Providence Church Blog A gospel-centered church in Austin, Tx


Archive for September, 2011

I Boast No More

When we gather as a church and sing, we are seeking to drive the truths of the Gospel down into our hearts and minds that it might overflow into a life of worship. Our singing has Gospel implications, and so it matters. One song we sang together as a church yesterday during our Sunday gathering is I Boast No More.

I Boast No More is a hymn written by Isaac Watts, who is widely considered the Father of English Hymnody, as he is credited with roughly 750 hymns. The chorus and melody that we sing and have become familiar with at Providence were once again written and composed by Sandra McCracken. While working at Coram Deo Church in Omaha, we recorded this song on our 2010 full-length release Doxology.

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Ten Reasons to Celebrate Today

I am working at Mozart’s this morning. I have been praying and thinking about what it means to live with a sense of expectancy and dependency — to have “eyes to see” the activity of God around us, and faith to walk in it. So I am considering the gospel and rejoicing in its implications for this moment in my day. Ten causes for celebration:

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Walking in the Light (part 2)

How does the gospel help us walk in the light? In 1 John 1, there are three things related to walking in the light: confession, honesty, and cleansing. I want to consider briefly how the gospel enables these three things.

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Walking in the Light (part 1)

The basis of any relationship is truth— the representation of things as they really are. I think this is John’s point about what it means to have fellowship with God and with one another (1 John 1:5-2:2). He begins with God: “God is light” … God is true, and what he reveals is true. He cannot lie. With him there are no shifting shadows. He operates entirely in the realm of truth.

To have fellowship with God means to live in the realm of truth. Not just in what we believe or say, but in our actual lives. Fellowship with God is not just knowledge about God, but also to share in his life, to have intimacy with him. I read someone who put it this way: “To walk in the light is to live in openness to Him who searches our hearts and endeavor to live in conformity to whatever He reveals to us.” God is calling us into the light, to share in His life. When we resist, when we ignore him and go our own way, we walk in darkness.

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God’s Purpose for Relationships (part 2)

God gives us relationships for our maturity. Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 4:1-3 is to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” It is not that we must create community. God has already secured that in Christ and called us into the “unity of the Spirit.” We must walk in that calling by “making every effort to maintain” that unity.

I tell my two boys how blessed they are that God put them in the same family. They get to live in the same house, share their things, go on vacations together … they could be the best of friends! I am usually giving this speech because they have been fighting. They compete, argue, bother each other, and all the things siblings tend to do. It’s not the reality of their unity that is broken. They are brothers, like it or not. Rather, it is how they walk in that unity that is broken. As parents, we address their issues because we love them and want to help them learn and grow. In the same way, God has brought us into His family, but we have to walk in it. When we struggle, he lovingly corrects and disciplines us so that we might learn and grow.

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God’s Purpose for Relationships (part 1)

God gives us relationships for our joy. This was the design in the beginning, and it is central to our redemption in Christ. Jesus reconciles us to God (Eph 4:1-10) and to one another (Eph 2:11-21).

When God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness (Gen 1:26),” he was saying something about community, because God himself lives in community. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have a wonderful interplay of love and affection, always creating and working together, deferring glory to each other, serving each other, affirming one another’s roles. Do you see the utter joy in the life of the Trinity? This is what God wants for us, that we might experience joy in community even as He does.

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Awake My Soul

I have been listening to one of my favorite albums this morning: Derek Webb’s 2003 release She Must and Shall Go Free. This album is a great interplay of the gospel – a back and forth dialogue between Jesus and His bride, the church. One song I particularly love and we sing regularly during our gathered worship at Providence is the seventh track “Awake My Soul.” It was originally written and composed by Sandra McCracken (Derek’s wife) in 2002, and the lyrics are rooted in the beauty of Christ’s supremacy and all-sufficient nature. In the verses we sing that Christ holds all things together, that God’s grace through Jesus provides all we need, and that He is bringing and will bring redemption to our brokenness. Then in the chorus we conclude and affirm that, because of all this, we boast only in God (Jer. 9:23-24) and His revelation in Christ (Gal. 6:14).

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