Archive for May, 2015
We’ve been singing a new song lately, titled, “We Will Feast in The House of Zion.” Actually, we’ve called it, “We Will Feast,” for short. Sandra McCracken authored this song as part of her reflective new album, Psalms (Amazon, iTunes, Bandcamp).
In his article at The Gospel Coalition, “Sandra McCracken on Life, Loss, and Longing in the Psalms,” Ivan Mesa introduces the album this way:
Delight. Fear. Anger. Joy. Grief. Gladness. Loneliness. Love. Loss.
This is a small sampling of the range of emotions in life, ones that the Psalms fully describe. While the Psalms allow us to express our emotions they seek to shape them into righteous ones. With the Psalms we can approach God with brutal honesty, seeking to be rooted in truth and ready to submit to him.
Sandra McCracken’s newest album, Psalms, seeks to recast some of these ancient psalms and hymn texts for our day. … As McCracken writes,
These are sacred, borrowed words, with new melodies to help draw the longing and joy up out of our hearts and onto our lips, as we watch and wait to see his story come in it’s fullness.
Much like the Psalms, she helps us enter into both the pain of living in a broken world and the joyful hope we have as children of a sovereign God. In this interview we learn how the Psalms give us words when we have none, how lament should be part of our worship, and much more.
Click here for the whole article, which includes an extended interview with Sandra and an explanation of several songs.
Circling back to the song we’ve been singing together, here are the lyrics to, “We Will Feast”:
We Will Feast in The House of Zion
We will feast in the house of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
He has done great things, we will say together
We will feast and weep no more
We will not be burned by the fire
He is the LORD our God
We are not consumed, by the flood
Upheld, protected, gathered up (Chorus)
In the dark of night, before the dawn
My soul, be not afraid
For the promised morning, oh how long?
Oh God of Jacob, be my strength (Chorus)
Every vow we’ve broken and betrayed
You are the Faithful one
And from the garden to the grave
Bind us together, bring shalom. (Chorus)
Nehemiah 8 gives us an artfully told story of Israel at one of her best moments: a moment at which she was assembled under the Word with expectancy, attentive listening, a response of weeping and repentance, and a deep joy in God. Ezra had a book in his hands. That’s why the people gathered. That’s why they made a platform for him to stand on. That’s why they responded as they did. As Alistair Begg recently put it, “The expectation of the people was tied not to the ability of Ezra, but to the book that he held in his hand.” So it should be for the church.
An important part of our life in the Word together as Christians is weekly preaching. Yet, for as much time as we spend listening to preaching as Christians, we could afford to think longer and harder on the subject. What exactly is preaching? What does preaching do? How should we do it and hear it?
These are the kinds of questions we considered this year at Clarus with Alistair Begg, D.A. Carson, and David Helm. Our theme was, Assembled Under the Word: Preaching and the Church.
Below, you’ll find videos from each of the conference talks, including links to audio and blog summaries. Click here for photos from this year’s conference, here for songs we sang together, and here to download the song, “Your Word.” This is a new text written for and recorded live at this year’s conference.
Wrap-up posts from previous Clarus conferences:
- “Resources for Wrestling with Contentment,” with Thabiti Anyabwile and Rick Phillips
- “Resources for One-Anothering the Word,” with Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp
- “Resources for the Cross-Shaped Christian Life,” with D.A. Carson and Fred Zaspel
This time each year, many among us are graduating from something: from a grade, from high school, or from college.
But while the path through school is often predictable and well worn, the path to a job is not always so predictable. Not in every way, but in some ways the experience of going through school is insulated from the economic pressures of the changing world around us. If we work hard—sometimes very hard, depending on the degree, our own abilities, and our other obligations—and play by the rules we’ll likely come out the other side with something to show for it. But finding and keeping a job can be quite different.
For those who have lost a job or who are looking for a job, two articles hit the web this week on the occasion of commencement. The articles address graduates, but I’m highlighting paragraphs specifically suited to those who are struggling in their search for work. Of course, the entire articles are worth your time.
“The Joy of Graduation and the Crisis of Joblessness,” by Marshall Segal
If you’re feeling discouraged and abandoned by God while looking for work, you have a friend in the apostle Paul. He also experienced an intense period of hopelessness and despair. He writes, “We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8–9).
Now, Paul was facing death, not joblessness. So the differences are real, but the principle is the same. God intends for our neediness to bring us to our knees. A good Father would never watch his kids suffer for the sake of suffering. He might wait to rescue them, though, if he knew it would eventually bring them a better and longer lasting peace, strength, and joy. We all desperately need to learn the futility of self-reliance and the reward of relying wholly on God. Go to him with your questions, your restlessness, and your heartache.
“Dear Graduates, a Glorious Commencement Awaits,” Bethany Jenkins
The key to surviving disillusionment, I said, is found in accepting God’s providential care. As Proverbs 30 says, “Give me neither poverty nor riches, feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God” (vv. 8-9). The secret to contentment, in other words, is found in seeking God’s face, not our hands. It trusts the Planner, not the plans.
Commencement is a beginning. It launches graduates into “the real world,” which is full of disconnects that breed disillusionment—beauty and brokenness, debt and riches, joy and suffering. In this age, it will always be the best of times and the worst of times.
For more on the topic of faith and work, swing by The Gospel Coalition’s Faith and Work channel. For good print resources on the topic of vocation, swing by the Book Nook for a copy of Greg Gilbert’s, The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs, or Kevin DeYoung’s, Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will or How to Make a Decision without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc.
Enjoy these new words based on Psalm 119, and train your heart to trust God’s Word by singing them throughout the week.
“Your Word (Psalm 119)”
By Drew Hodge
Let my cry come before you ;
Help me to understand your Word;
Let my plea come before you;
Deliver me Lord by your Word.
My lips will pour out praise
for you will teach me.
My tongue will sing your Word,
for all your words are true ,
all your words are true ;
My heart will trust you Lord
in everything you do,
everything you do.
Let your hand always help me ;
Teach me to always choose your Word;
I long for your salvation;
I have delighted in your Word.
My soul will live and praise
for you will teach me.
When I have gone astray,
seek your servant
Let me not forget your Word.
For links to lyrics, chord sheets, and audio for the songs we sing each Sunday, check out the DSC Music Blog, updated each Monday.