Christ and Our Relationships at Home

This week our scripture passage comes from Colossians 3.18-4.1.  In this passage of scripture Paul addresses the relationships within the home as he continues to teach on how to relate to one another as a new creation in Christ.  Some would argue that the verses on slavery do not belong within the context of the home, but Paul is clearly writing about those slaves within the homes.  Not that Paul is endorsing slavery, rather he is addressing those who find themselves in that situation.

Our new faith in Christ no doubt has an impact on every aspect of our lives.  Our homes are no different.  In fact, our faith in Christ should impact our homes more than any other place.  We spend more time at home and with those in our homes than we do anywhere else (at least we should).  I do recognize that more and more our jobs and responsibilities keep us away from home, but this is even more reason to be Christ-like in our homes and let His love rule in our hearts and relationships.  If we are spending less time at home than generations past, who would want to spend those times in turmoil and strife?  The other aspect of this is that our home life affects all other aspects of our lives.  When things at home are out of order, this often bleeds over into other areas of our life.  As we seek to grow in our faith and know Christ more let us be a people that seek to live out our faith in love, especially in our homes.

P. Mike

Music for Sunday 8/5/12

Here’s what Colossians 3:12-15 says about relating to each other in Christ:

  • Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
  • Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
  • And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
  • Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Let it be said of us that the Lord was our passion,
That with gladness we bore every cross we were given;
That we fought the good fight, that we finished the course
Knowing within us the power of the risen Lord.

Let it be said of us we were marked by forgiveness,
We were known by our love and delighted in meekness;
We were ruled by His peace heeding unity’s call,
Joined as one body that Christ would be seen by all.

Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song;
By mercy made holy, by the Spirit made strong.
Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song
‘Til the likeness of Jesus be through us be known.
Let It Be Said of Us: words and music by Steve Fry.  Copyright 1996 Maranatha! Music/Word Music, LLC.  CCLI # 3163058.

Let it be said of us.  What can be said of us?  What impressions would an outsider looking in form about us?  Could it be said of us, as representatives of God’s holy people, that we’re marked by forgiveness, or ruled by His peace, or joined as one body?

Above all, can it really be said of us that the Lord is our passion?  When others look at us, can they say, “His passion is the Lord” or “Her passion is the Lord”?  Or do they see something else entirely–maybe that our true passion appears to be TV, or video games, or sports, or money?

We have another “therefore” this week.  Remember last week’s message, that we have taken off our old selves and put on the new, putting to death the lives we once lived?  That’s what this “therefore” is talking about.  Once we were marked by immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language.  Now we are God’s holy people.  Now we are to be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, peace, and love.  What a contrast!

The Servant Song is a hymn about serving each other in this new way of life:

We are travelers on a journey, fellow pilgrims on the road;
We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ-light for you in the nighttime of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.

Sister, let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant, too.
Brother, let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant, too.
The Servant Song: words by Richard Gillard.  Copyright  1977 Scripture in Song/Maranatha! Music. CCLI # 3163058.

After that, we’ll sing Speak, O Lord.  You may have noticed that I love this hymn and use it often, and that’s because the beautiful text has so many applications in our worship settings.  This time I chose it specifically for the second verse:

Teach us, Lord, full obedience, holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes in the radiance of Your purity.
Speak, O Lord: words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.  Copyright 2006 Thankyou Music. CCLI # 3163058.

I took the theme for our first three songs of the service from verse 16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. So
we’re going to sing three songs of gratitude: a psalm, a hymn, and a spiritual song.  O Worship the King is first, with a text taken from Psalm 104:

Praise the Lord, O my soul.
O Lord my God, you are very great;
    you are clothed with splendor and majesty.
He wraps himself in light as with a garment;
    he stretches out the heavens like a tent
    and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
    and rides on the wings of the wind.
He makes winds his messengers,
    flames of fire his servants.  (Psalm 104:1-4)

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space!
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

Next is To God Be the Glory, a favorite hymn by Fanny Crosby.  All glory for our new life and our life to come goes to God:

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done!

And third, we’ll sing Give Us Clean Hands, a newer song that’s a prayer for guidance as we take off the old and put on the new:

We bow our hearts, we bend our knees;
O Spirit, come make us humble.
We turn our eyes from evil things;
O Lord, we cast down our idols.
Give us clean hands, give us pure hearts;
Let us not lift our souls to another.
O God, let us be a generation that seeks,
Who seeks Your face, O God of Jacob.
Give Us Clean Hands: words and music by Charlie Hall.  Copyright 2000 worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Music. CCLI # 3163058.

Finally, we’re observing the Lord’s Supper this week and the choir will be singing All to Us, which ties together Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for us with our response as God’s holy people, the redeemed.

Only Son of God, sent from heaven, hope and mercy at the cross.
You are everything, You’re the promise, Jesus, You are all to us.

So let the glory of Your name be the passion of the church.
Let the righteousness of God be a holy flame that burns.
Let the saving love of Christ be the measure of our lives.
We believe You’re all to us.
All to Us: words and music by Chris Tomlin, Matt Maher, Matt Redman and Jesse Reeves.  Copyright 2010 Thankyou Music/worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Music/Vamos Publishing/Said And Done Music/Matt Maher Designee.  CCLI #3163058.

Relating to Believers

In this week’s message we will be continuing in Colossians.  Our scripture passage will be from Colossians 3.12-17.  In this passage of scripture we will see Paul continue to instruct his readers in ways we should relate to each other once we become believers in Christ.  In particular he is talking to them about how to relate to other believers within the church setting.  We know that relationships in general can be tough to handle and the relationships that we have with others within the church community are no different.  However when we put on the new clothes of Christ and become this new creation in Him (as we talked about last week) we should learn to deal with others in a more Christ-like way…especially within the church setting.  This Sunday we will look at some of the ways that Paul says we should engage others within the church as we allow Christ to rule in our lives.  I hope that you will join us as we continue this journey through Colossians and seek out how our faith should impact our lives in real and practical ways.

Blessings…
P. Mike

August Newsletter

The August newsletter is here.

Music for Sunday 7/29/12

In contrast to last week, this week I knew right away a song I wanted to use: Before the Throne of God Above.  While this hymn’s text is partly taken from Hebrews 4:14-16, other parts are from  Sunday’s passage in Colossians.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1-2).

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea;
A great High Priest whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:3-4).

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace.
One with Himself I cannot die;
My soul is purchased by His blood.
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God!
Before the Throne of God Above: words and music by Vikki Cook and Charitie Lees Bancroft.  Copyright 1997 Sovereign Grace Worship (admin. in the US & Canada by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music).  CCLI #3163058.

This will be the first time we’ve sung this hymn in worship, although I have played it for the offertory or communion several times.  Here’s a version on Youtube if you’d like to check it out:

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Then in the next section of the passage, we see our response to our new life.  We are to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature: immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed.  These are the
way we used to live, but we are to abandon these.  Put them to death.  We have taken off our old selves and have put on the new.

Knowing You is a song about this contrast, forsaking things of the world in light of Christ, our all in all.

All I once held dear, built my life upon,
All this world reveres and wars to own;
All I once thought gain I have counted loss;
Spent and worthless now compared to this:
Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You;
There is no greater thing.
You’re my all, You’re the best,
You’re my joy, my righteousness,
And I love You, Lord.

Now my heart’s desire is to know You more,
To be found in You and known as Yours;
To possess by faith what I could not earn,
All surpassing gift of righteousness.
Knowing You: Words and music by Graham Kendrick.  Copyright 1994 Make Way Music.  CCLI #3163058.

Be Thou My Vision also speaks of setting our minds on things above and forsaking the world:

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art:
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Riches I heed not, or man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

We’re starting the service by observing baptism.  What better way to open a service focusing on our new lives!  Our first hymn will be Jesus, Our Lord and King, speaking of dying to sin and rising to our new life in Christ:

Jesus, our Lord and King, to You our praises rise;
To You our bodies we present, a living sacrifice.

As dead indeed to sin, we rise to walk anew,
Henceforth, as not our own, but Yours, we follow only You.

Baptized into Your death, with You again we rise,
To newness of a life of faith, to new and endless joys.

Congratulations to Katelyn and Steven on their baptism!  Let’s lift them up in prayer as they continue to follow the Lord’s leading in their lives.

Change, Change, Change

This week’s scripture passage for Sunday will be Colossians 3.1-11. As we look into this passage we will be considering the change that takes place in us when we place our trust and faith in Jesus Christ. This will also begin a short series within a series as we deal with relationships over the next few weeks. Of course we all know that the most important relationship is our relationship with Jesus Christ. Only when we get that relationship right will we then be able to get the other relationships in our life right, including the one with our self.

Is there a dramatic way that you have seen your life change since you came to faith in Christ? How has your faith changed your relationships? How do you think God can use you and the changes in your own life to impact others for His glory and Kingdom? These are all questions we should ask ourselves and consider…I would love to hear what’s on your mind concerning how your life has been radically changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

P. Mike

Welcome!

Welcome to the new blog spot of Haran Baptist Church. Periodically we will post comments, thoughts, devotions and even sometimes recommendations. Some of these will be related to the upcoming message, some will be related to current events and some will be general observations. We will leave the comments open to start with hoping that we can generate some discussion amongst the church family, but we will only do so as long as the comments are appropriate and edifying. Our hope is to stimulate your mind and to provoke critical thinking about spiritual things as well as everyday occurrences. How did the recent power outage affect your ability to focus energies on the Lord? What deep insight has God imparted on you through your Bible study this week? How did last week’s message impact you? I will try to post thoughts about the upcoming message when I can. But please understand that most weeks it is an evolving process throughout the week, so what I think I am saying on Sunday morning usually changes from Monday to Friday. The general outline and gist stays the same and the scripture passage does as well. But as I have said from day to day…I am fluid and flexible.

So we invite you to join us as this process evolves. We hope it will stimulate your mind and conversation. The updates will be periodic but not scheduled. And so as we get started today I leave you with this thought. In Colossians 2.16 Paul says “let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day–things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ” (NASB). The problem here is that they were judging others insisting that they observed these ritualistic acts that were tied to the Law. In what ways do we become ritualistic in our worship and thus judge others even as we know that the real substance of our worship should be Jesus Christ?

P. Mike

Music for Sunday 7/22

Sometimes, when I’m planning a service and I look at the Scripture for that day, I’ll immediately have all kinds of ideas for appropriate music.  Other times, I’m momentarily stumped.  That was the case when I first started work on this week’s service, which will focus on Colossians 2:16-23.  Nothing immediately sprang to mind…there just aren’t that many hymns about New Moon festivals, for some reason.  And there really aren’t many songs that deal explicitly with legalism.  And so I had to dig deeper and look at the underlying themes in the passage.

To start with, the passage begins with “therefore.”  My dad always taught me not to just start with a “therefore” in Scripture; look and see what the “therefore” is referring to.  Here, it’s referring to the previous verses, which we talked about last Sunday:

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:13-15).

That’s it.  Settled and done.  He forgave our sins, canceled the written code and its regulations, and nailed it to the cross.

Now, certainly, we should live our lives in a manner honoring to God.  We should exercise self-control, and we should live as a witness to those around us.  But is that what saves us?  Our good works?  Is this the basis of our hope?

Have we built a religion on works, or are we trusting in the One who has triumphed on the cross?

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

That’s why I chose the hymn In Christ Alone.

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease;
My Comforter, my All in All;
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

No guilt in life, no fear in death;
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
‘Til He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand!

(In Christ Alone: words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.
Copyright 2002 Thankyou Music (PRS) (admin. worldwide by EMI CMG
Publishing excluding Europe which is admin. by kingswaysongs.com).

For the rest of our songs, I chose

  • Higher Ground (My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay; though some may dwell where these abound, my prayer, my aim is higher ground)
  • The Solid Rock (My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness)
  • My Jesus, I Love Thee (For Thee all the follies of sin I resign)

For our closing hymn, we’ll sing Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus to remind us that the things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of God’s glory and grace.

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