“This Father’s Prayer for Grace”

IMy first pic with Graysonn the amazing kindness of the Lord, today my wife Stacie and I rejoiced at the birth of
our fourth son, Grayson Mitchell Chase. He was 7 pounds 15 ounces, 20 inches long, and arrived at 5:44 pm in Louisville, Kentucky, at Norton Suburban Hospital.

Here is a poetic reflection and prayer on the day of Grayson’s birth.

“This Father’s Prayer for Grace”
May 2, 2017

Praise and honor be to God
who rules the depths and heights,
and knits inside a mother’s womb
an image-bearer’s life.

What joy to declare the birth
of Grayson Mitchell Chase!—
this one whom we have longed to see
and now hold face to face.

We pray his future steps you will
direct to this chief end:
to glorify and to enjoy
Your Son who saves from sin.

Our fourth son needs a heart to love
and eyes of faith to see
the Risen, Reigning Lord above
who sets the captive free.

Father, you alone can grant
this father’s prayer for grace:
that gospel light will dawn upon
my Grayson Mitchell Chase.

“This Temple Will Be Raised” – A Good Friday Poem

The people of Israel were familiar with a temple being destroyed and rebuilt. When Jesus tells the people in John 2:19, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” the disciples later realized he was speaking about his body as a temple that would be destroyed and raised. Here is a Good Friday poem focusing on that temple motif:

jesus on the cross“This Temple Will Be Raised”
April 14, 2017

Seven years it took to build
The temple of the Lord,
That sacred space
And dwelling place
Where blood and life were poured.

But when the people saw the curse
That prophets warned would fall,
They strode the path
Of holy wrath,
And bitter was the gall.

Many years would pass before
The house, which fell by flame,
Was built to stand
In promised land
Once more for Yahweh’s name.

But all the blood of bulls and lambs
For sin could not atone,
So God the Son
Said, “It is done,”
And drank the cup alone.

Upon the hill they crucified
The temple of the Lord,
His body dead
Where, in our stead,
His blood and life were poured.

The people ’round the cross beheld
The one they deemed a fraud,
Who took the path
Of holy wrath,
The spotless Lamb of God.

Now he who once said, “In three days,
This temple will be raised,”
Who by the cross
Brought gain not loss,
Should be forever praised.

My 10 Favorite Reads in 2016

So many great books published, too little time to read them all. In no particular order, here are my favorite nonfiction reads this year. Almost all of them were published in 2016.

  1. Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord? A Biblical Theology of the Book of Leviticus, by L. Michael Morales.
  2. The Crucified King: Atonement and Kingdom in Biblical and Systematic Theology, by Jeremy R. Treat.
  3. You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, by James K. A. Smith.
  4. A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness, by John Piper.
  5. Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical, by Timothy Keller.
  6. Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification, by Sinclair B. Ferguson.
  7. Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel, by Ray C. Ortlund.
  8. God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of Christ, by Stephen J. Wellum.
  9. Impossible People: Christian Courage and the Struggle for the Soul of Civilization, by Os Guinness.
  10. Unparalleled: How Christianity’s Uniqueness Makes It Compelling, by Jared C. Wilson.

“Come, Thou Word” – A Christmas Hymn

The following lyrics of “Come, Thou Word” were composed to the tune of “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”

“Come, Thou Word”
December 20-21, 2016

Verse 1
Come, Thou Word, which with the Father
and the Spirit ever dwelled
And hath taken flesh to save us
from our sin and death and hell.
We behold Thee in Thy manger,
Fully God and fully man,
Myst’ry of the ages former,
Now revealed in Bethlehem.

Verse 2
Come, Thou King, whose birth the angel
Sang to shepherds in the night.
‘Round them came a host of heaven,
‘Round them shone a holy light.
“See I bring good news of great joy,
So no longer be afraid:
Christ the Lord, the promised Savior,
Unto you is born this day.”

Verse 3
Come, Thou Son, whose arms shall carry
Those fast-bound in chains of sin.
‘Mid this exile, ruined sinners
Shall be raised to life again.
He was born for our redemption,
O’er the manger loomed the Tree.
There in David’s little city
Lay the one who set us free.

“See This Child”–An Advent Poem for 2016

“See This Child”
December 6, 2016

See this child for whom all things
Are made and by whom held.
This mighty one, begotten Son,
Has come with men to dwell.

See this child with undefiled
Nature now asleep.
This righteous one, beloved Son,
Will scorn and murder reap.

See this child with tiny hands,
Who cries and must be fed.
This lowly one, a virgin’s Son,
Is everlasting bread.

See this child with infant smile
Whom heavenly host proclaim.
This worthy one, the royal Son,
Shall be for sinners slain.

See this child in swaddling cloths
And in a manger laid.
This gentle one, the promised Son,
Has come to kill the grave.

Happy Birthday, Jim Hamilton! Eleven Lessons He’s Taught Me

Today is April 11, 2016, and Jim Hamilton turns 42 years old. Eleven years ago in 2005, a month before I turned 22, I began my first semester of seminary and met him through taking his course on the book of Isaiah. In God’s kind providence, that course and subsequent interactions with Jim impacted my mind and heart in ways that still reverberate to this day.

I praise God for Jim’s example and service for Christ, for I know he’s impacted so many thousands of people over the years. In 2010 our family moved to Louisville so that I could pursue a PhD in Biblical Studies under Jim’s supervision, and in 2013 I was honored to be his first doctoral student to walk the stage.

I’ve learned so much from Jim. He has been a source of encouragement and counsel. At different times he has served as my professor, doctoral supervisor, and pastor. And I’m glad to call him a friend.

As I think about how Jim has been a blessing in my life, there are numerous lessons he’s taught me, either out loud or with his example. Since I’ve known him for eleven years, here are eleven things, in no particular order, that have affected the way I think about my faith, my family, my studies, and my ministry.

 

On Writing: Make the most of your time, writing during your most productive days/hours.

On Parenting: Be a fun dad, because the kids aren’t young for long.

On Reading the Bible: Read the Bible over and over again, and memorize as much as you can.

On Manhood: Be a man who pursues purity in heart and life.

On Marriage: Be unashamed at how much you love your wife.

On Fiction: Read Harry Potter.

On Reading the Old Testament: We should read the Old Testament like the apostles did.

On Languages: In biblical languages, as in sports, fundamentals matter.

On the Academic Life: Keep your head down and be faithful in your work.

On Preaching: Help the congregation see and feel their need for the passage.

On the Point of It All: What matters most is God’s glory–in salvation through judgment, of course.