making melodies

I remember standing on the wooden pews and singing in Dimnent Chapel during college. The notes got all mingled together above our heads and bounced off the stained glass in the post Sunday night worship sessions.

“I’m making melody in my heart to You
I’m making melody in my heart to You
Pouring out Your praise with everything within”
(Matt Redman)

Now, I know my heart makes melodies whether I ask it to or not. It’s just a thing it does – sing, I mean. That can’t be a surprise, with the amount of music I post here.

Sometimes the songs are of the G, C, D, E variety with simple words and rhythms. Other times, they sound a little more complicated and painful. This song is some sort of mixture, but it is hopeful.

Yes, hopeful.

Love is what has brought us here
With the courage to come near
Chase away our pride and our fear
With the Light to carry
With the Light to carry on

This past weekend I went to John Piper‘s Desiring God Seminar on TULIP (5 points of Calvinism) in Minneapolis. Eight hours of lecture with live Q & A interspersed throughout is pretty heavy – one of those times where you are unsure whether to write anything down because you know what you do write down won’t be enough. (If you’re interested in the slides, they are here for free.)

One take-away I’m still clinging to on Tuesday night is hope. The kind of Romans 5 hope that doesn’t disappoint. Because God is sovereign, I have hope. Because nothing happens outside of God’s control, I have peace that my hope is secure. I can rest even while the world appears to be crumbling – even while there is death and disease and addiction and pain, I have a hope secure.

My pride and fear and sin and doubt are chased away by the Light of One who is mighty to save. God’s promises are trustworthy and His words pierce into the deepest dark with a light that exposes (Ephesians 5) sin for what it truly is: rebellion. And when my heart was dead without any hope of revival, His Light reached out and called me into right relationship while empowering me to take each step by grace.

He called me out of darkness and into His wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9) and then gave me the grace to walk until the sun shone on my face. What hope we have in a God who takes what is dead and makes it alive! What hope we have in a God who extends grace for salvation and grace for the saved to be sanctified. What hope! 

This message of God’s sovereignty is not about being puppets or robots as much as it is about God’s grace enabling those He has called to freely choose Him. This is the kind of hope that makes the dark clouds fade away – the kind of hope that is enduring because God is eternal.

This is the kind of hope that makes melodies in my heart – sometimes simple and sometimes complicated – reminding me who allows the dark clouds and who gives strength to endure.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

this & that

While you are picking up the toys strewn about and nibbling at the last of the holiday baking, check out these links!
  • Jonathan Edwards’s resolutions organized in seven categories– a good build up to all those things you will try to squeeze into this next year. A little preparation never hurt anyone. Maybe instead of making your own list of “shoulda, coulda, woulda”s, try checking out what Jonathan Edwards resolved and if it makes sense to you.
    Religious Affections

  • This collection is one of several “Top” lists of 2011 I really enjoyed. It’s from Qideas, highlighting articles from the past year. I also enjoyed Tim Challies Top 10 books and also his Top 10 List of Top 10s.
  • Speaking of Top 10, Tim Keller is regularly on mine as a pastor and author. Looks like I’ll need to find a copy of “The Meaning of Marriage” and dig in, based on the rave reviews. It’s not just the subject that interests me, it’s Keller’s approach to questions and controversy and Bible application.
  • This is a great clip of a child being heroic AND precocious. Check it out.
  • After reading Chesterton’s “Orthodoxy,” I considered him a kindred spirit and friend. His love of creativity was a direct reflection of his love for God. It might be one of few theological pieces that I laughed my way through. He did have a strong view against Calvinism, but that never bothered me. This article might explain why.
  • This might be my favorite article, as of recent. Russell Moore writes about a conversation he had with theologian Carl F.H. Henry before he died. Moore was lamenting the current state of Christianity and the direction it was surely headed, when Henry reminded him that our eyes for despair are not God’s eyes. What about Saul of Tarsus? C.S. Lewis? Charles Colson? The article ends with this:
    Jesus will be King, and his church will flourish. And he’ll do it in the way he chooses, by exalting the humble and humbling the exalted, and by transforming cowards and thieves and murderers into the cornerstones of his New City.
    So relax.
    And, be kind to that atheist in front of you on the highway, the one who just shot you an obscene gesture. He might be the one who evangelizes your grandchildren.
  • I read this NY Times article last week sometime and I’m still thinking about it. “The Joy of Quiet” explains a surprising trend in society these days. Or, maybe it’s not so surprising if you understand that what is luxury must also be rare. These days, quiet is rare, so people are starting to consider it a luxury. Unplug my hotel room? Sure, I’ll pay extra for that. People do! Anyway, it’s an interesting article.
  • If you aren’t really in to articles, but you love photographs, check out 24 hours in pictures from around the world. Fascinating! Here’s a sample (kids in India wait in the taxi for their family to return:

There is more, but I think Wednesday can only handle so much (I read the stats and you’re not going to click on all these, anyway!).

let LOVE fly like cRaZy