Preparing for Worship - May 27, 2018

Join us this Sunday as we continue in our series in Proverbs. Here are the songs we'll sing together:

1. ALL CREATURES OF OUR GOD AND KING

Style: We will play the traditional version of this song which is markedly different from the popular contemporary version. The time signature will be noticeably different and the music is more complex and beautiful. But the melody line remains essentially the same. It is mid-tempo, joyful, and Orchestral.

Song Info: The words to this hymn may be originally ascribed to Saint Francis of Assisi in 1225. They are contained in his poem A Canticle to the Sun which was inspired by Psalm 148. William Draper translated the words into English in the late nineteenth century. The music comes from a popular German hymn from 1623 composed by Friedrich Spee. All in all, this song has a very rich history. This is a great song for a call to worship because it is calling all creatures (created things) to enter into the presence of the creator to worship and give thanks to him. In the song Francis explores multiple characters in creation and calls them to praise and thank God. Since we will not sing all of the verses on Sunday I will include a seldom-sung verse that is still very powerful:

"Earth ever fertile, day by day
bring forth your blessings on our way;
alleluia, alleluia!
All flowers and fruits that is you grow,
let the his glory also show;
O praise him, O praise him,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! "

The Lord's Day is a wonderful day to stop from our normal activity to observe the continual activity of God in upholding his creation. This song causes us to remember the glorious world that God has made and give him thanks for making it and putting us in it.

Sheet MusicAudio

2. AMAZING GRACE (I'VE GOT A REASON TO SING)

Style: This is a new take on the classic hymn. It sounds very similar to the traditional hymn and will be very familiar, but this version has taken on a late 70's disco feel.

Song Info: This version of Amazing Grace was arranged by Brian Eichelberger of The Sing Team (Seattle) and released on their 2017 release. Amazing Grace was originally written by John Newton and published in 1779. Amazing Grace has today come to be one of the most recognizable songs in the English speaking world. It was originally written to illustrate a New Years Day sermon. Newton was a former slave trader who became an Anglican minister. The subject of this hymn is God's amazing grace. God's grace is what originally opened our eyes to our sin and also showed us the mercy of God in Christ. God's grace is what carries us through life - through many dangers toils and snares. And when we arrive in glory it will be thanks to God's grace and we will still be singing the praises of his glorious grace.

Sheet MusicAudio

3. CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY

Style: We will be singing the traditional version of this famous easter-hymn. It is up-tempo and celebratory.

Song info: This is a hymn written for Easter by Charles Wesley in 1739. Yet even in 1739, Christian song writers were taking older hymns and contemporizing them. This one was based on an older hymn by the same name that came from the 14th century. The words are set to the tune Lyra Davidica which comes from John Baptist Walsh in 1708. The content of this song focuses on the resurrection of Jesus and what it means for us. It is heavily imbued with Scripture and connects Jesus' resurrection with our hope of resurrection.

Sheet MusicAudio

4. HEAL US

Style: This is a low-tempo and yet very energetic song. It's done is a classic mo-town/gospel style.

Song Info: This tune is an adaptation of the hymn: "Heal Us Emmanuel Hear Our Prayer" which was written in the 18th century by William Cowper. Cowper was a poet and hymn writer but also suffered from depression and attempted suicide on more than one occasion. This song beseeches the Christ, God with us, to touch us and heal us where we most need healing. It draws on different narratives in the gospels in which Jesus healed broken people. The version you hear here was arranged by Kevin Twit of Indelible Grace. It appears on their 2015 release: "Look to Jesus".

This is a very appropriate song to play as we prepare to receive the Lord's Supper. In the Lord's Supper we come to the Lord himself not just to receive the elements, but to receive Christ by faith. Jesus is the ultimate medicine that heals our guilt, blindness, sinfulness, and shame.

Lead SheetAudio

5. AND CAN IT BE?

Style: We will play the traditional music for this song while including drums. It will be the familiar tune with a bit more energy.

Song Info: This hymn is likely one of the best loved of Charles Wesley's 6000 hymns that he wrote. The song was written in 1738 as a celebration of Wesley's conversion. The line: "I woke, the dungeon flamed with light/ my chains fell off, my heart was free/ I rose went forth and followed thee" are often quoted in sermons. This song fits well at this point in worship because we are acknowledging our need for conversion. Some of us need to be converted for the first time, some of us need a fresh experience of grace to stir up our obedience. We look to hear of God's grace in the sermon that follows.

Sheet MusicAudio

See you Sunday!

Preparing for Worship - May 20, 2018

Join us this Sunday as we continue in our series in Proverbs. This Sunday we take a look at the issue of boundaries and healthy relationships. Here are the songs we'll sing together:

1. ALMIGHTY GOD

Style: This is a contemporary song that has an alt-country, Nashville style. It is mid-tempo.

Song Info: This tune was written by Sandra McCracken and released on her 2015 Psalms. The main theme of this song is the idea that all hearts are open before God and nothing is hidden from him. It is a general song of praise to our omniscient creator. It may reflect the following passage from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer known as The Collect for Purity:

ALMIGHTY God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

It also reflects biblical passages such as Proverbs 15:3 - "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good." Also Proverbs 15:11 - "Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord; how much more the hearts of the children of man!"

It is always good to approach God in worship acknowledging that he knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our successes and failures, our abundance and our needs. We cannot hide from him and thankfully we need not hide from him.

Lead SheetAudio

2. I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER

Style: This hymn has been around in various forms for a long time. The tune itself is a popular Sacred Harp tune from 1844 - Beech Spring. It has a Celtic or Appalachian sound and is mellow and prayerful.

Song Info: This particular arrangement was produced recently by Daniel Justice Snoke and released on a Cardiphonia compilation. The lyrics are a stylized version of the Apostles' Creed. From early times the church has considered the Apostles' Creed to be a full yet succinct definition of the gospel. We don't normally think of it as a proclamation of the gospel because it contains much more than just the cross and resurrection.

But in the Heidelberg Catechism, a revered reformation document, Question 22 asks: "What then must a Christian believe?" Answer: "Everything God promises us in the gospel. That gospel is summarized for us in the articles of our Christian faith -- a creed beyond doubt, and confessed throughout the world." The Catechism goes on to cite and unpack the entirety of the Apostles' Creed.

Sheet MusicAudio

3. COME YE SINNERS

Style: We will be playing a contemporary, modified version of this hymn. One of the shining virtues of the traditional hymn is its haunting melody. Thankfully, the version we are playing preserves the original melody and nearly all of the original lyrics. It's updated slightly to suit popular modern tastes.

Song Info: The lyrics were written by Joseph Hart in the 18th century. Hart was a hymn writer and minister in London, but he did not become converted until age 45. For much of his life he lived in opposition to God. This hymn seems particularly suited to his story. My favorite line is: "Come ye weary, heavy laden, lost and ruined by the fall. If you tarry til you're better you will never come at all." This version of the song was arranged and produced by Sojourn Church in Louisville Kentucky. Sojourn is a young, but large, reformed congregation in Louisville that is responsible for producing much excellent music and planting many healthy churches around the United States.

ChordsAudio

4. HE WILL HOLD ME FAST

Style: This is a contemporary song that could easily be mistaken for a traditional hymn. It is low-tempo and prayerful.

Song info: The lyrics to this popular song were originally written by Ada Habershon (1861-1918). Although the original hymn never enjoyed much popularity and has been completely overtaken by this contemporary version. It was revived by Matthew Merker, worship pastor at Capital Hill Baptist Church, in 2013 and since has been covered by many other worship artists.

The content of the song focuses on Christ's faithfulness to his people. Rather than singing that "we will cling to him!", we sing in this song "he will hold me fast!" The most memorable line says: "I could never keep my hold/ through life's fearful path/ for my love is often cold/ he must hold me fast". Singing this reminds us that Jesus is the author and perfecter of our salvation. If not for his faithfulness to us we would surely fall away. As Johannes Gerhardus Vos has put it, if Jesus died only to make it possible for people to be saved, then not a single person would be saved. Jesus did not only die for us but also is constantly at work through the Holy Spirit to give us the grace we need to respond to him.

Sheet MusicAudio

5. NEW AGAIN

Style: This song is up-tempo with a very celebratory spirit. It is perfect as a benedictorial, sending song. Worship will conclude with a recognition that Christ has risen in victory and a call to go and tell the world.

Song Info: This song was written and produced by Brooks Ritter and Mike Cosper of Sojourn Church in Louisville Kentucky. It is a celebration of the victory of the resurrection. "Death is defeated and Jesus reigns, tell the world there is hope in his name". In the name of Jesus we have hope that, though we will suffer death, we too will rise in victory. Death cannot defeat the people of God because death could not defeat Jesus - the king of God's people. This song sends us out into the world in hope and with the message of the gospel in our heart and on our lips.

ChordsAudio

See you Sunday!

Preparing for Worship - May 13, 2018

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Join us this Sunday as we continue in our series in Proverbs. Having looked at the power of words, humility, and friendship, now we return once again to the subject of words. However this time we will look specifically at the wise skill of speaking difficult truths. As our texts we will look at Proverbs 15:1-5, 25:15, 27:5-6, 26:4-5, 9:7-9, and Genesis 2:18-22. Here are the songs we'll sing together:

1. COME PEOPLE OF THE RISEN KING

Style: This is an up-tempo contemporary hymn that is performed in a celtic style. The usual instrumentation for this hymn would include various strings, piano, and even wind instruments. We'll be playing this song with viola, cello, guitar, and piano. It should make for a beautiful arrangement.

Song Info: This song was written in 2007 by Keith & Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend. Townend is an English born worship leader and modern hymn writer who is responsible for hymns such as: "In Christ Alone" and "How Deep The Father's Love For Us". His songs are often mistaken to be classic, traditional hymns. This song functions as a great call to worship because it is calling the people of the risen king to come and worship him - whoever they may be. "Come young and old from every land, men and women of the faith". This song reminds us that Jesus, by his death and resurrection, has created a most diverse people that includes men, women, young, and old from every tribe, nation, and tongue.

Sheet MusicAudio

2. Amazing Grace (I've Got a Reason to Sing)

Style: This is a new take on the classic hymn. It sounds very similar to the traditional hymn and will be very familiar, but this version has taken on a late 70's disco feel.

Song Info: This version of Amazing Grace was arranged by Brian Eichelberger of The Sing Team (Seattle) and released on their 2017 release. Amazing Grace was originally written by John Newton and published in 1779. Amazing Grace has today come to be one of the most recognizable songs in the English speaking world. It was originally written to illustrate a New Years Day sermon. Newton was a former slave trader who became an Anglican minister. The subject of this hymn is God's amazing grace. God's grace is what originally opened our eyes to our sin and also showed us the mercy of God in Christ. God's grace is what carries us through life - through many dangers toils and snares. And when we arrive in glory it will be thanks to God's grace and we will still be singing the praises of his glorious grace.

Sheet Music, Audio

3. JESUS SHALL REIGN

Style: This is a traditional hymn played in its original style. It is melodic, joyful, energetic, and mid-tempo.

Song Info: This is yet another hymn based on Psalm 72 - one of the most popular Psalms that has been set to music. This hymn was written by Isaac Watts in the eighteenth century. Psalm 72 is a Royal Psalm and is David's prayer and blessing for his son Solomon. Many hymn writers have taken themes from this Psalm and applied them to Jesus - the true and better son of David. That makes this hymn a celebration of Jesus' kingship.

Sheet MusicAudio

4. LET ALL MORTAL FLESH KEEP SILENCE

Style: We will play the traditional version of this hymn. It is a slow tempo.

Song Info: This hymn, in one way or another, dates back to the fifth century. It is one of the oldest surviving Christian hymns, possibly dating even earlier to AD 275. It was originally written in Greek to be a eucharistic hymn. Though it has come to be recognized as a Christmas song, it's true emphasis is on the Lord's Supper. That's why we'll sing it on Sunday before celebrating the sacrament. We will also likely sing it at other times of the year, as well.

Sheet MusicAudio

5. IT IS FINISHED

Style: This is a high-energy, up-tempo song. It's a contemporary tune done in a joyful, indie-rock style typical of much of Dustin Kensrue's music. This is the first time that we have played this song, so you might want to listen to it a few times to familiarize yourself.

Song Info: This is one of my favorite worship songs right now. Written and produced by Kensrue, this song appears on his 2013 album The Water And The Blood. Nearly every song on this record is great. This song joyfully celebrates the finished work of Jesus. By his life, death, and resurrection he has reconciled us to the Father and purchased a place for us in the world to come. This is good news that is worthy of joyous celebration. Hopefully this song will help us get into that mindset and rejoice in the gospel.

Lead SheetAudio

See you Sunday!

Preparing for Worship - May 6, 2018

We welcome May with open arms. Join us this Sunday as we continue in our series in Proverbs. This Sunday we look at the issue of friendship. We will never become wise and "make it" in life unless we have good friends. Come find out what these things mean. Here are the songs we'll sing together:

1. REJOICE (COME AND STAND BEFORE YOUR MAKER)

Style: This is a contemporary, up-tempo song that is perfect for a call to worship.

Song Info: This song was written as a collaborative effort between two of my favorite worship artists: Stuart Townend and Dustin Kensrue. It first appeared on Kensrue's 2013 album The Water and the Blood - in my opinion one of the greatest modern worship albums released in a long time. This song calls us to rejoice in the Lord, our maker. It leads us to sing and meditate on God's infinite perfections. It's appropriate here because we should come to God first with praise and adoration. Before we confess our sin, before we acknowledge our needs, before we make any requests we ought to first praise God and adore him for who he is.

Sheet MusicAudio

2. BE THOU MY VISION

Style: We will sing a contemporary version of this hymn that will be very familiar. The version we're singing is likely the most commonly known version. It is low-tempo and contemplative.

Song Info: This is a traditional Irish hymn of unknown authorship that probably dates to the eighteenth century, though possibly comes from the sixteenth century. This hymn has been translated into dozens of languages in its lifetime and remains one of the most popular hymns ever written. The subject matter is certainly appropriate for this moment in worship. The song is about asking and allowing God to be our "all in all". As we sing, we ask God to be our vision, our wisdom, our shield, our treasure, and our comfort. That we would ascribe all glory to God, look to him for all our needs, and find all of our desires fulfilled in him is the true heart of worship.

Lead SheetAudio

3. PASS ME NOT O GENTLE SAVIOR

Style: Our version will be easily recognized as the traditional melody, though we will play it in the style of Red Mountain Band with a more southern, alt-country feel. It will be mid-tempo.

Song Info: This hymn was originally written by Fanny Crosby in 1868. Crosby is one of the most famous and beloved hymn writers of the past 200 years. This song has been widely covered in its history by artists that include Bob Dylan and MC Hammer. In this song we entreat the Savior to help us, not to pass us by. This is an appropriate song for this moment in worship because after we have acknowledged God for his goodness we are turning to reflect on our own brokenness and sinful response to God. We are beginning to detect our need for a savior. As we sing this song we ought to attempt to cast off all other helps and false saviors that we turn to in order to absolve ourselves of sin. We should turn to Jesus, the true savior, and pray for his help.

Lead Sheet (found in the Red Mountain Songbook), Audio

4. WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS

Style: We will play this hymn in its traditional style. It is low-tempo and prayerful.

Song Info: This famous and beloved hymn was written in 1855 by Joseph Scriven. This tune, like many great tunes, was not originally written to be seen by anyone but the author's mother. He wrote it for her to comfort her in a time of trouble. The hymn focuses on the blessing of prayer and meditates on the wonderful privilege it is to be able to approach the living God in prayer.

Sheet MusicAudio

5. HOW DEEP THE FATHER'S LOVE FOR US

Style: This is a contemporary song performed in an unusual 5/4 timing. It sounds like a classic hymn though it was written in 1995.

Song Info: This is another song produced by Stuart Townend. Written in 1995, it has become one of the most popular worship songs in the church over the past two decades. And like much of Townend's other work, this song shows signs that it will have an enduring legacy and long tenure. The love that Jesus has shown for us in his work on the cross is often recognized. But sometimes the love of the Father is not given the attention it deserves. The content of this song focuses on the love that the Father has shown to us in sending and giving his Son. It's not just that the Son has loved us by dying for us. The Father has loved us by offering up the Son as a sacrifice for sins. This is a rare song that focuses on the sacrifice that the Father made for our salvation.

Lead SheetAudio

6. COME BEHOLD THE WONDROUS MYSTERY

Style: This is a contemporary song played in a pop/country/rock style.

Song info: This song was written by Matt Papa and Matt Boswell in 2013. It is an invitation to consider "the mystery of the gospel of Christ". My favorite line in the song is "See the price of our redemption/ See the Father's plan unfold/ bringing many sons to glory/ grace unmeasured, love untold!"

Lead SheetAudio

See you Sunday!