Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Christy Nockels







Come Thou Long Expected Jesus performed by Christy Nockels.

In most Christian Calendars we have a season of five weeks known as Advent. These are the weeks leading up to Christmas in which we sing about our once and future king. Advent derives its name from the Latin “ad + venire” “to come.” This Advent Hymn’s words were penned by Charles Wesley.

One of the earliest Christian expressions was the word Marantha. Greeks, Romans, Jews, Scythians, and barbarians left this word untranslated. (see 1 Cor 16:22) Such was the early Christian expectation in 56AD. Jesus would return to fix His broken world. It encapsulates the hopes, dreams, fears, aspirations and longings of every human being. Christ’s first and second coming bring the wiping away of tears, no more sickness and no more war. Maranatha! Our Lord, Come!

Each advent song speaks of our exile from a perfectly running world, a longing for a True King, and a hope that all will be set right. The Christian doctrine of Advent offers this in one fell swoop. God, in Christ, came to redeem us from slavery of sin, become our True King as he was crowned with thorns, and deliver us from darkness into the kingdom of light.

These next weeks let us reflect on what it means to have a Once and Future King.

Collect for the First Sunday of Advent

Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.




Praise to the Lord, The Almighty


Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
The King of creation
O my soul, praise Him
For He is thy health and salvation
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near
Praise Him in glad adoration

Praise to the Lord
Who o’er all things so wonderfully reigneth
Shelters thee under His wings
Yea, so gladly sustaineth
Hast thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth

Praise to the Lord
Who doth prosper they work and defend thee
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do
If with His love He befriend thee

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him
All that hath life and breath
Come now with praises before Him
Let the ‘amen’ sound from His people again
Gladly for aye we adore Him

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Listen here

Joachim Neander. His life was short—he died at the age of thirty—and many of his hymns seem to have been written in the last few months before his death; but the influence he exerted on the subsequent hymnody of his Church was remarkable.

Neander’s hymns are preeminently hymns of praise. Their jubilant tone and smooth rhythmical flow are at once an invitation to sing them.

Joachim Neander was born in Bremen, Germany, in 1650. He came from a distinguished line of clergymen, his father, grandfather, great grandfather and great great grandfather having been pastors, and all of them bearing the name Joachim Neander.

But simply being born to Christian parents did not make him a Christian. In the year 1670, when Neander was twenty years old, he chanced to attend services in St. Martin’s church, Bremen, where Theodore Under-Eyck had recently come as pastor. Two other students accompanied Neander, their main purpose being to criticize and scoff at the sermon. However, they had not reckoned with the Spirit of God. The burning words of Under-Eyck made a powerful impression on the mind and heart of the youthful Neander, and he who went to scoff came away to pray.

It proved the turning point in the spiritual life of the young student. Under the guidance of Under-Eyck he was led to embrace Christ as his Saviour, and from that time he and Under-Eyck were life-long friends.

At age 29 his friend and mentor Under-Eyck invited him to pastor in Bremen. he gladly accepted this post. Within six months he fell ill. During his illness he experienced severe spiritual struggles, but he found comfort in the words, “It is better to hope unto death than to die in unbelief.” On the day of his death he requested that Hebrews 7:9 be read to him. When asked how he felt, he replied: “The Lord has settled my account. Lord Jesus, make also me ready.” A little later he said in a whisper: “It is well with me. The mountains shall be moved, and the hills shall tremble, yet the grace of God shall not depart from me, and His covenant of peace shall not be moved.”

One Thing Remains

One thing remains

Higher than the mountains that I face

Stronger than the power of the grave

Constant in the trial and the change,

One thing… remains


On and on and on and on it goes

It overwhelms and satisfies my soul

And I never, ever, have to be afraid

this one thing.. remains (2x)


Your love never fails,

never gives up

never runs out on me (3x)


In death, In life, I’m confident and

Covered by, the power of Your great love

My debt is paid, there’s nothing that

Can separate my heart from Your great love

By: Brian Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, Christa Black-Gifford
© 2010 Bethel Music Publishing

This song is a relatively new song and yet it’s theme is ancient. In less than three years of its composition, as a minister I have sung it at more gravesides than I care to remember. Sometimes I have sung it without wavering in tone or pitch. Other times I have been powerless to utter these words of timeless through the tears.

It is a song that is as poignant as it is powerful. We cannot sing these words without hearing Hosea and Paul through the centuries thundering, “Death where is your victory? Death where is your sting?”(1 Cor 15:55; Hos 13:14)

The song strikes a chord at the centre of the human heart. We are frail, we are weak, and our time on this earth is but a breath. “For He knows our frame; [The Lord] remembers that we are but dust.”(Psa. 103:14) Yet we acknowledge that there must be more to life. Death is not the ultimate end or outcome.

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” (John 8:51). His words have always struck me. Note Our Lord did not say, “Falsely, falsely.” His promise is sure, “Truly, Truly [you] will never see death.”

There is a bond between Christ and His Church that not even death can break. Paul reminds us of this in Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ”

It is this invincible love that gives us courage to face each day, (“And I never, ever, have to be afraid”). It is this surety that overwhelms us as breakers in the ocean of His love.

“The world desperately needs the courage and the Christ of fearless Christians who know they will never taste death. Be one.” – John Piper

Attitude of Gratitude – Hymn of the Week








Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise him, all creatures here below;

Praise him above, ye heavenly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

(words by Thomas Ken, 1674)


Songs have Backstories

“I am dying,” Bishop Thomas Ken wrote, “In the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith professed by the whole Church before the disunion of East and West; and, more particularly, in the Communion of the Church of England, as it stands distinguished from both Papal and Protestant innovation, and adheres to the Doctrine of the Cross.” There is no finer statement of “mere Christianity” to be found anywhere.

Bishop Ken died on 19 March 1711 and at dawn the following day, whilst his faithful friends sang the tune of this hymn, Bishop Ken’s remains were laid to rest beneath the East Window of the Church of St. John in Frome – the nearest parish in his old Diocese of Bath and Wells.

Songs have Meaning

This well-known hymn falls in a category known as “doxology’ [lit. words that give glory from the Greek ‘doxa’ – glory and ‘logos’ word].  It follows in the vain of many Jewish and Christian Doxologies (see Rom 11:36; Rev 5:13b; 1 Tim 1:17) with its many variations and expansions: “To whom/him/you (be/is) the glory for ever. Amen.”

Jews and Christians typically used such doxologies as a conclusion to a prayer, a sermon, a letter, or a part of any of these. These were an expression of monotheistic worship. It is the One God of Israel to whom glory belongs eternally.

Songs bring Challenge

Bishop Ken’s doxology brings a challenge. Avoid old silliness and avoid new silliness, “adhere to the Doctrine of the Cross”. The oldest innovation in the book is the idea of independence. Notice the opening line “Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow.” This hymn bids us to acknowledge our dependence. Every single benefit in our life is a product of God’s goodness and not our own. It is not a begrudging dependence but a spirit of thankfulness and praise.

The newest innovation Ken warns us against is the idea of materialism. By this it is not the idea of consumerism and material goods but the idea that life is only what we can observe and perceive with our natural senses. The Common Doxology tells us the best way to recapture the wonder of worship is to get a glimpse of Glory. When we see the universe not as simply a material machine, but a canvas awash with the wonder of its Author. This eternal perspective will allow us to praise as both “creatures below” and join in with “heavenly host[s]”

Reflect on your past experience of worship. Do you experience genuine, fulfilling worship each Sunday? How much time is specifically allotted to worship (narrowly defined)—that is, to times of praise and thanksgiving to God? Would you like the time to be longer? What aspects of the worship time do you find most meaningful? Which aspects are least meaningful? How could you take steps to strengthen and deepen your experience of worship?

May our lives be a living Doxology:

Deep honor and bright glory

to the King of All Time—

One God, Immortal, Invisible,

ever and always.

Oh, yes!

1Tim. 1:17

listen to Dave Crowder Band perform “Doxology

Hymn: Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown,
And behold Thee on Thy throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.


“Rock of Ages” is a popular Christian hymn by the Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady written in 1763 and first published in The Gospel Magazine in 1775.

This hymn was regarded as one of the Great Four Anglican Hymns in the 19th century.

Traditionally, it is held that Toplady drew his inspiration from an incident in the gorge of Burrington Combe in the Mendip Hills in England. Toplady, a preacher in the nearby village of Blagdon, was travelling along the gorge when he was caught in a storm. Finding shelter in a gap in the gorge, he was struck by the title and scribbled down the initial lyrics on a playing card.  The fissure that is believed to have sheltered Toplady is now marked as the “Rock of Ages”, both on the rock itself and on some maps, and is also reflected in the name of a nearby tea shop.

Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages, Burrington Combe

The hymn though potentially inspired by an event in Toplady’s life, it is more probable that he drew the motif from the story of Moses hidden in the cleft of the rock. (Ex 33) It is the beautiful story of Moses’ deep desire to know God fully as he asks to see His face. God replies, “You cannot see my face and live, it is too beautiful, too holy, too powerful, too glorious.” But God has a remedy for Moses, if Moses is hidden in the cleft of the Rock he will be able to see God. His “terrible beauty” (Psalm 68:35, The Message) will not consume but will rather protect him. Paul speaks of this same Rock as a type and figure of Christ “and the rock was Christ”(1 Cor 10;4) He says that Rock which sheltered and provided sustenance for Moses, was in fact Christ.

Augustus Toplady poetically alludes to the wound in Christ side being the very cleft within which we find protection, comfort and sustenance. “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, / Let me hide myself in Thee;” We are hidden in the cleft of his wounds.

Jesus, this Rock, is not only protection from “terrible beauty” but rather makes us terribly beautiful. This Rock that was stricken in the desert and from which water flowed (Ex 17:6) becomes not only protection but the very Living Water that washes us whiter than snow, or as Toplady puts it so eloquently:

Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure.

 Listen here