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A poem on the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2–4

A poem on the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2–4 I wrote in my personal devotions a few months ago when nearing the end of my journey to read through the whole Bible. Dear Ephesus, you work so hard and wicked people there you barred. Yet you have lost your earlier love, so now repent; love God above. Dear Smyrna, rich, while poor, in pain— fear not to suffer once again. Be faithful, even unto death, and I will give you life and breath. Dear Pergamum, where Satan lives, your faith, surprisingly, still thrives.  But you condone such heresy if you do not repent, you'll die! Dear Thyatira, you have shown your deeds, your faith, your love have grown. But this about you I despise: you bear that prostitute who lies. Dear Sardis, you all really think  you are alive? You're at death's brink! So wake up! Strengthen what remains,  else I will frighten, give you pains. Dear Philadelphia, I know your deeds, yet little strength to show. you keep my name, true all the while,
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Buried in the Grave of Jesus (Trench and Battles)

Mrs. J. A. Trench wrote a hymn text well over one hundred years ago entitled, "Buried in the Grave of Jesus." Much of it was outdated or misunderstood, so I moderately edited it for our church. Praise the Lord we had two ladies baptized, an octogenarian and a young wife and mother expecting a child! So I edited this hymn to be sung at their baptism service.  If I had to estimate who gets the credit for this hymn, it's probably 70% Mrs. Trench and 30% me. But it's all because of Jesus!  Words: Mrs. J. A. Trench (1843-1925) and Dustin Battles (1986– ) Music: NETTLETON, Anonymous 1. Buried in the grave of Jesus, we believe what God has said: Sin has no more pow’r to seize us, since in Jesus we were dead.  All the waves rolled over Jesus, there exhausted all their power. Death and judgment are behind us, grace and glory are before. 2. Firstfruits of the resurrection, Christ is risen from the tomb. Now we are a new creation: old has passed, the new has come.  Jesus died, a

How the Sacred Sign Reminds Me (Giles and Battles)

We recently had a baptism at our church. I gave the one being baptized several baptism hymns to consider for us to use during the worship service. He chose this hymn, but because it was so antiquated in language, I modernized and changed a lot of it. So it's originally a text by John Eustace Giles but I changed much of it.  I was made aware of this hymn by David Ward's website ThousandTongues (now called Hymnicity), but I want back to the original wording and updated it myself without consulting his. So I think it can rightly be called a new hymn with an old heritage.  Words: John Eustace Giles (1805–1875) and © Dustin R. Battles (1986– )   Suggested Music: Henry Smart, 1867 (REGENT SQUARE) How this sacred sign reminds me Savior, of your love to me. Buried with you, baptism binds me to you for eternity; Resurrection, resurrection guarantees new life for me! As I view the pool before me should I shun your selfless love? Though unworthy of your mercy,  should I run f

Why I switched to the CSB as my preaching and teaching translation

Why I switched to CSB from the NIV as my primary preaching and teaching translation: Short explanation In short, it's a modern language translation with a high level of accuracy and a good reputation.  Medium explanation It is just as accurate (if not more so) than the translation I was using before, just as vernacular, but a lot less baggage/stigma—plus, a lot of our members are using it anyway.  Long explanation I recently switched my main preaching and teaching translation to the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). Any time a pastor or church switches from one translation to another, it could be fodder for controversy. So let me explain my reasons. (If you're wondering which translation I switched from, I’ll get to that in a moment.) First, a clarification. I’m not of the opinion that there’s one “best” translation. We have scores of good ones like NASB, ESV, NET, and even the NLT (yes, I know the Message is not really a translation).  Why not one best translation?  For one, En

"We Are the Church": a hymn for the 50th anniversary of my church

Last month I decided at the last minute to write a hymn for the 50th anniversary of my church , which we celebrated on September 18–19. It's the fastest hymn I've ever written, composed in about 2 weeks' time.  I've never said this before, but now would be an appropriate time to note that any time I write a hymn, I always glean insights and feedback from friends and sometimes family. This hymn is no exception, especially since I wrote it so quickly. Many thanks to all those who helped me this time and every time. Also, the typesetting is by my friend Dan Kreider, who does excellent typesetting at Hymnworks . I wrote it for tune SINE NOMINE, which many will recall as the tune to "For All the Saints." I even included a slight nod to William Walsham How in the first stanza as I (mostly) used his "est" rhyme scheme.  Theologically, I use a less common pattern of Father, (Holy) Spirit, Son. This is not ideal, as the order (not hierarchy) of the Triune God

My college friend Peter Anglea (pronounced "angel") has put together his music composition abilities and computer programming skills to develop this amazing website called Doxology .  You can see download slides or sheets for 4-part hymns, lead sheets, or just the lyrics—and you can even change the key! All for free! It's a really creative and unique idea. Kudos to Peter! I have three songs on there—one original and two updates to historic texts: Help My Unbelief (with Paul Keew, administered by ChurchWorksMedia) I Saw One Hanging on a Tree (updated text by John Newton, paired with KINGSFOLD) My Song Is Love Unknown (I lightly updated the text and kept it paired with LOVE UNKNOWN)