Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mercy To My Soul

In continuing my pursuit of songwriting, I wanted to portray a song about the cross with a fresh twist. As I began to open the peerless word of God, the verses in Psalm 130 resonated within me. I started to think of what my life would look like if the Lord kept a record of all of the sins I’ve committed against him. If this was the case, I would be a hopeless, lifeless, and joyless wreck. I would be lost, with no direction except darkness. But thanks be to God! “With you there is forgiveness” (Psalm 130:4). With Christ’s saving blood, there is mercy.

God chose the cross as a means to speak mercy to our souls. The glory of Christ and his sacrifice on the cross is what my life rests in. The weight of this all-surpassing glory is where I find true hope, life, and joy. It is my home. He is my home. God’s love for the world was shown through the condemning of his perfect and spotless son, so that He would receive glory, and we would receive the precious gift of salvation.


V1
If you kept record of my sins
There would be no hopeful song to sing
Yet love is faithful to forgive
All the filth and rebellion you have seen

Chorus
Your cross speaks mercy to my soul
The weight of glory is my home
I fell too short, but love was shown
Your cross speaks mercy to my soul

V2
Oh King of heaven and of earth
There is none who could ever match your worth
You came to liberate the world
Saving one, your perfect love restores

Bridge
I rest my life in the matchless cross
I set my hope in your perfect love

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Freer of the Captives

video

My roommate and I came home one day with this same concept stirring in our minds and in our hearts: Jesus being the “freer of the captives” and clinging to this freedom. In a matter of minutes the idea was almost fully completed and we had a new song to worship with. Without Christ and without his will to save us, we are imprisoned. Since Jesus came as the “light of the world”, death and darkness are no longer what our eyes see if we rest in his sacrifice alone. We were captives, but now we are hopeful and free by the blood and resurrection of Christ.


Verse
We cry: oh Lord, we're helpless without you
We cry: Savior, our eyes cannot see you
You said: come out, to those in the darkness
You said: be free, to all the imprisoned

Chorus
Jesus, freer of the captives
All our hope is in
Jesus, freer of the captives
All our hope is in you

Bridge
Our sin had bound us to the enemy
Our hearts were chained in slavery
You lead forth the prisoners with singing
We cling to this freedom you're bringing

“Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the LORD. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” Psalm 68:4-6

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

When Christ, who is your LIFE

“Since, then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4

So this passage of scripture has been stirring my heart lately, constantly trying to remind me of the significance and seriousness of Christ. Now I know that there is a ton of meat in these four verses (my friend Zech was telling me he had to write a 12-page paper on them for his hermeneutics class), but the phrase that sticks out to me today that I can do nothing but write about is “when Christ, who is your life”…

I was reminded of this idea a couple of weeks ago at Northpoint Church in ATL. The theme for a four week sermon series that started that week was “God’s plan for your life.” My first initial reaction was that I’ve already heard this before. I know that God has a plan and a future for everyone. I grew up with this concept with the primary reference Jeremiah 29:11. Little did I know that the pastor would take a different approach to this idea that would draw me in from the word of God. Aside: (I love how His word is living, breathing, and active. It changes, molds, and shapes us). The pastor’s main point was the idea that if Christ isn’t just a means to our life, rather that Christ IS our life, then God’s plan for our lives is Christ. I found myself convicted in that moment that I could not say “Christ is my life”. In so many instances, I set my thoughts, ideas, actions, and desires on everything BUT Christ.

How different would my life be if I let this truth of God be embedded it into my heart, mind, and soul? If I came to this conclusion: that there is nothing more important for me than to SET my life on all that Christ is. He is worthy of my soul’s surrender. To be practical, this all is way easier said than done, but isn’t that what sanctification is all about? My prayer for you and I is that we would “put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek of Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” Colossians 3:5-11

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

THIS YEAR

So I’ve been here at LU for 1 year now.
It seems like it’s been 3.
Where does the time go?
Not really sure.
All I know is this:
God has done marvelous things in my life.
He has taught me of His JUSTICE.
His GRACE.
His TRUTH.
His LOVE.
He’s brought me to a place that reflects on the glory of the cross.
The closer I am to the cross, the more I am broken knowing my sinfulness.
The closer I am to the cross, the more I realize I need Jesus in my life.
The closer I am to the cross, the more I worship the God who is most deserving.
The cross offends some, but the cross saves others.
So this is what I stand on: the glory of the cross.
I have no idea what this year entails.
I have to idea what obstacles/hardships/persecutions my life will encounter.
So God, prepare my heart for whatever you may have in store for me.
Give me eyes that are fixed on all that you are.
Give me a desire to passionately worship you with my life.
HERE WE GO: YEAR NUMBER 2 AT LU.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

His Voice In a Whisper

There is hardly ever a complete silence in our soul. God is whispering to us well nigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the soul, or sink low, then we hear these whisperings of God. He is always whispering to us, only we do not always hear because of the noise, hurry, and distraction which life causes as it rushes on.
–Frederick W. Faber

For me, this is a huge wake up call, because in my world, life is full of noise, hurry, and distraction. This is something I can’t seem to get away from. It is an ongoing, fast-paced, “not-gonna-stop-till-you-get-there” kind of thing. Do I blame my life’s busyness to the culture that surrounds me? I mean, it seems that everyone else is rushed as well…


This is what I desire: to slow down from the distracting noise of life, and actually breathe in the breath of our great Sustainer for once, hearing what He says.

This is reality: that there is not even enough space in between each of our breaths to let our ears be open to what our patient God is speaking to us.


So how do we find this balance of living in a hurried world, yet tentative and willing to listen to the Lord? Honestly, I’d say it really is something that every single day of our lives needs to keep in mind. Because let’s face it: today, it’s super easy to tune out the voice of God.

The word says draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8). The more we draw near to God, the less we feel the need to be satisfied by the pleasures of the worldly things around us. His loving pursuit is captivating to our soul’s yearn for satisfaction.

1. Get AWAY from the busy.
2. Tune OUT the voices of the world.
3. Draw NEAR to the Father’s whispering words.


-B#

Sunday, May 2, 2010

THREEFOLD

Something that has been burdening me lately is the act of being honest. The dictionary definition for this word is free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere. I mean, I truly want to be a man of integrity in any circumstance, so that I’ll please God’s heart. Of course, I am by NO means close to perfection in this area, but I wanted to share my thoughts on this issue.

Being Honest With Yourself
In the present day, I’m at a place where I want to desire to be completely honest with myself. This means, that I accept who I am, and accept all that God has created and called me to be. This means that if God calls me to be a fisherman, a lawyer, a musician, a janitor, a doctor, a waiter, a missionary, or a writer, I am content with nothing less than that. In this day and age, contentment with ourselves is hard to find among all of the distractions, mirages, and ways of men. We as humans more times than none feel the need to please others via putting up a “front” or super gluing a mask of lies onto our face, so that the world does not see who we “really” are. The problem here is obvious: if you are not being yourself, you’re being someone else, which is untruthful. I need to come to a place where I can boldly say, “I am Brandon Michael Sharp, and I am a child and lover of God.” If you are honest with yourself, you are able to be honest with others.

Being Honest With Others
There is nothing greater than an honest relationship with the people around you. Living a life of openness dedicated to edifying the body of Christ is something we all should strive for. It is when we are honest with others that people can be encouraged rather than brought down. Yet how many times have you, have I withheld the total truth from someone, resulting in a deceitful mindset. In doing so, we’re basically saying, “listen, I don’t really want the best for you. What I want is for you to ‘feel’ good for the time being, so that you won’t ever learn from your hardships, obstacles, and tribulations…” This is dangerous, because what people need is TRUTH. So next time someone asks you for advice, be honest with them in love, rather than keeping what they need to hear.

Being Honest With God

1 Chronicles 29:17
I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.

The most important aspect of this threefold, is being honest with God. The Lord sees inside of the heart and searches our thoughts. In other words, he knows us better than we know ourselves. So why do so many times, we keep secrets from Him like He won’t be able to see us for who we are? We cannot hide from the creator and sustainer of our lives. Paul says it best when he states in Ephesians 4 that there is “one God and Father of all, who is over all, and in all, and through all.” Who are we to hide from the God of ALL? Rather, let us come and bow before His throne with a sincere and contrite heart, knowing that He is who He is. Let us be like David when he says in Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

All this to say, that we’ll never come to a perfection in this area of honesty, but it is our calling to pursue after honesty, so that we will be blameless on the day of the Lord.

-B#

Saturday, February 27, 2010

GLORY

What does it look like to live for the GLORY of God?

“God of grace exalt your name; in this my joy shall sustain.

What you’ve done for your fame brings my heart to glorious praise!”

This is my first year here at Liberty University. We’re already into the 2nd semester, and it feels like I’ve lived here for ages. So many days. So many people. So many doors open to spread the love of Christ. Small, contempt Lynchburg, Virginia is WAY different than the large, busy Atlanta, Georgia. Yet I am proud to call both of these places ‘home’. I’m here on a scholarship to lead worship on the Campus Praise Band with the role as the ‘keyboardist/vocals/loop’ man. This door that has been opened to lead the entire student body to the throne of God has and is changing me with every day being on this team. “To whom much is given, much is required.” There is something about being on a platform that creates this atmosphere of “Hey, I know that kid, he’s the spiky haired piano man on the band!” Being on the Campus Band is definitely a battle of pride, but the Lord has done some marvelous works in my life pertaining to this struggle: I’ve grown to see that I. Am. Nothing. But. An. Undeserved. Man. Fallen. Short. Of. The. GLORY. OF. GOD. Graced. With. A. Huge. Opportunity. To. Take. Part. In. The. MISSION. OF. GOD.

There have been times here that I’ve woken up with a hardened heart, a sour spirit, and an apathetic attitude, not willing to surrender to the work of God. In result, the Lord has had to REALLY wake me up from my spiritual sleep, humbling me in the greatest way. Even this past Monday, I lead a song that expressed the tune “I’m so unworthy, but still YOU love me. Forever my heart will sing of how great YOU are.” That’s what my lips sung. My heart sung otherwise: “I’m so worthy, and Lord, I love me. Forever my heart will sing of how great I am.” This automatically reminded me of when Isaiah says “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” How in the world could this happen? Well when we take our gaze off of Jesus for even a SECOND, we turn our gaze toward ourselves. If our eyes are not FIXED on the Lord, they are prone to wander. I love when in Hebrews 12 it says “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” I learned once that the Greek word for ‘FIX’ (I may be wrong) literally meant to fix, and to fix, and to fix, and to fix, and to fix, and to continue to fix our eyes on Jesus. So in other words, this is not a one time dealio. Fixing our eyes on Jesus is a DAILY task, and can only be accomplished by being completely selfless, and willing to surrender to the glory of God.

I’m not going to lie: being a Christian is NOT the easiest life to live. It is not meant to be. We’re going to be persecuted, we’re going to be encountered with trials of many kinds, we’re going to fail. The cool thing is: this is exactly where God wants us to be. Vulnerable to rely and trust in His grace, strength, spirit, and word. It’s in these times that I am completely satisfied. I’ve come to the realization that I was created for ONE purpuse: To live for the glory of God. Why? The glory is DUE His name. The CREATOR GOD, the VICTORIOUS SON, the SUSTAINING SPIRIT is completely worthy of ALL of the glory, not just PART of it. Every bit of my life belongs to Him alone. Every breath was given from Him. My life rests in the shadow of the Almighty, so why would I want to ever try to take this glory for myself?

Lord, you are GLORIOUS. Thank you God for gracing me to live in the freedom of Christ. Although I cannot and will not ever comprehend your love for me, I thank you for allowing me to see glimpses of your love. It is ‘deeper than any ocean, higher than the heavens, reaches beyond the stars in the sky; Jesus your love has NO bounds.’ You’ve made a way through the desert in this life of mine, which is quickly fading. You’ve brought me to a place where I am completely reliant on your presence. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I say it again: Lord, you are GLORIOUS. In response to who you are and what you’ve done, I worship you now. I want to live a life holy, pure, blameless, and pleasing to you. Open my eyes to your will as I continue to walk this narrowed path. “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:5-6

My name is Brandon Michael Sharp, and I am a lover and follower of the Savior of the world. His name: JESUS CHRIST.

Friday, February 12, 2010

AWAKE

This idea of light dawning from the darkness is a beautiful picture.

Think about it. When you are walking in complete darkness, what do you hear? feel? see? These three senses are hindered when there is no light.

WHAT DO YOU HEAR?

Picture yourself walking through a wilderness in the dead of night. Each step is taken without confidence, uncertain of where you will land. There has got to be some noises that creep you out: the whispering wind, the crunch of tree limbs and leaves, unfamiliar howls from afar. What is the driving motivation to keep moving through these sounds of uncertainty? Is it fear? Is it confusion? Do you even move at ALL? This word comes out of your mouth in a dry, desperate cry… “HELP

“You will be ever hearing, but never understanding”

This is us before we know Christ. This is us before we accept Jesus as Lord of everything. Lord of our lives. DEAF to what is eternal. DEAF to what is actually important in this short time we have here. DEAF to the voice calling out, “Return to ME my children!”

WHAT DO YOU FEEL?

With night comes the cold. With cold comes emptiness. With emptiness comes discontentment. The air is thin with a shrilling wind that brushes against your skin. There is no comfort, no rest, no warmth.

As a wanderer, wouldn’t you like to embrace the comfort from the hope of glory. Wouldn’t you like to find rest in the shadow of the almighty? Wouldn’t you like to feel the warmth of a savior? But you cannot, and will not, if you are still in the cold dead of night, in the middle of the wilderness.

WHAT DO YOU SEE?

Picture being completely without sight, lacking direction or purpose. BLIND. There are no guidelines, no road maps, no landmarks in this place of emptiness. NOTHING. All you can do is wander aimlessly, really with nowhere to go. You might as well be walking in circles. There. is. nowhere. to. go.

“They have eyes, but cannot see”

Walking in spiritual darkness can put a hindrance on understanding where to go, and where to move. If someone is without sight of the truth, there will not be any light in their life, which results in an outcome that is fleeting. Darkness, in other words is the very nature of death.

REDEMPTION

“For God who said, “let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6

The dawn has come. The day has arrived. You look up to see the sun slowly rising over the soft horizon. You begin to hear the birds of the air sing a melodious tune of love. You begin to feel the warmth of light on your skin. You begin to see something vivid and glorious: a new hope, a new purpose, a new way, a new life.

“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

This light IS Christ. God sent him in human likeness, taking the nature of a servant, to serve his Father in heaven. In doing so, he took the weight OFF of our own shoulders, and put the weight of the world ON his. He bled and died on the cross on that day, performing the sacrifice that washed our sins WHITE. AS. SNOW. “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Three days later, as prophesied, Jesus rose again, fulfilling his purpose here on earth. He left with us the Spirit of the Lord, which is here to lead, guide, teach, mold, and shape us into the likeness of Christ, until He returns. Jesus is coming back soon for His bride, and will carry us home.

AWAKE MY SOUL AND SING

This is only the beginning of the beginning. My goal in this blog page is to simply reflect what the Lord is doing in and through my life. I am SO excited to see what he does in this year of 2010, in this month of February, and even today. I can say that it is by the grace of God I am who I am, and I am where I am. He’s taken my broken life, and made it into something beautiful. He has done marvelous and unexplainable things in this short life of mine so far, and I am nothing but ready, open, and willing to follow his EVERY step. To take up my cross, and follow steadfast after the Lord. So here we go, blog number one: complete!