Maintain A High View of Christ

"The more you know about Christ, the less you will be satisfied with superficial views of Him."
Charles H. Spurgeon


Mi Vida Es Cristo

A little over a year ago I posted a video to a great song called "All I Haveis Christ." Tonight I came across the Spanish version of the song: "Mi Vida Es Cristo." Whether you speak Español or not, I hope you enjoy this version of the song too. 

En densa oscuridad vagué 
Perdido en el error
La senda vana del placer
A muerte me llevó
Siendo rebelde a Tu voz
Quisiste amarme así
De no haber sido por Tu amor
Aún huiría de Ti

En rumbo a mi perdición Indiferente aún
De mí tuviste compasión
Me guiaste a la cruz
Y contemplé tu gran bondad
Sufriste Tú por mí
Al Tú morir en mi lugar
Tu gracia recibí

Mi vida es Cristo
Jesús es mi todo

Ahora, Señor, Tuyo seré
Y viviré por Ti Tus mandamientos seguiré
Por Tu poder en mí
Usa mi vida, oh Señor
Como lo quieras Tú
Y que sea siempre mi canción
“Mi gloria eres Tú” 

© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)


Though You Slay Me

So refreshing to hear a song (and some preaching) that is honest, biblical, and doesn't just provide the same ol' superficial, trite message most "Christians" tend to give to hurting people these days.

I come, God, I come
I return to the Lord
The one who’s broken
The one who’s torn me apart
You strike down to bind me up
You say you do it all in love
That I might know you in your suffering

Though you slay me
Yet I will praise you
Though you take from me
I will bless your name
Though you ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

My heart and flesh may fail
The earth below give way
But with my eyes, with my eyes I’ll see the Lord
Lifted high on that day
Behold, the Lamb that was slain
And I’ll know every tear was worth it all

Though you slay me
Yet I will praise you
Though you take from me
I will bless your name
Though you ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

Though tonight I’m crying out
Let this cup pass from me now
You’re still more than I need
You’re enough for me
You’re enough for me

[Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there. But all of it is totally meaningful. Every millisecond of your pain, from the fallen nature or fallen man, every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that.

I don’t care if it was cancer or criticism. I don’t care if it was slander or sickness. It wasn’t meaningless. It’s doing something! It’s not meaningless. Of course you can’t see what it’s doing. Don’t look to what is seen.

When your mom dies, when your kid dies, when you’ve got cancer at 40, when a car careens into the sidewalk and takes her out, don’t say, “That’s meaningless!” It’s not. It’s working for you an eternal weight of glory.

Therefore, therefore, do not lose heart. But take these truths and day by day focus on them. Preach them to yourself every morning. Get alone with God and preach his word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for.]

Though you slay me
Yet I will praise you
Though you take from me
I will bless your name
Though you ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need


Nah I'm Alright

This summarizes the very reason my heart breaks for people and why I'm angry at the so called "pastors" that allow it to happen while embracing increased attendance as a sign of the Lord's blessing. I pray the Holy Spirit intervenes and lives are truly submitted to the Lordship of Christ. Amen. 


For Whose Glory?

Perhaps someday soon I’ll finish a draft article I’ve periodically worked on for the last year that I've tentatively titled “Me, My, I, We, I, Us, Our.” I honestly don’t expect it to be received well by most, so breaking the ice now could be a helpful preparatory exercise. I’m sure you’re curious what I’m talking about, and you’d probably never guess it from the title I just referenced (at least not without some context), but I’m referring to the subject of our worship. I’m referring to the (not so subtle) true subject of most American church-goers worship: self.

To illustrate my position I’ll use a new “worship” song I recently learned for our Sunday worship service. Let me give you a sampling of the lyrics:
I know I still make mistakes But You have new mercies for me everyday
I don't have to be afraid because I know that You love me
I'm not alone here in these open seas
The chasm is far too wide, I never thought I'd reach the other side
And then the real kicker, the line that really gets me;
You make, all things, work together for my good.

Sadly I’m convinced that most of American Christianity is incompetent when it comes to worshiping the Lord. Need evidence? Since “worship” is defined (in American Christianity) as singing songs, we don’t have to look any further than the popular worship songs today. The vast majority of these songs are more about us than God and most church-goers are none the wiser. Worshipers are more concerned with musical style, sanctuary lighting, visual effects, and sound system volume, than cultivating an accurate and God honoring doctrine of worship.

I’ll keep this concise (for now) and wrap-up with a warning, a couple of questions, and a challenge that will hopefully jumpstart your thoughts on the subject:
  • Be very careful who you’re worshiping and why (John 4:19-26). 
  • Are you in fact worshiping God as the Lord God Almighty, based on his attributes, regardless of your circumstances? Or are you worshiping yourself and merely honoring His service to YOU (Amos 5:23)?
You make, all things, work together for my good”???
  • In the coming weeks, consider closely the lyrics of the songs you sing in church and even the songs you hear on Christian Radio. Are they really written* to glorify the Lord and bring Him honor or are they often self-serving and actually more about us than God?
Show me a song that says, “You make, all things, work together for the glory of Your Name” and I’ll show you a worship song I’m willing to sing. A song that isn’t about me. A song of worship the Lord won’t reject.  

*I’m not questioning motive here; I believe motive to typically be genuine and honorable. I am however, questioning the message (both overt and subliminal/unintentional) of the final delivered (and often marketed) product. 

His Slave to Righteousness

- Tyler Wess


The Doctrine of Ranch Dressing

I recently realized that “Love” is American Christianity’s ranch dressing.
You’re probably thinking I’ve finally gone too far, but no, I haven’t completely lost my mind. In fact, the more I consider this metaphor the more I believe it to be true. Hear me out before you write me off.

In America, ranch dressing has become the national dip of choice (feel free to substitute ketchup if it’s still your preferred dip). We dip or pour ranch dressing on just about everything. We use ranch to enhance the taste of some foods and to cover-up the taste of many others. I’d even say that too often food is nothing more than a mechanism for delivering ranch to our mouths. I have a daughter that doesn’t even need the food component; she’ll dip her finger directly and lick the ranch off if we’re not watching. She’s only 5, but when my wife or I challenge her to eat something she doesn’t like, her first (and immediate) response is always to ask if she can have some ranch to dip it in. That’s exactly how it is for most church-goers these days. Replace the ranch dressing bottle with a bottle of faux-love* and I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. As soon as a teaching or situation comes up that doesn’t "taste good," somebody quickly gets out a Costco sized jug of superficial faux-love (ranch) and pours it all over the teaching, the teacher, and the whole class.

Anytime someone tries to preach on anything that challenges cultural tolerance, they’d better be prepared for a bath of faux-love judgment. Try to teach a biblical perspective on easy-believeism, or what a Christian’s life should look like and everyone yells, “foul!” and reaches for their bottle of faux-love. If someone dares to teach on something really unpopular like, divorce, premarital sex, or discipline (church or self), they’re expected to douse the teaching in enough love (ranch - you still with me?) to make sure no one can actually see, taste, or smell anything in the teaching save love.

True godly love** does need to be used to frame and enhance biblical teaching, but it should never be used to completely mask and hide all other complementary (or controversial) truth. In and of itself ranch, and dare I say American Christianity's version of love, lacks any nutritional value and can actually be harmful to our health, both physical and spiritual.

I'll digress and leave you with this exhortation: Please make sure you’re delighting the Lord and the taste of His truth and not just addicted to love-dressing.

His Slave to Righteousness

     - Tyler Wess

* The bottle is labeled “Brotherly Love,” but the ingredient list says: tolerance, blind acceptance, ignorance and fear.

** Be watching for a series on 1 Corinthians 13 and a look at true godly love sometime soon.


Platt on Prayer

"I think it's interesting that in the church today so many of us ask, "Why is prayer necessary?" Maybe we don't ask it, but we really don't show with our lives that prayer is necessary. So we show with our lives that we're asking, "Why is prayer necessary?"

You know why I think we ask that question?
Because you don't need prayer when you're watching TV.
And we don't need prayer when we're mindlessly surfing the internet.
We don't need prayer then.
You don't need prayer when there's nothing at stake in your walk with Christ.
You don't need prayer when there's no risk in Christianity.
You don't need prayer when Christianity consists of a monotonous, religious, motion of routine week-in and week-out.
 You don't need prayer for that, you can do that on your own.

But when you risk everything to glorify Jesus Christ you need prayer.

When you sacrifice your possessions and your dreams and your hopes and your career and you lay it all on the line, and you stake your reputation down on your allegiance to Christ, you need prayer.

When your longing day-in and day-out is to lead people to faith in Christ, you need prayer. You rely on prayer. You are desperate for prayer because you are devoted to His mission.

And when the aim of your life is to affect as many people with the gospel of Christ for the glory of Christ you will find yourself given over to prayer."

- David Platt


Jesus: The Personification of God's Love

Jesus is the cipher
through which we see
and know God's love.
We hear a lot about “The Love of God” these days. I’d go so far as to say that we’re bombarded with the concept. God’s Love is proclaimed all over church sermons, Christian TV/movies, Christian radio, popular books, tracts, the worship songs we sing, and even bumper stickers, coffee mugs, and rubber ducky’s (among countless other retail trinkets). Love is easily our favorite of God's attributes – and for good reason, but I fear that it is so proliferated and so misrepresented that we’ve become desensitized to the true love of God. Tragically we’ve come to (wrongly) believe that God’s love is one of two things: a distant, general force of goodwill, or simply the opposite of judgment and intolerance. It is neither.

In John 14:9 Jesus said that if we have seen him, we have seen The Father. How amazing is that? By just turning to the Bible we have the ability to look at Jesus and see how he loved people. To know what the Father's love is really like all we have to do is observe Jesus' life.

One telling example we can look to regarding this divine love, is that of Jesus and Thomas in John 20:24-29. When we look at how Christ (after his Resurrection) dealt with Thomas, we see  how specific and intentional Jesus love is. He didn’t just ignore Thomas’ recent faithless actions (v. 24) or the antagonistic things he’d been saying (v. 25). He dealt with them, but he did it in love. He did it in love specific to Thomas. Did our Lord meet Thomas where he was? Yes, absolutely, but in that loving encounter, Christ challenged Thomas and took him to the next level of trust in himself (Jesus). What a great reminder that God’s love is more than just some general force, or words on a bumper sticker, but that it is a specific, intentional and personal love.

When we remember that seeing Jesus is seeing the Father, we begin to get an accurate and complete picture of God’s love. A love that preached (John 6:22-59), a love that prayed (Luke 22:31-32), a love that called for repentance (Mark 1:14), a love that taught (Matthew 6:5-14), a love that disciplined (Mark 8:31-33) and corrected (Luke 10:41-42). A love that divides (Luke 12:49-53) and love that healed and forgave (Matthew 9:1-8, John 21:15-19)… A self-sacrificing love that culminated in both, Christ laying down his own life for us (John 10:17-18), and The Father taking His Son’s life – literally crushing him in wrath (Isaiah 53:10). To us God crushing His son in wrath (Matthew 26:39, Isaiah 51:17,22) doesn't feel very loving, yet in a strange juxtaposition, the crushing was done in abundant love (for us - John 3:16). Brothers and sisters, look at the life of Jesus. Look long, look hard, and look often. Look at how he dealt with people. Look at how he pushed them, how he stretched them, and how he comforted them - all in love. 

As you strive to live "Christ-like" know this: Love is the filter through which everything we do and say should flow. Love is not the purpose, nor is it the goal. The love of God is not some Christian Nirvana that we're striving to attain. It is something we don’t deserve and something we can never understand by playing with a "Christian rubber duck" or even by singing a praise song. Look to Christ. He is the complete Word of God. He is the goal. He is the prize. He is not only our example, but he is the personification of the Love of God.

I pray that in its touted popularity, love never supersedes Christ in our thinking. I pray we'll always remember that Jesus is the cipher through which we see and know God's love.  May we never become desensitized to the true miracle of love of God. Oh that we will come to understand that our goal as Christians is to show others the Love of God – and the way we show them that love, is to show them Jesus Christ!

His Slave to Righteousness

- Tyler Wess



"So I'm arrogant for saying that I believe the Word of God is the measure of how life should function, but you're not arrogant for believing that your own brain is the standard? That what you think, is the standard? And then on top of that (arrogance), you have to believe that you think this culture, at this time, is the apex of human existence!?" 
                                                                                                                   - Matt Chandler