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6 minute extract:

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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…

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[audio http://www.christthetruth.org.uk/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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I started writing this for an all-age talk, but I think it might not be simple enough for that. What do you think?

He climbed up the hill, the cross on His back.
He breathed His last breath and the sky turned black.
But death could not hold Him, He rose up in might
And showed us the Dawn that’s beyond the Night

It was Country walks and heart-warming talks,
Mind-blowing preaches and breakfast on beaches.
Hope reignited, friends reunited,
Feasting and family and grace
And Jesus our battle-scarred Brother,
Speaking His peace to us face to face.

The hill we must climb, it stretches ahead
The footsteps of Jesus, His people must tread.
As night closes in we ask “Is there a Dawn?”
The risen Lord Jesus says “Think Easter Morn”

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This is my favourite Gethsemane hymn and perhaps even my favourite hymn of all time.

Pity about the singing (and the finger picking). But I made this one because I couldn’t find another version set to “Kelvingrove”. If you can find one, let me know.

When you prayed beneath the trees, it was for me, O Lord;
When you cried upon your knees, how could it be, O Lord?
When in blood and sweat and tears, you dismissed your final fears,
When you faced the soldier’s spears, you stood for me, O Lord.

When their triumph looked complete, it was for me, O Lord,
When it seemed like your defeat, they could not see, O Lord!
When you faced the mob alone, you were silent as a stone,
And a tree became your throne; you came for me, O Lord.

When you stumbled up the road, you walked for me, O Lord,
When you took your deadly load, that heavy tree, O Lord;
When they lifted you on high, and they nailed you up to die,
And when darkness filled the sky, it was for me, O Lord.

When you spoke with kingly power it was for me O Lord
in that dread and destined hour you made me free O Lord
Earth and heaven heard you shout, death and hell were put to rout
For the grave could not hold out; you are for me O Lord.

Words: Christopher Idle
Music: Scottish Traditional melody (Kelvingrove)

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Perhaps one of these might be helpful to you:

An all age teaching on Gethsemane:

It’s a game of pass the parcel where the parcel is a poisoned cup. There’s a song to go with it:

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Little Fish! (Jesus is bigger than death)

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Seed Song (Jesus is the Seed who dies and rises to bring life)

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This is different to a version I demonstrated a few months ago.  Back then I drew the world twice – once with Adam taking it down and once with Christ raising it up.  That’s obviously not ideal – Christ saves this world.  So in this version we’ve overcome that problem with the help of a nifty fold – Christ descending onto this world to do Adam’s job right.  I much prefer this version – not least because you get to do a bit of gospel origami!

Learn how to draw 321 for yourself here.

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Songs

Slide25I thought I’d finally collect my songs together into one place.

I tell people I write them for kids (most of them). But I write them for me. And as far as I can tell it’s the grown-ups who end up singing them anyway. So. You know…

I reckon a Christian’s theology is basically formed by the kids songs they’ve learnt and the evangelistic outline they use.

So yes, I am indeed trying to take over the world.

By the way, I’m under no illusions that I’m much good at this, but that’s never stopped me in the past. And it shouldn’t stop any of you either! Seriously. Life’s too short to worry whether others will impugn your motives or consider you a show-pony. Who cares. If it’s in you, get it out there. And if my unabashed averageness emboldens folks with genuine talent then that’s a good outcome.

Below you can listen or download the mp3s. Here’s the Youtube Playlist:

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(Right click on the name of the song to download it)

321 Praise the Lord    Video

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321 Round    Video

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Ascension Song for Kids    Words

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Don’t Be Afraid – Luke 2 Round     Video

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Easter Morn (chorus similar to “Firstfruits”)    Video

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Earth Was Waiting Spent And Restless    Video

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Fake Plastic Trees Country Hoedown – A Harvest Song    Video

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Firstfruits    Video

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From the Squalor    Video

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God Said Go – Jonah

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God So Loved The World – John 3:16 Round   Video

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He Rose Up

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How Long O Lord Till Christmas – OT Hope for Christ    Video

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Let Me Tell You A Secret – Philippians 4:13 (needs work)

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Little Fish – Easter Song      Video

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Martian Came Down    Video

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Moving Houses – The Egypt Song

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My God Is My Refuge – Psalm 18 round    Video

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My God Is So Small – Christmas Song    See Video for explanation

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Oh Sinner

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Power! – Romans 1:16-17  (needs work)

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Rising Sun – Luke 1:78     Video

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Shelter From The Storm

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Shipwrecked (theme song for the Shipwrecked Holiday Club)

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The Boy Who Fell Down A Hole     Video

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The Poisoned Cup – Gethsemane Song     Watch The Video for more

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The Seed Song – For Easter    Video

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When You Prayed Beneath The Trees     Video

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Taken from Mike’s series on justification here.

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Happy Friday

A home grown Happy Friday for you today.

Some say my preaching fails to be “relevant”. Some say I never engage with contemporary issues and movements. I hope this video finally puts the accusation to bed:

And yes, I stole the gag from Twitter.

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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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Here are two different 321 songs – both are based on Fanny Crosby’s “To God be the Glory”.  One simply uses the old tune (and has slightly child-friendlier lyrics), the other is a round.

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I’ve used different lyrics at different points, but I think these are the words I’m most happy with:

Forever Three tethered together as one,
The Father and Spirit embracing the Son.
Before and beyond and beneath and above,
Our God is a Family united in love.

Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord,
Let the peoples rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
Be filled by His Spirit with all Christ has done.

The world has a history written by two:
King Adam fell faithless, King Jesus renewed.
First Adam brought darkness and death and a curse,
But Jesus came second — the fall to reverse.

Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord,
Let the peoples rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
Be filled by His Spirit with all Christ has done.

Once born into Adam but now we can be
United to Jesus, adopted, set free.
As one with the Son we are given new birth,
His Father, His Spirit and heaven on earth!

Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord,
Let the peoples rejoice!
O Come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
Be filled by His Spirit with all Christ has done.

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It’s finally here – 321, the Story of God, the World and You.

I’ve been mulling this over for a while.  It seems to me our presentations of the gospel are generally quite anaemic and, at times, outright Unitarian (not to mention Pelagian).

Recently I outlined the dangers of gospelling without Trinity.  Then I considered the problem of side-lining our bondage in Adam.  Then I explored the necessity of proclaiming union with Christ.

It’s easy to pick holes with other presentations.  Here’s my attempt to do something positive.  This is trying to be doctrinally faithful, pedagogically memorable and simple without being simplistic.

I’ll grant that it’s considerably more involved than many presentations.  But perhaps it’s best to think of it as catechism for believers.   I hope it will bring Christians back to these central doctrines and inform our gospelling of others.

The outline is essentially this:

3  God is three Persons united in love

2  The story of the world is the story of two men

1  You are one with Adam.  Will you be one with Jesus?

Here’s the video, animated by the excellent Jeremy Poyner

In future, I will unpack how 3, 2 and 1 do not diminish but are vital foundations for the planks of more traditional tracts – i.e. Creation, Fall, Cross, Repentance.

But for now, please go to the new website – 321.  Show the video on Facebook and Twitter.  And stay tuned for more videos, articles, tracts and a very affordable book  – all in the pipeline.

Subscribe to three-two-one.org

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And here are some other rounds from the past:

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A round based on Luke 1:78-79.

Best on full screen with headphones.  And do join it.  That’s the point…

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It’s your parents’ 40th wedding anniversary.  Your father’s holding a big dinner as a surprise for Mum.  He wants the whole family there.  Everyone.  Including your wretched brother – a heroin addict who’s been nothing but trouble.  Your father has been through hell trying to keep him alive and out of prison.  He’s even had to pay off mobsters with extortionate sums to stop them killing him.

At every stage your brother has shamed the family.  And at every stage your parents have pursued the boy and bailed him out.  They’ve paid any price to bring him back.

You, on the other hand, have never been any trouble.  You’ve kept out of your parents’ way, put your head down and worked hard.  You spent your teenage years hitting the books and keeping yourself to yourself.  The first chance you got, you left home and made your way in the world.  You didn’t need any help and you never asked Dad for a penny.

Now your father wants the whole family to sit around the same table.  And, wouldn’t you know it, your brother is actually keen on the whole idea!  It’s unthinkable.  You can’t go. You won’t go.

First you avoid your brother’s calls. Then your father rings: “Please son I want you all there.”

Unbelievable.  You’re being cast as the bad guy?  You’re the sticking point?  How ridiculous!  Can’t everyone see, it’s your brother.

But Dad continues to press you.  “Son, I haven’t seen you in so long, can we meet face to face?”  No we cannot, you think.  There was something deeply disturbing about your father’s gaze.  He seemed to search your face for something that just wasn’t there.  And you both knew it.  You’d been avoiding that gaze for as long as you could remember.

“Well then,” he asks “would you do it for your mother?” Oh, now he’s playing that card is he?  Fury grips you.  This is precisely the problem.  Some households have a little thing called family manners.  With yours it’s all family and no manners.  It’s all caring and no consequences.  Well no longer.

If it’s a choice between brotherhood and behaviour, you pick behaviour.  And you hope they choke on their mercy meal.

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Hell is not an equal opposite to heaven.

Hell is outer darkness, shut out from the Light.

Hell is the judgement flowing from God’s mercy.

Hell is for good people.

Hell is getting what you want.

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A sermon on the theme

Audio  Video  Text  Powerpoint

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One Minute Videos

Recently we filmed some 1 minute videos for UCB.  Here’s one:

Contrary to that screen-shot, at no point do I say “Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.”

I didn’t massively plan what I was going to say, but these were the topics that came out when a camera was pointed at me:

Trinity

Christ our High Priest

Christ our Sacrifice

Turn the other cheek

The glory of Jesus

How to picture God

True holiness

Heading for a happy ending

The King’s Jubilee

The Lamb at the centre of the throne

Our marriage union to Jesus

God our Father

His arms are open to you

They can all be found here.

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Coincidentally, on that page I just found some other sermon videos of me…

Big Questions: Does God even exist?

Big Questions: Why does God allow suffering?

Big Questions: Aren’t all religions basically the same?

Big Questions: Why doesn’t God accept all people in the end?

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A three-part round based on Psalm 18.
Two-parters are for binitarians.

If you listen with headphones you’ll be able to pick out the parts more distinctly.

Words:

My God is my Refuge and He is my Rock,
My Stronghold My Shield and My Saviour,
I call on His name and He fights all my foes,
He lifts me up out of all danger

You stoop down to make me great.
You brought me out to a spacious place.

You save your King from His enemies,
We sing to Him for His victories.

Chords: G C D

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My YouTube channel with more songs

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Happy Friday

You’ve got three weeks of Whose Line Is It Anyway? – enjoy!

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