Sunday, July 06, 2008

Oh How He Loves Us

Hello friends!

We had a great service this morning in spite of the fact that a good chunk of our people were off on the the mission trip to Mexico. (Can't wait to join y'all!) It was interesting that many who went on the trip were regular servants who left holes - we were missing worship team members, audio/video people, Sunday School teachers, video projector operators, hospitality team members and who knows what else! We filled the gaps with other great servants, but they were definitely missed! (It's great to serve with servants!)

During our service this morning I shared a message entitled "Before and After the Cross". (Hopefully it will be posted on our website soon.) I referenced the multitude of makeover programs out there today and talked about how the Cross is the Ultimate Makeover. I talked about our lives BEFORE the Cross (BC) and then the Transforming Power of the Cross that brings us to the After, which is where the Lord takes those things that were once shameful failures and makes them into powerful testimonies of His Grace! Our failures wind up like Jared's pants, testimonies to the transforming power of the cross, testimonies that give hope to others.

As part of the sermon I shared a powerful video from Hillside Christian Church in Amarillo, TX that was sent to me by a friend (Hi Janet!). This video is called "Cardboard Testimonies" and it has several people sharing their stories on a piece of cardboard, first the "Before", then the "After". Unfortunately our sound didn't work on the video (perhaps because of our missing audio/video team member! ) but we got to see the video with an improvised song. However, to make up for it, here's the video that you can enjoy for yourself:

Isn't that powerful?! What a tremendous testimony. The comments at the end were because the sermon was a part of Hillside's stewardship campaign called "Whose life will you impact NEXT?" BTW, I read on another site that the lady who was diagnosed with MS is actually the pastor's wife. What an impactful statement she made when she said seeing her unchurched neurologist come to faith in Jesus was "Worth It!" (Around the 3 minute mark.)

BTW, the song that is being sung is entitled "Oh How He Loves Us" by
John Mark McMillan. I first heard it on another friend's blog (Hi Becky!). I found another YouTube video where he tells the story behind the song, how it was written, not as a worship song, but as a tribute to a friend who wanted to see the youth of America on fire for God, no matter the cost. Take a look at this video:

I hope it touches you as deeply as it touches me. There are some lyrics in there that some may find a little odd. But they are the passionate cry of a loved heart that is able to love back because it was first loved by Someone else. The words are powerful because they are simple just like the most powerful truths are the simplest ones. Perhaps you hear the echo of a child who was taught (and believed) the simple song:

Jesus loves me this I know
for the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so.

That's all you need to know. Really. That's all you need to know.



Jenni said...

That is an awesome song. I'm glad you posted it here for us! Even without the music, the video this morning was powerful, and it made me think about what my "one liner" cardboard testimony would be. I've gotten used to thinking about testimonies as rather long and well constructed monologues.

My cardboard testimony would go like this:

Before -- Felt like I could never measure up

After -- Secure in God's grace

And yeah... I'm still working on that "After"!

NathanMartin said...

Wow! What a great testimony! Thanks for sharing that. Like you, I'm impacted by the idea of expressing our testimony in a short statement. I think that's a powerful exercise and a wonderful opening for dialogue. Thanks for commenting, Jenni. I'm excited to see you grow in your "After"! :)

Anonymous said...

Powerful videos!

And your last're so right. That really is all we need to know.