Showing posts from February, 2013

Jesus and the Crusades

Today marks the last day of Pope Benedict XVI's service as head of the Roman Catholic Church. As I travel through my seminary class on church history I have come to appreciate all the church of old has done. Much good has come from the Catholic church. While I don't agree with some of their doctrinal positions, I can't help but admire how much they have practically impacted our culture for the good of Christ's Kingdom. Whether it is in the form of universities, hospitals, or other charitable organizations, the heart for those in need is evident.

Like most large religions, it wasn't always pretty. Most would look to the crusades as a giant blemish on the record of a church that is supposed to love others. I have my own thoughts on the crusades which I won't get into here. Suffice it to say there was great blame on both the Christian and Islamic side, and need for much forgiveness from both sides as well. One of the men who pushed Christians to head out and fight …

Wind-Up Wednesday: Meal, or No Meal

I apologize for the lack of posts over the past week or so. I am gearing up for being out of town for a few weeks and that is taking much of my work time. However, I'm hoping to post a bit more while I'm away. For now, it's good to go back in time and enjoy a little humor from Sesame Street.

Easter Sunday Singables: "Hail the Day"

During these Sundays of Lent leading up to Easter I'll be featuring a different song focused on the resurrection of Christ. We will be doing some of these at our own services leading up to and on the day of Easter.

"Hail the Day" by Steve and Vikki Cook, original lyrics adapted from Charles Wesley, released on Risen from Sovereign Grace Music (2011)

Why I recommend this song for Easter worship-
I chose this song for our Easter service because of it's lyrics, it's simplicity, and it's very singable and choir friendly chorus and bridge. It is a song that focuses us back on Christ's resurrection with joy and worship while also pointing us forward to the promise of Christ bringing us home to be with Him. It consistently shifts the focus to Christ and His work and when it does sing of us, it is in the context of who we are in Christ. This is a song that could very easily be introduced at Easter and then added to the regular worship catalog of the church. It coul…

Wind-Up Wednesday: Contemporvant Worship

A funny take on a lot of modern worship services. I think I can relate to a little too much of this video. Enjoy!

Sunday Singables: "Take My Life"

(Our annual Winter Camp kept me away from the computer on Sunday, so here is this week's Singable, only 1 day late :-) )

"Take My Life" original words by Frances Havergal (1874), new arrangement by Chris Tomlin, released on Hymns: Ancient and Modern by Passion Worship Band

Why I recommend this song for worship-

This past Sunday was the first of the season of lent. When this season was first celebrated by the early church, its purpose was to prepare one for the celebration of Easter that was soon to come. Each person would fast regularly and take extra time each day for prayer, confession, and reflection on Christ and His death and resurrection. This song is particularly appropriate for this season as it speaks of committing all aspects of our life to God. This new melody speaks the same words of the old hymn Take My Life and Let It Be. Each line commits a different aspect of our behavior and our abilities to the Lord's service. As we worship the Lord, it is very approp…

100th Post & A Routine God

I was a bit surprised to see that this is my 100th post. It's been quite a journey since I began this little blog several months ago. I'm constantly amazed at the geographic spread of my readers. I don't know if that is intentional or if someone from Germany or Ukraine did a search for smartphones and Google randomly sent them here. Either way, I appreciate all the kind words and numerous views from everyone. While you all may enjoy this, I think I'm the one that benefits the most. There is something very sweet, and Biblical, about looking back at what God has done and what I'm continuing to learn about Him and through Him.

One of those amazing things I can look back on is all the camps I've had the privilege of being a part of over the years. Today, our youth group heads off to Winter Camp where we'll be focusing on the theme of Salt & Light. This is either my 17th or 18th Winter Camp. Add to that 16 or so Summer Camps and you'd think that this wo…

Wind-Up Wednesday: Creating the Perfect Worship Song

Special thanks to a fellow Google+'er for sending me this one. It pretty much captures the basics of what we song-writers do to make that perfect worship song.

Questions for Kids about Christianity

It is hard to teach young children about our faith in Christ without the proper tools. This was something Martin Luther knew well. It inspired him to come up with his Shorter Catechism to help instruct children about Christianity with simple questions and answers. Since his time many others have followed in his steps, creating catechisms of their own to help young people know the faith better.

A few years ago, our family started doing this too, but we came up with some modified questions, based roughly on Luther and the New City Catechisms. Our kids (all 6 and under) really take to them and memorized them pretty quickly. They have been helpful to us, and maybe they will be helpful for you as well. As you will see, they are very simple which means they don't cover the entirety of what these answers could be, but just give the basics so kids can understand. So, without further adieu, here is a sample of our children's catechism, or "Questions for Kids about Christianity.&q…

Sunday Singables: "Jesus, Lover of My Soul"

"Jesus, Lover of My Soul" verses 1-3 by Charles Wesley, music & verse 4 by Joshua Huff, released on Enriched Affections (2010)

This is another original-ish song I arranged a few years ago. The words come from the hymn "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" which can be found in most modern hymnals. That arrangement is very slow and minor. I had always enjoyed the words, but I wanted something more upbeat that fit with the joyful emotions of being forgiven and finding that perfect lover of our souls, Jesus Christ. So, I wrote this little melody and a new version of this song was born.

Why I recommend this song for worship-

I love how this song points us towards Christ no matter what comes our way. It speaks of the desire to want Christ and Him alone over all other idols or temptations. He is the fount of endless grace and the source of healing. All of these truths are wonderfully encouraging and great to sing back to the Lord from a thankful heart. This has been a good call to…

Gentle As a Grizzly Bear

All of us struggle with different pieces of our personality. Some may wrestle with being overbearing, rude, or arrogant. Others may struggle with being assertive, making decisions, or handling multiple things at once. As a Christian man, a bench-mark I have always looked at to measure myself are the qualifications listed for elders in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Whether you are looking to be an elder or not, all Christians, at whatever stage of their growth in Christ, can look to these as great standards to live by. We should all seek to be self-controlled, not lovers of money, not quarrelsome, managing our homes well, and being hospitable towards others. We should all seek to be above reproach in whatever we do. As I've looked through these lists recently, one characteristic that I need to continually work on in my heart is being gentle.

Gentleness is not only listed as a qualification for elder, but also as a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. That means it's something I need…

Wind-up Wednesday: The Prodigal

Today our wind-up feature is a little different. Everybody needs something different to encourage them and get them through a tough week. For some, it is a little humor to distract and bring a smile. Sometimes for me I need to be reminded that things aren't as bad as I think and that I am a child of the king. Sometimes I need to be reminded of just how much I've been forgiven and how much God has done for me. Today is one of those days. I've posted this video before, but it is good to be reminded of its truth:

(to the tune of "The Prodigal" from Sovereign Grace Music)

And in case you need something mildly funny, here's a video of a tractor doing things a tractor normally shouldn't:

Sunday Singables: "O Great God"

"O Great God" by Bob Kauflin, based on the puritan prayer Regeneration from Valley of Vision, released on Valley of Vision by Sovereign Grace Music (2006)

This song, and the rest from this album, are based on various prayers from The Valley of Vision, a collection of puritan prayers. This book is a great asset to any devotional. You can order it through Amazon or just read many of these prayers online at Banner of Truth's website.

Why I recommend this song for worship-

I am always in need of being reminded about my sin. It is so easy for me to think I'm better than I really am, or to believe I've done a good job saving myself this week. The words of this song bring us back to the reality of Ephesians 1-2, that we were dead in our trespasses and sins, unable to see or hear God, until He came and awakened our hearts. That is the heart of grace and the foundation of the gospel. This particular song walks through a great progression of really understanding our salvati…

Psalm 130 from Martin Luther

I normally post songs on Sunday, but this one has been encouraging to listen to over the past few days. I've heard some of these lyrics before in the song By Grace Alone, but I really like this arrangement. I hope it is encouraging to you as well.

Psalm 130 (From Depths of Woe) words by Martin Luther, music by Christopher Miner

1. From the depths of woe I raise to Thee The voice of lamentation; Lord, turn a gracious ear to me And hear my supplication; If Thou iniquities dost mark, Our secret sins and misdeeds dark,
O who shall stand before Thee? (Who shall stand before Thee?) O who shall stand before Thee? (Who shall stand before Thee?) 2. To wash away the crimson stain, Grace, grace alone availeth; Our works, alas! Are all in vain; In much the best life faileth; No man can glory in Thy sight, All must alike confess Thy might,
And live alone by mercy (Live alone by mercy) And live alone by mercy (Live alone by mercy) 3. Therefore my trust is in the Lord, And not in mine own merit; On Him my…