Monthly Archives: March 2012

HYMN: Whate’er my God ordains is right

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
His holy will abideth;
I will be still whate’er he doth;
And follow where he guideth.
He is my God: though dark my road.
He holds me that I shall not fall.
And so to him I leave it all,
He holds me that I shall not fall.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He never will deceive me.
He leads me by the proper path;
I know he will not leave me.
I take, content, what he hath sent.
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait his day,
His hand can turn my griefs away.

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
Though now this cup, in drinking,
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it all, unshrinking.
My God is true; each morn anew.
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
And pain and sorrow shall depart,
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart.

Whate’er my God ordains is right.
Here shall my stand be taken.
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
Yet am I not forsaken.
My Father’s care is round me there.
He holds me that I shall not fall,
And so to him I leave it all,
He holds me that I shall not fall.

–Samuel Rodigast, 1676

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Friday Funny: Tennessee Ernie Ford-“Sleepin’ At the Foot of the Bed”

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Christian Ministry in the Shadow of the Mosque: Panel Discussion at Southern Seminary

Albert Mohler, David Sills, Daniel Montgomery, Zane Pratt and Russell Moore come together in a panel discussion at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY on the topic, “Christian Ministry in the Shadow of the Mosque.”  This is very beneficial to those Christians who seek to know and minister to Muslims in an effective and Christ-honoring way. 

 

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Schoolhouse Rock and the Value of Timeless Quality

My wife picked up a DVD of some old Schoolhouse Rock videos for $5.00 at the store recently.  I’m not sure if you have been exposed to these epic cartoon shorts, but they were fantastic for me as a child growing up in the 1970s.  They dealt with math, grammar, civics, and a number of other educational subjects, but put them to great rock lyrics (with some classical and jazz thrown in) with some very unique animation. 

My favorite one is given below, which talks (sings?) about how a bill becomes a law.  An entire course in legislation in three minutes!

 

 

A close second is “Conjunction Junction”:

 

Followed by “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here.”

(Yes, there are a number, and you can click here to view a bunch of others.)

The truth is, quality is timeless!  When you do something, do so with excellence in mind!  Don’t just skate by.  “Whatever you do, do as unto the Lord and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23; Cf. 1 Corinthians 10:31). 

Even though this videos were done in the 1970’s does not mean they are outdated.  Quality lasts.  And when you watch these, I hope you appreciate the effort and creativity that went into this. 

And dear church, doesn’t God deserve our very best in quality, excellence, and creativity?  For His glory?  Be inspired and motivated!

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Shout, Shout the Battle Cry of Freedom

James M. McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford Press, 1988) has been sitting on my shelf for a number of months.  And as I read through other Civil War volumes, the more I would see this landmark book referenced—and for good reason.  Written in 1988, it received the coveted Pulitzer Prize. 

Before the book gets into even the Preface, the explanation of the book’s title is given.  Battle Cry of Freedom was a song written during the Civil War in 1862 by George F. Root, one of the leading Civil War composers.  If you have watched the Ken Burns’ documentary on the Civil War, you will hear this catchy tune all through the project. 

But what I did not realize is that there is a Union version and a Confederate version of Battle Cry of Freedom.  Below is the Union version:

Yes we’ll rally round the flag, boys, we’ll rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom,
We will rally from the hillside, we’ll gather from the plain,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

(Chorus)
The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah!
Down with the traitor, up with the star;
While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

We are springing to the call of our brothers gone before,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And we’ll fill our vacant ranks with a million freemen more,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

Chorus

We will welcome to our numbers the loyal, true and brave,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And although they may be poor, not a man shall be a slave,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

Chorus

So we’re springing to the call from the East and from the West,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And we’ll hurl the rebel crew from the land we love best,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

And now the Confederate version, which was adapted by H.L. Schreiner and lyricist W.H. Barnes.

Our flag is proudly floating on the land and on the main,
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Beneath it oft we’ve conquered, and we’ll conquer oft again!
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!

(Chorus)
Our Dixie forever! She’s never at a loss!
Down with the eagle and up with the cross!
We’ll rally ’round the bonnie flag, we’ll rally once again,
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!

Our gallant boys have marched to the rolling of the drums.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
And the leaders in charge cry out, "Come, boys, come!"
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!–

Chorus

They have laid down their lives on the bloody battle field.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Their motto is resistance — "To the tyrants never yield!"
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!–

Chorus

While our boys have responded and to the fields have gone.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Our noble women also have aided them at home.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!–

Chorus

In analyzing this, we see that they have a different view of ‘freedom’ that crystallized the battle cry.  In the Union version, the third verse has a phrase, “And although he may be poor / Not a man shall be a slave.”  In the Confederate version, their third verse has the phrase, “Their motto is resistance, to tyrants we’ll not yield!”

For the Union, the freedom cry was, eventually by late summer of 1862, to emancipate the slaves.  For the Confederates, it was to run the Yankees out of their land who tried to bend their will by forceful coercion (which is why Southerners sometime call it the War of Northern Aggression). 

Commonalities to Christians’ View of Freedom

When Christians begin to view freedom, they fall on one of two sides.  One side says, “I’m free in Christ—I have the liberty to do what I please.”  Paul dealt with this in Romans 6:1-4:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

By Paul saying that where sin increases, graces increases all the more (Romans 5:18-21), some said they were now free to sin so grace would increase.  No, this is not the type of freedom Scripture speaks of.  We are joined to Christ—that old life and old desire is gone (2 Corinthians 5:17). 

The other camp says that we are now free to obey Him:

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.

Christians are now instruments of righteousness, set free to obey the desires given us by the Spirit. 

So many different views of freedom—but for the Christian, we have never been given liberty to sin!  Let’s be sure we define our freedom in Christ correctly. 

And praise Him that the Son has set us free (John 8:31-36). 

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ARBC Core Value #4: Pray

Good morning!  Rather than simply put out the full manuscript of the sermon preached at Arapahoe Road Baptist Church this past Sunday, I wanted to put out some reflections of what God did through the Word and His people yesterday.

In the meantime, the sermons for both the morning and evening are posted on our website, so feel free to listen.  You can also subscribe to our podcast on iTunes by looking up Arapahoe Road Baptist Church.  You’ll see our logo, which looks like this:

 

18220_15_podcast

On to the reflections—let it begin!

  • God showed us from the Word from Matthew 6:5-15 that, even with prayer that’s on the surface aimed toward God, can be so aimed toward men that we receive our reward at that time.  Our words can be “empty phrases” (ESV) or “meaningless repetition” (NASB), full of the clichés that are spoken in the assembly and assumed, but can be devoid of meaning.
  • The "Lord’s Prayer” is actually a model prayer (“Pray then like this”—Matthew 6:9) that contains the appropriate components of prayer.
  • This prayer has no singular pronouns (“I” or “my”), only plural (“Our” and “we”).
  • We do not have to beg God for these items in His prayer so He will give them to us—every item in this prayer is something God has already promised to the Christian!  We just need to claim what He’s already given!

And now to the prayer itself.  The first three lines of the prayer are about God, to God, for the glory of God.

  • Paternity:  “Our Father in heaven… .”  He is wholly intimate (“Our Father”) and wholly other (“in heaven”).  This only applies to the Christian.  Christ refers to God as Father, and the Father calls Him Son.  If we do not deal with the Son and His atoning work, we cannot be dealt with as a son of the Father. 
  • Person:  “Hallowed be your name.”  God’s name is set apart above all names, and thus is deserving of honor and respect.  If you take His name in vain, you take Him in vain. 
  • Purpose:  “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  With all the kingdoms on earth, all have been put here by God (Romans 13:1-7).  Even Jesus said to Pilate that he would have no authority at all unless God had given it (John 18:33-19:11).  But God’s kingdom has already come in part through the church, through whom is found the “manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:10)  We want His rule in this world to be as unimpeded as it is in heaven.

The second part of the prayer is that which is to God for us:

  • Provision:  “Give us this day our daily bread.”  In every step, God provides, does he not?  Who gave you the strength to get out of bed?  Who gave you the strength to work?  To work so you could purchase the goods to eat the food that nourishes you?  Who gave you the mind to be able to follow through on that work?  See, this Model Prayer gives us ultimate perspective!  God gives us what we need, when we need it as we ask!  This shows that we do not take for granted any of the gifts God provides.  This is in contrast to those wandering in the wilderness.  God provided manna and quail for that day!  But even with this provision, many grumbled and took God for granted.  May we not make that mistake.  Plus, don’t forget to feast daily on the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ (John 6:35). 
  • Pardon:  “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”  The problem is that those who fail to forgive show they do not understand how God has forgiven them.  And if we fail to forgive, God will not bring about that restoration that is needed as a believer.
  • Path of protection:  “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”  John MacArthur once said, “If you’re a true Christian, let me tell you this, if you’re a true Christian I believe in my heart that you are just as concerned about your future sins being avoided as your past ones being forgiven.” 
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The Message Christians Would Really Send in Boycotting Starbucks–and It’s Not What You Think

Russ Moore believes that taking the advice of a pro-family organization to boycott Starbucks is the wrong approach and uses non-Christian methods to accomplish Christian ends. An excerpt:

It’s not that I’m saying a boycott in and of itself is always evil or wrong. It’s just that, in this case (and in many like it) a boycott exposes us to all of our worst tendencies. Christians are tempted, again and again, to fight like the devil to please the Lord.

A boycott is a display of power, particularly of economic power. The boycott shows a corporation (or government or service provider) that the aggrieved party can hurt the company, by depriving it of revenue. The boycott, if it’s successful, eventually causes the powers-that-be to yield, conceding that they need the money of the boycott participants more than they need whatever cause they were supporting. It is a contest of who has more buying power, and thus is of more value to the company.

We lose that argument.

The argument behind a boycott assumes that the “rightness” of a marriage definition is constituted by a majority with power. Isn’t that precisely what we’re arguing against? Our beliefs about marriage aren’t the way they are because we are in a majority. As a matter of fact, we must concede that we are in a tiny minority in contemporary American society, if we define marriage the way the Bible does, as a sexually-exclusive, permanent one-flesh union.

Moreover, is this kind of economic power context really how we’re going to engage our neighbors with a discussion about the meaning and mystery of marriage? Do such measures actually persuade at the level such decisions are actually made: the moral imagination? I doubt it.

He is right. Read the rest here.

Thoughts?

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Jesu, my Advocate Above

JESU, my Advocate above,
My friend before the throne of love,
If now for me prevails thy prayer,
If now I find thee pleading there,
If thou the secret wish convey,
And sweetly prompt my heart to pray;
Hear, and my weak petitions join,
Almighty Advocate, to thine.

Fain would I know my utmost ill,
And groan my nature’s weight to feel,
To feel the clouds that round me roll,
The night that hangs upon my soul,
The darkness of my carnal mind,
My will perverse, my passions blind,
Scattered o’er all the earth abroad,
Immeasurably far from God.

Jesu, my heart’s desire obtain!
My earnest suit present, and gain;
My fulness of corruption show,
The knowledge of myself bestow;
A deeper displacence at sin,
A sharper sense of hell within,
A stronger struggling to get free,
A keener appetite for thee.

O sovereign Love, to thee I cry,
Give me thyself, or else I die!
Save me from death, from hell set free,
Death, hell, are but the want of thee.
Quickened by thy imparted flame,
Saved, when possessed of thee, I am;
My life, my only heaven thou art,
O might I feel thee in my heart!

–Charles Wesley

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Three Common Traits of Youth Who Don’t Leave the Church

Jon Nielson writes a great article outlining three traits of youth who don’t leave the church.  It begins as follows:

“What do we do about our kids?” The group of parents sat together in my office, wiping their eyes. I’m a high school pastor, but for once, they weren’t talking about 16-year-olds drinking and partying. Each had a story to tell about a “good Christian” child, raised in their home and in our church, who had walked away from the faith during the college years. These children had come through our church’s youth program, gone on short-term mission trips, and served in several different ministries during their teenage years. Now they didn’t want anything to do with it anymore. And, somehow, these mothers’ ideas for our church to send college students “care packages” during their freshman year to help them feel connected to the church didn’t strike me as a solution with quite enough depth.

The daunting statistics about churchgoing youth keep rolling in. Panic ensues. What are we doing wrong in our churches? In our youth ministries?

It’s hard to sort through the various reports and find the real story. And there is no one easy solution for bringing all of those “lost” kids back into the church, other than continuing to pray for them and speaking the gospel into their lives. However, we can all look at the 20-somethings in our churches who are engaged and involved in ministry. What is it that sets apart the kids who stay in the church? Here are just a few observations I have made about such kids, with a few applications for those of us serving in youth ministry.

The three traits are as follows:

  1. They are converted.
  2. They have been equipped, not entertained.
  3. Their parents preached the gospel to them. 
    Worth the read!
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From the Archive: So You Have to Understand Before You Believe? Are You Sure?

If men will not receive the Truth of God till they understand it, there are many things which they will never receive. Yes, there are many facts, common facts in Nature, which nobody would deny but a fool—which yet must be denied if we will not believe them till we understand them! There is a fish fresh taken from the sea—you take it to the cook to serve it on the table. You eat salt with it, do you? What for? You will have it dried and salted, but what for? Did not it always live in the salt sea? Why then is it not salt? It is as fresh as though it had lived in the purling brooks of the upland country—not a particle of salt about it—yet it has lived wholly in the salt sea! Do you understand that? No, you cannot. But there it is, a fresh fish in a salt sea!

And yonder are an ox and a sheep, and they are eating in the same meadow, feeding precisely on the same food. But the grass in one case turns to beef, in the other case to mutton—and on one animal there is hair and on the other wool. How is that? Do you understand it? So there may be two great Truths in Scripture, which are both Truths of God and yet all the wise men in the world might be confused to bring those two Truths together. I do not understand, I must confess, why Moses was told to cut down a tree and put it in the bitter waters of Marah. I cannot see any connection between a tree and the water, so that the tree should make it sweet, but yet I do believe that when Moses put the tree into the water the bitterness of Marah departed and the stream was sweet. I do not know why it is that Elisha, when he went to Jericho, and found the water the bitterness of Marah departed and the stream was sweet.

I do not know why it is that Elisha, when he went to Jericho, and found the water nauseous, said, “Bring me a cruse of salt.” I do not know why his putting the salt into the stream should make it sweet—it looks to me as if it would operate the other way—but I believe the miracle, namely, that the salt was put in and that it was sweetened. So I do not understand how it is that my bidding impenitent sinners to repent should in any way be likely to make them do so, but I know it does—I see it every day. I do not know why a poor weak creature saying to his fellow men, “Believe,” should lead them to believe, but it does so—and the Holy Spirit blesses it—and they do believe and are saved! And if we cannot see how, if we see the fact, we will be content and bless God for it!

— Charles H. Spurgeon, Apostolic Exhortation #804, delivered April 5, 1868 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London.

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