It Is Not Death To Die

These lyrics have ministered to me with special meaning lately. I love this song.

It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God
It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears

O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just
It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore

© 2008 Integrity’s Praise! Music/Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Mother’s Day

Pastors are faced with quite a dilemma on Mother’s Day. Should we make a big deal about Mother’s Day in the worship service or not? There is a wide array of opinions when it comes to Mother’s Day services; some live for it, while others make intentional plans to miss services that week. While not exhaustive, here are [Continue Reading…]

Why We Moved our Member’s Meetings at Emmanuel

Those of us that believe in some form of congregational government are faced with a few practical logistical issues regarding how and when that takes place. Typically it takes place in the infamous “business meeting” after the worship service. At Emmanuel we recently we chose to move those meetings away from the Lord’s Day morning and [Continue Reading…]

Ministry Update

Here’s a little ministry update since some have asked how things are going for us in the transition to Emmanuel. Jesus is healing and building His Church in Clarksburg. We are learning much in the field of church revitalization firsthand and via some wonderful resources. There have been some huge strides made over the last [Continue Reading…]

One Anothering at Emmanuel

On Sunday evenings at Emmanuel we have started working through the “One Another” passages of the New Testament. These passages give us a glimpse of how our vertical relationship with Christ affects our horizontal relationship with “one another.” The following is the selection of texts that we are working through. The “One Another” Passages These passages give [Continue Reading…]

Resources for Ministry Transitions

Resources for Ministry Transitions

Over the last few months I’ve been reminded of the value of practical ministry helps. One area of practical theology that these tools are often neglected in is that of ministry transitions. There isn’t an explicit passage in the New Testament on “how to” do ministry transitions. There are, however, several implicit principles and examples in [Continue Reading…]

Book Review: RePlant: How a Dying Church Can Grow Again

Book Review: RePlant: How a Dying Church Can Grow Again

Details: Title: Replant: How a Dying Church Can Grow Again Authors: Mark Devine & Darrin Patrick Publisher: David C. Cook Date: May, 2014 I once had a professor who responded to a question in an unusual way. The question dealt with the practical application regarding the covenantal view of new testament baptism being the sign [Continue Reading…]

Advice from an Elderly Evangelist

There is much to learn from older ministers. Young ministers should make it a habit to constantly be asking for advice from those men who’ve been in the trenches before us. One of the best bits of advice I’ve received was from an older evangelist. He encouraged young guys to

“Spend the first 5 years of your ministry wallowing in the text.”

Rather than focusing on structures, processes, and coming up with clever creative series ideas, just focus on digging up the truths of the text.
I thought this advice very akin to the advice Paul gave another young preacher in 1 Timothy 4:6. Brothers, above all, let’s give ourselves to the text at hand and have our preaching goal be to let the text speak.

He Will Hold Me Fast

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I’m excited to introducing He Will Hold Me Fast to our church family this Sunday. This is another song I was introduced to at T4G this year. Chord charts and pdf’s are available from Capitol Hill Baptist, which is where this congregational demo is from.

The lyrics have had a ministry to me personally. They are great reminder of a believer’s assurance and security of God’s commitment to our preservation and perseverance. One can see texts such as John 10:28-29 and Jude 1:24-25 in the lyrics.

Lyrics vv. 1-2 Ada Habershon (1861-1918), Public Domain;
Alt words vv.1-2, lyrics v.3, and music: Matt Merker, © 2013

He Will Hold Me Fast


When I fear my faith will fail,
Christ will hold me fast;
When the tempter would prevail,
He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path;
For my love is often cold;
He must hold me fast.

He will hold me fast,
He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so,
He will hold me fast.

Those He saves are His delight,
Christ will hold me fast;
Precious in his holy sight,
He will hold me fast.
He’ll not let my soul be lost;
His promises shall last;
Bought by Him at such a cost,
He will hold me fast.

For my life He bled and died,
Christ will hold me fast;
Justice has been satisfied;
He will hold me fast.
Raised with Him to endless life,
He will hold me fast
‘Till our faith is turned to sight,
When He comes at last!

Sunday Evening Church: To do or not to do?

Sunday Evening Church: To do or not to do?

Should we have Sunday Evening Church events? It’s no secret that Sunday Evening Services have fallen on hard times. Depending on one’s background it is either an anomaly or an assumed practice. When approaching this issue most of us have a conclusion based on certain presuppositions. Before giving your opinion dogmatically, I would warn you [Continue Reading…]

See the Destined Day Arise

I’m excited to introduce a new (old) hymn to our Gospel Life family in the morning. My first exposure was when we sang it this year at T4G and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since.

I tell our folks often that I’m not a young pastor with new ideas, I’m an ambassador from their great, great, great grandparents in the faith. It thrills me to see ancient texts “freshened up” and made congregationally friendly in a modern context. Such is the case with this hymn.

The lyrics originally written by Venantius Fortunatus (c.530-600) makes this one of the oldest hymns we have available.

download (1)

We’re introducing an arrangement from Capitol Hill Baptist Church with alternate words, chorus lyrics, and music by Matt Merker, © 2014. Check out the congregational demo recording. 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 Below are the lyrics.


See the destined day arise! See a willing sacrifice!

Jesus, to redeem our loss, hangs upon the shameful cross;

Jesus, who but You could bear wrath so great and justice fair?

Every pang and bitter throe, finishing your life of woe?


Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Lamb of God for sinners slain!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Jesus Christ, we praise your name!


Who but Christ had dared to drain, steeped in gall, the cup of pain,

And with tender body bear thorns, and nails, and piercing spear?

Slain for us, the water flowed, mingled from your side with blood;

Sign to all attesting eyes of the finished sacrifice.


Holy Jesus, grant us grace in that sacrifice to place

All our trust for life renewed, pardoned sin, and promised good.

Grant us grace to sing your praise, ‘round your throne through endless days,

Ever with the sons of light: “Blessing, honor, glory, might!”

How To Do Family Worship

Want to start having a family devotional time, but wondering what to do?

In this short video, from the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Don Whitney gives some simple and sound advice on the key elements of Family Worship. Simply:

  1. Read
  2. Pray
  3. Sing

We’ve followed this simply pattern in our “Family Lifegroup” lately and have really benefited from it.

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle Rules the World


William Ross Wallace (1819-1881)


BLESSINGS on the hand of women!
Angels guard its strength and grace.
In the palace, cottage, hovel,
Oh, no matter where the place;
Would that never storms assailed it,
Rainbows ever gently curled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Infancy’s the tender fountain,
Power may with beauty flow,
Mothers first to guide the streamlets,
From them souls unresting grow—
Grow on for the good or evil,
Sunshine streamed or evil hurled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Woman, how divine your mission,
Here upon our natal sod;
Keep—oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Blessings on the hand of women!
Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,
And the sacred song is mingled
With the worship in the sky—
Mingles where no tempest darkens,
Rainbows evermore are hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.