BLAST OFF!

December 31, 2009

My first week in the office at Bethel Grace has been wonderful. I spent the first day reading and reflecting on Psalm 119, asking the Lord to increase within me a passion for the word of God and a resolve to be driven by it in all that I do.

On January 3, this Sunday, I begin a sermon series on the Fruit of the Spirit. I thought it would be very appropriate considering where we’ve been with Pastor Jeff in Mark 4 to talk about what it looks like to bear fruit. Before we get to Galatians 5:22-23, we’ll spend the first lesson looking at Matthew 7:1-23, where we see the incredible importance our Lord puts on bearing fruit.

Parents, be on the lookout for a flier called “Table Talk”, a tool that will hopefully assist you in the discipleship of your students. Each week I’ll be sending Table Talk home with a brief explanation of that Sunday’s verse and some questions to help guide your discussion. I look forward to getting to know you and serving alongside you.

“We must not expect all things at once. We must remember what children are, and teach them as they are able to bear. Their minds are like a lump of metal — not to be forged and made useful at once, but only by a succession of little blows. Their understandings are like narrow-necked vessels: we must pour in the wine of knowledge gradually, or much of it will be spilled and lost. ‘Line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little,’ must be our rule. The whetstone does its work slowly, but frequent rubbing will bring the scythe to a fine edge. Truly there is need of patience in training a child, but without it nothing can be done.”
JC Ryle, THE DUTIES OF PARENTS (Check out the link to read this online for free)

Blessings,
Alvin

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

December 22, 2009

Whitefield & Wesley

I love when hymn writers are theologians. My favorite hymnist is Charles Wesley, far and away. My favorite hymn is either “And Can It Be?” or “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” both by Charles Wesley.

Give yourself a huge blessing by reflecting on the rich theological lyrics of “Hark! the Herald.” I’ve included them below. This song is such an amazing articulation of the incarnation and the meaning of Christmas.  I love songs that teach me theology in my brain and lead to doxology in my soul!  Don’t you?!?! 

In my opinion, the best stuff is in the second and third stanzas.  “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail th’ incarnate Deity; Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.”  I mean, come on!  That’s AWESOME stuff!  Read, reflect, learn, rejoice!

Before you do reflect on the lyrics, here are a few facts about the song that I find very interesting:
Read the rest of this entry »

This year we’ve said “see you later” to Don Thomas, Marge Sheneberger, Pastor Paul, John Lockett, Norma Jean Kittinger, and now Francis Mumm. Each of these brothers and sisters poured so much love and encouragement into my life.   And I know they did the same for so many of you reading this post.

My heart is filled with wonder as I think of them in the presence of the King. Yet it is not without reason Scripture calls death an enemy.  The separation is difficult and my heart experiences sadness when I think about life without their profound support, continuous prayer, and sweet friendship. 

This link expresses so much that is in my heart, and it shows our church is not alone experiencing the joy and pain of an intergenerational church.

~Jeff

HT – Tim Challies

I love the Christmas season. Above all, I love the focus on Jesus. I also love the decorations. I love the lights. I enjoy the fact that several radio stations play Christmas music all month long. But, tuning in to these stations, there are some songs I’ve come to despise! They drive me nuts! Here are my current “Top 5” lists.  The five songs that make me cringe and turn the station.  And the five songs (among many more) that bring nostalgia and/or stir my heart with worship.

The Worst:
5. Feliz Navidad, Jose Feliciano
4. Little Saint Nick, The Beach Boys
3. Merry Christmas Baby, The Beach Boys
2. Last Christmas, Wham!
1. Wonderful Christmastime, Paul McCartney

My Favorites:
5. White Christmas, Irving Berlin
4. Carol of the Bells, Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych
3. O Holy Night, Adolphe Adam
2. Mary Did You Know?, Mark Lowry
1. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Charles Wesley

Ok, there’s my best and worst list. Any objections?  Any additions?  How about yours?
~Jeff