Friday, December 2, 2011

Pure Salve for the Soul

Some friends and I have been gathering to discuss the Puritans on Tuesday mornings. In the midst of the discussion I came upon the opening line from Thomas Brooks' book Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices.
"Christ, the Scripture, your own hearts, and Satan's devices, are the four prime things that should be first and most studied and searched. If any cast off the study of these, they cannot be safe here, or happy hereafter."
On its own, this is a valuable paragraph. Yet it holds an even weightier meaning in my heart after hearing yet another story yesterday, of a pastor of a large church in a large city who had bailed on his wife and kids. The man who told me this story had been best friends throughout seminary with this couple. Never saw it coming. Lord, strengthen all of us men who are trying - that we not, as Thomas Brooks said, "cast off the study of these..."

Lead Me

Last summer Sanctus Real came to Little Rock to give a concert for the FamilyLife staff as a part of our all-staff summer meeting. I'm usually pretty skeptical toward those who are well known in the Christian music industry and was anxious to see how they would do leading worship. I was pleasantly surprised: these guys are the real deal. The lead singer, Matt Hammitt, was appropriately reverent, focused on leading others toward the cross, rather than simply performing and showing off his talent. He happened to walk by me shortly afterwards and I spent some time thanking him for his leadership. That lead to about a 15 minute conversation about life and ministry; again, another surprise. I expected he would dash off as soon as I said my piece, but he appeared truly appreciative and encouraged and eager to chat more.

Later that afternoon they rocked the house with their own set of songs. I have to tell you I was so much more interested in what they had to sing about after the morning. Bob Lepine also did an informal interview on stage where they shared some very intimate things and some fresh wounds - again showing their transparency as a band. Later that afternoon we recorded their story for FamilyLife Today. You can check out the program here. It's an encouraging story, especially since he talks about his wife's role in calling him up to do a better job leading his family - which led him to write this song:

Matt talks about the inspiration from the song here as well: