Come Ye Thankful People Come

Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God’s own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God’s own field,
fruit as praise to God we yield;
wheat and tares together sown
are to joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the ear,
then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take the harvest home;
from the field shall in that day
all offenses purge away,
giving angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast;
but the fruitful ears to store
in the garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come,
bring thy final harvest home;
gather thou thy people in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there, forever purified,
in thy presence to abide;
come, with all thine angels, come,
raise the glorious harvest home.

-Henry Alford

A Prayer of Lament in Response to the Terror Attack in Paris

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. Psalm 37:7-11 (ESV)

“Dear heavenly Father, another day of terror-making darkness, evil-doing madness, and life-taking sadness. How long, O Lord, how Lord before you send Jesus back to eradicate all evil? How long before the wicked will be no more? How much longer is “just a little while”?

It’s hard not to fret. It’s hard not to feel fearful and angry when women and children, the young and old are mercilessly slaughtered in the city of Paris; when restaurants, concert halls, and sports areas become the venue for the perversion of religion and the murder of your image bearers.

Father, we offer our prayer, not in self-righteous judgment, but as your weary children—longing for the Day when the knowledge of your glory will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14)—when perfect peace will replace every expression of evil.

Until that Day, free us from all bitterness and a lust for revenge. Vengeance belongs to you, not to us. Make us warriors of peace and agents of hope. Our labors in the Lord are never in vain. The gospel of the kingdom will prevail. Defeated evil will be eradicated evil. The devil is filled with fury for he knows his time is short (Rev. 12:12). Make it much shorter, Father, much shorter.

Grant us wisdom to know what loving mercy, doing justice, and walking humbly with you looks like in Paris, and in our own communities. Replace our frets and fears with faith and trust, and our rage and wrath with patience and courage. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ triumphant and grace-full name.”

-Scotty Smith,

Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah

Hallelujah, praise Jehovah, O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises of my God through all my days.
Put no confidence in princes, nor for help on man depend;
he shall die, to dust returning, and his purposes shall end.

Happy is the man that chooses Israel’s God to be his aid;
he is blesses whose hope of blessing on the Lord his God is stayed.
Heav’n and earth the Lord created, seas and all that they contain;
he delivers from oppression, righteousness he will maintain.

Food he daily gives the hungry, sets the mourning pris’ner free,
raises those bowed down with anguish, makes the sightless eye to see.
Well Jehovah loves the righteous, and the stranger he befriends,
helps the fatherless and widow, judgment on the wicked sends.

Hallelujah, praise Jehovah, O set my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises of my God through all my days.
Over all God reigns forever, through all ages he is King;
unto him, your God, O Zion, joyful hallelujahs sing.

-(Psalm 146), Lowell Mason, 1839.

Out of the Deep -Psalm 130 – (Rutter)

Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord:
Lord, hear my voice.
O let thine ears consider well:
the voice of my complaint.
If thou, Lord, wilt be extreme
to mark what is done amiss:
O Lord, who may abide it?
For there is mercy with thee:
therefore shalt thou be fear’s.
I look for the Lord:
my soul doth wait for him,
and in his word is my trust.
My soul fleeth unto the Lord:
before the morning watch, I say,
before the morning watch.
O Israel, trust in the Lord,
with the Lord there is mercy,
and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel from all his sins.

-John Rutter, Psalm 130

The Wonder of Sunday Morning

by Trevin Wax

Every Sunday, a deacon unlocks the door, an usher picks up a stack of bulletins, a pastor kneels in the study, and they wait. Soon, the parking lot fills, and people from all walks of life stream into the building for weekly worship.

They are not paid to be here. They are not forced to be here. Yet they come and serve in beautiful ways.

In the nursery, volunteers change diapers without complaint, step in to mediate the toddlers’ dispute over sippy cups, and dole out a weekly supply of animal crackers.

Down the hall, men and women open their Bibles and discuss the meaning and application of God’s inspired Word. A doctor with more than a decade of education in medicine takes notes as a construction worker who never went to college exercises his gift in teaching the Scriptures. The small groups then rearrange their classroom space in preparation for the homeless women they will shelter during the week.

The choir and praise team are warming up and running through the songs they will lead in the upcoming service. The hallways are buzzing. Greeters seek out newcomers, teenagers gather near the front of the sanctuary, and the anticipation builds: the worship is about to begin.

This is a place of music, where hundreds of voices soar to the ceilings and the echo of praise hovers over the people. A man who can’t carry a tune lifts his kid up on the pew in front of him and sings along anyway. Some raise their hands. Some kneel. Some close their eyes. Some look to heaven. Various postures, all united in worship.

Then they pray — for the lost, the sick, the hurting in their community. In this moment, the people’s concern for their city is like the ocean tide gathering up its waves of compassion into this place of prayer before rolling their acts of mercy into the city throughout the week.

The pastor opens the Bible. The sermon exalts the Savior and exhorts the saints. Yes, they are saints. All of them, even with their ongoing sins and struggles, their failures and flaws — they are washed in the blood of a spotless Lamb. Forgiven, adopted, and made new. This is not a crowd; it’s a church – a people who have been called out of the world and changed by grace.

From the feast of God’s Word to the feast of the Lord’s Table: now they eat and drink to the glory of God. Christ’s body broken for them. Christ’s blood shed for them. Time stands still, for in this moment, these people are carried back to their Savior’s cross and ushered forward to His return.

The dawn of resurrection morning has given way to the sunlight of noonday. Energized and equipped, the blood-bought saints go out. It may seem like the service is over, but the truth is, their service is just beginning.

-Trevin Wax,

Culture’s Worst Lies About Falling In Love

There’s more to “falling in love” than pop-culture would have you believe.

by Rachel Watson

As a teenager, I read my fair share of Christian romance novels. They were full of dramatic plot lines, sexual tension, one-room school houses and Canadian Mounties.

The leading men were imperfect but in a tousled and endearing sort of way. They always knew what to say. All the female characters were beautiful, but distressed, to ensure the reader plenty of drama. Each story ended with a sigh.

Today, women can indulge their romantic side by using Pinterest. They can build relationship shrines out of images of engagement rings and couple shots and create virtual collages of attractive men, romantic dates, perfect playlists and unique wedding favors. They are collecting comparisons.

This magazine says that the right guy will know what his girlfriend wants for Christmas.

This pastor says that saving sex until marriage ensures a satisfying and uncomplicated sex-life.

This film is my favorite because he sweeps her off her feet by showing up at the prom to slow dance with her to her favorite song!

Don’t let yourself off the hook. Replace Christian romance novels and Pinterest with anything else that may have you building up unrealistic expectations. Regardless of their source, the following relationship lies pose a threat to true contentment:

Lie #1: You Will Be Happy Once You are Married.

In other words, tough luck, singles. You’re missing out. Only married people know what true happiness is.

When we hold our joy captive until we get what we want, a vicious cycle of discontentment begins. God calls us to be content right now.

But waiting for happiness, whether you are single waiting for marriage, married waiting for children, or married waiting for your spouse to change, is idolatrous territory. When we hold our joy captive until we get what we want, a vicious cycle of discontentment begins. God calls us to be content right now:

Hebrews 13:5: Be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Lie #2: Love Fixes Everything.

In films, love is the answer. Characters’ lives could be falling apart, their planet on the verge of collapse, until they meet “the one.” Suddenly problems vanish. Love is all you need, right?

Real life is different. Love as he might, a husband cannot always comfort his wife out of post-partum depression. A wife cannot simply hand her husband confidence after he loses his job. When we expect our spouse’s love to solve all of our problems, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. Though it sure makes them easier to endure, love can’t make trials disappear. Love is powerful, not omnipotent.

Accepting this leaves less room for disappointment and more room for grace.

Because, you see, love does fix everything—Christ’s love. It fixes our ultimate problem of sin and separation from God. Expecting your spouse to be your Savior ensures discontent. Looking to Christ ensures salvation. He alone can remove our burdens and take our blame; and not just temporarily, but forever.

Lie #3: You Will Always “Get” Each Other.

Men seem to be particularly bad at mind-reading. My husband is thrilled when he can predict my answer to a question. He is thrilled because it is rare. When I try to read his thoughts, I usually get it wrong as well. I read something negative into a sigh or something specific into a general comment. Neither of us are any good at telepathy.

It’s important to confront this lie because believing it discourages real communication. When a woman gives her husband the silent treatment to communicate frustration, she is promoting confusion, not understanding. When a man makes a passive-aggressive comment about his wife leaving her clothes on the floor, he is not giving her a chance to change. He is just venting his anger.

I believe it takes more love to listen well and clearly articulate your thoughts than it does to buy into the myth that true love “always knows.” True love works hard to know.

Talking is the new guessing. Try it.

Lie #4: Love is Always Romantic and Unexpected.

Too many stories end right after the proposal or wedding ceremony. We don’t get to watch the couple go through life together. We don’t get to see their first fight, the way they handle money problems, discipline their kids, or how they deal with illness. As a result, many expect marriage to be just like dating.

Correcting this lie requires not just a shift in expectations, but perspective. Our culture’s definition of “romance” is too narrow. Though marriage does not contain the fluttery nerves, new cologne, and best manners of a first date, there is a great deal of romance in the regular. My 90-year-old grandpa regularly sets his alarm clock for 12 a.m. so that he can wake up my diabetic grandmother for her midnight snack. As a stoic WWII vet and survivor of the Great Depression, he has never been verbally affectionate. But when I watch him faithfully take care of his wife in this way, it is more romantic to me than any movie or book.

You asked God to mold and refine you before you were married. Don’t stop just because you have a ring on your finger.

If everyday events like sickness and car troubles seem like romance-killers to you, then they will be. But if you expect real-life situations to enter and impact your marriage and view them as opportunities to demonstrate Christ-like love, you have a lot to look forward to.

Lie #5: Love Means Never Having to Change.

The main problem with this lie is that it is self-focused instead of Christ-focused.

Self-love says: I deserve what I want and don’t have to change for anyone.

Christ-like love says: I deserve eternal punishment but have been given eternal grace. I will continue to seek new ways to be more like Christ.

Sinners should enter marriage ready to change. You asked God to mold and refine you before you were married. Don’t stop just because you have a ring on your finger.

Our motivation for changing should always be God’s glory and Christ-likeness. Christ was a servant. He laid down His life for His sheep (John 10:11). He gave of himself when He was exhausted. He cared about people when they were sick, unlovely and unpopular. And He did all of these things for His Father’s glory. Ask God to chip away at your sinfulness and your spouse to forgive you when you sin against them.

But don’t enter marriage with the expectation that you will change your spouse. Though Christ-like love certainly has the power to change people, your job is to love your spouse. Think they need to change? God is one who has the power to change people, so prayer should be our first response.

There will be times when we need to boldly speak the truth in love to our spouse (Ephesians 4:12), especially if they are in sin. But there will be many more times when we are called to show them love when they haven’t changed. We need to remember that marriage, though a powerful symbol of Christ’s love for the Church, is imperfect; a shadow of things to come (Colossians 2:17).

-Rachel Watson,

Come Lonely Heart

Come, lonely heart, to the outsider’s Friend—
To Jesus, Who seeks out the lost.
Your cruel seclusion has come to an end;
Find welcome, find home, at the cross.
No soul is too small for His mercy;
No sin is too great for His grace!
Come, lonely heart, to the outsider’s Friend;
Find welcome, find home, at the Cross.

Drink, thirsty heart, of the water of life—
Of bountiful, soul-quenching grace.
The world’s broken cisterns cannot satisfy;
The Savior is what your heart craves.
No soul is too small for His mercy;
No sin is too great for His grace!
Drink, thirsty heart, of the water of life;
The Savior is what your heart craves.

Rest, guilty heart, in forgiveness of sin—
In pardon from shame-stirring vice.
Though Satan and sinners and conscience condemn,
Your soul may be spotless as Christ.
No soul is too small for His mercy;
No sin is too great for His grace!
Rest, guilty heart, in forgiveness of sin;
Your soul may be spotless as Christ.

Joy, grateful heart, in the hope you have found—
In God, Who is seeking your praise.
Then go to the outcast, that grace may resound,
For Jesus is mighty to save.
No soul is too small for His mercy;
No sin is too great for His grace!
Joy, grateful heart, in the hope you have found,
For Jesus is mighty to save.

(Text by Chris Anderson; Tune by Greg Habegger)
Copyright 2012 All rights reserved.



Because God delights in worship that is biblical, thoughtful and passionate—what we often call intentional—please consider the following overview of the biblical texts and doctrinal themes behind the hymn Come, Lonely Heart:

This hymn text is based on John’s account of Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well in Sychar (John 4:1–42).

The first verse calls the lonely heart to come to Jesus, the outsider’s Friend. Remember the surprise of the Samaritan woman that Jesus, a Jewish man, would speak to her, a Samaritan woman (John 4:9). Furthermore, this woman was ostracized even by her own community because of her checkered past (John 4:18). But Jesus lovingly spoke to her and told her about the water of life (John 4:10, 13–14). No soul is too small or too unimportant for Jesus’ mercy and no sin is beyond the pale of his grace. Sinners can find welcome at the cross, where sin is forgiven.

The second verse urges the thirsty heart to drink deeply of the water of life. Jesus offered this “living water” to the Samaritan woman, but unlike running water that did not need to be drawn out of a well, he spoke of himself, who alone satisfies every desire of the human heart. While human beings constantly dig leaky cisterns (cf. Jer 2:13) in a futile attempt to satisfy the emptiness of their souls, Jesus Christ is what the thirsty heart is craving.

The third verse soothes the guilty heart, pointing to the relief of forgiven sin. For the Samaritan woman, a self-described sinner, Jesus offered forgiveness and rest from her sinfulness. In fact, rather than condemning us, Jesus gave his life as a propitiating sacrifice (Rom 8:34) and then stands as our Advocate before God the Father (1 John 2:1). He pleads his blood against Satan who accuses God’s children (cf. Zech 3:1; Rev 12:10). His sacrificial death provides an answer to the rightful charges of sinners and even our own consciences (1 John 3:20). Through Jesus Christ’s death and life, we stand before God in perfect righteousness (Rom 4:24–25).

The fourth verse encourages the grateful heart to rejoice in the hope of knowing Christ. This hope cannot be silent, but must share itself with others just like the Samaritan woman did, abandoning her water jug, returning to her town, and telling her neighbors, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (John 4:29). This grace resounds as former enemies of God, brought near by the blood of Christ, go to other enemies of God and plead with them to be reconciled to God (Eph 2:13; 2 Cor 5:18–21). The grateful heart acknowledges God’s grace in salvation, and if God will show mercy to the “chief of sinners,” surely Jesus is mighty to save all who come to him in faith (1 Tim 1:15). “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom 10:13). “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:22b–24).

(The notes for Come, Lonely Heart were written by Mark Perry. Many thanks, Mark.)

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved.

Father, We Have Sinned (Repentance)

Father, we have sinned in word, and deed, and thought,
Through ignorance, through weakness, through deliberate fault.
We’ve sinned against our neighbor and against You, Lord,
Yet we are truly sorry, and we turn to You once more.

Father of the nations, You who bless the poor,
We’re servants of the endless want and drive for more.
We’ve made our greed a virtue, while the children starve.
Come change our joy to sorrow, till our lives reflect Your heart.

-Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2003 Thankyou Music

The Starry Firmament on High

The starry firmament on high,
And all the glories of the sky,
Yet shine not to Thy praise, O Lord,
So brightly as Thy written Word.

The hopes that holy word supplies,
Its truths divine, and precepts wise,
In each a heavenly beam I see,
And every beam conducts to Thee.

Almighty Lord, the sun shall fail,
The moon forget her nightly tale,
And deepest silence hush on high
The radiant chorus of the sky;

But fixed for everlasting years,
Unmoved, amid the wreck of spheres,
Thy word shall shine in cloudless day,
When heaven and earth have passed away.

-Robert Grant

We Are God’s People

We are God’s people, the chosen of the Lord,
Born of His Spirit, established by His Word;
Our cornerstone is Christ alone,
And strong in Him we stand:
O let us live transparently
And walk heart to heart and hand in hand.

We are God’s loved ones, the Bride of Christ our Lord,
For we have known it, the love of God outpoured;
Now let us learn how to return
The gift of love once given:
O let us share each joy and care,
And live with a zeal that pleases Heaven.

We are the Body of which the Lord is Head,
Called to obey Him, now risen from the dead;
He wills us be a family,
Diverse yet truly one:
O let us give our gifts to God,
And so shall his work on earth be done.

We are a temple, the Spirit’s dwelling place,
Formed in great weakness, a cup to hold God’s grace;
We die alone, for on its own
Each ember loses fire:
Yet joined in one the flame burns on
To give warmth and light, and to inspire.

Text and Tune (c) 1976, Fred Bock Music Co. (Music: Brahmns)