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  • Thinking Scripturally and Compassionately about Suicide

    It grieves me to read blogs that use a tragedy to grandstand. I've done it, and I hate it. But there's also the reality that public heartache gets people thinking about a topic—and we might as well endeavor to think well.

    Regarding Robin Williams' suicide, I wrote the following Facebook post:

    "Funny people are often sad. Popular people are often lonely. Successful people are often insecure. Wealthy people are often broken. This is always true, whether we notice it or not. We just had a profoundly tragic reminder. I ache over it. We need grace."

    I do ache. I'm sad that the world is so broken. I'm sad that someone can reach such a desperate place that destruction actually seems like a solution. But people do descend to that kind of crushing despair, more often than you'd think. They need help. They need understanding. Ultimately, they need Christ.

    If possible, I want to help others think well about the issue of suicide. To that end, here's a PDF of a piece I wrote on the topic in the recently published devotional Gospel Meditations for the Hurting: Suicidal Thoughts: "It Is Enough." Feel free to share it. Grace.

    Chris Anderson

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    Chris is the pastor of Killian Hill Baptist Church near Atlanta, GA. He was the founding pastor of Tri-County Bible Church in Madison, OH. He writes hymns and devotionals through ChurchWorksMedia.com and preaches at Bible conferences around the United States. He and his wife Lori have four lovely daughters.

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    Comments are welcome but will be sifted for content and tone.

  • Sample Articles from "Gospel Meditations for the Hurting"

    We're very excited about the fifth installment in the Gospel Meditations series. The 31 articles grow out of years of comforting ourselves and others with the balm of Scripture. "In this world you will have tribulation," Jesus told us (John 16:33a), and Christians through the centuries have found it to be so. But Jesus also offered Himself and His glorious gospel as our help in times of distress: "But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33b). How sad it is for Christians to suffer alone when such a Comforter is available to them!

    We are posting a sample of two articles, hoping they will encourage you and motivate you to utilize the book in your own life and ministry. You can download the sample PDF here. You can read reviews by Kevin Bauder and Tim Keesee here. You can order the book (with quantity discounts) here. (Note: If you want them by Mother's Day, May 11, you need to order right away!)

    The articles are varied, coming from both Testaments, encompassing multiple genres of Scripture, and addressing many specific trials. The titles and Bible passages are as follows:

    1. God Is Always Good (Psalm 100)
    2. Grace for the Hurting (Ruth 1-4)
    3. We Broke the World (Genesis 3)
    4. Jesus, Fix This Mess (Revelation 21-22)
    5. Take a Long, Hard Look (Isaiah 53)
    6. Comfort Received and Recycled (2 Corinthians 1)
    7. Faith Like Concrete (Luke 18)
    8. Wortds That Sustain the Weary (Revelation 2)
    9. Suffering and Sovereignty, Part 1 (1 Peter 4)
    10. Suffering and Sovereignty, Part 2 (John 9)
    11. Help in the Wilderness (1 Samuel 21-24)
    12. The Friend of the Hurting (John 5)
    13. Suicidal Thoughts: "It Is Enough" (1 Kings 19)
    14. Worship 24/7/365 (Psalms 103-104)
    15. To Cry or Not to Cry (Revelation 4-5)
    16. "The Adversity Gospel" (Psalm 44)
    17. Sustaining Grace (2 Corinthians 12)
    18. Truth for Unstable Times (Daniel 1-6)
    19. Are You Exhausted (1 Corinthians 15)
    20. The God Who Weeps (Romans 8:18-30)
    21. Rest from the War (Hebrews 3-4)
    22. Controlled Venting (Lamentations 1)
    23. A Balm for the Parents of Prodigals (Luke 15)
    24. Courage for the Overwhelmed (Joshua 1)
    25. Talk Yourself Out of Depression (Psalms 42-43)
    26. Wisdom for the Real World (Ecclesiastes 3)
    27. Run to Christ (Luke 18:35-43)
    28. Undying Love (Revelation 2)
    29. It Will Be Worth It All (2 Corinthians 4)
    30. How to Provide Refreshing Comfort (Job 6-7)
    31. Friendly Thorns (2 Corinthians 12)

    Grace!

    Chris Anderson

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    Chris is the pastor of Killian Hill Baptist Church near Atlanta, GA. He was the founding pastor of Tri-County Bible Church in Madison, OH. He writes hymns and devotionals through ChurchWorksMedia.com and preaches at Bible conferences around the United States. He and his wife Lori have four lovely daughters.

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    Comments are welcome but will be sifted for content and tone.

  • New Hymn, Commissioned by SGI: "To Live or Die"

    Four years ago, Greg Habegger and I were privileged to write For the Sake of His Name for the 2010 Student Global Impact Conference in Detroit, MI. This year, we were again commissioned to write a hymn for the conference, this time focused on Philippians 1:21. The result of our collaboration is To Live or Die, which debuted at the conference around a month ago.

    LINKS:  

    • You can hear a live recording of the SGI assembly singing the song here.
    • You can hear a beautiful recording of the song in Albanian (translated by my good friend, David Hosaflook, and sung by Aranit Kola) here
    • You can download a free and reproducible PDF of the song here.
    • You can read the text below.

    We hope To Live or Die will be used of the Lord to remind Christians that life and death centers on Christ, and that laboring for His glory is eternally worthwhile, regardless of the cost.

    Finally, CWM has been blessed to write a number of commissioned hymns, sponsored by individuals, conferences, and churches for various occasions. Several will be published here in coming days. If you would like to commission a new hymn to rejoice in a milestone (a dedication, missions conference, wedding, funeral, anniversary, retirement, etc.), please contact me at info@churchworksmedia.com. Such commissions point people to God as the Source of all blessings, while also supporting the publication of hymns that will bring God glory for years to come.

    SDG. Grace!

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    To Live or Die

    To live is ChristI long to spend
    My might and time to worship Him.
    I’ll give my all for Him who died
    To bring a rebel to His side.

    Refrain: Lord, help me use my fleeting breath
    To honor You, through life or death.
    And when my heart drums its last beat,
    I’ll lay my labors at Your feet.

    To die is Christeternal gain,
    To wake, and never sleep again.
    I will not fear the feeble grave,
    The pathway to my Savior’s face.

    To live or dieit’s all the same;
    For Christ consumes me, either way.
    If I should live, I’ll live for Him,
    And if I die, I’ll live again.

    Copyright (c) 2014 ChurchWorksMedia.com. All rights reserved.

    Chris Anderson

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    Chris is the pastor of Killian Hill Baptist Church near Atlanta, GA. He was the founding pastor of Tri-County Bible Church in Madison, OH. He writes hymns and devotionals through ChurchWorksMedia.com and preaches at Bible conferences around the United States. He and his wife Lori have four lovely daughters.

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    Comments are welcome but will be sifted for content and tone.

  • "See the Christ" (a new hymn text by Chris Anderson)

    Here's a demo of a new hymn I was asked to write this summer for the Fred Bock Music Company. Hart Morris' organ and brass arrangement was already finished, using the familiar Hyferdol tune (usually associated with Our Great Savior). I was commissioned to write an Easter text for it. I did...somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, on the way to Ghana. I was happy to hear the demo for the first time on my birthday, this last Monday.

    The text views the death and resurrection of Jesus from the disciples' perspective, moving from sorrowful uncertainty to joyful triumph.

    • You can hear the beautiful, building arrangement here
    • You can order the octavo here.
    • You can  read the text below.

    I hope it's encouraging to you, and that it will point many people Christ-ward. We face a new year with a victorious Savior! Grace!

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    See the Christ

    See the Savior's body lying, lifeless in the garden tomb.
    Hear the shamed disciples sighing, hidden in the upper room.
    Was life vanquished? Had hope languished? Would the Son succumb to night?
    No! The risen Son has triumphed. Jesus lives, our Life and Light!

    Feel the shaken graveyard rumble, as Christ's tomb is opened wide.
    See the stone and soldiers tumble; angels sweep them all aside.
    Was life vanquished? Had hope languished? Would the Son succumb to night?
    No! The risen Son has triumphed. Jesus lives, our Life and Light!

    Praise the risen Jesus bringing life to all who trust His name.
    Join the glad disciples’ singing, savoring the Savior's fame.
    Death is vanquished! Pain has languished! Day has not succumbed to night!
    Christ, the risen Son has triumphed. Jesus lives, our Life and Light!
    Jesus lives, our Life and Light!

    Copyright (c) 2013 ChurchWorksMedia.com. All rights reserved.

    Chris Anderson

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    Chris is the pastor of Killian Hill Baptist Church near Atlanta, GA. He was the founding pastor of Tri-County Bible Church in Madison, OH. He writes hymns and devotionals through ChurchWorksMedia.com and preaches at Bible conferences around the United States. He and his wife Lori have four lovely daughters.

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    Comments are welcome but will be sifted for content and tone.

  • New Hymn: "To Live or Die" (in Albanian)

    I can't remember enjoying a recording more than I have this one.

    Greg Habegger and I have been commissioned to write a hymn based on Philippians 1:21 for the upcoming Student Global Impact Conference in Detroit, Michigan. As we were finishing it up this week, I shared it with a few friends to ask for some final suggestions. I was surprisedand thrilled!to wake up this morning to hear a recording of an Albanian brother singing the song in his own tongue. Thanks to my dear friend David Hosaflook for the translation, and to Aranit Kola for sharing his lovely voice with us. Beautiful. Passionate. A foretaste of Revelation 7:9-10!

    You can hear the recording here. You can register for the SGI conference here. You can read the English text below. Grace!

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    To Live or Die

    To live is ChristI long to spend
    My might and time to worship Him.
    I’ll give my all for Him who died
    To bring a rebel to His side.

    Refrain: Lord, help me use my fleeting breath
    To honor You, through life or death.
    And when my heart drums its last beat,
    I’ll lay my labors at Your feet.

    To die is Christeternal gain,
    To wake, and never sleep again.
    I will not fear the feeble grave,
    The pathway to my Savior’s face.

    To live or dieit’s all the same;
    For Christ consumes me, either way.
    If I should live, I’ll live for Him,
    And if I die, I’ll live again.

    Copyright (c) 2013 ChurchWorksMedia.com. All rights reserved.

    Chris Anderson

    _____

    Chris is the pastor of Killian Hill Baptist Church near Atlanta, GA. He was the founding pastor of Tri-County Bible Church in Madison, OH. He writes hymns and devotionals through ChurchWorksMedia.com and preaches at Bible conferences around the United States. He and his wife Lori have four lovely daughters.

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    Comments are welcome but will be sifted for content and tone.


  • Gospel Meditations for Kindle

    Kindle editions of the Gospel Meditations books are finally available from Amazon.com. Over 50,000 hard copies of the books have sold so far. Now we're pleased to provide electronic versions, as well:

    As always, hard copies are still available through the CWM online store, with quantity discounts. Please help us get the word out about these resources. Grace!

    Chris Anderson

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    Chris is the pastor of Killian Hill Baptist Church near Atlanta, GA. He was the founding pastor of Tri-County Bible Church in Madison, OH. He writes hymns and devotionals through ChurchWorksMedia.com and preaches at Bible conferences around the United States. He and his wife Lori have four lovely daughters.

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    Comments are welcome but may be sifted for content and tone.

  • Crazy Busy: A Review

    DeYoung, Kevin. Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 118 pages.

    Most time-management books have authors who are, you know, good at time management.

    Not this one.

    Pastor and author Kevin DeYoung admits as much in the very first sentence: "I am the worst possible person to write this book" (11). His schedule is frequently out-of-whack. He has more responsibilities than he can handle. He overlooks important relationships because he overcommitted in other areas. In other words, he is just like most of us.

    And that's why I recommend this book.

    Crazy Busy is not a book that will answer all the questions you have about your schedule. It will not help you get your inbox to zero or tick off your to-do list or learn to say No. If you need help in those areas, read David Allen's Getting Things Done or Matt Perman's forthcoming What's Best Next. Instead DeYoung goes after the heart. He identifies idols and sinful patterns of thinking that contribute to our frantic pace, our underdeveloped relationships, and our restless hearts. In this short book he identifies three dangers of busyness (chapter two), offers seven diagnoses to consider in light of our busyness (chapters three through nine), and concludes with the one thing we must do (chapter
    ten).

    To say that Crazy Busy is not a classic time-management book but goes after the heart does not mean it is impractical. It may not be a comprehensive guide to getting one's life in order, but it touches on many day-to-day matters, like creating margins in our schedules (27–28), the danger of people pleasing (35–40), hospitality (41), limiting Christian service involvement (47–50), the myth of multitasking (59–60), parenting (67–75), technology and social networking (85–88), rest (94–98), and spending time in the Word and prayer (113–16). But unlike, say, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Crazy Busy situates issues like these in the context of a justified sinner who desires to grow in his sanctification.

    The book might be more useful if it offered some cohesive system for implementing its advice. Even some suggestions for putting it all together in a given week would suffice. But then it probably wouldn't
    be (mercifully) short. And crazy busy people might be less inclined to read it.

    Crazy Busy seems to me to be a perfect vacation or retreat book, short enough to be unthreatening, stimulating enough to provoke reflection, challenging enough to inspire repentance and faith. It hits the stores September 23, so there's plenty of time for you to get a copy before your fall or winter getaway.

    DeYoung's contribution won't be the last book you read on the subject. It may not even be the next. But when you do pick it up, you'll find a helpful guide to identifying some idols in your heart, reminding you of the mercy of Christ to sinners, and resting on God's grace when you can't help being crazy busy.

    Matthew Hoskinson

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    Matthew is the pastor of The First Baptist Church in the city of New York. He has a Ph.D. in Theology from Bob Jones University. He is the author of Assurance of Salvation: Implications of a New Testament Theology of Hope, an adaptation of his dissertation. He has also written articles for the 9Marks eJournal, The Gospel Coalition, and SharperIron, and he blogs at Debtor to Grace. He and his wife Kimberly have been blessed with four daughters and a son.

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    Comments are welcome but may be sifted for content and tone.

  • Introducing Our Latest Hymn: "I Am with You"

    One month ago, the Christian community was grieved and many lives forever changed by the tragic crash of a bus from Colonial Hills Baptist Church in Indianapolis. Words fail us at such times. However, only days before the event I finished a text focused on the frequent assurances from Scripture that God is with us. I posted the text here, and it proved to be an encouragement to many in the wake of the tragedy, including the grieving families. Hymns are able to speak to us and for us, and by God's grace, this one did at that time.

    Greg Habegger, an Indiana native, asked to set the text to music. He labored during that week to come up with just the right tone, just the right tune. At the request of the families, the song was introduced first during the prelude of the funeral for Chad, Courtney, and baby Phelps. We were honored by the inclusion. Now we're introducing the hymn version, which includes a dedication to Colonial Hills. 

    Next week, Molly Ijames' choral arrangement of the piece will be recorded, in Indianapolis, of all places. We look forward to hearing it, and we pray that both the hymn and the choral arrangement will encourage Christians and exalt Christ. It is our hope that Christians who know nothing of the event will still be caused to rejoice in the assurance of "I am with you" and in the hope of "Come be with me."

    The files may be found here:

    Grace!

  • Never Disappointed Again

    The following is an excerpt from a letter John Newton wrote to his 13-year old daughter in 1772:

    "My dear Betsy...If I could teach you a lesson, which, as yet, I have but poorly learned myself, I would teach you a way to never be disappointed. This would be the case if you could always form a right judgment of this world, and all things in it. If you go to a bramble-bush to look for grapes, you must be disappointed; but then you are old enough to know that grapes never grow upon brambles. So, if you expect much pleasure here in this world, you will not find it. But you ought not to say you are disappointed, because the Scripture plainly warned you beforehand to look for crosses, trials and hindrances every day. If you expect such things, you will not be disappointed when they happen."

    I don't know how well Betsy absorbed her father's advice as a teenager, but I guarantee she's now got this no-disappointment thing down to perfection. I can't wait to obtain her same impeccable judgment of this world.

    Meanwhile, I'm left to wrestle with a wildly vivid imagination that I'm convinced is nothing short of an exhausting curse. Life would be much easier and far less complicated if I possessed my husband's subdued mental color palette. Reality is rarely stark in his world. It blends smoothly into the cool gray landscape of his modest expectations, gracing him with a calm contentment that I have always found annoyingly attractive. In my world, reality rarely makes an appearance quietly. It prefers to enter with stark bravado, waging war against lofty expectations that torment me with disappointment and make my fight for joy as fierce as the fiery flare of my emotions. That's fierce.

    But God is faithful, and He has always graciously harbored my heart in the midst of the storm. In His loving mercy, He has never failed to gently turn my attention away from this darkened world that painfully pales against my vibrant kaleidoscope of expectation. He sets my gaze on the warm radiance of His Son, and the great I Am restores my soul. It's a painful endeavor, but He's teaching me to yearn for that day when l stand fully in His glorious presence and enjoy His beauty in a living color too vivid for my wildest imagination. He's teaching me to yearn for that day when my insatiable hunger will be gone with the wind, and I will declare with joyful and confident resolve, "As God is my witness, I will never be disappointed again!"

    Holly Stratton

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    Holly is the wife of Dick Stratton, Executive Pastor at Heritage Bible Church in Greenville, SC. She has a degree in Family & Consumer Science Education from Bob Jones University and a master's degree in Child & Family Development from the University of Georgia. She is a speaker for women's conferences and runs a private counseling practice from her home. Holly and Dick have two children: Michael and Maycee.

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    Comments are welcome but will be sifted for content and tone.

  • Endorsements for Gospel Meditations for Prayer

    We're grateful for the following endorsements for Gospel Meditations for Prayer, our most recent installment in the Gospel Meditations series. It was a joy to work on the project with Joe Tyrpak and Carl Trueman, a welcome guest to ChurchWorksMedia. The book is in its second printing and may be ordered here. May the Lord be magnified.

    Chris Anderson

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    JOEL BEEKE, President of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan:

    "Brief and biblical, these 31 meditations are full of sharp edges. They lead us to pray as cross-bearing disciples of Christ. Yet Anderson, Tyrpak, and Trueman comfort us with Christ's perfect grace for fallen people. So Gospel Meditations for Prayeris an encouraging book, but one designed to stretch you."

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    DON WHITNEY, author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life; Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky:

    "Prayer is more than just talking to God or asking things from God. Such a truncated view of prayer overlooks the prior necessity of a relationship with God. That's why a proper understanding of prayer requires a proper understanding of the gospel, that is, the message about having a relationship with God. This book by Chris Anderson, Joe Tyrpak and Carl Trueman is a signpost at the intersection of prayer and the gospel that provides practical direction on both subjects."

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    DANNY BROOKS, Pastor of Heritage Bible Church in Greer, South Carolina:

    "Rich in the Word and rich in Christ, Gospel Meditations for Prayer is soul-nourishing, prayer-inducing reading. Chris, Joe, and Carl point us to a great God who gives us great incentives to pray."

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    DEREK THOMAS, Senior Minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina; Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia:

    "'An apple a day keeps the doctor away,'or so my mother told me as a boy. But a surer aphorism would be 'a Scripture meditation a day keeps the devil at bay.' And here, three tried and trusted men take you into the Scriptures and provide you with a brief meditation designed to be fodder for thought and prayer—an ideal method to begin each day for a month. Gospel-saturated insights designed for the likes of you and me."

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    JIM HAMILTON, author of God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment; Associate Professor of Biblical Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky:

    "God's people need the gospel, and God's people need to pray. What a blessing to have a resource that brings those two things together!"

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    ANDY NASELLI, Assistant Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

    "John Newton wrote, 'Thou art coming to a King; large petitions with thee bring. For His grace and power are such, none can ever ask too much.' Pray big. This devotional helps."

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    Grace!