Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hymns focussing on God's Word written

At CCM, where I'm the Assistant Minister, I always try to make sure we sing a hymn just before the reading or sermon which picks up on that aspect of the service. So: How Sure the Scriptures Are; Speak O Lord; Your Word is a Lamp; King of Kings, Majesty; God has Spoken; How Firm a Foundation; Now in Reverence and Awe and so on...

But I just found these words by Christopher Idle, and they fit really well to the tune of 'Great is Thy Faithfulness' - but that tune requires a chorus. So, I've had a go - and I'm hoping your comments can improve on it prior to its first outing next Sunday (31st May 2009).

Powerful in making us wise to salvation,
Witness to faith in Christ Jesus the Word;
Breathed out for all by the life-giving Father
These are the scriptures and thus speaks the Lord
God-breathed to teach us, living to shape us,
Powerful sword of the Spirit, God's Word!
Help us to change, giving humble attention;
Teach us obedience for you are our Lord.
Hammer for action and compass for travel,
Map in the desert and lamp in the dark;
Teaching, rebuking, correcting and training - 
These are the scriptures and this is their work.
God-breathed to teach us...
Prophecy, history, song and commandment,
Gospel and letter and dream from on high;
Words of the wise who were steered by the Spirit - 
These are the scriptures on them we rely.
God-breathed to teach us...
Gift for God's servants to fit them completely,
Full equipping to walk in his ways;
Guide to good work and effective believing - 
These are the scriptures, for these we give praise!
God-breathed to teach us...
Verses (c) Christopher Idle / Jubilate Hymns
Chorus (c) Andrew Towner 2009

BTW: The original (without the chorus) goes to other tunes, but I'm not sure CCM would know them, which is why I've gone for this whole chorus-writing plan...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Journal Launch: Ecclesia Reformanda

Very excitingly, there's a new journal which has just been started. It has been put together by a bunch of mates of mine, it looks very exciting.

The fact that I'm due to be writing some book reviews for it has no bearing on my recommending it!

It aims to cover all aspects of theology, and the blurb here says to me that it is well worth a look.

Subscribe away! And lets pray that, to the glory of God, the church remains reformed, and always being reformed...

Thursday, June 05, 2008


This struck me this morning - from Jonathan Edwards' Religious Affections.

If you think you're being humble, you're actually being proud. If you think you're doing a humble action - that's pride.

If a servant washes a king's feet, that's not humility - its just normal. But if a king washes another king's feet, that humble.

Put that another way: we have to think that we're something to think that we're humble.

Which is pretty gutting to me personally.

But it also points me to my Saviour - King Jesus, the truly humble servant, who served me.

May that same mind be in me, not considering position, but bending down to wash feet...

Friday, November 23, 2007

James 3:1-12 Illustration

James 3 warns us very strongly about how we use our tongues. Specifically, it is the fact that we use the same tongue to bless the Father & curse other people (9).

Being as how I was staying at my parents' house last weekend (for a bit of walking in South Wales - what a complete joy!!) I was spending some time with our two dogs: Willow and Ebony (golden retriever & black lab). They greet one by wagging their tails, etc, etc... But after that, when life has settled down, they life to say hello again by licking ones hand affectionately. It's very sweet of them, and not an unpleasant sensation. They also "clean" you, given half a chance - that is, licking your feet or arms or any bare flesh they can find... Even cleaning your ears if you bend down too much! (I assure you this is less gross than it sounds - it is affectionate & nice).

Then I took them on a walk on Saturday morning, and, low and behold, there they were, eating cow pats - soft, wet, new cow pats.

It is outrageous that those dogs should, with the same tongue,
eat cow pats, and yet wash my ears / hands as a sign of affection... Pretty good illustration of James 3:9, I thought - and of the revulsion God must feel at all the evil, deadly, poisonous stuff we do with our tongues.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Are you a Pharisee?

I merely offer this as an illustration:

There I was, driving along the A40 last Saturday, and found myself slowing down from a far-too-generous well-over-30 mph to a carefully-measured 29 mph for the sake of a speed camera. And then, of course, speeding back up straight afterwards.

I think that counts as cleaning the outside of a bowl or dish without cleaning the inside (Matt 23, Lk 11).

Of course, asking how that concept applied to the rest of my life was pretty sobering...

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Average Anglican

The average anglican is:
  • black
  • female
  • less than 30-yrs-old
  • has 3 kids
  • lives on less than $2 per day
  • walks upwards of 3km per day
  • and is related to someone with HIV / AIDS
Just in case we're ever tempted to forget.

(HT Chris Sugden)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sovereign Grace Music

Sovereign Grace Ministries are great! My focus here is on their music - which may well be familiar to many of us... Here goes:
  • The songs have excellent words - really strong theologically.
  • The tunes are generally strong too.
  • And I don't know what more we would want, in all honesty!!
So, if you want to see what they're like, do check out their website here.

Top 3 CD Recommendations

OK, so I only list 1 or 2 tracks from each CD - but bear in mind they're 3 of my top 10 Christian CDs, and if I told you everything I liked, we'd be here all day!

1) Songs for the Cross-Centred Life is the first one I came across, with my top song of the last few years, namely I Come by the Blood which has verses setting up the problem of God's perfection and our sin, with choruses that show us the solution: "I come by the blood, I come by the cross...". Other crackers include two brilliant solos The Look and I Will Glory in my Redeemer. I also love the congregational Jesus my Only Hope which has the great section:
when Satan's accusations
make my poor heart afraid
I hear my King declaring
Father, that debt is paid
2) Valley of Vision is a bunch of songs taken from the great great book of Puritan prayers by the same name - which I use each day in my prayer times, and love... The highlights of that CD are the brilliantly trinitarian Heavenly Father, Beautiful Son, Spirit of Light and Truth
and outstanding Let your Kingdom Come with O Great God a stunning solo piece...

3) Worship God Live is much more on the rock side of things - and is stunning from first to last if you like things a) live and b) rocked up. I love the first and last songs particularly, but the whole thing's cracking.

Anyway - Sov Grace comes highly recommended!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Grammar, Spelling and Usage

A couple of weeks ago the Times published this, which contains 32 errors of grammar, spelling and usage. Can you spot them?
"Being by nature a perfectionist, no one is keener than me to really get things right; indeed, had I not studied English to good affect, I may not have ended up working on The Times. However, although in some peoples’ book this might seem sacreligious, and even a council of despair, between you and I the lynchpin of good English lays in the acceptance that there are less rules than the hoi polloi believes. English spellings can offer three alternatives, and while not recommending pouring ad nauseum over dusty tomes, which would drive anyone beserk, recourse to a good dictionary mitigates against too many faux pars, and practise makes perfect. Writers disinterested in fact-checking will end up in dire straights with disasterous results, but even a miniscule effort at some elementary research brings it’s just desserts."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Commissioning Hymn

Today and next week I'm being commissioned by the elders at The Bible Talks (tonight) and Christ Church Mayfair (next Sunday morning, DV). At both services we'll be singing this great hymn - which I commend to all of our attentions.

I'm trying to memorise it - which is comparatively easy because the tune helps out. Then, of course, there's the business of trying to live it...

(Tune = Aurelia, often used for The Church's One Foundation)

Facing a task unfinished,

That drives us to our knees,
A need that, undiminished,
Rebukes our slothful ease:
We, who rejoice to know Thee,
Renew before Thy throne
The solemn pledge we owe Thee
To go and make Thee known.

We bear the torch that flaming

Fell from the hands of those
Who gave their lives proclaiming
That Jesus died and rose.
Ours is the same commission,
The same glad message ours;
Fired by the same ambition,
To Thee we yield our powers.

Where other lords beside Thee
Hold their unhindered sway,
Where forces that defied Thee
Defy Thee still today;
With none to heed their crying
For life, and love, and light,
Unnumbered souls are dying,
And pass into the night.

O Father who sustained them,

O Spirit who inspired,
Saviour, whose love constrained them
To toil with zeal untired,
From cowardice defend us,
From lethargy awake!
Forth on Thine errands send us
To labour for Thy sake.

Frank Houghton.

Copyright © Overseas Missionary Fellowship

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Psalm 91

This is a great psalm!

Check out this great quote from CH Spurgeon:
“It is impossible that any ill should happen to the man who is beloved of the Lord... Ill to him is no ill, but only good in a mysterious form. Losses enrich him, sickness is his medicine, reproach is his honour, death is his gain.”
I love that!