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Category Archives: Worship Leader

Let the Weight of Your Glory Fall

“Spirit of the Sovereign Lord
Come and make Your presence known
Reveal the glory of the Living God

We do not seek Your hand
We only seek Your face
We want to know You
We want to see You
Reveal Your glory in this place

Let the weight of Your glory cover us
Let the life of Your river flow
Let the truth of Your kingdom reign in us
Let the weight of Your glory

Let the weight of Your glory fall…”

(Music and Lyrics by Steve Merkel)

 
 

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We Shall Overcome

This video was taken from a concert that I produced for Nevadans for the Common Good on June 28, 2015. We chose to do a patriotic concert and I decided to add this song into the program as a tribute to the 9 people that were killed in the shooting at Mother Emmanuel AME Church in South Carolina.

Nevadans for the Common Good is a non-profit organization that “helps congregations and organizations develop a deeply-rooted justice strategy – not one that lurches from issue to issue, but one that builds a base of leaders, develops an analysis of the pressures affecting families in an institution and crafts a viable response to those pressures, working together with other congregations and organizations”
(http://www.nevadansforthecommongood.org).

Yes, not so good things will happen in this life, but when they do, we need to remember that “darkness cannot take out darkness.  Only light can. Hate cannot take out hate.  Only love can” (MLK).  There is only one judge and in the end none of us would pray for judgement or justice for the way that we have lived this life.  Instead, we pray for mercy, forgiveness and grace, because we have all fallen short of the glory of God. And because of Jesus Christ, we can love as we are loved by Almighty God. We can forgive as we have been forgiven.  We can exude the same amazing grace that was given to us through God’s only Son. We can be united as One body instead of fighting against each other. We can do so much more than what we limit ourselves to. The human perspective is but a speck of dust compared to the vastness of God’s plan.

I believe that the root of the problem that plagues our world and our human family, is that we separate from each other. There is no “us” or “them,” there is just “us.” We easily forget the commonality of our own humanity and segregate over superficial differences. The world’s problems are our problems. The issues that people face in a distant land are also in our own backyard. “For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but save the world through Him” (John 3:16-17 NIV). God did not save parts of the world. God saves the world, in it’s entirety, through love. Through the power of compassion and the truth of salvation, love is the common thread that unites us all and melts away any perceived differences.  “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

If we could just see each other as people first and not what type of person or category, then we could dialogue in a healthy conversation about the commonality of the human experience. “I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes?Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?  Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer…If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?  If you poison us, do we not die?” (Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare).

Bottomline, the blood that runs through the veins of every human being, that has ever lived and will live, is red. We are all the same, and it is with that sameness that we shall overcome the wicked and corruptive landscapes of the human mind that perpetuates the pandora’s box of racism, prejudice, sexism, homophobia, classism etc…

Look, we will all leave this world with the same amount of the world’s riches as we came in with…absolutely nothing. But we will leave a legacy of the way in which we lived this life and affected other people. This life is not about individuals but instead it is about the collective condition of the human story.   If we could just see ourselves within the people that we meet, then the world that God sees will be opened onto us so that the kingdom on earth could be as it is in heaven.

 
 

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Shift our thinking

Creator of all, we come in through these doors because we need You to reopen the doors of our hearts and community onto the mission of Christ. Let this church be reborn and let the Holy Spirit unleash the power of healing that resides within all of us.   Teach us to not just communicate with each other but to commune with each other.

As generations and cultures crash into each other, shift our thinking to rediscover the ancient unity of all sinners that was revealed on the cross at Calvary. Strengthen us to hold onto this union, this commonality, that we all share as children of God. Remind us, that even through the greatest storms of life, we are never alone.

“Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them” (Scott and Kelli KLOVE). For those of us celebrating with our families today, we give thanks to God. For those of us grieving the loss of a loved one, we pray for compassion and understanding that “grief never ends…it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith…It is the price of love” (Scott and Kelli K-LOVE).

 
 

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Forgiven and Loved

Lord Jesus, You make the impossible possible. You transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. You breathe life into what was once dead. You see us, and You know us more than we know ourselves because You knew us before we took our first breath and You will be there with us when we take our last.

You, Jesus, are amazing, and we ask that whatever truth we need to hear from Your word, in this moment, be given to us as a gift from God.  Let Your words just fall down from heaven and touch our hearts. “For, all people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:24)

Move us, right now and right here, so that the words that we hear and say today will match the way we that live out our lives. Take away the hypocrisy of religion and pride by calling on all of us to love with the same love that forgave and released us from our own regrets, hatred and shame.  Through You, Jesus, we are now free to love because You first loved us.   That same love, the love of God, is present now and is available/accessible to us now, today and forever.  So Lord, speak into our hearts so that we can also love all and condemn no one.

Yes, this life is challenging as the enemy stares us down, “but greater is He that lives in all of us than he that is of the world.” (1 John 4:4) Here is the reality that we can all embrace: The crucified and resurrected Christ frees us all from yesterdays mistakes so that we can be brave, we can be courageous, and we can truly and whole-heartedly live in the abundance of God’s favor, grace and love.

It’s never too late to accept Christ.  It’s never too late to experience His love.  All of the chaos in this world is silenced by His eternity for “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)  

 

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Amazing Grace

Why is grace so amazing?  It is amazing because it is a gift.  A gift that is given in sacrifice and mercy.  A gift that allows us to simply let go of any condemnation or judgement for any mistakes that we have made in the past because Jesus bore all of our sins at the cross. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)   

So many questions circle our minds as we walk through life’s valleys.  We wonder why do we have to face these obstacles,  we question God’s purpose and we limit God’s love.  But in those times, we should remember that  “the will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us” (Billy Graham) for we are never alone.  The love of God is the same love that lives within all of us.  It dwells in our hearts and it sustains us, throughout all of the good and bad times, so that we can trust in the truth of the Gospel that there are no limits to this divine love that even death could not hold back.

We often attempt to tackle life’s mountains on our own shoulders, but the reality is that we cannot rely solely on our own strength as we face these giants.  We foolishly pull away from God as He reaches evermore for us, but He is there for us, to lean and depend on, as He guides us through all of the joys and sorrows.  Yes, we must walk through the valleys, but we do not stay there.

This song, “Amazing Grace” is a prayer that has touched the hearts of generations and nations because it gives voice to exactly what God’s love is: a gift.  A gift so unimaginable that it cannot be contained by the limitations of this mortal world.  We are given this gift so that we can live, and the gift of life goes beyond our first or final breath because our chains are gone and we have been set free by our God, Savior and Friend.  So let’s join in one voice and sing His praises.

 

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Broken Road

This was my twist on the popular love song “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts that I did at church for Valentines Day weekend as a way to say thank you to Jesus for always being my side through all of the ups and downs of my life.

I believe that everything that we experience, good and bad, simply leads us to His truth for our lives which includes all of the ups and downs and everything else in between.  And as I get older, I can see that all of those times, places and people that maybe were not the most pleasant to experience, were merely preparing me to help find my way back to Him.  And because of Him, I can forgive others as I have been forgiven because that burden is finally freed from my shoulder, so that I can really live this life in the way that He would want me to live.  A life filled with grace that is sufficient for every possibility and circumstance that we will encounter on the road called life..

Yes, the road is broken but the journey always leads us back to confront the reality of the cross and the open arms of Jesus Christ.   “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him (John 3:17).”   So if we do not have condemnation from a God that could/should condemn us for our mistakes, then how could we condemn others?  Can we forgive those who trespass against us as we have been forgiven by Almighty God?  Yes, I believe that we can.

We can only share or gift something that we have an abundance of.  We have an abundance of amazing grace, love and forgiveness, so let’s share that gift that was given to us on this broken road called life.  We can’t run to Him by holding on to the baggage of yesterday, so let’s just let go and let God by following His truth and message; that all people are children of God, who are loved as His unique creation, and need to be treated with dignity, compassion and respect.  Amen.  

 

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Canta Al Senor

I decided to celebrate Cinco De Mayo by singing my all time favorite praise song “Shout to the Lord” by Hillsong. I sing in both Spanish and English.  My spanish is not so good but I wanted to address the global body of Christ and the many languages that are used to praise His name.  I wanted to use this song in particular because this is the song that brought me back to Christ.

See, I had left the church several years ago while I was still in my youth.  I was angry, lost and confused.  I had so many questions and just could not get the right answers.  I started to go down a very dark path until one very fateful night.

My cousin and I, loved to, and still love to sing karaoke.  We are filipino, after all, so that should be no surprise to anyone.  Singing is part of our culture.  We would stay up until sunrise singing any song imaginable.  But sometimes it is in listening that we are able to be touched in a way that moves our heart and spirit.

My cousin just happened to have one of those WOW christian hits CD’s.  And during a much needed break from our karaoke, she decided to play one of the songs from this CD while we were cleaning up from our two person Karaoke extravaganza.  She knew that I wanted nothing to do with religion or anything of the church but she played it anyways.  Sneaky but it worked!!!

This song moved me.  It’s simplistic beauty and truth hit my heart like a ton of bricks and then the walls that I had built up around my heart came crashing down.  I opened up my heart to Jesus that night and I have never looked back.  Yes, life happens and there are still so many questions that I have.  But He has answered the one question that I had been searching for: Am I loved?  He says…“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” John 3: 16-18 (The Message).

 

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