As I was humming through the original hymn this morning, I realized that the way I had thought about the words of this hymn were dangerously wrong!
It’s easy to think the song is saying that our hope is built on nothing less, that Jesus Blood and (Our) righteousness. Someone without a grasp of the good news could think this song was saying that our hope is built on Jesus death and on how good we live. Do you see that? I realized the original intention of the writer, Edward Mote (1834), was to say that his hope was built on nothing less that Jesus blood and Jesus righteousness. In googling it I did find a few lyrics that had been changed to say, “Jesus Christ, my righteousness.” I felt it was important to point this out. Recovering Pharisees like myself, may be tempted to attempt to earn a good standing with God.
As Paul wrote in Philippians 3:8-9,
“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”
Monday night, my wife and I decided to drop by the recently opened Cotton Blues Restaurant in Hattiesburg. Not having any expectations we walked in and were greeted by three hostesses. The restaurant was moderately busy, but not crowed like you might see on a weekend. One hostess asked if we had made reservations and urged us to make them the next time we planned to come.
We were seated and the took in the ambiance of the restaurant which was….. different. It was upscale rustic, with definite delta cotton feel. All the food on the menu is produced from local farms; with the exception of the fish which is flow in from Hawaii? As you would expect from locally grown organic food, it is rather expensive. My plate; fried organic chicken (2 pieces), mashed potatoes, and green beans was priced at $16. My wife had the vegetable plate with greens, fried zucchini, mac & cheese, butterbeans, and sweet potato au gratin for $12. (These plates were two of the lease expensive items on the menu.)
The food itself was delicious and we both ate and were very satisfied. The chicken and the mashed potatoes were “fine”! They were just like I remember Mr. Billy Rawls “fixin” at the Round-Table in Columbia. After one bite I told my wife that we should go check in the kitchen and make sure Mr. Billy wasn’t back there. I know a few friends that would have a problem with portion sizes being a bit small, but ours were just right and the service was excellent. You could tell those working there were well trained.
All-in-all we had a great experience and will be back. I did feel Mississippi while at Cotton Blues and as William Falkner once said, “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.”
The passing of Andy Griffith on Thursday made me reflect on all the things this show has taught me. More specifically all the lessons I have learned from “Sheriff Andy Taylor”; having watch the show my entire life. Here they are in no certain order:
1. You don’t have to use force or intimidation to lead people. Love them, and they will follow you.
2. Help other people win. Even though you are “The Leader” it’s not a position of prestige but of service to others.
3. Always take time to listen closely to what people are saying (Especially your children).
4. Sing Often: music makes life more enjoyable.
5. Don’t take yourself and others so serious: Laugh more.
6. Go to church (I could write pages here, but for now just go.)
7. Encourage people by bragging on their efforts.
8. Learn your history.
9. Sometimes you have to put people in jail (discipline them). They won’t learn any other way.
10. Forgiveness in the key to lasting relationships.
I couldn’t get the video to embed, but you can visit it here.
This quartet from the Hattiesburg area is one of the three finalists trying out to sing the National Anthem before the Senior Bowl to be played in Mobil, AL on January 24th. On a personal twist; one of the guys is Sawyer McLeod. Sawyer sang in our wedding over 12 years ago when he was only 5 years old!
Well I’m officially in the Christmas Spirit and here is why:
Finally got our tree up. We had to replace all of the lights this year so we went with color LED lights. Our tree could be described now as “retro” or “blingish”. (Notice Santa’s little helper on the stool.)
Started seeing frost on the ground in the mornings
We’ve done most of our Christmas shopping already.
I had heard this song on Christian radio several times, but because of the uniqueness of Jeremy Riddle’s voice, I hadn’t really gotten the lyrics. Then, last week we sang it during our worship service and as the words appeared on the screen, I heard them for the first time.
Sweetly Broken – Very simple, yet very powerful.
To the cross I look, to the cross I cling Of it’s suffering I do drink Of it’s work I do sing
For on it my Savior both bruised and crushed Showed that God is love And God is just
Chorus: At the cross You beckon me You draw me gently to my knees, and I am Lost for words, so lost in love, I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered
What a priceless gift, undeserved life Have I been given Through Christ crucified
You’ve called me out of death You’ve called me into life And I was under Your wrath Now through the cross I’m reconciled
Chorus: In awe of the cross I must confess How wondrous Your redeeming love and How great is Your faithfulness
While reading Mark Batterson’s book, Wild Goose Chase, I came across a sentence that brought Milli Vanilli to mind. In chapter three of the book Batterson talks about how the routine things of life can keep us from worshiping God. ON page 59 it reads,
God doesn’t want to be lip-synced. He wants to be worshiped. When we worship out of memory, it must sound to God like a broken record. Maybe that’s why the psalms exhort us no fewer than six times to sing a new song. We need new words, new postures, new thoughts, and new feelings. Why Because God wants to be more than a memory!
Just like everyone I can often fall into the routine of worshiping God. It’s not that God gets stale; it’s that my approach to Him does. I often forget it’s a personal relationship with God that I’m after, not a business deal. I’m not in contract with God; He is in covenant with me. So like Milli Vanilli we can fake it for awhile, but eventually the song is going to get stuck. And there we are, on the stage of life, singing like we are the real deal, but everyone (including ourselves) discovers that we are not. If you are in a rut, you gotta change your approach. Find a new song, read some unfamiliar books of the Bible, and stop just going through the motions. God is waiting on you. “Girl you know it’s true!”
As I type this post there are two Men of God in our church who desperately need a touch from HIM! Both have been diagnosed with cancer and are suffering from the side-effects of these treatments. Tonight I watched the Hillsong broadcast which I had TiVoed(Salvation for your TV). I usually skip strait to the music (Sorry pastors). Tonight, when I saw the Hillsong United Band performing Healer I knew I had to post this. So Mike and Jason this one is for you, “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”1 Thess 5:23-24 (NIV)