welcome to the hike!

Working out the call!

I currently living in Millersburg or as God whispered in me ear four years ago in PA, "the land of my Fathers!" MILLERS - burg! OK! The best way to describe my life of late, is simply "Pastor-at-Large" I live "outside the box" of our usual expectation of life, family, employment and even culture. I live, breathe, and weave around a four county area as a local missionary and have learned of so many supportive faith communities. I meet people who contact me where they are in their 'hike 'o life."

The hats I wear are that of Life Coach, Writer, Speaker, Retreat Facilitator, Pastoral Supply, Prayer Counselor and well, whatever God calls on me to do (I actually get paid to do all of these things, which is awesome, unless you are helping me with my books!) I also work to "tent-make my mission work" as a church secretary for a sweet fellowship pastored by one of my favorite seminary prof's.

So what do I want to be when I grow up? Stay tuned! The goals are big and staying solvent month by month is a huge victory, but as I see my own heart and others hearts change and grow in my daily walk, I realize, I am not working for treasures on earth....I have direct deposit above. Guess that's a pretty sweet ride! Lacing up my hiking boots...on the hike o' life!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


On this Sunday edition, I want to introduce to one of the oldest Easter Hymns

When I survey the Wondrous Cross was penned by Isaac Watts...

But I also introduce (sorry to any purists) Chris Tomlin's arrangement of a new chorus that has brought this the hymn to a new generation...

I feel that this is song sums up what the Lenten Journey is all about:

Our need for the cross,

Christ's sacrifice on the cross,

And the world that has not been the same.....

since Christ OVERCAME DEATH for our sake.

So journey with me to find out about this incredible hymn...

From the blog of Messiah Lutheran Church, here is compiled background of these amazing hymns

Isaac Watts was born in 1674 in Southampton England.  “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” is thought, by many, to be the greatest hymn ever written. 

The eldest of nine children, he was the son of an educated deacon in a dissenting Congregational church.  At the time of Isaac’s birth, his father was in prison for his non-conformist beliefs.  Young Watts showed an unusual aptitude for study and learned Latin at the age of five, Greek at nine, French at eleven and Hebrew at thirteen.  He began to write verses of good quality when he was very young.  Watts is frequently referred to as the father of English hymnody. 

 One of his early concerns was the deplorable state to which congregational singing had degenerated in most English-speaking churches.  The singing consisted of slow, ponderous Psalms in which each line was first read by an appointed deacon and was followed by the droning of the congregation. 

 He was a revolutionary producing “futuristic music” for his time. 

Because of this bold departure from the traditional Psalms, Isaac Watts was often considered to be a radical churchman.  Watts not only rewrote the Psalms in this way, but he also wrote a number of hymns based solely on personal feelings.  These hymns were known as hymns of human composure.  Such hymns were very controversial during his lifetime.  “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” is an example of this type of hymn written by Watts.  It’s the first known hymn to be written in the first person, introducing a personal religious experience rather than limiting itself to doctrine.

Isaac Watts, and his hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” helped to reshape the future of church music as we know it today.  Mr. Watts would have been proud to know that Chris Tomlin is continuing his tradition.
The words of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” tell a wonderful story. 

 They tell of the paradoxical beauty of sacrifice. 

They tell a story of pain and suffering woven together with joy and love. 

Who would have ever thought that these polar opposites could come together and form a paradoxical statement that on the face of it sounds ridiculous, but when taken to heart and pondered makes so much sense that even the simplest of minds can understand it?

The lost Verse:

Watts, actually wrote 5 verses but one has been dropped through the years (including in our hymnal).  Here’s is the missing verse (it’s actually meant to be the fourth verse):

“His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree:
Then am I dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.”

Born and raised in East Texas, Chris Tomlin grew up on a steady diet of country music, learning his guitar style by playing along with Willie Nelson records.  Not that you would ever guess it from listening to the  gentle smoothness of his vocals.

“I love the simplicity of drums, bass, electric and acoustic guitars,” Chris explains. “We’re not about putting on a big show. We don’t want to be rock stars. We’re about connecting with people and having a shared experience of coming before God and worshipping Him.

Credited with venerable church choruses such as “Forever,” “We Fall Down,” and “The Wonderful Cross,” Tomlin is considered one of this era’s top songwriters. With millions singing his songs weekly, Chris is recognized as a pivotal voice of today’s modern expression of Christian worship.  Yet, Tomlin has masterminded several remakes of classic hymns including Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) and “Take My Life and Let it Be.”


Here is the chorus that Tomlin added:
Oh the wonderful cross, Oh the wonderful cross
Bids me come, and die, and find
That I may truly live.
Oh the wonderful cross, Oh the wonderful cross
All who gather here, by grace,
Draw near and bless Your name.

The scriptural reference to “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” is Galatians 6:14.

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. – NIV

Tomlin’s chorus draws from Gal 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – NIV

The version I have chosen today is performed by Micheal W. Smith.  ENJOY!  (PS... On these YouTube videos if you double click on it you go to the YouTube home page and if you click on the four corner mode in the lower right hand corner - it will go to a full screen presentation, so you can experience the pictures and scriptures in full screen mode.  You just hit your escape key to go back to the smaller size.)


Here are the first four verses of Watt's Hymn to ponder further.....

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

My prayer:  Thank you Lord for these words that draw us nearer to you in every era.  Let us bring to you songs, hymns and spiritual songs that draw us closer and help us to understand how great a sacrifice you made - all for sinners like me.  Lord we remember ________and ask your Holy Spirit to touch us with special prayers for this them day.  In Jesus name, AMEN!

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