“Blessings” by Laura Story

My new favorite Christian music track is “Blessings” by Laura Story. Here are the lyrics:

We pray for blessings,
We pray for peace,
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep.
We pray for healing, for prosperity,
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering.
All the while, You hear each spoken need,
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom,
Your voice to hear,
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near.
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love,
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough.
All the while, You hear each desperate plea,
And long that we’d have faith to believe.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us,
When darkness seems to win,
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home.
It’s not our home.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?
And what if trials of this life,
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights,
Are your mercies in disguise?


I have just finished listening to the second (and most recent) sermon in an excellent new series being preached by Pastor John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’s an expository series that will take an entire year to go verse by verse through the whole Gospel of John. The first two sermons have been fantastic, and I would encourage—no, it needs to be a stronger word than that: exhort? urge. impel!—you, whoever you are, to watch, read, or listen to them yourself.

To that end, here is a link to the series: The Gospel of John. I’d love to chat with you about these sermons, so please please leave a comment if you do check them out. End mark


I’m not sure why, exactly, but I’ve had this hymn on my mind a lot lately.

Lead, Kindly Light

by John Newton

Lead, kindly light, amid th’ encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on;
The night is dark and I am far from home;
Lead Thou me on;
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Should lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long Thy Power hast blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on;
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile! End mark


The lyrics of this song struck me as particularly beautiful last night:

How Deep the Father’s Love For Us

by Stuart Townend

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom End mark

Christian basics

I just finished a couple of great books: Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know by Wayne Grudem and Basic Christianity by John R.W. Stott.

Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know

If I had to choose one of these books over the other, I think it would be Christian Beliefs. It follows the same major topics as most full-blown theology texts, and, in fact, is a condensation of Grudem’s 528 page Bible Doctrine, which is itself a condensation of Grudem’s 1,296 page Systematic Theology. As such, there is a wealth of information packed into this svelte volume. I especially found the Westminster Catechism, the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy, and the ancient Christian creeds in the back of the book to be a nice touch. Grudem also provides a list of roughly 45 books for additional study from a variety of perspectives. I can’t think of a better, more easily digestible introduction to Christian theology than this book, and have already recommended it to several friends and others who have inquired about what I believe.

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NPR miscellany #1

NPR Logo

I hear a lot of interesting stories on NPR, so I’m going to start highlighting a few of them from time to time on my blog. Tonight I heard a couple great stories on All Things Considered that I’d like to share.

The first story is about a bizarre problem that’s killing commercial bees all over the U.S. called Colony Collapse Disorder. This is a big deal because a lot of the crops we consume are pollinated by these bees. Here’s the story: “Disease Hits Bees, and Vital Crops Suffer” (Listen).

The second story is about one the best Iranian food chefs in Washington, D.C. The kicker is that he’s not even from Iran. Instead, he’s from El Salvador. He started as a bus boy in an Iranian restaurant and worked his way into the kitchen. Now he owns his own restaurant and flies all over the world to cook for special events. My favorite part of this story is the part about the deeply religious people who are shocked to find out that a Christian Latino had prepared their Islamic Halal dinner (they calm down when they learn he does everything by the book). Here’s the story: “In D.C., Top Iranian Chef Hails From El Salvador” (Listen).

97.5 The Oasis

97.5 The Oasis

There’s a new radio station in Salt Lake City that I personally view as an intriguing social experiment. 97.5 The Oasis is a contemporary Christian station, but, unlike most (probably all) stations of its kind, it also plays contemporary LDS music. Just this morning I heard Kenneth Cope and Michael W. Smith back to back.

The station is owned and operated by Simmons Media Group, which also operates my favorite alternative rock station, X96. Being a secular station, The Oasis doesn’t run pledge drives like ministry operated CCM stations (e.g. the only other CCM station broadcasting in Salt Lake, 89.7 K-LOVE), but instead they play commercial advertisements. They also hold a rather postmodern, inclusive attitude toward the music they play.

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