Hearts Crying Out

The hearts of the people of Calvary Baptist Church are crying to our Father to give grace and peace to the families of Chad and Courtney Phelps as well as all who are impacted by the tragic church bus accident in Indianapolis.  Colonial Hills Baptist Church and our church are connected through many dear people.  Courtney is the precious daughter of a Calvary family and Chad is the son of Colonial’s pastor.  It was my privilege to help Chad’s father perform their wedding.

Chad and Courtney, along with another passenger, died this afternoon when the bus turned over while exiting the highway.  Returning from a week at camp, the teens and adult sponsors were within a few minutes of arriving at the church where parents were waiting.  I can hardly imagine a more heart-wrenching scenario for all involved.

Once again we are touched by tragedy.  Again our breath is nearly taken away with shock and grief.  And once more we fall to our knees and cry for comfort, strength, and hope for these people we love so much and hurt with so deeply.

This Helps Me Pray

One of the most encouraging devotional resources I use is The Valley of Vision.  The subtitle describes what it is:  A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions.  This little volume is edited by Arthur Bennett and published by The Banner of Truth Trust.

The prayers it contains are rich in content, and some contain beautiful prose.  But the most encouraging element for me is that many of them express praise and petition with thoughts that I have but words that I often don’t have.  I am especially blessed and helped by the section on Service and Ministry.  Many times I have used these prayers to cry out to the Lord in preparation for my own preaching.

I have often wondered about the compiler of these prayers and the background of them.  Today I came across an article that fills in some of the details, here.  If you use V of V, this article might interest you.  If you’ve never enjoyed the blessing this little book brings to Christian devotion, I recommend your getting it.

Worshiping the Ascended Christ

Forty days after He rose from the dead, Jesus was taken up from the earth and disappeared into a cloud.  He passed into the heavenly abode of God and will remain there until He returns.  Right now He is at the right hand of the Father representing us (Hebrews 7:25), listening to us (Hebrews 4:14-16), and preparing a place for us (John 14:1-3).  Our study at Calvary this summer of Ephesians 4:1-16 brought us to verses 7-10 last Sunday.  Here Paul declares that the ascended Christ imparts abilities to every member of the body of Christ (the church), enabling “each one of us” to represent Him on earth and to help the church grow (see vs. 16).

Ephesians 4:10 says that He is the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. The Ascended Christ is worthy of our worship.  In our musical worship last Sunday, we included several hymns that reflect the exalted position or the present activity of the ascended Christ and the benefits that come to us from what He is doing right now.  Here are the hymns we used, including congregational, instrumental, choral, and solo selections.  I’ve included links to the lyrics of the selections that are available online.

As the body of Christ we join hearts and voices to worship our ascended Savior and Lord.