Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cling to the Crucified

Cling To The Crucified

1. Cling to the Mighty One, Cling in thy grief
Cling to the Holy One, He gives relief
Cling to the Gracious One, Cling in thy pain
Cling to the Faithful One, He will sustain

Chorus: Cling to the crucified, Jesus the Lamb who died
Cling to the crucified, Jesus the King
Cling to the crucified, Jesus the Lamb who died
Cling to the crucified, Jesus the King

2. Cling to the Living One, Cling in thy woe
Cling to the Loving One, Through all below
Cling to the Pardoning One, He speaketh peace
Cling to the Healing One, Anguish will cease

3. Cling to the Bleeding One, Cling to His side
Cling to the Rising One, In Him abide
Cling to the Coming One, Hope shall arise
Cling to the Reigning One, Joy lights thine eyes

© 2007 Kevin Twit Music (ASCAP).
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Words - anonymous from Bonar's "Lyra Consolationis"

Thursday, August 25, 2011


One of the blessings of being on sabbatical this summer was the opportunity to visit a number of churches here and in Phoenix. It was good to be able to join them in worship, be taught in the Word and have an increased contact with the extended body of Christ. My biggest surprise was that many churches don't sing well! I am not referring to the quality of their music or voices - most of the churches had great worship teams, a good selection of songs and I'm sure most people had much better singing voices than I. The problem was that I couldn't hear people singing. In some cases there were not many people so they may have felt uncomfortable putting their voice out there. In other places the buildings were so large and the sound was just absorbed so if people were singing, I couldn't hear them. In other congregations - people just didn't sing.

Colossians 3:14-17 creates a direct connection between, the love of Christ, love for one another, the peace of Christ, the Word of Christ, the work of Christ though our activity and ..... singing. When we sing out - particularly as a gathered congregation - our gathering is transformed, our hearts are enlivened and readied for serving, and the imparting of the Word is accomplished on a deeper level. There have been many occasions when I arrive at church and just don't feel like singing, or the songs just don't seem to appeal to me; but when I choose to join in, raise my voice and participate -  a transformation happens, the gates of my soul are opened to the Spirit, the readiness of my heart to participate in the Word is shifted and my engagement with other believers is put into motion as we join voices.

I love singing at the Vineyard. Perhaps its the small building that causes the sound to bounce and bang off the walls filling the space with sound. Perhaps its that we are all packed in so tightly that our voices really seem like one, or perhaps it is that we just like to sing. Either way - it transforms our hearts, it pulls us together, it realigns our attentions and it exalts Jesus.

So - SING!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


So I am back to my office following a three month sabbatical. Part of the purpose of the time was to study the sabbath, work, ministry, and family rhythms of the early Puritans and then bring some of those insights into my day. It seemed a reasonable goal - figure out how it all works and then make it work! Did I learn things? yes. Did I put some of it into practice? yes. Is it all figured out and working? no.  I do have some random insights at this point...

* There is no such thing as a routine day! To even think such a thing exists would mean that everything is in my control - it would remove God from the equation. Granted, most days are comprised of a number of very similar elements and they can seem routine because they are always present but they get juggled around, relationships are always shifting, there are frequent unexpected problems, joys and opportunities. I discovered that planning and structure are important but only because they give a platform for constantly making adjustments. I thought that with the removal of all the time and energy of full time ministry removed for three months it would be easy to establish routines of sabbath rest in my day and week - not so.
* I discovered that "distractions" are not the enemy of sabbath rhythms rather they are daily opportunities to press closer to Jesus. In reading the Gospels, Jesus was often trying to get away alone but the crowds would find Him out - it says that He often could not even find time to eat. Yet, His life was still marked by regular patterns of work-ministry-rest.
* Insights follow study and experience. Of course we all know this but it is an on-going process - the insights get deeper over time but it does take time.
* I think the goal of sabbath is not achieving but depending. It is not something I accomplish but an ongoing longing for more of Him. The Lord said He allowed the Israelites to hunger so that they would learn that man does not live on bread alone but on the words of God. He wanted them to look to Him, to depend on Him - this was far more important than getting it right.
* Ultimately sabbath is not learned ... it is practiced... over and over and over. Here is the heart of it - it is moment by moment and a perpetual activity of the heart. Just orienting ourselves in that direction again and again is transformative and brings our minds and activity and hearts in line with the truth that we are already at rest in the finished work of Christ.

So how do we see these rhythms work out with full schedules, kids, flat tires, money problems, work stress.....? It begins and continues by having a longing for Him, a heart bent on receiving His gift of rest - in that turning and longing He begins to shape our days.