Find the eggs


Sunday morning this beautiful killdeer greeted us in the church parking lot. Killdeer lay their eggs among rocks in order to provide camouflage for their protection. Indeed, she was creating such a ruckus, we didn’t immediately see her eggs. We may not have even seen her had someone not given her a perimeter of orange traffic cones. Do you see her eggs?

Sunday Hymn: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing


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 heav’n adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see,
Hail, the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel!
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail, the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Son 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!”

This is probably my most favorite Christmas carol. We were singing it last night in the van when Karl remarked, “There is a lot of good theology in that one.”
He’s right.

With the Lord there is…


Psalm 130

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.

O Leslie, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Leslie from all her iniquities.

* * *

From Spurgeon’s notes on Psalm 130 in The Treasury of David:

“If JAH, the all-seeing, should in strict justice call every man to account for every want of conformity to righteousness, where would any one of us be? Truly, he does record all our transgressions; but as yet he does not act upon the record, but lays it aside till another day. If men were to be judges upon no system but that of works, who among us could answer for himself at the Lord’s bar, and hope to stand clear and accepted? This verse shows that the Psalmist was under a sense of sin, and felt it imperative upon him not only to cry as a suppliant but to confess as a sinner. Here he owns that he cannot stand before the great King in his own righteousness, and he is so struck with a sense of the holiness of God, and the rectitude of the law, that he is convinced that no man of mortal race can answer for himself before a Judge so perfect, concerning a law so divine. Well does he cry, ‘O Lord, who shall stand?’ None can do so: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Iniquities are matters which are not according to equity: what a multitude we have of these! Jehovah, who sees all, and is our Adonai, or Lord, will assuredly bring us into judgment concerning those thoughts, and words, and works which are not in exact conformity to his law. Were it not for the Lord Jesus, could we hope to stand? Dare we meet him in the dread day of account on the footing of law and equity? What a mercy it is that we need not do so, for the next verse sets forth another way of acceptance to which we flee.”

“But with you there is forgiveness…”

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:3-4)

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

Sunday Notes


When we sit down for lunch on Sundays, we go around the table and share something we learned or a new idea that made us think or something we were reminded of that we’d forgotten. This is what I want to share from the sermons I heard today:

1 John 3

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

Based on this chapter, there are three tests to help a person see if he or she is a child of God:

1. The Doctrine Test — What do you believe about Jesus?

2. The Social Test — Do you love others?

3. The Obedience Test — Do you walk as Jesus walked?

 

If you’re ever in the Tuscaloosa area, the church that meets at Open Door will be pleased to meet you.

 

 

Sunday Hymn: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus


This morning we sang, “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus,”  to the tune of “Our Great Savior” (a.k.a. “Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners”).  Everything progressed smoothly: the words appeared on the screen at just the right time.  This is always a good thing because (most of the time) those of us on the “praise team” do not know the words to the songs we’re singing.  I mean, we’re familiar enough with the tunes and the words to sing the songs, but we do not memorize them.

Sunday evening we sang it again.  This time, however, the words to the second verse didn’t make it to the screen at the right time.  And we were left standing there with our mouths open, not knowing what to say.

If time ever stops, it does so in moments like those.  24 beats felt like three minutes.  My brain had plenty of time to tell my mouth to start belting out, “Haaaalleluujah, what a Saavior/ Halleluuujah, whaat a friend…”  But then my poor brain told my mouth, “Hold up!  Wrong song…my bad.”

All we (the praise team) could do was stand and smile, while the congregants, who were holding hymnals, continued singing. It made me laugh (on the inside).

In the end, the words appeared on the screen in time for us to sing the final lines.

And so, because it is Advent season and because I (apparently) need to learn the words, I am posting this hymn today.

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Charles Wesley, 1744

1
Come, Thou long-expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free.
From our fears and sins release us;
Let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art —
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart!

2
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a Child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal Spirit,
Rule in all our hearts alone.
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Please do not misunderstand my intentions behind sharing this.  I do not mean to make a disparaging comment about the people in charge of putting the words on the screens at our church.  After all, the Lord and I both know that I couldn’t handle the pressure to get all the audio/video/input/output/sound mixing just right to please everyone.  I’d end up hiding under the sound board in the fetal position after a few minutes.

What I will say is this:  I do think sometimes that we (churches in America, in general) are not doing ourselves any favors when we make worship so technologically cumbersome.  But, I guess, this is the age in which we live.  All the more reason to sing it again.