I had the privilege of hearing Sara Groves during the Doing Church Conference, May 8-9, in Pleasant Hill, CA. She doesn’t write praise-chorus music. Her songs are honest — sometimes painfully honest — reflections on how God has been working her life. She has a tremendous gift of combining emotion with depth of insight and weaving them into words and song in a God-glorifying way. I strongly recommend that you get some of her CDs and reflect on the words!
One song that struck me on her “Add to the Beauty” album is “Kingdom Comes.” The chorus has been going over and over in my mind since I first heard it:
That’s a little stone, that’s a little mortar
That’s a little seed, that’s a little water
In the hearts of the sons and the daughters
The kingdom’s coming
I think of Jesus’ words:
“What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” (Mark 4:30-32)
The Kingdom grows usually in small increments, so small that most people discount them — we discount them. But God is at work growing, building in our lives. And before we know it something beautiful is built. Ours is not to do great things for God, but day by day to seek God and let him build what he is building. He is the incremental Builder and we must trust him.
I was touched last week when a new song was introduced at our church — “God of this City” popularized by Chris Tomlin. Sometimes we give up on our cities, but this is a song with so much hope.
You’re the God of this City
You’re the King of these people
You’re the Lord of this nation You are
You’re the Light in this darkness
You’re the Hope to the hopeless
You’re the Peace to the restless You are
There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God
For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to
be done in this City….
Copyright 2006, worshiptogether.com songs, authors: Andrew McCann, Boyd Aaron, Ian Jordan, Peter comfort, Peter Kernaghan, and Richard Bleakley)
St. Paul had a history of causing riots in cities and being kicked out, sometimes stoned. But in Corinth, when he was probably afraid of history repeating itself, we read:
“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.’ So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.” (Acts 18:9-11)
On May 8-9 I attended the Doing Church conference in Pleasant Hill, California. One of the speakers, Michael Frost, Professor of Evangelism and Missions at Morling College, Sydney, Australia, was particularly stimulating.
He spoke about the missional church. He mentions that all churches have four main functions: worship, fellowship, discipleship, and mission. For most of its history, the Christian church has been organized around the worship function. Worship has been the central organizing idea from which the other functions radiate. What if, he says, the organizing function of the church is mission, rather than worship? What would the church look like then? Radically different and much more motivated.