Living in a Field of Hats

some ramblings and reflections on working with students in Herts and Beds.

Singing what you feel July 18, 2012

Filed under: Christian Life,Mission Trips — Sarah @ 6:34 pm
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This time last week I was leading a team on an English and Bible camp in lovely hot and sunny weather (total shock to the system to be back!). Before I went, I’d anticipated so many problems and issues that may arise (none of them did, though others did come up!) But the biggest thing that I faced, and hadn’t expected (stupidly) was to face my own sin.

About a week and half ago, I was laid on bench halfway through a really tough day. Despite the laughter I could hear from inside the house, I felt awful. I’d just had a couple of really hard conversations and all I could do was cry. I’d wanted to be a great leader – to love the team and the students we were working with. I’d prayed that would be the case. And yet it wasn’t. I’d tried everything that I could think of to do. I couldn’t even put what I was thinking into words.

A friend introduced me to some hymns by Indelible Grace and the one below, ‘I asked the Lord’ (written by John Newton) really sums up where I was. I was in verse 4 – feeling the hidden evils of my heart. I’ve listened to the song over and over for the last 24 hours and it’s made such a difference. Worship songs are great, but sometimes we don’t feel the emotions that many of them focus upon and singing them can feel hypocritical, or like I’m a failure for not feeling those things. Sometimes they can focus us back on Jesus, but sometimes as has been the case for me this week, singing my experience and real thoughts and feelings has fixed my gaze so much more firmly on Jesus. (If you fancy downloading some of the songs for free and legally then have a click here!)

Have a listen to it here:

And here are the words:

1. I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace
Might more of His salvation know
And seek more earnestly His face

2. Twas He who taught me thus to pray
And He I trust has answered prayer
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair

3. I hoped that in some favored hour
At once He’d answer my request
And by His love’s constraining power
Subdue my sins and give me rest

4. Instead of this He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart
And let the angry powers of Hell
Assault my soul in every part

5. Yea more with His own hand
He seemed Intent to aggravate my woe
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Cast out my feelings, laid me low

6. Lord why is this, I trembling cried
Wilt Thou pursue thy worm to death?
“Tis in this way” The Lord replied
“I answer prayer for grace and faith”

7. “These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free
And break thy schemes of earthly joy
That thou mayest seek thy all in me,
That thou mayest seek thy all in me.”

 

Build This House January 8, 2009

Was searching on youtube for a song that we are adding to the Ferndale Song Supplement, and came across this song . It’s by Lou Fellingham (from her album Treasure) and I heard her singing it when she was lauching her album at Forum 06(?) and loved it then. But, today listening to the lyrics was a bit of a challenge. I’ve pasted them below:lou-fellingham

All I am and all I have is yours
There’s nothing that I have on earth
that doesn’t come from you
I lay aside my pride and worldly wealth
To serve You is the greatest thing
that I could ever do

For unless you build this house
I am building it in vain
Unless the work is yours
There is nothing to be gained
I want something that will stand
When your Holy fire comes
Something that will last
And to hear you say well done
Giving glory to you Lord
Glory to you Lord

So easy to desire what others have
Instead of seeing all the gifts that
You have given me
So help me fan the flame
which you began
And burn in me a love for you
that all will clearly see

(c) 2005 Thankyou Music/The Livingstone Collective

The first verse was particulary apt for me today. Had an interesting meeting with the Council earlier this week and was trying to explain what I did and how payment worked (which is slightly weird to be fair) but they just couldn’t work it out at all. They didn’t get (and I quote) why someone with a University degree would choose to work for no money.  The only way in which what I am doing makes any sense whatsoever is in the gospel. Laying down everything that I have and acknowledging that however I earn money “there’s nothing that I have on earth that doesn’t come from  [God]” and knowing that “To serve [God] is the greatest thing that I could ever do”. Now I’ve learnt that that is so much easier to say than do over the past eighteen months or so especially! But I remain completly convinced that it is the truth and that there is nothing is on this earth that I want more than my relationship with God.

The chorus, was what initially struck me today though.” For unless you build this house I am building it in vain, Unless the work is yours, There is nothing to be gained” Now, I am quite convinced that  this isn’t actually about house building . . . but that actually unless God is in the work that we all do as Christians,  then it is being built in vain. It won’t last. This is such a challenge for me. I know intellectually that we need to pray to ask God to work and that he is majestic and powerful and he will work for his glory in so many situations where we think it is impossible, yet time after time after time, I don’t pray and think  (very mistakenly) that I can do things without him! But the bible teaches, as this song reflects, that  things done in our lives on earth will be destroyed by God’s holy fire unless done with and for him.

Therefore, I want God to help me build this house, my life, my ministry, my everything so that glory is given to him and that one day I will hear him say “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23)