Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It Never Grows Old

... and it's still being written!

You Are Here

Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

HT: Between Two Worlds

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Your Kingdom Come ...

... Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:10


Let The Nations Be Glad!

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth.
Psalm 67:4

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Happy Song That Makes Me Sad

"Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom of priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" 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!" And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshipped.
Revelation 5:9-14
Verse 1
Let the children sing a song of liberation
The God of our salvation set us free
Death, where is thy sting? The curse of sin is broken
The empty tomb stands open, come and see

He's alive, alive, alive. Hallelujah!
Alive! Praise and glory to the Lamb.
He's alive, alive, alive. Hallelujah!
Alive forever. Amen

Verse 2
Let my heart sing out, for Christ, the One and only
So powerful and holy rescued me
Death won't hurt me now because He has redeemed me
No grave will ever keep me from my King

I'm alive, alive, alive, hallelujah!
Alive! praise and glory to the Lamb.
He's alive, alive, alive. Hallelujah!
Alive forever. Amen

Worthy is the Lamb, worthy of our praise
Worthy is the One who has overcome the grave
Let the people dance, let the people sing
Worthy is the mighty King.

Alive, Forever, Amen by Travis Cottrell
If you've never heard this song, you can listen to it in the previous post (second youtube video). I heard this song for the first time two years ago when I first started attending my current church. It was the last song we sang at our outdoor Easter service. I remember that even though I had never heard it before, my joy in singing it that first time reached higher than it did for most other songs that I sing. Today we sang that song as a corporate body for only the third time since I've been at West Hills. We only sing it once a year. It's always the last song we sing on resurrection Sunday.

As we came to the end of this song that first time I sang it three years ago, I just wanted to keep on singing. I didn't want to stop. A happy song isn't supposed to make you sad. It's supposed to make you happy. So why does this song make me sad? Because I don't want to stop singing it. And each year the song always comes to an end.

This morning as we closed our resurrection celebration service, I gained some insight into why this song makes me sad. Overwhelmed with joy and vocal chords wearied, I paused for a moment and just watched the choir on stage that was singing, almost all of them displaying clear expressions of joy. And as I looked at them, the Holy Spirit prompted me to open my Bible to Revleation 5. As the singing continued, I read verses 9-12 and it hit me: These words that we are singing aren't just our grateful response to Jesus for His death and resurrection for us. More than that, these words, this very song, is the reason why He went to the cross. He died in order to hear this song. This song is the whole point. I was created by the Word who became flesh, purchased by the blood of the Lamb, justified with the righteousness of Christ, and am being sanctified by His Spirit so that I will sing this song forever. This song is my reason for being that will be realized when I one day am present before the throne of the Lamb.

But as I sing today, I know that the song will come to an end and we will all go home and go on with the rest of our day. Will we forget about the song? I don't want to forget about the song. And yet I know that if I stop singing, part of me will forget as I get bogged down with the affairs of this world, losing sight of what an infinitely glorious reality it is that the Lamb was slain ... for me. And that's why I don't want to stop singing. That's why it makes me sad to stop.

As much joy that I feel singing this song with a gathering of hundreds of men and women in Morgan Hill, this is nothing compared to the myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands from every tribe and language and people and nation who will one day sing this song. This is the smallest foretaste of what it will sound and feel like on that great day. So as this resurrection Sunday comes to an end, my heart longs not just to keep singing that song, but to hear more men and women who look nothing like me and speak nothing like me singing that song. And my greatest hope is in knowing that on that day the song won't end.

Thank You, Jesus, for Your passion. And thank You that You designed a universe in which praise isn't just the expression of our joy but is the consummation of it. When we stop singing, our joy decreases. And oh, how we long for our joy to be made complete! So give us the grace to labor faithfully to finish Your Great Commission so that we might hasten Your coming, if we don't go home to be with You first. And grant us the grace to live each day as resurrection Sunday in the wonder of Your gospel. In Your great name, Amen.

Resurrection Sunday!

Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
John 2:19

Saturday, April 11, 2009

That's My King

HT: Christ Is Deeper Still

The Center Of The Whole Bible

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:21-26

And more on the cross and resurrection from one of my favorite Bible teachers:

The Strange Triumph of a Slaughtered Lamb - Revelation 12

A Miracle Full of Surprises - John 11

Why Doubt the Resurrection of Jesus - John 20:24-31

The Ironies of the Cross - Matthew 27:27-51

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Hail the perfect Lamb of God
A kingly ransom paid
When You, my Lord, were slain
Love unrivaled here displayed
Calls my heart to praise
The perfect Lamb of God

The light of day was cloaked by night
And heaven closed its eyes
Wrath unspared for countless sins
The guiltless crucified
Hands of kindness driven through
Back on splintered beam
The holy curtain torn in two
Atonement made for me

Insults mock the Son of God
The angels are restrained
But all the cup must be endured
For sinners to be saved
Can grace prevail in such a day
Of scandal and of scorn?
But with a cry “Forgive” You claim
Traitors as Your own

As You drew Your final breath
My debt was satisfied
And love divine in glorious might
Would vanquish death and rise

-Perfect Lamb of God by Sovereign Grace
Sunday is coming.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday: On this day four events are commemorated: the washing of the Disciples' Feet by Jesus Christ, the institution of the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, the agony of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the betrayal of Christ by Judas Iscariot.

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel's veins
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains

Lose all their guilty stains
Lose all their guilty stains
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day
And there may I, though vile as he
Wash all my sins away

Wash all my sins away

E'er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply
Redeeming love has been my theme
And shall be till I die

And shall be till I die
And shall be till I die
Redeeming love has been my theme
And shall be till I die

Wash all my sins away
Wash all my sins away
Redeeming love has been my theme
And shall be till I die

Song originally written by William Cowper
And here are two stanzas from the original not included in this modern version:

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power
’Til all the ransomed church of God
Be saved to sin no more.

When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save.

Thank You, Father, for the gift of music and those who are able by Your grace to compose it and write it. For many of us who You were pleased to give other gifts to, we rejoice to express with these words and these songs the truths that You enabled these dear men and women to articulate in ways that we long to but probably never could. Thank You for the diversity of the body of Christ in which we are all united because of the body of Christ broken. In His precious name, Amen.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Heart Searching Words

From the blog of a brother and shepherd in Toronto (who I had the great privilege to meet last April at Together for the Gospel):
I am re-reading Dallimore’s masterpiece, George Whitefield: The Live and Times of the Great Evangelist of the 18th Century Revival. The first time I read this work, it was almost too much for me. My takes on evangelism, godliness, sacrifice, endurance, ministry, work and faith were all shattered.

Half way through volume one I am newly impressed with the godliness of Whitefield and those who laboured with him. Page after page speaks of nights spent in prayer, seasons of almost tangible closeness to God and their hard striving after true fellowship with the real God. They trained for godliness and perhaps none so much as George Whitefield.

I get the feeling he would not have watched a lot of television.

I watched some DVD’s the other night. I was excited to do so. I was “ready” for a break and some entertainment. (I generally only “get” to watch something 2 or 3 nights a week.) But the day after brought a tough realization. Not only had I wasted a lot of time, but I had trained my mind for sensuality.

Maybe nobody else experiences this when they watch television, but I find that its promise of smooth, effortless happiness is deceptive. Rarely does TV keep its promise. And if it does, it tends to add two other things.

First, there is the obvious slipping in of sin that almost without exception accompanies anything good we might watch. Adultery is justified, immorality exalted, the Lord’s name used vainly and a host of other sins all nicely packaged in humour or mystery or a great story. Rarely does the devil force-feed sin.

Secondly, the promise of pleasure orients my heart to look for the same from the rest of life. My TV may turn off, but my desires for effortless happiness have been awakened. I want the rest of life to be like TV – flip the channel or switch the DVD if it’s boring or not satisfying and keep on doing so until I find that happiness.

So, I brought the DVD’s back to my friend and didn’t watch the TV last night.

And I am praying that my gracious God would not only forgive me for hours of life wasted in front of that box, but would enable me to train for godliness like never before.
Keep us, O God, from forgetting that it's always a slow fade. Almost everything we watch on television trains us to desire ease and think that this is our home. But remind us again and again that we are pilgrims in conflict and grant us the diligence to constantly train for godliness, knowing that this is not our home. In Jesus' name, Amen.