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Arise, O Star

[I wrote this some time back, and we have sung it a number of times at Redeemer. I’m only posting it now because I’ve only now figured out how to make things single spaced on the blog–press shift then enter.]

Arise, O Star

Verse 1
Seed of the woman
Promised long ago
Sworn to crush the serpent’s head
That to Eden we might go

All nations will be blessed
In the seed of Abraham
And the scepter is to Judah
The land belongs to him

Chorus

Arise, O Star
Jacob longs for you
Keep your word, Lord
Your promises all true

Your people wait
For that Day when you will come
Take your power and reign
Heaven’s highest Son

Verse 2
The branch will come from Jesse
Great David’s greater Son
As a Son to God comes He
To the throne in Zion

The prophet like Moses
Priest like Melchizedek
Anointed with the Spirit
Messiah, he shall reign

to chorus

Verse 3
So the Man of Sorrows came
Acquainted with his grief
Smitten for our sins
Raised to set us free

And he shall come again
With all his holy ones
For that day we watch
Come soon, Lord Jesus

to chorus

James Merrill Hamilton Jr.
March 31, 2006

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Here are the biblical texts that give rise to these lyrics:

Continue Reading →

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Soon Comes the King

Soon comes the King, in splendor laden light;
Awed, we shall sing, and praise his glorious might.
Together we wait for the coming Lord,
In green pastures grazing, fed by his Word

Redeemed by the Lamb, who stands as though slain,
Known by the Father, and bearing his name,
Alive by the Spirit, who quickens our hearts.
Faith is our shield against all Satan’s darts

That fly against us on this pilgrim way,
And if our paths part until that great day,
Hold fast the Word, which is able to save,
And he’ll gather us home beyond the grave,

When together again our Lord we’ll praise,
When we stand before him and see his face.

June 22, 2008
On the occasion of our farewell to the saints at
Baptist Church of the Redeemer in Houston, TX.

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“Narrow” on Wednesday Night in Beaumont

Lord willing, this Wednesday night – May 7, 2008 – I’ll be speaking at “Narrow,” which meets at Westgate Memorial Baptist Church in Beaumont, TX (6220 Westgate Dr, Beaumont, TX, 77706). The event is a weekly Bible Study aimed at college students, and it begins at 9pm. If you’re in the area, it would be great to see you there.

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9Marks eJournal on Corporate Prayer

The latest 9Marks eJournal is out, PDF here.

Jonathan Leeman and I teamed up and wrote A Biblical Theology of Corporate Prayer.

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Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God: Salvation History in Song

Have you ever wondered if there’s a Christmas album that presents salvation history in song?

If that’s what you’re looking for, look no further. Last Christmas a friend gave us Andrew Peterson‘s album, Behold the Lamb of God. This CD is practically a biblical theology in verse. The contents of the album are as follows:

Behold the Lamb of God” (2004)

 

1. “Gather ‘Round, Ye Children, Come” lyrics

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYv6RdQ1VmU&hl=en&fs=1]

This tune echoes the biblical call to parents to pass the mighty deeds of the Lord on to the coming generations. You can see a video of it being done live here.

 

2. “Passover Us” lyrics

 

This song recounts the conflict between Moses and Pharaoh and celebrate’s the Lord’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt.

 

3. “So Long, Moses” lyrics

 

This psalm walks the listener through the story if Israel taking the land and looking for a king. Joshua, Judges, Saul, David, and then the longing for another David.

 

4. “Deliver Us ” lyrics

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxvHa-m6yPI&hl=en&fs=1]

Derek Webb sings this mournful lament of the bondage of sin from the perspective of a member of the old covenant remnant, longing for the coming of the Messiah. Watch a live performance here.

 

5. “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

 

Watch a live performance of this one here.

 

6. “Matthew’s Begats ” lyrics

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This is one of the most clever songs I’ve ever heard. The lyrics are, no kidding, Matthew’s genealogy! This one has an upbeat, lively sound, so much so that when we were first listening to it, our 3 year old son referred to it as “the fun song,” and he wanted to hear it over and over again. You can see it live here.

 

7. “It Came to Pass” lyrics

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At long last, the king came. And in such an unexpected way! This one sings the birth of the babe in Bethlehem. Watch a live performance here.

 

8. “Labor of Love” lyrics

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This was no sanitized birth, and this song captures both the agony of the curse on childbirth and the joy of the deliverer come at last. You can hear it here.

 

9. “The Holly and the Ivy”

 

10. “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks” lyrics

 

11. “Behold the Lamb of God” lyrics

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12. “The Theme Of My Song/Reprise”

You can check out Andrew Peterson’s blog, where he has many of these videos linked. Enjoy!

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Interview on Book Reviews

For those interested, the SWBTS Bloggers have interviewed yours truly on the writing of book reviews.

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If You Like It Funky

I love Sovereign Grace worship music. We sing these songs all the time at our church.

If you’d like to move to this music, you’ll be interested in the remixed versions of many of their worship songs (you can hear samples here):

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Delighting in God is the Work of My Life

Some people miss the point of life altogether. Not only do they miss the point of life, they miss the point of ministry. For instance, one pastor, asked what advice he would give to seminarians, “stressed the importance of learning practical pastoral matters, such as working with committees, mobilizing leaders, time management, strategic planning, managing a budget and managing disciples.”

Managing disciples? I did not make that up. A pastor really said that.

A healthy contrast to this is found in the latest issue of Southwestern News, which profiles Dr. Matthew McKellar, pastor of Sylvania Church in Tyler, TX. Dr. McKellar has preached in our chapel in Houston, and it was one of the best sermons I have heard in our chapel. He simply opened the Bible and explained it to us, helping us to know God through God’s own revelation of himself, pointing to the tremendous majesty of God, marveling in the mercy that the Lord has been pleased to show to us. The main point of the text he was preaching was the main point of his sermon. McKellar understands the point of life and ministry. He knows that life and ministry are about God. At the conclusion of the piece on him in Southwestern News, he is quoted saying:

“I am a man to whom God has been abundantly gracious and faithful . . . I want people to know that my prayer is like the Puritans used to say, ‘Delighting in God is the work of my life.’ I want my existence to be totally focused on making a big deal about who God is and what He has done through His son, Jesus Christ.”

Amen! May his tribe increase! McKellar has been at Sylvania Church for 20 years, modeling faithful pastoral ministry. Commenting on ministry, McKellar points to God’s faithfulness, to prayer, and the Bible.

May the Lord so ravish the souls of the manager-ministers that they cannot help but be consumed with the greatness of God, all taken up with the study of his word, and ever pointing seminarians to Christ, not the skills they need.

We are not the point. Our capacities are not the point. The point is that God is pleased to glorify himself through the things that are not, through the weak, through the low and despised, and all so that the glory will be all his.

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The Smith Band: Wonderworld

At a conference last month I had the privilege of hearing The Smith Band. Stephen Smith now serves as the Worship Pastor at First Baptist Church, Irving, TX, and they blessed me with a copy of their CD Wonderworld. You can hear tracks from the album on either their website or the Independant Bands site. I encourage you to check it out. The Smiths are super-nice folks, and they sound great—-both live and on CD.

The CD was produced by Nathan Nockels, and the songs express God-centered wonder at the stunning mercies of our great God.

My favorite track is titled “According to Mercy,” and its chorus goes:

“It was your love/That caused these blinded eyes to see/It was your love/That broke these chains and set me free/You came to save this life that was lost/According to mercy, that you’ve poured out on us”

Amen!

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Powlison on Desire

Justin Taylor is posting important snippets of David Powlison’s book, Seeing with New Eyes.

The first post introduces the lusts of the flesh, and the second explores how the New Testament describes what is wrong with us. You should read these two posts.

This is important material for counseling ourselves and others in the fight of the faith.

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Are You Ready to Meet God?

John Piper’s account of the last moments of his father, and his response to those moments, is a must read.

HT: JT

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The Beauty, Dignity, and Comfort of Formality

This is a helpful meditation on the funeral deportment of a casual pastor as compared with the dignity of the Marines who also had a part.

HT: Ray Van Neste

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Chosen for Life, by Sam Storms

One evening during my freshman year in college at the University of Arkansas, I asked my wise Sunday School teacher, “Do you believe in predestination?” He responded simply, “The word is in the Bible.”

The word is in the Bible, but what does it mean and how does it work? If you or someone you know is wrestling with such questions, Sam Storms has done you a great service. If you have some ideas about this but would like to have a fellow traveler who has been down the path, studied the map, knows the landmarks, and can tell you the history of the great sites in a winsome, envigorating, even devotional way, Sam Storms has done you a great service.

If you know people struggling with what the Bible says about these topics, this would be a great book to give them. If you are a pastor thinking about reading a book with some guys you would like to invest in, this would be a great book to work through together.

If you have heard the buzz about the whole debate between calvinists and arminians and want a fair treatment that will rightly divide the word of truth, Sam Storms has done the hard work for you. Now you get the fun part of reading his book!

You can read the introduction and first chapter here,  and note the impressive commendations from the likes of John Piper, J. I. Packer, Tom Schreiner, C. J. Mahaney, and D. A. Carson.

I recommend that you buy and read this book.

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Is the Bible Sufficient for Those Who Are Depressed?

What do you read when you want to help someone who is depressed? What do you suggest they read to help themselves out of their melancholy?

John Piper has thought as carefully about these things as anyone in our day, and he gives us his conclusions in When the Darkness Will Not Life: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God-and Joy.

You can read the whole thing for free online here.

This is a short book–less than 70 pages of large, wide spaced text–that can be read quickly. It is as potent as it is brief, and I pray it will receive wide circulation. This is not pop-psychology, it is pastoral soul care.

Piper has the audacity to think that the great truths of the Christian faith apply to all of life–even when people are down. If you want to live like a worldling, don’t try to live on the faith when you’re depressed, and don’t bother with this book. Conclude with many that the Bible has nothing to say to you in such times (and don’t bother with books of the Bible like Lamentations or Job).

But if you want to live like a Christian and aren’t sure how Christians should respond to emotional darkness, read When the Darkness Will Not Lift. Then give it away to someone else, and keep another few copies on hand for your next encounters with depressed Christians.

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“Rejoice”, by Todd Twining

Far and away my favorite new Christmas song this year is on the Savior CD I was given this past week.

Here are the lyrics to the song “Rejoice” by Todd Twining:

Ve Verse 1

All the earth rejoice

Your Creator reigns

As the only awesome God

The Alpha and the Omega

Who was, is, and is to come

Let the oceans roar and the mountains sing

He provides for all He has made

So be comforted as He rules with grace

Rejoice, all the earth, rejoice

Verse 2

All the world rejoice

For the baby comes

As a humble prince in the night

The Word made flesh, Emmanuel

The Everlasting Light

Let the warmth of heaven reach the coldest heart

With the gospel of His grace

For His heel will bruise the serpent’s head

Rejoice, all the world, rejoice

Verse 3

All the church rejoice

For your King returns

On a white horse wearing a crown

He will break the sky with the angel’s shout

Descending from the clouds

Then the dead will rise from the land and sea

All His people will ascend

We will reign with Him for eternity

Rejoice, all the church, rejoice

You can hear the first verse of the song here. You can download the lead sheet here, or if you just want the guitar chords, they’re here.

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