Elijah- Rich Mullins

There are a number of versions of this song I’ve heard.  The words never change, though the state of Rich’s life in each is obviously different.  The aching in his voice moves to different lines.  You can hear his eagerness in earlier versions, and his weariness in later version.  I love every version of this song.  The one on this album, self titled Rich Mullins (1986), is in the early-middle of his career.  He’s ready to go, but not as beat up as he will be in later versions.

Of all the songs I’ve ever heard in my life, this is by far the one I’ve found reaches the deepest parts of who I am.  It lays me out on the table with nothing left to hide.  So many thoughts were floating around in my heart and mind, and when I heard Elijah… they all came together.  This IS my song.  If I should have a funeral someday, I hope this song is played.

This life has been filled with so many good things from God!  But I’ve ignored so many of them, and let them pass me by.  I would often grab onto the garbage and hold on tight.  It was nasty, disgusting, and fit for the trash.  It wreaked havoc on who I was and left me eager to be rid of it.

As much as I love the flood of goodness that He surrounds us with, I long for the day when I say goodbye to this world we’ve corrupted.  It’s not that I’m excited about death, I’d skip that step if I could.  I just want to be in the place where I can never leave a stain again.  A place where nobody around me will seek to destroy Christ’s work.  A place where all manner of things shall be well.

The thought of Elijah blasting out of here on a chariot of fire is one I’ll never get out of my head.  The flames devouring the chains that held him here, and the bucking of those steeds… so eager to go home.  What a ride that must have been!

I’m ready to go.  I hope with all my heart to see my wife and daughter on the other side.  But if I don’t have Him, then I have nothing.  I want to be with Him!

Here’s a later version of the song…

Elijah- Rich Mullins (Rich Mullins- 1986)

The Jordan is waiting for me to cross through
My heart is aging I can tell
So Lord, I’m begging for one last favor from You
Here’s my heart take it where You will

This life has shown me how we’re mended and how we’re torn
How it’s okay to be lonely as long as you’re free
Sometimes my ground was stoney
And sometimes covered up with thorns
And only You could make it what it had to be
And now that it’s done
Well if they dressed me like a pauper
Or if they dined me like a prince
If they lay me with my fathers
Or if my ashes scatter on the wind
I don’t care

But when I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
It’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won’t break my heart to say goodbye

There’s people been friendly, but they’d never be your friends
Sometimes this has bent me to the ground
Now that this is all ending
I want to hear some music once again
‘Cause it’s the finest thing that I have ever found

But the Jordan is waiting
Though I ain’t never seen the other side
Still they say you can’t take in the things you have here
So on the road to salvation
I stick out my thumb and He gives me a ride
And His music is already falling on my ears

There’s people been talking
They say they’re worried about my soul
Well, I’m here to tell you I’ll keep rocking
‘Til I’m sure it’s my time to roll
And when I do

When I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
It’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won’t break my heart to say goodbye

‘Cause when I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
It’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won’t break my heart to say goodbye

Through the Fire- December ’08

It’s the second week of the month, and the suggestions are now closed.  You can view all the responses here…

Now it’s time to put the ideas to the flame of popular vote!

Voting is open to all.  Feel free to ask questions about the ideas posted (though the answers will have to come from those who posted the ideas), but please remember that comments will not be added to the results… you MUST use the vote boxes to vote!

The top voted item in each category will be used in this month’s story. 

Don’t worry if your idea didn’t win this month.  All unused ideas can be posted in future months.

So tell me, what am I going to write about this December?

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Old vs. New (John 3)

It interesting to note a few things here in the second half of John 3.  We see John baptising, and Jesus doing the same just across the river.  Now consider the following texts…

Acts 18:29- Apollos knew only the baptism of John

Beginning of Acts 19- Disciples in Ephesus only received the baptism of John

The baptism John did was not enough, there was another baptism necessary.  Baptism in the name of Jesus was the entrance into the New Covenant.  But we bring that back to our text here in John’s gospel, and we have a curious situation.  Why, if John’s baptism was to become void and Jesus’ baptism was necessary, was John still baptising?

Also consider what John says to a fellow Jew in this passage.  The man was speaking to the fact that many were going to Jesus instead of John.  John replies by telling him it’s the way it ought to be.  He’s not upset at all, in fact John says his own joy is now complete.

So why continue baptising at all then?  Why not send them to Jesus?

We must also consider a couple other things at this point.  One, the New Covenant was still years away.  The people were not meeting the blood of Christ at this point.  They were proclaiming a belief that Jesus was the Christ.  But even with that, the understanding of His blood being the only way for them to be forgiven their sins was an understanding that they didn’t yet have.  It was a belief they did not yet have, and therefore could not profess (let alone live out).  No baptism before the death, burial & resurrection of Christ gave access to His blood.

The second thing to examine at this point is John’s purpose.  We can see clearly John’s heart in this passage.  If Jesus was indeed baptising people into salvation, John would have surely sent everyone to Jesus.  John would have stopped baptising… he would, as he himself said, “decrease that He (Jesus) might increase.”  So we can therefore conclude that John was not keeping anyone from Christ.  His purpose was to direct all men to Jesus.

The evidence points to a conclusion that the baptism Jesus was giving at this point was not the baptism He would later give after his death.  And therefore, John’s baptism at that time was on par with the baptism Jesus was doing just across the river.  When John said Jesus would baptise with the Holy Spirit and with fire, he was referring obviously to a later time. 

And we see the that fulfilled on two separate occasions.  Once for the Jews on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), and once for the Gentiles at Cornelius’ house (Acts 10).  These two examples also would have obviously imparted the salvation that all New Testament baptism grants, that being the access to the blood of Christ. 

For there is one baptism.  Thank God that He has told us how we can be covered by the blood of Christ!!!