CREC

Lenten Devotional

Pastor Steve Hemmeke has done a fine job in putting this together and I commend it to you as you begin this Lenten journey.

Lent CREC Devotions 2015

I have a contribution for Palm Sunday.

General Council of the CREC in Lake Tahoe, 2014: Brief Comments

General Council of the CREC in Lake Tahoe, 2014: Brief Comments

I am finally back to my lovely city and to my delightfully welcoming family. What a tremendous joy to gather with brothers who share a mutual passion for the glory of God over all things, especially over the Church.  Chesterton’s powerful hymn, sung a few times at Council, describes the general sentiment among my fellow co-laborers:

Tie in a living tether, the prince and priest and thrall;
Bind all our lives together, smite us and save us all;
In ire and exultation aflame with faith and free,
Lift up a living nation, a single sword to Thee.

We are grateful for the efforts of the host church who provided a spectacle of hospitality and abundant life. Not a day went by when I did not stop to reflect and meditate on the artistic beauty of our God. Lake Tahoe was simply magnificent.

As we concluded our Council with a Covenant Renewal Worship on Wednesday night, the thought that came to mind again and again was, “What a joy to be included in the proclamation of this glorious Gospel of reconciliation.” The spirit of unity was seen and demonstrated as brothers ate and drank together at the lamb’s high feast.

I can say that it was a tremendous honor to represent the Athanasius Presbytery as one of the fourteen delegates to the CREC General Council. I was intimidated, while at the same time grateful to be a part of such an illustrious group of men, many of whom have shaped and continue to shape my thinking and have affected my ecclesiology in profoundly positive ways.

I wish to express my thanks and admiration to our former Presiding Minister, Jack Phelps, who served our Communion of Churches for these past six years with grace and humility.

My deepest respect and prayers for the newly elected Presiding Minister of the CREC, Rev. Douglas Wilson. May God richly bless his labors as he guides the CREC into this new phase of its history. Thanks be to God.

(You may wish to read Doug’s comments on his election here)

The Present Cultural Crisis: An Address to the Men by Randy Booth

The Present Cultural Crisis: An Address to the Men by Randy Booth

Pastor Randy Booth addressed guests and the men of Providence Church and Christ Church this past Saturday. The talk centered on how to raise men who are aware of the cultural crisis, but yet are able to de-mythologize the entertainment industry.

Click below for audio lecture.

Current Crisis: Why are we losing our children?

Lots of Resources for Psalm-Singing (Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs)

Lots of Resources for Psalm-Singing (Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs)

My article entitled 10 Reasons Why You Should Sing the Psalms received a lot of attention and several days later it is still on the front page of The Christian Post. I am grateful for all the e-mails I received from pastors and parishioners alike seeking to benefit from the psalms for their own spiritual edification and the maturation of their own congregation.

In order to provide those resources to a broader audience, I will list many of them here and hope to update them occasionally.

I’d encourage you to visit the Genevan Psalter website. It will provide music and lyrics and a host of links to articles on the Genevan Psalter. This is my favorite Psalter.

You may also wish to visit this site, which will give you some ideas and a general introduction to psalm singing.

Another way to benefit from sung psalms is to simply start listening to psalms on your ipod or computer. For a more contemporary rendition of the Psalms, this CD by Greg Wilbur with Psalms and Hymns published by Ligonier is quite good. Nathan Clark George has done some beautiful versions of the Psalms with guitar accompaniments.

If you want to listen to some beautiful Scottish Psalmody, go here on Groove Shark.

One indispensable selection of psalms put into music is from a dear brother, Jamie Soles ( a CREC elder). Jamie has a wonderful gift of bringing psalms into easy and memorable tunes for children, but I confess I listen to them myself often.A great hymnal to get you started is Psalms for Singing. You can find audio samples on-line. You can also purchase the Cantus Christi, which is a Psalter-Hymnal. The Cantus includes about 75 psalms of the 150 (with several chants).  If you would like to hear some of the psalms sung and harmonized, you can purchase this CD. You can also find samples of some of the Psalms on the Cantus Christi:

Psalm 117 – Youtube

Psalm 98 – Youtube (Christ Church, Moscow, ID)

Psalm 148, Psalm-Roar – Youtube

Psalm 42, Audio Only (sung at Providence)

Psalm 45, taught and sung at Providence

Psalm 22 (audio only, Psalm-Roar)

Psalm 122 (Youtube, Christ Church)

Finally, for an award-winning website with more information on the Psalms and psalm-singing than you will ever need has been compiled by the saints of Trinity Presbyterian in Birmingham, AL.  called The Psalm Project.

NOTE: If you find any additional resources, please let me know.

 

Quarreling, Machen’s Warrior Children, Reformed & CREC

C.S. Lewis argues that quarreling demands a certain a priori knowledge of right and wrong. Quarreling also demands a certain knowledge of the quarreler.

I follow–as I have for almost ten years–the Reformed wars. I follow these wars as someone who wants to avoid becoming one of Machen’s Warrior Children, but also as someone who receives some thrill from these battles. The problem with being too well informed is that you are sucked into these battles as if someone is picking a fight with you. Pastorally, these battles have little to no profit. They lead to all sorts of misconceptions. They divide. They create a category of people who are known for what they are against, rather than what they are for. They create a class of pugilists. Give them a dose of true Calvinistic sacramentology, and suddenly you are an enemy of the Reformed tradition; a tradition which for many goes only back to Princeton.

I say all these things because people speak past each other quite often in our micro-Reformation circles. I am certainly to blame at times, but I want to listen. I want to heed apostolic warnings. I want to be more Solomon-like in my wisdom: discerning what is helpful from what is not.

Those of us part of a confederation filled with convictions need to learn to deal with those who believe their convictions are typically not worth sharing. If we postmillennialists want the world, we are going to have to start talking and engaging those who don’t want it; and many of those label themselves Reformed. 

Practically, this means attending local associations in town as a start to this unity project. Explaining the C-R-E-C to people has a rather comical affect at times, but then it leads to perfectly natural questions on our view of Christian liberty–which usually entails, at least in the South, our view on alcohol consumption.

There is also the benefit of seeing just how broad the Christian world is. God is using the local charismatic preacher to denounce homosexuality more effectively than a thousand pages of academic journals.

My contention is that the Reformed world is generally small and ineffective due to its inability to see beyond itself. Granted, many of us are trying to take a different trajectory; a trajectory that comes with all sorts of bumps on the road. We have the choice of hitting the bump and keep moving or we have the choice of giving in and self-imploding. The gospel demands more.