Author Archives: John Cobb

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God Waits…For Your New Song Release Date (The Lost Recordings)

B-Sides & Rarities

Only the most rabid fans of any given band will actually enjoy an album of B-sides and rarities. It’s often what you get when the color of the band’s limelight has finally changed to lame. You might still find them playing a few gigs at the county fair or on an episode of Huckabee while we all reminisce in their former glory days. Maybe a Lynyrd Skynyrd comes to mind. “Come on everybody, you know this one! Sweet! Home! Al! Abama!” And yet the record company still looks to make another buck with a release of half scrap tracks and misplaced outtakes. Was that really necessary?

Maybe that’s all these next several posts will turn out to be. See, ever since I originally posted God Waits…For Your New Song Release Date, I still felt there was more to be…released, a few forgotten tracks lost in the corn mazes of my mind. And so now, I’ve decided to dedicate an entire category towards the subject of the Holy Spirit’s impact through music entitled, ‘Sound’ Doctrine. So feel free to walk beside my B-Sides, intake my outtakes and bask with me in the lamelight.

Gettin’ Shanked By Shawshank

Prison

“I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t wanna know. Some things are best left unsaid. I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful it can’t be expressed in words, and it makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you those voices soared, higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.” ~ The Shawshank Redemption

Recently upon once again hearing the above quote from one of my favorite movies, I came alive with a renewed expectancy of what God wanted to do in and through His people. We have all been called to:

“…proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;” ~ Isaiah 61:1

Music itself is a potent force even outside of the Christian context. And yet, how much more for the Spirit-filled believer who releases the song of the Lord he or she has been given? Songs can often penetrate where sermons may never go. Though God desires to redeem the intellect and this is important, it can also get in the way of initial surrender. This is where the Holy Spirit can find a backdoor through the emotions by way of song. We have an anointing to make “walls dissolve away” around the hearts of people, and to change the spiritual landscape around us as we co-labor with God (1 Corinthians 3:9), singing in unison with His song His of redemption in the earth.

Creation Responds To Heaven’s New Song

In Revelation 5:8-14, a new song breaks out around the throne of God that in turn triggers a response of song from all of creation in verse 13. – A new song that will ultimately usher in a new heaven and a new earth! Furthermore, as we NOW have access to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), we are active participants in the bringing about of that new song through our worship and prayers (v.8). Having received a deposit of God’s kingdom inside of us even before it’s full arrival (Ephesians 1:14), I believe we have also received that new song to be sung in a partial way today. So let the song of heaven quicken creation to praise Him, freeing the world around us from it’s “drab little cage”.

“And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’” ~ Revelation 5:13

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Barna Or Barnabas

“But you will receive analysis when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…”

GraphOkay, it doesn’t exactly say that. Although, I’ve always been addicted to news and analysis, especially when it concerns the church. Lately however, I’ve found myself fairly bored with it all. Boy it’s gonna suck if all I’ve got are stats, charts and assessments to show God what He already knows. John Wimber always talked about “doin’ the stuff”. Many of us, including myself, all too often only study, analyze and have “conversations” about the stuff. Maybe we’d rather be war journalists than actual soldiers. Barna or Barnabas? The difference is so subtle, as one has a “bas” in the name and the other doesn’t. Okay, I’m not really sure why that’s significant. Regardless, I think you get my point. And now look at me. I’m simply analysing our addiction to analysis.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8


Until Belonging Becomes Our Only Belonging – Pt. 2

Living In Minor Keys

I’ve come to find a soundtrack playing in my mind for almost every situation and occasion in life. The truth is, I’m so right-brained that I have to lean left simply to walk straight. Even while you’ve chosen to randomly shoot the breeze with me during your prohibited coffee break at work, it’s likely that an epic score is playing in the grooves of my brain to fill our short special moment in time together. Which really means, you’ll need to repeat at least half of what you’ve just said, as you caught me in the middle of my own mental musical rehearsal. Some have attempted to diagnose this as ADD, which I vehemently refuse to accept. So okay, where was I? No really, I mean it. Where was I?

Genius BarOh yeah, to recap from awhile back on a previous post (God Waits…For Your New Song Release Date), we are encouraged to sing to the Lord a new song (Psalm 40:3). At the time, my life was in need of a “new song” so to speak, as brokenness had become a broken record. How much fun is that to be around? Really, my heart needed an entirely new playlist that even a team of “genius'” at the genius bar couldn’t fix, while it played like back to back Morrissey stuck on repeat. As most of his songs go, you might find yourself digging for a bottle of antidepressants halfway through the album. Heck, even his name sounds like depression medication. “May I please get a prescription refill on my bottle of Morrissey?” “Crap, I’m all outta Morrissey. Don’t you screw with me today!” And no, I don’t have ADD. And yes, I know EXACTLY where I’m going with this!

Surrendering To His Song

As much as I hated my current playlist, I was invested out of presumption. Surely God would honor my hard headed determination clothed in good intentions, and surely the last track will have a different ending this time…this time…this time. Yet often times, God only gives us a glimpse into our destiny, while leaving much of the details unknown. Though God would speak of grand destinations and plans, I was unable to trust that any supposed “detour” was a part of them. Furthermore, I believe many of the “unknowns” concerning God and His plans are designed to keep us from circumventing relationship with Him along the journey. It’s not so much about the road of destiny we’re walking on, as much as it’s about our walk with Him along the way. Does He have super amazing plans for you and I? Is it His desire to reveal them to us? Absolutely, though not at the expense of experiencing our highest calling, to simply belong to Him.surrender

“He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17b

We are told to sing to the Lord, and yet here He is singing over us! He had His own song to sing, which meant letting go of mine. However, until we allow God to quiet us with His love, we are unable to hear the song of His heart. We will find ourselves in competition with His rhythm and pace of grace. On the other hand, there’s nothing more freeing than being quieted by His love, as we begin to feel His own desire for us consume our desire for control. The greatest impartation we can ever receive from the Holy Spirit is to experience Jesus’ desire for you and I (John 17:24)! And yes, that was my desire to hint at part three.

“The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” – Psalm 118:14 (ESV)


Until Belonging Becomes Our Only Belonging – Pt. 1

Intro To My Outro

“Including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,” – Romans 1:6 (ESV)

At first glance, this may seem like just another nice verse to place in the small picture frame that had been re-gifted and re-re-gifted, only to find its way back to you, the original owner. “Gee, this looks awfully familiar.” Yet, it’s something we all strive for, because at our very core, we as human beings were primarily created to belong. So many of us however, live out of an orphan spirit in hopes to achieve that belonging.

Sitting on benchFor many years, although I theologically knew the Father’s love and taught it, rarely would it cross inside the parameters of my own heart. Even what would start out as legitimate godly desires given by the Holy Spirit, often would end in an attempt to prove my own worth in exchange for a sense of belonging. Nothing brings confusion more quickly to the life of a believer than a mixture of the pure and the polluted, leaving you…diluted. Furthermore, those who operate out of an orphan spirit will often breed rejection and receive rejection, not knowing why. I call this a…”cycle of rejection”. I know. Amazing. Profound. Wow. Anyway, this is exactly where I found myself, and breaking out was beginning to look impossible.

However, the Holy Spirit began to speak these simple, yet powerful words to my heart over and over again: “John, it’s time you start to live like you belong!” Everything I owned had to fall at the feet of Jesus, until simply belonging to Him became my only belonging to claim. The next several posts will serve as a series of landmarks along my journey through passion, pain and some other dramatic word that starts with “p”, to eventually a new place of freedom. There is no higher calling than to belong and in Christ, we end the same way we began, simply called as lovers of God (Rev. 2:4)!


God Waits…For Your New Song Release Date

“He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.” – Psalm 40:3 (ESV)

A new song? Yeah, I’m doin’ good just to make time to publish a new blog post…finally. By the way, I’ve always liked the live version of 40 much better than the studio recording. As a matter of fact, I love this song…’cause it’s an old song…about singing a new song. So, here ya go, and yes, I’m feeling rather random today.

Anyway, have you ever felt as if your life was in need of a new song to sing, figuratively or literally speaking? It’s like you’re stuck listening to the same crappy top 40 radio station rotation that’s really only playing 20 and so, you hear the same songs come on every 30 minutes! At least the DJ’s prank calls to the local gas station on the morning show keeps things interesting.

Why A “New” Song?

Yet, in the book of Psalms alone, six times we are encouraged to sing to the Lord a new song. So why a “new” song, anyway? Here’s just a few tangled thoughts and jots, dangling down from my own mental knots.

  1. Singing to the Lord a new song draws us closer in new encounters with His presence, and deepens our level of intimacy with Him. I know taking my wife out to the same restaurant on every date can get old after a while and I believe God will/wants to reveal new places in His own heart that we have yet to experience.
  2. New songs are for new victories, new mercies, as well as new ways to stand in awe of His wonder. A new song not only praises God for past victories already won, but also propels us forward, building our faith for the new ones yet to come.
  3. A new song from the Lord can uncover what seems buried inside of us, communicating and articulating what the Holy Spirit is currently doing in our hearts. It can provide framework and a compass of direction for the vision God is revealing, as well as provide the passion we need to fuel that vision. This is important not only for the corporate body, but also on a personal level in cultivating vision.
  4. Above all however, we sing to the Lord a new song simply because He is worthy!

You may never be a songwriter but you can still find your own words that may not necessarily be on the PowerPoint screen during your worship service at church. As a matter of fact, we are encouraged to make music in our hearts to help keep the Spirit-filled life continuously overflowing (Ephesians 5:18-20). If you are not used to singing a new song to the Lord, I’d say start small. Nonetheless start, and it will grow from there as you allow your heart to open in new ways to praise Him!


The Throne Room Has No Nose Bleed Section

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)

Nose Bleed Section

God’s throne room has no nose bleed section, yet all too often this is exactly where we see ourselves and even worse, where we see others.

As His children, to live as though we are still on the outside looking in through the window of the Father’s house is to live in a false reality that denies His reality (Ephesians 2:19) and treats the finished work of Christ as well, not so finished. Do we really believe He is good? I am convinced that the majority of spiritual battles can be won, by simply convincing the unconvinced of this one truth!

Moreover, not only is there no nose bleed section, He has actually “seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:6 (ESV) This means, we are called to not only approach His throne of grace with boldness, but to also co-rule with Him in extending that grace to the world around us! By His blood, not our achievements, God has now raised up the blue collar, the white collar, and the no collar priesthood. We have all been given the awesome privilege AND responsibility to host His presence here on the earth.

Hosting The Throne Of His Presence

To host His presence is to also host His throne, AND to host His grace. The more we draw people to His throne, the more we draw them to His rule over darkness. This is why I am so insane about hosting the presence of God! I step aside, God shows up, He does the work…and work I cannot do anyway. I like that. When we host His throne, we are hosting His salvation, His healing and His power to deliver!

However, I must also warn you that to host His throne can be risky business…well, risky to our business anyway. Since grace is released from His throne of grace, it’s in that environment of worship that the GRACE-gifts of the Holy Spirit begin to flow through His people,…his IMPERFECT people! And imperfect people will eventually make messes. That is why many opt out for something more “safe”. But hey, that’s why there’s a throne of grace! As leaders, we cannot allow fear, laziness or an unwillingness to practice discernment from allowing His gifts of grace to flow from the very throne of grace (1 Corinthians 12-14). Otherwise, all we are left with is a manufactured grace of self-help techniques, void of the Spirit’s power. Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with reading the latest book on “Seven Steps To Break Your Habit”, but let’s not confuse that with the actual power of the Holy Spirit to supernaturally set us free!

Hosting Our Throne

Who’s throne are we hosting then? If we’re not hosting God’s throne, then we’re hosting another throne and it’s usually our throne. Believe me, my throne is a decroded piece of crap, as Napoleon Dynamite once said, with no power to change anyone’s life. We need to get more people around His throne, not ours. One challenge we face however, is that we often see God’s throne room the same way we have structured the average spectator-friendly, concert-like church service. Concert The focal point is the stage (Showtime!), then there’s the band and so on. Isn’t that where the throne is? Now, I love a good praise band that can rock out, however, we must also take spiritual inventory and ask, “Are we merely raising up Jesus-fans, or are we raising up an actual priesthood that can host the presence of the Lord, even while standing in the Walmart checkout line?'” In the man-made throne room built around spectatorship, the lines between clergy and laity can become more and more defined, until one’s own personal call to priesthood is no longer realized.

For me as a church leader, my problem was elitism. I was one of the few, the proud…I was one of God’s Marines. I was His own personal “guard” to the throne room…just like the Pharisees (Matthew 23:13). For instance, the closer you were to the stage in worship, the closer you were to the “throne” and the more committed you were. The backsliders, well, they just sat in the back, of course. Oh, and I pray a lot more than you too. I’m always in the throne room. This all may sound silly but it can be deadly serious, destroying the simple faith and devotion to the Lord we are called to. Elitism is a good sign we may be hosting another throne, man’s throne. And at it’s very core, is really nothing more than a cult. As for me, I was hosting my own throne of judgment, but certainly not His throne of grace.

When we host our throne, a couple of things must happen to keep the machine running. (1) Manipulate. Stuff just ain’t happenin’, so I’m gonna make it happen, even if it takes a little hype and/or spiritual abuse to get us there. (2) Cover. Behind the scenes, our lives suck. Sure there’s no power to change, but we’ve got to keep up the image because we’re supposed to be reaching people…or something. There is a better way. Let’s cease from our own efforts and instead, host the throne of His efforts, already finished on the cross for us!

Brought Near By His Blood, Not Our Sweat

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” – Ephesians 2:13 (ESV)

Frankly, I can’t think up enough filler to add to this verse, so for a more thoroughly exegetical and exhaustively detailed exposition on Ephesians 2:13, I now leave you with your old pal Grover. Good day!