Friday, December 28, 2012

Our Ever Great Reward

O Christ, Our Hope, Our Heart's Desire
Latin Hymn, c. 8th Century; translated by John Chandler, 1806-1876

O Christ, our hope, our heart's desire,
Redemption's only spring;
Creator of the world art Thou,
Its Savior and its King.

How vast the mercy and the love
Which laid our sins on Thee,
And led Thee to a cruel death
To set Thy people free.

But now the bonds of death are burst,
The ransom has been paid;
And Thou art on Thy Father's throne,
In glorious robes arrayed.

O may Thy mighty love prevail,
Our sinful souls to spare;
O may we come before Thy throne,
And find acceptance there!

O Christ, be Thou our lasting joy,
Our ever great reward;
Our only glory may it be
To glory in the Lord!

All praise to Thee, ascended Lord;
All glory ever be,
To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Through all eternity.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
(Luke 2:11)

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14) 

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." (Galatians 4:4-5) 

Friday, December 21, 2012

To God All Praise and Glory Be

All People of the Coming King
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 19, 2012

Where the Wild Things Are (and Have Been Overcome)

Enduring the Wilderness
M. Justin Wainscott, Copyright 2012

It should come as no surprise
that our earthly pilgrimage
is often compared
to the wilderness experience
of the Israelites.
Nor is it by accident
that the English word wilderness
contains the word wild within it.
The wilderness is anything
but safe or tame.
It contains many
dangers, toils, and snares.
But it's also the only sure path
to the Promised Land.
And thankfully, that path
is well worn by the pilgrims
who've gone before us
and, more importantly,
by our Lord,
who first cleared the path.

Monday, December 17, 2012

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 14, 2012

This Precious Child Was Born to Pay Our Cursed, Sinful Debt

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

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!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Indispensable Work of the Spirit

Listen to Spurgeon on the absolutely crucial role that the Holy Spirit plays in our redemption.  The Son accomplishes our redemption, but the Spirit applies it.  And without His application, the work of the Son would be of no benefit to us.
Let us ever remember that Christ on the cross is of no value to us, apart from the Holy Spirit in us.

In vain that blood is flowing, unless the finger of the Spirit applies the blood to our conscience; in vain is that garment of righteousness wrought out, unless the Holy Spirit wraps it around us and arrays us in its costly folds.

The river of the water of life cannot quench our thirst, till the Spirit presents the goblet and lifts it to our lips.

All the things which are in the paradise of God could never be blissful to us, so long as we are dead souls — and dead we are, until that heavenly wind comes and breathes upon us, that we may live.
We do not hesitate to say that we owe as much to God the Holy Spirit as we do to God the Son.

--Charles Spurgeon
HT: Of First Importance

Monday, December 10, 2012

2012 Living Christmas Tree This Weekend

For those of you in and around Jackson, Tennessee, I invite you to join us this weekend for the 35th Living Christmas Tree at First Baptist Church.  This year's presentation is titled "From Darkness to Light," and will be held on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:00PM and on Sunday afternoon at 2:00PM.

The Living Christmas Tree is free and open to the public.  Click here to reserve tickets online.

Friday, December 7, 2012

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.

Rise, the Woman's conqu'ring Seed,
Bruise in us the Serpent's head!
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Adam's likeness, Lord, efface;
Stamp Thine image in its place;
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love!
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Keith and Kristyn Getty in Jackson

Keith and Kristyn Getty's "Joy: An Irish Christmas" tour will be making a stop in Jackson this Sunday evening.  They will be at West Jackson Baptist Church at 7:00PM on Sunday evening.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Restoration Occurs Best in the Garden of Grace

A helpful reminder to exercise grace when reconciliation and restoration occur (drawn from the parable of the prodigal son):
The younger son was ready to do penance when he got home, but the first thing the father wanted his son to do was dance....No doubt, there were some "walks and talks" about the prodigal son's sinful choices, but restoration occurs best in the garden of grace, not under the doghouse of shame.

--Scotty Smith, Tabletalk (December 2012)