On my Gran’s first truly “happy birthday”: The Battle Won: Standing by grace in the holy place

October 2, 2013

Today would have been my Gran’s 92nd birthday.  Today was my Gran’s first truly “happy birthday.”

“[God] will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

My Gran, Lilian Ernestine Collins, born 2 October 1921, died on 19 June 2013 after several months of illness — and she is now more alive than ever.  Below is the sermon i was privileged to preach at her memorial service.  My Dad posted this previously on his blog.  My Gran specifically wanted Psalm 24 to be the text for her memorial service.

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The Master’s Seminary lectures now available online

February 24, 2013

The Master’s Seminary (TMS), founded in 1986 by John MacArthur to provide top-class training to future pastors and teachers, last week announced their Theological Resource Center.  The Theological Resource Center is intended to be a free, worldwide extension of TMS for pastors and others who cannot attend classes at its campus near Los Angeles, California.  It features free videos of graduate-level lectures from The Master’s Seminary (along with faculty lecture series addressing specific issues, chapel messages, and The Master’s Seminary Journal), chapel and conferences messages from The Master’s College (a Christian liberal arts college), sermons from Grace Community Church (where MacArthur has pastored and has preached verse-by-verse since 1969), and MacArthur’s sermon library and daily devotions from Grace to You.

Among the courses i am particularly excited to learn from are Steven Lawson’s 12 lectures on Expository Preaching in the Psalms, and William Barrick’s Hebrew Grammar I and Hebrew Grammar II, which so far are the only complete, free Biblical Hebrew courses I’ve come across (and Barrick is a top teacher and Hebrew scholar, having been involved in Bible translation projects).  At the moment there are also courses available in systematic theology, Old and New Testament survey, and marriage and family counselling.


Weekend Web Watch 3 February 2013

February 3, 2013

In this WWW: Desiring God (Machen style); McGrath on his new biography on CS Lewis; John Donne’s “A hymn to God the Father”; Proclamation Trust audio archives free to download; John Lennox in Cape Town; How much do I need to know to be saved?; three dangers of social media; why churches should disciple college-age students; why the Psalms start as they do; and William Lane Craig and Alex Rosenberg debate whether faith in God is reasonable.

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To get a heart of wisdom: At the close of 2012

December 31, 2012

At the close of 2012, as at the end of many other years, i have been pondering Psalm 90 and how wisdom reckons time.   Joshua Harris, pastor of Covenant Life Church in Maryland, also makes a habit of re-reading Psalm 90 every year on his birthday (which happens to be on 30 December) .  It’s worth listening to the message he preached on Psalm 90 at the close of 2009 and considering what it means to “get a heart of wisdom” (verse 12).

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Psalm 42

March 4, 2006

You long for Me because you need Me,
just like the deer needs water.
You thirst for Me with a thirst that
only I can satisfy with My living waters
that bring healing, refreshing, LIFE!
You search for Me, but I am here —
do not be blinded by the day’s busyness,
nor disturbed by the darkness that envelopes you
in the stillness of the night;
do not heed the detractors and the dissidents —
I am here, waiting.

You remember with such yearning
the unspeakable peace and lightness you knew
as you’d join in praise and fellowship:
one joyful crowd, making My heart happy!
But now I see you are weighed down;
I know the things that trouble you.
You can trust them to Me —
I am here, waiting —
You can trust Me with all your
hurt, doubt, anger, disappointment…
yes, even your ambivalence towards Me.
I still rejoice over you,
and I will put My song in your heart once more,
because that is the hope for which I saved you.

I know you feel far away, lost, even forsaken;
I know you feel you just can’t go on.
Cast your burdens on Me
I will not cast you away.
Though you feel tossed about on waves of despair,
though you’re battling against the tide,
though you’re struggling just to keep your head above water
Anchor yourself in the calm of
My love and faithfulness.
Do not doubt in the dark
what I’ve shown you in the light.

I am your rock, your sure foundation, your deliverer.
Do not be moved by the taunts of those who deny Me:
Though they have forgotten Me,
I have not forgotten you.

I see you are weighed down;
I know the things that trouble you.
You can trust them to Me —
I am here, waiting —
You can trust Me with all your
hurt, doubt, anger, disappointment…
yes, even your ambivalence towards Me.
I still rejoice over you,
and I will put My song in your heart once more,
because that is the hope for which I saved you.


Psalm 23

September 27, 2003

I called to you and led you down
Into the pastures green
And I’ve walked with you, by your side —
That’s where I’ve always been

You gave your heart and followed Me
Beside the waters blue
Wherever you may find yourself
Just know: I’m there with you

We walked along the mountaintops —
The view was fine to see!
My child, the paths I lead you on —
That’s where I will be

The path grew rocky; progress, slow
You cried out in despair
You thought that I’d abandoned you
But I was always there

And though the valley hems you in
And death may seem so near
My child, I watch over you,
And I am always here

You heard My voice, returned and ate,
Blessed in every way
All your days I’ll care for you
And in My house you’ll stay