Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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All Lives Matter!

In light of the newly released Planned Parenthood videos, are you looking for a way to support mothers and their children?  All proceeds go directly to Spoon River Pregnancy Resource Center — to support LIFE!

Because ALL LIVES MATTER.

shoot for life August 2015


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Guest Blogger Teri Williams – Abortion Front Lines

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 Teri is the Director of The Spoon River Pregnancy Resource Center located in Canton, IL.

 

Abortion Front Lines

When you think of Orlando, Florida, the thoughts that come to mind may be about warm weather, beaches and Mickey Mouse. Close to the last thing one would want to consider in the middle of the happiest place on earth would be an abortion clinic that does not only first trimester abortion procedures, but actually abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. As someone who works in a pregnancy center, even I would rather not think about abortions happening that late into a pregnancy. The loss of life, the risks to the procedure, and the impact on life moving forward is unspeakable horror. This particular clinic has come up to me three times in conversation in the past two days.

First, I spent time with a friend who lives in Orlando and had visited this clinic. She was horrified by the surgical procedures being performed there and praying about involvement with a man who is there 6 days a week doing sidewalk evangelism. His name is John Barros. He is a part of RC Sproul’s church near Orlando. I then mentioned this clinic to my brother-in-law and sister as they attend a yearly conference in Orlando associated with the same church. They informed me they had heard this same man, John Barros , speak at the 2015 National Ligonier Conference and could send me the link. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/conferences/after-darkness-light-2015-national-conference/abortion-front-lines/? {Lee Webb interviews Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. and John Barros about the importance of sidewalk counseling at abortion clinics.) After listening to the presentation twice, I feel a strong need to share a few thoughts.
John Barros has been given a tough, tough ministry assignment. Yes, he does see almost daily, women and couples who change their minds and choose life for their unborn child. But far and away more often, he is watching the destruction of countless lives every single day. The despair that has washed over me even thinking about the reality of this, is overwhelming. Pray for John Barros.
But secondly, listening to RC Sproul, Jr. share his experiences with this ministry I found much of what he said disturbing. Early on he makes the statement that — EVERYONE knows this is a baby. This situation is not due to a lack of education on fetal development. Everyone is fully aware they are murdering a baby. There are many of us in the prolife movement who do know enough about fetal development and Psalm 139 to believe this is a valuable life at the moment of conception. A life that God is knitting together in the womb with both a God-given purpose and a plan. But does EVERYONE believe that? Not hardly. It has become painfully obvious to me in the past few years, that much of the church today is not prolife — they are pro choice. The definition of when life begins is extremely controversial. Women who actually admit they are carrying a baby and use the word BABY are often NOT able to terminate the pregnancy.
Secondly, he calls abortion a great evil. I do not disagree with that statement at all. However, it is not greater than any other sin. Why do CHRISTIANS not talk about the fact they have had an abortion in their past? Because they fear being told just that — their abortion is one of the biggest sins anyone could commit. I do not see this supported in scripture. I think MAN likes to believe there is a top 10 worst sins. Then I am not as bad as you because I never did….fill in the blank. Delusional thinking.
Mr. Sproul also talks about a person covering their shame or eliminating their shame by having an abortion. The bottom line reason for an abortion is NOT shame it is self–centeredness.
Lastly, towards the end of the presentation. RC Sproul, Jr. discusses a young man that he spoke to during a visit to that abortion clinic. How that young man saw the abortion as a solution to his dilemma. And if he could just get his girlfriend through the procedure life would go on. Mr. Sproul went on to say that the young man would be filled with horror afterward at the reality of what just happened, but the horror would fade until he eventually forgot the experience entirely. It would not even cross his mind until the day he died. And then it would come back. The young man would remember what he had done.
I have no idea where Mr. Sproul got that impression, but I can tell you in 17 years of working in prolife ministries, I have NEVER met one person male or female who was able to forget their abortion experience. It often becomes something that is quite haunting. Statements are often made like, “I wish I could forget….or it was the worst day of my life….or if I had known what it would be like, I would never have done it.” It is a defining moment in anyone’s life. The reality is I have never met a person in 17 years who didn’t say “that experience changed my life forever. I walked out of that clinic a different person.” There are books written about post abortion trauma. There are prisons filled with inmates, both male and female who have an abortion in their past. Many of them will attest it was a part of their downward spiral.
While I very much admire John Barros for his commitment and perseverance in sidewalk evangelism at the Orlando abortion clinic, I honestly feel RC Sproul, Jr. was a huge deterrent to a productive, factual, compassionate conversation on this topic.
To read more of Teri’s articles, click here.  To learn more about SRPRC or to make a donation, go to http://www.spoonriverpregnancycenter.com.

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Counter Culture by David Platt

Reading Together Week 3

Chapter 3: Modern Holocaust: The Gospel and Abortion

Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans and Pornography by David Platt.

David Platt, author of Radical, has written an important new book. So important, I believe, that rather than doing one book review, I’m going to review the content chapter by chapter. Note, all of Platt’s royalties from this book will go toward promoting the glory of Christ in all nations.

Each chapter concludes by offering some initial suggestions for practical requests you can pray in light of these issues, potential ways you might engage culture with the gospel, and biblical truths we must proclaim regarding every one of these issues. These suggestions will also direct you to a website http://www.counterculturebook.com/resources, where you can explore more specific steps you might take.

This week we look at Chapter 3: Modern Holocaust: The Gospel and Abortion.
• For of all the pressing social issues addressed in this book, abortion poses the most clear and present danger to the most people on a daily basis.
• Across the world, over forty-two million abortions occur every year.
• The worldwide practice of abortion is why I do not believe it is anywhere close to an overstatement to call abortion a modern holocaust.
• Conservative estimates reveal that approximately one-third of American women have had (or will have) an abortion at some point in their lives.
• God the Creator alone has the right to determine when someone lives and dies, and abortion flies directly in the face of his authority.
• Many people say, “Abortion is such a complex issue, and there just aren’t any easy answers.” But if what is in the womb is a person, then even if someone is proabortion or pro-choice for any number of reasons, all of their reasoning falls apart.
• Scripture is clear: that womb contains a person being formed in the image of God.
• An estimated 92 percent of all women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancies.
• Would we murder a child outside the womb because he or she was conceived by rape? Of course we wouldn’t. Then why would we murder a child inside the womb?
• Abortion is an affront to God’s authority as Creator, an assault on God’s work in creation, and an attack on God’s relationship with the unborn. Once we realize the severity of abortion before God, the implications of the gospel for abortion become clear.
• This includes our current president, a man whom I respect deeply and pray for regularly but who is proactively and aggressively working to keep the murder of innocent children legal.
• If you are a Christian, I plead for you to step out of a muddled middle road that says, “I may not choose abortion, but I don’t think we should take away others’ right to choose it,” and to realize how inconceivable it is for us to stay silent while millions of children—individuals made in the image of God—are dismembered and destroyed around us in the world. Such thinking is not enlightened tolerance; it is sinful indifference. Moral and political neutrality here is not an option for us.
• If we believe the gospel, then we must speak out against the injustice of abortion.
• To anyone and everyone who has ever aborted a child, supported abortion, encouraged abortion, performed abortion, permitted abortion, or done nothing about abortion, may the following realities lodge deep within your soul. He forgives entirely, he heals deeply, and he restores completely.

Next week we’ll look at Chapter 4: The Lonely in Families: The Gospel and Orphans and Widows. Won’t you read along with us?


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Another Red October

Big CityFor St. Louis Cardinals fans, Red October doesn’t refer to the color of the maplefamily photo tree leaves. No, it means post-season baseball. Fans are arguably enjoying the greatest stretch in team history. On Tuesday night last week, on the strength of a Matt Adams’ home run, the Cardinals advanced to the National League Championship Series (NLCS) for the seventh time in the past eleven seasons. Now they’re tied 1-1 with the San Francisco Giants. I’ve been blessed to see the Cardinals in the World Series in 2004, 2006, 2011 and 2013. Will it happen again in 2014?

 Extending Our Reach

Would you help us get the word out on our blog? If you have enjoyed and been blessed by what you read here, would you consider posting a link to the blog on your Facebook site and sharing with your friends, asking them to do the same if they enjoy what they read here? You can also click on the link on the top right side of the home page (http://coramdeotheblog.com/) to “Follow”, and receive emails each time the blog is updated. Thanks so much!

 Lessons from the Upper RoomRecommended Resource ~ Lessons from the Upper Room by Sinclair Ferguson

For the last week, I’ve immersed myself in these twelve messages from one of my favorite Bible teachers. In fact, R.C. Sproul has described Sinclair Ferguson as the greatest Reformed Theology teacher of our generation. In this new series, Ferguson covers those wonderful chapters from the Gospel of John that cover his Upper Room or Farewell Discourse, chapters 13-17. The series runs about five hours, about the same time, Ferguson states, that the actual events described in these chapters took place.
A few things to highlight in this series are:

  • Ferguson describes Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, kneeling and washing the feet of all, including ones that would soon deny and betray him. Shouldn’t we follow his example?
  • If you are a Christian you follow a crucified Savior. We share in the fellowship of his sufferings.
  • Simon Peter is probably the favorite apostle of many Christians because we are most like him in failing so often.
  • Ferguson states that John 14: 1-3, often read at funerals, may be the most well-loved verses from the Gospel of John, more so than even John 3:16, because they are so comforting:  
  • Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
  • Resources we have in the Gospel are greater than the troubles we face.
  • Jesus says that He is the way to the Father in John 14:6: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
  • Jesus must leave them so that He can send the Holy Spirit, something that the apostles couldn’t understand, and I’m sure it would have been difficult for us to understand as well.
  • Jesus prayer to the Father in his so-called High Priestly Prayer.

I highly recommend this series to you. You can watch the first message from the series “Foot Washing in Five Stages” here: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/lessons-from-the-upper-room/foot-washing-in-five-stages/
You can find out more about how to purchase the series here:  http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/lessons-from-the-upper-room/

Teri's photoGuest Blog:  Teri Williams, Director of the Spoon River Pregnancy Resource Center

I am still marveling at the opportunity I had today. In all the years I have discussed options with pregnant girls/couples, rarely have I known the choice that was made regarding the pregnancy —if they were contemplating abortion–after they left. In fact, to my knowledge, I have only learned the outcome 3 times out of so many. Yes, this is hard.

The first time was actually several years ago. I had talked with a teenage girl, explained details of her options, including abortion, and she had left very unsure about carrying the pregnancy to term. So I was left to wait and wonder. I do know heaven will reveal truth, but here on earth we wait. Well one day I was at Big Lots : ). As I rounded the corner of the aisle—there was the same girl very obviously several months pregnant! My mouth dropped open, I may have even gasped and she turned to look at me. She smiled and said, “Yes, I decided to carry!” And we hugged.

Today, I actually had the privilege of meeting and holding the baby. His mom had texted me earlier in the week to come over and see him as I was “pretty much the reason he was even here!” That statement knocked me over! The memories of our many conversations have flooded over me. With her permission we are going to share parts of this situation with all of you on Facebook. I am still in awe and very thankful. To be continued.

~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~

I’m Currently ReadingKilling Patton

Book Review ~ Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General by Bill O’Reilly and Martin DugardThe Judge

Movie Review ~ The Judge, rated R

Music Review ~ The Greengrass Session by Keith and Kristyn GettyGetty's EP

 

 ~ THIS AND THAT ~

DOCTRINE AND THEOLOGY:

 CHRISTIAN LIVING:

DESIRING GOD – JOHN PIPER:    

  •  David Mathias of Desiring God writes that “It is at the height of Christian virtue in a fallen world, and its exercise is quite simply one of the most difficult things you can ever learn to do.” What is he writing about? Self Control. Read his article “Self Control and the Power of Christ” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/self-control-and-the-power-of-christ
  • Desiring God has introduced a new video podcast from John Piper called Look at the Book. You can check out the Look at the Book labs and sign up for the video podcast here: http://www.desiringgod.org/labs
  • Stephen Miller of Desiring God writes that “Sometimes it seems as if many believers feel the need to alter who they are when they come to God in prayer, particularly when others are around.” He goes on to state that “Jesus taught the Apostles pray simply, humbly, confidently, according to God’s word, and for God’s glory.” Miller sums up Jesus’ teach in five guiding principles. You can read them in his article “Be Yourself in Prayer” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/be-yourself-in-prayer

LIGONIER MINISTRIES ~ R.C. SPROUL: 

BOOKS:

  • Justin Taylor interviews some of the authors of Fallen: A Theology of Sin. This got my attention as a few of my former professors at Covenant Seminary wrote chapters or edited the book – Robert Peterson, David Calhoun and Robert Yarbrough. In addition, Bryan Chapell, former President of Covenant Seminary and current Senior Pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, also wrote a chapter.
  • The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible will be released October 28. It features new stories and testimonials by Phil Robertson and his son Al, a pastor with more than 22 years of experience. Together they offer fresh wisdom on biblical values and how everyday people can apply them to their lives. Features include:Duck Commander Bible
    • Full text of the New King James Version Bible
    • A personal welcome note from Phil and Al Robertson
    • 125 articles on the top 24 most-searched topics on BibleGateway
    • Life application and scripture references supplement each article
    • 30 days of life-changing testimonials
    • Topical index and reading plans

MUSIC:

IN THE NEWS:

  • Albert Mohler writes that “A giant milestone in the moral revolution passed last week when the U.S. Supreme Court turned down every single appeal from several states on the issue of same-sex marriage.” He goes on to write that “The remaining federal courts were put on notice that same-sex marriage is now the expectation of the Supreme Court and that no appeal on the question is likely to be successful, or even heard. You can expect the lower courts to hear that message loudly and clearly — and fast.” He writes that “The decision made clear by the Court will lead, automatically, to the fact that 30 states will have legal same-sex marriage within weeks, if not days. The news from the Court means that the vast majority of Americans will live where same-sex marriage is legal, and three fifths of the states will have legalized same-sex marriage.” Read his entire article “The Vindication of Antonin Scalia — A Sad Milestone for Marriage and Morality” here: http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/10/06/the-vindication-of-antonin-scalia-a-sad-milestone-for-marriage-and-morality/
  • Ebola is in the news these days. Check out the article “Ebola Explained: What You Should and Shouldn’t Worry About” here: http://www.wired.com/2014/10/ebola-virus-infection-transmission-death-explained/Courtesy of World MagazineWorld Magazine Cartoon

TO MAKE YOU SMILE:

Cardinal Church Sign

Quotable:  When we think too lightly of sin, we think too lightly of the Savior. –Charles Spurgeon

Faith-and-Work

Integrating Faith and Work: Connecting Sunday to Monday

 Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?

How then SHOULD We Work? Book Club – Chapter 5How Then Should We Work

This week we continue our book club on Hugh Whelchel’s book How Then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work. Whelchel is the Executive Director the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics and has a passion and expertise in helping individuals integrate their faith and vocational calling. This week we cover the material in Chapter 5: The Future: Work, Calling, and Cultural Renewal. The Gospel at Work

The Gospel at Work Book Club – Chapter 8

I’m involved in a book club with peers at work discussing The Gospel at Work by Greg Gilbert and Sebastian Traeger. Last week we looked at Chapter 8: What Does It Mean to be a Christian Boss?

What’s Best Next Book Club – Chapter 17What's Best Next

We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective – What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman. I’ve highlighted a number of passages and would like to share some of them from Chapter 17: The Art of Making Time.

Beyond the Ark headerDoug Michae cartoonl

 


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Coram Deo ~ Living Life Before the Face of God 7.23.2014

~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~

INTEGRATING FAITH AND WORK:  Connecting Sunday to Monday

Book Reviews ~

Movie Reviews ~ Ragamuffin

Music Review ~ John: A Misunderstood Messiah by Michael Card

Concert Review ~ Chris Tomlin and Brandon Heath at the US Cellular Coliseum July 19

Experiencing God at Spoon River Pregnancy Resource Center

by Teri Williams, Director

Having been part of a Pregnancy Center ministry for many years, I have listened to many in leadership describe incidents of “God is working in our midst”, “God has provided in an amazing way just what we needed”. Yes, it was incredible to hear about, but it is even more amazing to watch! Genesis 23:16 says, “Surely the Lord is in this place…” The evidence being in the fruit only He can bear. The following examples are just a glimpse;

  1. We have a new volunteer, Cindy Brown. She is an advocate at WPC in Peoria that I have known for a long time. She called me one day and said,” Teri, the Lord has impressed upon me that you could use some help!” Amazing.
  2. Being asked to pray by a client who has said multiple times,” I don’t believe in God”.
  3. STUCK, our new Bible study curriculum has been so well received; clients are asking to view more of it!
  4. We have 2 churches who have stepped up to say; we will provide brand new cribs for women who earn them through the EWYL (Earn While You Learn) program. Word is getting out into the community about this as well!
  5. Free advertising that is bringing in new clients!
  6. One client who accepted Christ this spring!
  7. New clients, new babies, sonogram appointments and even phone calls from people considering abortion!

Yes, it is exciting. If you would like to partner with us in this ministry, please contact:

Teri Williams, Director
Spoon River Pregnancy Resource Center (309-647-4102)
1055 W. Locust
Canton, IL 61520
http://www.srpregnancycenter.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spoon-River-Pregnancy-Resource-Center/269539979780085

 

5 loveThe 5 Love Languages Book Club Week Four    

Last week Tammy and I completed week four of our summer book club – Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts. We drove out to Evergreen Lake and enjoyed the beauty (and even ran into some great friends bringing their pontoon boat in!), while covering the third language “Receiving Gifts” and the questions from the Study Guide (available for download at this link – http://www.5lovelanguages.com/resource/the-5-love-languages/. Here are a few passages we highlighted:

  • I examined the cultural patterns surrounding love and marriage and found that in every culture I studied, gift giving was a part of the love-marriage process.
  • A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or “She remembered me.” You must be thinking of someone to give him a gift. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought. It doesn’t matter whether it costs money. What is important is that you thought of him. And it is not the thought implanted only in the mind that counts, but the thought expressed in actually securing the gift and giving it as the expression of love.
  • Gifts are visual symbols of love.
  • If receiving gifts is my primary love language, I will place great value on the ring you have given me and I will wear it with great pride. I will also be greatly moved emotionally by other gifts that you give through the years. I will see them as expressions of love. Without gifts as visual symbols, I may question your love.
  • If your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts, you can become a proficient gift giver. In fact, it is one of the easiest love languages to learn.
  • Make a list of all the gifts your spouse has expressed excitement about receiving through the years. The list will give you an idea of the kind of gifts your spouse would enjoy receiving.
  • If receiving gifts is his/her primary love language, almost anything you give will be received as an expression of love.
  • If you are a spender, you will have little difficulty purchasing gifts for your spouse; but if you are a saver, you will experience emotional resistance to the idea of spending money as an expression of love.
  • There is an intangible gift that sometimes speaks more loudly than a gift that can be held in one’s hand. I call it the gift of self or the gift of presence. Being there when your spouse needs you speaks loudly to the one whose primary love language is receiving gifts.
  • Physical presence in the time of crisis is the most powerful gift you can give if your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts. Your body becomes the symbol of your love. Remove the symbol, and the sense of love evaporates.
  • If the physical presence of your spouse is important to you, I urge you to verbalize that to your spouse. Don’t expect him to read your mind.
  • At the heart of love is the spirit of giving.

Each chapter ends with a helpful discussion question.

Tammy added an excellent insight about the book. She said that this would be more of a Christian book if it pointed to God at the end of each chapter, just like a Christ-centered sermon does. We should love others as God loves: He is the giver of great gifts, He made us to spend quality time with Him…What about Acts of Service (giving His only Beloved Son to reconcile us to Himself), Words of Affirmation (I Peter 2:9), and Affection (Psalm 91:4)? Just think about it; Instead of loving others to fill their needs you can then love others sacrificially and without expectation of being loved in return.

Next week we will cover the fourth love language “Acts of Service”. Won’t you join us?I Peter 2.9

~ THIS AND THAT ~

  • My good friend Dustin Webb just started a new tree trimming and removal business. The name is….get this….Kick Ash. I love it! The story goes that Dustin needed to have an ash tree removed and was stunned at the cost and knew he could do it less expensively and fulfill one of his passions – exercise and physical fitness. I’m amazed at how many trees I’ve seen this year that have either died or are under stress. If you have a need, send Dustin an email at kickashtreeservice@gmail.com or call him at 309-287-1147.
  • The Passion 2015 conference has announced their speakers for their event in Atlanta January 2-4. The event will also be held in Houston.

Passion 2015

TO MAKE YOU SMILE:

INFORMATIVE ARTICLES:

DESIRING GOD – JOHN PIPER:

LIGONIER MINISTRIES – R.C. SPROUL:

  • Ligonier Ministries continues work on the extensive update of The Reformation Study Bible (RSB). The updated RSB will be released in the English Standard Version (ESV) before spring, 2015 and in the New King James Version (NKJV) next fall.
  • R.C. Sproul has been working with an award-winning composer to produce a work of new hymns. Recordings are taking place at this time. The new hymns will be debut in a concert at Saint Andrew’s Chapel, where Sproul is Co-Pastor on February 18, 2015, just preceding the 2015 Ligonier Ministries National Conference.

BOOKS:

MOVIES AND MUSIC:

  • Ron Howard has announced that he will be filming a documentary on the Beatles as a live act. He will be interviewing Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison for the project. Read more here: http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6157669/ron-howard-to-direct-beatles-documentary
  • One of my favorite singer/songwriters (and now authors) Ashley Cleveland reports that Bart Peters, a film maker in Los Angeles and the head of original content for Direct TV is making a documentary on Ashley based on her excellent book Little Black Sheep. Peters has brought Morgan Neville, who won an Oscar this year for his documentary: “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” on board as co-producer. Filming has already begun and there is a loose plan to finish by the end of the year.
  • Big Daddy Weave will be in concert at Lincoln Christian University on August 16. One of the organizations that will benefit from the proceeds is the local Immanuel Health Center. To find out more, go to: http://fantheflamechristianconcerts.org/
  • Chris Tomlin will release his new album Love Ran Red this fall. We can expect it to include his new single “Waterfall” and “At the Cross (Love Ran Red)”, my favorite song of 2014 thus far. Here are the lyrics to “At the Cross”, which I believe has the potential to have the impact of Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”:

There’s a place where mercy reigns and never dies
There’s a place where streams of grace flow deep and wide
Where all the love I’ve ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down

[Chorus]
At the cross
At the cross
I surrender my life
I’m in awe of You
I’m in awe of You
Where Your love ran red
And my sin washed white
I owe all to You
I owe all to You Jesus

There’s a place where sin and shame are powerless
Where my heart has peace with God and forgiveness
Where all the love I’ve ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down

[Chorus]

[Bridge]
Here my hope is found
Here on holy ground
Here I bow down
Here arms open wide
Here You save my life
Here I bow down
Here I bow down

[Chorus]

PROBING QUESTIONS:

  Quotable:  You don’t give God authority over your life. He has it, totally. – John Piper

 R. C. Sproul quote