Fellowship Bible Church - Thoughts on a New Song, "Reckless Love"

For the past few weeks, we've begun introducing a new song, "Reckless Love" by Cory Asbury. I was a little uncomfortable with singing this song with our congregation because of the use of the word "reckless" in reference to the love of God. By definition, "reckless" means "marked by lack of proper cautioncareless of consequences." This strict definition does not apply to God. He is well-aware of the consequences of every action and every decision He makes. He makes decisions with a complete understanding of all the facts of a given situation before it has even happened. There is nothing that surprises Him. There is no true "risk" with God, because He knows the outcome. He is not careless, but ultimately care-full, considering every aspect of everything He does, and by extension, everything that everyone does.

However, language is not a static thing (unfortunately) – it is constantly changing, and words continue to take on new and subtle changes to their meaning. I think "reckless" is one of those words. If we look at the Merriam-Webster discussion of the synonyms, I think it makes more sense of the writer's intention: 

[The synonyms] adventurousventuresomedaringdaredevilrashrecklessfoolhardy mean exposing oneself to danger more than required by good sense. adventurous implies a willingness to accept risks but not necessarily imprudence.

I think this is the connotation that is being linked to "reckless" more often nowadays, as in the idea of "reckless abandon." It implies putting oneself in harm's way, knowingly accepting the risks associated with it. This understanding of the word makes it more palatable to me. The Father knew full well that sending His only begotten Son in the flesh would result in His death on the cross to save sinners, yet He proceeded – willing to accept the pain because of His great love for us. The cross is, indeed, the clearest picture we have of God's love for us (Rom. 5:8).

Jesus left the 99 and laid down His own life for the sake of the one lost sheep (Lk. 15:3-7). Jesus became our substitute so that we could be reconciled to the Father, justified, redeemed, adopted as sons and daughters of God, and ultimately glorified together with Him. Rather than understanding the word "reckless" on its own, I think the phrase can and should be understood as a whole: "reckless love." God loved His enemies, and sent His only Son to die for them, and adopted them as His sons and daughters. This surely appears to be foolishness in the world's view, but the "foolishness of God is wiser than men" (1 Cor. 1:25 ESV), and His ways are not our ways.

Do I wish the writer chose a word with less controversy around it because of the differences between its denotation and connotation? Absolutely. However, I think the song proclaims some great truth, and it's worth giving it some explanation so that we can sing it with a proper understanding.

Some links for more consideration:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/april-web-only/reckless-love-cory-asbury-bethel-music-and-justin-bieber.html

https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/should-we-sing-of-gods-reckless-love

http://samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/is-god-s-love--reckless--some-thoughts-on-a-popular-worship-song

A Hymn by Isaac Watts - The Infinity of God

Isaac Watts
    The Infinity of God. Ps. 147. 5; Heb. 4. 13


    1    Great God! how infinite art thou!
            What worthless worms are we!
        Let the whole race of creatures bow,
            And pay their praise to thee!

    2    Thy throne eternal ages stood,
            Ere seas or stars were made;
        Thou art the ever-living God,
            Were all the nations dead.

    3    [Nature and time quite naked lie
            To thy immense survey,
        From the formation of the sky,
            To the great burning day.]

    4    Eternity, with all its years,
            Stands present in thy view;
        To thee there’s nothing old appears –
            Great God! there’s nothing new!

    5    Our lives through various scenes are drawn,
            And vexed with trifling cares,
        While thy eternal thought moves on
            Thy undisturbed affairs.

    6    Great God! how infinite art thou!
            What worthless worms are we!
        Let the whole race of creatures bow,
            And pay their praise to thee!

The Suffering Servant

Over the past few weeks, we have been singing a song in our services that comes almost directly from Isaiah 52-53, a passage often labeled "The Suffering Servant." This passage is one of my favorites in all of the Scriptures, and the song is a moving translation of the passage into music.

You can read Dustin's thoughts on the passage from Isaiah here.

What are your thoughts or feelings after listening to this song?

Jehovah Our Righteousness - a hymn by William Cowper

I was reading through some hymn texts today, and I came across this beautiful hymn from William Cowper - "Jehovah Our Righteousness." It is in the popular hymn meter of 8,6,8,6 (like Amazing Grace):

Jer 23:6

My God! how perfect are thy ways!
But mine polluted are;
Sin twines itself about my praise,
And slides into my prayer.

When I would speak what thou hast done
To save me from my sin;
I cannot make thy mercies known
But self–applause creeps in.

Divine desire, that holy flame
Thy grace creates in me;
Alas! impatience is its name,
When it returns to thee.

This heart, a fountain of vile thoughts,
How does it overflow?
While self upon the surface floats
Still bubbling from below.

Let others in the gaudy dress
Of fancied merit shine;
The LORD shall be my righteousness
The LORD for ever mine.

I love Cowper's honesty regarding our praise. It is often tainted with pride and sin, yet it is accepted because of the perfect work of Christ for us. Jesus alone is our righteousness.

New Song - "You Have Overcome"

This is a song was a co-write with my great friend and NextGen Worship Director, Erik Oldberg, for Easter this year (also with a bunch of helpful feedback from our wives, Diane Horn and Sarah Oldberg!). I am really excited about how it all came together. I almost gave up on it four or five times, but we stuck it out and finished it up. The video below was recorded at our Easter services this weekend at the Topeka Performing Arts Center (TPAC), and it was the second weekend we have sung it with our church. I think it is connecting with our congregation - they were singing it so well yesterday! [vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/40038003 w=530&h=300]

You can download the PDF chord charts below:

You Have Overcome - A

You Have Overcome - G

Please let me know if you have any questions.

(You have our permission to use this song in your churches or other worship environments. Please credit appropriately, and let us know how it goes! This does not include permission to record this song for the purpose of resale of any kind - it is not to be used for profit, but for the building of the Church! All rights reserved. Thanks!)

In the Son,

Bill

Songs for Small Groups 11/19 - 11/20/11

Here are some songs that were on my radar for this week's services. I hope these can help you to worship together through singing in your small group. (For this list, I will be including the performing artist rather than the author of the song, to make it easier to find) "Forever Reign" [Kristian Stanfill] "God Is Able" [Hillsong Live] "The Stand" [Hillsong United] "Stronger" [Hillsong Live] "Jesus Paid It All" [Kristian Stanfill] "I Need You" [Kristian Stanfill] "All Because Of Jesus" [Fee] "Happy Day" [Tim Hughes] "You Alone Can Rescue" [Matt Redman] "Mighty To Save" [Hillsong United] "Marvelous Light" [Charlie Hall] "God Is Alive" [Fee] "Salvation Is Here" [Kristian Stanfill (Passion Worship)] "Sing To The King" [Candi Pearson (Passion Worship)] "Your Great Name" [Natalie Grant] "Our God" [Chris Tomlin] "You Are God Alone (Not A god)" [Billy and Cindy Foote] "Rise And Sing" [Fee] 

I hope you have a great time gathering together as the body of Christ in small groups.

"...addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Ephesians 5:19-20)

In the Son,

Bill

Songs for Small Groups 11/12 - 11/13/11

Here are some songs that were on my radar for this week's services. I hope these can help you to worship together through singing in your small group. (For this list, I will be including the performing artist rather than the author of the song, to make it easier to find) "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" [Chris Tomlin] "Forever Reign" [Kristian Stanfill] "Rock of Ages" [Ascend the Hill] "God Is Able" [Hillsong Live] "I Want to Love You" [Todd Fields] "The Stand" [Hillsong United] "Nothing But The Blood (Your Blood)" [Charlie Hall] "You Saw Me" [Hillsong Live] "Nothing But The Blood" [Traditional]  "Stronger" [Hillsong Live] "Lamb of God" [original] "The Wonderful Cross" [Chris Tomlin] "Nothing But The Blood" [Robert Lowry] "Jesus Messiah" [Chris Tomlin] "Let Me Sing" [Todd Fields] "It Is Well" [Todd Fields] "Jesus Paid It All" [Kristian Stanfill] "I Need You" [Kristian Stanfill] "Lead Me To The Cross" [Hillsong United] "All Because Of Jesus" [Fee] "Happy Day" [Tim Hughes] "You Alone Can Rescue" [Matt Redman] "Because Of Your Love" [Phil Wickham] "At The Cross" [Hillsong] "Mighty To Save" [Hillsong United] "Marvelous Light" [Charlie Hall] "I Stand Amazed" [Chris Tomlin] "How Great Thou Art" [Ascend The Hill] "Son Of God" [Starfield] "She Must And Shall Go Free" [Derek Webb] "Thy Mercy My God" [Derek Webb]

 

I hope you have a great time gathering together as the body of Christ in small groups.

"...addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Ephesians 5:19-20)

In the Son,

Bill

Songs for Small Groups 10/01 - 10/02/11

Here are some songs that were on my radar for this week's services. I hope these can help you to worship together through singing in your small group. (For this list, I will be including the performing artist rather than the author of the song, to make it easier to find) "Forever Reign" [Kristian Stanfill] "God Is Able" [Hillsong Live] "Joyous Light" [Chris Tomlin] "Never Once" [Matt Redman] "Glory To God Forever" [Fee] "Mighty To Save" [Hillsong Live] "Child Of God" [Vineyard UK] "You Never Let Go" [Matt Redman] "Jesus Messiah" [Chris Tomlin] "Jesus, You" [original] "Joyful (The One Who Saves)" [Brenton Brown] "'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus" [Traditional] "I Want To Love You" [Todd Fields] "Help Me To Find You" [Todd Fields] "Take My Life And Let It Be" [Traditional] "He Leadeth Me" [Traditional] "Marvelous Light" [Charlie Hall] "Always" [Kristian Stanfill]

I hope you have a great time gathering together as the body of Christ in small groups.

"...addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Ephesians 5:19-20)

In the Son,

Bill

Songs for Small Groups 10/22 - 10/23/11

Here are some songs that were on my radar for this week's services. I hope these can help you to worship together through singing in your small group. (For this list, I will be including the performing artist rather than the author of the song, to make it easier to find) "Forever Reign" [Kristian Stanfill] "You Are" [Todd Fields] "God Is Able" [Hillsong Live] "Everlasting God" [Brenton Brown] "Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)" [Paul Baloche] "Hosanna" [Hillsong United] "God Is Alive" [Steve Fee] "Son of God" [Starfield] "Because of Your Love" [Phil Wickham] "Lord of All" [Kristian Stanfill] "Joyous Light" [Chris Tomlin] "Mighty to Save" [Hillsong Live] "Glory To God Forever" [Steve Fee] "I Need You" [Kristian Stanfill] "You Are Worthy Of My Praise" [Jeremy Camp] "Sing to the King" [Passion Worship Band] "I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)" [Chris Tomlin]

I hope you have a great time gathering together as the body of Christ in small groups.

"...addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Ephesians 5:19-20)

In the Son,

Bill

Songs for Small Groups 10/01 - 10/02/11

Here are some songs that were on my radar for this week's services. I hope these can help you to worship together through singing in your small group. (For this list, I will be including the performing artist rather than the author of the song, to make it easier to find) "Captivate Us" [Watermark] "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" [Chris Tomlin] "Forever Reign" [Kristian Stanfill] "You Are" [Todd Fields] "Rock of Ages" [Ascend the Hill] "A Mighty Fortress" [Christy Nockels] "God Is Able" [Hillsong Live] "I Want to Love You" [Todd Fields] "The Stand" [Hillsong United] "Nothing But The Blood (Your Blood)" [Charlie Hall] "You Saw Me" [Hillsong Live] "Nothing But The Blood" [Traditional]  "Joyous Light" [Chris Tomlin] "Hungry" [Kathryn Scott] "Everlasting God" [Brenton Brown] "Stronger" [Hillsong Live] "Lamb of God" [original]

I hope you have a great time gathering together as the body of Christ in small groups.

"...addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Ephesians 5:19-20)

In the Son,

Bill

Songs for Small Groups 09/24 - 09/25/11

Including what we sang this weekend, here are some other songs that were on my radar in preparation and planning for our services as we focused on John 4:46-6:59: "Forever" [Chris Tomlin] "You Are Worthy Of My Praise" [David Ruis] "Holy Is The Lord" [Chris Tomlin] "God Is Able" [Reuben Morgan, Ben Fielding] "Say Say" [Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill, Chris Tomlin] "The Stand" [Joel Houston] "You Are" [Todd Fields] "Holy, Holy, Holy" [Reginald Heber, John Bacchus Dykes] "How Great Is Our God" [Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Ed Cash] "How Great Thou Art" [Carl Gustav Boberg, Stuart K. Hine] "Let Me Sing" [Todd Fields] "Lord of All" [Kristian Stanfill] "Enough" [Chris Tomlin] "Jesus Messiah" [Daniel Carson, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Ed Cash] "Son of God" [Tim Neufeld, Jon Neufeld] "All Because of Jesus" [Steve Fee] "Forever Reign" [Reuben Morgan, Jason Ingram] "Everlasting God" [Brenton Brown, Ken Riley] "Your Name" [Paul Baloche, Glenn Packiam] "Stronger" [Ben Fielding, Reuben Morgan] "God Of This City" [Bluetree] "Hungry" [Kathryn Scott]

I hope you find these helpful in worshiping together as a small group!

In the Son,

Bill

Songs for Small Groups 09/17 - 09/18/11

(Over the course of our discipleship plan, I will try to post up all the songs I had on my radar for a given weekend's worship services. If you are part of our small groups at Fellowship, they may be useful to you if you desire to sing with your small groups when you gather together. You don't need instruments to do it, just have some lyrics available and sing to our Lord together!) Here's the list for this week:

“Center” [Charlie Hall] “Son of God” [Starfield] “Glorious One” [Steve Fee] “Jesus Messiah” [Chris Tomlin] “Uncreated One” [Chris Tomlin] “The Lost Are Found” [Hillsong] “God Is Able” [Hillsong] “Mighty To Save” [Hillsong] “Because of Your Love” [Phil Wickham] “Glorious” [Paul Baloche] “Lord of All” [Kristian Stanfill] “Glory To God Forever” [Steve Fee & Vicky Beeching] "Unchanging" [Chris Tomlin] "Jesus Paid It All" [Elvina M. Hall, John T. Grape, additional chorus by Alex Nifong] "I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)" "I Will Boast" [Paul Baloche] "You Are" [Todd Fields] "Forever Reign" [Reuben Morgan, Jason Ingram] "We Fall Down" [Chris Tomlin] "You Do All Things Well" [Chris Tomlin] "Saved" [Warren Barfield] There are probably many more that I did not come across or think about during my preparation for this weekend, but each of these songs ties in with what we have read together this week in John 2:1 - 4:45. Please let me know if you have any questions.

-Bill

Songs for Small Groups 09/10 - 09/11/11

Over the course of our discipleship plan, I will try to post up all the songs I had on my radar for a given weekend's worship services. If you are part of our small groups at Fellowship, they may be useful to you if you desire to sing with your small groups when you gather together. You don't need instruments to do it, just have some lyrics available and sing to our Lord together! Here's the list for this week:

“Center” [Charlie Hall] “Son of God” [Starfield] “Glorious One” [Steve Fee] “How Great Is Our God” [Chris Tomlin] “Jesus Messiah” [Chris Tomlin] “Uncreated One” [Chris Tomlin] “The Lost Are Found” [Hillsong] “God Is Able” [Hillsong] “Mighty To Save” [Hillsong] “Because of Your Love” [Phil Wickham] “Cannons” [Phil Wickham] “Messiah” [Phil Wickham] “At Your Name” [Phil Wickham & Tim Hughes] “Glorious” [Paul Baloche] “Lord of All” [Kristian Stanfill] “10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)” [Matt Redman] “I Want to Love You” [Todd Fields] “Bless Your Name” [Eddie Kirkland] “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” “What Child Is This?” “Hosanna” [Hillsong] “Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)” [Paul Baloche] “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” [Unknown] “Glory To God Forever” [Steve Fee & Vicky Beeching] “Stronger” [Hillsong] "Joyous Light" [Chris Tomlin]

There are probably many more that I did not come across or think about during my preparation for this weekend, but each of these songs ties in with what we have read together this week in John chapter 1. Please let me know if you have any questions.

-Bill

Set List, 02/26 - 02/27/11 Fellowship Bible Church

Here's our set from this weekend: "All Because of Jesus" (A) [Steve Fee] Call to Worship "Happy Day" (Bb) [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon] Welcome/Announcements/Greeting Time "Jesus Messiah" (G) [Daniel Carson, Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves] "You Alone Can Rescue" (Bb) [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman] "Jesus Paid It All" (Bb) [John Thomas Grape, Elvina M. Hall, Alex Nifong] Message - "I Believe God Acted - Redemption" [David Hinkle] Response - "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" (Eb) [Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin, John Newton, Edwin O. Excell, John P. Rees]

I feel like this week was another step forward for our team and our congregation. We took more steps to make it easier to participate - we brought some songs down to a lower key, and we were more intentional about teaching new material. It seemed like there was more participation overall in each of the four services, which is exciting and encouraging. The team felt locked-in (most of the time), and I felt like we were engaged in worship as we were leading the congregation, as well.

We brought "All Because of Jesus" down to the key of A from the usual key of B, and we brought "Happy Day" down to Bb from B. Both were good moves, as the people sang out more on both. When I took a close look at the lead sheets this week, I noticed that both of these songs had parts of the melody that went well beyond the range of the "normal" voice, from C to C. We brought them both down to get them close. They still weren't entirely in the desired range, but if we lowered them much more, the verses would bottom out! That's one of the biggest problems with some modern worship songs - the low verses and high choruses make it difficult to get them into a normal person's vocal range. We'll keep working on it, though!

"Jesus Messiah" is one of the 21 songs we have done more than five times over the past year, and therefore is one that I would be safe in saying we know as a congregation. It showed as people sang it out and connected with God through it. I love the lyric of this song, as it really declares the gospel clearly, and finishes it all off with the simple, powerful bridge: "All our hope is in You/ All our hope is in You/ All the glory to You, God/ The Light of the world." Jesus is our only hope of salvation. Enough said.

Also, this week we introduced "You Alone Can Rescue" by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman. When I initially heard this song done live by Matt Redman, I was very excited about it, but when I heard the recorded version, I was a little underwhelmed, so I put it off for a while. However, when Matt led at Student Life in Daytona this past summer, I was reminded again how powerful this song is. It is a simple lyric, but proclaims a powerful truth - that Jesus is the only one who can save us. Here's the lyric:

Verse 1 Who, O Lord, could save themselves Their own soul could heal Our shame was deeper than the sea Your grace is deeper still

Chorus And You alone can rescue, You alone can save You alone can lift us from the grave You came down to find us, led us out of death To You alone belongs the highest praise

Verse 2 You, O Lord, have made a way The great divide You healed For when our hearts were far away Your love went further still Yes, Your love goes further still

Bridge We lift up our eyes, lift up our eyes You're the giver of life We lift up our eyes, lift up our eyes You're the giver of life

Even typing the lyric of this song is bringing me to tears. What a beautiful expression of confidence in Christ alone for our rescue and salvation. We have no hope apart from Him! His humble, loving sacrifice is the only way for us to be rescued; the fact that He chose to redeem us at such a great cost to Himself is overwhelming. This song brings this into clear focus, and is a beautiful expression of thanksgiving and recognition of the work of Jesus Christ to save us. He, and He alone, is the one who can rescue, who can save us, who can lift us from the grave. This is because He is the one who came down to find us a lead us out of death. Scripture says that Jesus' efforts to rescue us are the reason God has given Him the name above every name (Philippians 2). I know this is the reason I worship Him. He is so good, while I am still so undeserving of it. My life is completely dependent on His grace and finished work of the cross.

We bracketed the message about our redemption with Alex Nifong's arrangement of "Jesus Paid It All" and Tomlin's "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)." These two songs never get old to me, because there is beauty in the simplicity of their declarations. I never tire of singing, "O praise the One who paid my debt/ And raised this life up from the dead." On "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" Kelsey Thomsen and I traded off on the verse. She did a great job leading, and I think it facilitated a very powerful moment of worship, especially after David's weighty message about our redemption. I loved his words about what God has done to rescue us! We owe it all to Jesus Christ, who made a way where there was no way.

I love my church, and I am very excited about what is going on around here. We are learning and growing together, and we are pursuing Jesus Christ and His gospel. Jesus, and His work to redeem us, was truly lifted high this weekend. I am so grateful for how He has rescued us. He is truly my only hope!

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were.

Jesus alone is worthy!

Bill

Sunday Set Lists

This world is not my home.

Lately I've had Thrice's newest release, Beggars, which was largely inspired by a quote by Martin Luther--"We are beggars: this is true." Two songs in particular have been inspiring to me: "The Great Exchange" (see a post about it here), and "In Exile." The latter is about the transient nature of the believer's life on this earth. The lyric has been reminding me of the truth that this world is not all there is, and that I am destined for something more than what we can see. Eternity is on the horizon, and I shouldn't get too comfortable or settled with life in this world. My heart always needs to be set on eternity. "In Exile"

I am an exile--a sojourner; a citizen of some other place. All I've seen is just a glimmer in a shadowy mirror, But I know one day I'll see face to face.

I am a nomad--a wanderer; I have nowhere to lay my head down. There's no point in putting roots to deep when I'm moving on; I'm not settling for this unsettling town.

My heart is filled with songs of forever-- A city that endures, where all is made new. I know I don't belong here; I'll never Call this place my home, I'm just passing through.

I am a pilgrim--a voyager; I won't rest until my lips touch the shore Of the land that I've been longing for as long as I've lived, Where there'll be no pain or tears anymore.

May our hearts be filled with songs of forever. One day, those dreams will come true.

The Great Exchange

This is a song entitled "The Great Exchange" by Thrice (lyric by Dustin Kensrue), on their newest release, Beggars. I firmly believe that Dustin Kensrue is one of the best lyricists of our day, and this further proves that belief for me: I crewed on a fair golden ship that Went down at the dawn of the world. We mutinied and sentenced our captain to die, 'Fore our sails had barely unfurled.

We sank shortly after our riot; Wanton flame and our powder kegs met. While I swam for my life there came voices aloft-- Joyful, unearthly, and dread--

Singing of a violent, tireless mystery: That one would give his life to save his enemy.

Too bone-tired to keep my arms moving, To swim or even grasp after straws. The undertow drew me down into its cold And infinite indigo jaws.

I heard singing of a violent, tireless mystery: That one would give his life to save his enemy.

I thought I must be dead or dreaming, When my captain--still battered, betrayed-- Pulled me up, laid me over the beam he'd clung to, Breathed his last, and sank under the waves.

(Your body is a bridge Across an endless sea.)