I was listening to Bob Baker's Music Marketing Podcast which featured his guest Peter Hollens, a vocalist from Eugene, Oregon, whose YouTube channel has over 1.5 million subscribers. And after listening to this video, I can see why.

This is a smooth a cappella version of John Newton's beloved hymn, Amazing Grace that features Peter along with Home Free, winners of season 4 of NBC's The Sing-Off. The blend and the harmonies are impressive.

Thank you for watching this version of Amazing Grace.

If you enjoyed this video and wish to have more content like this, leave a comment below. Also, don't forget to sign up for the newsletter and check out my own music at http://music.gregricesings.com.

For our purposes here, “snowflake” or “snowflake generation” are young adults more prone to taking offense and less resilient than previous generations, or too emotionally vulnerable to cope with views that challenge their own.

About a week ago, I saw a post on Facebook from my son regarding Donald Trump’s immigration executive order and was concerned about the volume of vitriol and hatred in the comments. I sent him a private message expressing my concerns and will say that I was so proud of his response to me. He told me that he privately messaged all the offenders and didn’t appreciate the way they acted and that he did not want to see that again. That was the perfect way to handle it, and I am so proud of his action.

The discussion got me to thinking about how so many people today have no background in legitimate debate and only react to everything they hear before they take the time to form cogent arguments. The modus operandi seems to be “You hurt my feelings. Obviously, you are evil and therefore, I am going to shout you down until you shut up! Whatever offensive language or tactic it takes to do it!”

I expressed my thoughts in my message to my son and here are some of the highlights.

“…I am highly concerned that many millennials so quickly resort to highly offensive language, logical fallacies, and overly aggressive behavior. You and I have had many discussions regarding issues, and I hope that you have not seen me resort to attacking people personally for their views. I am only a sinner saved by the amazing grace of God, which I hope directly affects how I behave.

What I see happening in most of these discussions is that people get so worked up before they have taken the time to consider their response thoroughly and they end up trying to shut the opposition down before they even give it any consideration. On all of these issues, there are rational people on every side, and when the issues are discussed on the merits of a person’s argument for or against the policy and not just flying off the handle, they have a much better chance of persuading the other person to their point of view. Dropping f-bombs and insulting a person’s character only builds any wall of division much higher.

As I have tried to teach you over the years, we must deal with logic and emotion in a specific order. Just like a potter who takes a lump of clay and forms it into a vessel for a definitive purpose, the same holds true for how logic and emotion creates a person’s worldview. Think of a person’s worldview as the lump of clay, the potter fashioning it as applying logic to the worldview and emotion as the fire that galvanizes the worldview. After the worldview is formed and proven by logic, then the flames will forge the worldview into something that is permanent.

What I see happening today is that too many people (both on the right and on the left) are too eager to put their worldview on display that they forget to fully form it before the fires of emotions harden it into an ugly monstrosity. That is like a potter ignoring the fashioning process altogether and just tossing the lump of clay into the fire. That benefits no one.

The other consideration is that every person with whom you come in contact has some level of galvanized worldview and when someone opposes them, the person often reacts as if they must protect their worldview at all costs. In this scenario, no one is working toward solutions to the problem, just how they can “feel better” about themselves. So, it ends ups in a war of words, which, once again, benefits no one.

My counsel here is to be the calming voice of reason when the discussion starts. If a person starts using bad language gently ask that they refrain from doing so because that does not demonstrate their views in a favorable light. The goal of any discussion should always be to foster solutions, not just boost our ego.”

I could not be more pleased with his reaction. That does this cold-hearted, right-wing, conspiratorial, conservative nut-job of a father such a world of good.

What's A Little Snowflake To Do?

I recently heard a message from Phil Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You, where he said, “How about we agree to argue until one of us actually refutes the other?” If you watch these protests and talking head shows, there is no facilitation of any cogent arguments, which is an intellectual process intended to form a proposition, not just “contradiction,” which is the automatic gainsaying of every statement the other person makes. (Yes, that is from “The Argument Clinic” by Monty Python. A perfect illustration that truth is true, no matter where you find it.).

It is no wonder that Millennials are sometimes referred to as the “snowflake generation,” when they wear their emotions on their sleeves. They equate being offended on the same level as being physically attacked. So, my response is similar to Tim Hawkins in his song “Snowflakes.”

“One day one of my children came up to me,
He said, “Daddy, I got a question,” I put him up on my knee.
He said, “Which one of us children, do you love the best?”
I let out a chuckle and held him to my chest,

And I said, “Snowflakes, you're all like snowflakes,
Some are different sizes; some are different shapes.
And some snowflakes love to kick and punch and bite the other kids,
So get back in the closet, little snowflake!”

While I certainly am not suggesting that any of you Millennials “Get back in the closet,” I am suggesting that for your credibility, stop flying off the handle, kicking, punching, and biting those who disagree with you every time your fragile little feelings get hurt. Not everyone who disagrees with you wants you just to shut up. We want to hear your disagreements in a civil and respectful manner. Then, maybe, one of us can convince the other one that our proposition is the correct and valid argument. Even if we don't, we can still respect each other as a fellow human being.

Hymns For The Christian Life
Click the image to order “Hymns For The Christian Life” from Amazon.Com

As many of you know, Keith and Kristyn Getty are two of my favorite artists and hymn writers. Their melodies are singable for any age and their lyrics portray a depth of theology little seen in much of today's emotion driven musical fare.

This song is fast becoming one of my favorites of their catalog and the video magnificently draws the focus on these exceptional lyrics.


The Perfect Wisdom Of Our God

The perfect wisdom of our God
Revealed in all the universe:
All things created by His hand
And held together at His command.
He knows the mysteries of the seas,
The secrets of the stars are His;
He guides the planets on their way
And turns the earth through another day.

The matchless wisdom of His ways
That mark the path of righteousness;
His word a lamp unto my feet,
His Spirit teaching and guiding me.
And O the mystery of the Cross,
That God should suffer for the lost,
So that the fool might shame the wise,
And all the glory might go to Christ!

O grant me wisdom from above,
To pray for peace and cling to love,
And teach me humbly to receive
The sun and rain of Your sovereignty.
Each strand of sorrow has a place
Within this tapestry of grace;
So through the trials I choose to say:
“Your perfect will in Your perfect way.”

Writers: Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

Copyright 2010 Getty Music Publishing/BMG (Adm. by musicservices.org) & Thankyou Music/Adm. by worshiptogether.com songs excl. UK & Europe, adm. by Kingsway Music. tym@kingsway.co.uk.

The Last Days And Legacy Of JesusAuthor: David R. Edwards

Product Description

Utilizing just the Bible as a source, this book examines the last days of Jesus on the earth, from prior to His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to His post-resurrection appearances to the apostles and many other disciples. From there, the story relies on the activities of the apostles and evangelists of the early church who, inspired by their faith in the risen Lord, set out to take the gospel message “to the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8, King James Version).

Price: $6.73.

Click Here To Order From Amazon

The ShackA few months back, I posted an article from Tim Challies blog series “The Bestsellers” regarding William Paul Young's “The Shack”. I had commented on the book several time prior to posting Tim's article, basing my comments on the reviews of writers that I greatly respect, but up until that point, I had not read the book, nor did I have any desire to read the book.

However, I did make this comment on the article. “I said that I would never read the book. I am willing to revise that statement. If the author asked me to read it, I would do so.” While I did not receive a request to read it from Paul Young himself, I did receive the next best thing. (You can read the Facebook post here.)

A good friend of mine works for the agency that represents Paul Young and was gracious enough to send me a complimentary copy, for which I am grateful. I took time and read the book and here are my impressions.

First of all, all of my original comments regarding the book have not changed. If you care to read them, check out the comments on Tim's post. In fact, they have all just been confirmed.

Second, I was moved by the pain that Mack suffered. I have dear friends who lost a child, not to abduction and murder, but to a tragic accident and spent a lot of time with them during their grieving process and it is an excruciating experience. There is a definite need for comfort for those who have gone through this kind of pain. This book, while empathic, is woefully lacking in an accurate portrayal of God, in fact, bordering on heretical.

Third, the portrayal of God in “The Shack” is one that replaces the true nature and character of God with one that is steeped in self-importance. Mack is the focal point of the book and it seems that everyone capitulates to him. That role should have gone to the accurate portrayal of God.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I find this book not only theologically inaccurate, but totally unnecessary. We already have a book to tell us how God deals with tragedy in our lives. It's called the book of Job. Here we see God actually suggesting to Satan that he afflict Job. It was God's idea! Why? We can't know all of the reasons, but God certainly does and if He does not share them, He absolutely has the right to do so. My guess would be to show Satan that when God's Holy Spirit controls a man, that man will never turn away. Consider Job's word in Job 19:25-26:

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God,”

Remember, in a matter of minutes, Satan took Job's wealth, killed all of his children and eventually his health by covering his entire body with boils. It was so bad, Job's wife said, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” (Job 2:9b) Wow! She must have had the gift of encouragement! It is in the very next verse we see, “But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” (Job 2:10) That is a man confident in the true God.

As I said in previous comments, if you want to read “The Shack”, go ahead. It's not a bad story. In fact, it's better than reading about adulterous affairs and various and sundry other types of abominations, just don't get your theology from it. Make sure you are exercising your discernment fully in light of Scripture so you don't fall into it's abysmal theology.

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from Speeches at Home and Abroad, page 71, Pilgrim Publications.

“The great object of our church teaching should be to educate efficient workersworkers filled with holy ardour, strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.”

I was requested to address this meeting upon the subject of Christian work, and I will now, without further apologies or salutations, proceed at once to what I have to say.

Is it not God’s chief end in the conversion of sinners, and in the sanctification of his people, to promote his own glory by making each converted man and woman his instrument for enlarging his kingdom?

Not for ourselves alone does he give us grace. The design of our heavenly Father in all his gracious work for us, and in us, is, that we should become willingly his servants here, and in perfection his servants for ever above.

Should we not all of us press forward beyond the winning of personal security, to the desire that, by our influence, example, and labours, others may be turned from sin unto righteousness, and so be plucked as brands from the burning?

Alistair Begg

Too many leaders in the church begin their services with the question “How do you you feel, today?”. Honestly, what kind of question is that? If I relied on how I “feel”, I would question whether I was saved at all! Emotions and feelings are fickle at best and are not always based in reality. If an emotional response is not rooted in an objective truth, it cannot be trusted as reality.

Foundational truth at it's core must be objective in order to be standardized. That is where the Word Of God comes in. As the story of our God revealing Himself in history and ultimately through His Son, Jesus Christ, the Bible gives us a foundation upon which we can KNOW what is true and what is not.

This is a great clip from Alistair Begg on what we should ultimately base our Christian beliefs upon.

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYNBdrFR5Bo” autohide=”0″ fs=”1″ hd=”1″]

Let your knowledge of the truth lead your emotions. Not the other way around!

From Wretched

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJhCWrdckpc” autohide=”0″ fs=”1″ hd=”1″]

Personally, I am so glad that my standing in Christ is not based on the way I “feel”! It is based solely on His act of obedience to His Father by laying down His life for the taking away of the sin of the world!

Let's face it. Some Sunday mornings, I don't “feel” like getting up and going to church. I would much rather stick my head back under the covers and just hide away from the rest of the world. But in the grand scheme of things, does that even matter? Do we serve Christ because He makes us “feel” good? Or do we serve Him because He deserves all of our praise, no matter how that makes us “feel”?

Because of Christ's obedience, we are now righteous in the sight of God, not by our own works of righteousness, but solely on the work of Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. Because of that, we now have the righteousness of Christ imputed on our behalf. In other words, the infinite sin debt we owed to God has been wiped clean by the righteousness of Christ. So now, we have the power to become the sons of God! What a magnificent Savior!

Now, getting out of bed just seems like a trivial thing compared to Christ's work, but it is the first step in serving Him. He is also so much more worthy of songs that tell of His matchless worth, not some overly romanticized song styling. Talk about trivializing the wonders of the deep abiding love of Christ. All true worship leads to a better understanding of God's holiness, righteousness and grace.

Worship styles are not the issue here. Contemporary worship songs can contain rich lyrical content and when they do, it is a joy to hear them. Just don't let the style become the focal point. If Christ is not the center of our worship, we are worshiping an idol.

Today on Facebook, someone posed this question in the Reformed Baptist Fellowship & Theology Forum:

“Help me guys on preacher and teacher
A) R.C. Sproul
B) J.F. MacArthur
C) J Piper
Who do you prefer? And Why?”

While this kind of question is like having to choose between Mexican, Italian or Chinese food (another conundrum if you ask me!), it did spark my thought processes and so here they are.

I have a deep respect for all three of these Men of God and choosing one of them in no way diminishes my respect for the other two.

That being said, my choice is John MacArthur. His expository method gets to the heart of every text on which he preaches and I have a deep respect for one who loves the church with such passion.

The slight disagreements that I have with R. C. Sproul and John Piper are certainly secondary, maybe even tertiary differences on issues that do not adversely impact the clear Biblical teaching of Salvation.

First of all, my main disagreement with R. C. Sproul is on the issue of baptism. Baptism is a picture of what has taken place in the heart of one who is elect and from the examples in Scripture was done as an outward sign after one's conversion to illustrate what God has done in that person's life.

Next, my main disagreement with John Piper is Non-Cessationism. He believes that the signs and wonders gifts are still operational today, even though he has not personally experienced them. Once again, the examples in Scripture illustrate that the purpose for the signs and wonders gifts was to validate to their world that the Apostles indeed were called by God and given authority to speak on His behalf. Since we now have the completed Canon of Scripture, there is no need for the message to be validated in the same manner.

Christ spoke in Mark 8 and Luke 11 that an evil generation seeks a sign. Seeking a sign can indicate a lack of faith. I pray that in my own life I can exhibit the kind of faith Christ spoke of in John 20:29:

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'”

But even with these disagreements, all three of these men are being used by God to build His kingdom and I thank the Lord for such giants of the Faith and I pray for His continued blessing on their efforts to bring honor to the Lord's Name and that the Lord continues to draw his elect to Himself in the process.