Wednesday, April 27, 2011


"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs ..." Col. 3:16

As we wrap up our Sunday morning series in Titus, "Beautiful Doctrine",  we come back full circle in Titus 3:14 with a reminder that our lives/actions are to "adorn" the doctrines that we teach. Paul makes it abundantly clear that we are to be sound in doctrine and then he challenges us to live in ways that show the beauty of the truth of God. There are, of course, many ways to do this - one way that I have been considering is through singing and through writing songs. Colossians makes a very direct connection between the truth of God in His Word and the expression of that through songs of many kinds.

I have been studying the Puritans for some time now - they give a great deal of attention to teaching, doctrine and duty - things we see in Titus. They are sometimes accused of not "adorning" their doctrine - that it is often "cold" and lacking in "heart" and grace. I have discovered that a wealth of hymns flowed out of the Puritan's and those that followed them and not just from "hymn writers" but from the preachers and theologians. Richard Baxter wrote several wonderful songs. Philip Doddridge, who wrote "The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul" and was known for his writing and preaching (William Wilberforce came to faith through his book), wrote over 400 hymns! Even John Bunyan wrote a hymn found in many of our old hymn books.

When God's Word deeply touches our hearts, when we let it work its way through the hard places, when we hear His truth and embrace it, preach it and stand unwavering upon it - what is the external result? Well one result should be an outpouring of songs! Pastor's should not just be teachers - they ought  to be singers and hymn writes as well!!! Songs that adorn doctrine and ultimately lift up Jesus ought to be on the lips of all of us.

William Gadsby (1773-1844) was known as a preacher (he preached over 12,000 sermons!), unwavering in the doctrines that he held; but that wasn't all - songs flowed from his heart as well. He compiled a hymn book and contributed over 150 songs of his own. May we be people of absolute truth, sound in doctrine and full of music and songs about our Savior.

Jesus, the Lord, My Savior
By William Gadsby
(updated by Sandra McCracken)

1. Jesus, the Lord, my Savior is,
My Shepherd, and my God;
My light, my strength, my joy, my bliss;
And I His grace record.

2. Whate’er I need in Jesus dwells,
And there it dwells for me;
’Tis Christ my earthen vessel fills
With treasures rich and free.

Chorus: Mercy and truth and righteousness,
And peace, most richly meet
In Jesus Christ, the King of grace,
In Whom I stand complete.

3. As through the wilderness I roam,
His mercies I’ll proclaim;
And when I safely reach my home,
I’ll still adore His name.

4. “Worthy the Lamb,” shall be my song,
“For He for me was slain;”
And me with all the heavenly throng
Shall join, and say, “Amen.”

Thursday, April 21, 2011


"For God has not destined us to wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us ...." I Thess. 5:9

What Wondrous Love Is This
Alexander Means (1835)

Verse 1
What wondrous love is this
O my soul O my soul
What wondrous love is this O my soul
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul for my soul
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul

Verse 2
When I was sinking down
Sinking down sinking down
When I was sinking down sinking down
When I was sinking down
Beneath God's righteous frown
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul for my soul
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul

Verse 3
To God and to the Lamb
I will sing I will sing
To God and to the Lamb I will sing
To God and to the Lamb
Who is the Great I Am
While millions join the theme
I will sing I will sing
While millions join the theme I will sing

Verse 4
And when from death I'm free
I'll sing on, I'll sing on
And when from death I'm free I'll sing on
And when from death I'm free
I'll sing and joyful be!
And through eternity I'll sing on, I'll sing on
And through eternity I'll sing on.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


This week I have been helping transport my son's 5th grade class to and from the Davis Monthan Air Force Base for a special week studying math and science applications - they are having a great time. I have been driving my Jeep and with the great weather I have the top down and the sides off - 5th grade boys love an open air Jeep. They are hanging their heads outside the Jeep, waving their arms , yelling at every car that drives by - basically being 12 year olds and loving the moment. I , on the other hand, was about to say: "Knock it off!" Before the words came out I thought - "what's the big deal?" They weren't doing anything wrong, just being boys and loving it.

As I have pondered what I guess is my being too "uptight" or my diminishing ability to enjoy the moments of delight that God so graciously gives - perhaps it is because of carrying a load of cares. When the burdens , anxieties and cares of the world start stacking up, delight... joy ... laughter... rest.   play... and yes, even worship all slip away. Ezekiel 12 talks about God causing the people to eat their bread under a load of care and anxiety - it was a judgment to turn them back to the Lord. There is no joy in eating when we are burdened! Scriptures tell us to "cast all our care on Him." It is more than just telling Him about them, we are to unload the full responsibility of our cares onto the Lord. Anything less is actually a mark of unbelief and sin. ouch!

5th grade boys can teach me a great deal. These boys don't really have any cares and it frees them up to fully enjoy the little delights that God brings. I serve a mighty God, my cares are a light load for Him and I get to trade them in for rest, joy, freedom, beauty, fresh insights, and moments of wonder! It's a good deal.

Monday, April 4, 2011


I was recently struck with a couple lines from Mark 8. Jesus had just performed an incredible miracle testifying to His Kingship - out of compassion He feeds the 4000. This was one more in a long line of unmistakable manifestations of His divinity and yet how do the Pharisees respond? They ask for a sign. Mark 8:12 and 13 states "Sighing deeply in His spirit... Leaving them, He again embarked and went away to the other side." What a sad statement - "...He went away to the other side..."

Daily, in our very midst - the Lord is working wonders - as Tozer says, "Always a living person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting Himself whenever and wherever His people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation." How much do I miss, how often do I pray for God to do a work and at the same time ignore of miss His obvious workings? Having eyes to see the Lord's wonders takes some practice - being intentional about looking, seeking and then upon seeing His activity, giving thanks, and pointing it out to others. Will God do wondrous things among us today? Of that, there is no doubt. Will we take notice?