Jesus Christ Is Lord

That every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father!

Posts Tagged ‘The Gospel’

Focus On The Family Then The Focus Is Not On Jesus Christ!

Posted by Job on September 30, 2008

From PJ Miller:

Why I walked out of church

You might find this interesting, I did.

Posted today at Life Under the Blue Sky: The View From Below, so  to Jerry for finding it!

Originally posted at Lone Prairie: Why I walked out of church

Today, I went to Bismarck Evangel Temple, sat through the worship and most of the sermon, and then…walked out before it was done.

I don’t blame that church; it is my own inability to fit that literally forced me to leave. I don’t really doubt their sincerity, and that many people love the programs and opportunities that church provides. I’ve even found, in the past, a few sermons to be interesting. But…

 

I believe what I believe — my Christian faith — not because of tradition or because I was raised that way. Not because I want fire insurance or hell-avoidance. Not because I want to find a group or place to belong. I believe it on my own, I believe it to be real, I believe it to be important and valid, and I believe the way we have made Christianity out to be is completely wrong. And that’s why I have such a hard time going to church as it is now done.

Reaching people with trendiness

A recent cover story at World Magazine about “NextGen Worship” inspired a strong desire to smack the pastors depicted in the article and in the photos. The cover photo alone enraged me, with the pastor wearing baggy jeans and untucked button-up shirt with flip flops and an ear microphone. Later, the same guy is shown out front of a church holding a paper Starbucks-like cup of coffee. Could he try any harder to be lame?

I’d have liked to have taken that cup of coffee and dumped it on his head. But it’s nothing personal against that guy or his beliefs or sincerity. It’s an anger at something else.

I’m not going to be one of those starched-collar Christians who, based on personal preference, say that this is a sign we’re going to hell in a handbasket and that all things are wrong unless they are done as they were with the Puritans. What I’m saying is that I can’t stand the phoniness, or trendiness, or sameness — or whatever I’m trying to say here — that the church seems to catch onto at the tail end, not even aware of how lame it is. The fact that this is not only actually successful in appealing to people, but attracts them, also disgusts me.

It makes me want to throw up.

It’s buying into some kind of lie or substitution of cool culture as being relevant when it isn’t.

If I see another cool Bible college student or pastoral studies major wearing the hemp choker necklace, flip-flops, open-at-the-collar shirt that’s untucked, and baggy jeans, saying words like “dude” and “sweet”, I will kick their *##. It’s like the Christian version of annoying hipsters, an overly-studied and homogenized “with-it” faux coolness.

Perpetual youth group culture

In recent conversations with a couple of my girlfriends, I expressed an extreme disinterest in Christian guys of my generation.

“I’ve pretty much had it with Christian guys,” I said. “The main problem is that they are ‘guys’ for too long and never become men.”

They are, I theorized, stuck in the youth group culture. The church has encouraged them to never leave that mentality, and so it takes until about age 35 for them to extract themselves into adulthood-land where the women have been waiting for years and have been steadily growing fed up. Men not raised in this evangelical youth culture, I’ve noticed, tend to be vastly different in maturity level.

Youth group culture is a place of video games and pizza parties and perpetual “here we are now entertain us” (thanks for the lyrics, Cobain). When youth leave the appropriate age level (i.e. graduate from high school), they face a difficult moment, a moment made difficult because of age segregation, which I’ll talk about next.

Instead of helping them get on into adulthood, we’ve introduced single’s groups — in the name of helping the unmarried, of course — which are mainly youth groups for those in their 20’s. Which, instead of helping people not be single actually encourages them to never grow up and, instead, use the group as their relationship fix. I see this particularly with Christian guys, this stunted maturity, and it somehow seems to permeate Evangelical culture today.

Age segregation

It would behoove some of the leaders in church to read The Death of the Grown-up. While some of the book becomes a little too nostalgic for specific generations and, oddly, jazz music, it nails it on the idea of how we segregate by age and, sadly, create a self-feeding monster that means teens look to each other for cues and kids look to each other for cues, and the adults “leading” them are pandering to them to get their attention. The end result? Idiocy. Never-growing up. Never asking for behavior beyond what we have let them tell us is normal for their age. They only learn to function in their age level and have no examples or incentive to reach beyond that and mature. We make no demands on their behavior, only bemoan its current state.

The church is especially notorious for doing this. We have kid’s ministries and youth ministries and young adults and older adults — all separated from each other because of age, thereby negating any positive and necessary influence the different ages might have on each other.

The children are removed from the boring main service for their benefit, and the parents get a break. The youth are in youth groups and, consequently, only learn to be youth and actually intensify the silliness of their age by reflecting off of each other. The adults trying to lead the youth fall for the idea that unless we have games and parties and other dumbed-down stuff, we can’t keep their attention.

Why would we be able to keep their attention? We’ve let them take ours and tell us how to treat them. We’ve taught kids and youth to expect to be entertained and now we are in a vicious cycle on how to up the quotient and keep their attention. This is magnified and made even more ugly in a church setting when we try to find a way to insert the gospel into this machine of age segregation.

Focus on the family

Churches now tend to focus on the family. This is good, if you have a family. But, for those of us who are not married or do not have kids or a family, it really sucks. Sure, there’s the obligatory single’s group (which tends to peter out by the 30’s and those still left, at that point, can fend for themselves), but the focus is really on the family unit, and raising children.

Today’s sermon at church, for example, was on the importance of children’s ministry. I walked out at the part where we were told, as the call-to-action part of the sermon, to do our duty and sign up for the various children’s ministries. This was right after the explanation that children’s ministries accounted for the largest chunk of the church’s budget because kids won’t pay attention if you just show up with a Bible; you have to have all kinds of programs and themes and activities…

I left.

I had to.

I don’t know that the minister was wrong, though I think he was in some things he said. I am sure parents appreciate the ability to leave their kids at children’s church and know they’ll have activities and learn a Bible story or whatever, but it annoyed me.

If it isn’t a sermon about marriage, it seems to be a sermon about family. I’ve pretty much had it. The only answer I get, as a single, is a few verses by Paul which are supposed to make me feel good about being single since it’s “the higher road” or some such crap. And then we go back to another sermon directed to those on, I guess, the “lower road.” Or, I’m encouraged to find the other single women of my “advanced” age since the singles group doesn’t really reach up that high anymore.

Whatever. I’m not looking for a program or ministry geared for me and my situation. I’m just looking for people to connect with and be church with. I’d like marrieds and singles and old and young in that group. I’m not looking for easy homogenization.

It won’t work

As it is, I, and others like me, will walk out of churches. The coffee bars in the foyer, the casual attire, the buzz words, all the programs and activities imaginable, the big-screen video monitors, the contemporary music — it is actually repulsive and fake to a large chunk of people.

These are the people churches aren’t aware of, because they aren’t anywhere near a church. They slip in, walk out, and aren’t even missed. They don’t fill out visitor cards. They don’t want to be part of a flow chart or be managed as part of a Church-as-Corporate-Hierarchy system. They don’t want a polite follow-up call or to hear a voice on the other end say that they just wanted to “touch bases” with them to let them know they’re important. Even if those actions are sincere and the only plausible route when a church is so huge, they ring insincere.

Such people, like myself, sound impossible to reach or include in the system of church as we know it today, which is my point. They way we do church today isn’t necessarily being church.

There needs to be something else for those of us who can’t stand the way services are arranged, the way emotions are herded into a set time frame (which today involved — what was impossible for me — going from the whole congregation doing “the wave” as instigated by the children’s pastor into, about ten minutes later, “surrendering to Jesus” with soft piano music and hushed tones), how discussion is nil and being preached at in silence is the accepted method of learning…

…nope. Not gonna work.

I’m not looking for starched Baptist legalism, but Casual Friday Church is as equally fake and disgusting.

My church

I miss my own, small church, from back home. It’s filled with uncool, normal people who just want to help and talk and connect and be real and accountable to each other. It’s filled with people who want to go to the Dairy Queen after service and maybe have an ice cream cone. People who help change a flat tire in the parking lot. The building isn’t huge or fancy. The church doesn’t have programs and any other accessories to attract sub groups, like teens or kids events or anything that smacks of entertainment; there’s no program there to attract me to stay, but instead, it is the real relationships that have done the trick. We greet people not as a job or because we’re the assigned greeter, but because we see they’re new and we want to get to know them.

I feel more like part of the body than an attendee when I go there. I have a place, an integral part, just like all the rest of the people. As it is, the more I attend these larger churches and hear about programs and activities and see places to sign up for classes and possible facility expansion projects…the less I want anything to do with it. I feel like a barcode in the pew, and little else.

I’m having difficulty putting this into words.

I hate to church hop. I don’t want to waste my time here going from one church to the next. I would like to find just a small group of people and meet and talk about our beliefs and struggles and study the Bible and connect on a real level, and let that be church. Because isn’t that what the church is, meeting together with other believers and being accountable and real with each other in our walk?

****

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Atheists Made This Video

Posted by Job on August 22, 2008

Had tip: TheWayOfTheMaster.Org

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Spiritual Warfare And Deliverance On The Subway Part 4

Posted by Job on February 15, 2008

To God be the glory, for great things He is doing!(Part#4) « The Word on the Streets

To God be the glory, for great things He is doing!(Part#4)All of this four part testimony took place in one day. It just goes to show you what God wants to do through all those who avail themselves and want to be used of God for His glory and His Kingdom.

After Dan stood up, we all hugged on him and such joy was in our hearts. Now here was a man who just a short time before, was totally intoxicated from drinking wine. Now he was sober and in his right mind. Praise God!

I have tried to do my best with God’s help to describe what took place, but words do have a limit.

He then asked if he could sing another song, we all said “by all means, let her go”. It was awesome to hear him sing every verse with passion and clarity. By the time he finished, we all knew something was about to break loose.

He yelled out, “DO YOU MIND IF I PREACH?” We smiled and said, “GO FOR IT”. First he started out with his testimony about how God had just delivered him from alcohol. Then he went into The Gospel. It was right on, every word. He shared also about seeking God while He can be found. He told the crowd how that God had said to him, “will you just seek me, I am here if you will seek me” It was awesome!

About that time a lady starts shouting and she walks over and tries to stop the flow of what God is doing. (this is almost standard procedure, the devil does not want things like this to take place so he fights hard.) This other brother goes over to her and finally gets her to go somewhere else.

Out of nowhere, walks up this lady and she says, “can I buy you guys some coffee?” She had been watching all that took place. She takes out her tablet and takes our order. Off she went, and returns with four large coffee’s. What a blessing she had been to all of us. She smiled and hugged us all, and off she went. God bless her richly!

Dan(the brother that just received Christ) continues to preach several times. Many were listening as they waited for the train. About that time another brother walks up and recognizes Dan. He said that he was with the local rescue mission. We then proceeded to tell him all that happened. His eyes began to water. He was very thankful. He said to Dan, “Are we now going to see you in church on Sunday?” Dan said, “You Bet”. Thank you God!

It was time for me to leave and catch the last bus out for the night. All six of us gathered in a circle and lifted up prayer and thanksgiving to God for what He had done that evening.
As another brother was finishing prayer, I heard the sound of Satan again. I looked over across the way, and sure enough his messengers had come to try one last time.

There stood three of them all dressed in black with their long coats, yelling out loud about Satan and saying all their usual junk. They had known what just took place, and they were there to stop it. TOO LATE. THE WORK OF CHRIST HAD ALREADY BEEN DONE. PRAISE HIM!

I pleaded THE BLOOD OF JESUS and we finished prayer and went on our way.

I trust this testimony was a blessing to you. This is just a drop in the bucket of all that God wants to do in these days. If you are not yet a part of what He is doing in the earth today, you need to be. Pray and ask Him, he will show you. He is about people. People are the apex of His creation. He loved them all so much that He gave His Son to redeem them back to himself.
May you be blessed also as you go out and do your part for Him and His Kingdom.
Amen.

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Spiritual Warfare And Deliverance On The Subway Part 3

Posted by Job on February 15, 2008

To God be the glory, for great things He is doing!(Part#3) « The Word on the Streets

To God be the glory, for great things He is doing!(Part#3)In the last post, I had forgotten to mention that on my way to the city in the train, I needed to stop off and use the bathroom at a local store. After that, the Lord wanted me to go to a bus stop close by that I had been to several times before.

After praying, I jumped in and started to preach The Good News on one corner. One young kid didn’t like it, so he sounded off. (I spoke with this kid later, he is one step closer to Christ now) Then a young black guy came over to talk. He listened real well as The Holy Spirit moved upon his heart. It took probably close to an hour before he made the move to receive Jesus. But he did! Praise God! He went off changed by the power of God!

I called him that night on the way home. He said that he was at home resting. Now this was Friday night close to 8:00pm. He was saved from drugs and may have been either in a gang, or had came out of one. But glory to God he is changed! He said to me as we parted on the phone, “pray for me, I just want to live”. That tells it all.

Back to where I left off in “Part#2″.
It was 4:00pm at the train stop and it’s Friday night and there are people in need of hearing The Gospel everywhere as they wait for the train to go home from work. I started in and before long James showed up. We took turns preaching and God’s Spirit was moving as several came up to either take a tract or talk.

Then the distractions came once again. This young guy who had a plastic cup full of wine, starts to scream and yell and gets in our faces. James calms him down as I finish. I went over to him and tried to talk with him. He seemed surprised that I would have come over to talk with him after all his yelling and carrying on.

As we talked, God through His Spirit began to speak to him, a little at a time. He said he had to go use the bathroom, and asked if I would be there when he came back. I assured him I would. I miss out from time to time, but I knew there was hope for this guy. He came back with more wine and seemed to be even more intoxicated. What I really liked about this encounter was that the fact that he was still drinking, but God was still coming after him. I could see transformation taking place.

Now James comes up to talk to him, and gets real straight with him. The guy blows a gasket big time, screams and yells. The crowd turns and begins to listen in as to try and figure out what is going on. The guy storms off. I thought we had lost him then. James begins to preach again.

Minutes later he returns in a huff. I with the help of God, calm him down, and once again we(the Spirit and I) start to share Christ with him. He shares a lot of his problems and fears. Now, it was pretty obvious that this guy was a outcast by others, by the things he shared with me. But God was loving on him big time. I could see His love being poured out on our soon to be brother.

He takes off to smoke a cigarette across the street. I shared with James what was taking place. When he returned glass in hand, James apologizes for some of the things that he had said earlier. They hugged and forgave each other. It was powerful to behold.

James starts in again, sharing God’s love and power to change lives to crowd. The guy who I will call Dan, comes over to me again. This time I am noticing that he is listening more and getting closer to The Kingdom as we spoke. All of a sudden, HE TAKES THE CUP OF WINE AND THROWS IT 30 FEET DOWN THE BRICK WALKWAY. Wow! I was taken back! HE THEN BEGINS TO SING THE SONG, “CREATE A PURE HEART IN ME, O GOD, AND RENEW A STEADFAST SPIRIT WITHIN ME” He sings every word of the song. I noticed that he was sobering up as he was singing. God was moving!

He finishes the song and immediately DROPS TO HIS KNEES AND STARTS TO REPENT BEFORE GOD AND CONFESS. It was really powerful to hear him repent before God and ask Jesus for forgiveness and to be his Saviour and then his Lord. I knelt down with him and prayed for complete deliverance through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. (now remember, this is all taking place in a public square with lots of people standing around watching and listening) Praise God!
We finally stood up together and gave praise to God! He is Born of The SPIRIT OF GOD!

I will continue with “part#4. Wait and see what happens next. It’s a real testimony, glory to God!

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Spiritual Warfare And Deliverance On The Subway Part 2

Posted by Job on February 15, 2008

To God be the glory, for great things He is doing!(Part#2) « The Word on the Streets

To God be the glory, for great things He is doing!(Part#2)After I had finished praying with the man that was blind, I continued to share The Gospel and pass out tracts.

After a while a “transit security” guy came by and said, “you can’t do that here”. I have heard that one before, so I asked him some questions. He said that the property that I was on is being leased from the city and that the transit company does not allow people to preach out loud. I asked him where I could get the information in writing, and he told me where.

So I continued to pass out tracts for a while. I don’t believe in making a big seen and challenging the law when you don’t know for sure if what is being told to you is true or not. I have had a security guard come under conviction before and tried to tell me that I couldn’t preach where I was at. Come to find out he was wrong. Later he told me about how he was away from God etc.

Soon the Spirit was leading me to move to another city. After leaving on the bus, I went to the train that goes into the city. Waiting for the train, I struck up a conversation with a lady sitting on a bench. Come to find out she was a believer. Praise God! We got on the train and she shared with me how God had delivered her from drugs that she had been on for years. Awesome testimony! To God be the glory!

I went to the usual square in the center of the city where we minister from time to time. I did the usual prayer walk for a while. I spotted my brother James from a distance, ministering the Gospel and passing out tracts. I stopped and had prayer for him.

Soon, I walked around the square to where he was. As I approached him, I noticed two brothers standing off to the side praying as James was ministering. I had never seen these two before, so as James finished we all came together and introduced each other. Now this was another divine appointment set by God. Praise Him!

These two brothers, one of which is just getting his feet wet in street ministry are called of God. We shared and had prayer, exchanged telephone numbers. They had to take off to get their car which was on the meter, but both James and I know we will see them soon back out on the streets, the Lord willing.

James and I continued to share with those who would put the brakes on and come over and talk with us. Soon another brother who I haven’t seen in a year downtown, came by and we prayed and ministered together for a while.

I looked at the clock and it said 4:00pm. I had remembered that the Lord had shared with me that morning how he did want me to share in the later afternoon at a particular train stop at the square. So I told James to come over if God so leads him after our other brother had finished preaching.

Well, the post is long enough again. I will stop for now, but do go to “part#3″ when it comes. It’s awesome to hear how God delivered an alcoholic and he sobered him up to preach The Gospel. Powerful! Praise Him! To God be the glory, great things He has done (because it was yesterday) and great things he is doing today.
Also, I left out a soul that God had saved that day.(God help me)

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Spiritual Warfare And Deliverance On The Subway Part 1

Posted by Job on February 15, 2008

To God be the glory, for great things He is doing! « The Word on the Streets

To God be the glory, for great things He is doing!I woke up early this morning giving God praise and glory for what He did yesterday. God is showing forth His power on the streets, big time. He is changing lives. Restoration is taking place right before our eyes. To God be the glory! I pray that you will be inspired to get out and use what gifts and callings that God has blessed you with. You are unique and because of that, you can reach people that I can’t, and vice verse. Isn’t that so like God? He is unique and He made you unique to reach unique people.

It was one of those days where I did not receive orders from Him as to where to start exactly. I was impressed to just set out and see what happens. This is something that I did on a regular basis for about a year, and it was “oh so awesome”. Going out, but not knowing where. I pray that if God has yet to impress you by His Spirit to do this, that He would and that He would do it soon. Amen.

The first human encounter was a young guy at the traffic light on my way walking to the bank. I shared with him and he really listened. I believe it was another seed planting. He took a tract, and I pray that He will come when God again draws his heart to come to Him.

After the bank, (praise God there was money in the bank!) I went to the bus stop and talked (tried to) with a Hispanic man. I don’t know Spanish (but I should) so lately God has had me use a key from my pocket and tell them that the key to God is Jesus Christ. He smiled and nodded his head. I pointed to the heart also.

When I got on the bus, I immediately saw a young kid that I have talked to before. He is very quite. I sensed that there was pain and sorrow in his life, so I asked him, “has there been some painful things happen in your life?” He said yes. I said, “Have you lost a mother, or father? “A family member?” He said no, but that he did not want to talk about it. God knows and I can pray for him.

Soon I got to the first city and the local transit mall. The Lord had me do the usual prayer walk around the block. Then had me stand and start to pass out tracts and do some preaching. A young guy and his girl friend came up and wanted prayer. I first asked them if Jesus Christ was their Lord and Saviour. They said no. So I went through The Gospel with them and praise God they turned from the old life to the new! We prayed and they received Him as Lord and Saviour! The Angels where singing again! Hallelujah!

Well, of course about that time a messenger of Satan shows up (standard procedure) and we rebuked him in Jesus name and pleaded the blood of Jesus Christ. He flees, praise God!

Another brother which I just met a couple of weeks ago, stops by and we have an awesome time talking about God and His goodness. We share out loud what He has done. This is real powerful in a public setting. Whether on a corner, or in a building elevator, or on a bus or train, give God the glory out loud. You will be amazed at what takes place.

I moved across the street and there stood a young black man who was blind. My heart went out to him. I stood there praying for him quietly. Then God’s Spirit moved and I began to talk with him. I asked him if Jesus was his Lord and Saviour. He smiled and said “oh yes”. I asked him how long he had been blind, he said “since I was a year and a half old.” My heart swelled with compassion for the man.

I stood there and The Lord reminded me of my morning walk to the bank earlier. As I was walking along, God began to show me my five senses. I went through all of them one by one. I smelled, I saw, I heard etc. I ran my fingers along the concrete divider. I began to weep and appreciation came over me. Why me? as I thought of others that don’t have some of these senses. I certainly didn’t deserve it. God in His love and mercy has given them to me for His glory. May they be used for Him.

So as I stood there with this blind man, tears of compassion began to flow as I prayed to The Father for him. I looked up and saw the blue sky. The trees with their leaves turning. I pleated with God that he might see again. I asked him if I could pray with him for complete healing of his eyes. He said, “sure”.( before this I was a little reserved, because I have learned that you need to be very careful and sensitive with people who have disabilities). But I really sensed that God’s Spirit was working and He wanted to heal him.

Just as we started to pray, I looked up and there was a girl standing next to us that I have met out on the streets before. I had to refresh my memory and ask her if she was a believer or not. She said she was. I explained to her what was taking place and asked her if she believed that God could restore this man sight. She said, “yes” so we prayed together.

When we finished praying, I asked the man if he could see. He said. “not yet, but I believe I will”. Praise God he will! I believe!

He gave me his telephone number and I expect when I call him, that he will tell me he now sees. Praise to God! He is healing our brother! He will see this side of eternity! He will look up and see the blue sky, the trees! Oh praise God with me! For He is great and greatly to be praised!
“To God be the glory, for great things He is doing!”

I will stop here because I personally don’t like long posts. So if I don’t like them, I will not make them, right?
The above is only one quarter of what God did that day. With His help, I will try to write some more later.

I write these testimonies so that first God would be glorified in them, and second that you the reader would be encouraged to go out and use your gifts and callings for Him and His Kingdom. Amen

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The Audio Gospel Project

Posted by Job on December 21, 2007

Source: The Audio Gospel Project

We at TCBC are thrilled to have completed the Gospel CD which we’ve been working on for the last few weeks. Our desire is to provide our church body with an “audio tract,” a CD which will give their friends, coworkers, neighbors and family members a straightforward, God-focused presentation of the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Regarding the specific content of the message, we tried to provide a gospel presentation that is understandable without being reductionistic and which presents the good news of the gospel as peace with God, not just an escape from hell.

In order to be thorough and avoid a “drive-by shooting” sort of presentation, we took 30 minutes. We are discussing eternity, after all, so we hope the length isn’t a hindrance. We’re enthusiastic about the resource because we believe that the gospel is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 3:15) and that there is a unique power in the gospel message when it is proclaimed and explained (1 Corinthians 1:18 and 21).

In addition to the CD’s, we’re hopeful that having the resource available online will allow our people to send a link of the message to friends and family members via email. We would be thrilled if others would use it, as well. Feel free to link to it from your website, blog, facebook account, email signature, etc. Although it briefly mentions information about our church, I don’t think that you’ll find that to be a distraction. On the other hand, I’d encourage you to take the idea and improve on it in your own local church!

Here are the links for the message:

For the sake of increased quality, you can also download it from my podomatic site, which allows larger files than our SermonAudio site (where recordings are sometimes a bit tinny):

Thanks to those from TCBC who came up with the idea and made suggestions to improve upon it. Thanks especially to Joe Tyrpak, our assistant pastor, for his help with the content and for his excellent work editing the recording! Finally, thanks to The WILDS for giving us permission to use a selection from Matthew Burtner’s recording Hear My Prayer for the interludes.

Please pray with us that the Lord will use His Word to draw many to salvation, and thereby bring glory to His Own Name!

Update: Listen to it below. [splashcast IFRR3829UV]

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