Crying Out

worshipWhy are there so few opportunities to worship the Lord together?  It’s so wonderful, so amazing and makes us (hopefully) more like Jesus.  As we praise we are filled with more of the Holy Spirit.  He baptizes us anew.  We see more of His fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.  Who wouldn’t want more of that (especially those who live with us:)?

When I was in Illinois, there were two fellow staff members and a few others at the church that loved to get together informally and worship.  Usually around the piano and sometimes with a guitar we would just begin to sing and proclaim Scripture.  There were prayers for each other and various needs we were aware of.  We would cry out for God to move in the upcoming services.  Sometimes it could be dry and just us singing a few songs before we went about our day, but often it was so much more.

Many times we would sing, “I’m falling on my knees” from the song “Hungry” and everyone would be on their knees.  It wasn’t uncommon to glance over and see someone on their face, prostrate before the Lord.  We all looked for times when we could slip away and worship…it was such a delight to get in God’s presence and focus on Him.

So many amazing things were happening at the time in the church body and I believe this was a key to that.  People crying out to God for Him to make His presence known.

Sunday morning meetings are wonderful and I’ve known the presence of the Spirit in powerful ways during these times.  But there are so many other items that must be attended to (announcements, etc.).

I miss the fellowship and power of those intimate times with a few – two or three – singing and declaring the goodness of God.

With the current change in seasons I have a renewed longing for those times.  I long for the expectancy they produced.  Anything could happen – Jesus could do anything and He was doing it.

Lord, may it be so again in greater measure.

I’m Telling You…They’re Out There

Subway

Today the subway was packed with people. That’s not unusual in the mornings, but today was extra tight. I noticed a woman standing next to me reading the Bible and it got me thinking about how many people I see reading Scripture on the train. Of course, everyone’s usually doing something – reading, writing, listening to music – but there’s often someone reading the Bible.

So often we hear about how the Church is compacting and leaders ask the question, “Where are all the believers?”  While this is not necessarily a bad question to ask, God’s been showing me that He has believers everywhere.  Even in the darkest places His people are there.  They are praying.  They are seeking Him. They are the ones bringing the favor of God upon those places.  They are leading people out of the darkness.

What I’ve started doing when I see these people on the train is just praying for them.  Praying that God would show them something so incredible, so wonderful in that moment.  It’s the only place to start for my new brother or sister I didn’t know existed just minutes before.

Jesus is building His Church in the Earth.  Let’s look for each other.  Let’s encourage each other — even if we don’t always agree.  He’s worthy of that and so much more.

May we be His Body:

And God placed all things under his (Christ’s) feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. – Ephesians 1:22-23

This will be a light week on the blog as I’m preparing to lead worship at Shelter Rock Church this weekend and Olivia and I are answering the question, “To move or not to move…”

Stand Up Among Us

youtube sessions

Jesus told us that where two or three are gathered in His name He would be there. The problem is, most of the time we make Him sit in the back while we do our thing. This is a prayer that He would “stand up among us.”

That we would sit before Him while He reveals His power, His grace, His love, Himself.

Much thanks to my father-in-law, Keith Curlee, for teaching me this!

Download here.  Play here:[audio:http://benwardmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/Stand-Up-Among-Us.mp3|titles=Stand Up Among Us|artists=Ben Ward]

Stand Up Among Us

We’re dry inside these walls of pride
Without You we’re empty
We’re thirsty from our vain pursuits
We long to drink of You
The weight of our sin presses down upon us
Driving us to our knees
We call out to You our God, Redeemer
Blessed is He who brings us peace

Stand up among us
Make Your presence known
Rise up within us
Set Your people free
In Your presence is where we need to be

To the fatherless be a Father, Lord
Show Your compassion
To the prisoner and the captive
Bring Your release
To those who cry out for Your mercy
That always seems out of reach
Holy Spirit come in power
Ignite our passion to believe

Stand up among us
Make Your presence known
Rise up within us
Set Your people free
In Your presence is where we want to be

The Lord is clothed in beauty and power
No one is like Him, He is great

Stand up among us
Make Your presence known
Rise up within us
Set Your people free
In Your presence is where we’re going to be
In Your presence is where I will be

Worship Setlist 9-27-09

FredMckinnon.Com has a great place to recap your Sunday worship set called, appropriately enough, Sunday Setlists.  I was the guest worship leader yesterday at Shelter Rock Church in Syosset, NY so I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring :).

Thanks to the worship team: Beth, David, Sara, Warren, Joe, and Brian…thanks for making me welcome and letting me lead!

Thanks Pastors Steve and Jerry for having me as well.

The Spirit was strong and there’s nothing more wonderful than just basking in the Lord’s presence together.

Setlist:

Your Grace is Enough
Everlasting God
Revelation Song
I Surrender All (Hymn)
Mover of Mountains (Original)[audio:http://benwardmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/mover-of-mountains-10-6-08.mp3|titles=Mover of Mountains|artists=Ben Ward]
God of this City

Little Bit of Life

I hope everybody’s ready for a great weekend…I am!  This has been a long week…

Just wanted to update everybody on what’s going on these days and ask you for your prayers.

If you follow our journey, you know that I have been seeking a new position as a worship leader at a church.  While I’ve been waiting on the Lord, I’ve had a temp job at the NFL.  It’s been such a blessing and a lot of fun, but it’s coming to an end sometime in November, so I’ve been asking the Lord what’s next.

I’ve interviewed with a church in Long Island and am going to lead worship at one of their campuses this Sunday.  In addition to the possibility of the position, I’m also just excited about leading worship in a corporate setting…it’s been awhile.

There are a couple of other possibilities if it’s not the right place, but I would appreciate your prayers!

Olivia and I are also trying to decide whether to move closer to Midtown.  It’s a long commute to her current job (in which she was just promoted!!) and, if I get the LI position, I would need to be closer to Penn Station for the train.

This obviously involves moving (which is always a big deal) and paying more in rent.  So we’re just laying it all before the Lord.

He knows what we need long before we need it.  He knew about these situations before the foundation of the world.

So, thanks for reading (and listening:) and thank you for praying.

God, help us

From President Obama’s speech to the UN earlier today…

(Pursuit of peace) “That effort must begin with an unshakeable determination that the murder of innocent men, women and children will never be tolerated.”

Yet we murder innocent children to the tune of some one million a year in the US alone.  Since 1973, 45 million children have been aborted in our own country (not to mention the numbers around the world).

When will we stand up for their rights?  When will the human rights so many clamor for include the most vulnerable and defenseless?  The blood of the innocent cries out.

God, help us.