I learned a long time ago that when I pick out music for the Sunday service that I need to throw away my own preferences for what songs to use. Back in the day – years ago – when I played only the songs I liked I found that I’d be staring back at a pretty lifeless crowd – the “frozen chosen” if you will. After that I played the songs that were put on my heart instead of pandering to my own tastes. That’s when it all changed.
Case in point: Johnny P. – an inmate in a maximum security Texas prison.
Several years ago I was playing with the Kairos ministry in a Texas state prison. Johnny P., and inmate on the unit, had been talking with me over the weekend spouting off chapter and verse trying to impress me. I’ve heard too many quote chapter and verse in the church and then demonstrate that they hadn’t understood or taken the scripture to heart. I thought I pretty much had Johnny’s number but would listen and try to be patient with him.
Sometime during the day we had time where we needed quite a bit of music (yes to kill time but we try not to treat it that way). I had run through what music I had ready at the time and still needed more, so I had to just start grabbing songs. One of those songs was He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands – yes, the classic you probably learned before you could read. Quite honestly I thought it was just a time killer and was disappointed I couldn’t come up with something better. Until I saw Johnny P.
The man was moved to uncontrollable sobbing – something that you just don’t let people see you do in a maximum security prison if you don’t want to get hurt or worse. We’re singing this simple kids’ song and Mr. Chapter and Verse is over there weeping with his hands raised up in gratefulness to the Lord. I was wrong about Johnny P. and wrong about my thoughts about that song.
That’s why I don’t pick the songs for our services based on my own preferences.
Fast forward to this morning
I find this happening all the time. Today I pulled up Create In Me – based on Psalm 51 – and my thoughts were, “Although it’s been a while, we’ve done this song so many times that I think the congregation is tired of it.” But instead of leaning on my own understanding I pulled it and stuck it in the set.
Our pastor is really chasing after God and therefore God’s pointing out some things in Pastor’s heart – this is what he’s been telling us and we’ve been seeing. After singing Create In Me the pastor gets up and announces how much that song ministered to him, reminding Him that it is the Lord who changes hearts. Hmm. Think my judgment and preferences could have ministered to my pastor like that? Not likely.
This wonderful surprise happens all the time – when I stay out-of-the-way and am just obedient. Thanks to the Lord who knows all men’s hearts and has more appropriateness in choosing music than me.
He truly does have the whole world – everything in it – in His hands.
If you’re interested, Create In Me is the first song available on the free song page. You can stream or download the audio. A chord chart is there for download too. If you’re interested in when we post more click the “follow” button on the side of this page and you’ll get an email when we update. We normally update weekly and should have another song up for you soon.