A Challenging Quote from Hudson Taylor

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Recently I was rereading Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret and came across this quote that has always served as an inspirational challenge and I commend it to you! For us in the West today, Christianity is easy going on steroids. However, it will not always be this way. Better to begin paying the price now to grow in Christ-like character and to become a vessel fit for the Master’s use (2 Timothy 2:21).

 

Thankful for the Trinity

Recently we celebrated Trinity Sunday. The music, prayers, and Scripture readings in this worship service focus explicitly on the beauty, power, and work of the triune God.

The amazing work of the Trinity is magnified in your own salvation. The Father purposed your salvation before the worlds were made. The Son secured your salvation by His cross and resurrection. The Spirit applies salvation to your life by opening your heart to believe.

The Trinity also helps us to answer a most basic question: What is a Christian? I would expand J.I. Packer’s definition to this question just a bit by saying: The question can be answered in many ways, but possibly the richest answer is that a Christian is one who has God for his Father, Jesus for his Savior and Lord, and the Holy Spirit for his helper and constant companion.

Therefore, Brian Kay concludes in Trinitarian Spirituality that “God is never more glorious than in His triune conspiracy to enthrone Christ in someone’s heart — and what an immense favor He shows to the one He lovingly overtakes.” We see Him doing this in the lives of many in the Scriptures: the Apostle Paul, Nicodemus, and the woman at the well just to name a few.  He can do it in your live as well!

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for the Trinity
Praise be to You, O God the Father:
You created all things by your power and wisdom
and so loved the world that you gave your Son to be our Savior.

Praise be to You, O God the Son:
You became human like us in all things, except sin,
died for our offenses, and rose again for our justification.

Praise be to You, O God the Holy Spirit:
You lead us into all truth and spread the love of God in our hearts.
All praise and glory be to you, O God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.
Worship Sourcebook, p. 716

A Worship Guide for Good Friday

Grieving on Good Friday

REFLECTIONS

O all ye who pass by, behold and see; man stole the fruit, but I must climb the tree; The tree of life to all, but only me:  Was ever grief like mine?

—  From the poem “The Sacrifice” by George Herbert

Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?  Look around and see.  Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the LORD brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?”

— Lamentations 1:12

CALL TO WORSHIP  – Galatians 6:14

Leader: “The cross of Christ is the door to heaven, the key to paradise, the downfall of the devil, the uplifting of mankind, the consolation of our imprisonment, and the prize for our freedom. The cross of Christ is the safeguard of our faith, the assurance of our hope, and the throne of love. It is the sign of God’s mercy and the proof of forgiveness. The cross is the way to peace, joy, and righteousness in the kingdom of God. The way to victory over sin, despair, and death is through the cross of Jesus Christ.”

— Abbot Rupert of Deutz, ca. 1100 AD

People: Therefore, “may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified.”

SCRIPTURE READING #1 – John 18:1-11

With clubs and staves they seek me, as a thief, who am the Way and Truth,

The true relief; Most true to those, who are my greatest grief: Was ever grief like mine?

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.

See, from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down:

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?

SCRIPTURE READING #2  – John 18:12-24

See, they lay hold on me, not with the hands—Of faith, but fury: yet at their commands

I suffer binding, who have loosed their bands:  Was ever grief like mine?

There is a Fountain

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains . . .

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away . . .

SCRIPTURE READING #3 – John 18:28-40

Then they accuse me of great blasphemy, That I presumed to be the Deity,

Who never thought that any robbery: Was ever grief like mine?

What Wondrous Love is This?

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!

What wondrous love is this, O my soul!

What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss

To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,

To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

SCRIPTURE READING #4 – John 19:1-9

The soldiers lead me to the Common Hall; There they deride me, they abuse me all:

Yet for twelve heavenly legions I could call: Was ever grief like mine?

Man of Sorrows,” What a Name!

“Man of sorrows!” what a name for the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!  Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood,
Sealed my pardon with His blood; Hallelujah, what a Savior!

SCRIPTURE READING #5 – John 19:10-16

Thus trimmed, forth they bring me to the rout, Who Crucify him, cry with one strong shout.

God holds his peace at man, and man cries out:  Was ever grief like mine?

O Sacred Head

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down;
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ‘Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

SCRIPTURE READING #6  – John 19:17-27

O all you who pass by, behold and see; Man stole the fruit, but I must climb the tree;

The tree of life to all, but only me:  Was ever grief like mine?

Tenebrae Hymn—Were You There?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh!  Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Oh!  Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

Oh!  Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

SCRIPTURE READING #7  – John 19:28-30

But now I die; now all is finished.  My woe, man’s weal: and now I bow my head.

Only let others say, when I am dead, Never was grief like mine.

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Oh!  Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

BENEDICTION

Father, into your hands we commit our spirits.  AMEN

– Adapted from Psalm 31:5

How Christianity Changed the World

 “Many today who disparage Christianity may not know or believe that, were it not for Christianity, they would not have the freedom that they presently enjoy  The very freedom of speech and expression that ironically permits them to castigate Christian values is largely a by-product of Christianity’s influences that have been incorporated into the social fabric of the Western world …  This freedom, similar to the freedom that Adam and Eve once had, ironically permits the possessors of freedom to dishonor the very source of their freedom.  As Fernand Braduel has so eloquently stated, ‘Throughout the history of the West, Christianity has been at the heart of the civilization it inspired, even when it has allowed itself to be captured or deformed by it.’
On the basis of the historical evidence, I am fully persuaded that had Jesus Christ never walked the dusty paths of ancient Palestine, suffered, died , and risen from the dead, and never assembled around him a small group of disciples who spread out into the pagan world, the West would not have attained its high level of civilization, giving it the many human benefits it enjoys today. One only needs to look to sectors of the world where Christianity has had little or no presence to see the remarkable differences.”1
1. Alvin J. Schmidt, How Christianity Changed the World, (Michigan: Zondervan, 2001) 22-23 (Nook eReader version)

The Difference Between King Ozymandias and King Jesus

Percy Shelley wrote one of his famous sonnets in the early 1800s entitled: “Ozymandias.” It concludes like this:

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
           

In contrast, King Jesus comes to us today and says: “My name is Jesus Christ, the King of kings. Look on my work, my children, and rejoice.

Because of my work, every enemy of your eternal joy has been overcome:

Divine wrath, since I became a curse for you;

Real guilt, since I became forgiveness for you;

Rejection since I have gained your acceptance with God;

Slavery to sin, since I have achieved your redemption;

Death, since I am the resurrection;

Hell, since I have given you eternal life through my cross.

When The Gentle King of Glory Comes In

When the gentle King of Glory comes into the citadel of your heart, his gentleness begins to pervade your life. We often think of a gentle or meek person as weak-willed, quiet, and reserved. However, a succinct description of gentleness/meekness is: The readiness to suffer wrong by entrusting everything to God. The biblical symbol of meekness is the lamb, which is silent before the shearers.

Gentleness/meekness (in Greek, praotes) refers to being self-controlled. It is the opposite of vindictiveness and revenge. The word is used of animals tamed in order to harness their strength for constructive not destructive means. Meekness is power under control.

Charles Hodge defines meekness as, “that unresisting, uncomplaining disposition of mind, which enables us to bear without irritation or resentment the faults and injuries of others.” It involves a surrendered will toward the Lord, i.e., His providence and His Word.

The meek person lacks two things: A self-will toward God and an ill-will toward others!

Why is it that we are called to come to Jesus when we are weary and loaded with the heavy burdens of sin and the brokenness of life in our fallen world? Matthew 11:29 declares that Jesus is meek and lowly in heart.

In your weariness are you coming to the King and treating Him like the King that He is? To whom do you need to show some gentleness today – maybe someone who has injured you? If we’ve experienced His gentleness, how can we not extend it to others?