08 December, 2010

Level Ground or Slippery Places?

Today I was reading Charles Spurgeon (the Baptist) on Psalm 26 in his wonderful work, Treasury of David. Spurgeon has these great helps for pastors with little theological training called, "helps for the village preacher." When I got to the "help" for verse 12, I was taken back a bit. What did he mean? What a wonderful help for this urban pastor to meditate on in my afternoon meditation.

Verse 12 reads: My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the LORD.

Now here's the help, and mind you, it is not a free sermon from Busy Pastors Dot Com; it really was intended to foster meditation: "Congregational Psalmody, and our personal share in it."

That's it.

That's the whole help for the village pastor.

In my meditation I considered the way that congregational psalmody really does leave us on level ground so that we can praise without being hindered. As a pastor, I have received numerous questions on the theology of certain hymns; or the writer of certain hymns; or questions about the unbelief of modern praise and worship musicians who continue to write; or comments on the Unitarianism of Isaac Watts...

There are so many questions!

Spurgeon tells the village... er... urban pastor... don't worry about all of these questions. Stand where your foot is level. Sing the psalms to God in His praise! Bless the Lord in the Great Assembly without all of the questions and confusion and ignorance. Praise Him with the use of the Psalter, and you will not have to worry about all of this other stuff.

So my question to you.... well, actually, Spurgeon's question to you:

Are you on level ground in your blessing of the Lord, or is your congregation's foot always slipping on new and unique ways of praise? Are you standing firm, or are you sliding into areas that are unseen? It's amazing how worship can do that. We become what we sing.

I want to be on level ground. We'll stick with God's songs.

03 December, 2010

Three Sided Triangles & Unmarried Bachelors

The term "born again Christian" is redundant. All who are Christians must be born again. There is no other kinds of Christians than those who are born again.

RC Sproul states, "The simple reality is this: everyone who is truly a Christian is born again. There are no other kinds of Christians. There's no such thing as a non-born-again-Christian or an unregenerate Christian. Yes, there are plenty of unregenerate church members and plenty of unregenerate people who profess to be Christians, but a person cannot be in Christ unless he or she is regenerate. By the same token, if you are regenerate, you are a Christian."

02 December, 2010

The World Went and Got Itself in a Big Damn Hurry

"The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry." These were among the last words of the character, Brooks Hatlen, in the novella, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.

It's true. The world is in a hurry.

Of course, it always has been. People change. Things change. Times and seasons change. Styles change. Our desires change. Our love ebbs and flows. Our thoughts wander on to different things at different times.

The world is in a big hurry. Brooks was right. There is not much comfort in that. There is something terrifying about it. What's next? What will happen? What will become of me? Change is to be feared because we don't know what is next. We don't know what will happen. We don't know what will become of me.

For Christians, we have a hope, despite the ever changing world around us. We have a focal point to keep us from getting dizzied by the ever blinking lights and changes of this world.

Herman Bavinck summed up this focal point best when talking about the God who does not change. This God who does not change is really the only hope for consistancy in a world that has gotten itself in a big damn hurry. Look to Him- the one who changes not.

Everything changes, but He remains standing. He is and remains the same. He remains who he is. He is YHWH, he who is and ever remains himself. He is the first and with the last he is still the same God. He is who he is, the incorruptible who alone has immortality, and is always the same. Unchangeable in his existence and being, he is so also in his thought and will, in all his plans and decisions. He is not a human that he should lie or repent. What he says, he will do. His gifts and calling are irrevocable. He does not reject his people. He completes what he has begun. In a word, He, YHWH, does not change. In him there is no variation or shadow due to change. Dogmatics. Volume 1, p. 153.

01 December, 2010

History of this Scene?

I am looking for information on this print. It was given to me by one of my former elders (in the Grand Rapids congregation). It appears to be a kirk session praying over the Scriptures before public worship. Does anyone know the artist's name? The print's title? The names of the characters in the print? Any information would be appreciated.