“Let Us Make Man in Our Image”

I’m taking part in an event called November Poem a Day.  I won’t bore you with all of them, but if I write something that fits the purpose of this blog I will throw it out there.  I hope this can be of some encouragement to you.

NOVEMBER – Poem a Day #9

“Let us make man in our image”

How can this be?
When these words were spoken, God had no body for us to image
Did we once shine with divine brilliance?
To be sure, we are not what we once were
And we are not what we will one day be

So is image-bearing lost to this state?
By no means!
It’s in the loving
It’s in the selfless acts
It’s in gentleness and kindness
The joy experienced and the peace given
The patience and faithfulness in relationships
The controlling of every word to what is worthy of praise

But it’s in the defending too
The standing at the gate
The rescuing of victims
The mending of broken hearts
The adopting
And the mourning
Yes, by God and his grieved Spirit, in the mourning

And the Creating
Perhaps most profoundly in the creating
The painting, the sculpting, the dancing, the drawing
The writing and filming
The designing and building
The growing and pruning
The preparing of feasts
The brewing of fine wines
The poetry

And the Music
Thank you God for the Music
The composing and arranging
The strumming and drumming
The singing and the ringing of bells
Horns of brass and strings on hollowed wood, hallowed wood
Melody and harmony invisible to the eye
Ear and chest alone can discern their paths, and what paths they take!

So bear-on brothers and sisters,
Until the King of Glory comes again
Sing his praise, mend the broken
Defend the week, humble the strong
Aid the widow and rescue the orphan
Announce freedom to the captives, you bearers of the image of God
Until the King of Glory comes

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Of Science and Art

The study of Science teaches us that God is a God of order; that the universe is built on unchanging principles that give us solid footing on which to learn, build, predict, quantify, and operate. The circumference of a circle is always a function of pi and diameter. The interior angles of a triangle always sum to 180 degrees. There is beauty in the study of our world; in the science of it.

The arts on the other hand teach us something far different. The arts teach us that this physical universe with its granite laws is not all there is to reality. They teach us that a strict naturalism cuts the heart out of a man. It has been said that music takes words where words alone can never go. Minor chords are mathematical formulations, but they make the hair stand up on our necks, and they preach little sermons of a world that is not as it should be. They whisper pain and hurt, as even a child will ask upon hearing the minor third, “Daddy, why is this song so sad?” As we paint, sing, compose, sculpt, draw, and dance, we awaken parts of ourselves and others that long for another country; one that really exists beyond this rock we call earth.  It is perhaps in the arts that we are most like God, bringing things into existence by our will and word.  When God gave man the great honor of being made “in his image,” we can be sure that this likeness was more in art than science; in expression of love, relationship, creation, and stewardship, not in bodily form. When Carl Sagan proclaimed “The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be,” he could not have been more wrong. Sagan was a pure naturalist.  The beauty he saw in the cosmos was a physical beauty.  With a clear contradiction to the opening verses of Genesis, Sagan ascribed mystery, beauty, and offered worship to the creature, rather than the Creator.  He stood in awe of the result of God’s spoken word rather than in the one who spoke it into being.  Sagan continued:

“Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.”

The “tingling sensation” Sagan felt was in reality proof that the the Cosmos is NOT all that is, or was, or ever will be. His naturalism made him stop his search for the source of the tingle at the outer limits of the cosmos itself. But I do agree with him that there is a tingle, a distant memory, a falling from a great height, and a great mystery. The “tingle” is that same feeling that we get from a slowly strummed A minor chord. It’s the longing for home. The “distant memory” is one of a Garden where God walked with man. The “falling from a height” was our turning from intimacy with God to our corrupting self love. And the greatest mystery? Well, that is the fathomless love of a holy God who sent his only son to make the faint sensation an endless embrace.

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When Your Pastor Moves On

Live Session 169I have a lot of friends saying goodbye to pastors and mentors right now. While the number of people who “church-hop” in America is a staggering figure, there are still many of us who have stayed in our local congregations long enough to build deep, lasting relationships with our pastors.  Whether campus ministers, youth pastors, assistants, and in some cases senior or lead pastors, eventually you will have to say goodbye. I have been in my current congregation for about 20 years, and in that time I have said goodbye to more than ten men who have profoundly shaped the way I think about, worship, and follow Jesus. I thank God often for the way they have shared their lives and knowledge with me. But at some point they go. And it is hard when they do. For those of you feeling the emptiness of this situation, here are a few thoughts I have that may be of some help to you, the guy who is leaving, the guy who is coming in, and the church as a whole.

1. Don’t Get Mad When They Don’t Call

When your pastor takes a new call (either to another church or to retirement) you lose one shepherd. The shepherd passes an entire flock off to the next guy. His loss is greater. And in the event that he has been called to a new congregation, he has a new assignment. This means he has hundreds if not thousands of new sheep. This is crucial for parishioners to understand. Put simply, no matter how much the pastor loves you, do not expect a call, at least for a while.  In the case of my church, when a pastor leaves to follow a new call, he is leaving about 1000 people.  He might have close relationships with 300 of those people.  He may have been actively discipling 30-40 of them.  He may have five close companions. The chances are, you are not one of those five people. And that’s ok. But that also means that you may not hear from him for a while. Can you imagine having to contact and have a meaningful exchange with 1000 people in the next 6 months while fulfilling all of your other commitments? It would be a daunting task, even if it were pure joy to do it. He loves you, but that love is a distant love now. If you want to communicate with the pastor, reach out to him by writing a letter.  Give him some time to settle in, and then make contact. As he can, he will respond.

2. Don’t Call the Old Guy to Complain About the New Guy

Do I really have to explain this one? I do? Ok. Your pastor has had a hard enough time making the decision to move on to his next assignment. It was a gut-wrenching decision (more times than n0t). The last thing he needs is to have the added stress of knowing that his sheep don’t like the new shepherd. I’m not suggesting you lie to him about the state of things if he asks, but don’t call a man who has moved 400 miles away to complain about things that:

a) he has no control over

b) he is no longer called to engage

c) will probably cause him consternation and even depression

Instead, it would be better to

a) give things time to even out

b) trust God (Heaven forbid!!)

c) go to your current church leaders with the problem

As one of my former pastors said, “if you are talking about an issue, you are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem.”  When you call a former pastor to complain about a current pastor, you are probably part of the problem.

3. The New Guy is Going to Do Something You Don’t Like

Every relationship experiences disappointment.  The angriest people I know are people who expect everyone to please them all the time, and then they are surprised and appalled when it doesn’t happen.  We are broken people.  Our relationships as a result are always, to some degree, broken.  So when the new pastor comes to town, he will not, he cannot, do everything the way you want it done.  And know this.  HE IS GOING TO MAKE MISTAKES.  Love him through those mistakes rather than running him out of town if he changes the order of worship or rotates a table in the foyer. His call is not to keep things exactly as they were. His call is to preach God’s word to you week in and week out, counsel you, lead you in worship of the Triune God, and challenge you to reach your community for Christ. Your call as a member of your church is to love, worship, and serve Jesus, and to be his witness in your neighborhood, country, and the world. So when the new guy does something that makes you angry, ask yourself this question: “Is the thing I am angry about keeping me from serving God?” Usually the answer to that question will be no. And if you are focused on the Lord and the mission he has given you, to be his witness, you just might make it through transition when it comes.

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Confessions of a Recovering Moralist (a really bad one)

My name is Eric Parker, and I used to think I was something special. One of the dangers of being good at things is that when you compare yourself to others, you come out on top. When I was growing up, I was good at a lot of things. Sports came easy to me.  School came easy to me. Relationships came easy. Music came easy. Oh yeah, and church came easy. In short, I had a lot of ability and a lot of success. And that was dangerous. But what was more dangerous than the pride that came with success was my knack for manipulating people and situations to play out in my favor. As I look back, I’m not even sure I knew I was doing it. Saying the right things to the right people came so naturally to me, that I don’t think I even saw the deception in it. And as a result a lot of people liked me. I got tons of accolades, awards, and opportunities. My parents, teachers, and peers were always praising me for my accomplishments. And at some point, I began to believe my own hype. I began to think that I was indeed something special. The praise was like a drug. I was addicted to man’s approval. And when it came to my standing before God, I believed the same thing. Like I said, church came easy.  Don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t cuss, don’t sleep around.  You know, evangelical Christianity (tongue firmly in cheek).  At least that was the message I heard. And before you think I am blaming my parents or church for my misconception of the Gospel, I take full responsibility for my own deaf ears. But for whatever reason, I truly believed my own performance would solidify my good standing before God. I mean, why not? It worked in every other area of my life. You succeed, you get good standing. Say the right things to the right people, find yourself in a favorable position.

This process of me becoming a self-righteous, self-centered monster might have hit a fever pitch, but something happened. God had mercy on me, and showed me his grace. Just a few months before my 16th birthday, a young man named Ron Lowe, my counselor from Camp Vesper Point, followed up with me after the summer was over. He took me to lunch, and had the audacity to talk to me about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have probably shared this in a previous post, but it needs to be told in this context. Ron asked me this question; “How is your relationship with God?” My response was full of deceit and false humility. I said, “It’s pretty good, but sometimes I feel like no matter how good I am, I just don’t deserve to go to Heaven.” Now it is important to realize at this point that I absolutely believed I deserved to go to heaven. Really what I was looking for was the same pat on the back that I got from everyone else. I fully expected Ron to say “Eric, come on, you’re doing great.” But what Ron said was the first breath of real air that I had ever breathed. He said, “You’re not, and you never will be.”

YOU’RE NOT, AND YOU NEVER WILL BE.  Let that sink in.

At first I was totally taken aback. I actually remember thinking, “you don’t know who you’re talking to, buddy.” But very soon, the good news of Christ began to melt away my pride and self-righteousness. Ron told me the truth that I had probably heard 300 times but just refused to comprehend. That all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. That God is just, and He must punish sin. That Jesus had lived the perfect life that we should have lived, and that on the cross God poured out his wrath for our sin on his perfect Son. If I was to find favor with God, it would not be through my “good” works, but through the perfect work of Christ applied to my account by grace through faith in Him. The great exchange of the Gospel is that Christ took our sin and we get his righteousness. I believe that day at age 15 was the first time I understood the Gospel.

I had never really been a Christian. I had been a moralist, and a really bad one at that. You see, I wasn’t keeping God’s laws, I was keeping man’s laws. I was keeping the “house rules” of American moralism. I didn’t drink, smoke (often), cuss (all that much) or sleep around (as Bill Clinton would define it). In reality, I wasn’t really even keeping those rules all that well. I was just doing it in public, and better than most of the people around me. So when I heard the Gospel, I began to see the holes in my supposed “good works.”  But the road from moralism to full trust in the work of Christ can be a hard one. During those last few years of high school I still struggled with pride and self righteousness.  I still hurt and manipulated people.  I still thought I was something special. When you have spent most of your life finding your self-worth in pleasing others, it’s hard to let go of that.  When you have based your emotional state on the inflating words of others, its hard to be loved for any other reason than that people find you lovable.  God’s love in Christ is scandalous.  It it was hard for me to accept it.  The Scriptures say that God loved us while we were yet sinners.  The Scriptures say that we love, because he first loved us.  It wasn’t due to our ability, our performance, or our accolades, and it certainly wasn’t because we had manipulated Him to get the outcome we desired.  God doesn’t love us because we are loveable.  He loves us, because he loves us. He is love.  And the justice he poured out on Christ at the cross made us objects of grace and love, rather than wrath.  We can’t earn it.  We can’t win it.  We can’t manipulate the books.  We can only accept the free gift.  That is hard for the performer to accept.  It’s why Jesus said “it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. ” Pride kills, and it keeps God away…until he breaks through it.

It’s been more than 20 years since Ron shared the good news with me, and the Holy Spirit quickened my heart to accept the free gift of salvation in Christ. Over those years I have seen the work of Christ more clearly. The Good News gets better with time, because part of the process of sanctification is seeing the hideous nature of your own sin more clearly. This year, God chose to give me a deeper clarity into the man I used to be (and still am in many ways). I have not enjoyed that. I have offered apologies to some of the people I hurt the most, and I have confessed a lot of past sins. But thanks be to God, I am no longer a moralist, and I am no longer a performer. To be sure, every day of my life I am tempted to walk down the old path.  To turn around on the road and go show the world I can do it on my own. To show the world that I truly am someone special.  Then the Gospel rushes in, and I am once again saved by the grace of God. I am no one special, but I am infinitely valuable to God. If ever I have leaned fully on the finished work of Christ on my behalf, it’s now.  And that is true freedom.

For this post I am featuring a song by my friend Chris Slaten (Son of Laughter).  This song is a call to stop trying to win God’s favor and accept his grace.


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Sustain Me

creepy faceDavid, the youngest son of Jesse was a lot of things.  Shepherd boy, musician, giant killer, poet, and King.  Oh, and he was also an adulterer, liar, and murderer. Still God called him “a man after my own heart.”  I don’t really know if God meant he was “after” as in chasing and pursuing or “after” as in made in the image of.  Perhaps it was both.  But David’s life reminds us of one crucial truth.  Even those whose hearts are after God’s heart can fall.  Hard.  Let’s trace David’s life quickly.

He was the youngest of his father’s sons, and was from the humble herding town of Bethlehem.  When his brothers were sent to war against the Philistines, David was kept home.  But at his father’s bidding he ends up taking supplies to his brothers at their camp.  When he sees the giant Goliath taunting the Israeli army, David asks in apparent disgust and dismay “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the Lord?”  Pretty brave kid.  So after some discussion with King Saul and much ridicule from the others,  the young David goes out to meet the 9-footer with a sling and 5 smooth stones.  And David kills him.  Ok, pretty good start for this little guy.  Fast-forward a few years.  God get’s fed up with Saul’s faithlessness and disobedience and tells his prophet Samuel to go to Bethlehem and anoint one of the sons of Jesse as king.  Samuel goes, and to everyone’s surprise God has chosen the youngest son to be the next king.  Saul eventually finds out, and after David’s popularity with the people grows he tries to hunt David down and kill him.  David wrote many of the Psalms during this period.  But eventually he is crowned King.  The humble man after God’s own heart goes from the pasture to the palace by the hand of God.

But then something happens.  David’s heart chases after something else.  One spring day (the bible parenthetically mentions that this is the time when Kings go off to war – but David is at home) David is walking around on the roof of the palace, and he sees a woman bathing.  Her name is Bathsheba and she is the wife of one of David’s soldiers, Uriah the Hittite.  David has Bathsheba brought to him.  He sleeps with her and she becomes pregnant.  David has fallen.  But not as far as he will.  Rather than confess his sin, David plots a cover-up.  He has Uriah brought from the battlefield.  The plan is that Uriah will sleep with his wife during his king-appointed R&R and no one will know the child is David’s.  Problem.  Uriah is a righteous man.  He refuses to enjoy to right to be with his wife while his fellow soldiers are at battle.  He sleeps outside the palace door.  The next night David brings him to the palace and gets him drunk hoping that the inebriation will soften his ethics.  No-can-do.  Uriah again sleeps on a mat outside the palace with the King’s servants.  So David, the adulterer and liar, now takes a final step into the dark.  He has Uriah taken back to the battlefield and moved to the front lines where he will surely be killed.  But it gets worse.  He instructs his general to put Uriah in the most dangerous part of the line and then retreat back from him leaving him exposed.  Uriah is killed.  David commits murder.  The man after God’s own heart has committed adultery, deception, and murder.  David then takes Bathsheba as his wife and she bears him a son.

What happens next is one of the most poignant passages in all of Scripture.  Nathan, God’s prophet at the time comes to David and tells him a story.  Here is the account from 2 Samuel:

The Lord sent Nathan to David.  When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought.  He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children.  It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms.  It was like a daughter to him.  Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him.  Instead he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”  David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die!  He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”  Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”

Nathan then recounts to David all of his sin.  The passage in 2 Samuel does not elaborate on the depth of David’s repentance.  This we find in Psalm 51.  And just so there is no doubt, the Psalm even states in a bit of a subtitle, “A Psalm of David,  when the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.”  Psalm 51 shows us a man totally overwhelmed with the depth of his sin against God.  David even says, against you, and only you have I sinned.  That is a bit puzzling.  Obviously David has sinned against Uriah.  He has sinned against Bathsheba.  He has sinned against his own family, and the whole nation of Israel.  But David sees his sin first and foremost against God himself.  But in his mercy God forgives David.  Would we?  This is a real human being who committed real atrocities against another real human being.  The separation of 3000 years may lessen in our minds the gravity of the situation, but it should not.  David sinned greatly in the face of God, he came to repentance, and God forgave his sin.  Was this favoritism?  No.  The bible says that with God there is no favoritism.  Did God sweep the sin under the rug?  No, the Bible says that God is a just God who punishes sin.  Was David punished?  Surely the pain in his own heart and the nightmares that must have endured were a kind of punishment.  But David could not pay for his sin.  At the very least, his own life should have been taken.  God showed no favoritism.  God did not sweep sin under the rug.  God did not sacrifice his justice, and David did not pay the price for his sin.  Because someone else paid it.  Jesus paid it.  This is love.  Scandalous, extravagant, relentless love.  And it is the thing that so many people miss today.  Some churches miss God’s mercy.  They hold up signs and condemn people to hell, shouting hatred and vitriol in the streets, thinking that their own righteousness is enough to please God.  Others miss God’s justice.  They miss his holiness.  They tell everybody they are ok, and that God loves them just as they are.  They see God as an old grandfatherly chap that pats the sinners on the head and says “don’t worry about it. Just do better next time sport.”   So who is right?  Well, both and neither.  God is merciful.  He is also holy.  Some people want his justice to be poured out, but think they don’t need his mercy.  Others want his love and ignore his justice.  But it is at the cross of Christ where God’s love and his justice meet.  They intermingle like the blood and tears rolling down the face of Jesus as he hung on the cross.  God’s love compelled him to send Jesus to save us.  His justice poured the whole of his wrath for our sin on Jesus on the cross.  Love and mercy, for David and for us, because of Christ.  Murders, adulterers, cheaters, liars, and thieves.  Loved by God and forgiven because of Christ.  Scandalous.  But we must have hearts like David that we see in Psalm 51, hearts of repentance.  We must realize that like David, our hearts have wandered.  We have taken what was not ours.  We have wronged our fellow man.  We have acted deviously.  We have thumbed our nose at God who made us and gave us life.  We must with David seek God’s forgiveness.  Our cry must be the cry of David, “Have mercy on me O God, according to your unfailing love.” And he gives it, because of Christ.

In conjunction with this post I am featuring an arrangement of David’s words from Psalm 51 by my good friend Nathan Carico.  Nathan is the brand new VP of Students at Visible Music College in Memphis, TN.  MP3 is below. 

Sustain Me

“Sustain Me” originally appeared on the first Music for Missions album titled A Remedy Raised. The song features Nathan on guitar, Jeff Blake and Susie Bogdanowicz on vocals, and Fred Schendel on just about everything else.

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Come Ye Sinners

“Winners” and Losers

If there is one time of year when Americans as a whole decide to make personal changes it is January.  We join gyms, start diets, make budgets, and make promises.  Why do we do this?  I don’t think it is just convention.  Most of us realize that our lives are not as they should be.  We love a fresh start.  Something about the new year gives us hope that things can really be different this time around.  And in some ways they can.  Some people, by shear will-power and determination, can make positive change in their lives.  The rest of us struggle.  The gym memberships become nothing more than recurring withdrawals from our bank accounts.  The Subway veggie subs with no cheese and no mayonnaise become binges at the Pizza Hut lunch buffet.  The budgets become credit card bills.  One drink becomes five. There are dangers for both groups, the winners and the losers.  Those who get their lives and waistlines under control can convince themselves that they are doing well.  Control over their diets, budgets, and morals can make them feel that just as they measure up to man, they measure up to God.  Well they don’t.  And those of us who fall into the same old patterns lose hope that our lives will ever be different.  But there is hope for all of us.

Good News?

Christianity is not a bootstraps religion.  You don’t have to pull yourself up.  In fact you can’t.  The word gospel means “Good News.”  But in America, especially in the South, the perception that many people have of the Christian faith is less than good news.  I’m not sure how we did this, but the message we have apparently spread to the masses is “clean yourself up so you will be worthy of God’s love.”  Or better put, “You are not good enough for God but we (Christians) are.”  That is not good news.  And it is not true.  The bible is so clear, that no one deserves the love of God.  The reason the gospel is good news is that we, who were once the objects of God’s wrath, can now be the objects of God’s love.  But how is this possible?  Because Jesus has paid the price for our sin.  For people who grow up in moralistic Christianity, this message is so hard to embrace.  If you grew up thinking that God loves people who do the right things, please read this next sentence carefully…

You and I will NEVER deserve God’s love and forgiveness.  N-E-V-E-R.

This is bad news.  There is nothing we can do, nor any positive change we can make, to earn God’s favor.  Bad news indeed.  In fact the bible says clearly that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  It also says that the “wages of sin is death.” But that is what makes the gospel such good news.  The Gospel is this:  God loved us so much, that he found a way for his justice and wrath to be waged against our sin, and yet still show his love to us.  His love and his justice meet at the cross of Jesus Christ.  His love sent Jesus to the cross to take the punishment for our sins and his justice was satisfied as his wrath was poured out on Jesus on our behalf.  You and I can be forgiven of our sin because of the completed work of Christ.  You add nothing.  All you can do is accept the free gift of God’s grace, love, and forgiveness.

All You Need is Need

God showed his love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  You see, moralism turns the chronology of salvation on its head.  Moralism says, we do good things, God forgives us and then loves us.  The gospel says God loves us, God forgives us, and then we do good things in response to his love by the work of God’s Holy Spirit within us.  Good works are the response of justification not the cause.  Paul’s letter to the church at Rome is perhaps the clearest most comprehensive argument for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all of Scripture.  The passage below deals with the topic at hand:

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.  Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.  – Romans 3:19-26

If you are relying on your own goodness, then you will not be justified before God, for there is no salvation for man apart from the work of Jesus Christ.  In his Acts 4:12 Peter boldly proclaims “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

So if you grew up in moralism, read the words of hymnwriter James Proctor:

Lay your deadly doing down, down at Jesus’ feet

And stand in him, in him alone, wondrously complete.

If you have the idea that one day you will get your act together and then give your life to God, you have the gospel on its head.  Instead, come to Jesus now, and he will begin a good work in you, one that he will bring to completion.  This month I am offering a version of “Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy.”  This song appeared on an album I produced in 2004 called All This Time.  It is performed by Joy Jansen.  If you are struggling with legalism or moralism, then this stanza is for you.

Come ye sinners poor and needy, bruised and broken by the fall

If you tarry ‘till you’re better, you will never come at all

Not the righteous, not the righteous

Sinners Jesus came to call


Each month I’ll post a new song, and you can have it FREE.  Just right-click on the link below, choose “Save Target As,” and it’s all yours.  If you want to make a donation, I am funneling all funds from this project to International Justice Mission.  Visit the Donate page for more details.  And please share this blog with your friends.

Come Ye Sinners

(if you can’t download the file, send me a message at ecparker@comcast.net and I’ll email you the MP3)


Words by Joseph Hart

Original Tune “Beach Spring” by Benjamin F. White a Sacred Harp tune

Joy Jansen – guitar and vocals

Susan Whitacre – viola

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Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

Having written much on the subject of Christ’s first Advent in October and November, this month I am going to take the advice of the title of this month’s hymn and let the song speak for itself…

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and with fear and trembling stand

Ponder nothing earthly minded, for with blessing in his hand

Christ our God to earth descendeth, our full homage to demand

King of Kings yet born of Mary, as of old on earth he stood

Lord of Lords in human vesture, in the Body and the blood

He will give to all the faithful, his own self for heavenly food

Rank on Rank the host of Heaven, spreads its vanguard on the way

As the Light of Light descendeth, from the realms of endless day

That the powers of Hell may vanish, as the darkness clears away


Each month I’ll post a new song.  This month’s song is from my album Hymns and Carols, and you can have it FREE.  Just right-click on the link below, choose “Save Target As,” and it’s all yours.  If you want to make a donation, I am funneling all funds from this project to International Justice Mission.  Visit the Donate page for more details.  And please share this blog with your friends.

01 Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

(if you can’t download the file, send me a message at ecparker@comcast.net and I’ll email you the MP3)


Words: Li­tur­gy of St. James, 4th Cen­tu­ry (Σιγησάτο παρα σὰρξ βροτεία); trans­lat­ed from Greek to Eng­lish by // Gerard Moultrie, 1864.

Music based on original melody, Pi­car­dy, French car­ol mel­o­dy  Alt. by Eric Parker Copyright 2009 Eric Parker/BMI

Eric Parker – vocals, acoustic guitar

Brett Nolan – keys

Susan Whitacre – viola

Rachel Beckmann – cello

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