Monday, January 26, 2015

Put Another Nickle in

The Lord willing, I will start leading music in the summer at CCS's after school program/ summer camp.  I'm up to the challenge but also wondering where to start.

I have two friends who write songs for children.  When I was still a youth pastor and Googled "Catechism" I found a website for a woman who wrote songs for WSC questions.  Then, in 2012 I had remembered that someone at Refuge had told me that she went to a Reformed Presbyterian church in Covington.  Years after she told me that, I remembered, looked it up online, and started going to the Sunday evening service.  Turns out the same woman who writes the WSC songs is the pastor's wife and a now good friend of mine.  Judy gave me some of her albums and some of those songs may come into play.

I also grew up listening to this song called "Simeon's Lullaby" by the woman duo, Wendy and Mary.  One time my parents played it for a church we went to, and the bulletin said that they were friends of us.  That would be like saying we were friends with Simon and Garfunkel.  But thanks to facebook, Mary is a friend of mine these days.  Between her and Judy, there are plenty of plans I can follow in leading children in music.

My favorite growing up, however, is still Psalty the Blue Song Book.  A blue book with a face who sings songs with kids about Jesus.  I still sing "Amen, Praise the Lord," and the "Butterfly Song" from time to time.  He has so many catchy Scripture songs that have motions and dances and pictures.

I mentioned some of my ideas and heard that last year when someone lead music, the favorite song was "Locomotion."  So now I'm also listening to old songs like "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on a Bed."  How can I get a good mix of songs with good theology and just for fun songs and be fun but informative?  If any people I mention in this post read this, what would you recommend?  At least I have until after Memorial Day to figure it out.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Lady Huntingdon and the Lost Man

I'm posting an excerpt from Charles Spurgeon's sermon  "The Blood-Shedding."

    Let me tell a story to show how Christ saves souls.  Mr. Whitefield had a brother, who had been     like him an earnest Christian, but he had backslidden; he went far from the ways of godliness; and one afternoon, after he had been recovered from his backsliding, he was sitting in a room in a chapel-house.  He had heard his brother preach the day before, and his poor conscience had been cut to the very quick.  Said Whitefield's brother, when he was at tea, "I am a lost man," and he groaned and cried, and could neither eat nor drink.  Said Lady Huntingdon, who sat opposite, "What did you say, Mr. Whitefield?" "Madam," said he, "I said I am a lost man."  "I'm glad of it," said she; "I'm glad of it."  "Your ladyship, how can you say so?  It is cruel to say you are glad that I am a lost man."  "I repeat it, sir," said she; "I am heartily glad of it."  He looked at her, more and more astonished at her barbarity.  "I am glad of it," said she, "because it is written, 'The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.'"  With tears rolling down his cheeks, he said, "What a precious Scripture; and how is it that it comes with such force to me?  O! madam," said he, "madam, I bless God for that; then he will save me; I trust my soul in his hands; he has forgiven me."  He went outside the house, felt ill, fell upon the ground, and expired.  I may have a lost man here this morning.  As I cannot say much, I will leave you, good people; you do not want any thing.

Read the rest of the sermon.  You will see why I wear a shirt with this guy's face on it.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Interpreter's House

I don't plan on blogging much about Pilgrim's Progress, but I had more trouble with chapter 2, so I will write it out for clarification.

Christian has passed the Wicket Gate and has been sent to Interpreter's House.  He sees seven different rooms and without commentary, I was much confused.

Commentary from Derek Thomas's teaching series: every preacher of the Gospel is an interpreter.  Every church is an interpreter's house.  So here are 6 of the rooms and then I will consider the one room that disturbs me.

1. Christian sees a picture of a serious man looking toward heaven, holding a book in his hand and having a crown on his head.  This is a preacher, a man blessed with ability to lead other people to God's Truth.

2. Here, a man sweeps a room, but he only makes it more dusty.  A woman comes in and pours water on everything, then it is finally clean.  This is a picture of someone trying to find salvation by works and good deeds.  He only makes things worse.  Only Jesus, the Gospel, makes him clean.

3. Two children named Passion and Patience.  Passion is a worldly guy who must have everything now.  Patience gets to have everything for eternity because he was willing to wait for it, to trust God's promises no matter how slow.

4. A fireplace with a fire that grows despite someone throwing water on it.  Behind the place, Christian sees someone pouring oil on the fire to keep it going.  As a Christian, the world will do its best to douse your fire.  The Holy Spirit pours oil on it and keeps it going.

5. A man in armor with a sword.  The Christian life is a constant battle until we reach heaven.

7. A man rising out of bed trembling because he had a dream where God's judgment came and he got left behind.  This is not the Left Behind series.  This is simply a man coming to two roads: the popular one that leads to futility or the smaller, narrower road that leads to Eternal life.  What will he take?

6.  The disturbing one.  Christian talks to a man in an iron cage.  This man used to be a pilgrim too, but he turned away from his faith and now he cannot repent due to his hardened heart.  This scene comes from Hebrews 6, the passage that for me both confirms eternal predestination for me, but also challenges it.  People do come and lead the Christian faith and cause good.  But we also see people become more enamored with the world's values who then turn their back on Jesus.  This is a very serious warning to the true believers that even though salvation is a gift that can never be lost, they still are responsible for continuing in holiness.  The good news is that the Holy Spirit will fan this flame.  The bad news is that people still try to keep it going by their own efforts which never worked.

An example is Judas.  He was Jesus's disciple and worked with the 11 ministering and spreading the Gospel through Judea.  He betrayed Jesus, sold him to be arrested by the Jews, had Jesus crucified, and then hanged himself, never coming to a true release of trusting in Jesus's grace.  This was not the way with all of them.  Peter denied Jesus three times, but Jesus did bring him back.  Paul put people to death because he was against Christianity, but Jesus brought him back.  The thing is, there are people that God passes by in salvation.  They may look like savory ministers for a while but they are not and they fall away never to return.

I saw a meme on facebook recently.  It asked what religion the person was, and that person replied, whatever leads to the light.  Sadly, unless your faith is in Jesus, that light will only be the fires of hell and eternal gloom.  Jesus really is the only way to salvation.  God did not have to send any way to salvation, but he sent Jesus.  We must strive to continue following him with abandon and stop trying to contribute anything to our salvation or decide that what we think is better.  Nothing is better than Jesus and following his will.