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12 Days of Emmanuel (Day 3)

Today’s song, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, is one of my favorites. (You are allowed to have lots of favorites in life, by the way!)

This hymn, written by Charles Wesley (one of the greatest hymn writers of all time) goes by quick… It is only 2 verses! Yet every couplet rings with fresh themes of Messiah’s provision and glorious salvation.

In verse 1 we hear of many benefits for ourselves: freedom, rest, strength, hope, and joy.

In verse 2 we hear of the paradox of Christ, the permanence of His kingdom, His sovereignty by the Holy Spirit, and the sufficiency of his merits which elevate us to his very throne. That’s a ton of beautiful theology in just 16 lines. They don’t write them like they use to!

Here are the lyrics:

1. Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

2. Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.

So enjoy this short but sweet song. You might want to put it on song repeat and soak it in a few times.

Here’s where you can find the whole album, Emmanuel.

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12 Days of Emmanuel (Day 2)

Day 2 of 12 Days brings us to the next song, What Child is This? Traditionally, this song is sung to the tune Greensleeves, but Sarah wrote a new tune for this one which helps us hear the song in a fresh way.

Like so many Christmas carols, the focus is entirely on Christ. Verse 1 begins with a question, the title, “What Child is this who laid to rest on Mary’s lap is sleeping?”

In other words, who is this? The answer comes immediately: “This, this is Christ the King!”

This sets up verse two which begins with another provocative question, “Why lies he here in such crude estate where ox and ass are feeding?” That is, if he is the King that verse one proclaims, why is he born with animals instead of a palace? The answer is profound! He’s here because he has come to humble himself and be obedient to death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8).

“Good Christians fear for sinners here, the silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spears shall pierce him through, the cross be borne for me for you.

Hail, hail the Word made flesh, the baby the son of Mary.”

Lastly, verse three answers the implicit question, how shall we respond to all of this?

“Bring him your incense, your gold, your myrrh (allusion to the Magi), come peasant come king to own Him,

He’s the king of kings and salvation he brings.

Let loving hearts enthrone him.”

Ah, there it is!

  • What child? The King! (but without a throne)
  • Why here in this manner? To die for us!
  • What response shall we render? Let loving hearts enthrone Him!

Enjoy What Child is This?

Here’s where you can find the whole album.


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12 Days of Emmanuel (Day 1)

12 years ago my wife and I did something kind of crazy, but really fun! After Sarah performed a Christmas concert for a small local church, I urged her to record this simple album–mostly just piano and vocals. Sarah laid down 12 tracks (and added two previous tracks) in about 3 days at a Studio A recording studio. It was a mini-marathon of music!

Then we got even crazier! We gave away 800 digital copies of the album, Emmanuel–for free! Back when this was released, CD’s were really common, and online music was just beginning to surge, so we used Facebook, Noisetrade, and yes, even mySpace!

In honor of the 12 year anniversary of the release of Emmanuel, we are giving you the Twelve Days of Emmanuel. In each daily post I will share a little something about one song (now through December 26).

So, in this season where we are so busy, here’s your invitation stop, listen and repeat.

Day one is “Good Christian Men Rejoice!” (Spotify). The tune is officially called, IN DULCI JUBILO, a folk song with a lively spirit.

Why should we rejoice? This song gives us some of reasons: we hear of endless bliss, no longer fearing the grave, and more. What parts of the gospel do you hear?

Here’s where you can find the whole album.

Rejoice, for God has come. He is Emmanuel!


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What piques your interest?

I’m thinking about resuming blogging.  It’s been four years since my last post.

What would you like to read about on this blog?

Maybe you can inspire me!  I invite you to try.  I’m looking forward to hearing from you.



PS.  The verb to pique means to excite one’s interest.

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The Busy Church

It has been a while since I have posted on my blog, but I read this from Ken Priddy today. I think it is very challenging. I’ll be back to the blogging thing soon, with lots of thoughts and updates, but for now, check this out.


Over the years I have learned that one of the biggest obstacles to Great Commission ministry is church work  – church busy work. Many Christians and their leaders are so busy filling slots in the church’s programming and structure that they can’t find the time to do the REAL work of ministry – reaching the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The vast majority of American evangelical churches is in plateau or decline. Characteristically, the church in plateau is over-programmed and the church in decline is over-structured. Churches in plateau tend to be driven by their programming, believing that whatever success or effectiveness they are experiencing is the result of the menu of programs that is offered. Careful observation will reveal that any growth that such a church might be experiencing is transfer growth, not conversion growth, as Christians leave churches with less appealing programming to attend theirs. The kingdom…

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