What Christmas Means to Me, Part 1 w/Tommy Walker
Welcome to Christmas Haven Today. I’m Charles Morris sharing the great story that’s all about Jesus. He leads worship for Franklin Graham, Rick Warren and Jack Hayford. He also leads worship for his local church in Hollywood and you’re going to meet him in the next few minutes. And if you haven’t gotten the “Jesus Storybook Bible” there’s still time before Christmas. You need to get in touch by going to haventoday.org or by calling 1-800-65-HAVEN. Now listen to the heart of a worship pastor in a brand new song from a brand new Christmas album by Tommy Walker.
Song: I Vow to Worship You
Performed by: Tommy Walker
This is Haven Today, I’m Charles Morris and that’s “I Vow to Worship You”, it’s a brand new song by Tommy Walker. And I’m in Tommy’s church right now, Christian Assembly. Tommy, welcome to Haven Today.
TW: Thank you so much for having me.
CM: Well, I’m on your turf, this is your church where you’re the worship pastor. And a lot of people would know your music. Maybe they’ve seen you at a Franklin Graham crusade or a Harvest crusade with Greg Laurie and I know you go to a lot of large churches and lead worship like Saddleback or Church on the Way, but we’re at your church where you’re the worship pastor and that’s significant, isn’t it?
TW: It sure is. You know, I’ve been here at Christian Assembly in Eagle Rock, which is just next door to Pasadena for, on staff for 19 years. I have been so blessed by being a part of a local church but early, early on when I was younger I was fighting my way to be a part of music ministry and I wanted to be a Christian artist and I was making demos and doing all these different things. And it wasn’t until I began to just give my gifts away to a local church and when I did that, God began to bless me and allowed me to do everything I ever dreamed of, all through a simple place called Christian Assembly and thanks to my pastor Mark Pickerel who has freed me up and blessed me to go out.
CM: Now, by some standards a couple thousand people every Sunday is a large church but, you know, for someone who travels around a lot like you in large venues, this isn’t a large church. But the nice thing is you know people and they know you, they know your family, they know your 4 kids, don’t they?
TW: That’s right. My kids have grown up in this church, never been in another church. This is my family. They know me. You know, you can only be impressive a couple weeks in a row. Christian Assembly knows what I am and what I’m not. And the other thing that is such a blessing about Christian Assembly, and one reasons I, I just don’t ever want to leave is, I call it the “Worship Laboratory” where we can really try, we can try and fail, and sometimes we fail, sometimes we succeed, but always looking for that fresh way to say, “We love you Lord”. And some churches, I don’t know, there doesn’t seem to be the ability to crash and burn.
CM: Well, you, it’s almost like you’ve got to put on something that you’re not. You can’t be real. But God wants us for who we are in front of him, with no airs.
TW: That’s right.
CM: Isn’t that right? Well, we just heard one of the songs, in fact it’s my favorite from your brand new Christmas album and that’s the praise band that is here with you every Sunday that’s on this new Christmas album that you just released. And it’s pretty good. You know, it is Christmas and we’re taping this a few days before it goes on the air but I’m just thinking, this is a time of year that a lot of people realize that they don’t have it all together, more than at other times. In fact, there are people that are a lone, I know that because people write us and call us and ask us to pray for them. But you see that yourself, don’t you?
TW: Yes, being part of a church you, you get to see a lot of the heartache that’s out there. And unfortunately, the holidays can be the saddest time of year for many people because so many broken families and broken relationships. And people can feel so alone and you know, the enemy can really come in like a flood and discourage people. And so I really pray for people out there, maybe somebody listening right now, just to remind you that you are not alone. There is a God who loves you, who knows your name and who is seeking you out to make his presence real to you even now.
CM: Hmm. I’m thinking of a song you wrote. It’s not a Christmas song but it’s a song that sure applies this time of year as well as any time, isn’t it? You know I’m thinking about that song, don’t you?
CM: In fact, probably our listeners have heard it as well.
TW: yeah, maybe I can tell a little story. This is a song called, “He knows My Name”. About 10 years ago I had the privilege of going to the Philippines and I stayed in an orphanage there for 3 days. And it was called Happy House and when I was there, there was a little orphan named Jerry, 7 year old boy. And these are some of the forgotten people of the world,
TW: I mean babies literally just abandoned in a poor place in the world. So I introduced myself to Jerry and the next day he comes running up to me and says, “Tommy, what’s my name?” And I said, “Jerry! I know your name!” And he said, “Tommy, we’re friends, right?” And I said, “That’s right Jerry.” And then about an hour later he comes running up to me again, “Tommy, what’s my name?” And I said, “You know I know your name. it’s Jerry!” He says, “We’re friends, right?” And I said, “That’s right.” And then again and again, he kept saying, “Tommy, what’s my name?” And I realized, you know he just, he wanted to be known. I mean he would be one of the more kind of unknown people on the earth. And I was so touched by that. And of course I was able to tell him, “Jerry, I know you and I am your friend but there’s one much greater than me who made you and Jerry, you’re not an accident. Before the foundations of the world God planned you and has a purpose and a calling for your life.” I’ve gotten to share this story and this song in many parts of the world and you know, you don’t have to be a poor orphan to feel unknown and to feel alone. You can be alone in your marriage, your family, your school, your job, but the God we worship today, this holiday season is the God that goes after the one lost lamb. He’s the God – I like to say – of the underdog. Thank God he chooses and loves all the wrong people like me, you know. And so, just allow the presence of God, the love of God to come, the Heavenly Father love to come and hold you and remind you that he sees every tear that’s ever fallen.
Song: He Knows My Name
Performed by: Tommy Walker
Amen, “He Knows My Name”. I’d say that works well at Christmas too Tommy. Thank you. You know we live in a world with orphans. We’re here in LA right now talking from your church office and there are people that are orphans here and they don’t even know they’re orphans. That’s the tragic thing. They may have all the money in the world and they may have biological parents but yet they are still lost. Do you have a word for them?
TW: Well, I think what you’re getting at is, we all have a Heavenly Father who’s the One who created us. And we were created to know him and to be known by him. And there’s a longing, a deep, deep longing, and the Bible calls it, we have an eternal hope in the deepest part of us to know this God. And today people are doing insane, crazy things in Los Angeles and all over this world because they’re searching for that sense of God’s presence, that nearness of the Creator. The story of the Gospel is the story of God’s Son coming, taking our place, taking our sins so that barrier of our sin would be no more between this Creator, Heavenly Father God that we long for. And this day, even in this moment, on this radio program your Heavenly Father’s calling your name, calling out your name saying, “Come home, come home my son or my daughter.” So that you can know his presence and know his love that, that empty spot that you’re trying to fill with who knows what, this Christmas season he’s calling your name, says, “Come home to me. Let me fill you up with purpose and love and hope and joy.”
CM: You know Tommy, hearing you say that I’m reminded of another, another song that’s brand new on this Christmas album you’ve just put out and I think you’re calling it “It’s Your Presence”. But that’s what I’m reminded of and we need to be in the presence of our Heavenly Father, especially at Christmas time.
TW: That’s right. You know, the whole idea behind this song is you know, there’s a lot of things I wish for, gifts I want, gifts under my tree, but I’ll tell you what, I can say from the depths of my heart, there is nothing like God’s presence. It is what I long for, what I live for is that sense of God’s touch in my life and God, through Jesus, is available to all of us.
Song: It’s Your Presence
Performed by: Tommy Walker & Marsha Skidmore
Tommy Walker behind Marsha Skidmore with a song called “It’s Your Presence” from Tommy’s brand new praise and worship album, “What Christmas Means to Me” here on Haven Today. You know Christmas involves sharing and here on this program we’re all about sharing Jesus Christ, his birth and his death, his resurrection and his coming again. That’s what we get to share with you and a lot of other people around the world every day. If you believe that sharing Jesus is the most important thing for a believer, then may I invite you to help us share the great story with others? As a thank you for your Christmas gift, I’d like to send you this new praise and worship album, “What Christmas Means to Me” or you might want to share the “Jesus Storybook Bible” with your own family or with others. Just call us at 1-800-654-2836, that’s 1-800-654-2836 or if it’s a little easier to remember, 1-800-65-HAVEN. Or go to our website, haventoday.org, that’s one word, h.a.v.e.n.t.o.d.a.y, haventoday.org. Please let us know the station you’re listening to when you get in touch. We’re a listener supported ministry and that means we share Jesus thanks to your help. So thank you for helping. I’m Charles Morris. Come back again tomorrow when again Tommy Walker will be with us and together we’ll share the true meaning of Christmas here on Haven Today.