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Nothing But The Blood (Matt Redman) – Sunday Songs

Last week I featured a revision of the hymn ‘What Can Wash Away My Sin’ from EMU Music, Australia.
This week I want to feature a song by Matt Redman that has the first line: ‘Your blood speaks a better word’ and uses various lyrics from ‘What can wash away my sin’ as part of its refrain.
The song demonstrates the effort which song-writers from neo-pentecostal backgrounds are making to develop songs which reflect broader theological themes. This is particularly so in among a group of British song writers.
The lyrics are Christ centered and Christ focussed, identifying our entire acceptability with God to be founded on Jesus’ shed blood.

Here’s the lyrics, which can be purchased online from Kingsway Music.
1.
Your blood speaks a better word
Than all the empty claims I’ve heard upon this earth
Speaks righteousness for me
And stands in my defence
Jesus, it’s Your blood
Refrain.
What can wash away our sins?
What can make us whole again?
Nothing but the blood
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can wash us pure as snow
Welcomed as the friends of God?
Nothing but Your blood
Nothing but Your blood, King Jesus
2.
Your cross testifies in grace
Tells of the Father’s heart to make a way for us
Now boldly we approach
Not earthly confidence
It’s only by Your blood

Robert Lowry (1826-1899)/Matt Redman Chorus: Matt Redman
Copyright © 2004 Thankyou Music

A longish YouTube of Redman singing the song before a group of people. You can stop it when you get the idea, or watch it all. Interesting foreign language subtitles.


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Pastoral Helps – 30/1/2010

I’ve read and heard this before, but it’s always someone’s first time.
Daryl Dash expands on Arch Hart’s advice on ‘Why Pastors Should Consider Working Mondays‘. (ie. not take Monday as their ‘day off’.)
Briefly, the adrenal high and resulting drain that follows pastoral activity on Sunday means a lot of pastors simply shamble through Monday looking like the living dead and aren’t able to enjoy recreation or rest properly.
Dash: “The reality is that I need a weekly sabbath – not a day off, and not a legalistic day, but a day of joy and refreshment. It’s not a day to catch up around the house or to run errands. It’s a day to completely unplug and release myself from all obligations, and to enjoy relationships and activities that bring me joy. For me, Mondays simply don’t work. I can’t enter into this day of delight when I’m simply trying to recover from the day before.”

As someone whose personality tends more towards introversion than extroversion, I found Trevin Wax’s review of Introverts in the Church very interesting.
Wax comments: “Adam McHugh’s new book Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture (IVP, 2009) goes beyond superficial personality tests to address a real problem in evangelical churches today. McHugh makes the case that most churches are led by and geared toward extroverted personalities. Evangelicals tend to measure progress in discipleship by participation in essentially extrovert-focused activities. Even the wider society rewards extroverted traits, which leaves people with more introverted personalities feeling left out.”

Catalyst Space has interesting articles for church leaders.
Tony Morgan’s piece on ‘Leading VS Managing‘ was interesting and opened up lots of stuff for thought.
Churches need leading and managing, without leadership they’ll lack direction and without management they’ll lack stability. Knowing where your natural gifting lies is important so you can develop a leadership team that help your church have direction and cohesion.
One Decision from Stupid by Shawn Lovejoy & David Putman is an ‘always needed’ warning about how one decision can ship-wreck a life, a marriage, a family, along with a church and its wider witness. They offer a list of safeguards:
1) What is the real condition of my prayer life and study of God’s Word for other than the messages I teach?
2) Is there anyone in my life that has permission to ask me the hard questions and are those questions being asked regularly?
3) Do I have accountability software on my computer that keeps me off sites I don’t need to be on?
4) Do I take a weekly Sabbath? If so, what makes it holy?
5) Do I eat properly, exercise regularly, and get proper rest?
6) Am I spending consistent quality time with my spouse and children? Would my spouse and children agree?
7) Do I have a hobby/interest I’m passionate about outside of ministry that recharges me emotionally?
8) Do I spend formal and informal time with other ministry leaders who are winning at the nurturing their own vitality to learn from them?

Mount Gambier is a provincial town and we are able to conduct hospital visiting to those who identify as Presbyterian. About fifteen folk from the church are involved in this activity.
Kevin DeYoung posted a review of a booklet by Brian Croft, Pastor at Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, entitled ‘Visit the Sick: Ministering God’s Grace in Times of Illness’. DeYoung’s review reveals it to be a solid and helpful introduction to visiting the sick. We’ll probably grab some copies and give them to our visitors.

Mark Driscoll interviews R.C. Sproul. It’s great to see two generations of calvinist pastors getting on so well. The whole video is at The Resurgence, or you can watch it in edited highlights. I’d never heard the one about R.C. and Alice Cooper being golf buddies.

I want to finish this week with a YouTube featuring Dr. David Powlison sharing “a personal story of his own suffering and how the truth of Christ plus a small obedience made all the difference”. If you ever get who you are and what you do confused this is very helpful.
If you want another example of what sort of person Powlison is read this.


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President Obama’s New Career In Standup Comedy

Presumably from the State of the Union Address.
I wonder if Kevin Rudd, Penny Wong, Bob Brown or Tim Flannery can raise so many laughs?
Change is getting a bit hard to believe in.


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N.T. Wright On Hell

Christianity Today’s Out of Ur blog commences ‘a new weekly series on Out of Ur about the doctrine of Hell’.
Firstly they offer a three minute video of N.T. Wright answering the question: ‘What is Hell like? Does it even exist?’
(This is the title of the video and Wright commences talking without a statement about the precise question to which he is responding.)
The answer seems to be ‘not very nice’ and ‘yes, but…’.
It’s really hard to tell just what is going on.
Here’s the video.

This reminds me of stuff I’ve read in Robert Farr Capon’s writings, which I figured was some form of neo-orthodoxy.
Everyone’s part of the party unless they choose not to come. God doesn’t make anyone come and He allows those who choose not to come to go their way. It is not universalism, exactly. It’s just the neigboring property with a lovely sundeck overlooking universalism.
The ideas of jugdement, punishment and eternal concious suffering don’t come into it.
It seems to be more a petulant distance outside a party that lasts for an indeterminate period of time. (Until you decide to come in?) (Perhaps some form of annhilationism.)
Wright does remark that our decisions in this life really do matter.

(If you go and read the comments at the Out of Ur post you can read one by someone who believes that Jesus did not believe in eternal judgement and that any of His sayings about Hell were later additions to the inspired text.)


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Westminster Assembly Project

No, it’s not a new avant-garde pop band.
It’s a new series of books dealing with the statements and theology of the Westminster Assembly.

From RHB blog.
“John Bower has joined historian Chad Van Dixhoorn in launching three new series of books by the Westminster Assembly, and one series of new and classic studies on the Assembly, all being published by Reformation Heritage Books. It is hoped that both texts and studies will stimulate further research in the Assembly and the religious dimension of English civil war politics. Certainly future publications on British post-Reformation theology and Puritanism will be enriched by these publications, briefly described here.”

Principal Documents of the Westminster Assembly. This series will produce the six chief works authored by the Assembly for covenanted uniformity of religion in England: the Confession of Faith, Larger Catechism, Shorter Catechism, Directory for Public Worship, Directory for Church Government, and The Psalter. Each volume will contain a historical introduction, a critical text, and multi-column comparisons of original manuscripts and early editions. The inaugural volume, The Larger Catechism, has been prepared by John Bower and scheduled for a launch in March 2010.

Writings of the Westminster Divines. The aim of this series is to provide scholarly editions of texts by Westminster Assembly members and commissioners. Volumes will include previously unpublished manuscripts as well as republications of rare editions. Carefully determined editorial standards will be used to ensure an authoritative product that is accessible to modern readers, while remaining reliable for students and scholars.

Westminster Assembly Facsimiles. With this new series, Reformation Heritage Books and the Westminster Assembly Project are providing electronic and print access to publications by Assembly members in their original form. Free PDF downloads will be made available through the Westminster Assembly Project website. The same text can be purchased for your collection in paperback and hard cover from Reformation Heritage Books.

Studies of the Westminster Assembly. Complementing the primary source material in the other series, the Assembly studies will provide access to classic studies that have not been reprinted and to new studies, providing some of the best existing research on the Assembly and its members.

Westminster Assembly Project Website.


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From Pride To Humility

Church Matters is featuring material gleaned from a booklet by Stuart Scott entitled From Pride To Humility.

Part 1: “30 biblical indicators as to whether pride is resident in our hearts”
1. Complaining against or passing judgment on God (Numbers 14:1-4, 9, 11; Romans 9:20)
2. A lack of gratitude (2 Chronicles 32:25)
3. Anger (Proverbs 28:25; Matthew 20:1-16)
4. Seeing yourself as better than others (Luke 7:36-50)
5. Having an inflated view of your importance, gifts and abilities (Acts 12:21-23
6. Being focused on the lack of your gifts and abilities (1 Cor. 12:14-25)
7. Perfectionism (Matthew 23:24-28)
8. Talking too much (Proverbs 10:19)
9. Talking too much about yourself (Proverbs 27:2; Galatians 6:3)
10. Seeking independence or control (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; Ephesians 5:21)
11. Being consumed with what others think (Galatians 1:10)
12. Being devastated or angered by criticism (Proverbs 13:1)
13. Being unteachable (Proverbs 19:20; John 9:13-34)
14. Being sarcastic, hurtful, degrading, talking down to them(Proverbs 12:18, 24)
15. A lack of service (Galatians 5:13, Ephesians 2:10)
16. A lack of compassion (Matthew 5:7, 18:23-35)
17. Being defensive or blame-shifting (Genesis 3:12-13; Proverbs 12:1)
18. A lack of admitting when you are wrong (Proverbs 10:17)
19. A lack of asking forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24)
20. A lack of biblical prayer (Luke 18:10-14)
21. Resisting authority or being disrespectful (1 Peter 2:13-17)
22. Voicing preferences or opinions when not asked (Philippians 2:1-4)
23. Minimizing your own sin and shortcomings (Matthew 7:3-5)
24. Maximizing others’ sin and shortcomings (Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 18:9-14)
25. Being impatient or irritable with others (Ephesians 4:31-32)
26. Being jealous or envious (1 Corinthians 13:4)
27. Using others (Matthew 7:12; Philippians 2:3-4)
28. Being deceitful by covering up sins, faults, and mistakes (Proverbs 11:3; 28:13)
29. Using attention-getting tactics (1 Peter 3:3,4)
30. Not having close relationships (Proverbs 18:1-2; Hebrews 10:24-25)

Part 2: “24 manifestations of what Christ exalting humility should produce in your life”.
1. Recognizing and trusting God’s character (Psalm 119:66)
2. Seeing yourself as having no right to question or judge an Almighty and Perfect God (Psalm 145:17; Romans 9:19-23)
3. Focusing on Christ (Philippians 1:21; Hebrews 12:1-2)
4. Biblical praying and a great deal of it (1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Timothy 2:1-2)
5. Being overwhelmed with God’s undeserved grace and goodness (Psalm 116:12-19)
6. Thankfulness and gratitude in general towards others (1 Thess. 5:18)
7. Being gentle and patient (Colossians 3:12-14)
8. Seeing yourself as no better than others (Romans 12:16; Ephesians 3:8)
9. Having an accurate view of your gifts and abilities (Romans 12:3)
10. Being a good listener (James 1:19; Philippians 2:3-4)
11. Talking about others only if it is good or for their good (Proverbs 11:13)
12. Being gladly submissive and obedient to those in authority (Rom. 12:1-2, 13:1-2)
13. Preferring others over yourself (Romans 12:10)
14. Being thankful for criticism or reproof (Proverbs 9:8, 27:5-6)
15. Having a teachable spirit (Proverbs 9:9)
16. Seeking always to build up others (Ephesians 4:29)
17. Serving (Galatians 5:13)
18. A quickness in admitting when you are wrong (Proverbs 29:23)
19. A quickness in granting and asking for forgiveness (Colossians 3:12-14)
20. Repenting of sin as a way of life (Colossians 3:1-14; 1 Timothy 4:7-9)
21. Minimizing others’ sins or shortcomings in comparison to one’s own (Matthew 7:3-4)
22. Being genuinely glad for others (Romans 12:15)
23. Being honest and open about who you are and the areas in which you need growth (Philippians 3:12-14; Galatians 6:2)
24. Possessing close relationships (Acts 20:31-38)

A prayer relevant to reflections that flow from applying these summaries to myself by Scotty Smith: A Prayer About Annoyance-less Overlooking.


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Making Better Decisions – What’s Next Best

What’s Best Next is ‘Matt Perman’s blog on integrating the big picture with everyday decisions so that we can do things better in life, work, business, and society’.

Interesting quotes and references to material dealing with ‘Making good decisions in life, work, business, and society’.

Lots of common grace material here, such as:

The First Response to Change Should Be:
The proper first response to a changing world is not to ask, “How should we change?” but rather to ask, “What do we stand for and why do we exist?” This should never change. And then feel free to change everything else.
(From Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in Built to Last)

Understand the Fundamentals
The biggest problems facing organizations today stem not from a dearth of new management ideas (we’re inundated with them), but primarily from a lack of understanding the basic fundamentals and, most problematic, a failure to consistently apply those fundamentals.
(From Good to Great)

HT: (sorry, I can’t remember who sent me to this blog)