Hid in Christ: A Hymn on Colossians 3:3

This is my attempt at writing a hymn. It’s a commentary on Colossians 3:3: “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

I don’t know anything about writing music, but I figured it couldn’t be any harder than writing a poem. You be the judge.

Long ago we once stood under the wrath of God
Long ago we once lived for the filth of Ichabod

Out in the open, upon the war plain,
Famous for our sin, famous for our shame.

Yet in spite of our resistance, you, our Lord, came,
The conquering king who lived, died, and rose again.

You called out our name, and purchased our pardon,
Joined us to God and ushered in our peace with heaven.

Then rose to the sky, high above the clouds,
To sit on the throne as final judge of the end.

Now hid in Christ, dead to darkness, and lowly,
forgiven, cleansed, and with great joy, holy,

We roam as strangers in humble, dull flesh,
Longing for our Lord in this wilderness.

But one day You will return, one day to be revealed,
One day Your glory will shine, our highest ever, revered.

A blast of the trumpet will arrest every man’s eye
on the Lord himself descending from the sky.

And on that same day, drawn to our King,
Among the wild train of heavenly beings,

We, too, will appear in this great story
unashamed children of his matchless glory.

Ichabod means “the glory has departed from Israel.” I don’t really know what “living for the filth of Ichabod” means. Maybe it means living for the pleasures of the world.

Cut me some slack. It rhymed with God. And it has nothing to do with the Sleepy Hollow story.

Why Unbelievers Find Jesus’ Commands Too Extreme and Strenuous to Be Obeyed

Ascetic Hindu

 It’s impossible to live like this–impossible, impossible, impossible!

That’s what the great Russian writer Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy wrote in his article of 1882 On the Occasion of the Moscow Census…but those words easily sum up all he wrote in the last thirty years of his life.

This includes his attack on art, the church, the state and society, all as a result of his return to Gospel purity.

For example, upon his move to Moscow from the Russian countryside he was exposed to urban poverty and began handing out fistfuls of money, but realized that was not enough.

Thus his outburst. [Read more...]

The Controversy of Contemporary Christians

On the one had we are to call sin sin and call sinners to repentance. On the other hand, we need to love our enemies. Those who would reject us, ridicule us. Those who would call us intolerant, bigoted, and hateful.

So how do we respond to a challenge like same-sex marriage or abortion? Ask some Christians and the response is to dig the trenches, string out the barbwire, and load the rifles. We are going to make war against our enemies. We are going to die on this hill. [Read more...]

Jesus’ Amazing Love in Seven Words

Demian Preaching

Below is my manuscript for the ten-minute sermon I preached at August Gate (our home church). It was the first sermon I ever preached.

I was part of a team of ten or so guys chosen to preach during the Advent season. Instead of one 40-minute long sermon, each week three guys would preach a ten-minute sermon based upon a theme like “Jesus is our hope” or “Jesus is our love.”

Before we could that, however, we had to attend a 4-week preaching lab, which amounted to meeting at 6 a.m. in our St. Louis office with our lead paster for an hour every Tuesday during the month of November. During that hour he trained us on how to properly study and preach the Word of God.

In addition, we had to turn in our sermon outlines to our lead pastor two-weeks before we preached. Once he approved our outline, we could work on our sermon manuscript, which we had to turn in one-week before we preached.

I have to confess: this was a lot of hard work. And there is a reason why I am a writer and not a pastor. My esteem for these fellas has gone up. My sermon sounds much better in print than person. Enjoy. [Read more...]

How Do You Say Thank You to a Silent Hero?

Image credit: Danny Hass

We all have one: a silent hero.

The person who led us to the Lord. Who prayed without ceasing for our conversion. Who said or did something that changed our life–but who, for one reason or another, is no longer part of our lives.

It could’ve been somebody we met in another part of the country or world. And it could be their impact on you might not have been immediate.

I have such a silent hero. [Read more...]

Mere Christianity (Winner of the Most Logical Gospel* Book)

C S Lewis

Introducing the 9/60 best books on the gospel. A 62-week long series.

Let me give you the lowdown on the asterisk up there next to the word “Gospel.”

When I first stumbled across this list of the best books on the gospel I found many titles that I would expect to be on that list. Then I found a few that I didn’t expect. Mere Christianity was one of them.

Before last week I think I’ve read the book twice. Once back in 1998. And then sometime shortly after August 2005 (that was the year that my father died and I inherited his library. Mere Christianity was one of the books in his library.)

Last week makes three.

I have to be honest. I wasn’t looking forward to reading this book. Nor was I looking forward to reviewing it. I’m not really sure why. Here are some hypothesis: [Read more...]

How to Give Away Your Faith (Winner of Most Pragmatic Gospel Book)

How to Give Away Your Faith

Introducing the 8/60 best books on the gospel. A 62-week long series.

Nineteen sixty-six.

That was the year that How to Give Away Your Faith was published by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Today it is September 13, 2012. Forty-six years later the book is still in print.

And if the blurb on the front cover is true there over one million copies in print.

That’s substantial testament to the popularity of the book. A popularity that is bred by the books pragmatism–it’s simple and useful. Full of relevant illustrations.

No surprise the books original audience was college students, a skeptical bunch indeed. [Read more...]