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Come Adore

Every Christmas at Coats (also/formerly known as the Christmas musical, cantata, or worship night) has a subtitle based off a song title from the program. Or at least, that’s been my practice for the last few years. As an aside: I can’t believe this is my SIXTH Christmas at Coats! I’m humbled by God’s hand at work in and through Coats Baptist. I hope you are as well! So much so that all we can do is worship and adore our humble King, Jesus.

The 2021 Christmas at Coats subtitle is Come Adore based on the song, “Come Adore the Humble King” by Matt Papa and Matt Boswell. Do those names sound familiar to you? They should. I recently introduced and wrote about their modern hymn, “Psalm 150 (Praise the Lord).” These modern hymn-writers have also written new carols for the church. And they’re good! Below are the lyrics, some thoughts, and then a link to worship Christ with this song. I encourage you to take the next few minutes at the feet of Jesus.

Come adore the humble King
Lowly in the manger
Fall before His majesty
Hail the little Savior
Hope what hope no tongue could tell
God has come with us to dwell
His name is Emmanuel
O praise the humble King

 

Come adore in humble state
He the song of angels
Join the wise who call His name
And with all creation
Who oh who would condescend
God unknown now calls us friend
Love that none could comprehend
O praise the humble King

 

Come adore the King who came
To our world to save us
Born to heal our prideful race
Crown us with forgiveness
Fall oh fall before the one
Who in mercy left His throne
Christ the Lord God’s only Son
His glories now we sing
O praise the humble King

 

Come adore come adore
Come adore the King
Bow before come adore the
Name above all names

If you’re like me, Christmas is a busy time. In the midst of preparing for Christmas events and services, I can easily fail at what this song tells us to do. For our good and for God’s glory. We’re reminded to come adore, fall before, hail, praise, bow before, and call on the name of Jesus. How much time do you find yourself doing these things during this season?

I fall short.

But praise God for who He is and the reasons we are compelled and called to do these things. He’s our humble King who has brought hope that no tongue could tell, dwells with us, calls us friend, loves beyond comprehension, crowns us with forgiveness, and came to save and heal us.

So when I fall, I worship. When you fall, assume the posture of our humble King and bow before Him. Don’t let this season pass by without growing in your praise and worship to the One who is worthy of all.

I can’t wait to join in with you to worship King Jesus at Christmas at Coats and other Christmas services this December!

When We Disagree

Last week, I had a long conversation with a friend of mine regarding the connection between baptism, salvation, and church membership (I know, nerdy pastor stuff). During this conversation, we found that we differed regarding the timeline of baptism and church membership. This sparked further conversation. He told me the reasons for his view. I told him the reasons for mine. The conversation progressed very friendly. As it ended, we both left encouraged to think more precisely about baptism and membership.

As I was walking away from this conversation, I was reminded of the passage in 2 Timothy I preached a few weeks ago.

“But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, because you know that they breed quarrels.” – 2 Timothy 2:23 CSB

In response, I praised God that the conversation I had just left did not violate this command. Therefore, I would like to provide a few thoughts for healthy discussion (even if you disagree with someone) from 2 Timothy 2:23.

Don’t Be a Fool. The Scriptures speak abundantly about the fool. The passage regarding the fool that always sticks out to me is Psalm 14:1, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God!’” The fool is the person that is not willing to submit his/her life to the lordship of God. In their heart they believe they are lord.

So how does this apply to healthy discussion? Jesus is lord over this discussion you are having. In his good providence, God has placed this person in your life. As a Christian, we are called to represent our God to the people around us; specifically this person you are disagreeing with. Therefore, when we are in these conversations, we should ask, “How do I surrender to Jesus’ Lordship in this conversation?” This question helps us see that, like everything in life, the conversation is not about us. It is about Jesus Christ. This is a great perspective change. If you do this, I believe you will be amazed at the ways in which God will use you in the life of those around you.

Look to Learn. This passage commands us to reject ignorant disputes. Ignorance is defined as the lack of knowledge. Therefore, an ignorant dispute is a dispute that does not result in greater knowledge. This happens because many times we simply try to prove the other person wrong. We don’t desire to learn from what the other person is saying. They might not cause you to change your mind, but their disagreement can help you learn why you hold to your position all the more.

In discussion, ignorance can be a close cousin to arrogance. We do not desire to learn because we believe we are right, and no one could break our rock-solid logic. Don’t you see the arrogance in this? The Bible speaks clearly about God’s feelings toward arrogance, and they are not good. Therefore, let’s have conversations in order to learn from one another. Let’s disagree upward. Let’s not let our disagreements spiral down into disputes and quarrels.

Recognize The Signs of a Fight. In this passage, Paul reminds Timothy that foolish and ignorant disputes give birth to babies called quarrels. A quarrel is another word for a fight. Therefore, imagine a situation in which you are having a discussion with someone you disagree with. You have practiced the above principles. You have submitted the conversation to the lordship of Christ. You have taken off your arrogant hat and put on your learning hat. Yet, you see that the other person is getting frustrated. What do you do?

This is where the command of the text (reject) has a double application. Sometimes, we need to stop ourselves from being foolish and ignorant. Other times, we need to help others not be foolish and ignorant. Therefore, we stop the conversation. Whatever this conversation is about, it is not worth the fight that it is about to start. Therefore, reject the conversation. While you might be ready for it, the other person is not. The conversation is helpful to no one. Come back to it again another day.

Disagreements are a normal part of life. We all have different upbringings, personalities, and opinions that will clash at some point. Some of these disagreements deserve a conversation, others do not. I pray that these few thoughts derived from 2 Timothy 2:23 will be helpful to you when that time comes.

What Do You Want?

As the holiday season is quickly approaching, I want to pause, take a minute, and ask you a question. What do you want? No, not for Christmas, but from Christ?

I’ve been pondering on this thought this week — When I think about what I want from Jesus, what is it?

Are my requests things like:

“I want you to give me peace.”

“I want you to take my pain away. ”

“I want you to heal my friend.”

None of those things are wrong to ask for. However, I wonder how many of us ever stop at the words “I want You.” How many of us truly have a heart that strives to want Jesus and nothing else? I know I can be far from that mindset at times. I have been convicted this week over my fleshly desires being stronger than my want for my Jesus. I have used that conviction to refocus and realign my wants going into this Holiday season.

I believe we sometimes do not live with a want for Christ because we do not truly understand God’s heart for us. As I’ve been reading through the Gentle and Lowly book that was given to us all, by Coats Baptist, I have gotten a deeper understanding of who Christ is and His heart for me. I assume that’s why I’ve been so convicted of my own heart lately. Our whole existence is to glorify God, so why is our number one desire not Him? It was this quote by Dane Ortlund from chapter 20 of Gentle and Lowly, that brought me to tears of who I am compared to who He is. I want you to read this and get an idea of Christ’s heart for you.

“When we, despite our smiles and civility running from God as fast as we could, building our own kingdom and loving our own glory, lapping up the fraudulent pleasures of the world, repulsed by the beauty of God and shutting up our ears at his calls to come home — it was then, that the prince of heaven bade his adoring angels farewell. It was then that he put himself into the murderous hands of these rebels in a divine strategy planned from eternity past to rinse muddy sinners clean and hug them into his own heart.”

Now I want you to read the next quote, to get an idea of our own hearts.

“Christ went down into death — “voluntary endurance of unutterable anguish,” while we applauded. We couldn’t have cared less. We were weak. Sinners. Enemies.”

Ortlund goes on to shine the spotlight back on Christ’s heart towards us.

“It was only after the fact, only once the Holy Spirit came flooding into our hearts, that the realization swept over us, he walked through my death. He didn’t simply die. He was condemned. He didn’t simply leave heaven for me, he endured hell for me.”

That is His heart.

I challenge you to refocus and have a heart that truly wants Jesus and nothing else. David said it well in Psalm 84:2 — “My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.” Take joy in your salvation, not because of who you are, but because of who Christ is for you!

You are commanded in Matthew 22:37 to Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, and with ALL your soul, and with ALL your mind. When you develop a love for something that consumes your heart, soul, and your mind.. nothing else will satisfy you. To love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, is to have a love that stops at “I want you.” Nothing else matters, nothing else will do, no one else will satisfy my longing heart. Jesus doesn’t expect us to be perfect, He just wants us to want Him and nothing else.

Source: Gentle and Lowly — By Dane Ortlund

Exploring Dependency

My Grandmother reflected on her long life and said, “I don’t know why God leaves me here”. From her perspective, she didn’t want to be a burden to others in her aged, and declining health. While seeking humility, she was comparing her abilities as a 94-year-old with those of days gone by.

As we contemplate her question, let’s first consider that God sustains each and every component of creation (e.g., Hebrews 1:3; Revelation 4:11) and God never wastes His efforts. If we as humans, or any other created thing for that matter, are still here, it’s because it’s part of God’s plan. God will not bring any of His saints home until their work on earth is done. In concept, we get this, but why do we struggle with this in practice? I believe our struggle, in part, is with understanding the difference between dependency and dignity.

Dependency is not a loss of dignity. Rather, dignity is God given. That is, we have dignity because we are created in the likeness of God, called according to His purposes, and sustained by His willful choice and effort. Dignity is in our being, our personhood. Dignity is not defined by our ability to produce things or contribute to what society declares to be of value.

On the other hand, we were created to be dependent. What’s more dependent than a human infant who is in complete need of the protection, care, and love of others? While we may have seasons in which we are expected to productively contribute to society and serve others who depend on us, we only perceive ourselves as being independent. Most of us, given time, will return to a more obvious state of dependency. But, even in moments of so-called independency, we are never free from our place of dependency on God.

Dr. Paul Tournier puts this into perspective in his book, Learning to Grow Old. “We have given things priority over persons, we have built a civilization based on things rather than on persons. Old people are discounted because they are purely and simply persons whose …  value is as persons and not as producers anymore.” He adds, “When we are old, … we have the time and qualifications necessary to a true ministry of personal relationships”.

Here’s the simple reality: as Dr. Steve Corts says, “Everybody has a next step in coming closer to Jesus”. God leaves us here to give opportunity to both learn and teach dependency and, by application, humility. With each lesson in dependency, we take a next step in coming closer to Jesus. God tells us, “I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:2b).

God has no need for our pride. In His grace, God teaches us humility and dependency as we become less and less able to care for ourselves. And in that humility, we have an open door to learn the value of our being, of personhood, and of true dignity in Christ. “God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one may boast in his presence” (1 Corinthians 1:28-29). Furthermore, as our humility and dependency grow, we are better able to speak of the joy that we have being completely dependent on the Lord. Who better to speak of freedom in the Lord than one who is fully dependent on Him?

By contrast, it is pride that makes us think we don’t need others. It is pride that allows us to forget to remember our dependency on God. It is pride that encourages us to think of our value in terms of what we can or can’t do.

In those difficult moments when we get to learn dependency, those around us have the opportunity to learn as well. They get to learn to serve. They get to learn about the personhood and dignity of a person simply because of who they are, rather than what that person can do for them. And they get to learn that time on earth is fleeting and to value the time shared with each other.

Why does God leave us here? To teach us, to teach others through us, and to bring us one step closer to Him. So, let me ask: What are you learning today?

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