by the way, of, “Pass the ball!” (Translation: pass it to my baby so when she catches it, I can then yell, “Shoot the ball!”).

Take her! Sorry but in a girls’ sport, I cannot think of many things more vile. This conjures, at least for me, images of medieval knights “taking” a “wench.” Or soldiers “taking” an enemy. This is the sister phrase, by the way, of, “She can’t guard you.” Ugh. On the other side of one of these back-handed exhortations is another girl you’re insulting.

What are you doing? Once, just once, I’d love it if a player grabbed up her coach’s whiteboard, marched into the stands and diagrammed some of the offenses and defenses her team is running. Your kid knows what she’s doing, which means she knows when she has made a mistake. There are few things more grating during the heat of the moment than a sarcastic remark like this.

When my daughter was playing high school ball, during the preseason parents’ meeting her athletic director always revealed results of a survey of the players about what they wanted most from their parents. Oddly enough, “Scream instructions to me during the game,” never appeared on that list. Neither did, “Insult the refs,” or “Yell at my coach.”

Parents, if your daughter looks to you in the stands during a game, she’s looking for support, not your rolling eyes or your head cradled in your hands. Those only reinforce the dismay she already feels. This is a difficult game she is playing, so next time try throwing her a kiss, flashing her a smile, clapping your hands.

And if you must say something, how about something encouraging like, “Let’s go!”