Friday, December 30, 2011

Treasures of Grace in Urns of Clay

How Rich Thy Bounty, King of Kings!
Philip Doddridge, 1702-1751

How rich Thy bounty, King of kings!
Thy favors, how divine!
The blessings which Thy Gospel brings,
How splendidly they shine!

Gold is but dross, and gems but toys,
Should gold and gems compare;
How mean, when sent against those joys
Thy poorest servants share!

Yet all these treasures of Thy grace
Are lodged in urns of clay;
And the weak sons of mortal race
The immortal gifts convey.

Feebly they lisp Thy glories forth,
Yet grace the victory gives;
Quickly they molder back to earth,
Yet still Thy Gospel lives.

Such wonders power divine effects;
Such trophies God can raise;
His hand, from crumbling dust, erects
His monuments of praise.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top 10 Most Read "Gospel Coalition" Articles of 2011

Collin Hansen, from the Gospel Coalition, has compiled a list of their top 10 most read articles during these past twelve months. Click here to see the list and read (or re-read) the articles.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Can You Relate?

The following is an excerpt from a letter by John Newton to his friend William Bull, describing how frantic and busy he felt during a difficult season of life.

I have seldom one hour free from interruption. Letters come that must be answered, visitants that must be received, business that must be attended to. . . . night comes before I am ready for noon and the week closes when according to the state of my business it should not be more than Tuesday.

I know the feeling. How about you?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Gospel's Seemingly Contradictory Work

"The gospel gives us a new identity that is so majestic that we would be the most arrogant people in the world - except that we know we don't deserve it, it cost Christ his life, and it is all a free gift of grace....Only the gospel can do two seemingly contradictory things: destroy pride and increase courage. Destroy self-exaltation and increase confidence. Destroy the pushiness of self-assertion and deliver from the paralysis of self-doubt."

--John Piper, Bloodlines

Friday, December 23, 2011

Rise, the Woman's Conquering Seed!

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Charles Wesley, 1707-1788; alt. George Whitefield, 1714-1770

Hark, the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With angelic host proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.

Christ, by highest heavn adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail th'incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Immanuel.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.

Hail, the heav'n born Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris'n with healing in his wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home!
Rise, the Woman's conqu'ring Seed,
Bruise in us the Serpent's head!
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.

Adam's likeness, Lord, efface;
Stamp Thine image in its place;
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love!
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the Heavenly Man:
Oh, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart!
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Martin Luther's Christmas Story

Listen to a special Christmas edition of the Beeson Podcast as Timothy George reads Martin Luther's version of the Christmas story. Luther took great pains to make the nativity story come alive for the members of his congregation. Let it help you celebrate the birth of Christ this Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Handel and Humor

Check out these silent monks "singing" the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah.

Monday, December 19, 2011

To Be a Christian Is to Know Humility

"A proud Christian is as much an oxymoron as a sober drunkard or a generous miser."

--John Newton

Friday, December 16, 2011

Marvel in the Mystery

All People of the Coming King
© 2010, M. Justin Wainscott

All people of the coming King,
All servants of the Lord,
Come, lift your voices, let us sing
With hearts in one accord:
Alleluia! Alleluia!

In Bethlehem the angels praised
The birth of Christ our King;
So let us now with voices raised
Rejoice with them and sing:
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Oh, marvel in the mystery
Of Jesus' virgin birth;
To God all praise and glory be,
And peace o'er all the earth.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

His first advent salvation wrought
By dying on the tree;
Yet He, through resurrection, bought
For us eternity.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

To Him who came and conquered sin,
Triumphant and supreme;
To Him who'll one day come again,
We sound this joyous theme:
Alleluia! Alleluia!

And when He comes, our King, to reign,
And earth and heav'n be new;
Then may the sound of this refrain
Our longing hearts renew:
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Mystery of the Incarnation

"He, through whom time was born, was born in time;
and He, older by eternity than the world itself,
was younger in age than many of His servants in the world;
He, who made man, was made man;
He was given existence by a mother whom He brought into existence;
He was carried in hands which He formed;
He nursed at breasts which He filled;
He cried like a babe in the manger in speechless infancy --
this Word without which human eloquence is speechless!"

--Augustine, Sermon on Christmas

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Keith and Kristyn Getty at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis

For those of you in and around Memphis, you might be interested to know that this year's celebration of "The Majesty of Christmas" at Bellevue Baptist Church will feature special guests Keith and Kristyn Getty (who have written modern hymns such as "In Christ Alone," "The Power of the Cross," and "Come, People of the Risen King."

The Gettys will be premiering their new Christmas CD, Joy: An Irish Christmas, as they join with the church's choir and orchestra this Sunday, December 18, at 6:00pm in the worship center at Bellevue. For more information, click here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Surprise Rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus

Many of you have likely seen this before, but it is worth watching again.

On Saturday, October 30, 2010, the Opera Company of Philadelphia brought together over 650 choristers from 28 participating organizations to perform one of the Knight Foundation's "Random Acts of Culture" at Macy's in Center City Philadelphia. Accompanied by the Wanamaker Organ - the world's largest pipe organ - the OCP Chorus and throngs of singers from the community infiltrated the store as shoppers, and burst into a pop-up rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's "Messiah" at 12 noon, to the delight of surprised shoppers.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Our God Descended to the Earth and Didst Among Us Dwell

Sing Highest Praises to Our King
© 2009, M. Justin Wainscott

Sing highest praises to our King,
Who left His throne above,
And clothed Himself in flesh to bring
The blessings of His love.

The glory He had long enjoyed,
He humbly set aside;
How great the means which Christ employed
To save a sinful Bride!

In Bethlehem by virgin birth,
As prophets did foretell;
Our God descended to the earth,
And didst among us dwell.

We see Him in the manger lay,
But let us ne’er forget;
This precious Child was born to pay
Our cursed, sinful debt.

This perfect Lamb for sinners slain,
Who died and rose again,
Now sits on David’s throne and reigns
In vict’ry over sin.

So let our longing hearts all burn
With zeal for Christ our King,
And for the day of His return,
When He shall reign supreme!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Living Christmas Tree

First Baptist Church Jackson will be presenting the Living Christmas Tree this weekend. There will be two evening presentations and one in the afternoon (7PM on Friday and Saturday, 2PM on Sunday).

For more information or to reserve your tickets, click here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Faith Can Be Neither Empty, Nor Blind

"Without personal identification with Jesus Christ, cognitive specification of who he is remains empty; without cognitive specification of who Jesus Christ is, however, personal identification with him is blind."

--Miroslav Volf

Friday, December 2, 2011

Born a Child and Yet a King

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
Charles Wesley, 1707-1788

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.