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Come People of the Risen King – Sunday Songs

This week’s song (a day late) is: Come People of the Risen King. The words and music by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend. Townend is prolific and very good. His lyrics include ‘How Deep The Father’s Love For Us’ and ‘In Christ Alone’. He is a composer in his own right. It has been interesting to see the growing complexity of his lyrics over the last ten to fifteen years. This has also been accompanied by a breadth of subject matter that he addresses in song.
The more hymn like structure of many of his recent songs and collaborations assists this development. Rather than repetition, these songs use progression to give expression to their praise. Some modern songs seem to be a collection of attractive phrases fused together. In contrast, I believe this is why Townend’s latter output is so satisfying to sing. These songs say something about God’s grace and mercy, and express responses of gratitude and consecration.
I used to wonder about the prolific output of modern song writers. That was before I learned of the tremendous output of the hymn writers of past ages, such as Watts, Wesley and Newton. They produced much, but only their best has continued in widespread use today. The same will be true of much contemporary church music.
Perhaps even moreso, given how many modern church music writers have tied their lyrics to melodies are so reflective of the time in which they were written. Rather than timeless expressions of faith, they seemed to have consciously composed as an expression of the present. Songs from the 70s and 80s can sound very dated today while even the contemporary focused parts of the church are rediscovering hymns. Even though it is far from the best of their output, one can imagine Come people of the Risen King being sung fifty or a hundred years from now. You could imagine it having been sung decades ago in the past. It is these sort of songs that help us appreciate our historic ties with the family of God.
Anyway, I digress…
At mgpc this Sunday night we’ll be learning Come, people of the Risen King, a strong song to begin a time of Christian fellowship.

The lyrics (sheet music can be purchased online here.)
Come, people of the Risen King,
Who delight to bring Him praise;
Come all and tune your hearts to sing
To the Morning Star of grace.
From the shifting shadows of the earth
We will lift our eyes to Him,
Where steady arms of mercy reach
To gather children in.

REFRAIN
Rejoice, Rejoice! Let every tongue rejoice!
One heart, one voice; O Church of Christ, rejoice!

Come, those whose joy is morning sun,
And those weeping through the night;
Come, those who tell of battles won,
And those struggling in the fight.
For His perfect love will never change,
And His mercies never cease,
But follow us through all our days
With the certain hope of peace. REFRAIN.

Come, young and old from every land –
Men and women of the faith;
Come, those with full or empty hands –
Find the riches of His grace.
Over all the world, His people sing –
Shore to shore we hear them call
The Truth that cries through every age:
“Our God is all in all”! REFRAIN

Words and Music by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2008 Thankyou Music/ Copyright Control

The lyrics invite us all, young and old, male and female, from all nations, to ‘Rejoice’, while acknowledging that our individual circumstances vary greatly. The reason why we can all join together and rejoice is because our praise is directed toward our ever faithful and merciful God and made possible by Christ our Saviour.

Here is a youtube recording of Kristyn and Keith Getty leading the song at the Shadow Mountain Church in San Diego.


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Worldliness – A Book Review

‘Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World’ (Crossway, 2008) a collection of essays by Pastors and leaders of various Congregations of Sovereign Grace Ministry churches under the editorship of C.J. Mahaney. It is a short, punchy read: 171 pages in an 18cm by 13cm hardback.
Mahaney’s introductory essay asks if the verse 1 John 2:15 is found in our Bibles. 1 John 2:15 tells us: ‘Do not love the world or the things in the world.’ The reason is that love for the world or the things of the world is the heresy to which most Christians succumb. They don’t shipwreck their faith by embracing erronious teaching, they walk away from the faith to pursue other priorities. In an age and culture where material comforts and concerns are promoted as being prized above all, this is a timely book. Continue reading


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Christ in all the Scriptures – Jonah

Today at Friday Bible Study we sought to apply Brian Chapell’s Fallen Condition Focus to the book of Jonah.
Those of you who are regular readers will recall that as Jesus walked on the road to Emmaus with the two travellers: ‘with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them [the Emmaus travellers] in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
Think for a moment that as they walk those seven miles that Jesus mentions the book of Jonah. There was plenty of time, they walked seven miles. After all Matthew and Luke revealed that Jesus specifically mentions Jonah at another time. So this is not fanciful speculation.
We are challenged not to sentimentalise such an idea. What we are doing is trying to identify the same ‘Fallen Condition Focus’ that Jesus would have. Remember that the ‘Fallen Condition Focus’ is:’the mutual condition that contemporary believers share with those for whom the text was written that requires the grace of the passage to manifest God’s glory to His people.’
So, what did we find? Continue reading


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The Gospel Priority

Something that I have been continuing to think about since returning from Timor Leste is the primacy which the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of TL is seeking to give to evangelism and the ministry of God’s Word. In a nation where so many have so little, where needs abound, it is a striking emphasis.
As a church, we at mgpc are blessed with much. I think we have much to learn from God’s Word and the example of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world about how we use the resources God has given us to support Gospel work. Continue reading


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SMBC Preaching Conference – Bryan Chapell

Bryan Chapell spoke on Christ Centered Preaching at the 2009 SMBC Preaching Conference. An integral aspect of his material is that each passage of Scripture relates to Christ through the presence of a Fallen Condition Focus. This is not to say that every passage in the Bible mentions Jesus directly or indirectly, but that as Jesus Himself did in Luke 24 ‘with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them [the Emmaus travellers] in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.’

The Fallen Condition Focus directs us to discern in each passage of Scripture: ‘the mutual condition that contemporary believers share with those for whom the text was written that requires the grace of the passage to manifest God’s glory to his people.’

The FCF helps us to go beyond looking at the Bible as the Gospel plus principles for living added on, but rather: ‘Since fallen creatures cannot correct or remove their own fallenness, identification of the FCF forces a sermon to honor God as the only source of hope rather than merely promoting human fix-its or behavior change… The acknowledgment of human fallenness that undergirds the text’s explanation and the sermon’s development automatically requires the preacher to acknowledge the bankruptcy of merely human efforts and to honor the wonders of the divine provision’. It helps us to avoid preaching despair inducing condemnation; legalism or moralism or from giving the impression that the principal purpose of the Bible is God telling us what we should and shouldn’t do. (Thus avoiding the delightfully named interloper to the great Reformation principles ‘sola bootstrapsa’.)

(Thought the statements in quotes were made by Dr. Chapell in our lectures I have copied the actual quotes from Milton Stanley’s site ‘Transforming Sermons’.)

This could be the easiest report I ever have to write, though. Dr. Chapell’s presentations on Christ Centered Preaching are all available at the Covenant Seminary website. In a remarkable display of generosity and committment to the equipping of the saints for mission and ministry, their World Wide Classroom contains notes and mp3s for download. You can’t get a degree by doing this, but you can get a degree level education.

The link is: http://worldwide-classroom.com/courses/info/cm099/
Covenant Seminary’s homepage is: http://www.covenantseminary.edu/

The page of the World Wide Classroom that contains Dr. Chapell’s syllabus on Christ Centered Preaching provides the following introductory paragraph: Dr. Bryan Chapell explores the unifying principle of grace that binds all Scripture together. He outlines and demonstrates the principles and practice of sermon crafting and delivery to illuminate the message of grace in each passage, and to submit it to God’s Spirit for the transformation of lives through preaching.

Links on this page will avail you of twenty-seven lessons covering twenty-five topics. The lessons outline the practical methodology of the process of crafting a sermon from text to delivery. The latter lessons seem to address the material covered in the presentations at the Conference. Some material that I definitely want to download is lessons 13; 14; and 15. These cover illustration and application. Dr. Chapell’s skill as an illustrator was much appreciated. The skill with which he incorporated illustrations into his talks and sermons, and the appropriate way in which they helped to illuminate the truth at hand without overpowering it, without distracting us from the matter at hand.

So, if your are a preacher or Bible teacher, go and start downloading. Your proclamation will be enhanced and you will be blessed just engaging with the material. If you listen to sermons, you will learn much about discerning whether what you are hearing is truly Christ centered and Gospel focused and therefore truly biblical. Go now. Don’t wait.


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SMBC Preaching Conference – Kanishka Raffel

Judgement, Hell, Heaven: these are not subjects for the lecture theatre, abstract subjects of intellectual interest to be mastered and then left behind. They are the stuff of eternity: of the Creator; a rebellious creation held to account; of righteous punishment; of undeserved redemption; and, finally, of a never ending life in a new creation worshipping the Father and the One Who was slain.
It is for this reason that summarising Kanisha’s sermons is difficult. They were heartfelt and earnest; at one and the same time we were instructed, but we also stood on holy ground. But, at the same time, matters of such import need to be shared openly and freely, in every context of life possible. I’ve included all three talks in one post. Take your time though, there are depths and complexities here that demand careful and thoughtful exploration. These truths demand a response, they call out for consideration. Continue reading


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Sunday Songs – I Stand Amazed

Sunday seems to be a good day to talk about songs.
I know plenty of songs, old and new, but here is an old hymn I did not know that suddenly seems to be enjoying a resurgence of popularity. I like to think I know lots of good songs, so it’s a pleasant surprise to learn something new which is actually old. Today’s hymn is ‘I Stand Amazed’ by Charles H Gabriel. Continue reading