From Tears to Joy: The Movement of the Psalms, Jesus’ Life, and the Christian Life


As I am preparing to preach on praying your tears/sorrows to God I put together a list of some of the Biblical passages that show that we should expect tears, that we should express our tears to God in prayer and that we should expect no more tears and unimaginable joy when Christ returns. I thought this may be helpful to others so I am posting it here. As you meditate on these verses, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).

Expect Tears and Express Your Tears to God in Prayer

  • Psalm 6:6: I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.
  • Psalm 39:12 “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers.
  • Psalm 42:3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
  • Psalm 56:8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?
  • Psalm 102:9 For I eat ashes like bread and mingle tears with my drink,
  • Psalm 119:136 My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.
  • Isa. 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
  • John 11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. . .35 Jesus wept.
  • Matt. 26:36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
  • Heb. 5:7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

Expect Joy

  • Ps. 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
  • Psalm 30:5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favour is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. . .11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;. . .
  • Psalm 116:8 For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling;
  • Psalm 126:5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! 6  He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
  • The Psalms end with a crescendo of praise and joy (Psalms 145-150)
  • John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
  • John 16:20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
  • Heb. 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 
  • Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is. . .joy. . .
  • 1Thess. 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.
  • 2Cor. 4:17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
  • Rom. 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 
  • Jude 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 
  • Rev. 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

11 Theses on Church Planting

Shane Lems is a pastor in the URC who has planted a URC church in Sunnyside, WA. He also co-edited the book Planting, Watering, Growing: Planting Confessionally Reformed Churches in the 21st Century. He blogs at The Reformed Reader. As I type he is presenting “11 Theses” on church planting along with an annotated bibliography on church planting under each theses. It is an excellent resource. He says this is a work in progress, but this is his wisdom on the topic thus far:

  1. Church plants need to focus on making disciples (evangelism) and maintain that focus after the church is organized/particularized.
  2. Those involved with planting a church need to be well informed before the plant begins.
  3. Church plants need to think, act, and exist like missionaries by “contextualizing” to some extent.
  4. Church plants need to know the dynamics of an average American church/Christian
  5. Church plants need to take leadership training very seriously.
  6. Church plants need to continually train the disciples they are making.
  7. Church plants need to have a biblically structured liturgy that is understandable and explainable.
  8. Church plants need to have a solid knowledge of and love for the church.
  9. Church plants must be ready, willing, and able to minister to all sorts of people.
  10. Church plants should always have a wide variety of free reading material available.
  11. Church plants must be familiar with the methods and means of other denominations and networks that have experience in church planting.

“Planting, Watering, Growing: Planting Confessionally Reformed Churches in the 21st Century”

This looks like a great book on “Planting Confessionally Reformed Churches in the 21st Century.” I’ll be picking up my copy next week at the first ever URCNA Church Planting Conference/Colloquium in Denver, CO. You can get your copy here.

Here is the publishers description:

“As a response to the unique challenges facing the twenty-first-century American church, church planting has become a popular topic. But at a time when churches that spread the seed of the Word through preaching, the sacraments, and prayer are greatly needed, much of the focus has been on planting churches that adapt pop culture to meet “consumer demand.”  In Planting, Watering,Growing, the authors of this collection of essays weave together theological wisdom, personal experiences, and practical suggestions, guiding readers through the foundations and methods of planting confessional churches that uphold the Word of God.”


Table of Contents:

Foreword: Was the Reformation Missions-Minded?—Michael S. Horton

Introduction—Daniel R. Hyde and Shane Lems


Part 1: The Foundation of Planting Churches

1     The Fruitful Grain of Wheat—Brian Vos

2     The Sovereign Spirit of Missions: Thoughts on Acts 16:6–10 and Church Planting—Daniel R. Hyde

3     The Reformed Confessions and Missions—Wes Bredenhof

4     No Church, No Problem?—Michael S. Horton


Part 2: The Methods of Planting Churches

5     Church Planting Principles from the Book of Acts—Daniel R. Hyde

6     Heart Preparation in Church Planting—Paul T. Murphy

7     Church Planting: A Covenantal and Organic Approach—Paul T. Murphy

8     Planning the Plant: Some Thoughts on Preparing to Plant a New Church—Kim Riddlebarger


Part 3: The Work of Planting Churches

9     On Being a Church Planter—Daniel R. Hyde

10     Being a Welcoming Church Plant—Kevin Efflandt

11     Flock and Family: A Biblical Balance—Shane Lems

12     Declare His Praise among the Nations: Public Worship as the Heart of Evangelism—Daniel R. Hyde

13     “How’s the Food?” The Church Plant’s Most Important Ingredient—Michael G. Brown

14     Church Membership and the Church Plant—Michael G. Brown

15     Shepherding Toward Maturity, Part 1: The Authority in Church Planting— Spencer Aalsburg

16     Shepherding Toward Maturity, Part 2: Identifying a Mature Church Plant— Spencer Aalsburg

17     Motivation: The Planting Church and the Planted Church—Eric Tuininga


Part 4: The Context of Planting Churches

18     Church Planting in a Melting Pot—Shane Lems

19     The Cultural Factor in Church Planting—Mitchell Persaud

20     Growing Contextually Reformed Churches: Oxymoron or Opportunity?—Phil Grotenhuis

21     Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?—Michael S. Horton


Epilogue—Daniel R. Hyde and Shane Lems


Appendix A Church-Plant Timeline: A Big and Brief Picture of a Plant—Daniel R.    Hyde and Shane Lems

Appendix B The Steering Committee—Spencer Aalsburg

Appendix C Guidelines for the Steering Committee—Spencer Aalsburg


Selected Bibliography


Scripture Index

Confessions Index


About the Editors:

Daniel R. Hyde and Shane Lems are the church planters and pastors of the Oceanside United Reformed Church in Carlsbad/Oceanside, California, and United Reformed Church of Sunnyside in Sunnyside, Washington.


Michael S. Horton, Brian Vos, Wes Bredenhof, Paul T. Murphy, Kim Riddlebarger, Kevin Efflandt, Michael G. Brown, Spencer Aalsburg, Eric Tuininga, Mitchell Persaud, Phil Grotenhuis

URCNA Form for the Frequent Celebration of the Lord’s Supper

I have always loved the words of the URCNA form for communion for those churches who celebrate the Lord’s Supper frequently. One of my parishioners has often told me that he really loves these words as well. So I thought it would be good to share these beautiful words which explain in a nutshell the Reformed view of the Lord’s Supper and how we should approach it with reverence, joy and thanksgiving.

Form for the Frequent Celebration of the Lord’s Supper

Approved for provisional use 2/15/07; revised 12/07/09


To all of you who have confessed your sins and affirmed your faith in Christ, the promise of Jesus is sure: “Whoever eats my body and drinks my blood has eternal life and will not come into condemnation.” For on the night in which our Lord was betrayed, he took bread; and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me.” After the same manner also he took the cup, saying, “this cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” While remaining bread and wine, these sacred elements nevertheless become so united to the reality they signify that we do not doubt but joyfully believe that we receive in this meal nothing less than the crucified body and shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For all who live in rebellion against God and unbelief, this holy food and drink will bring you only further condemnation. If you do not yet confess Jesus Christ and seek to live under his gracious reign, we admonish you to abstain. But all who repent and believe are invited to this sacred meal not because you are worthy in yourself, but because you are clothed in Christ’s perfect righteousness. Do not allow the weakness of your faith or your failures in the Christian life to keep you from this table. For it is given to us because of our weakness and because of our failures, in order to increase our faith by feeding us with the body and blood of Jesus Christ. As the Word has promised us God’s favor, so also our Heavenly Father has added this confirmation of his unchangeable promise. So come, believing sinners, for the table is ready. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

The Consecration:

Let us pray:

Almighty and everlasting God, who by the blood of your only begotten Son has secured for us a new and living way into the Holy of Holies, cleanse our minds and hearts by your Word and Spirit that we, your redeemed people, drawing close to you through this holy sacrament, may enjoy fellowship with the Holy Trinity through the body and blood of Christ our Savior. We know that our Ascended Savior does not live in temples made by hands, but is in heaven where he continues to intercede on our behalf. Through this sacrament, by Your own Word and Spirit, may these common elements be now set apart from ordinary use consecrated by You, so that just as truly as we eat and drink these elements by which our life is sustained, so truly we receive into our souls, for our spiritual life, the true body and true blood of Christ. We receive these by faith, which is the hand and mouth of our souls.

Apostles’ Creed (optional):

Sursum Corda:

Let us now go to our Heavenly Table and receive the gift of God for our souls. By the promise of God this bread and wine are for us the body and blood of Christ.

(Minister) Lift up your hearts!

(People) We lift them up to the Lord.


(The elements are distributed, and the minister may use the formula)

The bread which we break is a communion of the body of Christ. Take, eat, remember, and believe that the body of our Lord Jesus Christ was broken for a complete remission of all our sins.

The cup of blessing which we bless is a communion of the blood of Christ. Take, drink all of it, remember, and believe that the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ was shed for a complete remission of all our sins.

Thanksgiving prayer:

Our gracious Heavenly Father, we thank you for the blessing of this holy feast. Although we are unworthy to share this meal with you, it is by your invitation and dressed in Christ’s righteousness that we have come boldly into the Holy of Holies. Instead of wrath, we have received your pardon; in the place of fear we have been given hope. Our High Priest and Mediator of the New Covenant has reconciled us to you and even now intercedes for us at your right hand. Please strengthen us by these gifts so that, relying only on your promise to save sinners who call on Jesus’ name, we may, by your Spirit, honor you with our souls and bodies, to the honor

A Unique Way to Help Support Missions

The Oceanside United Reformed Church has provided a great opportunity to support the Kauai Reformation Church plant. I love this church. I had the privilege and joy of meeting them all and filling the pulpit while I was in seminary. I’d love to see the work continue and for the Gospel to be proclaimed on “The Garden Island” of Hawaii. For more details on how to support this work, see the e-mail below from Pastor Danny Hyde:

Hello friends, colleagues, and everyone else in between!
I am sending this note to almost everyone in my contact list in order to spread an opportunity as far and wide as possible for the sake of Christian missions.
As a means of providing some residual support for our mission work, the Kauai Reformation Church (, and our church planter there, Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen, the consistory (pastors & elders) of the Oceanside United Reformed Church and a gifted member of our congregation have produced an attractive book containing the ancient Christian creeds and Reformed confessions, entitled, Our Faith. Again, all revenue goes directly to support the work of missions on the island of Kauai.
Many of you already have these documents readily available. If you do not, or if you would like to add this edition to your collection, all for the support of missions, follow the links below.
For $4.99 this paperback can be purchased:
For $3.99 this downloadable .pdf for your e-reader can be purchased:
Blessings and please forgive the intrusion into your inboxes.