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After yesterday's reboot of How Long O Lord Till Christmas here are some other Christmas songs - mainly for all-age but some grown up ones too....

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DOWNLOAD Martian Came Down

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DOWNLOAD The Boy Who Fell Down A Hole

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DOWNLOAD My God Is So Small

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DOWNLOAD Don't Be Afraid

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DOWNLOAD Earth Was Waiting Spent And Restless

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DOWNLOAD From the Squalor

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DOWNLOAD Rising Sun - Luke 1:78

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DOWNLOAD How Long O Lord Till Christmas

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This is basically a child-friendly version of "O Come O Come Immanuel" the way Johnny Cash might do it.

 

CHORUS - THE PEOPLE SING:

How long O Lord till Christmas
How long till Jesus appears.
I know my Saviour, He's coming,
Pass on this hope throughout the years.

VERSE 1: GOD THE FATHER SINGS

Gonna give my Son to the human race
Gonna bring them back into my grace x3
Pass on this hope throughout the years

VERSE 2: GOD THE SON SINGS:

Gonna crush that snake, Gonna stomp his head
Though he strike my heel, Gonna kill him dead x3
Pass on this hope throughout the years

VERSE 3: GOD THE SPIRIT SINGS

Gotta wait for Him through thick and thin,
Gotta set your hope on the Coming King x3
Pass on this hope throughout the years

ALL TOGETHER:

Gonna give my Son to the human race
Gonna bring them back into my grace.
Gonna crush that snake, Gonna stomp his head
Though he strike my heal, Gonna kill him dead.
Gotta wait for Him through thick and thin,
Gotta set your hope on the Coming King

 

 

More kids songs here

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/124045662" params="color=ff6600&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

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In 2011, Gavin Tyte won ITV’s Nativity Factor with his Beatbox Nativity (see below).

Gavin is an ordained Anglican minister and now a full-time pastor to the beatboxing community. In this interview, Gavin talks about his faith, his beatboxing and his witness. He speaks with refreshing clarity about the need to be authentic - to love people, to use our gifts and to let our witness flow out of a genuine love for Christ, for people and for the world.

Check out Beatbox Bible to see Luke's Gospel rapped and to learn to do the same - what a resource!

Andy and I really enjoyed talking to him, hope you enjoy listening.

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A repost

I preached in a pub this afternoon.  There was a gospel choir giving a concert and I said a few words here and there.  While the choir was doing its thing I spotted a pretty young blonde in the crowd eyeing up the female conductor with the kind of jealousy only a woman can muster. Men are too emotionally shallow for such mixtures of awe, scorn and terrified confusion. The conductor was dancing away, clapping and singing, leading the choir in joyful praise. The blonde looked like she just about remembered smiling, back before she renounced sudden facial movements for the sake of her plastic beauty.  Anyway, it prompted this poem:

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Plaintive, Platinum, Pained
Caked in make up,
faked up, furtive,
Birdlike watching,
wild-eyed, wondring how she's watched.

Faintly feeble, restless, regal,
perched in peerless poses,
None opposes,
Female poseurs all faced-down.
No finer found
than she.
And she knows it.

Yet on this day, a blaze is lit, to flit
Upon her plastic face.  New radiant grace
descends to offend. To bend and afflict her.
Slight frowns a-flicker.
Scowls unfurl.
Lips now curl.
For here a foreign fire is set upon her world.

Another sun is risen.
Unbidden.  And previously hidden.
She hasn't sought the room's permission.
And yet she stands four square, bare foot and laughing,
Leading, clapping, stamping, shouting.
Tangled hair and hands upraised,
God praised in ways unfazed
by inhibition.

At once the made-up beauty gapes. Envy's swirled.
There's longing there, in her stare.  And rage.
And awe and shame and scorn.
This light has dawned
from another age. A distant world.

The light, for her, was meant to fall,
and she to catch its rays,
in dappled hues upon her face.
She had not thought at all
That she was meant to blaze.

But then, what Force could ever source such light?
To call it mine and free-forgetful shine.
Much safer to take flight, flee to flattering night,
ever minding others' sight.
And yet true beauty will endure,
she stands secure,
first captured by a fierce delight,
And tunes our hearts to Joy's invite.

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H4When 10 of those asked me to do an evangelistic video for Halloween, I knew the dangers. Immediately I predicted a range of reactions reflecting the range of views on the subject.

When John Piper was asked about Halloween he summarized these varying approaches...

How to write something that satisfied all such groups?

Well, you can't. So I decided to write something for the friends of Christians - friends who would have little understanding of Halloween's origins or the gospel. That's the target audience. Therefore I'm not trying to convert Christians to 'trick or treating'. I am trying to engage trick-or-treaters (and their Facebooking parents) with the gospel.

Originally the video was going to be an animation with silhouetted figures playing the part of trick-or-treaters. We ran out of time for that and so decided to film it. On the day, I told the parents to bring children in whatever costumes they were comfortable with - a pirate or a spiderman would be perfect. I also brought some spare pumpkin costumes just in case. As it happened, the parents did a wonderful job on wardrobe and make-up as you can see.  And my videographer and soundtrack artist were incredibly good at evoking the mock-horror.

What we ended up with was a really quite scary first minute of film that went beyond what I'd imagined with words and a basic animation. But I'm glad for how the film has turned out. I think that initial impact grabs folks and hopefully pulls them into the gospel material. Remember - this is for non-Christians. Non-Christians.

So I want to make clear, my intention is not to open the doors for Christians to go trick-or-treating. I want to open the doors for trick-or-treaters to come to Christ!

Interestingly I've had complaints in the other direction too. One person so far has thought I'm too hard on paganism. I think they made some good points. They asked Why do we "mock" these spiritual beliefs (witches, paganism, etc)? Is it really Christian to mock? Would we similarly 'mock' Muslims or Hindus?  That complaint led to a really fruitful conversation. But I mention it just to say that the video is not at all trying to compromise with spiritual darkness but to unmask it.

Here's the bottom line for me: if you're not sold on the whole "mocking the darkness" angle (which I think is the true meaning of Halloween... see links below) then please don't get involved in Halloween just because we made a pretty video. I'm persuaded that Halloween can be engaged with positively, but if you're not persuaded then don't practice.

Romans 14:14 is the verse here:

I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.

Just cos I made it rhyme, doesn't mean I'm right. If you're a Christian wondering what your approach to Halloween will be this year, our video hasn't solved anything for you. You can't short-cut the reading, thinking and praying part.

If you want some pointers in the direction of Christian engagement with Halloween, James Jordan is my top tip on a starting place. Peter Dray has also written a great paper (delivered first as an evangelistic talk). The Oxford Concise Dictionary of the Christian Church has good entries on "All Saints Eve" and "All Saints Day" (which deny that ancient Christians simply adopted pagan practices). CS Lewis's introduction to the Screwtape Letters gives sound advice on neither thinking too highly nor too little of evil powers and gives a great defence of holy mockery. He quotes Luther:

“The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.” (Martin Luther)

Alan Rudnick writes from an American perspective and Steve Utley from a British one. Michael Spencer and Anderson Rearick might be a step too far for some, but they're fascinating for showing how attitudes have changed on this issue.

If you're after a video for how Christians should engage Halloween, then check out Ed Drew's video. Our video is designed to reach non-Christians. And to that end I ask that you get busy sharing it towards the end of October. If we really want to oppose Satan then, as Luther says "Christians should face the devil with the Word of God."

 

Preacher Silhouette 2

The tune for 'Praise My Soul' works

O thou brain -- exalted, senior,
Holding forth from pulpit's throne.
Feed us with thy academia,
Meted out in monotone.
‘We could never,
‘We could never,
‘Plumb such myst'ries on our own.'

Hear the classics now recited,
Tumbling from thy tutored lips.
Nooks ignored are now ignited,
By thy Greek and Latin quips.
‘O how richly
‘O how richly,
‘Wisdom from each sentence drips.'

Teach us frames to fathom glory,
Scriptures' tale doth not agree.
Pure distil the Jesus story,
Into subtle sophistry.
‘All was darkness
‘All was darkness,
‘Till thou spoke and now we see.'

Pompous, ponderous, proud, pretentious,
Leaning o'er thy preacher's perch.
Pressing out the sap that quenches,
Thirst for knowledge, Eden's search.
‘Breathe thy wisdom
‘Breathe thy wisdom
‘Till inflated is thy church'

O thou noble mind pray guide us,
Through the darkness and the lies.
Warn us from thy foul deriders,
We shall fear, avoid, despise.
‘Raise a banner
‘Raise a banner
‘We shall chant thy tribal cries.'

How to mark our true devotion?
What could ever count as praise?
But to clone thy stale emotion,
Forced to feign thy learned ways.
‘Where's my study?
‘Where's my study?
‘I'll abide there all my days.'

Marching strong into the brightness,
Resolute, we set our face.
Staunch persistence, clothed in rightness,
Rectitude, our saving grace.
‘Call us onward
‘Call us onward
‘Grimly to our resting place.'

Then one day in vindication,
Face to face at last we'll see
Precious few in that location,
Gathered with thy coterie.
‘Now receive us
‘Now receive us
‘To thy ‘ternal library.'

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I've been working on a song about firstfruits for a while. I love the fact that Easter Sunday was the day the future arrived. Jesus' resurrection appearances give us snapshots of the world to come. What a future!

This version is different from my earlier effort. Mainly because now it's a round. Yes I know. Another round. I think I might have a problem...

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQJFP4-fE-4]

Download Audio

[audio https://christthetruth.net/audio/Firstfruits.mp3]

Firstfruits - taste of tomorrow
Firstfruits - hope when there's sorrow
Jesus rose up from the dead
to show all His people the world that lies ahead

It was country walks and heart-warming talks
Mind-blowing preaches and breakfast on beaches
Feasting and family and peace and grace
and Jesus our battle-scarred Brother, face to face.

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preacherFor more vitrio-verse on "preaching" check out this hymn.

And here is a poem to encapsulate all that's worst about show-pulpitry...

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“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture,” he loudly proclaims
“Our rule and our guide, Our fount and our frame.
We stand on the bible, for better, for worse
But let me give vent to my own bluster first.”

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, so let me digress –
To warn you of others who do not confess
Our creed guaranteed to produce a revival:
We are the ones who honour the bible.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, though some shun our scheme
Daring to preach on one verse, or a theme!
I really must warn you about all our rivals,
And then I will ask you to take up your bibles.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, and so I rehearse
Our constant insistence on verse by verse.
Methodical, logical, slowly proceeding,
This is our system, now, what was our reading?

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, but don’t be naive,
The troubles with preaching you would not believe.
We must invest time in Corinthian Gnostics,
The value of genre and Hebrew acrostics.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, a difficult book,
But do not despair for to me you can look.
The dirty great chasm between then and now
Is bridg’d by my painstaking, expert know-how.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, The clock is against us!
I fear that I shan’t do this passage its justice.
We’ve only got time for a mere  bible dip,
Yet before we explore – a joke and a quip.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, but first let me quote
From Shakespeare and Churchill, a drole anecdote,
My children’s exploits and the signs of the times,
The state of the church, and, my, how time flies!

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, just time for essentials,
But, wait, have I listed my many credentials?
My friends in high places, the people I meet,
The man I converted in the aeroplane seat?

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, although it’s a drag
I’ll lighten the tone with a mother-in-law gag.
And stories I’ve stolen from preachers at will.
Consider it sugar to sweeten the pill.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, though sixty six books –
This story of glory’s more plain than it looks.
Distilling its filling through splendid oration,
You’ll see it boils down to this fine illustration.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, the detail’s not vital,
I’ve spent all my time on a memorable title
And quaint turns of phrase that will please only me,
And predictable points, beginning with ‘P’.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, my time is now through,
My pithy summation will just have to do.
You guessed it the moment my sermon began:
God is the Boss. Submit to His plan.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, And now let us pray,
‘I thank You my Father You made me this way,
Not like all those others about whom we’ve heard
For I am the preacher who honours Your word.’”

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Udxu2Hg5IQ]

Rich Owen and I have updated the words to a great old hymn by WC Smith: "Earth was waiting, spent and restless."  Rich did one version to the tune of Cwm Rhonda.  I've set it to the tune of "Infant Holy, Infant Lowly."

World awaiting, fallen, fainting,
Certain hope with mingled fear;
Hard the dying, long the sighing,
'Surely, Lord, the day is near;
Come Messiah, Earth's Desire,
Hope of nations, generations,
Speed the hour when you appear,
Speed the hour when you appear!'

Dead in Adam, Israel barren,
where the Lord shall claim His own.
God's elected, now rejected,
under curse and law they groan.
Sin abounding, hope confounding,
Wisdom darkened, hating, hardened,
In our pit He made His home,
In our pit He made His home.

Spirit sending, Christ descending,
To a virgin, meek came down.
To exchange a throne for manger,
Through the cross to claim His crown,
Sorrows sharing, burdens bearing,
Weakness shouldered, man enfolded,
Adam's flesh became His gown.
Adam's flesh became His gown.

Jacob's story, stooping glory,
To retrace the path we trod,
Heaven's Dearest, coming near us,
Bearing Man back home to God.
Loving Neighbour, Prince and Saviour,
Priest and Ransom, Brother, Champion,
Son of Man and Son of God,
Son of Man and Son of God.

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Will Mackerras has done a fantastic job with the Banjo Bible: The greatest story ever told, as Australian poet Banjo Paterson might have told it!  He takes you through the whole bible in the manner of a bush balladeer.

Here's a Christmas version of "There was movement at the station" - based on Paterson's original poem here.  Will's video is so authentic, he even trained flies to crawl across the lens on cue!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JElfkKLEPaI&feature=youtu.be]

There was movement in the heavens for the word had passed around,
That overnight the Son of God had got away,
And then had joined the wildest mob that ever ran upon the ground –
A race of creatures fierce and feral, scorned and stray.
For he had taken on a body in a human mother’s frame,
And so the angels gathered, readied for the fight,
For any cherub loves adventure where redemption is the aim,
And all the seraphs snuff the battle with delight.

There was the Father, God Almighty, who it seemed had made a plan
For the manoeuvre many centuries ago,
For he was briefing all his minions that this little Son of Man
Would bring an end to the rebellion down below.
And then the Spirit of the overflow, the Holy number three,
Was there to muster all his power in the lead,
For with the Father and the Son he was the Lord – the Trinity,
And it was up to them to make the plan succeed.

“Now there’s a little while to wait”, the Father said in measured tone,
“For he’ll be in his mother Mary longer yet.”
“However Joseph, her fiancé, needs a briefing of his own,
For when he notices he could be quite upset.”
And so an angel known as Clancy went to make the matter mild,
And as he left the Father wore a tender grin –
He added “Clancy, tell him ‘Jesus’ is the name to give the child,
For he’ll be rescuing a people from their sin”.

And so he went; they next assembled forty weeks or so from then,
When Mary saddled up her small and weedy beast.
It had a touch of Timor donkey; three parts thoroughbred of ten –
A hard and tough and wiry burro of the east.
And it would carry her to Bethlehem with Joseph at her side,
And it was there the Saviour joined the atmosphere,
And in the firmament above, the gathered heavenlies applied
their very all to give a hale and hearty cheer.

And now from Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges raise
Their torn and rugged battlements on high,
To the wildly busy cities, where the lamps and headlights blaze
Into the midnight of the vast and starry sky;
Indeed wherever gospel messengers have held a little sway
Across out beautiful and well created earth,
A Saviour known as Jesus is a household word today,
And joyful millions tell the story of his birth.

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You can listen to two further samples here.  The rest of the recordings will be up on December 17th.

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