24 Dec

Hope of the Nations – Lord

Advent Lord

This week we continue the season of Advent, which is the Christian season of preparation for Christmas.  Our theme this year is “Hope of the Nations,” and we are thinking on the world-wide hope found in Jesus Christ.  We’re meditating on the ideas of light, life, liberty, love, and Lord.

We focus this week on “Lord.”  We read in Philippians 2:8-11:

8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

Reflection

This week we light the CANDLE OF LORD.  Jesus Christ came on a mission.  Phase one of that mission, which we celebrate here at Christmas, was to take on flesh.  As our text says, He appeared as a man, and indeed was a man.  Phase 2 was to be completely obedient to the Father.  Jesus Christ never sinned and literally earned heaven.  Phase 3 was to die for the sins of mankind, which He did excruciatingly on a cross.  Phase 4 was to be resurrected from the dead to live forevermore.  Mission accomplished!

And what did Jesus get in return for His work?  He got a great reward from His Father.  He was exalted to Lord of the universe.  He and His name would be the only pathway to the Father and would be full of glory.

Even now, He is Lord, but many refuse to acknowledge His lordship.  Friend, the truth is that one day, every single person who will ever live will bow their knee to Jesus in surrender to His Lordship.  Many do so joyfully in this life and will experience the glories of Heaven, but those who continue in rebellion against God until the day they die will bow their knee with great sorrow because when they stand before God in judgment, Jesus’ lordship will be vibrantly clear to them, but it will be everlastingly too late.  They will have missed their only opportunity, this one life, to surrender to Jesus.  Only Hell awaits them.

Friends, we pray that no person will face that heartbreak.  Believe on Jesus as your Savior and Lord today.  He came for you.  Now, will you come to Him?  If you will, it will be the merriest Christmas ever!!

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

24 Dec

My Christmas Poem: “The Promised One of Old Is Finally Here”

“The Promised One of Old Is Finally Here”

Welcome one and welcome all!
Gather round, sit down, and hear
Of the baby born in a manger stall,
Who conquered death, sin, and fear.

It’s a story ancient old,
But some still fail to know it.
So I bring it bold
This morning afresh as a preacher poet.

The beginning of that babe was not the beginning.
The story actually began long, long before
When our first father Adam in the Garden introduced sinning
And God in mercy pushed them out and closed the door.

But in grace before that,
He promised a child, meek in mind
Yet determined to crush the old serpent’s head flat
And eradicate sin of each and every kind.

You see, from Adam would multiply a fallen race of humanity
Such that each would be born condemned for eternity
For what Adam did as our representing entity
And for then piling on our own sin seemingly into infinity.

Adam’s curse was quite clear:
The ground he worked would yield thistle and thorn,
Toiling until his death; Eve within a year
Would have pain as babies are born.

And sin in this world began to grow.
With pain Eve had one son, then two,
And as they grew, one brother killed the other bro.
All of this was only the start of man’s coup.

Population increased, but so did wickedness
Until God finally had His fill.
His plan of judgment was quite precipitous;
Every man would wish he had a gill.

But even here one man found favor with God.
Noah and his family and two animals of each kind
Were to enter the ark, safe from the flooding sod
As forty days of water God did unbind.

Oh but what of this one promised to kill Satan and sin?
He was still coming and would be the Son who’s obedient again and again;
He’d be the brother who would never pierce your skin;
He’d be the boat that would protect you within.

The story of the coming of the babe in the manger continued on.
God called a man from the city of Ur
Named Abram for a while but Abraham from then on.
A great covenant upon him did God confer.

“A great nation of you I will make indeed
And a great name and land will be yours.
Through a great one coming who is you seed,
I will bless the world with the cure of cures.”

This covenant was passed from father to son.
Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat twins–
First Esau then Jacob who wrestled terribly within their mothers oven–
And it was prophesied the older would serve the younger of kin.

Therefore, it was to Jacob whom the covenant passed;
The Lord renamed him Israel, and he had twelve sons.
My goodness that nation grew fast!
These twelve sons became twelve tribes with people in tons!

But, a drought pushed them in to the foreign land
Of Egypt where Israel’s son Joseph had become rather grand.
However before long Joseph was a forgotten hand,
And Israel became slaves to pharaoh’s command.

But God raised up a deliver there along the Nile–
Moses whom He called into service through a burning bush.
Pharaoh’s resolve would be broken in just a while,
And after ten plagues he sent them out with a rush.

And so out of Egypt God’s people went heading east
With miracles along the way–
Like the sea parting, heaven raining down a feast,
And many more than here I can say.

And as they traveled, God spoke to and through Moses
And delivered ten commandments in stone,
But at them soon Israel would wrinkle their noses,
And long to sit under pharaoh’s throne.

Nevertheless, Israel God faithfully led,
Marching eastward toward the Promised Land.
Near the end of the journey it was announced, “Moses is dead!”
And a successor named Joshua lead them across Jordan’s sand.

“But, what of the babe?  Where is He?  Where is he?!”
Slowly but surely God’s plan came to be.
So, be patient, my friend, and you soon shall see
The birth of the One sent to set you free!

As time passed, the people began to cry for a king
In the likeness of the pagan nations ’round,
And since God was their king, it was no small thing
To have a fallen mortal crowned.

So, God gave them what they wanted in a man named Saul,
From the tribe of Benjamin, tall, handsome, and strong.
God did this to Israel as a lesson; see, Saul’s love for God was small,
And as a few years passed it was clear Saul was all wrong.

But, God had in mind a king who’d love Him with all of his heart.
You see, God doesn’t see man the way man sees man.
We look at the outside while He looks within from the start;
And so Saul’s replacement was found in Judah’s clan.

The boy’s name was David, a shepherd of the field,
Full of faith, love, integrity, and reliance upon the Lord.
To the leadership of God, David was quick to yield,
And upon him a great portion of the Spirit was poured.

King David was a valiant warrior, and God he did love
So much he wanted to build a house for the Lord above,
But God said, “My son, a house is not what I’m in need of.
Instead I’ll build you a house, my strong beloved.”

So, God cut a covenant with David that day
To forever have one of his sons sit on Israel’s throne.
The house and kingdom of David would never sway,
And the sons of David God would never disown.

But, as David went the way of man to the grave,
Things degraded terribly by the next generation.
First King Solomon’s foreign wives led him to idol crave;
Then King Rehoboam split up the nation.

Now there were two kingdoms–one south, one north,
And as you know a house divided will not stand.
Add to this that wicked kings were continually put forth;
Israel and Judah were indeed a troubled land.

Those under the king were not much better.
They loved false gods like Asherah and Baal.
And so, God like a father who disciplines with leather
Within a few hundred years ordained the kingdoms to fail.

In their hearts the people longed for a David-like king,
One who would not depart from God, to God he would cling.
The Messiah, as He was called, would certainly bring
Peace, prosperity, protection like a mother hen’s wing.

God’s prophets foretold of this coming Prince.
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Micah, Malachi
Told about the coming Anointed One, and since
They spoke directly from God, you know it wasn’t a lie.

“He’ll be born of virgin in Bethlehem,” they told,
“And set on the throne of David his dad.
The government will be upon His shoulders rolled
With wisdom, righteousness, and justice He will be clad.

“His name will be Eternal Father, Prince of Peace,
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God.
His peace and government will always increase,
And He’ll hold in his hand an iron rod.

“For God His Father, He’ll be perfectly zealous,
Never turning to the left or to the right.
He’ll bring good news to all the ladies and fellas;
Death and darkness, He’ll divinely put to flight.”

The people had waited through all these years,
Had longed, groaned, moaned, and cried many tears,
Had faced tragedy, tribulation, and stinging jeers,
But He’s here.  Finally here!  Get ready for the cheers!!

In about the year 6 or 5 BC,
An angel of the Lord visited the virgin Mary.
“Favored of God, you will soon be with Child
He’ll be the true Son of God so meek and mild.”

She said, “But I am a virgin.  How can this be?
He said, “The power of the Most High will overshadow thee.
Call His name Jesus for He’ll save you all from sin
He’ll be the King of Kings that ever have been.”

“God is giving Him the throne of His father David.
You’ll bring forth an amazingly, marvelous kid!
You see, with God nothing is impossible!!”
Needless to say, Mary’s heart was full.

Nine months later, Mary and her new husband Joseph
Traveled down to Bethlehem with lots of love.
They had to go down because of Caesar’s decree.
How many people in his empire he wanted to see.

The journey from Nazareth was rather rough,
But nevertheless Mary was tough
And as they traveled be sure that anxiety traveled too
Because at any moment her baby due.

As they came into town, they wanted see
If there was an inn with any vacancy,
But Bethlehem was packed, and the inn was full.
The only vacancy was out back in the stable.

They gladly took it because they weren’t conceited,
And while they were there, Mary days were completed.
She brought forth a Baby, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes.
Whether or not it was silent, only God knows.

And God sent forth His angelic choir to go and proclaim
To shepherds nearby, singing of Jesus’ fame
They sang, “Glory to God in the highest!” then
“Peace on earth God will to men!”

They said, “You’ll find a Baby laid in a manger,
And to your hearts He’ll be a glorious stranger.”
And straight away they went to see of what they had heard.
Because of the great news their hearts had been stirred.

And Magi came from the east.  How many we’re not told,
But they brought three gifts:  frankincense, myrrh, and gold.
They followed the bright star which God gave as a sign;
It was the brightest that you’ve ever seen shine.

Friends, this is the Babe, the long-awaited One,
The savior, the king, God’s only-begotten Son.
He came to save us from our sin and rebellion
And to keep us from becoming an eternal hellion.

The promise is this to all who will receive:
Turn from your sin and on Jesus believe;
To those that do, Heaven’s gates open wide,
And you’ll spend eternity at the Father’s side.

This Christmas, this Christmas, rejoice with me
As we celebrate the birth of God’s special baby
Who grew up to crush the serpent’s head
By dying on the cross and rising from the dead!

This Christmas, this Christmas, won’t you accept
The good news that God his promise He’s kept:
He has blessed the world through Abraham’s seed.
Jesus Christ is He, the Messiah indeed!

-by Ben Simpson, written Christmas 2012

19 Dec

Wednesday Is for Worship: “Behold the Lamb of God”

Wednesday Is for Worship

It’s the Wednesday before Christmas.  My heart is full of the joy of the season, and I’m so glad that Jesus Christ took on flesh and dwelt among us!  In doing so, He lived the life that we can never live, that sinless life in complete obedience and holiness to God.  But, He also did more.  He not only lived the life that we cannot live, but He also died the death that we deserve.  As John the Baptist declared when he saw Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).  Indeed, Jesus was that substitutional, sacrificial, atoning Lamb from God unto God.  That’s the center of Andrew Peterson’s Christmas album, “Behold the Lamb of God.”

My dear friend Jeremy Vanatta first introduced me to Peterson’s Christmas album  a couple of years ago in 2010.  Then in 2011, he bought me the CD.  Then just this past Monday, he and his wife invited us to go to the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville to hear Peterson perform the album live.  It was spectacular!

The album isn’t like your typical Christmas album.  It’s the Bible in musical form.  It traces in big themes Genesis to the Gospels, following the coming of the promised Messiah who is Jesus the Christ.  If you don’t have the album, buy it immediately!  Or, just find a good friend who is generous and has great taste in music!!

Today, I want to share with you the title track from the album.  May it be a blessing to you as you continue to celebrate the birth of the One who came to save us from our sins!

Behold, the Lamb of God
Who takes away our sin
Behold the Lamb of God
The life and light of men
Behold the Lamb of God
Who died and rose again
Behold the Lamb of God who comes
To take away our sin

Broken hearts–behold our broken hearts
Fallen far–we need you
Behold the sin of man

Son of God–Emmanuel
Son of Man–we praise you
Behold the Lamb
The hope of man

18 Dec

Merry Xmas!!!???

Well, December 25 is almost here.  I pray that you have a Merry Xmas!!!  Oh wait, did I just unintentionally take Christ out of Christmas?

MerryXMAS_title2

Every year we as Christians endure the seeming jab of people replacing the word “Christmas” with the word “Xmas.”  Given the increasing secularization of our great winter festival celebrating the incarnation of Jesus, it would seem that their intention is to kick the Baby Jesus out and keep all the rest of the cultural fluff.  That certainly might be the intention of some who use “Xmas,” but it might surprise you that that’s not necessarily the case.

History tells us that it was actually English-speaking Christians who first used “Xmas.”  Why in the world would Christians do such a thing?  Well, that’s because while they very well might have been writing “Xmas” /exmus/, they were actually meaning “Chi-mas” /kiemus/.  You see, the Greek letter chi (pronounced /kie/ in Greek, not /chee/) looks exactly like our English letter X and is the first letter in the Greek word for Christ, which is Χριστός.  Therefore, the Greek letter chi has long been the symbol for Christ, dating at least back to the 4th century A.D. and probably even before.

Perhaps a little help from a lexicographer will shed further light:

So, Xmas indeed has a long Christian tradition and was never meant to take Christ out of Christmas.  However, in communicating today, something often gets lost in translation.  Very few know that Xmas is actually Chi-mas, and in the end, we can unwittingly communicate something offensive.  Our unoffensive Xmas can be received offensively.  Therefore, I think it is wise to be cautious in using “Xmas.”  If you absolutely must abbreviate the word Christmas, either be ready to educate people on the history of “Xmas” or do what I do.  I simply use the more English-friendly abbreviation “C-mas.”

Any way you go, whatever you do, whether you use the “X,” the “C,” or the whole word, please keep Christ at the center of your Christmas!

Merry_Christmas

17 Dec

Hope of the Nations – Love

Advent - Love

This week we continue the season of Advent, which is the Christian season of preparation for Christmas.  Our theme this year is “Hope of the Nations,” and we are thinking on the world-wide hope found in Jesus Christ.  We’re meditating on the ideas of light, life, liberty, love, and Lord.

Our focus this week is on love.  We read in Ephesians 2:1-7:

1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

 

Reflection

This week we light the CANDLE OF LOVE.  It’s clear from Scripture that we are unlovely.  We’re by nature and by action death-ridden rebels chasing our worldly appetites around.  We’re wretches deserving of wrath, but something greater than our wretchedness forestalls God’s wrath, namely God’s love.  We’re unlovely, but God is love, and He has set His affection on us!

It’s love that saw our death and depravity and worked to make us alive and righteous.  It’s love that pursued rebel hearts and won them to adoration and obedience.  It’s love that changes our destination from the pits of hell to the very thrown room of God where Jesus sits at the Father’s right hand.  God’s love for humanity is a powerful force!

It was love that caused the Father to give the Son to the world, and it was love that motivated the Son to voluntarily take on flesh and dwell among us until His death, resurrection, and ascension.  The cross is a sure sign of God’s love, but so is the manger.  This Christmas season, may you marvel at the depth and intensity of God’s love!

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song

12 Dec

Wednesday Is for Worship: “Joseph’s Lullaby”

I pray your Wednesday is a blessed one!  Whatever the circumstances, if you’ll take the time to worship today, then undoubtedly blessed your day will be, and I’ve got just the song to help you.  It’s called “Joseph’s Lullaby” by MercyMe.

It’s the only original song off MercyMe’s 2005 “The Christmas Sessions” album.  There are many, many songs focused on Mary and Jesus, but rare are those that even mention Joseph, Jesus’ adopted earthly father and the husband of Jesus’ mother Mary.  That alone makes “Joseph’s Lullaby” interesting as it explores what was perhaps going through Joseph’s mind after the birth of Jesus.  but to me, the instrumentation and vocals are what makes this song noteworthy.  To say the least, it is beautifully arranged, capturing the tenderness and wonder of a new father holding the Messiah.

Perhaps this song is not particularly a worship song, but as you listen to and sing it, it’ll most certainly lead you to worship the newborn king to whom all laud is due!

Go to sleep, my Son
This manger for your bed
You have a long road before You
Rest Your little head

Can You feel the weight of Your glory?
Do You understand the price?
Or does the Father guard Your heart for now
So You can sleep tonight?

Go to sleep, my Son
Go and chase Your dreams
This world can wait for one more moment
Go and sleep in peace

I believe the glory of Heaven
Is lying in my arms tonight
Lord, I ask that He for just this moment
Simply be my child

Go to sleep, my Son
Baby, close Your eyes
Soon enough You’ll save the day
But for now, dear Child of mine
Oh my Jesus, sleep tight

11 Dec

Why Not Me?

Deeply embedded in our human reason is the idea that bad things happen to bad people.  It’s this innate sense of justice.  How many times have your or I at least thought in the midst of hearing of some difficulty, “They got what they deserved,”?

In our self-righteousness, we, of course, never say that about ourselves.  When bad things happen to ourselves, they are unfair and undeserved. Everybody else may deserve it, but not us.

The people Jesus taught had the same thinking, but Jesus in the wisdom and mercy of God shattered their thinking.  We read in Luke 13:1, Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.  Apparently there had been a rebellion in the region of Galilee against the Roman authority that ruled over the land of Israel in Jesus’ day.  Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor over Israel, did what good governors did in those days.  He had the rebels slaughtered.  It’s possible that these rebels were the followers of Judas of Galilee, who, some twenty years before this, taught that Jews should not pay tribute to the Romans.  As a result, Pilate had them laid low, and the deed seems to have been done as the rebels were offering their sacrifices at one of the Jewish festivals, such that their blood mixed with the blood of their sacrifices.

The people of Jesus’ day seemingly had in their minds that those Galileans got what they deserved, and Jesus took the opportunity to burst their bubble but in an unexpected way.  We might expect Jesus to say, “Bless their hearts!  They didn’t get what they deserved.”  But instead, He asks, Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? (Luke 13:2).  The people whom Jesus was talking to most certainly were thinking, “Absolutely!  Bad things happen to bad people.”  But Jesus then answers His own question, I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish, (Luke 13:3).  Basically, Jesus told them that they deserved the very same fate, bursting their self-righteous bubble.

Just to be thorough, Jesus took another current event and asked similar questions.  Apparently a tower in the city of Siloam had fallen on eighteen people and killed them.  Therefore, Jesus asks, Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? (Luke 13:4).  He then echoes His answer to the previous question, I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish, (Luke 13:5).

In a sense, Jesus was confirming their presupposition that bad things happen to bad people but he was also challenging their application.  The point of all of this is that we everyone are deserving of bad things.  Indeed, bad things do happen to bad people.  So everyone of us had better watch out.

In our sin-blinded minds, we see ourselves as good and deserving of good, but there are none righteous—no not one, (Romans 3:9).  Indeed, we are all bad and deserving of bad.  Therefore, instead of saying, “They got what they deserved,” we should say, “Why not me?”  Why didn’t Pilate mix my blood with the sacrifice?  Why didn’t the tower fall on me?  Why didn’t I fall and break my bone?  Why didn’t I get that disease?  Why didn’t I get what I deserve when I deserved the same or even worse?

And when we realize what we deserve, our self-righteousness will melt away unto repentance.  As Jesus said, Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.  May you turn from your righteousness by repenting of your sin and trusting in the righteousness of Jesus Christ before you get what you deserve!

10 Dec

Hope of the Nations – Liberty

 

This week we continue the season of Advent, which is the Christian season of preparation for Christmas.  Our theme this year is “Hope of the Nations,” and we are thinking on the world-wide hope found in Jesus Christ.  We’re meditating on the ideas of light, life, liberty, love, and Lord.

Our focus this week is on liberty.  We read in John 8:31-36:

31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;

32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.

35 “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.

36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.


Reflection

This week we light the CANDLE OF LIBERTY.  One of the worst realities in the world has to be the reality of being a slave—being held under physical bondage by another such that we must do against our will what we are commanded to do.  The Bible talks a lot about bondage, not just physical bondage but also the more harmful spiritual bondage.  The Bible makes clear in Romans 7:14 that as sinners we are born sold into spiritual bondage to sin.  Here in the John passage that we just read, we read that everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.  There are physically free people walking around everywhere who are spiritually enslaved, and to make matters worse, they don’t even realize it!

Jesus came promising freedom, liberty.  Jesus said, “Be my student so that you will know the truth, and that truth will set you spiritually free.”  That same promise is still offered today, and it’s offered to all of the world—China, Norway, Canada, Peru, Australia, India, Iran, the United States of America, and every other nation in between.  All who will turn from sin and believe on Jesus will know the fullness of spiritual liberty, but all who do not will remain a slave.

God the Son who is Jesus the Christ took on flesh and dwelt among us so that we might be emancipated.  This Christmas, may every person in the world experience freedom in Jesus, but especially you here today, may Jesus the Liberator make you free indeed.

06 Dec

The Adverbs of Serving the Lord

The very fact that God is called LORD and specifically Jesus Christ is called the Lord points us to the fact we who are His are to serve Him.  That’s what lords require and deserveservice.

There are a multitude of reasons as to why we are to serve the Lord, but have you ever considered the adverbs of serving the Lord?  Adverbs are those parts of speech that describe actions.  They tell us how we are to do something.

These adverbs are of utmost importance because it’s just not enough to serve the Lord.  We must serve the Lord in the way that is pleasing to Him, and blessedly, He has not left us guessing but has given us all the adverbs we need in Scripture.

So, serve the Lord...

1.  With all your being

  • Deuteronomy 10:12, Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

2.  With gladness

  • Psalm 100:2, Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.

3.  Constantly

  • Daniel 6:16, Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions’ den. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.”
  • Daniel 6:20, When he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?”

4.  Together

  • Zephaniah 3:9, For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, That all of them may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.

5.  Only

  • Matthew 4:10, Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'”

6.  Undividedly

  • Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

7.  Without fear

  • Luke 1:74, To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear.

8.  In newness of the Spirit

  • Romans 7:6, But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

9.  With love

  • Galatians 5:13, For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

10.  Sincerely

  • Colossians 3:22-24, Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.  23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

11.  With reward in mind

  • Colossians 3:23, Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

12.  With a clear conscience

  • 2 Timothy 1:3, I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day

Certainly serve the Lord, but to serve the Lord well, don’t forget those adverbs!

05 Dec

Wednesday Is for Worship: “Drummer Boy”

When the Lord saved me in 1997 at the age of 17, I had artists like Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Led Zeppelin bumping and rocking in my car stereo system, but my much more sanctified and spiritually mature future wife began to introduce me to Christian artists.  One band that really moved me into listening to more Christian music was Jars of Clay.  Their debut self-titled album from 1995 was absolutely awesome and still is!

One of my favorite Christmas songs growing up had always been “The Little Drummer Boy.”  So, when I found out Jars of Clay had a version of it, I had to hear it and have loved it ever since.  They, of course, lend their alternative rock/pop sound to the classic lyrics, which originally went by the title “Carol of the Drum.”  The band’s version of the song has been so popular they’ve released it three different times over the course of their 18-year career (first in 1995 and last in 2007).  It has become a Christmas classic, if no other book but mine!

Here’s a live version of Jars of Clay’s “Drummer Boy” as arranged on their 2007 Christmas Songs album.  Worship the Lord this Wednesday as you prepare your heart for the Celebration of the Incarnation, puh-rrrum-puh-pum-pum!

Come, they told me (puh-rrrum-puh-pum-pum)
A newborn king to see (puh-rrrum-puh-pum-pum)
Our finest gifts we bring (puh-rrrum-puh-pum-pum)
To lay before the king (puh-rrrum-puh-pum-pum)
So, to honor Him (puh-rrrum-puh-pum-pum)
When we come

Little baby (puh-rrrum-puh-pum-pum)
I am a poor boy too (puh-rrrum-puh-pum-pum)
I have no gifts to bring (puh-rrrum-puh-pum-pum)
That’s fit to give a king (puh-rrrum-puh-pum-pum)
Shall I play for you (puh-rrrum-puh-pum-pum)
On my drum?

Mary nodded (puh-rrrum-puh-pum-pum)
The ox and lamb kept time (puh-rrrum-puh-pum-pum)
I played my drum for Him (puh-rrrum-puh-pum-pum)
I played my best for Him (puh-rrrum-puh-pum-pum)
Then, He smiled at me (puh-rrrum-puh-pum-pum)
Me and my drum