Central

Address

6 West Dickson Street
Fayetteville, AR 72701

More Info

Service Times

Sunday 8:30 AM

Sunday 9:30 AM

Sunday 10:45 AM

Contact

(479) 442-4237

Genesis

Address

205 Martin Luther King Blvd.
Fayetteville, AR 72701

More Info

Service Times

Sunday 9:00 AM

Sunday 10:45 AM

Contact

(479) 442-1827

UA Wesley

Address

520 N. Lindell Avenue
Fayetteville, AR 72701

More Info

Service Times

Tuesday 8:00 PM

Wednesday 12:00 PM

Thursday 11:30 AM

Thursday 6:30 PM

Contact

(479)-442-1820

This Sunday at Central

Sunday, June 7th there will not be any in-person services


8:30 a.m. Pre-Recorded Contemporary Live Stream

10:45 a.m. Classic Live Stream

Message: "Blessed to be a Blessing" with Dr. Jan Davis

 We will also live stream to our Central UMC Facebook Page.

10:45 a.m. Genesis Livestream with Rev. Jody Farrell

 

 

 

 

Learn More

Central UMC Blog

Songs of Hope: Never Lost
May 29, 2020

Song: Never Lost

Artist: Elevation Worship

Youtube| Spotify

I (Hayden) have always enjoyed playing video games. Whether it’s taking on the mantle of my favorite superhero or solving puzzles from an ancient civilization like a modern-day Indiana Jones or playing in some fantasy or sci-fi universe, I’ve always enjoyed gaming. My younger brother and I played games together a lot too and I remember growing up playing one of the Halo games. Since I am older, and I liked playing games more than he did, I was always better. I never had to worry about who would win. If we ever played against each other, it was more a question of how much I would win. But one day, that changed. We were playing and the object was to be the first to reach a certain number of points. I remember playing against him and I was winning for most of the match, but then he started catching up. I thought it was luck at first, but he kept closing in on me. We were neck and neck and quickly approaching the end of the match. The person who got the next point would win the match. My brother scored the final point, clenching the victory, his first real victory over me in this game, and I was furious. I remember being so mad that I hit my controller on the arm of my chair and broke it (thankfully I have matured since then). But I knew from that moment that my victory against him in video games would never be assured again. I would have to take it one match at a time, and never know if I was going to win until the moment came. Thankfully, God’s power and victory isn’t like that.

I want to talk about a song off Elevation’s new album called Never Lost. The message behind the song is stated clearly in the title: God has never lost a battle. And since we follow and serve a God that has a 100% win record, we can rest assured that the things He promises us will come to pass.

“Miracles when You move, such an easy thing for You to do, Your hand is moving right now”

The song opens by declaring the power of God. See the word of the Lord in Jeremiah 32:27, “‘Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?’” (NASB) The author also declares they know God is still moving. This claim counters a universal fear many of us have, “I know God CAN move, but IS He moving? Or maybe if He is moving for others, He isn’t moving in my own life.” But we have assurance from God’s word that He is moving. See these words from the Old and New Testaments: “‘Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;’” (Deuteronomy 7:9, NASB) and “‘let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wearing, for He who promised is faithful;’” (Hebrews 10:22-23, NASB). We know God is unchanging. Scripture from the Old and New Testament confirms this. God will finish whatever work He has started in our lives. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6, NASB)

“You are still showing up at the tomb of every Lazarus, Your voice is calling me out”

“Jesus did not come into the world to make bad men good. He came into the world to make dead men alive!” -Leonard Ravenhill. God’s desire for each of us is that we would accept His gift of salvation offered through Jesus, and that we would die to our old self and our old ways of living and live in Christ. (Read Ephesians 2:1-3 for context) “But God, being rich in mercy, because His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:4-6, NASB). For those who are still in bondage to sin and death, God offers the gift of salvation through faith. For those who have accepted God’s gift of salvation, the Holy Spirit works in us constantly, drawing us closer to God. We hear the voice of our Shepherd and we go to Him.

“Right now, I know You’re able, My God, come through again”

The author declares that they know, right now, God is able to do these things that have been sung. They know God can do miracles, and that He can raise people from death in sin to life in Christ. Then they ask God to move again, with the key word being “again”. They look at their history with God to remind them of His everlasting faithfulness.

“You can do all things, You can do all things but fail, ‘cause You’ve never lost a battle, No, You’ve never lost a battle, And I know, I know, You never will”

Here, we declare that God can do all things but fail. As a side note, it’s important to understand that God can’t do EVERYTHING. Before you call me a heretic, let me briefly explain what I mean. What I mean is that God can’t do anything that is against His character. I don’t have time to go into it in this devo, but if you would like to talk more about this statement, feel free to email me at but with that in mind, let’s continue. We know that God is all-powerful. He SPOKE the universe into existence. He raised Himself from the dead. We see that God does not lose. Don’t mistake us losing a battle for God losing one. Just because God can’t lose doesn’t mean that we can’t. We often lose fights with temptations, but God doesn’t lose His battles, and He will always use this loss to show us something about Him, ourselves, or both. God hasn’t lost any battles yet, and we know that since He is unchanging, He never will. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8, NASB)

“Everything’s possible by the power of the Holy Ghost, a new wind is blowing right now”

This lyric reminds me of Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (NASB) I have frequently called this passage “the Christian YOLO”. Unfortunately, some people read this passage as if it were saying I can do anything because Christ gives me strength to do it”. A more accurate way to read this passage is “Anything the Lord sets before me, I will be able to do because He will strengthen me to do it.” If you look at it in the context of the passage, we see that Paul is saying how he has learned to live in abundance or suffering need, how to be humble or prosperous, how to be full or hungry. THEN he says he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him. But what we should take from this is that God can’t be stopped by something else. If He wants us to move and we say no, He won’t force us to be obedient, but if we are faithful, then nothing can stop Him.

“Breaking my heart of stone, taking over like it’s Jericho, and my walls are all crashing down”

Having a heart of stone means having a heart that is hardened by the world. God wants to us to surrender our heart of stone and receive a heart of flesh. “For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into you own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:24-26, NASB) Praise God for being able to break through the walls we have built around our hearts. Whether the walls are like a fortress, trying to keep God out, or they are prison walls that we have allowed ourselves to be surrounded by, God is tearing them down and setting us free.

“You’ve never lost a battle, You’ve never lost a battle, You’ve never lost a battle, You never will”

Here, we have the chance to proclaim God’s power and faithfulness. We know that He is all-powerful: “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When he had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:3, NASB). As I mentioned earlier and is declared in Hebrews 13:8, Jesus is unchanging. And we know that God loves us so much and He wants to help and save us: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16, NASB). Knowing all of this, we can rest assured that God won’t lose any battle. Even, if we lose, God doesn’t. We can make choices to fall to temptation or sin, and we wouldn’t have free will if God made it where we couldn’t mess up.

Challenge: Think about the battles in your life. Think about the battles in your past, and God’s faithfulness during those times. See how He provided you the strength to endure it, or a way out (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). You know God has been faithful in the past. Now look at the battles you are facing, or the battles that are coming your way, and have confidence to stand. “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:13, NASB). God is faithful and He will never lose a battle. Trust in Him.

Central UMC Blog

The Pastor's Corner: Deprivation Cultivates Appreciation
May 27, 2020

One thing I love about going on a mission trip is how it increases my enjoyment of everyday life.  When I return home, I appreciate everything so much more.  Times of deprivation are a wake-up call to the daily benefits we routinely take for granted.  Following a week of sleeping on an air mattress in a small tent shared with another team member in the Amazon, my king-sized bed felt enormously sumptuous.  After a week of showers from a hose with unreliable water temperature and pressure in Cuba, my walk-in shower felt amazingly warm and luxurious.  After weeks with no air conditioning in Cameroon, modern programmable temperature controls seemed extravagant.  Following a week of tenting outdoors in the chill of the Arizona desert with a group of church youth, I lavished in the plushness of my comfortable bedroom.  After a mission trip, everything I once took for granted becomes a source of delight!

Because of Covid-19, we are living during a time of communal deprivation.  God may use this season as a wake-up call for us to appreciate the benefits we routinely take for granted.  Eating at a restaurant, enjoying a live performance, watching the Razorbacks, having your hair cut, browsing at your favorite store, worshipping in church, laughing with colleagues in the office.  We have been deprived of so many daily blessings resulting in discomfort and robbing us of joy.

Paul writes his letter to the Philippians from a prison cell in Rome.  He is alone, cold, malnourished and is experiencing deprivation.  Yet he pens a letter of appreciation and joy to the church.  Paul says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

Paul discovered an important secret of the Christian life.  The secret of contentment in all circumstances.  Joy no matter what the day provides or prevents.  The secret is his relationship with Jesus Christ.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul learns contentment in times of uncertainty, appreciation in times of deprivation and strength in times of suffering. 

What every day blessings have you missed since Covid-19 hit?  What were you taking for granted prior to this season of separation?  In a spirit of humble gratitude, name them one by one before God.  Give God thanks for the overlooked daily blessings in your life.  Prepare your heart for a future time and receive them with greater appreciation than you ever had.  Our enjoyment will be all the sweeter when these small blessings resume. We are so blessed.  Thanks be to God.   

Central UMC Blog

Songs of Hope: Great Are You Lord
May 22, 2020

Song: Great Are You Lord

Artist: All Sons & Daughters

YoutubeSpotify 

The past two weeks have been hard for me.  We are seeing businesses reopen and I’m happy that some of my friends who were unemployed are able to start back to work, but the reality of how different life has become has hit me and I’ve begun to grieve.  I'm grieving that wearing masks in public places (please do it) has become our new normal - I miss smiles.  I’m grieving that I’m unable to gather with all of my friends and family together in one place.   I’m grieving not being able to hug on my niece and nephew.  But there has been one unexpected thing that has been hard for me to process: the near future of congregational singing. 

I feel like in the past week, I’ve seen increasingly more news on singers being “superspreaders” of the coronavirus.  On May 5th, the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) with American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS), Performing Arts Medical Association (PAMA), and Chorus America hosted a webinar regarding what science and data say about the near term future of singing.  The news was sobering and my heart hurts for our classic worship friends and choirs across the world.  In summary, choral rehearsals and performances will be greatly impacted until a vaccination is accessible for all.  (If you are interested in the full webinar, here’s a link: Singing and Reopening Safely in the Time of the Coronavirus.)

I’m so proud to be a part of the United Methodist Church - words that I haven’t said in quite some time.  Our Bishop is doing an incredible job being proactive and leading our UMC congregations as we discuss the reopening of our churches.  (Shoutout to Central’s Executive Director, Brian Swain who is on the Reopening Task Force for our conference.  Be praying for this task force as they make big decisions to help keep us safe.)   One of John Wesley’s 3 Simple Rules states that we, as followers of Christ should “do no harm.”  Bishop Mueller came out with a tentative guideline for reopening and says the following about worship:       
“All worship participants and leaders must wear masks.  When a worship leader or pastor is speaking or singing, he or she does not have to wear a mask, but must maintain a distance of 12 feet. Onstage bands must be spaced accordingly. No choirs or congregational singing are allowed at this time.”

The season of uncertainty that we are in will remain in our imminent future. With these new guidelines, questions of how we will worship together go through my head repeatedly.  But, in the midst of the unknowns, God still remains as our constant and is worthy of our worship, regardless of the new ways we go about it.  Great Are You Lord is a contemporary worship classic.  It’s simple, repetitive, not too trendy and I think it will be an anthem for us for years and years to come.  Let’s dive into it.

“You give life, You are love. You bring light to the darkness. You give hope, You restore every heart that is broken.  Great are You, Lord”

Whew - what a good word. What an amazing promise. 

Last fall, Dave Williams and I had the opportunity to hang out with David Leonard who co-wrote this song.  We asked him about the songwriting process and it wasn’t the answer I was expecting.  He was scheduled for a co-writing session that he really didn’t want to go to, but in that mindset God used him and placed these words on his heart.  He had no idea the extent to which this song was going to move people.  A lot of inspiration was drawn from Ezekiel 37: 4-10, that reads this:

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.” Ezekiel 37: 4-10 (NIV)

I think songs of lament will come from this season.  From spring 2018-fall 2019, I felt a strong sense of awakening throughout our church.  We repented of our complacency and were hungry for more of God’s presence in our lives.  That season of awakening was refreshing and perhaps served as preparation as we entered into a season of lament and longing for God’s restoration.  I’m not a pastor or a counselor, but I think it’s ok to grieve the things you are missing out on during this time.  I’m the type of person that likes to have a well thought out vision for my future.  I’m grieving that my dreams and goals for 2020 might not come to fruition.  The verse of this song has been a reminder that God heals our heartache.  He continues to breathe life into us - even into the driest bones.  He continues to love us in our brokenness, and He gives us hope when we feel that all hope is lost.  God deserves all of our praise. 

“It’s Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to You only”

When this song first came out, All Sons & Daughters would introduce it by saying “worship is when we give God His breath back.”  Worship is about responding.  Dave Williams has taught me that worship is a response to who God is and what He has done for us.  Relationships are not one-sided - that includes being in relationship with Christ.  If we remain uninterested in our relationship with God, we miss the beauty of what He has for us.  We are called to pour out our praise to Christ, regardless of our circumstances. 

“All the earth will shout Your praise. Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing, great are You, Lord”

Singing/playing for an empty room has been harder than I ever dreamt.  I’m a singer and a worshipper, and I’m not going to lie - worshipping online has been hard for me.  It’s awkward and not natural.  There’s something about a room full of people singing together that inspires and emotes certain feelings in us.  I think non-believers would agree with this too.  I saw Coldplay on their “A Head Full of Dreams” tour, and the euphoric feeling of everyone singing out their songs was so prominent among every person in the BOK Center that night in 2016.  Singing together unites us.  It’s vulnerable, and it encourages community. 

How do we pour out our praise to God when we are limited to how we can worship?  Well, for starters, worship takes place in all forms, not just singing.  For our worship team, a lot of us might connect best with God through song (myself included), but during this season, God might be calling us to step out of our comfort zones and become more active in our prayer lives, journaling, reading devotionals, etc.  Secondly, I praise God that He has made us to be creative and unique.  One of my all time favorite scriptures is 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.  It teaches us that there are many different parts of the body, but each part plays an essential role to the body as a whole.  If it weren’t for our creative/production team, we wouldn’t have online worship. (Shoutout to David Lee and Lawson Templeton, specifically.)  We all have different giftings, and I believe that together, we can creatively navigate this new (and hopefully very temporary) normal.  I think the first thing we have to do is be open-minded to the process.  If you haven’t seen, each week before the service premieres, Central posts tips to better engage in worship at home:

  • Gather your household together before the service starts and pray that God will speak to you.
  • Read through the text prior to the start of the service. (Try reading a few different versions)
  • Put the livestream on your smart TV or a computer monitor so you can see clearly.
  • Interact with others on the livestream, by commenting in real-time.
  • Sing with us. It may be strange, but it’s a way to participate rather than spectate.  (If this is uncomfortable to you, as it is to me, I suggest really thinking and praying over the lyrics. If a line inspires you, comment it for others to also be encouraged.)
  • Invite your friends by sharing the livestream on Facebook. (What an easy way to evangelize!  Especially for us who have a hard time being vulnerable and sharing our personal faith journeys.  Even if none of your friends tune in because of your share, it’s definitely worth a shot.)

When we are able to reunite together again in worship, it will be a day of celebration.  I pray that this season will inspire our congregation to not take worship for granted, and to be more in tune with the Holy Spirit and vulnerable with each other.  I can’t wait to sing praise to God with you all again, someday.  Until then, I will find other ways to pour out my praise.

Challenge:  This week, think about how you (and your family, if that is applicable for your situation) can pour out your praise to God.  Get creative, and if something is effective for you, share it with others! This is a time we can learn from each other.  Be filled with hope and have great anticipation of when our entire congregation can come together again!

Central UMC Blog

The Pastor's Corner: Midweek Connection
May 20, 2020

For a decade or more, I’ve started almost every morning with the same “centering” prayer to give focus to my day and to my early morning time of Bible study and prayer. The prayer didn’t originate with me. It originated in the heart of King David who was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write it. The prayer is part of a larger prayer and it goes like this, “One thing I ask of the Lord, and this is what I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. To behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” Many of you will recognize these as words coming from Psalm 27.

Currently, we may think that the fulfillment of the longing of this prayer is out of reach. For so long we’ve not been able to gather in houses of worship. Now, I know that there are some churches that will begin gathering in the next couple of weeks under new guidance. However, it will be a while for others. Central and Genesis has a task force that meets weekly on Zoom to work on plans for reopening. This task force is following guidance by the Arkansas Conference Task Force which is being led by the Bishop. Of course, there are state and federal guidelines as well, along with protocol from the CDC and the WHO.  All of this to keep safety the top priority. Or as John Wesley, the father of Methodism would say, to “Do no harm” to another human.

It’s ironic if you compare our longing to return to our place of worship and David’s longing to be in the house of God. We long to return but want to do so when it is safe from our common enemy—a.k.a. the coronavirus. David wants to dwell in the house of the Lord because it is there that David feels safe from the enemies that threaten him. David goes to the house of the Lord in order to flee his enemies. So, David prays, “One thing I ask of the Lord, that one thing I will seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”

There is a greater reason though for David wanting to dwell in the house of the Lord than fleeing from his enemies. David does not merely want to be out of the presence of his enemies, he wants to be in the presence of God. The central point of the request “to dwell in the house of the Lord” really means living permanently in God’s presence. This is the “one thing” of which David asks. Commentators note that David’s expression “one thing I have asked” is one of the most single-minded statements of purpose to be found anywhere in the Old Testament. In God’s presence, he hopes to have an extraordinary experience of God’s company and beauty. 

Biblical scholar John Goldingay reminds us the phrase “one thing” is often found in the New Testament.[1]

  • Paul says, one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).
  • Jesus says to the rich man, “You lack one thing” (Mark 10:21).
  • To Martha, Jesus says, “Only one thing is needed” (Luke 10:42).
  • And the blind man with restored sight giving witness to Jesus and Jesus’ healing power tells the religious leaders, “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25).

If you are like me, it is difficult to focus on “one thing.” As Goldingay notes, we like to pride ourselves on multi-tasking. With little thought, we add “one more thing” to our schedules without thinking through the fact that our schedules are overcrowded, and we don’t really have room for one more thing. When we continually add “one more thing” we are doing little, if any, self-reflection on what or who truly has priority in our lives.[2]

Now, I know that our schedules are different due to COVID-19. Most things have been taken off our plates involuntarily. However, we won’t be distancing forever. Life will begin to change as places open and activities resume. This is a good time to think in terms of priority. It is an opportunity to consider what or who gets ultimate priority. What “one thing” will you be seeking?

The really good news is that we are God’s priority. While we long to be in the house of God, we are reminded that Jesus has brought the house of God to us. John’s gospel tells us that Jesus came and dwelt among us—literally, tabernacle among us. The tabernacle was Gods’ first ‘house’, representing God’s indwelling presence among his people. Jesus is the one in whom the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. What kind of home does Jesus offer us? Henri Nouwen says that Jesus offers us a house of love where he is the host. When we gaze upon Jesus, we gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.

Let me close by sharing a story from the life of Brennan Manning. A man who, like the rest of us, often wrestled with the “one thing” in his life and yet in this story I’m about to share, beheld the beauty of the Lord. Brennan writes,

In the winter of 1968-69, I lived in a cave in the mountains of the Zaragoza Desert in Spain… 

On the night of December 13, during what began as a long and lonely hour of prayer, I heard in faith Jesus Christ say, “For love of you I left my Father’s side. I came to you who ran from me, fled me, who did not want to hear my name. For love of you I was covered with spit, punched, beaten, and affixed to the wood of the cross.”

These words are burned on my life. Whether I am in a state of grace or disgrace, elation or depression, that night of fire quietly burns on. I looked at the crucifix for a long time, figuratively saw the blood streaming from every pore of his body, and heard the cry of his wounds: “This isn’t a joke. It is not a laughing matter to me that I have loved you.” The longer I looked, the more I realized that no man has ever loved me, and no one ever could love me as he did. I went out of the cave, stood on the precipice, and shouted into the darkness, “Jesus, are you crazy? Are you out of your mind to have loved me so much?” I learned that night what a wise old man had told me years earlier: “Only the one who has experienced it can know what the love of Jesus Christ is. Once you have experienced it, nothing else will seem beautiful or desirable.”[3]

 “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek to behold the beauty of the Lord…”. We are God’s priority.  He is saying to us, “Only one thing is important.”

Thanks be to God. Amen.
May the peace of Christ be with you!
Steve

[1] John Goldingay. Psalms for Everyone, Part 1. (Louisville: John Knox Press, 2013), 85.

[2] Goldingay, 86.

[3] Brennan Manning. Reflections for Ragamuffins (New York: Harper Collins, 1998), 126-27.

Central UMC Blog

Songs of Hope: Another in the Fire
May 15, 2020

Song: Another in the Fire

Artist: Hillsong United

YouTube Spotify

Last October, my position was cut at work. The HR manager and my boss both told me that it had nothing to do with my work ethic or my character, but I had the least experience, and someone had to be cut. I spent the next month and a half looking for work. I looked for jobs in engineering (my degree), in military or national security (a passion), and in worship ministry (God’s calling, but I didn’t know it yet). Toward the end of my severance, I started to worry. I have student loans and a car payment every month. I had an apartment. I had a pet to feed and keep healthy. I started to worry that it would be difficult to find a job because it had taken me several months to find that one. It was around the time of my most crippling worrying that God used this song to speak His truth, THE truth, into my life. Like all of us who follow Him, God was with me all my past days, He is with me today, and He will be with me for the rest of my days. This assurance got me through that uncertain time, and I bet many of you can relate to that now. With this in mind, let’s look at my current favorite worship song Another in the Fire.

“There’s a grace when the heart is under fire, another way when the walls are closing in”

There is a spiritual war going on for the soul of every human. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8, NASB) Temptation, struggle, and hardship are things that are common to all mankind. Paul says in his first letter to the church in Corinth “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NASB) The enemy attacks each one of us all day, every day. He knows us well. He has been watching us since we were born and knows exactly how to attack us. But Jesus, the spotless Lamb, who lived as a human and went through every temptation that we go through, but succumbed to none of them, offers us strength and/or a way out when we are under fire. Praise be to God!

“And when I look at the space between where I used to be and this reckoning, I know I will never be alone”

This verse shows how we as Christians should view God when we are in the midst of trials. The author said he looked at the space between where he was and where he is now during the trial, and that showed him that he would never be alone. God is with us. He said so in the Old Testament (Joshua 1:9) and Jesus says so in the New Testament (Matthew 28:20). That proves God is with us. 

“There WAS another in the fire standing next to me, there WAS another in the waters holding back the sea, and should I ever need reminding of how I’ve been set free, there is a cross that bears the burden where another died for me” (Emphasis added)

My favorite thing about the chorus is that there are essentially three variations that illustrate the same point. In the first chorus, the author uses the word “was”. God was with us in our past. God was with all the faithful in history. Here, the author uses two instances of God saving His people in very powerful ways. For more on these instances read Daniel 3 and Exodus 14. The last two lines of the chorus change each time the chorus is sung. Jesus released us from captivity to sin and death by giving His life for ours.  This last part of the chorus says that beautifully. It’s a reminder of the fact that we have been set free, as well as the fact that it wasn’t anything we have done. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NASB)

“All my debt left for dead beneath the waters, I’m no longer a slave to my sin anymore”

Two things come to mind with the first part of this verse. First, I am reminded of the account of the Israelites’ escape from Egypt and God protecting them from Pharaoh’s army. They, the Egyptians, were all killed when the sea fell back in on them. But I am also reminded of baptism. When we are baptized, we are declaring ourselves set apart for God and declaring that we are living a new life, washed by His blood. When we are baptized, and therefore claim the new life offered by God, our debt to sin and death is dead in the water behind us. Praise be to God for the gift of reconciliation with Him! As mentioned earlier in this devotional, we are not slaves to sin in our new life. See Romans 6:1-7.

“And should I fall in the space between what remains of me and this reckoning, either way I won’t bow to the things of this world, and I know I will never be alone”

In Romans 6, Paul asks on more than one occasion if we as Christians should do something sinful because of grace. Paul’s response to this question is, in Greek, μὴ γένοιτο (pronounced may ge-nuh-toe). It essentially translates to “May it never be!” or “God forbid!” It’s the most forceful response Paul ever gives in scripture. It’s not just “no”, but “NO WAY”. Here, Paul is asking, should we sin so that grace can abound? Or because we are not under the law (Old Testament law) but under grace (New Testament law)? Absolutely not! But I think this response also applies to our dealing with falling to temptation or trials. When we are tempted, should we succumb to it and let it rule over us? μὴ γένοιτο! May it never be! Even though we do fall, through Christ’s work on the cross, we are able to get back up, repent of our sin, and bow to the One on the throne instead

“There IS another in the fire standing next to me, there IS another in the waters holding back the sea, and should I ever need reminding what power set me free, there is a grave that holds no body and now that power lives in me” (Emphasis added)

The first lines of this second chorus are the same as the first, except instead of saying “was”, it says “is”. God IS with us when we are thrown into the fiery furnace. God IS with us when we are being chased by the enemy and walking through the sea. God is with us NOW as well. The last part of the chorus says if we ever need reminding of what power set us free, look to the empty tomb and see that power. Not only that, but we have that same power, and MORE, through Christ. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will also do; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12, NASB).

“I can see the Light in the darkness as the darkness bows to Him”

In the beginning of John’s gospel, he talks about the deity of Christ. See verse 5, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (NASB) Other versions say overcome instead of comprehend. In science, it is understood in most cases (barring something like a black hole as far as my knowledge goes) that no amount of darkness can overcome a light. A room can be pitch-black but strike a single match and the light will shine. In this lyric, Jesus is the light, and the things of the enemy are the darkness. All things will bow to Him in the end, and all demons bow to Him now. See the response of the demons in the man in Mark 5:6-7. “Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; and shouting with a loud voice, he said, ‘What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!’”

“I can hear the roar in the heavens as the space between wears thin”

Many times in the book of Revelation, John describes the heavenly host as worshipping God. “Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.’” (Revelation 19:6, NASB) As we draw nearer to God, we can hear the roar of the heavens because our worship and theirs will echo each other.

“I can feel the ground shake beneath us as the prison walls cave in”

Jesus is in the business of setting us free from captivity. He set us free from sin and death through His death and resurrection, and He seeks to save us from our own personal bondages. This won’t always be the same for each person. Someone may be delivered completely from an alcohol or drug addiction, but someone else may deal with theirs for the rest of their life, having to rely on the strength of God to sustain themselves. I won’t venture to say why God operates the way He does, but I know He has perfect vision and does all things for our ultimate good and His glory. 

“Nothing stands between us, nothing stands between us”

When Jesus breathed His last and died on the cross many physical things happened in the world. One thing that happened was the veil was torn in the Holy of Holies, the most sacred place that God dwelled. This signified that we are no longer forced to be apart from God, but we can now approach Him because we are covered by the blood of the Lamb.

“There is no other name but the name that is Jesus, He who was and still is and will be through it all”

With one of Jesus’ ‘I AM’ statements, He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (part of John 14:6, NASB) There is no other name by which we are saved. The second part of this lyric emphasizes the message of this song, and declares truth about Jesus: Jesus was (existed for eternity past), is (exists now with all of us), and is to come (will exist with us for eternity future).

“So come what may in the space between all the things unseen and this reckoning, and I know I will never be alone, I know I will never be alone”

Here, the author declares that no matter what comes, in all the things that can’t be known by us, we know that we will never be alone.

“THERE’LL BE another in the fire standing next to me, THERE’LL BE another in the waters holding back the seas, and should I ever need reminding how good You’ve been to me, I’ll count the joy come every battle, ‘cause I know that’s where You’ll be” (Emphasis added)

This part of the song may be the most difficult for me to put into practice. The author writes that if he needs reminding of God’s goodness, then he will rejoice in the battles because he knows God is there with Him. I may know that God is with me in the battles, but how often do I rejoice in the battle? In James chapter 1, he says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4, NASB). We should rejoice in our suffering. Look at the apostles’ response to suffering in Acts 5: “They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” (Acts 5:40-42, NASB)

Challenge: When you listen to this song, don’t listen to it passively. Read the lyrics. Declare God’s truth over your life. Write on a piece of paper times in your past where God has been faithful to you. Use this as a reminder when things are difficult. Read the passages referenced in this devotional. God WAS with you, God IS with you, and God WILL BE with you for the rest of eternity. Thank God for His faithfulness. Praise be to God. Amen.

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