Notes on our weekly music

researched and compiled by Jo-Ann Beck

Let’s discuss and hear modern hymns, praise songs, and hymnal music,
used in our weekly Sunday Worship Service.


10/2/22 – Happy Fall ! We will again take a look at the book of James. This is sometimes a difficult passage as it deals with being patient while suffering.

Chris Tomlin wrote our first praise hymn, “Amazing Grace(My Chains are Gone)” in 2006. While the tune is basically the same one we all are familiar with, there is an additional chorus. The lyrics for the first 3 stanzas are the same, but he added a new and beautiful 4th line.

The second Praise hymn, “Death was Arrested”, was written in 2015. Have you ever felt lost? Orphaned and alone? Jesus tells us that DEATH no longer has a hold on us. It has been arrested, we can begin anew with Christ. The chorus is well composed in that the tune ebbs and flows as if His saving Grace is washing over us. Sing Joyously to our Savior.

Hymn # 689, was written in 1752, during the time of the German Pietist Movement. This was during the 30 Year’s War, one which pitted Catholics against the Protestants, and about 100 years after Luther. Katherine von Schlegel was a Pietist, and stressed personal holiness, charity, missions and music. “Be Still, My Soul” encourages us to focus on God in and circumstance. Check out Psalm 46:10 and Mark 4:41.

J. Wilbur Chapman was born in Richmond, Indiana in 1859. He attended a Quaker school and a Methodist Sunday School. AT age 17 , he made a public confession of faith. He joined the Richmond Presbyterian Church and received his seminary degree from Lane Theological Seminary in Ohio. He joined Moody and later, Billy Sunday as an evangelist. He wrote #327, “One Day He’s Coming” in 1910. This is a beautiful story of Jesus’ life and that He will return for us.

Have a blessed Sabbath and a joyous week to come


9/25/22 – Communion – Have you ever wanted to run away? I mean as an adult? To just drop everything, pack a bag and go…somewhere, anywhere? Bryant Park is preaching on the first chapter of Jonah. Here was a man who, at first, intent on fleeing from responsibilities, but the Lord used his sinful silliness for good. Think about the impact he had on the sailors.

Our first praise song is. “I Will Wait for You”.  Although based on Psalm 130, it also reflects Jonah’s predicament. “Out of the depths, in darkest places I will call”; I can’t think of a place more dark than the belly of that great fish!

Sunday is also Communion Sunday, and our second praise song, “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death”, focuses on this.  Some of the phrases that highlight this are, “What is our hope…our only confidence…what keeps us to the end?”. “God is good…where is His grace and goodness known?”, and, “In our Redeemer’s blood”

“Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed”, hymn #254, was written by Isaac Watts. What a wonderful hymn with which to enter into Communion!  Watts wrote this in 1707, but ‘the rest of the story’ is fascinating.  In 1850, a ‘blind woman heard a revival choir sing this simple hymn.  Stanza after stanza stirred her heart, but when the choir came to the  final line, “Here, Lord, I give myself away”, she gave herself to the Lord as well.  That blind woman was Fanny Crosby.  Do you have a song or hymn that had such a wonderful impact as this?  (The text was taken from “The One Year Book of Hymns”).

Hymn #591, “Jesus Calls Us”, was written by Cecil F. Alexander.  She was married at age 32 to a parish minister in rural Northern Ireland.  She would visit the poor and needy in the parish, giving them food and care. This was around the time of the Great Potato Famine in Ireland.  She also wrote, “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” and “Once in Royal David’s City”.  Her husband had asked her to write a hymn to complement his sermon on Andrew’s calling by Jesus, and this song was born.


9/18/22

One of our praise hymns is new, at least to me. “Death Was Arrested” is from the North Point Inside Out group ( no, i know nothing about them). The tune may be new for many of us, but the lyrics are very good. It speaks of the day when DEATH was arrested ( stopped, halted ), was when my life began. How true, we were dead in our sins, until Jesus’ endless love poured down on us. Our shame was ransomed. Christ’s endless love pours down on us. Truly inconceivable.

Our other praise hymn is more familiar, and for me, so beautifully composed, both lyrics and melody. As you sing it, be aware of how it, while prayerful, builds up excitedly, then brings us humbly down in order to : “Behold Him”. Behold: to perceive through sight ( gaze upon) with some apprehension ( to understand, grasp). Be Still: cease striving, fighting, and relax or rest.

Hymn 252, is a well-known Isaac Watts hymn,”When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”. He was very disappointed with the contemporary hymns of his era because they failed to inspire the listeners toward genuine worship. Like it’s said, if you want something done right, do it yourself- so he wrote over 600 hymns. The melody is based on the Gregorian Chant- rich, grave tones. We must all take seriously Christ’s sacrificial death. On the topic os ‘serious’, the last hymn’s title is one of great seriousness. “O Quickly Come, Dread Judge of All”, hymn 322, is just that. If you were only reading the lyrics, the verses would be most dark. But the tune is more often used for ‘Eternal Father, Strong to Save’, but it truly lends itself to Lawrence Tuttiet’s work. There isn’t;t. Much about him, except that he was ordained as a Deacon, then priest in the Episcopal Church of Scotland.

May you have a blessed Sabbath


9/11/22 – GrandParents’ Day / Partriots’ Day

For anyone over the age of 25, what were YOU doing 21 years ago? Do you remember how ‘United’ we were as a country that day? Are we as Christians still willing to not forget the terror of that day? Can we empathize with others going through such terrors today? Are we really trusting in God and knowing that He has every moment of history in His hand? Our scripture for the sermon, tells us to NOT worry. Our songs this week should help encourage all of us to look to the Lord.

“Your Will Be Done”, speaks of how one tends to self- exalting, but when our world tumbles around us, God will retire our heart. He will lead us in the fight…but we must be ready to let God’s will, and not ours, be done.

“Living Hope” , by Phil Wickham, is a favorite of mine. He writes of chasms and mountains, those supposed insurmountable problems we face. But he reminds us that God’s Grace and Mercy are what we need to focus on. The work is finished, I am forgiven, the grave has no claim on me.

Hymn 92, I think is ( or should be) a top 5 favorite with everyone. “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”, by Martin Luther, absolutely can NOT be sung without emotion. It is based on Psalm 42. ‘Our refuge’, verse 1; ‘we will not fear’ verse 2; ‘God of Jacob is our fortress’ verses 7, 11; ‘He makes wars cease’, verse 9; and, ‘be still and know that I am God’ verse 10. Sing it with conviction!

Finally, hymn 353, “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord”, was authored by Timothy Dwight. He was the grandson of Jonathan Edwards, read Latin at age 6, graduated from Yale at 17, and wrote his first book at 21. He joined the Continental Army in 1777 as a chaplain. Will tending to the troops, he would write songs for them. In 1795 he became the president of Yale, and helped lead a revival there. This hymn was written during this time period. It is the earliest American hymn still being sung today.


9/4/22 – May everyone have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend and a blessed Sabbath.

Our two Praise Hymns are from CityAlight. “It Was Finished Upon That Cross” , is a wonderful song full of thoughtful phrases. ‘He declares His work is finished’ which a hope to me. The curse is broken, Jesus paid the price, a full pardon. Death was once my great opponent, fear had a hold on me. Please pause to ponder that , “Death is Dead, Christ is risen” . What does this mean to you?

“Yet Not I, But Through Christ in Me”, makes us consider: The gift of Grace- nothing more to give, He is my joy, righteousness, freedom, love and peace. All is mine- through Christ in me; and my hope is only Jesus- Christ in me!

“Go, Labor On”, hymn # 584, was composed by Horatius Bonar in 1843. Born in 1808, and ordained in 1837, in Scotland, he then joined the Free Church of Scotland. He was a well-known writer, poet and hymn-writer. Hymnary.org gives this notation: “from habitual contemplation of the Second Advent as the era of this world’s true bliss, his hymns and poems are distinguished by a tone of pensive reflection, which some might call pessimism. But they are more than the record of emotion; another element is supplied by his intellectual and personal grasp of the Divine truth…”.

Hymn 108, “Whate’er My God Ordains is Right” was written by German, Samuel Rodigast in 1675. In reading his biography, I learned some new words or definitions of more common ones. In 1676 he was the ADJUNCT ( part-time) of the philosophy faculty. During this time, Philosophy ( love of wisdom) was paired with religion. In 1680 he served as the CONRECTOR ( deputy principal) of Greyfriars GYMNASIUM ( a school that prepares students for university entrance). In 1689, he became the rector, or head of that school. Please focus on the deep faith and assurance he had in God and his savior, Jesus.


8/28/22 – Commnion Sunday – We welcome again to the pulpit, Pastor Kevin Ball.

The Scripture focus is on Ruth 1: 1-22. Imagine what devotion Ruth had for Naomi to leave her country of Moab ( the son of Lot and his daughter after Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed) to go to Israel (who distrusted people from Moab) with her.

Our praise hymns are very fitting. “Lord I Need You” is by Christy Nockels and others including Matt Maher. This is a prayerful tune and speaks of our relationship with the Triune God. Some of the lines that are very touching are: “ Sin runs deep- Grace is more”, “Where you are , Lord, I am free”, “You are my hope and stay” and “When I cannot stand, I fall on you”. It is a blessing to know that we, as His children, can never fall so far that he cannot save.

“The Power of the Cross”, by the Getty’s, is a wonderful song for Communion. Why not meditate on the phrase,”Christ became sin for us”? Just what does that mean? And add the line,” Every bitter thought…deed…on His brow”. Even with ‘ my name written on the wounds’, He could declare that “It is finished”.

Is there ever a time when a particular hymn should Not be sung? I guess not. Hymn #194, “O Come O Come, Emmanuel” is usually sung at Christmas, yet it is appropriate for today as well. This is a Latin plainsong (chant) from the 12th Century. Listening to the tune, you can imagine a cathedral and a group of monks lifting up their voices. It was translated into English by J.M. Beale in 1851. Each stanza offers different Biblical names for Christ.

In 1886, Daniel Towner was the song leader for the D.L.Moody evangelical meeting in Mass. A young man’s testimony caught his attention when the man said”…I’m going to trust, and I’m going to obey”. Towner sent his ideas and a tune to his friend, John Sammis, who turned the ideas into the hymn, “Trust and Obey” in 1887.


8/21/22 – For everyone on vacation, may you have a blessed rest.

This week we are singing praise hymns that are familiar to us. The first one is from the Getty’s, “ Come People of the Risen King”. Stuart Townend refers to this as a ‘gathering song’, one that should be sung at the beginning of worship to remind us of why we are here. Did we fail to honor God this week? Did we come’ up short’ in our duties to Him? This is the very reason that we need to come near to Him, and we are able to do this because of what Christ has done for us! I had an interesting thought; the early church called themselves,’followers of the Way’, now we call ourselves Christians; but what would folks think if we said we were ‘ people of the risen King’? How many would ask us what we meant?

The second praise hymn is, “I Will Run To You” from Hillsongs Music. As you sing this song from 1996, look at some of the phrases. “Your eye is on the sparrow”- a very insignificant being, and we are worth much more.

“You call me to your purpose”- so if God has a purpose in mind, then we Are important. And finally, “ I will run to You, to your words of truth”, so remember to Run, not Walk, to God for all our needs.

Hymn #9 has very little information. “All You That Fear Jehovah’s Name” is from the 1912 Psalter, and is based on Psalm 22: 23-26,31. a psalter is taking a Psalm ( or part of it) , and putting the verses to a tune so it may be memorized. John Calvin wished that only the Psalms would be sung in his church because the Book of Psalms can be said to be God’s Hymnal.

“My Jesus, I Love Thee” ( 648). William Featherston, of Canada,was 16 when he wrote this hymn. He had just given his life to Christ. He wrote this as a poem, and sent it to his aunt, who in turn sent it to a publisher. Adoniram Gordon, founder of Gordon College and Gordon- Conwell Theological Semninary found it in a London Hymnal in 1870. He did not like the tune that was listed, so he composed another- the one we use today. And now you know the rest of the story!


8/14/22 – My notes today might seem a little bit different than usual. I’d like to say it’s all Ms Duty’s fault, but I won’t. Instead I want to encourage you to view her post from earlier today. One important take away, of many, is that we need to sing songs back to our Lord when we are beyond words. I really feel that her shared post is way more meaningful than mine, so be sure to take the 10 minutes needed.

In my searching for information on our four hymns, I have found very little substance on any of them. So now you know why my post is briefer than usual.

I think I spent about 10 minutes just trying to find any listing on “Mighty Fortress”. It is by Aaron Shust, who received Songwriter of the year in 2007. From his website;” …is in relentless pursuit of beauty and it is that which lies behind his musical experimentation, his writing, his public ministry, and his tenacious grip on God’s Word.” He lives in Nashville, Tn with his wife and 3 sons.

“Lord From Sorrows Deep I Call”, is by Matt Pappa who is part of the ‘Getty family’. be sure to linger over several of the phrases throughout the song. ‘ shaken hope, come to my rescur’; ‘questions without answers, be my shelter’; ‘when all I possess is grief, God be my treasure’. If you watched the video on Joni E. Tada, this song perfectly echoes her sentiments.

Hymn 101, “Come Thor almighty King” is very familiar, but the writer is anonymous. Written in 1757, it is beautifully paired with an Italian tune.

“We Are God’s Family” was written by Bryan Jeffery Leech in 1976. So, bet you are thinking it will have a modern tune, but no, it has been blended with parts of Johannes Brahms’ “Symphony #1 in C Minor”. Mr Leech was born in 1931 in Essex England, and moved to the U.S. in 1955. He composed over 500 songs. He passed away on 2015.


8/7/22 –  May I encourage everyone reading this, to stop and read the scripture for Sunday? The meditation verse is I Peter 5:5b ( gist: God opposes the proud but grace to the humble). Our Sermon text is James 4:7-10. I am excited to hear what Pastor David will say about these verses. I looked up the definition of ‘humble’, which, as an adjective, means to show a low estimate of one’s own importance. Our music this week reflects this .

“Hear Our Praises”, by Hillsong, has a very flowing melody. When I hear it, I am reminded of those aerial shots of flowing over the countryside and ocean. How wonderful to think of dancing in our homes, in the streets with joy, and God’s light shining in the darkness. While ‘hallelujah’ is repeated many times in this song, why not do a mental exercise as you sing? Hallelujah means, ‘God be praised’, as an expression of worship or rejoicing. Before the service, take a few minutes to jot down ALL those things you are grateful to God. So for each ‘hallelujah’, there should be 24 of them, list what you can praise God for in your life.

“He Will Hold Me Fast,” by the Gettys, is sort of the ‘flip side’ of the first song. This one reminds us of all those fearful, worrisome times in our life, that God is holding us close to him. Fear of failing faith,Satan’s tempting,realizing that I cannot do this life on my own, Christ will hold us fast.

Hymn 562, “All to Jesus I Surrender” is a very familiar tune. Judson VanDeVenter was born in Michigan, but traveled to Florida to teach. His real passion was painting and drawing, but his friends saw something else in him. They encouraged him to become an evangelist. He struggled with this for 5 years, but realized that this was where God wanted him to be. He wrote over 100 hymns,but this one echoes his life decision to Surrender.

“Marvelous Grace of Our Loving Lord” (#465), might be more familiar as “Grace Greater than All Our Sin.” Julia Johnson was born in Ohio in 1849 to a minister father and a poet mother. This hymn, her most famous of over 500 hymn texts, reminds us that without God’s Grace, we can never earn our way to heaven. And for those who feel they could never be good enough, they can rest in His Grace to do what we can’t.


7/31/22 – I am anxiously awaiting Sunday’s sermon. Be sure to read the verse of meditation, John 15:13, and then tie that in with the scripture for the sermon, James 4:1-6. There are so many great words to consider.

The first song of praise is sure to stir you into a truly awake mode. The rhythm is quick, but the words are ‘spot on’. God IS good, His mercy is from generation to generation, and we are to worship Him for this! While there is repetition in this song, we should take it to heart and have it deeply entrenched in our thoughts each day. “You Are Good”!

Chris Tomlin wrote “Jesus Messiah”. This one allows us to catch our breath, and have time to ponder the lyrics in preparation for Communion. He became sin, humbled Himself. Amazing love, His body the bread, His blood the wine. Love so amazing!

“What a Friend We Have in Jesus” is a familiar hymn for many of us. Joseph Scrivener was born in Ireland, but later moved to Canada. He faced any sorrows in his life, one being the accidental drowning of his fiancée the night before their wedding. The lyrics were never intended to be a hymn, but were enclosed as encouragement in a letter to his aging mother in Ireland.
How many other faiths can claim that their god is a friend to the believer? I cannot thing of any. Certainly none that the god willing gave his life for his believers!

Hymn 498, “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners” was written in 1910 by J. Wilbur Chapman. He was a Presbyterian evangelist and pastor. He wrote not only hymns, but also had literary works published. He knew D. L. Moody and also had an influence on Billy Sunday.


7/24/22 – Just in case you were in another part of the world this past week, this was our Vacation Bible School week. Our happy, young faces learned aspects of construction and how they apply to our walk with Christ. If you didn’t have the joy of being here, they learned about : SIN (dead end), U TURN ( repentance), ONE WAY (atonement), UNDER CONSTRUCTION (sanctification) and GO (witnessing). Please enjoy the songs that they will share with us on Sunday.

Our praise Hymn, by the Getty’s, is “In Christ Alone”. Look for some applicable ‘construction’ words in the verses. Hint: strength, cornerstone, solid ground.

Hymn #307, “Nothing But the Blood” , by Robert Lowry, can also tie in with this week’s theme. He was born in Philadelphia in 1826. Even from an early age, he loved music and learned various instruments. At age 22, he committed to becoming a minister, and graduated at age 28 with the highest honors of his class. He was loved for his ability to ‘paint’ vivid descriptions and inspiring others in their Christian walk. While he wrote many hymns, two others are often sung: “Low in the Grave” and “Shall We Gather at the River”

“Amazing Grace”, # 460, is one of the best loved and most famous of hymns. While this was a reflection of John Newton’s salvation, be sure to look for the terms that have also been in our VBS lessons. Hint: grace, dangers, allusion to redemption and sanctification. Newton, nearing age 82 with poor health and memory stated that there were 2 things he was sure of: he was a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior!!


7/17/22 – Pastor David is continuing to walk us through James. he will focus on chapter 4:1-4. May I suggest that you read this passage before the service? While the scripture is a chastisement, our 4 hymns will help soften the blow by showing us HOW to live a Godly life. We are warned that fights and quarrels are due to coveting, not asking God, asking Him from wrong motives, and ultimately seeking pleasure.

“Praise the Lord Ye Heavens” is from the group, Young Oceans. They give us lyrics that show us that angels, sun and moon rejoice Him, along with the stars. We are reminded that every tongue will declare his mighty ways. Certainly, if we spend our time focused on Him, then our petty desires will fade away.
“Turn Your Eyes”, by Sovereign Grace, is a beautiful variation of the older hymn many of us grew up with. Again, we are encouraged to focus on our true purpose of living: Jesus. Our pettiness fades after we see Christ on that hill, in that grave and seated on His throne.

Hymn 295 has two lyricists. “Crown Him wit Many Crowns”, was originally penned by Matthew Bridges, who wrote 6 stanzas. Godfrey Thring added 6 more. No, our hymnal only has four, all written by Bridges, but check out the full hymn online. Matthew Bridges (1800-1894), was the son of a priest of the Church of England, but later converted to Roman Catholicism. Godfrey Thring(1823-1903) was a clergyman in the Anglican Church. This hymn encourages us to focus on our Lord in all His splendor.

Finally, “May the Mind of Christ, My Savior” (#644), was written by Kate Wilkinson (1859-1928). There is not much information on her biography, but the purpose for her writing this is interesting. If you look at the verse listed below the title, this was the emphasis of the 1st verse. Stanza 2 reflects Colossians 3:16, and the 3rd verse returns to Philippians- verse 4:7.
May all these hymns help you in your Christian walk.


7/10/22 – I like to look for interesting ways to write about the hymns and the authors. Today is no exception, in fact, to me, it seems rather exceptional.

Our Praise hymns are written by the same composer, Chris Tomlinson; while our classic hymns were composed by two exceptional women. Our praise songs today are: “ Your Grace is Enough” and “How Great is Our God”. These are very familiar to most folks, so let me share some background on Chris Tomlin. He is a singer, songwriter and worship leader from Grand Saline, Texas. He was born in 1972 ( just a ‘baby’ to me). His original plan was to go into the medical field. In 1994 he graduated from Texas A & M with a degre in psychology. God had other plans for him. He has accumulated 23 GMA Dove awards, a Grammy award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album, plus 2 certified platinum albums. he has since relocated to Franklin , Tennessee ( near Nashville) allowing him to record his music in Nashville.

Hymn 181, “We Come, O Christ” was written by Edith Margaret Clarkson. She was born in Canada in 1915 and passed away in 2008. She attended St John’s Presbyterian Church in Toronto. At age 12, she was playing the piano and writing poetry. While she was a school teacher, she also wrote many books for Scripture Press in Wheaton, Ill. One of her ( over 17) books, “Destined for Glory :The meaning of Suffering”, was about her long struggle with physical ailmaents- including severe headaches. Please check out, www.hymnologyarchive.com to learn more about this woman.

“Like a River Glorious”, (#699) was written by Frances Ridley Havergal in 1874. her most famous hymn is, “Take My Life”. By the age of 4 she could read the Bible and had learned to write. She knew Greek, Hebrew, German and French. She had also memorized much of the Bible. her favorite book was Isaiah! There is much more on her life, so check out banner of truth.org.

May the accomplishments of these songwriters encourage you to see God’s hand in your life and to never stop learning and growing in the Lord.


7/3/22 – May you have a blessed Fourth of July. The music selections this week should set off fireworks in your heart! Pastor is once more preaching from James 3. How beautifully these songs mesh into his sermon.

“May All the peoples Praise You”, written by the Gettys, speaks of how God has called us out of darkness and into His Light. It speaks that the whole earth is His, for this we need to thank Him. We sing that the seeds of mercy should be growing in us. These songs of praise are to build lives of grace and aid in spreading God’s word throughout the earth.

We are asked to see how much Christ is the better Adam, Isaac, Moses and David. As great as these Biblical men were, they are only an imperfect image of Christ. Adam was in a Garden, tempted, and fell. Christ was also in a garden, yet did not sin. Like Isaac, Christ was offered as a sacrifice, and was not spared. Moses spread his arms to lead the people home, Christ spread His arms and the veil was torn, in order to bring us to our heavenly home. David was a shepherd-king, and in a more perfect way, so is Christ.

Hymn 38, “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” , written by Walter Chalmers Smith, was inspired by I Timothy 1:17. Musicologist, Erik Routley referred to this hymn as “full of plump polysyllables”. Now, a polysyllable is a word of 2 or more syllables. Look at all the words in this hymn that are not just 2, but 3, 4, 5 syllables.

Martin Luther was excommunicated, faced threats on his life and freedom, plus facing intense spiritual battles. This hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”, was inspired by Psalm 46. This is one of those hymns that should ONLY be sung boldly!


6/26/22 – Communion Day – God has truly blessed this congregation! Now we must find ways to share this wonderful , Good News! One way is through music, and today we are singing some wonderful songs.

During our time of praise, we are being encouraged to “Hear the Call of the Kingdom “. The Getty’s have written an inspiring song, both the lyrics as well as the instrumental elements. They are asking us to hear Chrit’s call to share the Gospel, reach out to the lost, and work to bring peace and forgiveness. ( I’m betting that your toes will be tapping, or your body swaying to the rhythm by the end of this song)

On this Communion Sunday, “Living Hope” wants us to consider or salvation. We stand at a huge chasm, or an unscalable mountain. Yet God stepped down from glory to wear our SHAME and sin. But when things looked most bleak, his body began to breathe and he broke every chain os sin,.

“Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted”, written by Thomas Kelly, is a German tune in Bflat minor. Kelly was a son of a judge in Ireland, and he had planned to go into law himself, but took Holy orders in 1792 ( 23 yrs old).He preached so evangelically in London, that he was asked NOT to preach in the city. A prolific hymn writer of over 765; you can find 4 of his in our hymnal ( 298,299,350,677).

Our closing hymn, “Man of Sorrows! What a Name” was written by Philip P. Bliss, and American ( 1838-1876)singing evangelist. He was a contemporary of D.L. Moody and , of course, Ira Sankey. His other hymns in the Trinity Hymnal are 191,476,579,650, and 697.


6/19/22 – Father’s Day – This week we continue to look at James 3:2-12. In a ‘nutshell’, these verses talk about how we all stumble; the tongue is many times unnameable; with it we both praise God and curse man. Pay attention to how these songs and hymns mention our tongue and how we use it, as well as the many (10,000) ways we can properly put it to use.

Our order of worship is slightly different this week, as we will begin with hymn #1, “All Peoples That on Earth Do Dwell”. This hymn is modeled after Psalm 100 ( “make a joyful noise, or shout, to the Lord). William Kethe was a Scottish preacher who fled to Germany and then Geneva to avoid ‘Bloody Mary’, in the mid-1500s. In Geneva, he assisted in translating the Geneva Bible as well as a complete English version of the Psalter. He returned to his homeland when Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne. This is probably the oldest English hymn used today.

During the time we sing our praise songs, we will be joining our voices with probably 2 of my more favorite songs. “10,000 Reasons”, by Matt Redman has a flowing melody that I enjoy. The second stanza says,”For all your goodness, I will keep on singing 10,00 reasons for my heart to find”. How many reasons can we each name before our mighty and wonderful God?

The other praise song is, “Mighty to Save” by Hillsongs. This ties in very well with our scripture reading. It speaks of compassion, mercy and forgiveness. We ask God to ‘take us as He finds us- fears and failures’.

Charles Wesley wrote hymn #164, “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”, for the 11th anniversary of his conversion. He was one of many people who, even though in the church, did not truly experience conversion until much later. I particularly like the 6th verse that speaks of: hear Him ye deaf, speak His praise ye dumb, see Him ye blind and leap for joy ye lame.


6/12/22


6/5/22 – Our sermon focus is on James 2:18-26.

“The Living Faith Illustrated”The praise hymns are both old and new. We have sung ,”Behold Him”, many times. The challenge for you , is to look for how many synonyms are used for Jesus. I found six, what about you?

“Christ the True and Better Adam”, is new to me, so I’m guessing it is new to most of us. It is another beautiful song from the Getty’s. The melody is of Irish ( of course) tone. Reading some of the comments on this song, one person wrote that they were deeply touched by: its musical accessibility, beauty of the construction and how theologically instructive. I think we will all gain meaning from it.

Hymn 570, “Faith of Our Fathers”, was composed by Frederick Fabre ( 181401863) . He was concerned about the religious movements of his day, and how they emphasized the ‘experience of the moment’. He had joined the Catholic church because of its continuity with the past. However, he missed the music he had grown up with, so he began to compose his own- and this was his most widely used one. “The God of Abraham’s Praise” has a completely different ‘feel’. Tommy Olivers, orphaned at a young age, had the worst reputation in his village. He heard George Whitefield preach on Zechariah 3:2, and became a believer. John Wesley urged him to become and evangelist in England and Ireland. On time, while in London, he entered a synagogue and was very moved by both the Cantor, the words and the style of music. He then adapted it for Christian worship; and now you know the rest of the story.


5/29/22 – Communion / Memorial Sunday

Each week, I wonder what I can write about on each song we sing. And I seek to tie in the lyrics with Pastor David’s sermon and scripture. This week is no exception. How does one unite the tragedy in Texas and our grieving over such an event, with the lesson ( James 2:14-17) and the Celebration of Communion?

God in his mercy showed me the ‘how’ , even if not the ‘why’. The first praise hymn is, “Lord From Sorrows Deep I Call”. This is taken from Psalm 42. The first verses express a longing for the Lord, especially when men say,”Where is your God?”. We can sing of hope that is shaken, unanswered questions, grief; yet we are reminded to put our hope in Him, and He is our true treasure. Let this encourage us to comfort others, and to offer hope to the hopeless.

“Only a Holy God” reminds those of us who were at the Gathering this week, that this sounds very much like God’s questions to Job. He commands the host. of heaven, rules with justice, raises the dead, and offers His only Son so that we can call him Father. What a beautiful expression to lead us into the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

Hymn 433, has proven to be very interesting for me. Google and YouTube have thwarted ( like that old word?) my search for the tune that is in our hymnal. I’m not sure I know this tune, but it’s verses line up very well with the Sermon text. Written by Godfrey Thring in 1877, he was an ordained priest in the Church of England. He wrote many hymns and published 3 hymnals. Our hymnal lists two others by him: 384 and 531. William W. How was an Anglican Bishop wrote this hymn for All Saints Day (11/1). Hebrews 11 was the inspiration ( faith chapter).

“For All the Saints” is one of those hymns that sounds most majestic when accompanied by a pipe organ, but the words are dynamic in themselves. Bishop How spent much time working with the destitute in London slums as well as factory workers. He wrote over 60 hymns and many were for children. Our hymnal also has his, “O Jesus , Thou Art Standing” and “We Give Thee But Thine Own”. He lived the life that James was speaking of: faith must include action, or it is not real faith.


5-22-22 – This week’s sermon is on James 2:8-13. We are to love our neighbor, and offer mercy as our Heavenly Father does for us each day. This coming Thursday is Ascension Day, commemorating Christ’s ascension to heaven, 39 days after Easter Sunday. Pentecost is celebrated on June 5, just so you know

.Our first Praise Hymn is , “ It Was Finished Upon That Cross” . Quiz: 1) What was finished? And 2) Is it just any cross that something was finished?Have you fully accepted what Christ did was fully for you? Ponder and praise.

“I Will Wait for You” is based on Psalm 130. This is a Psalm of distress and a desire for God to intervene. I read a very good article in the ByFaith magazine we have at church ( Q1.22 #74) , titled, “Embracing our Finitude”.

I highly recommend it. Hymn 529, “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” was composed by Charles Wesley. He wrote over 6,000 hymns, and many were composed while on horseback as he circuit preached. Interestingly, this hymn follows the meter of John Dryden’s poem, “King Arthur”- referring to Camelot. Dryden’s words were, “Fairest Isle, All Isles Excelling”. The tune, BEECHER, was in honor of his minister, Henry Ward Beecher.

Eliza Hewitt, was a school teacher in the 1880’s, until she suffered a spinal injury. She had been struck by a heavy slate by one of her students. She challenged herself to see Jesus in scripture and came to the conclusion that All of scripture is about Jesus. Even though she gave up public school, she continued to teach and be the superintendent of her Primary Sunday School (we have room for new teachers here!). Another plug for another magazine we share here at LRPC. TableTalk, this month has some wonderful articles on the Misunderstood Attributes of God. (I am happy to share my copy in June) May God bless us all, on all our paths, and build up His church


5-15-22 – Welcome Mr Bryant Park (and Joyce) to the pulpit and our church family. Our worship/praise hymns are familiar ones.

“His Mercy is More” is a modern style worship sone, but also has the ‘feel’ of a traditional hymn. It is based on a sermon by John Newton focusing on Lamentations 3 :22,23. Please take a moment to read these two verses and look for their place in this song. Sandra McCracken helped write last week’s song,

“At This very Time”, as well. As wrote today’s, “We Will Feast in the House of Zion”. We last sang this late in March. Note the repeated phrase,’ We will feast and weep no more’, but just reading that phrase, is it saying that we won’t do either? I believe that, perhaps, a comma should be there, so that it’s understood that while we will NOT be weeping anymore, we WILL be feasting with our Lord.

“Holy God We Praise Your Name”, #103, is both ‘new’ and old. It is believed to be from a 4th C hymn, ‘Te Deum’, written by Ambrose of Milan ca. 387. It was later translated in the mid-1700’s, then retranslated 100 years later.

Hymn 327, “One Day He’s Coming” was written in 1910 by J. Wilbur Chapman. Chapman joined the Presbyterian church at age 17. He earned his Seminary degree from Lane Theological Seminary in Ohio. He became an evangelist, traveled with D.L.Moody. Billy Sunday was one of his disciples. His main task was the oversight and training of fellow evangelists. He wrote many religious works and hymn lyrics, one of them being our hymn 498.


5-8-22

The praise hymns this week are ones we have previously sung. But the first one, “He Will Hold Me Fast”, upon researching, gave me some new insights. This song, which I had attributed to the Gettys, actually goes back about 100 years. I could not find it in any of the hymnals I have at home (Presbyterian,Baptist, Methodist), but the wonderful internet shared new information. It was written by Ada R. Habershon (1861-1918), who is best known for the song, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?”. She had the pleasure of growing up under C.H.Spurgeon. She wrote over 200 songs during this era of revival.

“At This Very Time,” doesn’t have much of a backstory.  It was composed in 2021, by Jess Ray, Sandra McCracken and Savannah Locke, who use the name, “Faithful” when they record or perform together. May we all be encouraged by the lyrics, which remind us that it is God’s timing, not ours, that we should follow. “Nothing is too hard (for the Lord).”

Hymn #116, “For the Beauty of the Earth,” by Folliet Pierpont, has a nice backstory. Pierpont was born in Bath, England. This town is surrounded by an amphitheater of hills, and is blessed with many warm springs. This is a perfect place to visit both for pleasure as well as for healing. Each stanza thanks God for different kinds of beauty. Ir was originally a hymn for Communion, with 8 stanzas and a chorus of:”Christ our God, to thee we raise this our sacrifice of praise.

Hymn #353, “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord,” was written by Timothy Dwight in 1800. His Grandfather was Jonathan Edwards. Dwight could read Latin at age 6, graduated from Yale at age 17, and began teaching there at age 19. He wrote his first book at the age of 20. In 1777, he enlisted in the Continental Army as chaplain. While there, he wrote songs to encourage the men. This hymn was written during the revival years at Yale, and is the earliest American hymn in use today.


5/1/22 – WOW! We are into the month of May- already! So much has happened this year, with so much more to come. Our greatest praise is that we can meet together and worship corporately with our Lord and Savior. This week , we are singing Praises and Hymns that should be familiar to most- at least the tunes, if not the lyrics.

Sovereign Grace leads us through a rewording of ”Turn Your Eye Upon Jesus” . They have beautifully captured the essence of why Christ came as ‘ we turn our eyes”- to the hillside, the morning and the heavens.

The Getty’s remind us that what we own is NOT a measure of our worth,who we are. Our worth is not: in what I own, in my skills or name. But it is found in : thee costly wounds at the cross and the blood of Jesus. We stand in awe of two wonders: My worth AND my unworthiness.

Hymn 141, “God, in the Gospel of His Son”, did not seem familiar to me, at least the lyrics didn’t, but the tune should be well known to most of us. Benjamin Beddome , was an English Particular Baptist minister and hymn writer. A Particular Baptist follows the Calvinistic interpretation of Christian salvation. ( on this side of the pond, we tend to call them Reformed Baptists). He wrote more than 800 hymns, most intended to be sung after his sermons, but about 39 were allowed to be placed in other hymnals.

“Be Thou My Vision”, is one of my personal favorites. It is both an ancient poem of the 8th Century, and matched with a traditional Irish melody. It wasn’t translated into English until 1905, and versified in 1912.

Be sure to look for the ways the Sermon ( James 2:1-13) fits with our hymns of the day.


4/24/22- Communion

We welcome Dr. Paul Chinchen, President of African Bible College. He will be preaching from Matthew 9:35-38, where Jesus tells his disciples that the harvest is ready, but the workers are few in number.

Our praise hymns this week are: “Facing a Task Unfinished” and “Christ is Mine Forevermore”. The lyrics to the first speak of not being slothful as our task is to GO and make Him known. We are to follow in the footsteps of the martyrs, missionaries and ministers. The chorus asks that the Triune God work in us without lethargy or cowardice.

“Christ is Mine Forevermore” repeats the word, ‘mine’, many times. According to the Oxford Dictionary, ‘mine’ is a pronoun that claims ownership or responsibility of something associated with that person. What do we ‘own’ in this hymn? Here are a few: the days the God has numbered for each of us, hope in the Redeemer, tears in times of sorrow, peace of heaven, armor for battle, and the keys to Zion City. May we all claim these as ‘Mine’.

Hymn 460, “Amazing Grace”, is most well known- by Christian and unbeliever. Because it is so well known, any one of us can use it as a way to tell others about Christ. Newton’s title for this hymn was originally, “Faith’s Review and Expectations”.
Hymn #444, “O Zion, Haste, Your Mission High Fulfilling”, reflects Isaiah 52 and Romans 10. Written by Mary Ann Thompson, in 1868, during a sleepless night, as she sat caring for one of her sick children. She pondered the thought of what was important to God- and was it as important to her? The issue was that God wants us to spread the Good News- and for her, would she be willing to allow her child to go on the mission field if God healed him? What would be your answer to this question?


4/14/22 – Maundy Thursday – I have said that when I die, I want everyone to SING me into heaven. This week is a wonderful time to warm up your vocal chords, because what could be more glorious than singing to our LORD who loved us so very much, that he was willing to die a heinous death. because we will be singing many wonderful songs, my comments on each one will be rather short.

Hymn 420, ”At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing”, was a hymn that was sung as early as the 6th Century. This hymn focuses on the 3 major Paschal Feasts in the Bible: Passover, Last Supper and the future Wedding Feast. Look for the many references to Christ as the Paschal Lamb.

“Amidst Us Our Beloved Stands” (427) was written by C. H. Spurgeon in 1866. It first appeared in tips hymnal that contained 220 versions of the Psalms as well as 910 hymns. The tune is based on Gregorian Chant. We tend to hide our own scars, but Christ boldly presents his wounds- that he suffered for our sake.

“Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face” #378, was written by Horatius Bonar, a maverick Scottish Presbyterian. This hymn reminds us to make this week a personal encounter with Christ. “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” is comprised of 3 simple verses that focus on the cross. Stuart Townend encourages us to meditate on what it cost God to give up his beloved Son to such a gruesome death. Put yourself into the role of a bystander watching this event, and ask yourself, would you be shouting insults at Jesus? EASTER SUNDAY 11 AM ‘He is risen!’ ‘He is risen, indeed!’ 286, “Worship Christ, The Risen King”, was composed in 1986 by Jack Hayford. His name should be familiar, as he is a prolific author and Pentecostal minister. “Majesty” is probably his best known piece.

“Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain” (265) was written by John of Damascus in the 8th Century. The tune is a familiar one, as it is the same as the Christmas tune, ”Gentle Mary Laid her Child”. Our praise Hymns are beautiful pieces, reminding us of the finished work of Christ , who is most worthy of our devotion, honor and praise. They are, “Is He Worthy?” And “It Was Finished Upon That Cross” May the blessed Trinity cause you to see the wonder and beauty of the season.


4/10/22 – Palm Sunday

HAPPY, VICTORIOUS PALM SUNDAY If you haven’t read Rachel Stenger’s post this week and the playlist of all the special music we are doing, please do so (see the next paragraph). Our worship team has selected some very fine music. The first song this week , is one we sang in February. “Your Will Be Done”, is by CityAlight. This echoes Christ’s prayer in Gethsemane. This praise hymn was written during the 2020 COVID season. Even today, we should seek not our wants and desires, but God’s. We are learning another hymn by CityAlight, “It Was Finished Upon That Cross”. This reminds us of exactly what Jesus accomplished on THAT cross. When I read the title, the word, ‘that’ caught my attention. So I Googled to see what the difference was between ‘the’ and ‘that’. While both point to a particular, distinct, existing item, ‘that’ points to a single one, possibly one of many, but specifically just one out of the group. When we stop and realize that there were more than one cross on that hill, but there was only 1 effectual cross that matters.

I made a play list of music we will be singing on Easter at LRPC. The first song, “It Was Finished Upon That Cross” is a new one that we will sing on Palm Sunday and Easter and the second, “Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed” is a rousing special music where the congregation will be asked to join in on the chorus and the bridge at the end of the song. Have a listen! I pray that it helps prepare your heart for this most important celebration! Rachel Stenger

Our third hymn, though well known, is not in many hymnals, so we are using PowerPoint. “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna” was written by Heanette Threlfall in the 1800s. She was an orphan at an early age, shuttled between family, only went to school until age 12. She was injured at some point and was an invalid the rest of her life. During all this, she maintained a happy disposition, and wrote many hymns and poems.

“All Glory, Laud and Honor” is a very familiar hymn, as well is should be, seeing as it was written in the late 700s ( do the math- that is over 1200 years old! Theodulf, the Bishop of Orleans ( France), was a friend and supporter of King Charlemagne. Theodulf was born in Spain, but fled from the Moors. One of his biggest accomplishments was encouraging and establishing schools where ever he could. There are 80 preserved hymns written by him, but this is his most famous (#235).


4/3/22 – Happy Spring, Welcome April, and most importantly, only two more weeks until we celebrate the most important event in the history of man!

The sermon verse for Sunday is Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” With that familiar verse in mind, please be sure to see how our four hymns reflect this truth. I think it is such a blessing that we will sing hymns today from 1718, 1876, as well as the 21st century. Regardless of the style of the tunes, the lyrics all speak of the truth of the Bible.

“Christ Our Hope in Life and Death”, was a hymn written by a five- man team, including Keith Getty. Taking from FreeCCM : This hymn was written over a two year period, and was inspired by the Heidelberg Catechism of 1563. The first question it asks is:’ What is your only comfort in life and in death?’ Our faith must begin with that. Less than 3% of modern songs sing of death, in contrast to our classic hymns, liturgies and catechisms. This is a point to ponder as we sing this song.

Last week we learned a new hymn from Sandra McCracken, “We Will Feast in the House fo Zion”. Please take the words to heart as well as their meaning for us as Christians

Hymn 473, “Jesus Sinners Doth Receive” is a new tune for me. It was written by Eidman Newmeister in 1718. He penned 7 verses, but our hymnal only includes 5. He wrote over 650 hymns, and strove to preserve the simplicity of the faith from subjective novelties of that period. Kind of sounds like today, doesn’t it? He is known for his simple musical style, scripture-laden texts, poetic fervor, depth of faith and clear-cut sayings.

Now, I am familiar with the last hymn. “I Will Sing of My Redeemer”, hymn 650, was written by Phillip Paul Bliss. He also wrote, “ Hallelijah, What a Savior”. Bliss was the song leader for an evangelist, Major Whittle. After Bliss died in a fiery train wreck, the next song leader found today’s hymn in Bliss’s trunk. After reading the hymn, James McGranahan wrote that music for it.
Have a blessed Sabbath


3/27/22 – This Sunday, of course is Communion, and the hymns reflect this beautifully. be sure to also scan the mediation , Isaiah 1:17, which reflects, in part, the scripture for the Sermon ( James 1: 26,27)

We have another new Praise hymn this week. “We Will Feast in the House of Zion” is written by Sandra McCracken., and on her album, Psalms”. She is a prolific songwriter in Nashville. If you were here in the early 2000’s, and remember singing praises from RUF, and Indelible Grace; she was a founding member of I.G. Listen for the blending of Folk , Gospel and traditional Hymn styles. If you read, Christianity Today, she also contributes articles to that magazine.

CityAlight’s, “Only a Holy God”, follows. The definition of ‘holy’ is: exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness. The lyrics truly remind to reverently consider our God in this way.

Hymn 254, “Alas and Did My Savior Bleed” is one of over 800 hymns that Isaac Watts wrote in his lifetime. The oldest of 9 children, he learned Greek, Latin and Hebrew. He began preaching at age 24 in the Non-Conformist denomination. Consider the meanings of ‘alas’, ‘worm’, ‘crimes’ and ‘debt of love’ found in this stirring hymn.

Aaron R. Wolfe, born in 1821, was a Presbyterian minister. There is little biographical material about him. This hymn is , of course, about the service of Communion. Please focus on what each verse is calling us to do, until we join the church above.


3/20/22 – Happy Spring ! I have just come in from weeding the flower beds at our condo building. Soon the landscapers will add mulch and by early May, new and bright flowers will be adding joy to our lives. Isn’t it it wonderful how God has blessed us with such variety of shapes, colors and blooming times! In a way, so it is with our Sunday worship music. Varied tempo, instruments, keys and intent.

Our two Praise hymns are familiar Getty tunes. “May the Peoples Praise You”, reminds us that we can praise the Almighty because of what Jesus lovingly did for us. “In Christ Alone”, beautifully tells how Christ is where my hope is found. “No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me…no power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand…”

Hymn 146, “Break Thou the Bread of Life”, while familiar to most, but its backstory was completely unknown to me. Written in 1877 by Mary Lathbury, to accompany a sermon by her minister. Have you heard of the Chautauqua Movement? It was originally founded by the Methodists who wanted a mixture of Christian inspiration, culture and education. It was most popular in the late 19th century until the early 20th. The easiest way to what they were trying to accomplish with this variety, is to imagine Vaudeville for Christians. Many people contributed to it with stage acts, music and teaching. When Mary write this hymn, she was imagining Jesus feeding the 5,000, and then moved on to a more spiritual level. While we usually sing this at Communion, it was not originally meant for that purpose.

And since “practice makes perfect”, we are again singing hymn #383, from last week. “Almighty God, Your Word is Cast”, helps us to apply these lyrics to ourselves. May God’s word be cast onto us, and may we have a fertile reaction so as to grow, bloom and spread His Truth to our family, friends and even enemies.


3/13/22 – I hope you all remember to set your clocks ahead this Saturday (unless your electronics do it for you). Have you noticed that some of the flowers are raising their leaves above the ground and the trees are getting little buds on them? We are almost into Spring (even though there is a forecast of snow this weekend).

There is a purpose for my mentioning these things. Phil Wickham wrote a beautiful praise hymn, “Living Hope”, who’s is our first song on Sunday. This has such a playful melody, it’s quiet and pensive. Please don’t just mouth the words, but really ’feel’ them and make them personally yours. Have you thought about those 3 days in the grave? Jesus’ body did not have blood moving in his veins, nor oxygen feeding his cells and brain, he was truly Dead. Yet all at once, he arose, breathed, and in doing so , paid our debt of sin!

Our second praise hymn, “Yet Not I But Through Christ in Me” is also more of a ‘prayer’ hymn ( albeit praise too). CityAlight wants us to remember that any trial or trouble, all we need to do is look to Christ who overcame all for me. What are your personal ‘chains’ that tie you down? You need only ask, and He will help you .

Hymn 383 is unfamiliar to me, and when I searched on YouTube, I kept getting a different tune than what is in our hymnal. Ours is from the 1615 Scottish Psalter. It was written by John Cawood (1775-1852) of England. This hymn alludes to the parable of the Sower and the Seed ( See? Hints of Spring?). Our hearts need to be tilled and the seed of the Word planted in us. We can do this through quiet time, group study, discipline and teaching( the teacher always learns more than the students). And today, God’s Word can be spread in ways that Cawood could never have imagined: TV, radio, recordings, etc.

Our last hymn, “Speak O Lord” will be on PowerPoint as it is not in our hymnal. It is another song by our friends , the Getty’s . As you sing the words, please reflect on how it ties in with the sermon. ( Remember- it’s Daylight Savings Time)


3/6/22 – ‘Class will now come to order’ – in my teacher voice. Get ready to learn some English and some History. Hope you enjoy it!

Our two praise hymns this week are familiar to us. But I would like us to ponder and dig into some of the words used in the lyrics.

First, “Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery”, calls us to reflect on what exactly our great Lord did for us on Calvary. Have you thought about what ‘Wondrous’ and ‘Mystery’ mean for the Christian? Wondrous is that which inspires wonder, or delight. It is something marvelous. Secondly, a ‘Mystery’ is something difficult or impossible to understand or explain. Please take a few moments to really apply this to your relationship with Jesus.

“Wonderful, Merciful Savior” is a very well known song. But take a few minutes. to try to wrap your brain around: precious Redeemer, friend, Lamb, Counselor, Comforter, Keeper, Almighty, Infinite Father, the One. If we are told in the Bible to make our yes mean yes, then how much more should we take to heart what we are singing back to our God?

Hymn 75, “O Father You are Sovereign”, was written by Margaret Clarkson in 1982. She was born in Canada and taught elementary school for 38 years in Tornto. Her first love was writing hymns. She had over 100 poems, articles, songs, as well as 17 books in 7 languages. She passed away in 2008. The tune is most familiar to almost everyone, as it was composed in 1615 by Melchior Teschner.

Now for History: hymn 111, “This Is My Father’s World”, helps us turn our thoughts to Spring and God’s creative majesty. It was written by Maltbie D. BABCOCK in 1901. Yes, Babcock…which is a part of LRPC’s history. Babcock graduated for Syracuse University and Auburn Theological Seminary. So of course, he was a Presbyterian minister. He served the Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. It is said he was very popular with the Johns Hopkins students, but also related well with others.

May we all see our Father’s world this week


2/27/22 – With all the turmoil and troubles in this world today, we need to remember Who is in control. Our sermon this week , James 1:12-15, reminds us to persevere, that we will face trials, and we’ll be tempted- but not by our Father.

“Behold Him”, by Lee University Singers, reminds us to “practice ’stillness’ before God. Or are we too busy talking about Our needs, wants, pains and even blessings, to take time to just be STILL? “

Christ is Mine Forever”- what a wonderful comfort and promise. We must enter His court- humbly, with hope, and a true assessment of our human condition. But also to remember that we have the promise of Zion City and His love.

Ernest W. Shurtleff was asked to write a poem for his graduating class at Andover Seminary. This was 1887, and Ernst had already 4 books of poetry previously published. But instead, he wrote a hymn for his class. “Lead On , O King Eternal” to remind his classmates that our King opens new doors for us each day. He wanted them to see that they were to do “deeds of love and mercy’ and to ”follow, not with fears”.

Isaac Watts was very disappointed with the quality of most hymns of his day. He desired to write more subjective hymns in order to stir his congregation to genuine worship as well as holy living. “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” has beeen called one of the top 4 English hymns of all time. he wrote this for the Communion service. Notice also, that the tune is based on Gregorian Chaney, full of rich tones so that we will see the seriousness of Christ’s sacrificial death. For me, when I pay close attention to the commas in each verse, and take a breath between the phrases, the lyrics take on a dynamic dimension.


2/20/22 – Be sure to read over the sermon Scripture references this week. In my study Bible, the commentator noted that both the poor and the rich have reason to boast- mainly in their salvation. Looking forward to how Pastor David will preach on this.

The first praise hymn, “His Mercy is More”, reminds us how rich we are in His mercy. He doesn’t remember our sins. He is patient, tender and welcomes the poorest of souls. And He lavishes his riches in that he paid our humanly unplayable debt.

Our new praise hymn, “Your Will Be Done” , reminds us to stop exalting ourselves. We are to seek His kingdom first, and to do His will. Finally, He will bring us safely home.

Our Hymn, 6, “O Come, My Soul, Bless Thou the Lord” , is taken from Psalm 103. I had trouble finding and background on this hymn, as no author was listed. I found on the website: Congsing.org, a wonderful write up. I want to encourage you to read it yourself.

Finally, # 642, “Be Thou My Vision” is a very ancient Irish poem, from about the 8th century. During this Tim’s, Ireland was in a mission fervor from Scotland to Switzerland. Saint Columba is one of the better known priests. This hymn uses many titles for God. I found 19, how many can you see?


2/13/22 – Pastor David is preaching on James 1: 5-8 today. The focus is on Wisdom, and where to find it. I looked up Oxford Dictionary’s definition : the ability to make sensible decisions and give good advice due to experience and knowledge. I think I’m going to be taking a lot of notes!

We are singing a new praise hymn, from CityAlight. It is,”Your Will Be Done”. This song was written durin the COVID -19 outbreak . It reflects Chrit’s Getsemane prayer. It is a simple song-simply played to pray back to our Lord, who is still on the throne.

We are also singing a familiar praise from the Getty’s. ‘The Power of the Cross’ is a beautiful reminder of what our Lord lovingly did for us. There are scripture references from 8 New Testament Books in making this song.

“My Faith Looks Up to Thee”, hymn 528, was written by Ray Palmer in 1830. He had earlier found a German poem, which he translated and added 4 more verses. Two years later, while in Boston, he met up with his friend, Lowell Mason, who was a well known hymn publisher. Lowell asked him if he had anything to contribute, and as they say, “the rest is history”.

Hymn 705, “I Know Whom I Have Believed”, was composed by Daniel Whittle in 1883. Daniel had been a POW during the Civil War. While he was in the camp, he began reading the New Testament his mother had given him when he entered the service. It was in that POW camp that he committed his life to God. After the war, he became a preacher and led revivals. He also wrote, “Showers of Blessings”, and , “Moment by Moment”.

Have a most blessed Lord’s Day.


2/6/22 – Between my personal readings this week and the hymns we are singing this Sunday, I could probably fill 2 pages…but I won’t do that. Instead, may I encourage you to pick up, subscribe or borrow this month’s edition of TableTalk? So far, the daily devotional are talking about the spirituality of God. And His infinite being. When coupled with our music and the sermon, there is plenty to ponder and muse over for at least a week! But let me move on to the hymns.

The two praise songs are familiar to us. “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death”, by the Getty’s, and CityAlight’s, “Only a Holy God”. Please take time to really look at the lyrics and how they reflect the Scriptures for Sunday. Be sure to read over the Meditation, Call to Worship, as well as the sermon text. Each song speaks of the majesty and truth of God- yet he bids us to call him ’Father’!

Hymn #94, “How Firm a Foundation” first appeared in John Rippon’s Selection of Hymns in 1787. It’s believed that his assistant, Robert Keene wrote the verse. In 1832, an American melody was applied to the lyrics, which is the one we find in our hymnal. Each stanza emphasizes a different promise of God’s Word, with the climax in the last verse.

We are putting a new tune to an old, and perhaps familiar, hymn. “Whate’er My God Ordains is Right”. You may be familiar with hymn #108, but the Getty’s have reworked the tune. Please take time to listen to the link given in Friday’s Eblast. Back story: Samuel Rodigast, a German hymn writer may have composed this to console a sick friend, Cantor Severus Gastorius. Severus composed the tune, which became to popular in Germany, that it was sung at King Frederick William lll’s funeral in Prussia. Johann S. Bach also used this hymn, in part and in full, in 3 different cantatas.

Pastor David’s sermon will bring out and tie in with many of the lyrics we are singing Sunday- can you pick them out?


1/30/22 – This Sunday is Communion. This is a special time to ponder what this means to the Christian. It is not enough to just partake in the elements, but also to consider at what cost we can call Jesus our Brother, and God our Father.

Our four music selections look at the seriousness of what it cost Jesus to become our Christ. Matt Papa, is and American singer/ songwriter. He has collaborated with the Getty’s on many songs. “Lord From Sorrows deep I Call” echoes Psalm 42. This praise hymn speaks of Faith and Hope. Faith is belief ( using the intellect) and also trust ( which is relational). True faith requires both. Hope is the expectation of a believer that God will fulfill His promises. This is not just a ‘wish’, but it is certainty of His faithfulness and Jesus’ promise to return.

Speaking of the Getty’s, the next praise hymn is based on Psalm 130, “I Will Wait For You”. As we prepare for Communion, the 4th verse is very poignant. “Now he. has come to make a way, and God himself has paid the price, that all who trust in him today, find healing in his sacrifice”. In Psalm 130, verses 5 and 6 speaks of waiting, my soul waiting ( something I am not very good doing), we need this reminder often to wait and rest in God.

Hymn 165, “Ye Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim” was written by Charles Wesley. In 1744, England was at war with France. There was fear that King George ll, would lose his throne and the Stuarts would be restored. It was thought that the Methodists were sympathetic to France, so many, including the Wesley’s, were arrested. This hymn, as well as others, was written to encourage their church. The subtitle of this hymn was , ‘To be sung in a tumult’, yet none of the 4 verses speak of this. However, another stanza reads:” Men, devils engage, the billows arise and horribly rage, and threaten the skies; their fury shall never our steadfast shock, the weakest believer is built on a rock”.

Philip P. Bliss wrote hymn 246, “Man of Sorrows! What a Name”, in 1876. He was one of the most prolific gospel hymn writers. Born on a farm, worked in a lumber camp, then became a music teacher. He was noticed by D.L. Moody who suggested that he become a singing evangelist. Both he and his wife were killed in a fiery train wreck. This hymn is often titled, “Hallelujah, What a Savior”.

May you have a truly blessed Lord’s Day


1/23/22 – As I write my notes here, my toes are cold, hot tea next to me (could be hotter), and wondering when Spring will arrive. Pastor David’s sermon is based on John 15: 1-11, the familiar Vine and Branches words. As bleak and chilly it is today, I can’t even think about plants growing, but we should never be dormant like actual greenery.

Our praise hymns are familiar, and I don’t want to keep restating the obvious. The two that we are singing this week are, “ May the peoples praise You”, by the Gettys. The other is ,”Christ Is Mine Forevermore”, done by CityAlight. If you get an opportunity, read Psalm 67, which is the focus of the Getty’s song, and ponder the words of the second, as we walk through many valleys in our life.

Hymn 508, “Jesus, Lover. of My Soul”, is a very well known hymn, but the tune we are doing Sunday, is perhaps the lesser known tune. Charles Wesley wrote this only 1 year after his conversion. It’s interesting to note that while he previously ‘talked the talk’, he ‘walked the walk’ much later. Perhaps , when he wrote this, one of 6,00, he was reminded of a very turbulent transatlantic crossing three years earlier (scan the 1st verse for hints).

What I found interesting, was the author of the tune, ABERYSTWYTH. Yes, I did write that correctly. Joseph Parry was a Welshman ( 1841-1903) whose man job was ironworking. His family moved to Danville, Pennsylvania, and continued working with iron. He loved music and wrote many pieces, but had no formal training. He was offered two scholarships to the University of Cambridge, but couldn’t afford to go and leave his family. Not to worry, the University covered his family financial needs while he was in school. This tune was based on an African song (Nkesi Sikelel iAfrika).

Bernard of Clarvaux is credited with writing Hymn 646, “Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts”. He was a nobleman from birth, which he gave up to enter the monastic life- with a twist. He did not follow the usual monastic system of sequestering and removal from society. He challenged popes as well as political figures to live righteously. He also urged professor to teach the truth. And he also launched various evangelical campaigns. His life should encourage US to do as Bernard of Clairvaux, even if in some small way


1/16/22 – This week we are recognizing the Sanctity of Life Sunday. On 1/22/73, it became legal in all states to offer abortion as a form of birth control. If you do the math, that’s 49 years ago! This is not the venue for me to share my viewpoints, but feel free to contact me and we can chat.

The scripture is from David’s Psalm 139. Look at the listed verses: ‘you created my inmost being’, ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ ,’His eyes saw my unformed body’ and, ‘all my days are written in His book before my birth’. How absolutely amazing is that?!


The praise hymns are familiar and make us stop and contemplate God’s majesty. “Praise the Lord Ye Heavens” is from Young Oceans, a group from Brooklyn , N.Y. The lyrics tell us that the heavens, angels, sun, moon and stars are praising him. All creation is to sing of his goodness and mercy. God IS our salvation, so we are to magnify his name.

Sovereign Grace did a beautiful rendition of “Turn Your Eyes”. Each verse reminds us to ‘look in his wonderful face’, ‘justice and mercy embrace’ ( that in itself requires us to really think), ‘see Christ the lion awake’ and the promise that ‘our king will return for his own’.

Willian Kethe, a Scotsman, fled to Germany and then Geneva during the reign of ‘Bloody Mary’. He helped translate part of the Geneva Bible. His hymn, “All Peoples the on Earth do Dwell” is known as the ‘Old One Hundred, based on Psalm 100 and was probably the oldest hymn in the English language.

“Great is Thy Faithfulness”, written by Thomas Chisholm. Due to health issues, he had to give up his pastorate and became an insurance agent. His favorite pastime was to write poetry for Christian publications.


1/9/22 – Praying that all who have been feeling ill these past few weeks are doing much better. And if you still have a ways to go, that you know we are here for you. Pastor David is again looking at another “I AM” statement, this week we will look at John 14:6.

Our music will also help us focus on Christ and who he is. Praise hymn, “Behold HIm”, was written by Paul Baloche in 2020. This song asks us to focus on Christ- who he is and what he has done- and what our response to him should be: Behold Him! In a similar vein, “Come ,

Behold the Wondrous Mystery”, by the Getty’s also has us look at Jesus’ identity and purpose. Note that each verse begins with the title phrase….and this is to be our response to Him.

Hymn #181, “We Come, O Christ to You”, has an interesting backstory on the composer. If you would like to red more about her than what I write here, just go to hymnologyarchive.com and search out Margaret Clarkson’s name. She was born in Melville , Canada in 1915, and later moved to Toronto. She started to play the piano and write poetry at age 12. During her lifetime, she was a teacher, plus also wrote 17 books. This hymn was written for the 1946 Missionary Convention in Toronto, led by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. I checked the index in our hymnal and found that we use 5 other hymns that she wrote. Interestingly, the tune for this hymn is from 1770, written by John Darwall. We have 4 other hymns, beside #181, that use this melody.

Finally, our last hymn, “For All the Saints”, was written by the English Anglican Bishop, William Waltham How in 1864. he wrote this hymn to be sung on All Saints Day (Nov. 1). While his focus was on Hebrews 12:1, he also looked at the famous “faith” chapter, Hebrews 11. Besides #358, our hymnal also has 6 other of his many hymns. The tune, Sine Nomine, is a very bold and commanding melody- let us sing it as boldly as it is written.


1/2/22 – Okay, let’s try this again. If you can access last week’s notes, great! If not, I will fill in and maybe add a few new notes. But before i start, I’m praying that all who read this will have a healthy and most blessed New Year!

“His Mercy Is More”, was inspired by a John Newton sermon, that the Getty’s put to an almost plaintive tune. And how appropriate, when we think of how many of our sins that our blessed Lord took on for himself. Mercy is NOT getting what we deserve (Grace is getting what we don’t deserve).

“Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me”, by CityAlight, focuses on grace. The lyrics speak of joy, righteousness, freedom and peace- just in the first stanza! Our life is bound to His, all is ours- through Christ in us. May these words keep our sights on Christ and His Loving power.

Hymn 540, “A Few More Years Shall Roll”, was written by Horatius Bonar. This is a hymn meant for the New Year, but also was written for his Sunday School classes. It has us ponder all that can happen in our lives, but also to “prepare my soul for that -great, calm, sweet, glad day.”

“Jesus Lives, and So Shall I”, hymn 706, was written by Christian Gellert in 1757. This German poet wrote to raise the moral and religious character of the people of his day. Without Christ, human life is not only hopeless, but is like a prolonged death. The sermon focuses on John 11:25-27: “…I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die…”


12/24/21 – Christmas Eve and 12/26/21 – I decided to ‘double up’ for a few reasons. This is such a busy time, I figured if I could cover both in one article, we all would benefit. Also, we are singing several hymns that I either covered earlier this month, or two hymns are being sung at both services.

Christmas Eve service features four very familiar carols. “What Child Is This?” Looks at the who (Christ the King), the vehicle (the manger) and the what are we to do with this ( see the last verse)? We are to enthrone him in our hearts, give him gifts and sing praises to him.

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” , by Charles Wesley, will be sung at both services. The last stanza is like a creed-linking doctrine to the Christian experience. It connects the incarnation and the resurrection.

“It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”, was reviewed December 12th. This is another hymn we will be singing at both services. Edmund Sears, a Unitarian who accepted the deity of Christ, wrote this in 1850, as the Civil War was looming. Be sure to look for. The phrases of encouragement in this hymn.

Our final hymn, is loved for the candlelight portion. But as we look at the words, was it really a silent night? Jesus was fully human and his lungs would have been as robust as any newborn. Did his face have ‘radiant beams”? Again, probably not. There are only a few instances where his radiance shone. BUT- the importance truth is the gospel: Jesus’ holiness was central for our redemption and salvation.

December 26th service uses both hymn 203 and 200 as above. This is a very full service as we take the sacrament of communion, and welcome in a new year. Our last two hymns are not familiar to me, maybe you know them. “A Few More Years Shall Roll”, by Horatius Bonar, was written in 1844. According to hymnpod.com, they say this is a sought provoking and reflective hymn for the New Year. Hymntime.com, mentions this is the only hymn. he wrote for his S.S. Class.

Christian F. Gellert(1715-1769) wrote, “Jesus Lives, and so Shall I”. He was a famous poet during his time, and in this poem, as well as others, he strove to raise the religious and moral character of the people(Wikipedia). May you know God’s blessings in this holiday season


12/19/21 – I’m going to do this article a little bit differently this week. The songs are all very familiar, with the exception for the new praise song, “Emmanuel”., so I’m not going to focus on the author or tune.

“Angels , We Have Heard On HIgh” is a French carol without a known date. By definition, a carol is a joyous song, not from the Bible. A Hymn uses quotes from the Bible. The chorus, ‘Gloria in excels is deo’ means glory to God in the highest. Now, if you want to have a good dinner discussion, ask: did the angels really sing? Most translations use joyful shout, or resoundingly cried, or rejoiced. Next question: If the angels sing ( and I believe they do), who taught them?

We will also be singing our new song from two weeks ago, “Emmanuel”. You can refer back to my notes from 12/5.

Hymn #196, “Come, Thou Long- expected Jesus” was written by Charles Wesley. His lyrics are very rich, and uses terms like: Dayspring, Rod of Jesse, that you can check on Google. Big question: what does this hymn elicit in you? Is this a retelling of history- or is it ‘His Story’?

Finally, “Angels From the Realms of Glory”(218), was also reviewed on 12/5. While we are reading and singing this hymn, pay note to each stanza focuses on different ‘players’. We have: the angels who sang creation’s story, the shepherds, sages (wise men), saints ( that’s us and all believers) and finally, all creation!

Have a blessed week remembering Why and Who we celebrate.

MUSIC NOTES ADDENDUM
Sorry, meant to add this yesterday, but also glad it gets its own focus.
If you do not receive Tabletalk from Ligonier, look for a copy at church this month. They are doing an excellent theme on the ” Theology of Christmas Hymns”. They look at 11 Christmas Hymns and show what this season is all about. If you wish, I will loan you my copy to read.


12/12/21 – Yes, I am a day early, but this is a busy season with us all having many lists to check off. The husband is playing Christmas CDs in the other room. So what better time to focus on this Sunday’s music…and it is filled with lots of music! So prepare your vocal cords to join us lifting our voices before the Lord!

Our two praise hymns are actually from our Hymnal. Hymn 203, “Hark! The herald angels Sing” was written by Charles Wesley in 1739. Felix Mendelssohn wrote the music in 1840. If you have time, research all the scriptural ideas encased in this hymn. The last 3 lines are the most insightful , as they speak of Christ being born to save us from eternal death and to be adopted as God’s children. Sometimes, our other praise hymn, # 200, “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” can stir up debate on several levels. Edmund H. Sears wrote this hymn in 1850. He was of the Unitarian Church ( Only 1 god, not triune), but he Did believe in the deity of Christ. Hymns during this era were ‘horizontal’ in focus. Most emphasized living well, be at peace, honor God, But God wasn’t always the focus , instead they focused on the human struggle. If you remember your history lessons, this was preceding our Civil war. Interesting.

Hymn 194, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is very old. The tune is from the era of the Plainsong in the 13th C. This was sung only in the melody, by men. The hymn developed in the 1700s. Be sure to look for the Biblical names for Christ in each stanza.

Hymn 195, “Joy to the World” is based on Psalm 998 and written by Isaac Watts. While this hymn recognizes God’s involvement with His people, nothing in the Psalm or the Hymn focuses on the nativity of Christ. This is about Christ’s return….again- interesting.

Finally, our children will be joining the praise team in singing three short selections.


12/5/21 – Beautiful lyrics and tune. My iPad is acting up, so may not be able to do my Notes…but for you all reading this- be sure to listen and take note of the words and their meanings, of these praise songs.

This Sunday we will span the centuries in our praises to the LORD. The most recent is Chris Tomlin’s “Emmanuel” from 2009, and the oldest may have been from the 5th century Easter Orthodox Church. Isn’t it so awesome that we , as a body of believers, can join all peoples to sing to our great God? “Emmanuel”, speaks of the ‘hallowed manger ground’. What seems foolish to common man, is most precious to us. Emmanuel means ‘God is with us’ ( not past or future, but now), and ‘incarnate’ signifies a deity in human form. So , we have God in human form – awe inspiring to say the least.

“Angels From the Realms of Glory” was penned as a poem by James Montgomery, and the tune was by Henry Smart. Montgomery was a journalist in London who championed for the port, down-trodden as well as foreign missions. After Watts and Wesley, he is said to have been very important in developing Christian Hymns. Note the Old Testament references in the 3rd and 4th stanzas. Henry Smart was a blind organist who designed and build some of England’s finest organs. Never underestimate your gifts to the world as given by God. What we may think is a handicap, God shows us otherwise.

Hymn 193, “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”, is from the Eastern Orthodox Church of the 5th century. When you sing this hymn, ask yourself, are the lyrics pointing to Jesus’ First coming , or His Second?

John Frances Wade is attributed with writing , “O Come , All Ye Faithful” (208) in 1750. His career was to copy manuscripts by hand, using his artistic calligraphy. Being Catholic, and having the Mass in Latin, it is logical that he wrote this. In Latin. His lyrics cause us to ponder the miracle of His birth.


11/28/21 – Hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving, as we have much to be thankful for! Now, we move into the season of Advent. 

Our first praise hymn, “Newborn King”, has beautiful lyrics and an easy to follow tune. “Through this child we find forgiveness”, “Light of the world”, and other oft repeated phrases of what our Savior means to us, by His grace.

“What Child is This”, has a tune older than the lyrics. The tune is “Greensleeves” and is from the 1500s.  William Shakespeare makes reference to the tune in his play, “Merry Wives of Windsor”. The author of the song, William Dix, was born in Bristol, England in 1837. He settled in Glasgow, Scotland as an insurance salesman. At age 29, he suffered a serious illness which put him into a deep depression. While spending much time in bed, he had a very personal experience with God. It was during this time that he wrote this favorite hymn.

“O Little Town of Bethlehem”, hymn #201, was composed by Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), a 6 foot tall Episcopal minister in Massachusetts. He visited the Holy Land (under Ottoman rule) in 1865. Three years later he wrote this song for his children’s service while in Philadelphia. During this time period in America, because the population was very familiar with the Bible, there was much interest in the Holy Land. President Millard Fillmore was presented with a painting of the area, and Mark Twain mentioned it in “Innocents Abroad”.

Hymn #646, “Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts”, was written by Bernard of Clairvaux. While born (1091-1153) into a nobility, he forsook that life to become a monk of the Benedictine order. He was not a typical monk in that he was most vocal in instructing popes and rulers. He played a key roll in drawing up the  Rule of the Knights Templar, as well as writing treatises on asceticism, Bible commentaries, and many sermons. He also wrote hymn #247, “O Sacred Head ,Now Wounded.”


11/21/21 – Before I forget, may you all have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Our two Praise hymns are familiar ones from the Getty’s. The first is, “The Power of the Cross”. Some interesting phrases that I see are, “Tried by sinful men”- yet our court system uses ‘peers’, but then, no one is Jesus’ peer. Another is “Christ became sin for us”- if we can’t comprehend how God could create everything from nothing, we certainly can’t understand how a perfect being could become Sin!. Finally, we sing about the Curtain being torn, this is one and the same that we will hear about in David’s sermon. That curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy place that only the priests could enter. “What a love, what a cost”

The second song is “Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery”. We sing how Jesus took on frail humanity, condescended, in order to ransom us from our prison os sin. We are the ‘hell-bound man”. We can never repay our LORD what it cost Him…because He loved us!

Our hymn, “O Worship The King”, was written by Robert Grant. Both he and his father were elected to Parliament and oversaw the East India Company. In 1834, Robert became the governor if Bombay. He was so respected, that they named a medical college in India for him. The composer, Johann Michael Haydn was a brother of Joseph Haydn ( also called Papa). What is interesting is that of the siblings in his family, he has a brother also names Johan; and he had two sisters named Anna.

Finally, the final hymn, “Arise, O God” was written in 1813 by William Horn of Norfolk , England. While he wrote over 250 hymns, this is his only one in our hymnal. I personally can’t say that I am familiar with either the hymn or the tune. But it is always good to expand our ‘horizons’, as we did last week!

11/14/21

Our praise hymns today are becoming ‘standards’. The first is, “Yet Not I But Thru Christ In Me”, by CityAlight. May the lyrics bring us closer in our worshiping of our LORD. This song states, “ My life is wholly bound to his” and “In my need his power displayed”. Note some of the lines: ‘all is mine’, ‘I shall overcome’, ‘I am free’, ‘my hope is only Jesus’. What a comfort in times like these that we can claim these wonderful truths.

“His Mercy is More”, by the Getty’s is also quite familiar. But, because I look at things sometimes a little bit differently, I was struck by two lines a little bit ironically. ‘Stronger than darkness’- hmm, now that we are no longer on DST, the darkness is more prominent. ‘Count your blessings’- but have you counted your sins? Yet, Christ’s mercy is more!

William Cowper (pronounced Cooper), wrote “Jesus Where’er Your People Meet” in 1769. Cowper, though a great hymn writer, suffered with depression. His last 2 decades were spent in Olney, England, and having John Newton as his pastor. They collaborated on the “Olney Hymns”, with Cowper contributing 68 hymns to the collection.

Look for some of the phrases that reinforce all we’ve been learning in Exodus.
“Take My life and Let it Be”, was written by Frances R. Have real in 1874. She had traveled to visit a home for 5 days. There were 10 persons living there, some unconverted and the others who were not ‘rejoicing’ believers. She prayed for all of them to be blessed, and her prayers were answered. The last night she couldn’t sleep due to joy, and in praise she composed this hymn. The most important phrase for her was , “Ever, only, all to thee.”
May we be like those Israelites who did everything according to all the LORD commanded.


11/7/21 – International Day of Prayer – Psalm 139:14 tells us that “we are fearfully and wonderfully made.” And this week we are going to be looking at Exodus 39, the constructing of all the priestly garments. They too, being designed by our Lord, are wonderfully made.

Our praise hymns are both upbeat in tempo, and remind us just who God is and how we are to respond to him. “Praise the Lord, Ye Heavens”, by Young Oceans, sing about glorifying God. What exactly does it mean to give him ‘glory’? When used as a noun, it is to give high renown or honor, or a magnificence of beauty. As a verb, it is to take great pride or pleasure in. May this song instill that response in us.

“May the People’s Praise You”, is by the Getty’s. This too, is upbeat. The focus of the song is to put Christ centrally in our lives. This is done by praising Him. Praise: (v)- to express warm approval or admiration; (n)- an expression of approval or admiration of someone.

Our hymn, “Here O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face” was written by the Scottish Presbyterian, Horatius Bonar. This hymn is typically sung during Communion. Bonar wrote this hymn so each person would make it personal. Look at the flow of the verses; they express a warm devotion to God.

“Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness”, hymn # 520, was composed by Count Nicholaus Von Zinzendorf, from Germany. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy saying his name! He wrote over 2,000 hymns, but this is his best known. His hymns focus on the personal, because he was most passionate that we have “Christianity of the heart”. Verse 3 talks about going from dust to a mansion- but most important- Jesus lived and died for me!


10/31/21 – Communion and Reformation Sunday – WHAT AN AWESOME DAY TO WORSHIP OUR GOD! Today is known as Reformation Sunday, the day Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses, or complaints on the church door in Wittenberg, 1517. This touched off

the Protestant Reformation in Europe. Of course, regardless, it is also the day we celebrate Communion, because our Lord told us, “Do this in remembrance of me.”

 Pastor has been going through the book of Exodus, and we’ve looked at all the symbolism in the Tabernacle and how it looked forward to Christ’s saving actions.

Our new song, “Jesus Is Alive”, by CityAlight, reiterates that we do not remember just His death for our sins, but also that Death cannot hold onto a sinless being. He IS alive, and so are we. Matt Redmen’s beautiful song, “10,00 Reasons”, tells us to “Bless the Lord, oh my soul”, but how do we do that? Just how do WE bless God? He tells us in the next line, “Worship His holy name, and sing like never before”

Hymn 468, “My faith has Found a Resting Place” is quite an old standard. It was written by Lidia H. Edmund a in 1891. Donals G. Barnhouse used to ask, “When you get to the pearly gates and God asks, “Why should I let you into my heaven?”. What will you say? This hymn is your answer! Look at the words…they explain everything quite clearly. Of course, Reformation Sunday must offer this hymn by Martin Luther.

“A Mighty Fortress is Our God”, is based on psalm 46. This is one of a few hymns that you can NOT delete any of the stanzas. Each one builds on the previous. Martin Luther said,” music is a gift and grace of God, not an invention of men. Thus it drives out the Devil and makes people cheerful.”

SOLA DEO GLORIA


10/24/21

If you read the Tuesday Eblast, we were told that there is a new song from CityAlight, titles,” Jesus Is Alive”. If you haven’t checked it out, please do. CityAlight, from Sydney, Australia, began in 2013. Their main purpose was to create worship music that is Biblically based. Their lyrics are rich and are suitable for devotional time, but the melodies are simple to learn.

The second praise hymn is by Sovereign Grace from Louisville, Ky. We have sung, “Turn Your Eyes” several times this year. It is based on the hymn of the same title by Helen H. Lemme in 1918. Sovereign Grace has partnered with John MacArthur and John Piper.

Fanny Crosby, born in 1820, in New York, did not write hymns until she was 40. But, wow, did she make up for lost time. By her death in 1915, she had written over 8,000! Sunday, we’ll have the joy to sing two of her more popular ones. “To God Be the Glory”, was not well-known in the states. Ira Sankey, music leader for D.L. Moody, took it to England , where it became very popular.

When Billy Graham had his 1952 British Crusade, he discovered it, and then brought it back to the states! “Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim it” was written in 1882. She said that the second verse was her life story. See if you agree with her. I’m going to stand in the lobby after church and see how many folks are humming any one of these songs. Have a blessed Sunday.


10/17/21 – We are singing some wonderfully worded hymns this week. Maybe it’s because the ones we are singing are some of my favorites. May they touch you as they have me.

“Living Hope” , by Phil Wickham , is so descriptive of how God deigned to make us His, even though we don’t deserve His favor. As you sing this, please think about what the phrase, ‘living hope’ means to us. To the world, “hope” just means a wish; but to believers it signifies a ‘confident expectation of what God has promised, and we know that he will be faithful’.

Paul Baloche wrote ‘Behold Him”. This hymn presents many opposites- be sure to look for them. But also consider verse 1, God was BEFORE creation ( my SS class studies creation, and we are looking at it on Tuesday’s “Dust to Glory”)- which means he is not a part of TIME, yet he came as a man and was constrained by time. The chorus tells us to ‘be still’—-like the wind and waves, and to behold Him. I looked up what ‘behold’ meant, and it is an Old English word- bihalden. Bi means to thoroughly; haldan is to hold. So we are to see or observe something as being remarkable. Very true.

Hymn #100 – Holy, Holy, Holy, was written by Reginald Heber, who was an Anglican Priest, who later served as bishop in Calcutta, India. The usual, approved hymns were to be metrical psalms, but Heber wanted to introduce songs from Newton and Cowper. Lord Alfred Tennyson was most impressed by this hymn.

“Arise, My Soul Arise”, #305, was written by Charles Wesley. A story tells of a young boy, at a revival meeting, who was sorry for his sins and wanted Jesus’ forgiveness. While he didn’t understand all the verses of this hymn, when the last stanza was sung, he exploded with joy. Can you sing this also, “With confidence I now draw nigh”, and “Father. Abba. Father, cry”?


10/10/21 – Pastor David is continuing to look at Exodus 35 from last week. If you recall, the main topic was how all those who were WILLING, gave items and labor for constructing the Tabernacle. The term used was ‘ free will offering’. This week we will focus on specific workers and how God filled them with the Holy Spirit to do their tasks well. Our music this week brings us to pondering terms like, beauty, splendor, majesty, glory, and two great ones- wondrous and mystery.

“Only A Holy God”, by CityAlight, focuses our attention on what ‘holy’ means. He commands the host of heaven, every king will bow, He whispers and darkness trembles ( if you were at Dust to Glory, we looked at the importance of darkness). The last verse tells us that he rescues us from falling, offered His Son, and then tells us to call Him, ‘Father’.

“Come , Behold the Wondrous Mystery”, by the Getty’s , have two great words in the lyrics. “Wondrous”, as an adjective means to inspire feelings of wonder, full of marvel. The synonym is ‘miraculous’. “Mystery”, is a noun meaning something difficult or impossible to understand. How true.

In our Hymnal, we are singing #434 and #432, “Lord, Thou Lov’st the Cheerful Giver” was written by Robert Murray, of the Presbyterian Church in Canada (1898). He also wrote the Canadian National anthem. John Zundel, wrote the music. The tune is called BEECHER, named after his pastor, Henry Ward Beecher (daughter was Harriet B. Stowe)

Willian Waltham How was an Anglican pastor in the 1800s. He wanted to serve the people of London’s East End (slums), even though he had offers to become the Bishop in South Africa, New Zealand, or Jamaica. He said that did not want to be remembered, but to be helpful


10/3/21 – Please take time to read over Psalm 84, our Call to worship and meditate. We are familiar with verse 10: ”Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” May that be true for us each day. My mother used to say that she’d be content with scrubbing the floors in heaven! Pastor David is continuing to bring Exodus to life, looking at chapter 35. We use the phrase ‘willing and able’, and the scripture will bring this home. Challenge: How many times will the word ‘WILL’ be used in worship ?

Our first praise hymn is “ I Will Wait for You” and it’s based on Ps 130. Can we echo the song’s intent to be willing to wait and trust? (so far, I’ve used that word twice) Another Getty praise hymn, is, “In Christ Alone”. How comforting to know that our hope is found on Christ who took on human flesh, died for His own, then raised in the victorious resurrection. And now our destiny is safe from harm.

Our first hymn is #17, “Praise the Lord: Ye heavens Adore Him”. There is very little known about this hymn, but there is an interesting side note. In the 18th C, a retired captain from the Merchant Navy, and his wife rescued an infant that had been left on the steps of St Andrews Church, in London. They became aware of how many infants are left like that to die, so he established a hospital for them. As those children grew, he taught them to sing. George F. Handel was so inspired, that each year he’d conduct a special performance of The Messiah on behalf of this hospital.

Hymn 345, “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”, was written by John Newton in 1779. He had 5 stanzas, but many hymnals only list 3, and out Trinity Hymnal has 4. The tune is AUSTRIAN HYMN, by Frank Joseph Hayden. Interestingly, this tune is also put to the above hymn as well The omitted verse is: Blest inhabitants of Zion, Wash’d in the Redeemer’s Blood; Jesus, whom their souls rely on, Makes them kings and priests to God; Tis his love his people raises, Over self to reign as kings; And as priests, his solemn praises; Each for a thank-offering brings.


9/26/21 – This week we are observing Communion, and praise God for his mercies, David will be preaching on Exodus 34.

Our first praise hymn is “Praise the Lord Ye Heavens”, recorded by Young Oceans. They sing that’ all creation joins the song of praise’. Have you ever wondered what heavenly praises actually sound like? I can’t wait to find out.

“Christ is Mine Forevermore”, by CityAlight is another familiar praise hymn. The first verse states, “ Mine are days that God has numbered, I was made to walk with Him, Yet I look for worldly treasure and forsake the King of Kings”. What a sobering message to all of us, that we are fallen creatures, yet the chorus reminds us that His love is sure and I am His forevermore!

If you will allow me, I’d like to share the notes about our other hymns taken from The One Year Book of Hymns. they share some interesting insights.

Hymn #304, “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say”, by Horatius Bonar –
Horatius Bonar loved to doodle as he wrote his hymns. Many of Bonar’s ideas came to him during long country walks in his native Scotland, and he often fleshed out his ideas while riding a train. He knew how to communicate profound truths to children through hymns. In so doing he helped adults to understand as well. Did you learn any new truth today?

Hymn #529, Love Divine, All Loves Excelling, was written by Charles Wesley. For most of his life he was a traveling preacher- on horseback. When a horse threw him, he wrote in his journal,” My companion thought I had broken my neck; but only my leg was bruised, my hand sprained, and my head stunned, which spoiled my making hymns til the next day.” Have you pondered what you love, and does the love of the Triune God Excel all of them?


9/19/21 – We welcome Rev. Kevin Ball to the pulpit while David is recovering from oral surgery. The text for Sunday is Luke 12:22-34, and the title is “Fear, Anxiety and the Kingdom”.

Our praise hymns are both done by the Gettys. Interestingly, they held Sing!Global this past week in Nashville. “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death”, proclaims that we believe Christ alone and that God is good. See the lyrics- He holds our days in His hand, he loves us, God’s grace and goodness are known in our Redeemer’s blood. “His Mercy is More”, reminds us that while our sins are many, His mercy is more. He is omniscient, and patient, and will call us home when we roam. We owe so much, in fact, our debt is unplayable, yet Christ’s blood marks it’Pain in Full’.

Hymn 310, “Rejoice the Lord is King”, is one of Charles Wesley’s 6,000(!) hymns. This was written to encourage the Methodists as they faced hardships and persecutions. Each verse add to our praise> Adoration, Thanksgiving and Exultation. Composer, Sir John Goss, was one of the most important Victorian church’s composers. If you noticed, the tune is Arthur’s Seat. I tried to find the significance, but the only thing that showed up was an extinct volcano in Edinburgh ( the city is framed by 4 peaks). “Come Unto Me, Ye Weary”, hymn 482, was written by William Dix in 1867. Not much is told of him, except he was Not a clergyman, but a manager of a marine insurance company in Scotland. He also wrote hymns #213 and #226. The melody is an old Welsh tune, Llangloffan.


9/12/21 – Do you remember, as a child, the shock and disbelief of one of you parents becoming very ill? Did you ask yourself. ”How can it happen? Mom, or Dad never get sick!” . I have that same feeling knowing that our beloved Pastor is truly ailing this week. Please pray for him, any medical staff that work with him, and his family.

While we know what our music will be this Sunday, we don’t have a text or subject, so I am unable to “connect the dots”. Our praise hymns are familiar to us. The first is, ”Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me” by CityAlight. I was looking at the second verse- “night is dark but I am not forsaken, For by my side the Savior he will stay, I labor on in weakness and rejoicing, For in my need his power is displayed.” May we all find encouragement in this. The second hymn is “Turn Your Eyes “ by Soverign Grace.

Looking in the Trinity Hymnal, we will sing 402 and 441. “Abide with Me Fast Falls the Eventide”, by Henry Leyte (1847). He coined the phrase, “It is better to wear out than rust out”. He was a pastor of a port church in a fishing village in Devonshire, England. He died at the age of 54 from TB and asthma. He wrote this hymn as he was dying. “Jesus Shall Reign”, was one of the over 800 hymns written by Isaac Watts. At a young age, he was well taught in Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Our hymnal has 36 of his hymns! If you have time to peruse your hymnal, be sure to scan over the various Indexes starting on page 881. They include: copyrights, sources of Hymns, Composers, Arrangers, Tunes, Meters, Scripture References, Topics and Titles and First Lines.


9/5/21 – I don’t know about you, but I get very excited when readings and dates and sermons all coincide and interweave! This Sunday is one of them.

Our praise hymns are again by the Getty’s and the 3 girl group, Faithful.“May All the People’s Praise You” has a strong , Irish tempo and flavor, Stuart Townsend states that this hymn is based on psalm 67 ( To the choirmaster with stringed instruments). This song declares our position in Christ and what He’s done for us. The chorus focuses on God’s centrality in our lives. Faithful’s song, “At this Very Time” shows us that God is Faithful , good and able. And everything occurs in God’s appointed time.

The sermon is looking at Exodus 34:10-28. In this section, God appoints 6 days of work, 3 holy feasts ( Passover, Pentecost , and Sukkoth) as well as 2 very special times that are being celebrated this week and next :Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur ( the Jewish new Year and the Day of Atonement). See what I mean?

Our sermon ties in with things currently occurring, including our Labor Day. Hymn #38, “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” was written by Walter Chalmers Smith in 1867. He was a pastor for 44 years in the Free Church of Scotland. Someone commented that this hymn is ‘full of plump polysyllables’. The tune, Joanna ( no relation to me, haha), is a Traditional Welsh tune.

Finally, “Go, Labor On” , hymn 584, is by Horatius Bonar. He wrote over 140 hymns. While it speaks to us Christians to be always working for the Gospel, isn’t it interesting that it is being sung this weekend? The tune writer, William Boyd (not the actor) was from Jamaica, 1847-1928. The tune is called ‘Pentecost’, and again, is this coincidence?


8/29/21 – Communion. This a wonderful time where we can worship and thank our LORD for all he’s done. Pastor Davis is again turning to Exodus 33. Here is where Moses asks to see God’s glory, and since no man can look upon God and live, we will see how God answers Moses’ request.

Our Praise hymns are Behold Him, and Mighty to Save. These are familiar songs, but let’s see if there is anything new we can glean from them.
First, what does ‘behold’ mean? Did you know it is used 1,298 times in the Bible? So I guess we should know it’s meaning. The definition means to see, observe- especially a remarkable thing or person. Yep. That fits!

In Mighty to Save, Hillsongs asks God to take us as we are- all our fears and failures. We ask for compassion, mercy, forgiveness and kindness. This is how we are to approach the Communion Table.

Augustus Toplady wrote Rock of Ages in 1776. He was converted by a Methodist evangelist, became a minister, but parted ways with the Methodist Church over Methodist and Arminianism. He wrote this hymn to end an article where he “emphasized that, just as England could never repay its national debt, so humans through their own efforts could never satisfy the eternal justice of God.”

We will be singing the newer tune written by James Ward ( #500). James is a member of New City Fellowship church in Chattanooga, Tn. This church began in 1970 as a Sunday School for the inner city children, by Covenant College. Ward blends music to reach many city cultures. He uses jazz, blues and pop rock rhythms for his songs. This is my personal favorite version.

Finally, hymn 427, Amidst Us Our Beloved Stands, was written by Charles H. Sturgeon in 1866. He was called the “Prince of Preachers”. The tune is listed as : Gregorian Chant, but the tune is very familiar to all of us.
Have a blessed Sunday.


8/22/21 – This Sunday we are pleased to welcome Mr. Beau Miller to the pulpit. He serves with the China Outreach Ministry.

Our praise hymns are both by the Getty’s and should be familiar to us. The first is , “Living Hope”, and the second is ,”The Power of the Cross”.
Keith and Krysten Getty, are both from Ireland, but moved to the states in 2006. Their focus has been to put Godly music into the hand ( and vocal chords) of the congregation. It was never their intent to write music only for a choir. They wrote a book for studying the purpose of Christian singing, appropriately titled, “Sing!”. We as Christians are encouraged, and even commanded to sing- to each other. Come join me in my car and we can sing together.
A dear friend loaned me a book about hymn backstories. I want to edit what the book has for our two Hymns. The book is : “The One Year Book of Hymns”.

Hymn 479, “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling”. “Will Thompson was called the bard from Ohio. He made so much money selling his secular songs, that newspapers were calling him the ‘millionaire songwriter’. But as a Christian, he concentrated on hymn writing and starting a publishing company. When he was about 33, he wrote this hymn.”


“Not far from Port Hope, Ontario, stands a monument that reads, ’Four miles north, in Pengally’s Cemetary, lies the philanthropist and author of this masterpiece, written at Port Hope, 1857’. The masterpiece was hymn 629 in our hymnal; “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. He wrote this poem to send to his dying mother in Ireland. He had no material resources to send her-only a reminder of the most perfect of friends, Jesus.”


8/15/21 – While our Pastor is on a well-deserved rest, we welcome and thank Dr Charles Buettner, again to our pulpit. Chuck is the driving force for God behind the Baltimore Rescue Mission.

Our praise hymns are familiar to us, both from the Getty’s and CityAlight. “Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery” helps us focus on several of the wondrous mysteries that have brought us into the family of God. Christ took on mortal flesh, legally saved the hell-bound man. His grace is without measure and His love untold. His resurrection is promised to us, his children. “Only a Holy God”, relates more wonders done for us. So come and behold Him, the one and the only!

Our hymns are two well known hymns dating from the late 1800’s. “Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross” was written by Fannie Crosby and the music was by William H. Diane. Usually she would pen the lyrics and he would do the tune, but this time it was reversed.

Hymn #521, “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” has an interesting backstory. The author, Edward Mote, was not a Christian during his youth. His parents owned a pub and he spent Sunday’s playing in the streets. He became an apprentice to a cabinetmaker and was taken to church by him. This hymn was originally titled: ”The Immutable Basis of a Sinner’s Hope” !

When you sing from the Trinity Hymnal, be sure to really look at the page that the hymn is on. The upper corner gives you the category. His Death is for #264, and Justification for #521. Each hymn has a relating scripture. The lower corners list the author(left) and composer and tune name (right). Each lists the date written. The numbers : 7.6.7.6 ref signify the syllable count for each line, ref means refrain. If you write a poem that you want put to music, count your syllables per line, then turn to Meters on pages 896-899, and you might find a tune to match!


8/8/21 – Wasn’t last Sunday wonderful? All those children singing praises! Now we return to our study of Exodus. Please read the Call to Worship and the Scripture passage ahead of Sunday. Don’t pass over the enemy nations listed, these are descendants of Ham and were very wicked. Ham was the son of Noah who ‘looked on his nakedness’ and was cursed.

Our praise hymns are not new to us. Both focus on our praising the Lord for all His mercies. The Israelites and Moses knew that without God being their guide and hope, they were lost. Read the lyrics and sing with heartfelt awe and praise that we can call God our Father!

Hymn 101, “Come,Thou Almighty King”, should be familiar to almost everyone. Each verse focuses on a part of the Trinity, with the fourth verse recognizes the One in Three. This was anonymously written in 1757.

Our final hymn will be displayed. Charles Wesley originally wrote the lyrics in 1742. Kevin Twit (former member of Timonium Presbyterian) kept the same lyrics, but modernized the tune. While Wesley’s hymn doesn’t have a chorus, Kevin added an antiphonal response. The antiphonal was common in ancient Israel as well as in the early church. This song has the men sing first and the women echo the lyrics. Did you take time this past week to read the Trinity Hymnal’s Preface? I hope so. Pages 9 and 10 are the Introduction. The first section is for the Pastor, reminding him that he is the worship leader ( along with all his other tasks). Next, the Accompanist is a worship supporter. He/she is not there only as a musician, but to help guide the congregation into offering an anthem before the lord. Finally, we, the congregation have responsibilities as well. We are to offer our songs to a divine audience. Meditate on the hymns, look for the topic at the top of the page and the scripture. As Bach wrote on all his compositions: Soli Deo Gloria ( Glory to God alone)


8/1/21 – VBS Sunday, This week we had the pleasure of Vacation Bible School and met the Super Sleuths. Our key “Distinctives”were : Called, Confronted, Comitted, Changed and Commissioned. Our Junior Sleuths have been invited to join our service and sing several songs with us.

Two of our praise hymns are familiar songs by the Gettys. Each can reflect the VBS themes. CityAlight is another source of our singing Sunday. It is “Jesus, Strong and Kind”. Look this up on Google or YouTube, and look for the videos that have previous children signing the words.

Our Jr Sleuths will sign two songs from camp. They are “Following Jesus” and “Go and Make Disciples”. Everything they learned this week should be taken to heart by us Senior sleuths!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT- WHAT IS IN THE HYMNAL Since there isn’t much backstory on our music, I thought this would be a good time to ask: When was the last time you read the Hymnal? I don’t mean the hymns, but the other aspects of it. I would like to encourage you to scan over the Preface, found on pages 7 & 8. Where can we find “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy”? Well, I’m not going to tell you Where, but it IS in the Bible! I hope you will take a few minutes to read over the Preface so you can have a deeper understanding as to the what, why, how and when of our Hymnal.


7/25/21 – I LOVE all types of Christian music, and this Sunday we will hear many different styles. This Sunday, we will hear missionaries during the 9:30 hour, and we will share in the Lord’s Supper during the service. Our music incorporates all these factors. Oh, and be sure to read the Call to Worship ahead of the service. It is Psalm 51: 1-4,10-14.

We are learning a ‘new’ praise song, “Praise the Lord, Ye Heavens”. By that I mean, it has a new melody set to an old hymn. If you have a Trinity hymnal nearby, it is hymn 17. The original hymn and tune is from the 1800s, but it has no chorus. The new hymn is just the first 2 verses AND a chorus.

Our second praise song should be familiar to us, as we have sung it 4 times this year. “May All the People’s Praise You” was written by the Getty’s and friends. I enjoy the Irish overtones ( but then that’s my heritage, I guess).

Just prior to joining in Communion, we will sing, “Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy”. The hymn was written by Joseph Hart. If he were to stand before us, he would have one of those amazing testimonies to share. He struggled against God for years. IF he went to church, it was with the intent to find fault. This continued until he was 45, when in a Moravian church, he heard words of hope. Three years later he became a minister and began to write hymns. *Aside: this hymn was ‘updated’ by Indelible Grace. They are out of Nashville and many were part of Reformed University Fellowship (PCA).

Hymn #246, “Man of Sorrows, What a Name”, was composed by Philip P. Bliss. He had worked as a farmhand, then in the lumber camps, then became a music teacher! Talk about a career change! While working for a hymn publishing group, D.L. Moody urged him to be a singing evangelist. Sadly, God called him home 1 year after writing this hymn, after a fiery train wreck.


7/18/21 – Hello again! Pastor David is continuing with the study of Exodus 32 and the Golden Calf. Be sure to read the two short passages in Deuteronomy listed for meditating.

Our two praise hymns are not new. They are by CityAlight and by Faithful. “Christ is Mine Forevermore” has 3 verses and 4 choruses. Verses 1 and 2 focus on our waywardness, and verse 3 deals with us being strangers in this world. The 4 choruses offer us wonderful words of comfort: hope and a paid debt, peace and strength, armor and being delivered, and keys with our hearts’ treasure.

At This Very Time”, by Faithful, was just released this April. They are 3 women of singing and songwriting skill, each focuses on different aspects in the Christian music scene. They tell us in 1, that God is faithful, good and able. verse 2 assures us of what we cannot see, a city and rest in God. The chorus speaks of God’s appointed time and that nothing is too difficult.

Hymn 338, “Spirit of God, Descend Upon my Heart” was composed in 1854 by George Croly, in London, at age 84. He knew that the most important thing was not what was on the outside, but the inside of a person. Here, in this hymn, he shuts the door and asks for the Spirit to fill him.

Amazing Grace”, hymn 460, has a very familiar backstory. Did you know that at age 82, he was asked to retire due to poor health and memory? His answer was ; “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things; that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior!” May we all share that sentiment.


7/11/21 – This week , we should all be familiar with both the praise hymns and the two from the Trinity Hymnal. Thought to ponder during the week: What will music in heaven sound like? Hebrew? Classical? Modern? African, Indonesian, Chinese? Guess we’ll have to wait to find out.

Our praise hymns are , “Turn Your Eyes” , and , “His Mercy is More”. “Turn Your Eyes” has a familiar tune, but a variation on the lyrics. I found out that Sovereign Grace Music (Church)is a reformed, evangelical church currently in Louisville, Ky. It originally was in Gaithersburg, MD in 1982. They partner with John MacArthur and John Piper. Matt Papa and Matt Boswell wrote “His Mercy is More” in 2018. It has the feel of a modern worship song, but retains the overall structure of a traditional hymn. This hymn was inspired by a John Newton sermon.

Hymn #34, “The God of Abraham’s praise”, was written by Thomas Olivers, a Methodist preacher and hymn writer from Wales. He had a close relationship with Great Britain’s Jewish community…you can hear it in the tune. He was close friends with John Wesley, and is even buried in Wesley’s London grave.

Hymn #9, “All You That Fear Jehovah’s Name” is from the Psalter 1912. The preface states:” The prime distinction of this Psalter is its use of the metrical version of the Psalms approved September 22nd, 1909 by a joint committee from 9 churches of the Presbyterian family in Canada and the United States”.


7/4/21 – May you all have a blessed 4th, and an even more blessed Lord’s Day. We welcome back our Mission Team that returns from JAARS on Saturday. I encourage us all to read the Scripture (John 20:21) and to look over the two catechism questions and answers.

Our Praise Hymns are familiar, one by the Getty music group, “I Will Wait For You” and the other , written by Paul Baloche, “Behold Him”. The first is based on Psalm 130, written as a hymn of distress. If you have time, compare the actual Psalm to the lyrics of the hymn. The second hymn has many opposites, but also Jesus’ qualities.

In our Trinity Hymnal, we will sing #1- “All People That on Earth Do Dwell”. This is based on Psalm 100, a more joyous hymn than 130. Written by William Kethe in 1561, this is his most famous psalter. Very little is known about his early life, but it’s believed he fled England during the reign of Queen Mary. He helped translate the Geneva Bible and wrote about 25 psalms. Louis Bourgeois”s OLD HUNDRETH tune is usually connected to the hymn. Louis was a French composer and theorist during the Renaissance. He was a major compiler of Calvinistic hymn tunes.

Hymn 444, O Zion,Haste, Your Mision High Fulfilling, was composed by Mary A. Thomson (1834-1923). She wrote most of the hymn while tending to one of her children who was sick with typhoid fever. She left it unfinished for about 3 years until she could get the refrain to suit her. She wrote,”I feel indebted to the composer of the tune, TIDINGS, for writing so inspiring a tune to my words.” James Walch wrote the tune in 1875. This is his best known tune. God really does work in marvelous ways!


6/27/21 – This week we have the pleasure of hearing Josh Stenger bring us the message while Pastor David is on the Mission trip. Josh ‘s reference is Mark 4:26-33, The Parable of the Growing Seed. I can’t wait to hear how the title, ‘Not Knowing What You Don’t Know’ connects.

Our praise hymns are familiar. “Mighty to Save”, by Hillsong, from Australia. Muse over the key phrases: needs compassion, forgiveness, take me as you find me, all my fears and failures. Do any of these apply to you? Then also ponder on the chorus phrases: he can move mountains, mighty to save, and conquered the grave. May these words lift you up this week.

The second praise hymn is by Sovereign Grace. They have spent 30 years writing Christ- exalting songs. “Turn Your Eyes” does a wonderful job of blending a familiar chorus as the verse, then introducing a new chorus (Ps 96:1). Not only do we look to the Lord for what He’s done for us , personally, but also how He fulfilled his mission on earth 2,00 years ago.

Hymn 303, “Blessed Jesus, at Your Word” was written in 1663 by Tobias Clausnitzer. He was a German Lutheran pastor and hymn writer. Catherine Winkworth translated this into English in 1858. The hymn was design as a prayer for illumination, suitable for the opening of the service or just prior to the sermon.

A very familiar hymn will end our service, #672, “Trust and Obey”. This is the most well-known hymn by John Sammis, even though he wrote over 100 hymns. Born in America in 1846, he became a Presbyterian minister. He passed away in 1919. May this hymn be part of our meditating this week.


6/20/21 – How has your week gone? Are you planning anything to celebrate Father’s Day? Are you dreading the upcoming week? God has a message and command for just this very day! Exodus 31, the sermon text, is all about keeping the Sabbath holy. May we be refreshed, not only by God’s Word, but the music we sing.

The Getty’s wrote “May the People’s Praise You” . We have sung this before, but take a look at the 3rd,4th and 5th stanzas as they relate to our duties as believers. Stuart Townend comments:” …it begins by declaring our position in Christ…It goes on to describe the journey of living for Christ, his gifts to us. The chorus is a response in which we recognize and declare God’s centrality in our lives.”

CityAlight wrote, “Yet Not I But Through Christ in Me”. Be sure to look for all the phrases that speak of what Christ has and is doing for us, gift of grace, wholly bound to Him, He shows his power thru my need, my hope is only in Jesus.

Horatius Bonar wrote, “A Few More Years Shall Roll” in 1844. A minister of the Free Church of Scotland, he is well known as a prolific poem/hymn writer. Almost 100 can be found in various hymnals. The tune, LEOMINSTER, was composed by George William Martin in 1862. He was a choirboy at Westminster Abbey when Queen Victoria was coronated. This tune is his best known.

When we close with hymn #384 Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing be sure that you refer to hymn #193 for the tune. We will not be singing to listed tune (Sicilian Mariners), but the French tune, PICARDY. The lyrics are attributed to John Fawcett in 1773. He was a Baptist theologian in the U.K. It is said that George Whitefield was instrumental in converting him. Fawcett’s most familiar hymn is “Blest Be the Tie”. It originally only had 2 stanzas, but by 1880, Geoffrey Thring reordered a third stanza. “Lord Dismiss Us With Your Blessings”.


6/13/21 – This week, the sermon focuses on Exodus 30:17-21, the bronze basin.I can’t praise the music team enough for selecting music that fits so well with the sermon.

Only a Holy God”, by CityAlight, offers a beautiful tune of Irish flavor. I would like to encourage you to meditate on each line. It will help you remember what ‘Holy’ means. And our duty is written in the chorus. Did you notice the pattern? Two verses, 1 chorus,1 verse, 2 choruses, 1 verse, 3 choruses. I think CityAlight really wants to make us aware of our Holy God.

Keith and Kristyn Getty wrote, “The Power of the Cross”. But why was this song selected when the sermon is from Exodus? Not wanting to cut into Pastor David’s sermon points, but this basin was used by the priests before entering the tent of meeting. Question: Can anyone wash enough to truly be clean before “a Holy God”? Only the power of the Cross can do this. I can’t wait until Pastor puts everything together!

Hymn 253, “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood” was written by William Cowper ( tune by Lowell Mason ( 60 years later). Cowper was an English poet and hymnodist. He was also an associate of John Newton. Both rallied against slavery. In fact, Cowper wrote a poem, “The Negro’s Complaint” that was quoted by Martin Luther King jr on many occasions.

Nothing but the Blood” , hymn 307, was written by Robert Lowery in 1876. He was a Baptist minister and preached during the Third Great Awakening ( 1855-1930). He also wrote, “Shall We Gather at the River” and “How Can I Keep From Singing”. In his lifetime, he composed over 500 hymn tunes.

If you have any comments to help me with this post, I would really appreciate it. Thanks


6/6/21 – As I sit here ready to share our week’s music choices, I’ve been listening to the ‘music of the heavens’ from the thunderstorms. We have been serenaded by the cicadas as well. Isn’t God wonderful?

This week we will again sing “At This Very Time” by Faithful. While the phrasing may be a little unfamiliar, be sure to focus on the lyrics. II Peter 3:9 tells us that God is not slow in keeping His promises. God has appointed what happens, and because of that truth, we can walk with assurance of His unchanging grace.

Phil Wickham wrote “Living Hope”. There is just something both calming and inspiring with his melody. He has worked in the past with pastor Greg Laurie. Phil says, “ I want to lead people to Jesus, to encounter Him, so they want more of Him”. May you be blessed by our music this week.

Hymn #347 “The Church’s One Foundation” was written by Samuel J. Stone in 1866. he was and English poet, hymnodist and priest of the Church of England. This is his most popular hymn. As I looked over the verses, I see the 2nd stanza as being almost like a creed. Verses 3 and 4, are encouraging, but lesser known. Stanzas 5 and 6 are very familiar. The music was written by Samuel Wesley. He was the grandson of Charles and Sarah Wesley.

Hymn 416, “Gracious Savior, Gentle Shepherd”, Was written by Jane E. Lesson in 1842. She wrote several books of hymns, mainly for children. Be sure to look at stanzas 3 and 4, I see these words to be very useful as a prayer for our Sunday School and our children. William L. Viner, wrote the tune known as Dismissal in 1845. He studied under Charles Wesley , Jr. He became an organist under the recommendation of Samuel S. Wesley ( small world , isn’t it? ).


5/30/21 – Memorial Day (communion to be rescheduled)

I wish I had more space, there are so many wonderful things I can say about the music for this week. If you have been attending our services, you know that pastor David is focusing on Exodus and the parts and items of the Tabernacle. This Sunday we are focusing on the Census Tax, in Ex. 30. I didn’t know that the tax was for anyone over the age of 20, and the RANSOM was for the service of the Tent of Meeting. The tax was 1/2 shekel, which is a weight equal to 5.5 grams of silver, or about half a day’s wage. My first thought was humbling- “is that all I’m worth?”, but also grateful that my sins didn’t cost me more!

The first praise song, is not familiar to me. “At This Very Time”, by Faithful. Please take time to look at the lyrics. The second verse mimics Hymn 30’s 1st and 7th stanzas. It focuses on God’s shelter, help and stay.

Our second praise song is, “Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery”. The lyrics make us look at the cost Jesus paid. Verse 3 even mentions the ‘price of our redemption”. Redemption and Ransom are both important factors in a Christian’s life…without them, we are lost.

Hymn #30, “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past” is from Psalm 90. As a child, I learned it as , “O God..”, but how much more personal is the word, ‘our’! We heard last week about Pastor reading up on Isaac Watts and his being called ‘The Godfather of English Hymnody’. Prior to him, most songs were from the Psalms, but he introduced summarizing the Christian experience into music.

Hymn #431, “A Parting Hymn We Sing”, is familiar to most churches. Aaron Wolfe was a Presbyterian minister, from New Jersey. This is his most familiar hymn of the 7 he submitted for publication. He established the Hillside Seminary for Young Ladies in 1851 in N.J.


5/23/21 – This Sunday we are singing 3 hymns as our Praise team is settling into their new home routines.

THE DAY OF RESURRECTION”, #267, is a familiar tune. We have 2 other hymns using that same melody. It is “an oldie but a goodie”, in that the lyrics were written by John of Damascus during the 8th Century. He was a monk who contributed to law, theology, philosophy and music. Some of his hymns are still sung by our Eastern Christian and Lutheran brothers and sisters. The lyrics were put to music be Henry Smart in 1836. This was a tune he wrote for a music festival in Lancaster, hence the tune name. He wrote this to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the Reformation in England. When he became blind at 52, his skills on the organ were so good that he could continue to serve in that capacity.

WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS”, #629,was written in 1855 by Joseph Scrivener. Born in Ireland, he moved to Canada at age 25. When he received word that his mother was gravely ill, he wrote her a poem, “Pray Without Ceasing”. In 1869 he published a collection of 115 hymns. He died at age 66 from drowning. Charles C.Converse was and American attorney who also composed many church songs. He had a copy of Scriven’s poem to his mother, put it to music and changed the title to the hymn we are singing today!

FROM EVERY STORMY WIND THAT BLOWS”, #631, is a new tune for most of us. If you have not taken the time to listen to the links mentioned in our Tuesday E-Blast, I would strongly recommend you take 5 minutes to do so. The instrumental OPC version will help you get the tune in your head, but the other with the guitar, will help place the lyrics in with the melody. Hugh Stowell wrote the lyrics in 1828. He was a minister in the Church of England. He loved children and worked to be sure the Sunday School was of high caliber. He wrote this poem while he studied about the Mercy Seat: a place where God can meet his people. Thomas Hastings, and American composer, best remembered for the tune, TOPLADY. We know it as Rock of Ages (499). He wrote over 1,000 tunes.


5/16/21 – The sermon this week focuses on Mark 5:1-20. This is about the madman in the Gerasenes and the legion of demons.

Our praise hymns are, “Behold Him”, and , “His Mercy is More”. Both had been reviewed in March, so I won’t spend too muck ‘ink’ on them. “His Mercy is More” starts with the chorus and tells us His mercy is more, stronger than darkness, our sins though many but His mercy is more. Notice that the first verse mentions that our sins are thrown into a bottomless sea- interesting, right? “Behold Him” reminds us of the many things Christ has done for us. He became a baby, the least of us, yet he is the Lion and the Lamb. We are then told to be still, behold the Alpha and Omega, the Lord Almighty.

Rejoice, the Lord Is King”, hymn 310,was written by Charles Wesley in 1746. He was the youngest son and 18th child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley. He is said to have composed over 6,500 hymns. Most of them reflected events in his life. John Darwall wrote the music. He was born in England in 1731. This is his best known tune. Notice the majestic tone of the chorus. I think the only thing missing is a trumpet background.

Jesus, Keep Me near the Cross”, was reviewed previously in February. Fanny Crosby, in spite of being blind for most of her life wrote over 8,000 hymns. When someone commented that it was a shame that she was blind, she replied that she was GLAD- because when she arrived in heaven, Crist’s face would be the first face she would see! She definitely did NOT feel handicapped.


5/9/21 – Oh my! Another service filled with many godly blessings. Our verse for meditation takes in the event called Mother’s Day. The Call to Worship picks up with the sermon in Exodus 29 and the ordaining of Aaron and his sons. (did you notice that ‘saints’ is not just a New Testament word?). If Pastor David doesn’t point this out, then take a few minutes to count up how many animals are offered in sacrifice- but only Christ ‘s blood is truly sufficient. Okay, on to the 4 songs for the service:

  1. Christ is Mine Forevermore
  2. May the Peoples Praise You
  3. Hymn #100  “Holy, Holy, Holy!
  4. Hymn #520 “Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness

1. “Christ Is Mine Forevermore”, by CityAlight, was reviewed 3/7/21. Please take a few minutes to look at the focus of each verse and chorus. Our purpose and sin- He paid for every sin; despite the sorrows and despairs of the world, real peace comes from heaven; while we are strangers and pilgrims, we are given armor and a Deliverer, and we have been given the keys to Zion City!

2. We learned ,”May The peoples Praise You”, last week. This is written by the Getty’s and focuses on Psalm 67. What a great comfort to know that He is with us and we can share His mercy with others. Notice the bridge as it repeats 2 main words: Holy and Worthy. This will carry us on to Hymn 100.

3. “Holy, Holy, Holy”, hymn 100 in our Hymnal, was #1 in my old Baptist Hymnal. Just saying… Reginald (1783-1826) was born to a wealthy and educated family in England, and could translated Classical Latin into English by the time he was 7. He entered Oxford at age 17. After serving as Rector for 16 years, he became Bishop of Calcutta. Due to the stress of traveling, he died suddenly of a stroke at 43. This hymn refers to Revelation 4:8 and Isaiah 6:3 with the use of ‘holy, holy, holy’. John B Dykes wrote the tune, NICEA, which was named after the Council of NICEA (325 AD) that formulated the doctrine of the. Trinity. By age 10, Dyes was the organist where his grandfather was the Vicar. He wrote over 300 hymn tunes.

4. “ Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness”, was written by Nikolai. L. Von Zinzendorf and translated by John Wesley to English. While Zinzendorf wrote over 2,000 hymns, most were mediocre, but a few were valuable. He was associated with the United Brethren and the Moravians. There was not much of a biography on composer William Gardiner, except he was the first to promote Beethoven’s works in England.


5/2/21 – Hopefully we will find ourselves worshiping together in the beautiful outdoors. This is also a Sunday where we will commission those going onto our Boards. Pray for these people as they seek to glorify our Lord and savior, serve our congregation and the local community. As Pastor Milligan expounds further on Exodus and the parts of the Tabernacle, let’s look for truths in our hymns as they relate to his sermon.

May the People’s Praise You”, is taken from Psalm 67. This is another of the Getty hymns that we sing often. Stuart Townend states this song begins with declaring our position in Christ and what he’s won for us. Look for His gifts to us. God needs to be central in our life.

Turn Your Eyes“, by Sovereign grace is a familiar tune, although with some variation. We are asked to look to the hillside- of Christ’s crucifixion, look to the morning- of the resurrection. Sovereign Grace has been sharing music for over 30 years. Their purpose is to give the local church exalting songs.

Our next hymn, # 535, “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus”, is one of my favorite tunes. S. Trevor Francis ( 1834-1925) wrote the lyrics. While he earned a living being a merchant in England, he was also a lay preacher and hymn-writer. During the 1873-74 campaign of D.L. Moody and Ira sankey, Francis assisted them. The tune, Ebenezer ( means stone of help), was written by T. J. Williams in 1890. You may notice the additional tune name, Ton-Y-Botel. Williams was Welsh and the name means. ‘ Tune of the Bottle’. There are several conjuncture on why it was named that.

Hymn 585, “Take My Life and Let it Be” is perfect for commissioning our leaders today. The lyrics were written by Frances Havergal in 1874. We have mentioned her previously. She wrote over 55 hymns, many were published without tunes, but as poem cards for encouragement. Henri Cesar Malian was a Swiss minister. He broke away from the national church due to its Unitarian views, where his were more Calvinistic. When he wasn’t allowed to preach, he built a small chapel on his grounds and preached from there. As the French church became fore reformed, his hymns were, shall we say, instrumental to their services.


4/25/21 – Our Praise hymns are familiar and have been previously reviewed, so let me start with our hymns from the Hymnal. Our two Praise hymns, “Build My LIfe” and “In Christ Alone” are personal favorites.

At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing” page 420, is both old and new. The lyrics are from a 6th C. Latin hymn that was translated into English by Robert Campbell in 1849. Not much is known about him except he was a Roman Catholic from Edinburgh. The music was composed by George Elvey in 1859. By the time he was 17 , he was an expert organist(1843) and was Knighted in 1871. he was a prolific writer of Church music. We are familiar with the tune as we sing hymn 715 (Come Ye Thankful People Come).

Hymn 281, “I Know That My My Redeemer Lives-Glory, Hallelujah!” , is sung to an American folk tune from the 19th C. Samuel Medley ( I love his last name!) wrote the stanzas in 1775. Medley was a British naval officer, who was wounded in 1759 and forced to retire. He then heard a sermon that led to his conversion, joining the Baptist Church, and becoming a pastor himself. Hymns 177 and 183 are also written by him.

Build My Life”, by Matt Redman, offers 5 different stanzas. As we sing, they appear in this order: 1,2,3,1,2,3,4,4,3,3,4,5,4,4. I love #4 as the music reminds me of building blocks as the notes ascend and descend. While there IS repetition of lyrics, my feeling is that sometimes we really DO need to have things repeated so we don’t forget God’s love, grace and mercy.

In Christ Alone” by the Gettys, has 4 verses. Here we are calmly and melodiously reminded of hope, strength, love, peace. That on the cross, Christ satisfied God’s wrath. We are His and He is mine ( that is most wondrous), He commands our destiny ( His Providence and ordaining), and NOTHING satan or the world may do To us will ever TAKE us from our Heavenly Father.


4/18/21 – As pastor David continues his look at Exodus 27 and the courtyard of the Tabernacle, be sure to look for references to this in our songs.

  • Mighty to Save is a Hillsongs worship song from 2008. Look at the correlation of our needs to what God supplies to us. We need compassion, He gives mercy; we need forgiveness, He offers kindness. We humbly tell Him to take us as we are with our fears and failures- we surrender!
  • Only a Holy God is from CityAlight. As you sing this song, be sure to see all that God does and will do for His children. God: commands His angels and earthly leaders, whispers and the darkness trembles, rules with justice, consumes like fire, raises the dead, rescues us and offers his Son who invites us to call God “Father”.
  • #363 – We Gather Together  is a Netherlands folk hymn. The tune was composed by Adrianus Valerius ( 1575-1625). He is best known for his poems dealing with the Dutch Wars (1555-1625). This hymn was brought to America by Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam- now New York City.
  • While hymn #371 – O Lord of Hosts, How Lovely  is new for us, its melody is not. This is based on Hymn 84 and is of Welsh origin. Sunday our call to worship is Psalm 84 ( interesting how that all worked out). This hymn follows almost word for word of the Psalm.

4/11/21 – Hope you all had a blessed Easter. My research on our hymns and praise hymns has been rather interesting.

Our two praise hymns are not new and have been reviewed previously. But for those who didn’t read about them the 1st time around…

Yet Not I But Through Christ in Me” is by CityAlight from Australia. It’s their aim to write Biblically rich lyrics with simple melodies. They want for every church, large or small, to have music to sing.

I Will Wait For You(Psalm 130)” is from Keith Getty, Jordan Kauflin, Matt Merker and Stuart Townsend. Stuart gives us the backstory on the hymn:“Based on Psalm 130, a psalm of distress and longing for God’s intervention in our live….It is a powerful thing to look to God with trust and patience through the hard times we will all face at some point in our lives.”

Hymn #308 Jesus Paid It All, was written in 1865 on the fly leaf of the New Lute of Zion Hymnal by Elvira Hall. She showed the lyrics to her pastor, who had a hymn melody previously handed to him by their organist. Interestingly, the lyrics and tune matched up nicely! This ‘chance’ I counter took place at the Methodist-Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Md. Elvira is buried in the Green Mount Cemetery.

Lastly, hymn 501, “Just As I Am, without One Plea” was composed by Charlotte Elliott. She lived in England from 1789 to 1871. Because she had many bouts with illness, she spent much of her time writing hymns and poems. Billy Graham used this song in most of his Crusades because of its simplicity. The composer, Wm B. Bradbury , cofounder of the Bradbury Piano Company, also wrote the tunes to, “Jesus Loves Me”, “He Leadeth Me”, “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” and many more. I am always amazed at how God blesses us with a wide variety of songs that carry us through our lives.


4/4/21 – Easter Sunday

I have been saying for a few years now, that when I die, I want to be sung into heaven! Our Easter music selections are a beautiful foretaste.

Our two Praise hymns, “ Christ Our Hope in Life and Death” and “The Power of the Cross” were both written by Keith Getty and his co-contributors. They are wonderful songs that help us realize the pain, suffering, sacrifice and blessing of our Risen Lord. Be sure to pay attention to some of the phrases. Pay attention to the questions and answers in “Christ Our hope in Life and Death”. Put yourself in the Good Friday scene in “The Power of the Cross”. Be assured that if you are one of His children, real life is yours because of Christ.

Hymn 286, “Worship Christ the Risen King”, is a ‘new’ hymn written in 1986 by Jack Hanford. He has written over 600 hymns and choruses, the most famous is “Majesty”, made famous by Sandi Patti. The tune is 120 years older, ‘Regent Square’ by Henry Smart. This tune was originally written for Horatius Bonar for a doxology. This is a very familiar tune for most people. In 1739, Charles Wesley wrote “Christ the Lord is Risen today” as an offer a Tory response. It originally had 11 stanzas. Be sure to see that the hymn is written in the present tense- IS.

Edmund Budry wrote “Thine Be the Glory” in 1884. He was a Swiss Protestant minister. The tune is derived from George F. Handel’s oratorio, “Judas Maccabaeus”. Interestingly, this hymn is sung at weddings, funerals, and in Ireland, at Christmas.

Alleluia (Latin) or Hallelujah (Anglican) is widely used in today’s songs. Translated it means, ‘God Be Praised’ or , ‘Praise the Lord’. And all the people said, AMEN!


4/2/21 – Good Friday – If you are joining us for our Good Friday service, the hymns we are singing are :” Beneath the Cross of Jesus “, “ Stricken ,Smitten and Afflicted “, “ O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” and “Lord From Sorrows Deep I Call “.

The first three are from our hymnal, and I reviewed them on March 7th and 14th. In the first hymn I pointed out that “fain” meant something pleasant, willing, glad. Are we willing to stand and be counted as a Cristian? Jesus’ own disciples were not sure at that point. Our second hymn uses ancient words from the 15th-17th centuries. all three words relate to real, deep sorrow. Are we just singing the words , or do we also imagine His agony? The third hymn, in its original form had up to 10 stanzas- each focusing on a different aspect of Christ’s agony- for us! Our last hymn, though modern, takes its wording from the 42nd Psalm. Matt Boswell said,” Sing not around our sorrows but through them. We are the only religion that has the answers for the world’s pain.” Sing as if you mean it!


3/28/21 – Palm Sunday


3/21/21 – This week’s praise hymns are familiar to most of us, and I have covered their ‘back stories’ earlier, so I won’t waste time repeating it again. The two songs are, “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”; and “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus ”.

     Our hymns from the hymnal were both written by Isaac Watts in 1709. I realized that these were composed before America had even declared independence from Britain. King George II was on the throne, the 1st Great awakening had not occurred and our 1st President had not even been born.

     Watts was a minister, theologian (yes there is a difference) and a logician. he wrote about 750 hymns during his 74 year lifetime. You can check out the Banner of Truth’s website for more background on Isaac Watts.

      In looking for fresh information about each hymn, I came across the website for Stuart Townsend, the writer of “How Deep”.  You can check out what he said at www.stuarttownend.co.uk. While he has written many songs, this time he knew he must write a hymn. The hymn wants us to focus on what it Cost the Father to give up his beloved Son to such a heinous death. And secondly, to realize that if we had been there, we would have probably been shouting, “Crucify him!”.

      Thought: The hymn, “Not All the Blood of Beasts” made me ask;” just How many animals were sacrificed at any time?”.  2 Chronicles 7 says that at the Temple Dedication, Solomon sacrificed 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep! And when you think of all  the other sacrifices ( certainly on a smaller scale), yet these were still not suffice to to cover yours and my sins! 

 When I Survey the Wondrous Cross Last thought: just what was ‘wondrous’ about the cross? The word means a feeling of delight or wonder; amazing and marvelous.


3/14/21 – The music for the week is very sober and meaningful. (hope you remembered to set your clocks). As we near Palm Sunday and Easter in just 2 or 3 weeks, our Worship team is choosing wonderfully appropriate music. Thank you.

Only A Holy God” by CityAlight and Dustin Smith of Here Be Lions have truly grasped what it was that Christ did for us. All three stanzas focus on His. Greatness. Verses 1 and 3 show the power of Christ in different ways, while the second tells of His beauty.
What does ‘holy’ mean to you? Omnipotence, yes, but it means to be ‘cut off’, or ‘set apart’. Let us strive to be holy as he is holy. (Notes were taken from an article of Faith Bible Church (Spokane, Wa)).

In Christ Alone”, written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend. Look at the focus of each verse. In the first, He is our hope and Comfort. The second verse tells of his love and righteousness in becoming a man…yet coming to die to satisfy God’s wrath. Third verse speaks of his death and resurrection and the promise that sin will not grip the faithful. Finally, due to Christ’s providence that guides our destiny- we are without guilt and fear of death.

Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted “ is written in B-flat major, helping our ears to ‘feel’ the sober ness of this hymn. It was written by Thomas Kelly in 1804, an Irish evangelist. He wrote over 765 hymns. At age 85, while preaching, he suffered a stroke and died the next year. His last words were,”Not my will but thine be done”.

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” – was taken from a poem attributed to Ber­nard of Clair­vaux and translated by Paul Ger­hardt. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153) was called by Martin Luther, the monk of all monks. This hymn originally had about 10 verses, each one focusing on different aspects of Christ’s suffering and death. Our hymnal only has 3. The tune was arranged by Johann S. Bach for a chorale, “The Passion of St. Matthew”.


3/7/21 – This week’s sermon focuses on John 19: 26,27. But, while timely to the sermon, each song brings to light the two questions from the Westminster Shorter Catechism Q19-20 and makes them relevant. 

His Mercy is More, written by Keith Getty, Matt Papa, focuses on Lamentations 3:23,24. Please take a moment to look at these verses this week. What should be our “take away” in this song? We need to focus on the fact that our sins are many, but God’s mercies are more. Observe the first lines of each verse: What love?, what patience?, what richness of kindness? Thank God that His mercy IS more!

Christ is Mine Forevermore, is done by CityAlight, whom we mentioned in earlier weeks. There is a website, thebereantest.com that critiques many contemporary songs to test for Biblical accuracy. This one (as well as many, if not all, that we sing) passes with flying colors. All lines of the song agree with scripture. Look at the key words of each verse: numbered days, tears in sorrow, days here as a stranger. Now look at the answers in each of the choruses: hope, peace, armor and finally, the keys to Zion city! How reassuring.

Hymn 251 Beneath the Cross of Jesus, was written by Elizabeth Clephane, a Scottish songwriter. I  know this hymn very well, but I never looked up the meaning of ‘fain’. Do you know its meaning? If you said ‘pleased’, ‘willing’, or ‘gladly’- you get the prize! A sobering thought is the last line of verse 2, two wonders — [His] redeeming love and my unworthiness.

 Lastly, hymn 261 What Wondrous Love Is This, is from the Second Great Awakening ( I’m ready for a 3rd…you too?). It is a camp meeting song. The tune is derived from a popular English ballad (ROUD # 5089). Did you know that the hymn words were only handed out, so there could be any number of tunes sung to it? Even a tune called ‘The Ballad of Captain Kidd’ .


2/28/21 – As we consider the season of lent, we need to look for all references to Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Be sure to search for the significance of Luke 23:42-43. One way is to see how the various songs help to bring this out.

      “Arise, My_Soul,_Arise” is both old and new. It was penned by Charles Wesley, the 18th son of Samuel and Susanna Wesley. You can find the original version on page 305 in our hymnal. Charles was born in 1707 and died in 1788. He and his brother, Charles led Bible studies at their college, in spite of being chided for their detailed and METHODICAL methods to studying the scriptures. He published between 6,500-10,000 hymns. The words carry a strong doctrinal (albeit Armenian) content.

      The lyricist is Kevin Twit. He is a former member of Timonium Presbyterian, now residing in Nashville. Christ Community College Ministry, under the group, Indelible Grace, performs this song on their 2000 album. The group is well known for their scripture-grounded songs.

      CityAlight is a group out of Sydney, Australia. Their song, “Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me”, follows their format of offering rich lyrics with simple tunes. They are not trying to be groundbreaking, unique or fashionable- but only to aid all churches of all sizes and abilities to lift their voices in praise to our triune God.

        Hymn 307, “Nothing but the Blood”, was written and composed by Robert Lowry. he was born in Philadelphia in 1826. This is a very familiar hymn. Please take time to read the two scriptures that make this so significant. Hebrews 9:22 and 1 John 1:7.

         Lastly, “Not What My Hands Have Done”, hymn 461, was written by Horatius Bonar in 1861. Born in 1808, he lived most of his life in the Edinburgh area of Scotland. He has such a rich family history- so many men in his family served in the ministry. The total years they served in Church of Scotland totals 364 years!. Bonar also wrote “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” and 140 more. Titus 3:5- “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy,”


2/21/21 – Our scripture is Luke 23:34

     This week  we are learning an “old but new” praise hymn.  By this I mean that part of the song is the familiar tune of “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”, written in 1922 by Helen Lemmel. Here, it’s been adapted by Sovereign Grace Music.  The new version, by Sovereign Grace, focuses on many scripture nuggets of both the Old and new Testaments. S.G. Music has been around for over 30 years. Their mission is to produce Christ-exalting music, which they call, “Sound + Doctrine”.

     The next praise hymn, The Power of the Cross, is by Keith & Kristyn Getty with Stuart Townsend. It is on their , In Christ Alone, album of 2005. Stuart states:” it’s one of a number of story songs we’ve written together. I feel it is important to understand that…our faith is rooted in history…and backed up by evidence.” This song paints a picture of Good Friday, and the last verse includes us because our names are written into His wounds.

     Looking at the two selections from our hymnal, (#264) “Jesus , Keep Me Near the Cross” is a wonderful hymn by Fanny Crosby. She wrote over 8,500 gospel songs, even though blind at 6 weeks of age. She employed “hypotyposis” or the ability to paint vivid scenes with her lyrics, even though blind. 

     Finally, the last hymn (#473), ”Jesus Sinners Doth Receive” was written by Erdmann Neumeister, a German Lutheran minister. He lived from 1598 until 1662. Johann S. Bach was a contemporary and used 5 of Neumeister’s cantatas for his own compositions. This hymn  tune is listed as Jesus, Meine Zuversicht. Johann Cruger is also noted, but he lived before Bach, but is credited with influencing this particular melody.

     Please study the lyrics to each hymn as they should serve to lift us up to look at the cross and be assured of Christ’s love.


2/14/21 – This week, our scripture is Romans 12: 9-21. Some Bibles use a heading of “Marks of a True Christian “.  Let’s see if the songs and hymns fit this grouping.

Mighty to Save, written by Ben Fielding and Reuben Morgan, was published in 2006. It was sung by the Hillsongs group in Australia. It received the Dove Award for Best Worship Song in 2008. This song looks toward others, looks at our own personal needs through Christ’s salvation. It is done with a typical worship style and tempo.

Lord, From Sorrows Deep I Call, was written by Keith Getty.  This praise hymn is based on Psalm 42. Most Bibles use a heading of: a Maskil of the Sons of Korah. A maskil usually means to impart wisdom, enlightenment. Korah was Moses’ cousin (Numbers 16) and his sons were responsible for singing in the temple.

This song is in hymn format, using verse and chorus, but it varies in that it has 2 stanzas, chorus, 1 stanza, then 2 repeats of the chorus. Listen for the Irish overtones, as the Getty’s are from Ireland.

 We Are God’s People, hymn #355. Stanzas 2 and 3 focus on what Christians should seek to imitate. This hymn was written in 1976. The arrangement was by Fred Bock using a portion of Brahm’s Symphony #1 in C minor.

Take My Life, and Let It Be, hymn #585, was written in 1874, by Miss Frances Havergal. Many of her poems were printed on leaflets and ornamental cards. The composer, Henri Malan, a Swiss minister, wrote this tune many years before being paired with the lyrics.


 2/7/21 – Women were invited to meet at 9:30 am for discussions about the weekly praise and hymn music. Since we erred on the side of caution, due to expected snow, the meeting didn’t occur. While the praise tunes are familiar enough, the hymns may have not been so.  So in hindsight, let’s review these songs and see how they fit in with Pastor David’s Message that focused on Romans 12:1-8.

Build My Life ( was written by 5  collaborators, including Matt Redman. The lyrics are based on the following verses: James 5:13; Col. 3:16; Ps119:18,23:1-4; 2Tim. 2:19; and Matt. 7:24-25. The lyrics give glory to the solid foundation upon God. Listen to the note sequence of the chorus- it sounds like one building steps!

  Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery was written by Matt Boswell and others, and is published by the Getty’s. As you look at each verse, the second line details the major mysteries of God’s plan for man and Christ’s purpose in coming as man. David is preaching on the meaning of Communion and the Lenten season. See how well this praise hymn fits. 

Both hymns, 427 & 429, are from the 1800’s. Amidst Us Our Beloved, was written by Charles Spurgeon. The composer, Lowell Mason, is considered to be the father of Christian music, and was a Presbyterian. The flow of the tune is based on Gregorian chant.

Amidst Us Our Beloved

 Hymn 429, Let the Blood in Mercy Poured, was based on a Greek hymn, translated by John Brownlee. He was a Scottish hymnist who avidly translated both Greek and Latin hymns into English. John Cruger was the editor of the most widely used Lutheran hymnal. While he never wrote any hymns, he is a recognized composer of 71 chorales.



Music Summary

Modern hymns and praise songs must meet three criteria in order to be used in our worship services. They must: 

  • be theologically-sound. 
  • point to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord (for example, we avoid songs that focus more on the worshipper than the One worthy of all worship). 
  • not be difficult for the congregation to sing. 

We use The Trinity Hymnal (1990), that includes 742 Scripture-based hymns rooted in the Reformed tradition, responsive readings of the Psalms, the Westminster Confession of Faith and Shorter Catechism, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Nicene Creed.


Resources

Hymnary.org Browse Hymns from the most complete database of North American hymnody on the planet.

The Berean Test is a website thebereantest.com that critiques and applies critical thinking skills to compare lyrical content from popular Christian artists against the Bible for accuracy.


Our Worship | Praise Team