This week’s “Singalong Sundays" song is an oldie, but a real goodie. It’s a hymn by John Newton.
Blogger Justin Taylor recently posted about John Newton and why God almost drove Newton to despair. Taylor posted this old hymn from Newton, titled, “I Asked the Lord”. I remembered that I had this on the Indelible Grace live The Hymn Sing album and so I went back listened to the explanation-introduction of the hymn again, as well as the hymn itself.
And oh how is it a convicting hymn that honestly addresses human struggles, despair, and our prayers before God.
In the preface of the hymnbook, John Newton writes of the purpose of this collection of hymns. He wrote and compiled hymns for the hymnbook in part because of his friendship with hymnwriter William Cowper:
A desire of promoting the faith and comfort of sincere christians, though the principal, was not the only motive to this undertaking. It was likewise intended as a monument, to perpetuate the remembrance of an intimate and endeared friendship [that is, Cowper’s friendship].
With this pleasing view I entered upon my part, which would have been smaller than it is, and the book would have appeared much sooner, and in a very different form, if the wise, though mysterious providence of GOD, had not seen fit to cross my wishes.
We had not proceeded far upon our proposed plan, before my dear friend was prevented, by a long and affecting indisposition, from affording me any farther assistance.
My grief and disappointment were great; I hung my harp upon the willows, and for some time thought myself determined to proceed no farther without him [Cowper].
Indeed, the path through struggle and despair is through faith in Christ, faith in our Lord that is often accompanied by heartache and tears.
1. I asked the Lord that I might grow In faith and love and every grace Might more of His salvation know And seek more earnestly His face
2. Twas He who taught me thus to pray And He I trust has answered prayer But it has been in such a way As almost drove me to despair
3. I hoped that in some favored hour At once He’d answer my request And by His love’s constraining power Subdue my sins and give me rest
4. Instead of this He made me feel The hidden evils of my heart And let the angry powers of Hell Assault my soul in every part
5. Yea more with His own hand He seemed Intent to aggravate my woe Crossed all the fair designs I schemed, Cast out my feelings, laid me low *
6. Lord why is this, I trembling cried Wilt Thou pursue thy worm to death? "Tis in this way" The Lord replied "I answer prayer for grace and faith"
7. “These inward trials I employ From self and pride to set thee free And break thy schemes of earthly joy That thou mayest seek thy all in me, That thou mayest seek thy all in me.”
*The last line of the original verse 5 reads, “Blasted my gourds, and laid me low." I reckon most of us do not understand the old English of God blasting my gourds, so the edit into "Cast out my feelings, laid me low” is helpful.
Today’s Singalong Sunday features a newer song from Tim Hughes & Phil Wickham. It’s a worship song that you’ll find on both their most recent albums. It is quite a catchy tune, and a song that I’m sure we’ll hear in churches more and more in years to come.
"At Your Name" is a hymn that speaks about the name of God—YHWH (the name that English Bible translators translate in all-caps: "LORD").
YHWH is God’s covenant name, given to God’s covenant people, to call upon Him with. It is a name that in olden times, Jews could not even utter. Yet, Our God who is also our Lord, has also given us the title of Jesus Christ, “Lord” to cry to Him.
It is at His name—Jesus name—that all of creation bows in humble adoration and reverent praise.
Lead Sheet available at the bottom of this post.
At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh)
Written by: Tim Hughes, Phil Wickham
At Your name The mountains shake and crumble At Your name The oceans roar and tumble At Your name angels will bow The earth will rejoice Your people cry out
Lord of all the earth We’ll shout Your name, shout Your name Filling up the skies With endless praise, endless praise Yahweh, Yahweh We love to shout Your name oh Lord
At Your name The morning breaks in glory At Your name Creation sings Your story At Your name angels will bow The earth will rejoice Your people cry out
There is no one like our God We will praise You, praise You There is no one like our God We will sing (we will sing)
When we celebrate Advent, we relive all of the longing and yearnings for the coming of the Messiah that our fathers in the faith experienced before us. We look back and remember the people of the Old Testament as they waited for the Savior that God had promised through the prophets.
Advent reminds us that God became an infant by sending His Son, Jesus, to the world to live the perfect life that we could not live. Ultimately, Jesus came to redeem His people by dying on a cross, as our substitute for our sin, so that the wrath of God the Father would be completely satisfied and us fully accepted in return.
Advent also reminds us that one day Jesus will return to the earth, not to suffer for sins again, but to bring us home to the Father and destroy His enemies. It’s during this season that we look forward to and anticipate Jesus’ second Advent where He will put an end to all pain, suffering, and death.
Don’t allow the holidays to steal your joy, but instead allow the grace of God to transform and renew you. Abide deep in Christ and let the goodness of God wash over you.
In the links below, you’ll find some great resources to help aid you in your walk with Jesus during this Advent Season!
Why do you think Apple still sends stickers with every new product?
It’s a good question — I have no idea. If I had to guess, I’d imagine it’s largely about tradition. If Apple stopped shipping them with new products, I could envision a revolt similar to if Google took away the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button (in that, while not that many people may use these things, they’re expected to be there).
I can’t even begin to imagine how many of these stickers I’ve pilled up over the years. Dozens? Hundreds? And I think the last time I actually put one of them anywhere was the very first one I got (with an iPod way back when).
In a way, they’re viral real-world marketing. I still see them on the bumpers of cars quite frequently.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
As Immanuel (“God with us”), Jesus is the personification of this psalm. For Jesus himself is our present refuge and future victory. God’s past record of strong protection for his people is a present comfort to the psalmist; it is “well proved” (v. 1). Even if the unthinkable should occur—even the implosion of the earth—God’s faithfulness to his promises drives away fear (vv. 2–3).
The Christian’s confidence is even more certain because Christ personally promised to be with us to the “end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). Like a secret aqueduct to a besieged city, God’s grace convinces the psalmist that the church will not only survive any onslaught but also will thrive in joy (Ps. 46:4-7). Jesus specifically revealed that the Holy Spirit is that means of grace who causes “rivers of living water” to flow from the heart of the believer (John 7:37–39).
Amid “wars and rumors of wars” (Matt. 24:6), both Old and New Testament believers are buttressed with the confidence that all the kingdoms of this world will one day become the “kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15), thus fulfilling God’s covenant promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3). Keeping our eyes on King Jesus, we must courageously witness for Christ to the ends of the earth (cf. Ps. 46:9) until the nations are given to Christ as his inheritance (Acts 1:8; 2:34–35).
With #Everpix shutting down, I just tried out #Loom. Not bad. Good new #SF startup. But no de-duplication or video streaming.
Just went back to #Picturelife. Very full featured with de-duplication and video. Just started trying out their 2month free #trial of their Premium 100GB plan, since I easily maxed out the 5GB freebie plan.
I think Picturelife could be it.
Now to get my photos out of Everpix… – Read on Path.
Speaking of Steve Jobs, I too will share the Fred Vogelstein post on the build up at Apple to the unveiling of the iPhone in 2007. A few of my favorite parts:
Jobs wanted the demo phones he would use onstage to have their screens mirrored on the big screen behind him. To show a gadget on a big screen, most companies just point a video camera at it, but that was unacceptable to Jobs. The audience would see his finger on the iPhone screen, which would mar the look of his presentation. So he had Apple engineers spend weeks fitting extra circuit boards and video cables onto the backs of the iPhones he would have onstage. The video cables were then connected to the projector, so that when Jobs touched the iPhone’s calendar app icon, for example, his finger wouldn’t appear, but the image on the big screen would respond to his finger’s commands. The effect was magical. People in the audience felt as if they were holding an iPhone in their own hands. But making the setup work flawlessly, given the iPhone’s other major problems, seemed hard to justify at the time.
Shrinking OS X and building a multitouch screen, while innovative and difficult, were at least within the skills Apple had already mastered as a corporation. No one was better equipped to rethink OS X’s design. Apple knew LCD manufacturers because it put an LCD in every laptop and iPod. Mobile-phone physics was an entirely new field, however, and it took those working on the iPhone into 2006 to realize how little they knew. Apple built testing rooms and equipment to test the iPhone’s antenna. It created models of human heads, with viscous stuff inside to approximate the density of human brains, to help measure the radiation that users might be exposed to from using the phone. One senior executive believes that more than $150 million was spent creating the first iPhone.
The second iPhone prototype in early 2006 was much closer to what Jobs would ultimately introduce. It incorporated a touch-screen and OS X, but it was made entirely of brushed aluminum. Jobs and Jonathan Ive, Apple’s design chief, were exceedingly proud of it. But because neither of them was an expert in the physics of radio waves, they didn’t realize they created a beautiful brick. Radio waves don’t travel through metal well. “I and Rubén Caballero” — Apple’s antenna expert — “had to go up to the boardroom and explain to Steve and Ive that you cannot put radio waves through metal,” says Phil Kearney, an engineer who left Apple in 2008. “And it was not an easy explanation. Most of the designers are artists. The last science class they took was in eighth grade. But they have a lot of power at Apple. So they ask, ‘Why can’t we just make a little seam for the radio waves to escape through?’ And you have to explain to them why you just can’t.”
And, of course, launch day:
By the end, Grignon wasn’t just relieved; he was drunk. He’d brought a flask of Scotch to calm his nerves. “And so there we were in the fifth row or something — engineers, managers, all of us — doing shots of Scotch after every segment of the demo. There were about five or six of us, and after each piece of the demo, the person who was responsible for that portion did a shot. When the finale came — and it worked along with everything before it, we all just drained the flask. It was the best demo any of us had ever seen. And the rest of the day turned out to be just a [expletive] for the entire iPhone team. We just spent the entire rest of the day drinking in the city. It was just a mess, but it was great.”
The iPhone seems so obvious and inevitable now. But it’s really the ultimate testament to the incredibly hard and complex work that so many at Apple did while being pushed by Jobs. This entire post is a great reminder of that.
In our quest to be the social network for your personal life, we’re always looking for ways to help our users make Path feel more like home. Part of this means enabling folks to share content that is unique and true to their daily lives. We began with allowing for moment types such as photos,…
Churches need to develop a lifestyle of transparency. We need the church of Jesus Christ to be characterized by humble honesty and genuine gospel community. Especially in Asian churches where the ethnic culture promotes privacy and “saving face”–keep it to yourself.
Where are the church leaders who model a lifestyle of “sharing everything”? Who are the disciples who follow Jesus’ pattern of sharing their life sorrows, struggles, heart-breaks and joys? How can the church membership see and be motivated towards sharing their faith and failures with their covenant community? How can they learn to bear each other’s burdens, when they don’t even have much an example of it?
Let’s be honest: Did the early church in Acts grow because they kept to themselves? Or did they experience gospel growth because the pastor was open about how he struggles with ministry? How does discipleship happen when tent-makers and deacons pour out their personal shortcomings on the Community Group potluck table?
The good news of Jesus Christ compels us to bare our lives naked in front of our fellow brethren in the church. To live in an open, gospel community, because our Lord himself bore our sin and our sickness on the tree. And by his wounds we are healed.
No matter how ugly and scarred we may feel, there is healing in His hands. And more healing comes through his hands. And her hands. And their hands, when our brothers and sisters in our church know about tears and the pain behind them. When they know, there is more grace and healing and caring and comforting possible from His cross.
Else we are only hypocrites who do not really care about fellow disciples we have promised to care for. Else we cannot truly serve those in our membership who are in desperate need of the gospel.
Otherwise, God will see us as the liars that we actually are: We care more about ourselves and our image before others, more than our brother and his needs. And it will be revealed that we are only self-centered idolaters who have not love for the weak and brokenhearted.
I got @Firetask for Mac via the #MacHeist4 bundle…but iPhone app is $5.99 & iPad app is $7.99?! #yuck!! Why don’t they just write universal iOS code? #EpicFail #ShameOnYou too #expensive so I won’t buy! – Read on Path.
In a recent post, we compared our new Yahoo! Sports app to getting a new stadium. And now, we have the opportunity to be part of the real thing. Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ll be a founding partner for one of the best new stadiums —…
This is a book that is full of helpful ideas and structures for intentional small groups that are geared towards the mission of making disciples. There are numerous charts throughout and plans in the appendix ministers everywhere ought to take back to their church and contextualize these tools for their local church.
The book starts off with the gospel as the foundation of church and from there House paints a picture of how effective community group ministry can happen. And how the trellis of church structures can grow alongside of the vine of the members in community.
Notable strengths in the book Community is House’s methodology of pastoral care. Or rather, this is Mars Hill’s structure of having “community groups [that] are the primary vehicle for care in the church. We still provide one-on-one counseling for cases that require it, but we want the majority of that care to take place as the church loves one another and lives out the gospel together” (59). I
had never thought of pastoral care in such a way, and so I was deeply intrigued by how the body of the church in community can help care for the body itself. From having thought of pastoral care only as the responsibility of the pastor(s), this is quite enlightening and freeing. And in a context where the church is growing (as in the case of Mars Hill), then this is especially necessary practically.
Also of note is House’s emphasis on the church taking “ownership” of these principles of gospel community. Indeed, chapter 3 are pages that every pastor needs to read over and over. Ministers of the gospel cannot just teach and preach the mission and vision of the church and principles of gospel community living; we must have members own it for themselves. “To own an ideology, vision, or mission is to take possession of it, to make it your own. It is to internalize it to the point where not only can you reiterate it, but also you can teach it, defend it, and live it” (69).
I could say much more, but for now, I suggest you pick up this book and read. Mark up the sections that could really work and apply for your church. I am sure that Community will give you lots of ideas for revitalizing your small groups towards greater faithfulness in making disciples who make disciples.
The following was my recommendation remarks presented to my Church Leadership Team in regards to the English Worship Time Change proposal:
I believe that it is the hearts of our church members that needs to change primarily. Even though a change in time may make EM Worship Service attendance more likely for some in a practical sense, what is at the heart of the problem is the heart: having a heart that desires to worship The Lord.
We need gospel transformation, not simply a time change.
change in our *prioritization* of family and church: above school, work, extra curriculars, Chinese School;
transformation of our church member’s (ESP parent’s) desire to come to church and bring their kids;
development and equipping of the family in discipleling their kids well in The Lord;
Our growth in faith and in service to God is rendered meaningless when we ourselves do not do the work of discipleship m
I am convinced that our Lord desires in each and every one of us gospel growth. Change that is brought about in our hearts because of the presence of the Spirit of Christ. Transformation happens over time when we take small steps in ourselves and our children. When we stop making exceptions for their spiritual health. When we start working in the office less and spend more time with our children–outside of and especially in church.
A time change will not help us to face the greater heart issue, and it rather let’s some families to continue without reconsidering what gospel issues are really at stake.
Time change of Worship Service will notably disrupt some existing church programs. And a location change will affect some in our perception of a worship environment. Yet I am most concerned about the foundational issues of worship and discipleship.
For these reasons, I recommend that we do NOT change the English Worship time and location at this time.
Or rather they know about God. That is, they are aware of many facts about the deity that they hear of from church-going parents. They hear about God when they get put through my Worship Services and Youth ministry.
However, many kids do not know God for themselves. That is, they don’t have any intimate relationship with him. They know from my lips that that is what they ultimately need. Yet many do not have a personal relationship with the God and Father of our Lord and Savior. As evident in their day to day behavior inside and outside of church, they do not actually “follow” Christ (Matt 4:18-22).
Yet many parents think the 3hours or so a week I spend with them will “make them love God”.
Unregenerate sinners have no place in serving in the church of Jesus Christ. We cannot use “service” or “training for serving” as a means to bring salvation for souls.
Because all that does not give them a right relationship with God; such does not bring about supernatural regeneration. This is only superficial religion when acts of service is done for the goal of bringing about salvation.
Another club or group initialized by parents will not bring about new birth. What this generation needs is not more programs where parents drop off their kids for another “lesson” about God or training in how to serve in church. Teaching ways of sanctification to the spiritual rebels will get us nowhere. It only leads them to legalism. Because they are but sons of disobedience and children of wrath, when they don’t have a new heart. We already had a generation of Pharisees in Jesus day, and look how far that superficial religiosity got them.
What is missing in our churches is a generation of youngsters who are born again.
The Church’s Discipleship
Like I have said again and again, regeneration is the greatest need in today’s church. This is where the discipleship starts. And this will always be the root of gospel-centered discipleship.
And how discipleship happens is through one generation disciplig the younger generation personally, daily. Yes, this means parents who disciple their kids day in and day out, and not simply dropping them off for a professional (or skilled amateur) to care for. Personal discipleship, not professional discipleship.
The church needs a generation of parents who lead their children to love God by way of example, through spending time and more time with them. We need to take time hanging out with them. Doing fun and stupid things with them. To build a trusting relationship with our children. And slowly but surely, be shaping them by the cross, that they may have new heats that burn for the Word of Christ.
It will take time away from the office.
And maybe time away for our own “serving” in church.
But the fruit of such a ministry will be a new generation that is dead to sin and alive to God. This is what we need to pray for and what we need to plan for: a generation of regeneration.