Why is Easter Important?

Easter is the celebration of the resurrection after the death (Good Friday) and burial of Jesus, the Christ.

I don’t write to the unconverted. I don’t believe anyone can be convinced.

But if you need encouragement today, please continue.

Good Friday

Good Friday (some people think He died on Thursday, but I’ll leave this to the apologetics crew) is when Jesus died in our place.

Sin has a cost. We like to focus on the love of God but seldom consider the cost of sin. Furthermore, when we do focus on the love of God we forget that it was His love that motivated Him to die.

Our Sin

The Bible teaches us that all of us have sinned.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Whether it sounds appealing to our modern view, there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. In the context of the Bible, and His laws (rules) that He set up (it’s His world, after all), this cannot be bypassed or hacked.

“And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22

If you want to read the legal case set against us, try reading the Book of Romans. Paul does a good job laying out the case for all things “New Testament.” Suffice it, for the sake of this blog post, to say, that we are sinners, needing redemption, and only the blood of Christ (fully man yet fully God) would be acceptable. Continue reading Why is Easter Important?

Hymn-Theology Christmas Edition: Mercy Calls You, Break Your Chains

Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you, break your chains

“Angels from The Realms of Glory” by James Montgomery (Music by Henry T. Smart)

This may be one of the most underwhelming (and underrated) Christmas hymns. I’ve heard it for years but the lyrics never grabbed me like they did last year. The second half of this stanza is so powerful:

Justice now revokes the sentence. Mercy calls you, break your chains.

Fairness. Justice. We often cry out for these valiant, noble causes. In fact, God calls us to “do justly and to love mercy” in Micah 6:8. Yet, what do we want for ourselves? Do we want justice? Do we want God to treat us fairly? Continue reading Hymn-Theology Christmas Edition: Mercy Calls You, Break Your Chains

Commit it to Memory and Consider Carefully | A #CEBTour Post

CEB_BlogTourPostMary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully.

Luke 2:19

How often to we flippantly blab things to one another without regard to wisdom and even discretion? Technology to tweet from our phones creates a casual atmosphere to vent, share things that could be private, or what-have-you without a single thought of the consequences.

Not Mary.  She showed wisdom and discernment in all phases of the miracle that would define her life.

She was given such an amazing, incredible prophesy (Luke 1:31-32).  She was to have a child by the Holy Spirit.  It would be hard to not tell everyone – yet people may have thought she was crazy and tried to stone her for adultery.

Notice that she didn’t tell the whole world.  She had wisdom; she went to her relative Elizabeth-someone she trusted, spiritually.  Too often we allow too many people the privilege of input in our walk with Jesus and with our daily lives.  This is a great example of using discernment, even with great news. Continue reading Commit it to Memory and Consider Carefully | A #CEBTour Post

Hymn Theology Christmas Edition: Word of the Father Now in Flesh Appearing

 

Yea, Lord, we greet thee,

Born this happy morning;

Jesus, to Thee be glory given;

Word of the Father, Now in flesh appearing;

“O Come All Ye Faithful” ~ attributed to English hymnist John Francis Wade

Weddings and holidays have so much in common in that we each have romanticized ideas and traditions; although special and sentimental, they can easily sabotage the wonder of the celebration. Instead of enjoying the event, how often do we focus on what is missing or wrong?

In that respect, Christmas carols can be quite the challenge for the worship leader. It seems everyone in the congregation has different opinions regarding the key and arrangement for each song based upon their personal experience (ie tradition). Notwithstanding, we can all agree upon the timeless beauty and theological truth of the lyrics. Continue reading Hymn Theology Christmas Edition: Word of the Father Now in Flesh Appearing

Hymn-Theology Christmas Edition: Born to Raise the Sons of Earth

 

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.

Charles Wesley 1743

So many Christmas songs bring to mind memories of our childhood traditions, warm thoughts of family and togetherness, and the smells of those things baking in the oven, saved especially for Christmas dinner.

Ever since I first heard Hark the Herald Angels Sing as a child in A Charlie Brown Christmas, and again as an adult Christian, studying and considering the theology in these lyrics, the message of this hymn resonates in my very soul.  The entire gospel is neatly packed into the lyrics of this hymn in such a memorable way.

Charles Wesley wrote over 6,000 hymns in his lifetime; however, according to The History And Use of Hymns and Hymn-Tunes, page 116, Hark the Herald Angels Sing is noted as one of the “Great Four of Angelican Hymnology.”

Continue reading Hymn-Theology Christmas Edition: Born to Raise the Sons of Earth

Christmas Song Collaboration: Gift of Love

Good and Perfect Gift   (CCLI 5350331)

I wrote this for our church ladies’ luncheon based on James 1:17.  Joel Klampert and I collaborated to re-work this song.

Get the chart here:

In the Key of C (G Capo on 5th Fret)

Here’s my newest version.

Here’s Joel’s first draft.

Continue reading Christmas Song Collaboration: Gift of Love