“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.”
1 Timothy 1:12-14
I love this part of the Bible. Paul shares his story. How Jesus saved him. How Jesus sought him. How Jesus forgave him.
What’s your story? What has God done in your life? Paul was self righteous. Paul was a “good man”. Paul kept all the rules. Paul was also a murderer. Paul was a blasphemer. Paul persecuted the church.
Yet Jesus counted him as faithful and put him into service.
GOD HAS STRENGTHENED YOU
Has God called you to serve in music? Then God will strengthen you for that task. What a wonderful and freeing truth! God will covered me where my talent is lacking or my skill is weak.
I’ve been feeling down about most of my ministry lately. Especially my voice. I don’t like my singing voice or my speaking voice. Yet I take great comfort in these verses to know that God will take my lack and surpass and overshadow it with and for his glory.
This doesn’t mean I don’t work on speaking or singing better, but I know in the end that God has called me, and God will strengthen me, just as he has called and will strengthen you. What a great freedom and a burden lifted to know that no matter how small the talent in my offering, that God the Spirit will take it and use it to point people to our Lord and Savior!
YOUR PAST REBELLION DOESN’T AFFECT YOUR FUTURE IN CHRIST
This is Gospel 101. But it’s important to remember and its important to live.
Think about John-Mark, who abandoned, let down, and flaked out on Paul when they were serving the Lord on a journey. But then later in life Paul had brought John-Mark back to serve with him and called him “useful” (2 Timothy 4).
Maybe there is someone in your church who needs a 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) chance to serve with the band. Maybe you are in a time when you feel “put on the shelf.” Yet we serve a God who takes the broken and unfixable things of this world and makes them useful.
TELL THE STORY IN PRAYER. PRAISE, AND SONG
Here’s practical thing to try the next time you lead worship.
When you pray tell the story of the gospel. Don’t just repeat “we love you Lord” over and over in a mindless mantra. Let me give you a sample prayer: Pray “Thank you Lord for saving us from sin and death. Thank you Jesus that lived, suffered, died, rose again and are coming back. Thank you Spirit that you are working in this church. We praise you that although we acted in ignorance and unbelief, you loved us while we were your enemies.”
I’m not preaching in that prayer. I’m praising. But if our prayer and praise is drenched in the Bible and the Gospel then it will preach as a side benefit.
1 Timothy 1:12-14 is a foundational verse in my prayers. I find that John 3:17. Romans 5:8. Revelation 5. Revelation 19,21, and 22 also come into my prayers and praise on Sunday mornings.
With these verses in hand, hopefully, I will choose songs, I pray prayers, and sing praise that is Jesus centered and focused and will help to bless and free people to our freedom in Jesus.
Until next time… Adam