Redeem

cross-alone1One of the things that Christians focus on during Lent is what Jesus did for us on the cross. The word redeem is one of the most important words in the New Testament. The reason is Jesus redeemed us when he died on the cross.  This is a very powerful image of this word. 

while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,   who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:13-14 

We need to take a look at the cultural background on this word. Once again I learned the background of this word during reading my devotion. In the New Testament slave were costly. At the slave market the people who wanted to buy a slave would have time to look over the slave. They could open the mouth of the slave to check their teeth; even beat them to see how much abuse a slave could take.  It was a way to make sure the slave owner was getting a strong slave. As the slave owner looked over the slave the auctioneer would watch over the slave owners because he could raise the price on the slaves. He knew that he could get a higher price for the slaves that slave owners were really interested in.

All of these images are contained in the word “redemption” which comes from the Greek word lutroo. λυτρόω This is the word used in Titus 2:14, where Paul says “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness.” The Greek ward depicts a person who paid a very high price to obtain the slave of his choice.  When the slave owner handed over his money for the slave, the slave became his property. When Jesus died on the cross he paid the price to make us his own.

Why Young Churches Want Old Buildings

Sojourn's Midtown campus meets this summer in the new facility for the first time.

Sojourn’s Midtown campus meets this summer in the new facility for the first time.

The story of St. Vincent de Paul, a Roman Catholic church in Louisville, Kentucky, is like many others in our age of changing religious and economic dynamics. Cornerstone laid in 1878. Slowly abandoned as the neighborhood deteriorated into one of the most dangerous in the United States. Finally sold. But here the story takes an unexpected turn, because the building has recently enjoyed a $4 million makeover from a young, vibrant, and growing congregation.

Sojourn Community Church began meeting in an arts center in Louisville’s Germantown neighborhood before it purchased St. Vincent de Paul a few years back from the local archdiocese. The upgrades signal a multifaceted effort by Sojourn to trust God for spiritual and economic renewal in this inner city neighborhood. In fact, Sojourn is one of several prominent churches across the country undertaking multimillion-dollar renovation projects to breathe new life into historic churches or other structures, instead of building a contemporary big-box.

– See more at: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/01/14/why-young-churches-want-old-buildings/#sthash.oGMwVBhj.dpuf

Worship With Our Whole Beings

I-Will-Praise-You-Website-Banner

We enter into the event of worship, participating in praise, not just with our minds, not just with our breath, but with our whole beings.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, music provides one of the avenues through which we may respond in faith and allow Christ to be our way, our truth, our life. 

When we participate in worship in wholeness  we move from observation to participation.  Church music is not part of a concert; the sermon is not an exercise in elocution; the Lord’s Supper is not a snack served by people paid with money received earlier during the service.  Worship is classified not in the category of entertainment, but conversation.  No empty palaver, it is a conversation with accountability attached.  We hear the Word of God proclaimed and respond with praise and thanksgiving and show forth Christ’s death until he comes again.  (1 Corinthians 11:26)

26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.

Kathryn L. Nichols, “Music and Musician in the Service of the Church, ” in The Completed Library of Christian Worship, Vol 4 ed. Robert E. Webber (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1994), 96

Flooding in Mozambique

If you only look at one video clip today, let it be this one. By the end, you may have moist eyes, listening to Graça Nhathelo (pronounced Grah´sah Nah·tell´oh). He is the superintendent of the Wesleyan churches in Mozambique, Africa.

The Mozambique church has been one of the fastest-growing in the world in recent years, with hundreds of new churches and many thousands of new believers coming to faith. Veteran third-generation missionary Orai Lehman translates Graça’s words from the Shangaan language.

The massive floods in Mozambique have displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Superintendent Graça reports on what is now happening.

HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP.

Here is an article with more information and photos.

Something Other Than God

Tuesday

‎”What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves…invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

~ C. S. Lewis  – Mere Christianity

Hymn Story: The Doxology

ken_tThomas Ken (1637-1711) was an Englishman and an ordained Anglican priest. He served as Rector of several parishes, was briefly chaplain to Princess Mary, and later to the British fleet. He published many poems, along with a Manual fo Prayers.

After his parents died, Thomas was enrolled by his sister into an all- boy’s school, Winchester College. He would return to the same school as Chaplain many years later. In order to motivate his students in their devotions, Thomas wrote a three stanza hymn — one verse to be sung upon waking and one before bed. The third verse was to be sung at midnight, if a boy found sleep difficult.

Today, the writing of this hymn may seem an innovative way to motivate teenage boys. In Thomas’ day however, the writing of this hymn for such a purpose was somewhat revolutionary. For centuries hymns of the church were sung only by monks. Although at this point in history protestant churches in some countries were beginning to introduce hymns into congregational singing, it would be several years before England would officially sanction the practice (See: History of Hymns). For this reason, Thomas Ken has been called ‘England’s first hymnist.’

The refrain to all three verses of Thomas’ hymn has since become one of the most widely-sung songs in the world, and is referred to in many circles simply as, The Doxology

Towards the end of his life, Thomas Ken was imprisoned by King James II, for his forward Protestant thinking. Upon his release, he quietly retired from the priesthood and went to live with some friends until his death, on March 11, 1711. When he was buried at sunrise, The Doxology was sung at his funeral.

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow (The Doxology)

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
Amen

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