New Remembrance hymn

In a month’s time we will be marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. I’ve written a new hymn for Remembrance Sunday, and my friends Colin Webster and Phil Moore of Cornerstone Worship have written a lovely, easy-to-learn tune.

I wanted to mark the sacrifice of those who gave their lives as well as praying for those who continue to suffer from conflict. But above all I want to the song to point to Christ, the Prince of Peace. The song can readily be sung by a congregation, but it could also be performed or you should the video as a meditative reflection.

Here are the lyrics, lead sheet and video

O Lord, we look upon the past,
rememb’ring those who went before
who heard the call and bore for us
the brutal, bloody face of war.
We think of them and think of you,
who came to earth as one of us,
to share our pain and bear our wounds,
and make the final sacrifice.

O Lord, we look around today
and see a world in conflict still.
We pray for those who strive for peace,
who stand for truth or lives rebuild.
We weep with those whose hearts are scarred,
whose way is hard, whose hope is weak.
To refugees whose homes are lost,
God of all comfort, comfort speak.

O Lord, we look ahead in hope
to see the dawning of the day
when swords are beaten into ploughs
and every tear is wiped away;
when wounds are healed and fear dispelled
and all who trust in you arise;
when Christ, the Prince of Peace, has come,
and glory, glory fills the skies.

CCLI Song # 7120048 © 2018
Colin Webster Songs (Admin. by Song Solutions http://www.songsolutions.org)
Phil Moore Songs (Admin. by Song Solutions http://www.songsolutions.org)
Tim Chester Publishing (Admin. by Song Solutions http://www.songsolutions.org)

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Which member of the Trinity do you natural relate to the most?

A few years ago I realised my relationship with Jesus felt somewhat distant and remote. I have a strong sense of living in relationship with God the Father. After all, I direct my prayers to him and believe he hears those prayers. I believe he organises all the circumstances of my life, using them to shape me more into the image of his Son. I also have a sense of relationship with the Spirit. It’s not that I regularly have tingles down the spine or anything like that. It’s more that I’m conscious that any good I do is not done through some power inherent in Tim Chester. Left to myself I would be a horribly selfish specimen. So it must be the Holy Spirit working in me, giving me new desires to please God and love others.

But Jesus, the Son of God… Jesus felt more remote. I’m fully aware that he died for my sins and rose again to give me life. But that was 2,000 years ago. And in the meantime he’s ascended into heaven. What he did for me was a long time ago and now he’s a long way away. I was (and I am) truly and deeply grateful for all that he’s done for me. But there was not much sense of a present experience of Jesus.

So I started asking other people about their relationship with the triune God. Everyone I met and everywhere I went I asked people: “With which member of the Trinity do you have strongest sense of a real, experienced relationship?” I wasn’t asking people what they thought should be the case. I was asking them to talk about their actual experience. I would pose the question to whole groups of people, even asking for a show of hands.

It’s been a fascinating exercise. I’ve had a huge range of answers. Some people share my experience of relating to the Father and Spirit, but less so to the Son. Others identify primarily with Jesus. For others the focus is mainly the Father or the Spirit. And some people think of God in a rather undifferentiated way. And, no, before you ask, it’s not that charismatic Christians all pick the Spirit. The answers have not really correlated to people’s theological background or denominations allegiance.

Even more interesting has been the conversations that have emerged from asking the question. It’s a great way to get people talking about how they actually experience life in relationship with the triune God. I recommend it. Ask the question of yourself and then ask it of other people.

What I’ve discovered is that most Christians don’t have much of a sense of an experience of God at all, outside of Sunday mornings or a moment of crisis. They’re kind of aware that God is there, off to one side and available if needed. But he’s not a big feature of the nitty-gritty of daily day life.

But I believe in more. I think we can experience more of God. And as it happens, thinking of how the Father, Son and Spirit each relate to us in a distinctive way and how we can respond is a really important way to start experiencing more of God—Father, and Son, and Spirit. Enjoying God is my attempt to flesh out what that looks like on the ground in everyday life.

Enjoying God: Experience the Power and Love of God in Everyday Life.

Available from smarturl.it/enjoyinggod.

Out in the US: Reforming Joy

I have a new short guide to the Reformation published by Crossway entitled Reforming Joy. The books offers a three-way conversation between 1st-century Galatia, 16th-century Europe and the 21st-century church with a focus on how the gospel joy rediscovered in the Reformation was rooted in the message of the New Testament and has power to change our lives today.

Reforming Joy is the US edition of Rediscovering Joy which was published last year in the UK.

It is available here from Amazon.

Here are some commendations …

“This concise and vigorous book commends gospel joy. It is also, fittingly, a joy to read. Each hard-hitting chapter engages our cultural moment, opens the biblical text, references Reformation wisdom, and points to God in Christ. This energetic manifesto will be of value for personal study, small-group discussion, and classroom reading at a beginning-college level.”
Robert W. Yarbrough, Professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary

“I am thrilled that Tim Chester has addressed this neglected fruit of the Spirit. When the Reformation happened, it was, among other things, a rediscovery of true Christian joy. This joy had suffused the Christian world of the New Testament but throughout the medieval era had been largely forgotten as being central to the Christian life. Thus it is no wonder that when, in the eighteenth century, the Reformed author Andrew Fuller was seeking a revival among his fellow Baptists in England, he asked the ever-pertinent query, ‘Why is it that Christians in the present day come so far short of the primitive Christians in the possession of joy?’ He knew, as did the Reformers, and Paul before them all, that whenever a renewal or revival of the Christian faith takes place, joy will abound!”
Michael A. G. Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Director, Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies

“Charles Spurgeon once told his congregation, ‘It is a great privilege to meet a truly happy man, a graciously happy man.’ Let it never be said that Reformed and joy are uneasy cohabitants in the heart of a Christian. Tim Chester’s work is a much-needed reminder for Reformed Christians that because we have been saved by grace alone, we of all people have reason to live out our days with deep exuberance over such a great salvation. In this volume, you will meet some truly happy men from the past—happy because they recovered a glorious gospel and happy because, in so doing, they restored to the church deep and lasting joy in Jesus. Read, remember, and rejoice! People of grace should be a graciously happy people.”
Jeff Robinson Sr., Senior Editor, The Gospel Coalition; Pastor-Teacher, Christ Fellowship Church, Louisville, Kentucky

“Tim Chester has a well-earned reputation as a writer of clear, accessible, and helpful books for Christians. This is no exception. In a remarkably short space, he moves repeatedly from Luther to Galatia to Paul and to the present day, offering an account of numerous facets of the gospel, a plea for the Reformation understanding of faith and justification, and a vision of what the church is. And at every step of the way, he presses home the importance of joy as part of the content and the goal of the Christian life—though not joy as the world understands it but that which comes from knowing and resting on Christ. A great read!”
Carl R. Trueman, Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies, Grove City College

“We live in a world that tells us to look within ourselves to find joy and lasting happiness. The problem is, looking within leaves us empty-handed, hopeless under the weight of our own unrighteousness. But Tim Chester has a message of remarkable hope. True joy is found in Christ and Christ alone. With help from the apostle Paul and the Protestant Reformers, Chester challenges the church today to return to the Scriptures, for they are the swaddling cloths of Christ. There we will hear the call from Christ himself to put aside our worthless merit and trust in him alone for a righteousness he alone can provide. Only then will we rediscover joy that will not disappoint.”
Matthew Barrett, Associate Professor of Christian Theology, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; editor, The Five Solas Series

“Tim Chester brings the core truths of the Reformation—‘by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone’—to life. This is not a dry tour of history but rather an invitation to rediscover the joy that Paul unpacks in Galatians and that brought Luther to lead a gospel revolution 1,500 years later. If joy is not the first word that comes to your mind when you think about the Reformation, you need to read this book! You could read it in a day, but its impact will last long beyond that.”
Jeremy McQuoid, Teaching Pastor, Deeside Christian Fellowship Church, Aberdeen, Scotland

 

Reforming Joy: new in the US

Reforming Joy is out today in the United States from Crosssway. This was previously published in the UK and elsewhere under the title Rediscovering Joy.

The book offers a three-way conversation between 1st-century Galatia, 16th-century Europe and the 21st-century church with a focus on how the gospel joy rediscovered in the Reformation was rooted in the message of the New Testament and has power to change our lives today. (Although this has a similar title to my recent book Enjoying God, the content is very different.)

Reforming Joy is available here from amazon.com. Rediscovering Joy is available from amazon.co.uk.

Here’s what some kind people have said about it …

“We live in a world that tells us to look within ourselves to find joy and lasting happiness. Problem is, looking within leaves us empty handed, hopeless under the weight of our own unrighteousness. But Tim Chester has a message of remarkable hope. True joy is found in Christ and Christ alone. With help from the apostle Paul and the Protestant Reformers, Chester challenges the church today to return to the scriptures, for they are the swaddling clothes of Christ. There we will hear the call from Christ himself to put aside our worthless merit and trust in him alone for a righteousness he alone can provide. Only then will we rediscover joy that will not disappoint.”
Matthew Barrett, Associate Professor of Christian Theology, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Editor of The 5 Solas Series

“This concise and vigorous book commends gospel joy. It is also, fittingly, a joy to read. Each hard-hitting chapter engages our cultural moment, opens the biblical text, references Reformation wisdom, and points to God in Christ. This energetic manifesto will be of value for personal study, small-group discussion, and classroom reading at a beginning college level.”
Robert W. Yarbrough, Professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary

“I am thrilled that Tim Chester has addressed this neglected fruit of the Spirit. When the Reformation happened, it was, among other things, a rediscovery of true Christian joy. This joy had suffused the Christian world of the New Testament, but throughout the medieval era had been largely forgotten as being central to the Christian life. Thus it is no wonder that when, in the eighteenth century, the Reformed author Andrew Fuller was seeking a revival amongst his fellow Baptists in England, he asked the ever-pertinent query: ‘Why is it that Christians in the present day come so far short of the primitive Christians in the possession of joy?’ He knew, as did the Reformers, and Paul before them all, that whenever a renewal or revival of the Christian faith takes place, joy will abound!”
Michael A. G. Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Director, The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies

“Charles Spurgeon once told his congregation, ‘It is a great privilege to meet a truly happy man, a graciously happy man.’ Let it never be said that Reformed and joy are uneasy coinhabitants in the heart of a Christian. Tim Chester’s work is a much-needed reminder for Reformed Christians that, because we have been saved by grace alone, we of all people have reason to live out our days with deep exuberance over such a great salvation. In this volume, you will meet some truly happy men from the past—happy because they recovered a glorious gospel, and happy because, in so doing, they restored to the church deep and lasting joy in Jesus. Read, remember, and rejoice! People of grace should be a graciously happy people.”
Jeff Robinson Sr., Senior Editor, The Gospel Coalition; Pastor-Teacher, Christ Fellowship Church, Louisville, Kentucky

“Tim Chester has a well-earned reputation as a writer of clear, accessible, and helpful books for Christians. This is no exception. In a remarkably short space, he moves repeatedly from Luther to Galatia to Paul and to the present day, offering an account of numerous facets of the gospel, a plea for the Reformation understanding of faith and justification, and a vision of what the church is. And at every step of the way, he presses home the importance of joy as part of the content and the goal of the Christian life—though not joy as the world understands it, but that which comes from knowing and resting upon Christ. A great read!”
Carl R. Trueman, Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies, Grove City College

“Tim Chester brings the core truths of the Reformation—‘by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone’—to life. This is not a dry tour of history (we’re invited to jump on a ‘time machine’), but rather an invitation to rediscover the joy that Paul unpacks in Galatians and that brought Luther to lead a gospel revolution 1,500 years later. If joy is not the first word that comes to your mind when you think about the Reformation, you need to read this book! You could read it in a day, but its impact will last much longer.”
Jeremy McQuoid, Teaching Pastor, Deeside Christian Fellowship Church, Aberdeen, Scotland

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