Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Preparing for Worship

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, July 20.

Love of God revealed in wonder 
By the works of a Maker’s hand, 
Seas that roar with thunderous splendor, 
Fields that whisper at His command; 
All the joys of life we cherish 
Are God’s gracious sign; 
We are children of His promise, 
Heirs of mercy and grace divine.

Leslie: Keith Getty thinks, in an attempt to be modern, we’ve abandoned some spiritual disciplines like meditating on God’s Word, praying in silence, fasting.

Keith Getty: We’ve decided these things aren’t commercial or don’t build the numbers up in our churches fast enough, so we don’t encourage them or even make provision for them. So we come to church, we come to listen to the Word with unexpectant hearts, with unprepared hearts.

Oh what grace that caused humanity
 To kneel at the cross.
 And exchanged our sin's futility
For the joy of the Father's love.

Unfailing love from heaven’s throne, 
That sought me out and brought me home; 
My song of praise shall ever be: 
“The Father’s love for me.” 

Love of God what priceless treasure
 Over all this world affords.
To be His and His forever
This my glory and my reward.

May this love, beyond all knowing, 
So capture my soul 
That I’m filled to overflowing 
With passion for Christ alone.

Unfailing love from heaven’s throne, 
That sought me out and brought me home; 
My song of praise shall ever be: 
“The Father’s love for me.”

Unfailing love from heaven’s throne, 
That sought me out and brought me home; 
My song of praise shall ever be: 
“The Father’s love for me.”

Leslie: Several thousand women will join together this September to seek the Lord together, to grow, to encourage one another, and to sing. Keith and Kristyn Getty will be leading worship at True Woman '12: Seeking Him Together for Spiritual Awakening. I hope you'll make plans to join us September 20-22 in Indianapolis.

The Gettys are preparing a meaningful time of worship. We wanted to catch up with them and let them share their heart about leading others to seek the Lord through music. Here's Nancy to start the conversation.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We’re here again today with a modern hymn writing husband-and-wife duo, Keith and Kristyn Getty. Keith and Kristyn, welcome back to Revive Our Hearts.

Keith: Thanks, Nancy.

Kristyn Getty: Thanks, Nancy.

Nancy: It has been a joy to get to know you, and that’s really what we want our listeners to do over these next couple of days, is to get to know you and your heart and some of your music as well.

If you missed yesterday’s program, go to ReviveOurHearts.com. You can either listen online, or you can download the podcast.

In my quiet time this morning, I did what I have done many times over the years. I pulled out a hymnal and began to sing. I’m not a singer, but I do sing for the Lord—to the Lord and for the Lord—and I found myself this morning singing a couple of hymns (all stanzas, of course) that were written many, many years ago.

One was written by Charles Wesley, who was born 300 years ago. The other was written by John Newton, who died 200 years ago.

As I thought about this conversation that we were going to have today, I thought of the power of texts and hymns and songs that can be enduring for multiple generations. Here I am this morning, singing hymns that were written hundreds of years ago, but the texts are alive and powerful and still touching my heart today.

Is that part of what you’re hoping will happen through the hymns that you write, that there will be multiple generations of believers that will be pointed to these great themes and texts of Scripture through these hymns?

Keith: We want to write the best lyrics that we possibly can, which are rich and are building people up in their faith. We want to write melodies that are as good as they can be for a congregation. And we want to marry them together.

I have no idea how long it will last. I know we certainly don’t try to write in a contemporary style, so there’s no chance we can go out of fashion, because we’re not “in fashion” in the first place. But I mean, I have no idea how long these will endure; only God knows how long they will be useful to churches.

Kristyn: But there is something wonderful about standing in a church and singing songs that you know generations have sung before you, that have carried the believers and strengthened their hearts and are strengthening your heart and might strengthen the hearts of your grandchildren . . . who knows.

There’s something very beautiful about that, and the wonder of just passing on the torch of the truth to each generation through what we sing, not just what we say.

Nancy: You led our ministry in a time of singing hymns, some of which you had written. We sang one about the power of the cross, but then you also led us in singing that old classic, timeless, ageless hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” They were both precious reminders of what Christ has done for us at the cross.

Kristyn: “When I Survey” sort of firmed up our response to what the power of the cross was saying. When we consider that Christ has done all, there’s nothing we can do to add. When we consider that there is absolutely nothing we can boast in, we cannot save ourselves, we commit ourselves to Him. We are humbled, our pride is scattered away. And then that last line, we give our souls and our life and our all to that.

We love to be able to segue from “The Power of the Cross” into that song, because it creates sort of that devotional, further commitment moment that I feel like after “The Power of the Cross.”

Nancy: Now, tell me—I have some messages that I give in conferences, and I’ve given them many times—does it ever get old?

Kristyn: Well, that’s part of the ongoing struggle. I mean, you tell the same things over and over again, and what we are declaring in these songs is a living truth, so it’s connected to our everyday walk with the Lord.

When we sing “The Power of the Cross,” I find that helpful, coming out of my quiet time where I’ve confessed those things that I’ve done wrong the day before or even that very morning, and being able to attach that personal experience and frustration and guilt to the power of the cross.

So that keeps it living. It keeps it attached to real life, so sincerely you can stand up and sing, “Yet again, I testify, it is the power of the cross.”

I think that that is very, very helpful, but it can be a struggle. I do think that we fight a daily walk of understanding and humbling of ourselves before the Lord. It would probably be impossible to continue to sing—there’s only so far the emotions will carry you—and if you sing it over and over again, it needs to be connected to something much deeper than yourself.

Nancy: Well, it’s not just a matter of you standing up there and singing it, but we’re sitting in church Sunday after Sunday, singing many familiar hymns. To tell you the truth, there are times—and I love the Word, I’m teaching the Word, I’m in the Word—but there are times when I find myself losing the wonder of these things. They are such precious truths that we talk about, but we traffic in them so much.

I told you a little bit a few moments ago about somebody I met yesterday who never held a Bible in her hands until she was in her mid-30s. She’s a Russian woman, and in the early 90s some believers came and gave her a Bible.

She was telling me with this star-struck look in her eyes how precious it was to hold the Scripture, and I thought, “How many times have I sat through sermons, given messages to women, sung these songs—yours and others’—and just been kind of mindless and heartless about the whole thing.?” How do we keep the wonder of our faith fresh?

Kristyn: I think connecting it to a genuine relationship with the Lord. In church we do repeat the same songs over and over again.

In generations past they would have had a whole hymnal, hundreds of books, and everybody could more or less read along the melodic line in the book. But our books are closed or in the pew in front of us. We have the PowerPoint in front of us.

The words come and go, and they’re probably the same ones even though there’s so many new songs that we can learn. There’s some advantage with that, but I think it has to be a personal pursuit of preparing your heart before connecting it to real life.

Nancy: One of your hymns that has helped me to keep the wonder, as I get ready to listen to the Word of God when I go to church, is your song “Speak, O Lord.” It’s really an appeal to prepare our hearts to listen to and receive and respond to the Word of God.

Keith, what brought about the writing of that hymn, “Speak, O Lord”?

Keith: I think, in any activity in life, our activity is almost always only as good as our preparation, whether you’re a lawyer or a sports person or whatever it is. Both our study in the Bible and our time in public worship are no exceptions to that.

Television or getting out of bed at the last minute or being involved in other activities up to two minutes beforehand is not good enough. In fact, it is completely wrong.

I contrast that with my grandfather. When we were kids, we had all these jokes about my grandfather, because we’d go visit his house, and if we weren’t at his house an hour and five minutes before the church service, he was gone, because he had to be at church an hour before to prepare his mind.

Nancy: So he would drive to the church . . .

Keith: And sit in his seat from an hour before the service.

Nancy: What was he doing?

Keith:

  • He was reading his Bible.
  • He was reading his hymnbook.
  • He was preparing his mind.
  • He was repenting.
  • He was meditating.
  • He was getting ready.

And I’m sure, like all human activity, he wasn’t 100% percent perfect at it. But the fact is, he was preparing for worship and preparing to listen to the Word.

In the contemporary church sphere, many disciplines which go right back to Old Testament times, many of which Jesus practiced—meditation, confession, silence, praying, fasting, etc.—we’ve decided these things aren’t commercial or don’t build the numbers up in our churches fast enough; so we don’t encourage them or even often make provision for them.

So we come to church, we come to listen to the Word with unexpectant and unprepared hearts. We don’t change that trend overnight. I’m speaking to myself (in contrast to my grandfather), before I have the audacity to speak to my generation.

We’ve chatted with a few pastors as we’ve worked through what we want to write on next, and they say, “What about a song which is a prayer for pastors, but it’s a prayer for preparing everyone, including the pastor and the listeners, for the preaching of the Word.”

So “Speak, O Lord” came out of this, and it could be used at the start of the service or just before the sermon.

We took the passage in Isaiah 66—the very end of the book, after all the prophecies and the warnings—He says, “This is the one whom I will approve: he who is humble, who is contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (v. 2).

I would hope to try to build a whole hymn around the concept of God’s approval of those who are humble, those who are contrite or broken, and those who tremble, or fear with holy reverence the One who created them, the One in whom they live and move and have their being.

Stuart and I had kind of a difference of opinion on the song. I wanted to create this strong sense of reverence and preparation, and he wanted— like the sower and the seed—to create a song which helps us respond. So we mixed the two ideas together and blended them and came up with “Speak, O, Lord.”

Nancy: Jesus really blended those, even in Luke 8 in the story of the sower and the seed and the soils. He said, “Be careful how you hear the Word of God” (see vv. 4-8).

In the examples of the four different kinds of soils, when Jesus gave the meaning of that parable, in each case He said this is somebody who hears the Word—they hear it with their physical ears, but they hear it differently with their hearts. Some have a stony heart, some have a hard heart, some have a thorny heart; and then there are those who receive the Word after they hear it, and it produces fruit.

So the way we receive the Word of God, if it’s with a humble and meek and contrite and trembling spirit, really determines the fruit that comes about after we hear the Word of God.

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You 
To receive the food of Your holy Word. 
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us.
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness, 
That the light of Christ might be seen today 
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith. 
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us 
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience, 
Holy reverence, true humility; 
Test our thoughts and our attitudes 
In the radiance of Your purity. 
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see 
Your majestic love and authority.
Works of power that can never fail— 
Let the truth prevail over unbelief.

 Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds; 
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us— 
Truths unchanging from the dawn of time 
That will echo down through eternity. 
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises, 
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us. 
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built 
And the earth is filled with Your glory.2

Nancy: I don’t know any way to better express what’s on my heart for this ministry and for our listeners than to say we want to be women who listen to the Lord speak. We want to tremble at His Word. The goal, the outcome, is that the Church of Christ will be built and the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been talking with Keith and Kristyn Getty about their passion to lead others in seeking the Lord through music.

You have an opportunity to worship with the Gettys and thousands of women who come together for the conference True Woman '12: Seeking Him Together for Spiritual Awakening. I hope you’ll make plans to join us September 20-22 in Indianapolis.

Tickets are disappearing very quickly, so make your plans now.

When you arrive at True Woman, you’ll be surrounded by women who have set aside three days to seek the Lord. You’ll deepen in your passion for revival and your knowledge of God’s Word as you hear from Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Joni Eareckson Tada, Priscilla Shirer, Janet Parshall, and Mary Kassian.

You’ll attend breakout session based on your needs from speakers like Elyse Fitzpatrick. It’s a time to set aside the daily pressures and ask the Lord to revive your heart.

For all the details on True Woman '12, visit our website, ReviveOurHearts.com.

Nancy’s back with the couple who will lead worship at True Woman '12, Keith and Kristyn Getty.

Nancy: Keith and Kristyn, we are so looking forward to having you there with us—having you lead us—and we’re going to participate. We’re not coming to spectate, but thousands of women . . . I think it will be just a taste of heaven, coming together.

Kristyn: We’ll sing some of the older hymns, and we’ll sing some of the newer songs, but we’ll be ready to learn from the songs as well.

Nancy: I appreciate your challenge to be preparing our hearts, not just for that conference but also as we go to worship each Sunday and as we come to our quiet time; as we hear the Word of the Lord, to say, “Lord, speak to me. I will listen. I will obey. I will respond. Make Your Word do in me all that is Your good pleasure to do.”

Thank you so much for giving the gift of these hymns to the church and for serving Christ and His church and His kingdom in the way that you are with these wonderful hymns.

Kristyn: Thanks for having us today.

Nancy: I think it would be appropriate to close this conversation with Keith and Kristyn Getty, and this program, with a benediction that you wrote, Keith, with your writing partner. We’ve sung this a number of times at my church, and my heart has been so strengthened and encouraged by this benediction, much like those of Scripture that point us to Christ and remind us of the blessing and the grace that are ours through Jesus Christ.

Kristyn, you remember the first time that you sang this song.

Kristyn: Yes, this song was written the year we lived in Geneva, Switzerland. I think it can be used as a tremendous encouragement. Not only in our singing to the Lord, but it’s encouraging as we sing to each other, spurring one another on.

Colossians 3:16 reminds us, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing on another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

So we encourage one another as the body of Christ, as we sing this song and as we launch ourselves into another week.

Nancy: So the first part of this benediction is praying for God’s grace and peace to rest on you, and then we talk about the “us.” “Make us one in spirit and in heart.” So we close with this benediction.

May the peace of God, our heavenly Father, 
And the grace of Christ, the risen Son, 
And the fellowship of God the Spirit 
Keep your hearts and minds within His love;

And to Him be praise for His glorious reign; 
From the depths of earth to the heights of heaven, 
We declare the name of the Lamb once slain— 
Christ eternal, the King of kings.

May this peace which passes understanding 
And this grace which makes us what we are 
And this fellowship of His communion 
Make us one in spirit and in heart;

And to Him be praise for His glorious reign; 
From the depths of earth to the heights of heaven, 
We declare the name of the Lamb once slain— 
Christ eternal, the King of kings.

And to Him be praise for His glorious reign; 
From the depths of earth to the heights of heaven, 
We declare the name of the Lamb once slain— 
Christ eternal, the King of kings.3

LeslieRevive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

1“Love of God.” Keith and Kristyn Getty. FamilyLife Today studio recording (p) EMI Recordings.

2“Speak, O Lord.” Keith and Kristyn Getty. In Christ Alone, (p) 2006 Gettymusic.

3“May the Peace of God.” Keith and Kristyn Getty. New Irish Hymns (p) copyright 2006 Kingsway Music.

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