Yesterday I shared the song Hallelujah on the piano at a nursing home. I had written some new verses for this song and talked about one of them with the group. As I spoke about the inspiration behind it, I was deeply moved. Here is the verse:
“Those who’ve been forgiven more,
Respond with love to the Lord,
So remember all the grace He’s given to ya,
He pursues you when you go astray,
When you choose wrong and lose your way,
Forgiveness gives you back your Hallelujah!”
Once while Jesus was dining at the home of Simon, a religious leader, a woman who had a reputation for living a sinful life walked into Simon’s house. She stood at Jesus feet and sobbed in Christ’s loving presence. She was so moved and grateful for the grace, redemption, and lack of judgement she had found with Jesus that she washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
She even kissed Jesus feet and anointed them with expensive perfume. I was so overwhelmed as I spoke of how Jesus heart must have gone out to her… but then, sadly, this was compromised and soiled by Simon’s judgmental attitude toward the woman.
So Jesus told Simon a story about a king who forgave a man a smaller debt and another man a larger debt. Who do you think loved the king more?
Answer: The one who was forgiven more.
“I tell you, her sins–and they are many–have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Luke 7:47 NLT
I suppose the reason I get emotional over that story is because I can so relate to being the prodigal who has been warmly welcomed home by a loving heavenly Papa. This woman’s story is the prodigal son story fleshed out in a real life event in Jesus life. The woman is the prodigal and the religious leader was the older brother. We all ought to celebrate the grace and redemption of Jesus and then, like the Father does, gently and lovingly urge the “older brothers” among us to join the party!
Here is a Ukelele version of this brand new take on the song. It has a new melody and everything!
More Nursing Home Ministry Update:
My ministry concerts just keep getting better and better. My wife asks me how my concert went day after day and my reply has been for a while now, “It was the best one yet”!
A year ago I had a desire to be able to start incorporating piano into my concerts. Now I have enough really nice arrangements of piano songs in my repertoire to fill up an hour or more and have written a few songs on the piano as well. I love it!
I wanted to learn to play Be Thou My Vision on the piano because it is such a beautiful and powerful song. Read the song story here! The first time I decided to try Be Thou My Vision on the piano at a concert I figured that I would just play block chords which I was confident I could do. Instead I was amazed when I played all this arpeggiation and how the song had such flow and feeling. It was a great feeling to have communicated the song so well!
I shared Be Thou My Vision recently in Sheboygan and one lady talked with me afterwords. “That was one of my most favorite hymns. Thank you for sharing that. I am so glad I came down and I almost missed it. I enjoyed it so thoroughly even though I am in such incredible pain!” she said as she gripped my hand.
It blessed my heart so much recently at my concert in Milwaukee when one lady afterwords said, “I just feel so full of God! I just feel so full of God!” And this after I shared with her the “Leonard Nimoy blessing” and talked about what God’s Name, El Shaddai, means. From my studies it indicates that God is the One who fully satisfies our hearts. All our longings, desires, needs, and dreams. God satisfies them all!
It is interesting to think that this is why there is absolutely no reason to sin. To sin is not to trust and to look elsewhere to meet your “needs” or to find your identity in something less than God our Good Shepherd. If Jesus is your Good Shepherd, he takes such good care of his sheep that they lie down in green pastures. You, an ignorant helpless sheep, have all that you need, you are so full of blessing to the point that your lying down at rest with all this lush provision all around you. Your thirst is so satisfied in God and the peace he gives calms your heart and mind, your cup runs over with blessing!
I’d suggest for us all to read and meditate on Psalm 23 NLT:
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord