Singing Among God’s People

In His great wisdom and goodness, God has designed singing to be an instrumental (no pun intended 🙂 ) means of grace among His people.  Our singing to God, with and to one another, expresses thanksgiving to Him, along with instruction and admonition for each other.  And so God graciously commands us:

 

 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Col. 3:16)

 

Our rich heritage of biblically solid “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”, both old and new, demonstrates the centrality of singing among God’s people.  Who can measure the faith-strengthening impact of these songs, helping us give voice to our deepest joys, sorrows, longings, and praises?

 

This coming Lord’s Day we’re planning to sing an old song, with a couple new verses.   The ancient Irish lyrics to Be Thou My Vision date to the 8th Century, and were translated to English in the early 1900’s.  In addition to the four familiar verses found in our hymnal, we’ll add the following:

 

Jesus exalted in glory above

Thou my Redeemer through Thy precious blood

Now interceding my confidence sure

O my Good Shepherd be my vision pure

 

Spirit indwelling my Counselor Thou

Teaching, enabling by Thy holy power

Through Thy Word given perfect and true

Help and transform me while bearing Thy fruit

 

Beloved, one way we cultivate Christ-exalting love for each other is to heed the command of Col. 3:16.  Looking forward to gathering with you again, with these truths in mind!

 

Because Christ lives, and is returning,

Greg

A Few Important Items

A few important items…

 

First, as a follow-up to this past Sunday’s sermon from the book of Job, check out these resources:

 

 

Second, our Equipping Hour resumes this coming Sunday, Sept. 13, meeting from 9:00am – 10:10am (followed by our Corporate Worship Service at 10:30am).  In addition to nursery care and age-appropriate children’s classes through 6th grade, our class in the auditorium through the Fall will examine “A Biblical View of Gender, Marriage, and Sexuality”.  This first week will provide an introduction/overview of the whole class.  As a means of continuing to be equipped (Eph. 4:11-12), and sharing in the life of Christ’s people at RCG, we encourage you to make participation in the Equipping Hour a high priority.

 

Finally, in the Lord’s kind provision, we’ve been able to purchase a new piano for the auditorium.  Our old upright piano (it may be older than the church J) was increasingly unable to hold a strong, consistent tune.  So after praying, and much research by a few folks involved with our music ministry, a new piano was purchased and delivered this week.  The old piano was moved to the Education Building, where it will be used with ministry to children.  We’re grateful for the Lord’s supply of a wonderful instrument to help guide our “…addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…” (Eph. 5:19).

 

Beloved, what a blessing to walk together in the Lord’s faithful work among us.  May He continually be glorified as His grace and truth in Jesus Christ abounds in, and overflows from us to more and more people!

 

Because Christ lives, and is returning,

Greg

Singing of His Glory

Within all of God’s rich blessings in Jesus (Eph. 1:3-14), and through the power of His indwelling Spirit (Eph. 5:18), God’s people are to ever be “…addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always…” (Eph. 5:19-20).  Even as we’ll be singing praises throughout eternity (Rev. 5:11-14), God would have us train our voices now to sing of His glory.

This coming Lord’s Day, we’re planning to learn a new hymn for us, O Fount of Love (see also the lyrics).  In preparation for our gathering, please familiarize yourself with this hymn.  The lyrics extol the lavish love and grace God has given in Christ, and the resulting joy every believer possesses.  All for the glory of God alone – from whom, through whom, and to whom belongs all praise!

Beloved, may the Lord strengthen and encourage your faith in Him, and the glories of His all-sufficient blessings in Christ.  Myself and the other elders continually pray for you to this end.

In His great love and grace,
Greg

Sing to Him a New Song

The Lord calls His people to sing to Him a new song (Ps. 33:3; 149:1). The sense of “new” relates to new, fresh impulses of gratitude and praise in our hearts as we consider the greatness of God and His works.  One implication is that even when we sing old songs, there should be a newness in the way our hearts are resonating with the truths we’re singing.

 

I think of this often this time of year, when we’re given to sing so many rich and familiar Christmas hymns.  And I pray that for all of us, the glorious truth of what the Father accomplished when “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:14) will be all the more fresh, amazing, and song-provoking in our lives.  What great, living hope He has called us to in Christ (1 Pet. 1:3, 133:15); and what cause we have for always singing new songs – even when facing grief and sorrow.  And what cause we have to proclaim His life-giving excellencies to those still in darkness (1 Pet. 2:9-10)!

 

Speaking of rich and familiar Christmas hymns, I recently came across some fresh arrangements of many of these classics by a group called Folk Angel – you might check them out.  Beyond wishing that these guys would smile (like they’re actually joyful…), I’ve been blessed and encouraged by their music!  A few personal favorites:   O Little Town of Bethlehem;  Joy to the World; Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus ; O Holy Night; and a “new, new” song called God With Us.

 

Rejoicing and singing on with you,

Greg

From Age to Age

Another Christ-exalting album from Sovereign Grace Music!  Their newest gift to the church is a biblically faithful, beautifully arranged collection of 14 songs entitled From Age to Age.  SG’s website says this about the album:

Inspired and influenced by hymn writers of the past like Martin Luther, Augustus Toplady, and Charles Wesley, From Age to Age contains 14 new hymns that combine rich, theologically driven lyrics with singable melodies for the glory of the Savior whose praises know no end.

I encourage you to invest in the album, and be all the more encouraged and equipped in letting “…the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”  (Col. 3:16, ESV)

For His glory, and your joy,

Greg

Music and the Stars

Blessings to you this Labor Day!  Let me pass along a couple of resources that may be of interest to you.

First, a few months ago Sovereign Grace Music released a new album entitled Risen.  As you might guess, all of the songs focus on the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus Christ.  With where the Lord has had us in recent weeks in John 20 during corporate worship, this album is a rich and excellent “musical meditation” on the glories of our risen Lord and Savior.  Who names – maybe we’ll soon be singing some of these songs at RCG!

Second, in this past Lord’s Day sermon, I mentioned the Kovac Planetarium in Northern Wisconsin.  I visited this intriguing place last week while visiting my Dad for a few days (he lives about 30 minutes from the planetarium.)  Quite a showcase of “The heavens telling the glory of God…” – Ps. 19:1.  CBS News did a brief story on Frank Kovac and his work, which you can see here.  So if you’re ever in Northern Wisconsin…I’m just saying!