Just As I Am

The author of this hymn, Charlotte Elliot(1789-1871) suffered from a disabling disease in her 30’s.  Her spiritual advisor counseled her to turn her inner rage at her condition into trust and peace with God.  This led her to begin writing hymns.  The simple, yet powerful message of Just As I Am has appealed to many evangelists over the years and is often used for altar calls (Lutherans don’t do this – but it is a favorite communion hymn).  Enjoy it and bathe in God’s redemption and acceptance.

 

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Why Me Lord?

Kris Kristofferson wrote this song after attending a worship service during  a low point in his life.  My husband often plays it on the CD player in the car and I think it’s is one of the most genuine songs about repentance I’ve heard.  I love it, and I hope you will, too.

St. Francis Set to Music

If you like the St. Francis Prayer about transforming your environment by starting with yourself, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this musical version even more.  It’s been going around in my mind every since my last post.  Remember, he who sings, prays twice!

Peace Is Flowing Like a River

On a Via de Cristo weekend, the speaker chooses a hymn or Christian song which everyone sings right before their talk.  This was the song I chose for my Environment talk, and I think it expresses the idea that when God’s peace, love and joy is inside of us, it will overflow and affect everyone we’re around.  Enjoy listening!

God’s Not Dead & God’s Not Dead 2 –Movie Review

Martin Luther would have empathized with these film depictions of Christians who  found themselves in situations that required them to defend their faith against great odds.  You might say they became leaders unintentionally, as did Luther himself.  Facing the Diet of Worms in 1521 he said,

“Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason, I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other.  My conscience is captive to the Word of God.  I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.  Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.  God help me.”

Both films feature a main character who risks virtually everything to defend his or her Christian beliefs.  Both are vindicated and triumph over systems that seek to ridicule and belittle them. Both had very good presentations of the logical, scientific and historical reasons to accept Christianity (the big word for this is apologetics.)  I found them inspiring and entertaining. (Of course, I know I am years behind in my movie-viewing and probably most readers have already seen the films — if you haven’t, you can now easily get them from the local library).

I do have a few criticisms:  most of the characters were almost cartoonishly one dimensional — the Christians are obviously good, the atheists bad, and not much room in between for the doubting or seeking.  Conversions and answers to prayer come quickly….but this is a movie, right?  Things have to move rapidly (after all we only have 120 minutes) and I can’t expect the character development I might find in a good novel.  So I can let that go.

More seriously, the discussion of free will in the first film, and the implication in the second that we must “ask Jesus into our heart” conflict with Lutheran theology.  God choses us, we do not chose Him, and we do not have free will over our salvation (although we do in other areas.)

The Newsboys are not my favorite Christian musical group, but I’ll include the song for those who enjoy them:

Rise Up O Men Of God

This hymn was written by William P. Merrill, a Presbyterian pastor.  I have heard it used at Lutheran ordination services.  These days some object to this hymn because the language is not inclusive.  In some hymnals the wording has been changed from “men of God” to “saints of God.”  However, in researching its’ history, I found that it was written in support of a growing men’s movement.  Since the original purpose was to encourage the leadership of men in the parish, is it necessary to “correct” it?  Would it be wrong to write a hymn directed specifically toward women?  Or some other group within the body of Christ?  I love this hymn just as it is, and personally think the gender-neutral idea sometimes goes too far. I’m posting it today for my husband’s birthday because it’s one of his favorites as well.  Readers, what is your opinion?

Generations of Leaders

We sang this hymn in church recently.  It reminded me, that we can always look to Christ and many generations of His followers as examples and inspiration for our own walk.  Read your Bible to find the leader you want to emulate, then follow in the train!