Archive for February, 2014
There’s a song we will sing on Sunday that you know well. We sing it from time to time as a prayer of illumination before the sermon. It’s a song to help us ask God for ears to hear and hears to love what he has said in his Word.
What you might not know is that Drew and some of DSC’s musicians recorded this song and it’s available for download here. Name your price and it’s yours.
Here are the words:
Lord, We Come to Hear Your Word
1. Lord, we come to hear Your Word;
Shine Your light! Unsheathe Your sword!
Send Your Spirit forth in pow’r;
Come and bless Your church this hour.
We confess, our thoughts have strayed;
Minds distracted and dismayed;
On the Son, fix now each thought;
Help us worship as we ought.
2. Lord, as we prepare to hear,
wake each soul, unstop each ear;
Conquer every stubborn heart;
Mercy, saving grace impart.
We confess, without Your grace,
vain our efforts in this place;
Send illumination’s light;
Open eyes and give us sight.
3. Lord, we lift up to Your care
him who stands now to declare
truth that teaches, warns, consoles;
Bless this feast to feed our souls.
For Your Word, O Lord, we yearn;
Empty, let it not return;
Come, accomplish all Your will;
Draw, convict, give life, and fill.
Words: Kenneth A Puls, ©1998, Music: Drew Hodge
Of course, these are perfect words to sing before the sermon, but they are also words for us to pray and sing every day. Visit the DSC Store and Bandcamp Page for a number of other songs and albums recorded at DSC.
Clarus ’14 begins three weeks from today, March 14-16! Between now and then we will publish a few posts to acquaint you with our speakers.
First among these posts is a five minute testimony from Thabiti Anyabwile of how God saved him, including the story of his journey from Islam to Christ.
[RSS and email readers, click here to view this video]
There’s a great book you might have heard about for parents of children 6-14 years old. It’s called, Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God, by Bruce Ware.
Dr. Ware is a seminary professor and Christian theologian. He has written several timely and important books on the doctrine of doctrine of God, the doctrine of Christ, and the doctrine of the Trinity. But in Big Truths, he unpacks the Bible’s major doctrines in the way he unpacked them for his own daughters as they grew up in his home. It’s worth getting if you have kids, and if you don’t have kids.
In a recent blog interview, Dr. Ware’s wife, Jodi Ware, answered questions about what family devotions looked like in the Ware household when their children were young. It’s titled, “Family Devotions in Real Life,” and it’s worth your time. Here’s how the article begins.
Have you ever felt like your efforts to do family devotions — to read the Bible with your kids, to pray, to sing songs — are doomed from the start? Spilled milk, waning attention, wiggles and more seem to conspire against meaningful discipleship. Is there something the authors of books about discipling your children know but aren’t telling the rest of us?
Here are the questions Jodi goes on to answer:
- Who influenced your approach to discipling your children? Who were your role models?
- In trying to set a routine for family devotions, what challenges did you have to overcome in your own home, for example: schedule conflicts, distractions, young children, etc.?
- What things can parents do with young children, one and two, whom they may think aren’t ready for family discipleship that will lay the groundwork for more intense/focused learning later?
- What advice do you give parents of school age children who want to start doing family devotions?
- How did your formal discipleship time shape your faith conversations with your daughters?
Click here to read the whole blog interview.
Heading into the weekend and about a day away from Sunday, here’s some excellent counsel from David Murray for how we should worship God:
Worship is so powerful that we not only take on the image of what worship, but we also take on the image of the manner and style of our worship. So it’s not enough that we worship the right God, the God of the Bible, we must also worship the right God in the right way, the biblical way. And if we do so, we will become what He wants us to be – remade in His image.
For example, the truth of God’s Word should be at the center of all worship. We read the Word, sing the Word, pray in accordance with the Word, and hear the Word preached. True Worship is truthFULL. And if our worship is truthful, we also will be truthful in our daily lives. Truthful worship on a Sunday makes for a truthful Monday to Saturday.
Much worship today aims primarily at stimulating and exciting our physical senses. If we can provide a colorful spectacle for the eyes, spectacular musical sounds for the ears, a pounding beat to impact the body and get the adrenaline running, then the emotions are stirred, and there’s a sense of elation and excitement. But if we become how we worship, such sensual, emotion-driven, thrill-seeking worship will produce sensual, feeling-focused, thrill-seeking Christians.
Spiritual worship does not aim primarily at the physical senses and the emotions (although it should have a secondary impact on them) but it primarily addresses the mind and seeks to impress the soul with divine truth about eternal facts. It demands thought and interaction with the Word of God and lifts people out of this world of sense and time, into the spiritual and eternal dimension.
And if our worship focuses on the spiritual, on spiritual truths, that’s the kind of people we will become Monday to Saturday. We will live in the spiritual realm, we will sustain and guide our souls with the abiding truths of God’s Word, we will be aware of eternity and the presence of God.
If our worship is full of humor, frivolity, jokes, and casualness, we shouldn’t be surprised if that’s the kind of character that will be produced in the worshipers.
But if our worship is reverent, respectful, and careful, that will be reflected in our characters through the week.
Now this can go way too far, of course. If worship is morose, fearful, joyless, hopeless, and miserable then worshipers will become like that too. Any church that specializes in putting people in fear, in limiting hope, in minimizing assurance, is going to produce people that are like that in their daily lives – fearful, suspicious, cold, unfriendly, hopeless, and unhappy.
God has set forth His image perfectly in His Son. He is “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” (Heb. 1:3). Therefore, if we are to become like Jesus, and we become what we worship, we must make Christ the focus of our worship. We hear Christ’s Word, we preach Christ, we pray in Christ’s name, and we sing of, to, and with Christ in our songs.
If we become how we worship, the more we exercise faith in Sunday worship the more faith we will have Monday to Saturday. The more we trust in the Lord in church, the more we will trust in him in the world. Faithless and life-less Sunday worship produces faithless and lifeless Christians at home, at work, and in the community.
All this underlines that if worshiping the true God in the true way is the biggest formative influence in our lives, then let’s prioritize worship, especially the corporate gatherings of God’s people on the Lord’s Day.
And let’s also ensure that we and our children are in churches that not only worship the one living and true God, but also where God is worshipped in a truthful and lively way.