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“The Sacrifice” by George Herbert

Posted on by Glen in creative, Cross, poetry | Leave a comment

“The Sacrifice” by George Herbert:

OH all ye, who passe by, whose eyes and minde
To worldly things are sharp, but to me blinde;
To me, who took eyes that I might you finde:
Was ever grief like mine?

Judas, dost thou betray me with a kisse?
Canst thou finde hell about my lips? and misse
Of life, just at the gates of life and blisse?
Was ever grief like mine?

Then they condemne me all with that same breath,
Which I do give them daily, unto death.
Thus Adam my first breathing rendereth:
Was ever grief like mine?

Behold, they spit on me in scornfull wise,
Who by my spittle gave the blinde man eies,
Leaving his blindnesse to my enemies:
Was ever grief like mine?

The souldiers also spit upon that face,
Which Angels did desire to have the grace,
And Prophets, once to see, but found no place:
Was ever grief like mine?

O all ye who passe by, behold and see;
Man stole the fruit, but I must climbe the tree;
The tree of life to all, but onely me:
Was ever grief like mine?

In healing not my self, there doth consist
All that salvation, which ye now resist;
Your safetie in my sicknesse doth subsist:
Was ever grief like mine?

Read the whole astonishing poem

Easter Resources

Posted on by Glen in creative, Cross, My videos, poetry, sermons, songs, videos | Leave a comment

Check out our Easter Spoken Word videos BREAD OF HEAVEN and CANNONBALL

Plus, here’s some stuff you’re welcome to rip off if you like…

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Gethsemane:

Here’s an idea for an all-age sermon / school assembly. It’s a game of pass the parcel where the parcel is a poisoned cup. There’s a song to go with it:

 

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Also for Maundy Sunday, I love this setting of When You Prayed Beneath the Trees.

Forget the singer, Christopher Idle’s song’s in my top 5 all time hymns.

 

Cross

Seed Song (Jesus is the Seed who dies and rises to bring life)

 

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Resurrection

Firstfruits

 

Easter Morn (the song that became ‘Firstfruits’ – no round)

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Little Fish! (Jesus is bigger than death)

 

Some Easter Sermons

Hebrews 2:14-18 (Last Sunday’s sermon)

Some Talks By Others About Death (and Resurrection)

Dev Menon: Death Part 1 (Good Friday)

Dev Menon: Death Part 2 (Easter Sunday)

John Behr: Death the Final Frontier

John Behr: Taking Back Death

 

Videos

Some Easter .

 

Everyone Knows: It’s the Cross or Hell

Posted on by Glen in Cross, evangelism, gospel | Leave a comment

Broken BreadThe adultery bomb goes off in a marriage. What next? It’s the cross or hell. Either there is the giving up of rights – in repentance and forgiveness – or there is the standing on rights, and it’s hell.

Nation wars against nation. What next? Either there’s surrender / reconciliation or a never-ending cycle of violence. It’s the cross or hell.

An argument starts: harsh words stir up anger. What next? Either a gentle word turns away wrath or the wrath spirals on. Proverbs 15:1.

It’s the cross or hell.

This is not a feature of certain conservative theologies – it’s a fact of everyday existence. In every walk of life the making of peace involves a swallowing of pride – a wrath-bearing sacrifice if you will. Without this “cross”, it’s “hell”. If we are at all aware of a sin problem, we become aware of the desperate need for costly atonement.

Some Christians shy away from the language of hell, wrath and sacrifice. Who believes in such things these days? Well, sinners do. People who understand the world and who understand their hearts – they get the need for blood and fire. If we ditch those concepts we become less able to reach the culture, not more.

Good Friday

Posted on by Glen in Cross, music, videos | 4 Comments

An hour of hymns and songs.

Rock of Ages

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross

My Song Is Love Unknown

And Can It Be That I Should Gain

Alas, And Did My Savior Bleed

There is A Fountain Filled With Blood

Man of Sorrows (What a Name)

Jesus Paid It All

The Power Of The Cross

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

Were you there when they crucified my lord?

All I Have is Christ Live

Cornerstone

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 What would you add?

 

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Posted on by Glen in Cross | 2 Comments

cross-as-tree-of-life-2

 

I tweeted this earlier…

It’s deliberately provocative and, of course, open to the criticism: “Oooo, look who thinks he’s Jesus!” But here’s why I stand by it. At least a dozen times the bible encourages us to identify with Jesus at Calvary (see below). When the Negro Spiritual asks “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”, a biblical answer is: “Yes. I was at the very centre of it – dying on that middle cross.”

That’s not the first answer that springs to mind is it? Our instinctive response is to say “I was hammering in the nails.” There’s great truth to that. As the wonderful Townend song says, “It was my sin that held Him there.” But that’s not the only answer. And at least 12 times in Scripture we are cast in a different role in this Passion Play. We are placed on the cross with Jesus. For every verse that tells us Jesus died for us there’s another telling us we died in Him. And it’s vital to hold those two truths together. Let me explain…

What’s the very first promise of the Bible?

Nope, earlier than that… Earlier still…  You know what the first promise was from the LORD God to man? “You will surely die” – Genesis 2:17.

Death is the judgement promised for sin.  No wonder that death would be part of the next big promise – Genesis 3:15. The Seed being struck to save us. Death was the judgement for sin. Death was also the way of salvation!  There is just no escaping death.  We live in the Lamb’s world and we will surely die.  We either die apart from the LORD Jesus or we die in the LORD Jesus. But everyone dies.

I emphasize the point because sometimes we forget this when we speak of Christ’s death for us.  We must never tire of proclaiming Christ’s death for us – it is the blazing epicentre of the gospel! (e.g. 1 Cor 15:3). But we misconstrue this truth if we imagine that Christ dies over there so that I remain unaffected over here.  No, Christ hides me in Himself and includes me in His death. In other words, His death is not only substitutionary. It is substitutionary because it is inclusive.

See how Paul teaches this over and over in his letters:

All of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  (Romans 6:3-4)

Our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with.  (Romans 6:6)

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin… (Romans 6:11)

You died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to Another.  (Romans 7:4)

Christ died for all and therefore all died. (2 Corinthians 5:14)

I was crucified with Christ and I no longer live.  (Galatians 2:20)

[I belong to Christ and thusmy flesh has been crucified.  (Galatians 5:24)

I am crucified to the world.  (Galatians 6:14)

 In Christ you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism.  (Colossians 2:11-12)

You died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world (Colossians 2:20)

You died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)

Christ indeed died for us. He bore the wrathful brunt of the Father’s condemnation.  But He did so in order to carry me with Him through that death sentence and out into His risen life.  Christ died for me but – just as important to say – I died in Him.

If we speak of Christ dying for us without being clear that we died in Him, we can get into trouble. Let me briefly outline two potential problems:

Firstly, the Romans 6 problem: We think of grace as licence.  If we just speak of Christ over there paying for my sins over here, it makes no sense for me over here to live in connection with Christ over there.  Basically we imagine that Jesus over there underwrites my sinful existence over here and therefore anyone calling me to live beyond sin, death and judgement sounds absurd.

But Paul’s argument is that we died in Jesus. The old self is crucified and the new self is risen in Christ. The cross was not the underwriter for my sin, it was the undertaker!

Secondly, we might imagine that Christ’s sufferings for us mean that we shouldn’t suffer ourselves.  It’s ironic, but the cross is sometimes used to prop up a theology of glory!

Here’s how it usually happens… Someone prays for healing and invokes Isaiah 53: “By Christ’s wounds Susan IS HEALED, we claim this healing paid for in full by the cross.”  Well there’s great Scriptural precedence for linking Isaiah 53 with healing (Matthew 8:17). I’m all for it.  And I’m all for praying earnestly for healing.  Jesus is kind and He may want to give us a picture of new creation glory even here in the midst of this old dying world.  BUT… Jesus did not die so that we won’t. Jesus died so that we might die in Him.

The path to new creation restoration is through death.  The cross does not eliminate that pathway, it is the pathway to glory.  The cross proves once and for all that Jesus is not committed to prettying up this old world. He is committed to summing it up and plunging it into the fiery death it deserves. Only through that furnace will it be reborn.

Jesus has not promised to prolong this old world of Adam’s. He has promised “You will surely die!”  But through that death comes a new heavens and a new earth.  That’s where we must set our hopes.

Just imagine if Jesus kept on healing our old bodies.  At what point should He let us die? At 90? 100? 150?  When can He say ‘enough is enough’ and bring us through death into resurrection life?  That’s His purpose.

The cross does not mean we will avoid suffering and death.  It means we will go through it – but hidden with Christ. And – yes indeed – by His wounds we are healed.  But that healing is not the prolonging of the old man – it’s the resurrection of the new.

This Easter don’t forget – Jesus did not just die for you, you died in Him. The Christian life makes no sense until you put yourself on the cross with Christ.

 

Podcast: Easter Edition

Posted on by Glen in Cross, podcast, preaching, resurrection | Leave a comment

In this episode we talk about Easter. In particular we spotlight our latest spoken word video: “Bread of Heaven.”

We also speak about Easter preaching.

 DOWNLOAD

SUBSCRIBE


In the podcast I mention 8 Easter sermons I’ve given in other settings.

And…
Easter songs and resources – especially for all-age services

 

“Bread of Heaven” Spoken Word Video

Posted on by Glen in creative, Cross, My videos, videos | Leave a comment

DOWNLOAD HERE – FREE

Feel free to Use in Church, RT, Share, etc…

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WORDS

The Israelites in thirsty lands, trod burning sands with desperate craving,
no longer slaving for Egyptian masters, now by grace they’re free to face
this fresh disaster – starving in a barren place.

Until the Bread of Heaven fell like morning dew each day anew,
and to these folks complaining, every day the Bread sustaining,
to lead them all their journey through.

Fast forward 1500 years: a Man appears, stands tall among His peers,
And feeds the desert crowds without ado,
A supernatural déjà vu.

And having won the mob’s attention then He makes His bold contention:
He IS the Bread of old, the One foretold to feed us and through our wilderness to lead us.
Could His claim be true?

It’s Thursday Night, an upper room, a supper strewn with broken bread,
Then Jesus stands, a loaf in hand and says:
THIS IS MY BODY – and tears it like a lion tearing prey,
a raw dissection on display.
In pieces rent and ragged, edges jagged, now laid bare in disarray.
(You see) He’ll feed His people in THIS way.

He the LORD for we the least, Him devoured so we can feast.

And so to Friday – by a highway
Rivals gloating, Soldiers joking, mobs provoking, Jesus choking,
torment spoken, HERE the Bread of Heaven BROKEN.

He the LORD for we the least, Him devoured so we can feast.

THEN… Come Sunday and, like Bread, He rises,
surprises all His friends, extends the dinner invitation:
“COME ALL FROM EVERY NATION: This is the meaning of salvation:

He the LORD for we the least, Him devoured so we can feast.”

This God served up upon the cross,
His posture still arms-open willing ALL to come and eat
This Bread is sweet and free – served up anew.
Available like morning dew,
To lead you all your journey through,
My friend, this broken Bread’s for YOU.

Intimacy with God – part 3

Posted on by glenscriv in Cross, gospel, pastoral theology, trinity, union with Christ, worship | 6 Comments

Dali CrossContinued from here.

Christ’s Work

“But now in Christ, you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)

As we speak about intimacy with God we must never forget the way into divine fellowship. Ever since humanity rejected the LORD Christ and trusted Satan instead, the way back to fellowship has been blocked by fiery judgement (Genesis 3:24).  This fallen flesh and blood cannot participate in the life of God (1 Cor 15:50).  Only ‘the Man out of the Heavens’ could ever belong in the inner circle of God’s life (1 Cor 15:15:47-49).

Yet, with infinite grace and condescension, this Man came out of the heavens.  He took the very flesh and blood of our humanity and He redeemed it.  Where we had failed, He succeeded, where we had sinned, He obeyed, where we had fled, He stood tall, where we had hated, He loved, where we had erred, He taught, where we were enslaved, He set free, where we were ashamed, He gave dignity, where we grasped at glory, He gave freely, where we clung to life, He poured it out.

On the cross, God’s Man took on Himself all the sin, guilt and shame of this fallen humanity.  He endured the divine fury at sin, passing through that fiery judgement which bars the way into God.  And now, in His glorious resurrection body, Christ, the True Man, sits at the Father’s right hand.  He is beyond death and judgement.  Our Brother is now in the inner circle of the life of God.  We, in ourselves, would be swept away by God’s righteous anger at sin.  Yet Christ is the Way to the Father and in Him, Who “quenched the wrath of hostile heaven”, we have obtained access.

Why do I recount these gospel truths? A) Because they are glorious!  B) Because sometimes people (and I’m sure I’m guilty of this too), manage to speak of  “union with Christ”  as a warm ‘n’ fuzzy truth. Often the Fatherhood of God, adoption into His family, one-ness with Jesus can be articulated without the blood and fire of the Bible’s presentation.  But we desperately need the grit and grime – the sweat and tears – of Christ’s atonement if we’re going to experience true intimacy with God.  A toothless, bloodless message about a heavenly Father-figure doesn’t connect with people who live in the midst of suffering and sin.  It can’t connect, because the only real point of connection is a Bleeding Sacrifice choking to death on a cross.  But He’s who we really need if we want intimacy with God.  Because He actually meets us in the godforsakeness of life as we know it.

If all our talk of intimacy with God is not dripping in the blood of Christ we’re just holding out “a nice idea” to people who are burdened by shame and guilt and who will never connect with our words of “divine participation” – no matter how warm or inviting we sound.  More than this, if our talk of divine intimacy is not utterly cross-shaped then people will play off “taking up our cross” against enjoying life in God. Which would be absurd – yet it happens all the time!  But no, triune glory is cruciform glory. Therefore participating in God means participating in the cross. The way to God is through Christ and Him crucified.

Christ’s Priesthood

Our Great High Priest, Jesus, does not simply bring God’s life down to us. He also offers our life up to God. He is not just God-for-us, He is also Man-for-God.  Thus, from Christ’s representative humanity (for us) there is a presentation to the Father.  This is Christ’s Priestly work – again a work done for us.

By the Spirit, Christ has made the perfect offering to the Father:

‘Christ, through the eternal Spirit… offered Himself unblemished to God.’ (Hebrews 9:14)

Christ’s worship constitutes the fullness of all acceptable worship to God.  Without participation in His perfect obedience, His perfect sacrifice and His perfect Priesthood, there is no worship worthy of the name.  To offer true sacrifice to the Father we must be in Christ.  Only then do we have a share in acceptable worship.  Yet, in Him, we are pure, spotless and holy – as acceptable as Christ Himself (Colossians 1:22).

What place does our worship have?

If Christ is our Great High Priest, where does my worship fit in?

Worship is the gracious invitation which the LORD makes to us to share in His own worshipping life.  Just as Christ is the Righteous One (for us) and yet invites us to share in His holy life, just as Christ is the Great Sufferer (for us) and yet allows us to share in His sufferings, so we, His people are to share in His worship.

Hebrews 8:2 calls Christ our Leitourgos – ‘the leader of our worship’. Calvin, following Psalm 22:22, called Christ ‘the great choirmaster’, tuning our hearts to sing the Father’s praises.  Worship is the participation in Christ’s perfect worship.  As James Torrance says,

“Whatever else our worship is, it is our liturgical amen to the worship of Christ.” 

Every act of worship or devotion that we perform is grounded in and surrounded by Christ’s prior and perfect offering.  Thus we do not worship as those attempting to gain intimacy with God, but as those who have been gifted it. And the ‘direction’ of the activity is the gracious movement of God coming to us in Christ.  Any ‘upward’ movement is that done by Christ and we participate by faith.  Thus, the focus of all worship must be on the LORD Jesus.  In other words:

I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no-one comes to the Father except by me. (John 14:6)

Next post

When You Prayed Beneath the Trees

Posted on by glenscriv in Cross, music, My videos, videos | 1 Comment

This is my favourite Gethsemane hymn and perhaps even my favourite hymn of all time.

Pity about the singing (and the finger picking). But I made this one because I couldn’t find another version set to “Kelvingrove”. If you can find one, let me know.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA2LSyAbRwA]

When you prayed beneath the trees, it was for me, O Lord;
When you cried upon your knees, how could it be, O Lord?
When in blood and sweat and tears, you dismissed your final fears,
When you faced the soldier’s spears, you stood for me, O Lord.

When their triumph looked complete, it was for me, O Lord,
When it seemed like your defeat, they could not see, O Lord!
When you faced the mob alone, you were silent as a stone,
And a tree became your throne; you came for me, O Lord.

When you stumbled up the road, you walked for me, O Lord,
When you took your deadly load, that heavy tree, O Lord;
When they lifted you on high, and they nailed you up to die,
And when darkness filled the sky, it was for me, O Lord.

When you spoke with kingly power it was for me O Lord
in that dread and destined hour you made me free O Lord
Earth and heaven heard you shout, death and hell were put to rout
For the grave could not hold out; you are for me O Lord.

Words: Christopher Idle
Music: Scottish Traditional melody (Kelvingrove)

Luke 22-23 sermon

Posted on by glenscriv in Cross, evangelism, sermons | 1 Comment

Dali CrucifixionIt was a privilege to preach at the Crowded House on Sunday where two folks were baptised.

AUDIO

The sermon begins at about 10 minutes. (If you’ve heard me on Christ’s baptism before, you might want to skip to the 19 minute mark).

POWERPOINT

TEXT

Excerpt:

Here we have an artist’s dream. If you’re a film-maker, a writer, a playwright – you would love to depict this scene: Humanity putting its Maker on trial.  What a scenario! All the Gospels tell us about this in some detail – these show trials with trumped up charges. Because the bible makes it clear: the so called judges in these trials are the guilty ones. The one in the dock is the only innocent one. Nonetheless He stoops into the dock, to be tried by His creatures.  This is the Judge of the world, judged.

And what we see in Jesus is the most incredible stillness and poise. He is like a mirror, reflecting back the accusations of His prosecutors. At every stage of His cross-examination, He manages to get confessions out of His prosecutors! Ingenius!

The brilliance of Jesus is to allow their judgements of Him to judge them.  Their accusations only end up accusing them.  This is true any time you try to judge a great one.

If you call Shakespeare hackneyed and cliched, it doesn’t reflect badly on Shakespeare, it reflects badly on you.  If you call the Grand Canyon “a glorified ditch”, or the Great Wall of China “shoddy workmanship”, or Lionel Messi “a Sunday-league amateur” – that tells you nothing about Shakespeare or the Grand Canyon or the Great Wall or Lionel Messi.  It tells you everything about you.  

When we judge the Judge it tells us nothing about Him it tells us everything about ourselves.  Do you want to know what you’re like?  Think about this judgement scene.  The Judge of the world condescends into the dock and submits to these kangaroo courts.  And we – the judges – find Him guilty of a capital offence.  What is His crime?  To be the Son of God.

When our Maker goes on trial we find Him worthy of death?  Why? For being who He is.

In Luke 23 we see everyone making this verdict: the powerful, the weak, the Jews, the non-Jews, the rich, the poor –  everyone deems Him worthy of death.  And what is Jesus’ response?

He goes to the cross.  And as He is hoisted up He prays “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.” (v34)

The Judge is judged. He does not protect Himself or justify Himself.  He exposes Himself to every accusation, every insult, every blow – both judicial and physical.  And He retaliates with mercy: “Father, forgive.”  This is the heart of God for you.

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