Monday, October 29, 2007

How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place

Hi everyone, it's me: Mrs. Alan. You can call me Lisa, if you'd like. :)

God has blessed me with many gifts. One of my favorites is singing. I love to sing! Recently, though, I've been convicted that I have been prideful, more intent on listening to my own voice (and wondering if others around me are noticing) while singing hymns in church than on paying attention to, and really meaning, the words of praise I am singing. To change that, I've been concentrating more on the words and less on the tune in the past few weeks. The lyrics are often quite compelling, and I'd like to share some thoughts with you.

When I searched the Internet for the words to this hymn by Isaac Watts, which was written in 1707, I was surprised to find that some of the lyrics have been changed. I guess I really shouldn't have been surprised—the English language is constantly evolving, and new connotations develop over the years. For example, the original title and first line of this hymn was How Sweet and Aweful is the Place. Even though the spelling is different, when sung, that projects an "awful" image in 2007! The second verse changed, as well. It used to be, "Here every bowel of our God/With soft compassion rolls." I don't know about you, but if I'd come across that Sunday morning, it would have distracted me to think "third grade bathroom humor" when I should be thankful for God's mercy and compassion, shown to me, a sinner.

The first phrase that caught my attention Sunday morning was the last line of verse three: Lord, why was I a guest? A few months ago, I was overcome with a feeling of unworthiness when I considered being chosen for salvation. The feelings got worse when I considered that some of my friends and family probably aren't saved. "Why me?" I asked Alan. "I would rather it was them than me, sometimes. Is it wrong to feel that way?" He had me read Romans 9:3, "For I could wish that I myself were caccursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen daccording to the flesh." Paul felt that way, too.

Then I sang, "When thousands make a wretched choice, and rather starve than come?" Wait a minute. Choice? I've learned a lot from Alan, including that the popular "Christian" idea of choosing Christ is a relatively new phenomenon, and one that cannot be backed up scripturally (at least not without a lot of linguistic gymnastics). At that point, I lost my place in the music a bit as I searched the lyrics, trying to understand what was being said. It took going back to the beginning of that verse and into the following verse ("'Twas the same love that spread the feast that sweetly forced us in; Else we had still refused to taste, and perished in our sin.") to understand what Mr. Watts was trying to convey. Irresistible grace! We would not be able to choose God on our own. No one seeks God unless God chooses him and, in the apt words of this song, forces him to believe.

As I continue studying and learning about my faith, I'm thankful for the authors of these old hymns. They've put complex scriptural concepts into phrasings that are easily understood, if we pay attention to the words we are singing. I hope you will think about the words next time you sing one of these beautiful old hymns.

Here are the words to How Sweet and Awesome is the Place.
How sweet and awesome is the place
with Christ within the doors,
While everlasting love displays
the choicest of her stores.

Here all the mercy of our God
with vast compassion rolls;
And peace and pardon through His blood,
is food for ransomed souls.

While all our hearts and all our songs
join to admire the feast,
Each of us cries with thankful tongues,
"Lord, why was I a guest?"

"Why was I made to hear Thy voice,
and enter while there's room;
When thousands make a wretched choice,
and rather starve than come?"

'Twas the same love that spread the feast,
that sweetly forced us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
and perished in our sin.

Pity the nations, O our God!
Constrain the earth to come;
Send Thy victorious Word abroad,
and bring lost sinners home.

We long to see Thy churches full,
that all thy chosen race
May with one voice and heart and soul
sing Thy redeeming grace.

Isaac Watts, 1674-1748. Psalms and Hymns of Reformed Worship (London: Wakeman Trust, 1991): 662.

Pastor Manning

No, don't hold back Pastor Manning, tell us what you really think.

False Prophets

I am begging anyone who supports TBN and their false prophets to please stop. This kind of thing is deceiving millions and it breaks my heart.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Back From Camp

No this was not a seminar on how to design logos for a place for young children to spend a week this summer. This was some serious training on the Logos Bible Software program and I am delighted to report it is worth every penny spent. I had no idea just how powerful this software is. This is going to revolutionize my Bible study. I strongly urge anyone using this software to attend the training and anyone who does not own it MUST buy into it and begin to use this product. You can visit their web site here.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Camp Logos

Back on the road again. This time I am in Minnesota attending a two day Camp Logos at Bethlehem Baptist Church. I do not know if John Piper will be attending but you may rest assured if I encounter him I will have a new picture to post. While I am on the subject, Logos Bible Software is an amazing product. The time it saves me while studying is incredible. It can be somewhat pricey depending on how many resources you want but it is well worth the cost. The library I have put together would retail for over $1800, but with some educational discounts and some bargain shopping I dropped somewhat less than that. My library has over 2,200 resources and at this point I am pretty sure I am only using about 20% of the software's capability. I will keep you all posted and if anyone else uses Libronix/Logos I will let you know if the camp is worth the $200 admission.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

TBN And Billy Graham

A friend of mine inspired this post by her comments on a previous post. She said something about "good guys" broadcasting on TBN. I am not attacking her with this post, I merely want to point some things out. The ones she mentioned are Laurie, Stanley, Kennedy, Graham, Rogers. Now I do agree with her assessment that "at least they are not falling on the floor." However, most of them still are espousing error. Other than Kennedy, they all have some serious problems with what they teach.
Let's look at the "big" guy Billy Graham. Watch these videos and see if your opinion of him does not change.

Just because someone does not put on a circus does not make their heresy any less dangerous. As a matter of fact often times it makes it all the more insidious.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I Like This Guy!

As if I am not doing enough to have people dislike me with this blog and my unwavering theological stance, I thought I might as well jump into the political arena as well. Ok, let the arrows fly.

Wolves In Sheeps Clothing

I do not understand why more people are not outraged at what goes on over at TBN. I have had discussions with many who seem indifferent to the circus act that comes under the guise of Christianity. If you are one of those, I am not attacking you, but I do hope this video will make you think.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Thanks to the guys over at "Pyromaniacs" for this one.

'Nuff said!


Several factors have led up to this post in the last couple of weeks. First, a conversation I had with a couple of friends who had attended Andy Stanley's church. While it appeared they had some reservations about the service they were quick to jump to his defense. "It all tied in." is what I heard on more than one occasion. The brief video I viewed in which they were getting ready to have a scavenger hunt in the sanctuary was very disturbing to me. Personally I would have walked out. This is not worship, no matter how relevant one thinks it is.

The big issue for me these days is this "relevance" we think we need to introduce into worship. The idea is we do something kind of worldly to lure the pagan into our church and then pull the ole' "Bait and switch" and hit em with the gospel. There are several problems here. One, we seem to be under the delusion that it is our job to get the pagans into the church. It is not. Our job is to proclaim the gospel, God the Holy Spirit saves. And guess what folks, every single person God ordains for salvation will hear this gospel. Two, the people pulling this "switch" never get around to preaching the gospel.

Second, several articles I have read recently. These articles mainly centered on the "new" methods of doing church contrasted with the "ordinary means of grace" ministries. The so-called new methods are those "Purpose driven," "contexualization," "word and deed," and "emerging/emergent" among others. The main problem of these new methods is their focus is in the wrong place. Even while worshiping at a Christian College, before I knew what reformed was let alone that I was one, I could tell the emphasis was on the wrong person. These new methods all focus on us and what we should/need to be doing instead of on God and what He has done. And no wonder these all come from an Arminian/self-salvation viewpoint. If one has to "decide for Christ," then salvation is up to the individual and not God. It is not surprising then that we hear the rallying cry of the new reformation "Deeds not creeds!" Unfortunately the ones screaming this mantra do not realize they are screaming "Give me Law, not Gospel!"

Finally, the Adult Catechism class Dr. Horton is teaching is on worship. One of the points he made that really struck me is that we have lost the title of the service we attend. We now call it a "worship service," which puts the focus on us and what we do. It used to be called "The Divine service," which put the focus where it should be on God and what He does. This service is not about us, it is not what we do, the service is what God does generously for us. I think we all could do well to reflect on this for awhile. Until next time.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Alice Cooper News

So my friend, the administrative assistant at a church I used to attend, started this blog about Alice Cooper. It has many video's of him, commercials, interviews, and stuff. You should check it out. The interview on the latest post is pretty interesting. You can find it here. I am also linking to it in my fun stuff links section.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Back From Cali

Ok, I am back from California. It was a great visit. We had another wonderful experience at Christ URC and met some more great people. I will post again soon, I got an idea from the SS class that happens to tie in with a few articles I read out there, but for today I want to thank Captain Headknowledge(aka. John) for this heads up. Dr. Horton will be on 60 Minutes Sunday evening discussing Joel Osteen and I encourage you all to tune in, it should be interesting. If you want to read the Capt.'s post you may do so here. Don't forget to vote in this weeks Joel Osteen Poll.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Going Back To Cali!

I am heading back to the Escondido area for another week. Just thought I would rub that in... I mean point that out (sorry John) and give everyone an opportunity to submit any question you would like Dr. Horton to answer, yes we will be attending Christ URC again. Submit all queries in the comments and I will select the best one, IMHO.

In Christ