The Province of Joy


Dear Friend of BCS,

I have always loved music. I grew up with it all around me. My family was a singing family, and music played a significant role in our daily lives. I was the least talented among my family members, but it mattered little as we have all participated in and enjoyed music through our lives. 

As I write this letter, I’m listening to a musician whose music had a profound effect on my life as a new Christian. It fills me with awe and wonder at the beauty and glory of the Lord who has chosen to communicate his truths to us in a variety of ways. Of course, he has communicated with us principally through the Bible. In it, we learn all that the Lord has chosen to give us concerning himself and how we ought to live and think and feel in order to give him the greatest glory. But in addition to his Word, he also communicates with us through the creativity of his creatures, through literature, films, music, scenery, people, testimonies—all things we encounter in daily life. These communicative revelations often corroborate the truth of Scripture with a unique emotional impact that rises above the mere recognition of truth. It is in these encounters that we experience the beauty and glory of God in ways that often transcend our native cognitive ability. It is the beautiful merging head and heart, mind and soul, logic and delight. This is the province of joy—a joy that is anchored profoundly in the eternal truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you’re curious, the Christian musician who had such a profound impact on my early Christian life was Keith Green. During the first year of our marriage, my wife and I heard him in concert at a church in Madison, WI. He spent more time preaching than singing, but it didn’t matter to us. We were pierced to the heart by his lyrics, preaching, and musical power. We left that auditorium convicted of sin and overwhelmed by a strong desire to live our lives in a way that would truly bring glory and honor to Christ. We didn’t understand, really, what kind of journey we were embarking on at the moment, but we knew this is what we not only had to do, but we wanted to do! Many years later we would come to understand this impulse much more fully and compellingly through the preaching, teaching, and writing of John Piper. Through his providence, the Lord used a Christian musician to point us in that direction before we even knew such a direction existed.

Overwhelmed by the grace of God,

Tim Tomlinson
Bethlehem College & Seminary

Prayer Requests

  1. Please pray for our admissions and recruitment staff. While our incoming seminary class is all set, we still have room for more students in the college. Please pray that the Lord would lead just the right number of new college students to us this fall. 
  2. Pray for significant times of rest and recreation for our faculty and staff this summer. They have worked hard and would benefit greatly from some serious R & R.
  3. Please also pray for our fiscal year-end finances. We only need about $100,000 to make our budget by June 30th. Please pray for a gracious and generous outpouring of gifts from those who love the vision and mission of this school.
  4. Pray also for our accreditation work which remains to be done. We need to submit an updated self-study this summer, and we need wisdom on how to do it so that it accomplishes our purposes toward fulfilling accreditation requirements.