[#] On a more spiritual note ...

The bookstore sponsors the annual Pastor's Appreciation banquet in NW Arkansas, and the last one I got to attend was in 2003 when Andrew Peterson and Jill Phillips performed for the edification and enjoyment of about 200 local pastors and their wives.

I bring that up because I have been previewing Jill Phillips' new CD (which will only be available at Munce stores after Easter -- HA! Take that Family and LifeWay!) which is call "Kingdom Come". All hymns. All new arrangements.

I like Jill Phillips. A very clean, simple pop-folk sound; a very direct message of the hope of Christ for the rags and dispair of human life. I'd recommend it and link to it in the blog for your purchase, but (1) it's not released yet, and (2) it won't be available except for Jill's website after the first 30-or-so days. If you want one, I can sell it to you, but you'll have to e-mail me. I'm not even sure what the retail is yet.

I only know this: if the only 2 songs on this CD were "What wonderous love is this" and "have thine own way", it would be worth $9.99. However, you also get "Man of Sorrows", "Christ the Lord is Risen today" and 6 other cuts.

So why's that such a spiritual note? I guess it's not unless you get edification from the fact that once in a while the purveyours of "Christian" products do actually get something out that actually points to the Gospel. My actual spirital note for this blog entry is this:
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.
I was listening to Jill sing this song today as I was driving to work and found my mind wandering over something I realized was actually sinful. Now think about that: here I am, a Christian listening to a hymn of praise for Almighty and merciful God, and I'm not decent enough to let the song stop before my mind engages in sin.

If God were only justice, and only Holy, He would have been perfectly right to drop me into hell right there. Instead, not only did He not make me pay for that sin on the spot, He convicted me to confess here to all of you and to make a point about His mercy so that He could be glorified by the mercy we receive in Christ.

Listen: if you're the kind of Christian who thinks that you're better in God's eyes because of your choices -- like the choice, below described, to be a temperate drinker or a tea-totaler -- you're fooling yourself. Your acts of human will are not to your credit: your acts of human will prove that you are in trouble and need a savior. It is not what you do -- or even what you think you are doing -- that makes you righteous. You don't have it in you.

But God has it. He can put it in you. He can reform you not just in your acts but in your heart, in your motive for doing anything. Indeed: have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!