The Gift

The greatest gift of all was born –
The gift of Christmas presence:
The God-man facing scorn and thorn
To save the sinful peasants.

Unto a race which cried for blood
Christ Jesus came fulfilling
The Father’s plan foretold in flood,
Worked out in Christ’s own killing.

But death of son meant death of sin.
The devil was defeated.
Christ’s rising brought new life to men,
And God will not be cheated.

So let the gospel ring this year
In ev’ry celebration,
And speak with joy to ev’ry ear
Of peace to ev’ry nation.

Faith’s Effect

Faith's Effect image.jpg

Success is measured not in thought alone,
Nor victory in mind’s imagining.
Accomplishment is not emotion shown.
Fulfillment ne’er forsakes the offering.
But faith is evidenced by faithful deeds,
By empty pockets and by calloused hands.
It proves itself in prayer, in meeting needs,
In bringing light and love to darkened lands.
It stands against this present apathy
And challenges the heart of selfishness.
If Christ was crushed for sin instead of me,
Then let me never speak but to confess.
True faith compels me to apply the Word
And testify to Christ till all have heard.

My Heart’s Desire and Plea

My Heart's Desire and Plea picture

I long for you to fin’lly see
The stains of this iniquity,
To recognize the travesty,
To turn to Christ our hope and plea.
I pray for you to one day be
Reborn a child of royalty
So that you would be ever free
From sin’s eternal poverty.
The curse’s pow’r no more remains;
Christ’s blood has cleansed the deepest stains.
He condescended to our pains,
Ascended, now forever reigns.
So you need not inhabit holes
Hewn by the hands of hostage souls.
Now turn your gaze to higher goals
As all creation now extols
The one who gave the beggar sight,
Forgave the wrong and showed the right,
Took up the sword and won the fight,
The incarnation of the light.

Profundity and Clarity

In a strange way, I feel like profundity is equivalent with difficulty. If a piece of art confuses me, or if a poem baffles me, or if a movie leaves me scratching my head, I assume that what I’m observing is quite deep. I believe there to be a meaning hidden below the surface of the medium, and the entire piece becomes a puzzle to figure out. I consider the small details, I hypothesize about possible hints, and I attempt to read between the lines to unravel the mystery hidden in the uncertainty. I noticed this recently when I read T. S. Eliot, or when I listened to Coldplay, or when I watched Eraserhead. I found myself incredibly intrigued (and, at the same time, incredibly confused) by the hiddenness and seeming vagueness of the art. I also found myself inspired by these stories and lyrics, wishing I could write something so deep. Continue reading

Undeserved Grace

Have you ever been humbled by the grace of God?

Last night, as I was on my way to grab some food before watching The Walking Dead finale with my roommates, I found myself getting frustrated at traffic. I kept looking at the clock in the car, wondering whether I’d be able to make it through the Taco Bell line in time to see the opening scene of the episode. I don’t like being late, and I really don’t like missing any part of a story, so I let myself inwardly grumble about every little thing that could possibly delay my arrival back at the apartment. Simply put, I was being a selfish punk. And yet, I didn’t have any reason to be frustrated. Most of the traffic lights were green on my way back, including those that seem to always stop me, and the traffic wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I managed to walk into the apartment just as the show was beginning. As I drove, God seemed to make it clear that he was working things out for me, even though I was being selfish about the whole situation. He was showing me grace in the very moment that I knew I didn’t deserve it. Continue reading

The Gospel According to Die Hard

I spent roughly the first seventeen and a half years of my life in the same city. I only ever attended my home church, I was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school, and my circle of friends consisted almost solely of kids I’d grown up with at church and a handful of students I’d met through state youth choirs and events. My parents and extended family are largely Christian, and the friends I made in my neighborhood growing up were from much the same background as I. All in all, I lived a somewhat sheltered life.
Continue reading

Sharpening

How can I comfort those who mourn
Unless I learn to mourn myself?
For fellowship with those forlorn,
I must be taken from the shelf.
For there I sat so safe and calm,
But there I also gathered dust.
If this, my life, would be a balm,
Then I must learn that God is just
Not just in times of peace and rest,
But in my sorrow, sickness, strife.
If I would follow heaven’s best,
I will not have an easy life.
But through my broken heart, he speaks,
And through my suff’ring, Christ is seen.
If soon, with death, my body reeks,
My soul, by grace through faith, is clean.
So why would I avoid the pain
If, through the turmoil, faith is grown?
The struggle leads to priceless gain
As man’s despair is overthrown.
All things do work together for
The good of those He called in love,
And though we walk the road of war,
God reigns in sov’reignty above.

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Christmas

The king was troubled in his soul
As news was told of kingly birth.
He spawned a plot to keep control,
Consumed with thoughts of his own worth.
But even in his selfish ploy,
He could not stifle heaven’s plan.
Despite the sons he did destroy,
He did not stop good news to man.
For God so loved the world.
For God so loved the world.
From long ago the Lord has said
That he would send a saving son
To stand upon the serpent’s head
And bring new life to ev’ry one
Who followed after Adam’s way
In breaking heaven’s holy law.
Messiah came to bring the day,
To rescue men from sin and flaw.
For God so loved the world.
For God so loved the world.
Though earth was lost in darkest night,
The souls of mankind dead and still,
The darkness saw a holy light
It did not, will not, cannot kill.
Now gone: defeat, despair, and death,
For hope and life and peace he brings.
He fills our lungs with living breath.
With triumph, ev’ry voice now sings:
For God so loved the world.
For God so loved the world.