Come Ye Sinners

For November, our song of the month is an old hymn updated with a new tune and some fresh lyrics.

This 1700s hymn was given a new tune  and a few new lyrics in 2012 by Alex Crain.  The recording below is from the first public recording at Ocean City Baptist Church in a service in which-which Jamie and I had the privilege of attending.   Dr. D.A. Carson was the speaker for that service.

Verse 1
Come ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, joined with power.

He is able, He is able,
He is able, He is willing;
doubt no more.

Verse 2
Come, ye needy, come and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Ev’ry grace that brings you nigh.

Without money, without money,
Without money—
Come to Jesus Christ and buy!

Verse 3
Come ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and broken by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.

Not the righteous, not the righteous
Not the righteous—Sinners—
Jesus came to call.

Verse 4
View Him bleeding, in the garden
On the ground your Maker prays
On the bloody tree behold Him.
Love and justice there displayed!

Only through Him; Only through Him
Only through Him—
can your debt be fully paid

Verse 5
Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requires
Is to feel your need of Him.

This He gives you, this He gives you
This He gives you; ‘
Tis the Spirit’s rising beam

Verse 6
The Incarnate-God ascended
Pleads the merit of His blood
Venture on Him; venture wholly
Let no other trust intrude

Not the righteous, not the righteous
Not the righteous—Sinners—
Jesus came to call.

He is able, he is able,
He is able, He is willing;
doubt no more


Water into Wine

So we’re playing with audio recording of sermons and have been having some very patient folks continue to remind us to get them recorded. We haven’t been able to get them recorded from our soundbooth, but we did start doing it from my laptop on the platform which sits about 10 feet from the pulpit, hence the audio quality is pretty bad.

Anyway here’s the first one.

The Preaching Hangover | Escaping the Monday Morning Funk

Monday mornings are tough for pastors and other ministry leaders. In the past some preacher’s have called it their “preaching hangover,” Spurgeon addressed it in the “Minister’s Fainting Fits.” It’s amazing how exhausting preaching can be. There’s not really a comparison; teaching or lecturing, while tiring, do not compare.

 “If any man will preach as he should preach, his work will take more out of him than any other labor under heaven.”  ~ Charles Spurgeon

I remember hearing someone compare every hour of preaching to 4-6 working hours due to the high demand and stress emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Even though, relatively speaking, I’m still the “new kid” to this gig, here are some things I’ve found helpful in shaking the Monday Morning Funk or your “preaching hangover.”

1. Realize it is ok to be a little down. 
It’s natural; it’s physiological; it’s human. Our minds and souls are housed in a body. There’s no drug like adrenaline. After the exertion of teaching/preaching/leading worship on Sunday, it is only natural that our bodies go through a “low point” chemically. Our adrenal glands can only take so much before it does an automatic reboot. It’s a natural part of our chemical makeup. Psychologically it’s called PAD (Post Adrenalin Depression).

Our creative God designed us with a variety of emotions with lessons about Him and ourselves to be learned in each one. Think of the breadth of emotions David expresses in the Psalms and the truths about God that he meditates on in each stage. Check out Dr.Ron Horton’s, Mood Tides for further reading about this.

2. Exercise physically. 

This is healthy, and most likely necessary after a weekend that probably included a lot of study and many meetings. Perhaps, however, the most important function of exercise on a Monday is the endorphins released through physical exercise that help to balance out the low. The endorphins released from the pituitary gland function as the neurotransmitters that can get us back to the “feel good” state.
God designed our minds and souls to be housed in a body. Those bodies were designed to move, not sit around a desk for 50-60 hours a week.

3. Read

There is a misconceived word picture that ministry is like a sponge where you load up your sponge and then wring it out on others. I even recall hearing the statement, “my sponge is full and I want to serve here in my local church.” A more suitable picture is that of a channel. Think of the hymn “Channels Only” –water only flows through the channel so long as the channel is connected to the source. Warren Wiersbe described it like this:

“Ministry takes place when divine resources meet human need through loving channel’s to the Glory of God.”

The day after one has spent himself in ministry I believe it is important to stay close to the fountain so to speak. I’ve found it helpful to read as much as possible to “fill the tank” so to speak (and misplace modifiers too:-).  Since Monday is a few days away from the next speaking deadline, it offers a time to read in other subjects and topics.
4. Listen to Music.

Music is a language of the emotions. I find it helpful to just have music playing, especially on Mondays. It’s a passive way to have one’s emotions stirred.

5. Just Do Something. 

Maybe a little too much Appalachian common sense here, but sometimes we just need to “get things done.” Down times like Mondays are a great time to knock off routine tasks that don’t demand much brain power or decision making. Personally Jamie and I use Nozbe as a task management solution with a family plan so we can “assign” tasks to each other (yes, guys this is scary), place them in projects and contexts and even assign time for completion. I like Nozbe basically because it follows the “Getting Things Done” method and seems to work the way we think.

6. Eat Good Food.

It’s amazing what a nice meal can do to your emotions. There’s no telling how many relationships a good steak has restored. The positive chemical response from the pleasure of food as well as the social interaction surrounding a meal can do the world of good to our emotions on a down day.

7.Get a Life (loosen up)!
It’s important to have a diversion from “routine” and engage in something you like to do for recreation. I would point out the difference and benefit of “recreation” verses “amusement” at this point. Recreational activities do just what the etymology suggests–they “re-create” the creative and mental faculties that you need to get back to your normal productivity level. Amusement, on the other hand, well, “A-muse” = without thinking, brain-dead things that leave you where they found you–typically in a brain-dead state on the couch.

Whether it’s a hobby, home improvement project, a creative outlet like a musical instrument, or some other artistic outlet, it is important to have something outside of your primary role. These may vary depending on ability, discretionary budget, and life stage.
What do you do to lose the Monday Morning Funk? 

Weekend Getaway to Cleveland

Weekend Getaway to Cleveland
The last several months of ministry have been pretty busy. Due to some ministry staffing issues, we ended up having to cancel any family vacations or getaways this summer. The kids were pretty bummed that we needed to cancel going to family camp, but we were able to squeeze in a day trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo before they had to be back in school.
Thankfully I have two awesome deacons that recognized that it’s not good for a pastor to go so long without a day off, much less a family getaway. So, with their urging and blessing we scheduled a friend in ministry to fill the pulpit so we could be reminded of what that thing that normal people have called a weekend :-).

We toured the beutifully revitalized downtown, got some awesome food, and finished the weekend worshiping at Parkside Church where we heard Allisair Begg speak.