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Archive for the ‘worship music’ Category

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I learned a new song for worship yesterday: “All Glory Be To Christ.” It’s sang to the tune of “Auld Lange Sine.”

The song has all the makings of one appropriate for worship: good doctrine, a focus on the Triune God, and singable by the congregation.

Here are the lyrics:

Should nothing of our efforts stand
No legacy survive
Unless the Lord does raise the house
In vain its builders build

To you who boast tomorrow’s gain
Tell me what is your life
A mist that vanishes at dawn
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign we’ll ever sing
All glory be to Christ!

His will be done
His kingdom come
On earth as is above
Who is Himself our daily bread
Praise Him the Lord of love

Let living water satisfy
The thirsty without price
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His reign and rule we’ll ever sing
All glory be to Christ!

When on the day the great I am
The faithful and the true
The Lamb who was for sinners slain
Is making all things new

Behold our God shall live with us
And be our steadfast light
And we shall ‘ere His people be
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our King!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign we’ll ever sing
All glory be to Christ!

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on John 4:20-24 (for a second time). Here is a one-sentence summary of my sermon: Worshiping in spirit and truth applies to how we worship as a church and as individuals – taking God, His Word, and His people seriously.

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Worship-image

This morning I had the privilege of preaching on John 4:20-24. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Worship – focusing on and responding to God – that God requires is heartfelt and regulated by the Word of God.

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Good for Keith Getty and Stuart Townend! They refused to change the lyrics of their contemporary hymn “In Christ Alone.”

Here’s the story: According to a report from One News Now, the Committee on Congregational Songs of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are in the process of putting together a new hymnal for the mainline denomination. When looking at which songs to include, they requested that Getty and Townend change one line of their immensely popular hymn. Some of the committee members didn’t like the line that says, “On that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.” Why? Because they don’t like the idea that the death of Christ “assuaged God’s anger” over sin. They suggested an alternative lyric – “the love of God was magnified.” If the lyrics were changed, the song could be placed in the hymnal. If not, it would be left out.

“In Christ Alone” will not be included in the new PCUSA hymnal. To their great credit, Getty and Townend refused to change the line. They said they wrote the song to tell “the whole gospel.” Getty and Townend know what the committee members apparently don’t – the death of Jesus as a substitutionary sacrifice satisfied God’s wrath against sin, and it’s a crucial part of the whole gospel. Romans 5:8 says it clearly: “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood,  much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), along with the other mainline Protestant denominations, continue to give evidence that they’ve left the faith and have apostatized. When you outright deny, or are seriously uncomfortable with, what is known in theology as the penal substitution of Christ, you no longer have the gospel.

A couple of other thoughts: “In Christ Alone” is my favorite modern hymn, precisely for the reason Getty and Townend say the wrote it – because it tells the whole gospel and includes the concept of God’s wrath, which is frequently left out. This incident shows how important lyrics are in the songs we sing. Songs perform the function of teaching alongside the role of reaching our emotions. Therefore, what we say and sing matters because words mean things.

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If you haven’t checked Immanuel Community Church’s revamped and updated website, click on over and take a look. I think you’ll enjoy it.

On the “Who We Are” page, you’ll find this statement about Immanuel (among others): We are “a singing church with music focused on congregational singing, not a rockin’ band, and a glorious mix of old and new hymns, songs and choruses.” What does that mean? An explanation is in order.

We’re convinced that the most important instrument used in the people of God singing the praises of God is the individual voice of the worshiper and the collective voices of the  congregation. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have or allow instruments – we do. What it means is that the piano, guitars, an occasional violin, and the vocalists who lead  are all meant to supplement the congregation as we sing together. We’re convinced that if too much emphasis is placed on the “praise band,” the congregation gradually stops singing and simply watches the performance. The task of musicians is to assist the congregation in their worship of God (while worshiping God themselves).

As we gather for worship, we hear the Word of God read and preached, we pray the Word of God, and we sing the Word of God through our music. Singing the truth, as well as hearing and praying it, is a necessary ingredient to our growth in Christ. We’ve observed that the louder the music, the fewer people in the congregation there are who actually sing. Why is that? Because they can’t hear themselves or the person next to them (which is important because we need to have some idea if we’re close to the proper melody of a song, or if we’re a ways off).  Because of that, we try to keep all of the musician’s sound at a certain level, and drums are not part of the mix (their loudness is very hard to control and they tend to dominate the other instruments).

We want to play and sing songs that are doctrinally rich, appropriate for worship, and can be sung by the congregation – not just the musicians. We’re committed to a blend of older and newer music – newer or trendy isn’t always better, but neither is older.

Because of our commitment to congregational music and singing, we don’t have a “rockin’ band,” or a rock band for that matter. Given our philosophy, we don’t want one. Yes, that’s different from most churches today, but it’s one of the things that sets us apart.

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O Church Arise

We sang this wonderful hymn last Sunday in church. It went well with my sermon on Ephesians 6:14-17 – “The Christian in Complete Armor.” Enjoy!

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As we were celebrating Communion yesterday at church, this thought entered my mind: the world eats and drinks to forget; we Christians eat and drink to remember.

A tip of the hat goes to the authors of one of the songs we sang – “Behold the Lamb” (Communion Hymn) by Stuart Townend, Keith Getty, and Kristyn Getty.

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