Category Archives: Hymns, Psalms & Spiritual Songs

Early In The Morning My Song Will Rise

Psalm 92:2-3 “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praise to your name, Most High, To proclaim your love at daybreak, your faithfulness in the night,”

As I write this, I sit five hundred feet below the surface of “The Caprock” in Texas. I am at One Way Elementary Camp in Ceta Canyon, just a few miles from the Palo Duro Canyon State Park. It is still dark outside, but in just a few minutes the sun will rise; and when it does the canyon walls will explode with vibrant color. In my heart I join with the psalmist and the hymn writer, “Early in the morning my song shall rise to thee!”

Those that know me well, know that generally I am not a morning person; but this week is different. Every day this week I will be up before daybreak. Every year this week helps me understand why the psalmist and the hymn writer use the morning to praise.

First, God’s hand is evident. There is a magical quality to the morning. The sun peeks over the horizon, the flowers unfold, the creatures awaken, and God’s work is displayed. Psalm 92 goes on in verse 5 to say, “For you make me jubilant, LORD, by your deeds; at the works of your hands I shout for joy”

Second, early in the morning, the world is quiet; the earth is still. Once the sun rises, things start to move really fast. Every day this week, when the sun rises, so do three hundred and fifty 4th and 5th graders. And there is no quiet time once they wake up. This week is singly the most exhausting and most refreshing week of my year.

This weeks homework, seek the Lord in the stillness of morning. If you are a night owl like me, it may be a little tough to break through the morning grogginess, but it will be worth it to feel the presence of God in the stillness of the morning. If you are a morning person, then look at the morning with new eyes. Let’s watch the sunrise. Let’s see the world awaken. Let’s sing for joy at the works of His hands!

A Nutritious Part of a Balanced Life. Part II: The worship pyramid.

Ah, that icon of the elementary school lunch room! The Nutrition Pyramid. Its vibrant colors and cartoonish images of food daily reminded us that we needed a little of everything – fruits, vegetables, meats, cereals, dairy, & sweets. It’s funny that what came on the trays in the lunchroom rarely resembled the proportions that the pyramid preached.

In worship there is also a balanced diet. (For the purposes of this article when I speak of worship, I am referring to music; however, these types apply to all forms.) There is worship that drives us, worship that forms us, worship that moves us, and worship that comforts us. You will never hear me willing speak of “traditional” and “contemporary” worship, because all worship is both traditional and contemporary! If we sing an 800 year old song, it is contemporary worship, because we are currently singing it. If we sing a song written 8 minutes ago, it is traditional worship, because we are joining in with centuries of worshippers who wrote new songs and sang them to God.

Worship that drives us is high energy. It speaks of God’s action in the world, and often comes in the form of a song that makes declarative statements to one another, or calls one another to some action. Some examples of this type are: Psalm 34, Onward Christian Soldiers, and Come Now is the Time to Worship.

Worship that forms us links us with the whole story of who God is. It is often grand and majestic, and is concerned with not only worshipping, but teaching and affirming doctrine. Some examples of this type are: Psalm 78, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, and That’s Why We Praise Him.

Worship that moves us is emotive. It can be both fast or slow, but it grabs our emotions! It is worship that seeks to passionately praise God. Often these songs are sung directly to God, and take the shape of prayers. Some examples of this type are: Psalm 86, I Surrender All, Hallelujah (Your Love Makes Me Sing) and Take My Life (Holiness).

Worship that comforts us can be summed up, “be still and know.” These are the songs where we can let go of the worries of our day and be ministered to by the silence. This songs are often introspective of our current circumstances or extolling the faithfulness of God. Some examples of this type are: Psalm 121, Great is Thy Faithfulness, It Is Well, Sanctuary, and Spirit of the Living God.

Depending on our personality types and circumstances of life, we will naturally be drawn more to one than the other. For example, I love sweet food. Ice cream, dark chocolate, cookies, you name it, I like it; but I have to diversify my diet beyond my favorite dish, or my health will decline. Likewise we must participate in all the kinds of worship to maintain our spiritual health.

Were you able to identify your natural worship style? The homework this week is to consciously worship God in at least two styles outside of your favorite. Find a Psalm, sing a song, or pray a prayer that encompasses one of the other styles, and work your way into a healthy worship diet.