Beauty and Joy

Click for downloadable lead sheet:  Beauty and Joy – lead sheet


O the beauty of the breaking dawn

And the beauty of the setting sun

And the beauty of the endless sea

But the greater beauty of Jesus.


There are joys on earth of family and friend

And the joy of heaven knows no end

But the joys of Jesus, both here are there

Far surpass the joys of either.


Lord, I thank You now for setting me free

And I thank You now for welcoming me

For the sweet delight of knowing You

Is the greatest joy of my life.


words & music by Gary Hicks (June 25, 2015)

copyright 2015 by Gary L. Hicks

Hymn for Eucharist

Click to download: Hymn for Eucharist – 2 part harmony


We come to taste Your living bread

To drink Your living wine

Your blood and body offered now

To all of humankind.


Our God, what wondrous love is this

That cancels out our guilt

And offers heaven’s hope to all

By blood so cruelly spilt?


In awe we bow to heaven’s love 

That paid its dreadful cost

Your crushed and bleeding sacrifice

Upon a rough-hewn cross.


Our hope and trust is Christ alone,

Our risen, living Lord;

We are Your loved and blood-bought Church:

We worship and adore!


words & music by Gary Hicks

O God of Every Nation

Click for hymn sheet:  O God of Every Nation (4-part)


O God of every nation, we praise You, Lord of all;

Into Your courts we gather, before Your throne we fall;

We cast our crowns before You, all honour we have gained,

For You alone are worthy, and You alone shall reign.


From every distant nation, from every tribe and tongue

Your tribute now is offered, Your praises now are sung;

In awe and speechless wonder we bow before Your throne

To magnify Your glory, to worship God alone.


There is no other Saviour, no Helper, Guide or Friend,

But You are Lord immortal, Your rule shall never end.

All other crowns shall perish, all other kingdoms cease,

But You shall reign forever With justice, grace and peace.


words: Gary Hicks (January 10, 2006) © 2006 Gary L. Hicks

tune: All Glory, Laud, and Honor (“St. Theodulph,” Melchior Teschner, 1615)

Meet the Faith-Filled Parents

Click for audio:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise — “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers (or Parents), do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1-4)

Recently, at a family dinner, Connie and I overheard a brief conversation about parenting. This conversation continued in three emails I’d like to share with you.

Our daughter Shannon wrote, “I feel like parenting is the most important–and undoubtedly the hardest– job I’ve ever had. It is the only job at which I also feel like I fail often.  Teaching– I know I do it well AND people tell me I do it well.  Writing– I know I do it well AND people tell me I do it well.  Parenting– I doubt myself all the time… So weirdly, though the idea of being a single parent and having another full-time job sounds overwhelming, it is actually often easier for me than staying home with two kids.  Because at least I feel like I’m “succeeding” at something every day… [This is] straight up truth from an exhausted mama who loves her babies more than anything else in the world. Except, you know, Jesus.”

Our son-in-law Josiah wrote, “With parenting, you get very little positive reinforcement. In school, you get a report card. In the corporate world, you get promotions, raises, etc. You can count the profits if you own a business. Raising kids, day-in, day-out… not so much. Each day looks pretty much like the rest. You teach the same lesson of growth every day, and it takes YEARS for the kid to ‘get it’. The positive reinforcement comes mostly upon reflection after months/years of work. Right NOW we can look at [our son] Caleb and see some fruits of the labor that we’ve poured into him, but tomorrow’s challenges won’t be solved for a long time. It’s easy to ‘grow weary of doing good’. I feel this to some degree, but it’s a much bigger challenge for [my wife] Aleen, since I get kudos a lot in my career. It’s been very helpful for her to have success with [her part-time business] Photography for a Greater Good.”

Our daughter Aleen wrote, “I am so grateful for God’s grace that fills in the gaps where I fall short in parenting.  He also sends timely reminders that my kids are decent people and that His character is indeed manifest in their lives on days when their sin nature (and my own) rears its ugly head.  Just this morning I was feeling a bit discouraged by some of their sibling rivalry and as I was fixing Abby’s hair this tackle box of hair things fell off the sink and nine million clips and bows were all over the floor.  Without my asking all three came over and helped me re-organize the mess…  Not a huge deal, but a little glimpse that they “get it” – being a family means helping out. Serving my littles is exhausting and there are few accolades for showing up and doing your best every day. Being a stay at home mom (and a home school teacher) I must remember that God sees what is done behind the scenes day in and day out, even when there is little recognition from others.  Working as unto Him, building His Kingdom through my discipleship of my kids is by far the most difficult and awesome thing I’ve ever done.”

In spite of the high cost of good parenting, I see most parents with reasonably high expectations for their kids. This is why I’ve titled this message “Meet the (Faith-Filled) Parents.” Because most parents are filled with faith that their children will grow up to be men and women of good character, people of purpose who will contribute something good to society.

In the scripture that we read, the Apostle Paul has A Negative Warning for parents. He writes: “Parents, do not exasperate your children.”

Other translations put it this way: “Don’t provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them.” (New Living Translation) “Don’t exasperate them by coming down hard on them.” (The Message) “Don’t keep scolding and nagging them, making them angry and resentful.” (Living Bible) “Don’t over-correct them or make it difficult for them to obey the commandment [to honor their parents].” (J.B. Phillips)

You and I have seen countless examples of parents who yell at their children, who are too harsh in their discipline, etc. If you are aware of your own weakness here, God is telling you to stop it. Now!

In this scripture Paul also gives parents A Positive Instruction: “Bring up your children in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Other translations put it this way: “Bring them up with the loving discipline the Lord himself approves, with… godly advice.” (Living Bible) “Bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” (New Living Translation) “Raise them properly. Teach them and instruct them about the Lord.” (Contemporary English Version) “Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.” (The Message)

It is our task as parents to raise our children with consistent love and discipline. They are God’s gift to us, and one of our greatest responsibilities is to care for them and raise them well.

So this morning I want to quickly give you Five Principles for Sound Parenting.

And then Two More Principles for Faith-Filled Parenting.

I’m not Doctor Phil. And I’m not an expert on parenting. (But I live with one.)

Here we go!

Five Principles of Sound Parenting  that probably Atheists and Buddhists and Methodists can agree on.

#1. Love your Children. Be willing to sacrifice yourself for them. Invest your time in them, especially in their younger years. Cuddle them often as babies and hug them often at any age. Tell your children that you love them, and back it up with good parenting.

My father was raised in a home where his mother loved him, but he never remembers her saying, “I love you.” So I grew up as a child and a teenager, never hearing my father say, “I love you.”

Until my ordination, at age 26. On that day my father was one of a group of pastors who laid hands on me and set me apart for the work of the ministry. As they finished praying and stood up, my father hugged me and whispered in my ear: “I love you.” I don’t remember much about my ordination except those powerful words.

That was the beginning of a change for him. I call him almost every day, and many days he says, “I love you.” And occasionally, “I’m proud of you.”

#2. Be Consistent and Reasonable in Your DisciplineDon’t say you’ll punish them if they disobey, and then fail to do what you’ve said you would do. (That’s something like a lie.) Don’t punish them out of your anger, but punish them out of your best and clearest thinking. Corporal punishment may seem necessary at times, but avoid it if you can. Almost always, there’s a better alternative.

#3. Have PatienceBe patient with yourself. For my wife and myself, we’re still parenting 35 years after we started. Your patience will be tried and tested by your children, but rein in your anger. “Human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1:20)

#4. Build a Pattern of Open, Meaningful ConversationsLet your conversation be truthful, and don’t talk down to your kids. Don’t be condescending to them. Listen to them. Hear the meaning behind their words. Become THE EXPERT in hearing and understanding your child. Don’t take your frustrations out on them. Every day, at the dinner table or at bedtime, create opportunities for conversations about EVERYTHING.

Recently I saw a mother and young daughter at McDonalds. The daughter was chatting away, clearly speaking to her mother. The mother’s attention was on her smartphone, which in this case was a tool of the enemy, hindering family dialogue. Put your phone away, parents, when your kids are talking to you! They deserve that!

#5. Be a Model of MaturityOkay, so you may not see yourself as mature. But it’s time to be an adult when it comes to your children. Grow up! As is often said, “Don’t worry so much about being a friend to your child.” They need a parent. Who is YOUR model of a mature adult? Model YOURSELF after them.

So those are Five Principles for Sound Parenting.

Ten Sundays ago I preached a sermon called Teach Your Children Well. The focus was on passing our Christian life to our children in such a way that they become fully-devoted followers of Jesus. Today I will share with you again, from that message, Two More Principles for Faith-Filled Parenting.

#1. Take every opportunity to speak with your children about what it means to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. Exodus 6:6-9 — 6-9 Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates. (The Message)

So we are to internalize the values and commands of the Lord. Write them on our hearts. Get them inside ourselves and our children. Talk about them wherever we are. At home. Walking down the street. At waking-up time. At bedtime. All through the day.

We need to read about God’s ways to our children. We need to write about them. We need to paint the Gospel into our paintings. We need to sing it into your songs. We need to carve God’s Word into our doorframes and engrave it on the city gates.

Live God’s truth. Breathe it in and out. Take every opportunity to teach God’s ways to your children and grandchildren.

#2. Be the kind of Christian you want your children to become. Be the genuine article! Be the real deal! Be the worshiper! Be the servant! Be the encourager. Be the peacemaker. Be Jesus “with skin on” for your children and grandchildren!

When it comes to goodness, put all of your faith in what Jesus Christ has done for you. He is your Boss! He is your Master! He is your Lord! Be the kind of Christian you want your children to become.

If we can instill the teachings of Jesus into the minds and hearts of our children, we will have done something of eternal value. We are frail and broken, all of us. But if we can model Jesus before our children so that they GET IT, so that they see Him in us, we will have given them the very best gift!

God bless you in your role as a Faith-Filled Parent!

For the Storehouse of Your Mercy

In Honour of Roger Delaney

Click here for hymn sheet: For the Storehouse SATB (F)

words by Gary Hicks, copyright 2013

tune: BEACH SPRING (B.F.White, 1844)


For the storehouse of Your mercy, for Your persevering grace

From my heart I speak thanksgiving, from my lips I offer praise

Was there ever deeper goodness than is offered from above?

Such an endless stream of kindness, such a reservoir of love!


I was blind to heaven’s mercy til the day I spoke Your name

Full of fear and fond delusions, full of deadening guilt and shame

Then Your mercy sought and found me, holy kindness took me in

And Your grace roared like an ocean, overwhelming all my sin.


Down from heaven, out from Calvary, still it flows to save and heal:

To the nations, for each person, there is mercy, rich and real;

The transforming grace of Jesus, who is mighty still to save

Floods the earth and fills the heavens, kills despair and robs the grave!


When the earth at last shall perish, and the heavens burn away,

Then in worlds yet uncreated we will thrive in endless day,

And the mercy of our Saviour, shining then more brightly still,

We will celebrate forever on New Zion’s holy hill!

Bethlehem, Bethlehem, Though You Are Small

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2)


Click here for hymn sheet: Bethlehem Bethlehem (final)


Bethlehem, Bethlehem, though you are small

From your cold crèche comes the Saviour of all

Though you are humble and hidden away

Mary’s son Jesus lies nestled in hay.


There lie the shepherds on your lonely hill

Waiting for daybreak, all silent and still

Suddenly, suddenly, thunder and light

Angels unnumbered burst forth in the night.


There in your stable, the one from of old

Sleeping contentedly, safe from the cold

None but the shepherds to welcome this guest

No great parade for the purest and best.


There in your hidden place, God became man

Helpless and needy, as heaven had planned

Grace and compassion, and love without end

He is our Saviour, the world’s greatest friend.  


words and music by Gary Hicks, copyright 2010, 2015

We Boldly Declare the Word of the Lord


Click here for hymn sheet —

hymn sheet – We Boldly Declare


We boldly declare the Word of the LORD

For He is our strength, His scripture our sword

We stand on His promise, we speak to obey

Affirming the truth of His wonder-filled way.


The battle is fierce, the enemy strong

Take courage to fight, and lift up a song:

“Give praise to the LORD, for His mercy endures!”

The foe will retreat and the land will be ours.


So thanks be to God, who leads us with pow’r

We triumph in Him, His victory is ours

The kingdom of darkness before us must fall

It cannot prevail – Jesus rules over all.


text: Gary Hicks, based on 2 Chronicles 20:21-24

music: LYONS (O Worship the King)

attributed to Johann Michael Haydn (1737-1806),

in Wm. Gardiner’s “Sacred Melodies”, 1815

Jesus Is the Rock


Click here for your downloadable lead sheet:

lead sheet – Jesus is the Rock (E)


Though the tempest blows, Though the night is long,

Though the oceans roar, though the waves are strong

Jesus is the Rock — I am holding on

I shall not be moved, I shall not be moved.


There’s a Rock I know That is higher than I

He is holding me ‘Til the storm goes by

Jesus is the Rock — I am holding on

I shall not be moved, I shall not be moved.


Bridge: Thank You for the cross, Shedding Your own blood

Dying in my place — such overwhelming love

Lord, You are my Rock — I am holding on

I shall not be moved, I shall not be moved.


Though the tempest blows, Though the night is long,

Though the oceans roar, though the waves are strong

Jesus is the Rock — I am holding on

I shall not be moved, I shall not be moved.


copyright 2015 Gary L. Hicks