Monday Music: ‘O Holy Night’ (Seven Day Jesus)

I can’t say that I am quite ready for Christmas music just yet, but I was working in my yard this morning, preparing everything for the winter to come, and Seven Day Jesus’ version of ‘O Holy Night’ came on my iPod. And it was nice. Getting ready for the coming cold and hearing one of my favorite versions of one of my favorite Christmas songs on a beautiful day, well, it was nice. So, here’s to getting ready to get ready for Christmas:

O Holy Night

Seven Day Jesus only had a couple of albums (their first one,  “The Hunger,” was great) and this song was on a compilation Christmas album called “Happy Christmas” (pictured above). You should be able to get it on iTunes if you are putting together your early Christmas playlist. I might post later on what would be on mine, that would be fun.



Thursday Links: ‘An Open Letter to Southern Baptists and Our IMB Missionaries’ (Chuck Lawless)

I am burdened and encouraged be the recent decision of the Intrenational Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Due to a lack of funding for several years, the leadership decided to ask many of our missionaries to consider early retirement. Although I appreciate and support David Platt’s (IMB president) willingness to take this hard step for the future health of the IMB, I cannot help but be burdened for the missionaries who will be impacted. Yet, I am encouraged for the possibility of what this could mean for churches in North America, as Chuck Lawless points out in his letter. You can read it here:

An Open Letter

I pray the Lord will use these men and women to increase our passion to take the gospel to all who are desperate to hear, across the oceans and across the street.


Wednesday Word: ‘God’s Heart for the Nations’ (Genesis-Revelation)

On Sunday nights, my church is watching David Platt’s ‘Counter-Culture’ series. On Sunday mornings, we are going through the new chronlogical study by ‘The Gospel Project.’ We are enjoying them both. Yesterday, while watching Platt’s session on racial reconciliation, I was struck by the fact that the two were making the same points from different ends of the Bible. Platt was preaching from Revelation and ‘The Gospel Project’ is currently working through Genesis.

What was the point that both were making? The story of redemption is a story about God’s heart for the nations. From the first book to the last, God is accomplishing His purpose of saving a people from every tongue, tribe, and nation. Platt began at the end, namely John’s vision of the nations worshipping the Lamb who was slain (Rev. 5). The chronological study begins with Genesis and God’s promise to bless all the families of the earth through the offspring of Abraham (Gen. 12). One is a promise and the other a fulfillment. One sets the stage and the other the final act. When you look at this theme and how it runs through the entire story-line of Scripture, you can begin to catch a glimpse of the glory of our God’s plan for redeeming His people. Consider these words:

God’s initial promise to Abraham:

1 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” – Genesis 12:1-3

His promise to Isaac, Abraham’s son:

4 I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,5 because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” – Genesis 26:4-5

His promise to Jacob, Isaac’s son:

13 And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring.14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. – Genesis 28:13-14

God’s plan to bless the nations through the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel), is clear in the book of Genesis. And we see this redemptive thread throughout the Old Testament. The inclusion of Rahab the Canaanite and Ruth the Moabite bear witness to it (both in the lineage of Jesus). The psalmist rejoices in it: “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you” (Psalm 67:4-5). Isaiah prophesies about the coming Servant: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I (The Lord) will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). These all bear witness to God’s heart for the nations.

And how is that promise to Abraham fulfilled? All the families of the earth are blessed through faith in the death and resurrection of Christ, the Lamb who has conquered. And when will we see that ultimately fulfilled? We will see it when we gather around the throne:

9 And they sang a new song, saying, “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, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” – Revelation 5:9-10

The promise made to Abraham in Genesis will be fulfilled at the end of the age, as foretold by John in Revelation. All because of the Lamb that was slain. From cover to cover, beginning to end, we see the glory of His story.

And what should we do with this?

  1. Be amazed at the history of redemption, as told in every book of the Bible (one of the goals of ‘The Gospel Project’ chronological study)
  2. Be committed to fight for racial reconciliation (the point that Platt was making in his ‘Counter-Culture’ series)
  3. Be faithful in sharing this good news with all (because the Lamb who was slain is worthy!)


Tuesday Books: ‘The Kraken Project’ (Douglas Preston)

I read my first Douglas Preston book several years ago when I checked out ‘Relic’ from the library, which he co-authored with Lincoln Child. I was hooked on their writing and particularly on the character of Special Agent Pendergast, one of my all-time favorite fiction characters (who will probably receive his own post at some point). Preston and Child have written over twenty books together and I have read just about all of them (at least, all of the ones that my library has). They are good at weaving history, mystery, and science fiction together to form a quick-moving plot carried out by enjoyable characters.

But the two authors have also written solo novels that are good as well. I think they are better together (mostly just because I love agent Pendergast), but their solo novels are always intriguing and well-written too. The latest by Douglas Preston is called ‘The Kraken Project.’ It involves a NASA scientist who has written some AI software for a project to explore one of the moons of Saturn. During the final testing for the project, things go crazy (read: bad wrong) and the scientist is on the run looking for help in trying to stop the potential catastrophe. I have read about a third of the novel so far and I am curious to see how it plays out.

They research well (meaning they try to avoid just making stuff up to solve a plot problem, I’m looking at you writers of ‘Lost.’) They develop their stories from several angles that all include interesting characters. And they usually provide a satisfying ending. Looking forward to seeing if that holds true with  the latest book. Give them a try and see what you think. For starters, read something with Special Agent Pendergast in it (did I mention how much I liked that character?).


Monday Music: ‘Jesus I my cross have taken’ (Indelible Grace)

Indelible Grace has been recording and producing good music for many years now. They started with their first album, “Indelible Grace”, and since then have recorded five more studio albums and a live album as well. Their approach is simple: take well-written hymns of old, write new melodies, and get great artists (Sandra McCracken, Matthew Perryman Jones, Andy Osenga, and many others) to sing and play on the recordings. Other groups have joined with them in this labor to recover old hymns for new generations and great music has been the result. They have made all their songs available with chords and sheet music at their website to encourage churches and ministries to enjoy these hymns. It is a great resource for corporate worship. You can find it here: Indelible Grace Hymnbook.

One of my favorite songs of theirs is off their second album “Pilgrim Days” (which is also my favorite album, ‘Thy Mercy’ is another favorite song of mine on that album). The song is ‘Jesus I my cross have taken’ written by Henry Lyte with new music by Bill Moore. You can read the words and learn how to play it here: Words and music. (For my Baptist readers, this song is in the Baptist Hymnal, but the melody is different and they took out some of the verses.) It was recorded by Andy Osenga on the abum, which you can listen to here: Jesus I my cross have taken.

We sang the song in our service yesterday and I was once again struck by the great lyrics:

Go, then, earthly fame and treasure,

Come disaster, scorn and pain

In Thy service, pain is pleasure,

With Thy favor, loss is gain

I have called Thee Abba Father,

I have stayed my heart on Thee

Storms may howl, and clouds may gather;

All must work for good to me.

I love the line: “I have stayed my heart on Thee.” In the midst of life’s difficulties, the great labor and the great joy of the Christian is to find rest and solace in the presence of God. You can stay your heart on Him.

The last verse rings with hope for future glory (I love the way Osenga sings/shouts these lines):

Haste thee on from grace to glory,

Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.

Heaven’s eternal days before thee,

God’s own hand shall guide us there.

Soon shall close thy earthly mission,

Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,

Hope shall change to glad fruition,

Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

Again, such great lines. The great hope that our pilgrim days our passing, that heaven’s eternal days are before us, and that God’s own hand shall guide us there. What amazing promises!

So check out the song and the other great music by Indelible Grace. Print off some of the music to play for yourself and to teach to others. May these great hymns be an encouragement to the church for generations to come!