Friday, August 28, 2009

John Calvin on Matthew 15:1/Mark 7:1

We see the extraordinary insolence that is displayed by men as to the form and manner of worshiping God; for they are perpetually contriving new modes of worship, and when any one wishes to be thought wiser than others, he displays his ingenuity on this subject. I speak not of foreigners, but of the very domestics of the Church, on whom God has conferred the peculiar honor of declaring with their lips the rule of godliness.
Emphasis added. "The very domestics of the Church."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Peril

While reflecting on the lectionary gospel reading for this Sunday, Mark 4:35-41, I came across this wonderful prayer from a great little book called "The Valley of Vision: Puritan Prayers and Devotions":

Sovereign Commander of the Universe,
I am sadly harassed by doubts, fears, unbelief, in a felt spiritual darkness.
My heart is full of evil surmisings and disquietude, and I cannot act faith at all.
My heavenly Pilot has disappeared, and I have lost my hold on the Rock of Ages;
I sink in a deep mire beneath storms and waves, in horror and distress unutterable.
Help me, O Lord, to throw myself absolutely and wholly on thee, for better, for worse, without comfort, and all but hopeless.
Give me peace of soul, confidence, enlargement of mind, morning joy that comes after night heaviness;
Water my soul richly with diving blessings;
Grant that I may welcome thy humbling in private so that I might enjoy thee in public;
Give me a mountain top as high as the valley is low.
Thy grace can melt the worst sinner, and I am as vile as he;
Yet thou hast made me a monument of mercy, a trophy of redeeming power;
In my distress let me not forget this.
All-wise God, Thy never-failing providence orders every event, sweetens every fear, reveals evil's presence lurking in seeming good, brings real good our of seeming evil, makes unsatisfactory what I set my heart upon, to show me what a short-sighted creature I am, and to teach me to live by faith upon thy blessed self.
Out of my sorrow and night give me that name Naphtali - "satisfied with favor" - help me to love thee as a child, and to walk worthy of my heavenly pedigree.

[Bennett, Arthur G. The Valley of Vision A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 2003, 184-185.]

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Minister's Preaching

My Master God,
I am desired to preach today,
but go weak and needy to my task;
Yet I long that people might be edified
with divine truth,
that an honest testimony might be borne
for thee;
Give me assistance in preaching and prayer,
with heart uplifted for grace and unction.
Present to my view things pertinent to
my subject,
with fullness of matter and clarity of thought,
proper expressions, fluency, fervency,
a feeling sense of the things I preach,
and grace to apply them to men's consciences.
Keep me conscious all the while of my defects,
and let me not gloat in pride over
my performance.
Help me offer a testimony for thyself,
and to leave sinners inexcusable in neglecting
thy mercy.
Give me freedom to open the sorrows of thy people,
and to set before them comforting considerations.
Attend with power the truth preached,
and awaken the attention of my slothful audience.
May thy people be refreshed, melted, convicted,
comforted,
and help me use the strongest arguments
drawn from Christ's incarnation and sufferings,
that men might be made holy.

I myself need thy support, comfort, strength,
holiness,
that I might be a pure channel of thy grace,
and be able to do something for thee;
Give me then refreshment among thy people,
and help me not to treat excellent matter
in a defective way,
or bear a broken testimony to so worthy
a Redeemer,
or be harsh in treating of Christ's death,
its design and end,
from lack of warmth and fervency.
And keep me in tune with thee
as I do this work.

[Bennett, Arthur G. The Valley of Vision A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 2003, 348-349.]

Friday, January 09, 2009

Cell Phones In Church

Very amusing. Another alternative might be to have folks download and use "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" as their primary ringtone.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

I hope you have a blessed New Year.  Peace be with you, always.

Chris