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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Is This My New Favorite Christmas Hymn?

Charles Wesley was a gift to the church. He not only wrote my favorite hymn "And Can it Be?" but he has also written many other doctrinally delicious and spiritually stimulating hymns. He has written songs on the Trinity and our sinfulness and other Christmas songs like "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." The most recent of Wesley's gifts that I've come across is a two verse treasure called "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus."

Anybody else heard of this? I sure haven't. We sang it in chapel yesterday, and I couldn't believe what we were singing. I LOVE this song! I've heard it said that in a short verse or two of a poem or a good song you can say a volume's worth. This song does just that. It is definitely in line with the Charles Wesley tradition. And since I might as well continue with the musical recommendations, take a peek at these lyrics (and here's the music):

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.

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.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Edifying Music (lyrics)

Shai Linne has recently come out with an album, and even more recently he has posted the lyrics for all the songs on the album. One song in particular has made an impact on me, and the title of the song is "Martyrs." This is the account of 5 different martyrs (at least 3 of which I believe are true stories) done by 5 extremely talented artists.

This song has moved me to tears by putting me right into the shoes of the ones undergoing the persecution. This might not be as edifying for some as it will be for others because it has been written in the vernacular of the lyricists. Before I say anything more, though, take a look:


written by j. watson, c. njoroge, b. davis, s. linne, m. stokes

The Time: 20th Century

The Place: China

The Martyr: A young girl

“Yeah they went ahead of us, now the path is straight
And died so that we could have life past the grave”
-Da T.R.U.T.H from Our World from The Faith


We would gather so Pastor could season us Christians

We were pleased just to hear the reading of Scripture

Because here in Asia, we can’t worship like the States

Because servants of grace might be murdered for their faith

So we give Christ the praises secretly, we ain’t treated equally

Even on today our bible study’s held illegally

As Pastor opened to read from the first sentence

Communist soldiers kicked the door straight off the hinges

I knew this could happen for accepting His precious gift

They threaten to kill us with guns clutched within their fist

I’m shaken and scared even though Jesus is my everything

I don’t know if I’m prepared to die at the age of seventeen

The leading official turned to my pastor and looked

Put a gun to his face and told him “Hand over the book!”

He reluctantly handed over the text that he so adored

They laughed as he grabbed it and it was smashed to the floor

I was truly grieved as I looked in his eyes

He said, “Any of you can leave if you spit on this book of lies!”

A man walked up, cried as he fell to the floor

“Father forgive me”- “Leave! Now you can go!”

I trembled with fear my mind started to think about death

Hair leaking with sweat I thought my heart would beat through my chest

A woman that walked up next spit on the Bible and left

The official shot in the air of the air continued yelling out threats

I was tempted to do it- I just wanted to leave

The moment I thought this, I felt overwhelmingly grieved

I gritted my teeth, tears began to stream down my face

I needed some faith I just started to think on His grace

In my head I said “forget it” as I walked toward the text

Kneeled to the floor, wiped the spit off the Bible with my dress

To live is Christ, to die is gain ain’t a popular song

I said, “Father forgive them as I was shot in the dome

The Time: 1536

The Place: Outside of Brussels

The Martyr: William Tyndale


I refuse to look to John Huss whose goose was cooked

Lord, I wanna put your truth in books

Now concerning my faith no turning away

I know eternity awaits even if I’m burned at the stake

Like avoiding their attacks of me would profit me

Great Whore that could be properly the papacy and prophecy

They say the Pope’s the holiest

Only if these people could see its phoniness and Scripturally erroneous

The Pope of men fail to respect- they wanna seek death

of William Tyndale so then I inhale a deep breath

Two doors- my hands push

As I stride inside I was grabbed by men hiding- it’s an ambush!

I was sabotaged- he was disguised and camouflaged

As a friend of me- I didn’t know he was the enemy

Now through discerning, I see this group is yearning

With ill will to kill bill like Uma Thurman

It’s a chaotic frenzy as they plot against me

Hey if God defends me or ends me- He’ll soon determine

Now I plead for these people (forgive ‘em!) they grieve Your cathedral

I don’t wanna repay evil for evil

When I’m weak I’m made strong- got my brave face on

We’re sheep for the slaughter being killed all the day long

I’ll never be a man-pleaser

No matter how tight the grip of the hand squeezer

I can’t breathe- I’ll stand with Jesus

Even if plans are grievous as they try to put me to sleep like anesthesia

Now I’m gagging and gasping- I’m sold out for You

No doubt this noose won’t choke out the truth

And leave a lasting legacy- cats who would never read

your Word after the death of me cats can cleverly

get pass the heresy and grab for this weaponry

Your sword- now Lord I pass to the heavenlies

The Time: Approximately 100 A.D.

The Place: Rome

The Martyr: Anonymous

(God’s Servant)

My wrists bleed from the shackles, as I get dragged in the gravel

My ribs hurt, was arrested and tackled.

Snatched up, I was preaching, pulled in a packed road

beat for the God that I stand for

A young man, I’m a Roman, version of Daniel

But yo I got to be an example

Seized by decree of the emperor’s panel

to kill Christians in all of the land so

Yo now they got me, tied up, tugged, getting trampled

Hauled to my death while they chant yo


The mob screams as I’m violently handled

But I am a sample of grace that is ample

to save though the pain isn’t cancelled

Strained as I’m maimed by the rage of the grapple

Each swing hurting me, more than the last blow

Kicked by their sandals, struck by their rods

Cracked from the whips in the hands of the guards

Mocked by the people they bask in their evil

Storing up wrath in the path of my God!

But AH! “What a relief it is to be in Jesus!”

Even beaten if Christ is the reason

Pulled to the center of Rome- a crowd’s meeting

They chant for my death and indict me with treason

I get tied to a pole by a soldier, shaped like an ogre

Rope ‘round my legs and rope ‘round my shoulders

He signals his boys and he yells out,

“Yo ya’ll bring the torch over!”

So now I’m facing the blaze, facing the pain

By grace putting faith in His name

He says, “Last call for a recant”, I say “we can’t!”

So he ignites me in flames

The Time: Approximately 62 A.D.

The Place: Jerusalem

The Martyr: James, the brother of Jesus


Sovereign Lord, You’re so holy, you know me

I’m nothing but dust and I trust in You only

I see the faces in the crowd below me

I’m standing on the rooftop of the temple and they’re about to throw me

Off because I’ve been causing a major fuss

They call me James the Just- Jesus the name I trust

In the days of His flesh, He was my brother in the physical

I thought that He was crazy- enough that I would ridicule

But since His resurrection, I see He meticulously rules

And next to His perfections, I’m ridiculously minuscule

Astounding, I’m taking a pounding and bruised for Him

I look around and see the mountains surrounding Jerusalem

Suddenly I get calm

Reminded of God’s promise in verse 2 of the 125th Psalm

I hear their obscene chatter- for me no tears or screams scattered

Or fears of getting my spleen splattered

Christ is supreme, so extreme is the theme of His redeemed team

My no means is my dream shattered

Embracing what is after as I’m facing this disaster

I have to because no slave is greater than his master

They told me (to) deny Jesus and not be an Apostle

My response- “Repent and believe in the gospel!”

They threw me off the roof for that last phrase spoken

I hit the ground alive with both of my legs broken

They’re acting so wickedly with no sympathy

My blood flowed vividly, I felt stones hitting me

Yo, inwardly Jesus gave me peace like Steve and them

I reached up to heaven and began to intercede for them

“Father forgive them, though their sin’s great and enormous”

One of their own said, “Brothers, wait! He’s praying for us”

One cat had so much hate in his heart for Jesus

His blunt instrument crushed my skull into pieces

The Time: Modern Day

The Place: The Streets of New York

The Martyr: A street evangelist


In the beginning, before throw backs and fitteds

I grew up in a world where no truth was in it

No hopes, no dreams, no future in it

Only crack heads with some state troopers in it

I grew up with a mother, brother, sister- no pops

Fam that’s locked up, DTs and crooked cops

Dope dealers and thugs on street corners and blocks

Dudes that push weight, catch seals and get knocked

That was my life before I married the Christ

So now I rep hard on the block the day and the night

2 A.M. in the morning, it’s my third week in

So far seventeen souls walked away from their sins

It’s a struggle on the block in the heart of the pits

Where the fiends look like zombies as they search for a fix

Fourteen, across the street, and she’s licking her lips

Asking Poppy for a date while she’s grinding her hips

I can’t believe what I’m seeing but thank God for the mission

Because He touches hearts and opens up the mind for the vision

And people saying I should make the right decision

Because the Devil’s steady lurking but I’m moving with precision

I can’t be scared- I’m a soldier for the kingdom

Armored up and I gotta rep hard ‘til I meet Him

And tell the world that it’s crucial they receive Him

Because He’s coming back- nobody knows the A.M. or the P.M.

And on the block I could see it was beef

The Spirit told me they was coming I refused to retreat

The leader stepped to my face saying he was the man

And ain’t no God in earth or heaven gonna ruin his plan

I looked him in the eyes and told him this ain’t have to be the end

The Lord loved him irregardless as to what he done or did

Satan filled his heart so he ain’t really care what I said

Cocked back the nine and bust three shots to my head

Now go listen to a clip at this link:

And when you're done sampling, buy it. ...aww, heck, buy the whole album, it's only $8.99!

Dramatized Exegesis