The Worship Quote of the Week for (02/15/2011):

"O for an Overcoming Faith" — Victory over Death, 1 Cor. 15:55 &c.;
There is a treatment update at the end of this message.

Do you see examples around you of godly women and men who are joyfully prepared to die—no fear, no doubt, nothing but peace and satisfaction in Christ? Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is a wonderful hymn by pastor/poet Isaac Watts (1674-1748). He based this hymn on 1 Corinthians 15:55 ff.; so I include these amazing verses from the apostle Paul. These are familiar to many of us because G. F. Handel used them in Part 3 of MESSIAH. Perhaps you can read these verses as if for the first time.

1 CORINTHIANS 15:51-58
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Victory over death—I Cor. 15:55 ff.

O for an overcoming faith
To cheer my dying hours,
To triumph o’er the monster Death,
And all his frightful powers.

Joyful with all the strength I have
My quivering lips should sing,
“Where is thy boasted victory, Grave?
Where is the monster’s sting?”

If sin be pardon’d I’m secure,
Death hath no sting beside;
The law gives sin its damning power,
But Christ, my ransom, died.

Now to the God of victory
Immortal thanks be paid,
Who makes us conquerors while we die,
Through Christ our living head.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Book 1, Hymn 17 (1707-1709)




Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky


February 20 Treatment Update, Still in the Hospital

Dear praying friends and family,

Thanks for praying for me. I am still getting excellent care in the hospital. My doctors are aggressively treating the Lymphoma and an assortment of bacterial infections. I'm extremely weak, but have no pain. I am preparing to die; not eager to die (again, whether that's near or far) and crying tears of great joy and satisfaction. Doris and Clara spend a great deal of time with me here. There is a beautiful parade of godly people who come by to visit and pray for me. We know that the LORD off the Universe is not limited by low cure rates. Come to Jesus.

My medications have been changed many times. My blood pressure is up and down and up and down, They change my steroids and other medications nearly every day in reaction to what is going on in my blood counts. Yesterday I had a growth factor shot and a bag of platelets. My Graft vs Host Disease is seen most prominently in my VERY dry and red skin (not itchy, thank the LORD). Nurse Doris and others do a great job of putting lotion and steroid cream on my entire body twice a day. My appetite is spotty. That is OK for now. I had another fall on Friday night, so there they moved me to a room about twenty feet closer to the nurses' station; and I am on VERY STRICT orders not to try to go to the bathroom without an escort. The hospital does not like any kind of falls. I have a special yellow arm bracelet that says "FALL PREVENTION." I have been pretty successful at taking a few exercise laps each day around the nurses' station (with my snazzy walker); although it is hard to get motivated for that.

So many friends, family, former students, strangers and friends who have received the for years, colleagues, and others have expressed their appreciation to me for my teaching them about worship that focuses on the Glory of God in Christ. I have developed an imaginary mirror that I hold up to make sure the affirmation goes to Jesus, the only perfect one, the only Righteous one, the only one who is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Jesus is LORD. You and I bring nothing to the equation of our acceptance before Him.

There are no birds to watch on the sixth floor of the University of Louisville Hospital, so I have been watching live video of owls and hummingbirds in Southern California. Here they are here and they are amamzing:

If you haven't already done so, please listen to the hymn from last week's Worship Quote (listed above).

Resting in Him; He is my Portion forever.
Keep praying. God is at work.

Chip Stam