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  • TFRStaff 2:40 pm on 2016-06-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hymns,   

    Hugh’s News & Views (Stirring Sentiments) 


    For almost seventy years my life has been shaped by what has transpired in the Bible classes and worship assemblies of local churches committed to preaching, practicing, worshiping, and living according to the pattern set forth in the New Testament. No small part of this have been the truths and sentiments to be found in “the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” lifted in praise to the Father in the teaching and admonishing of one another (Colossians 3:16). Among the many such sentiments, consider the following. (More …)

  • J. Randal Matheny 7:28 am on 2015-12-19 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: hymnology, Hymns, ,   

    Complicated hymnology 

    Seems that hymnology has gotten complicated. Many songs are hard for new people to pick up on. (More …)

    • James 2:33 pm on 2016-01-28 Permalink | Reply

      That is the way some songs were originally. I enjoy taking a simple tune like from an old folk song or a familiar tune and putting other words with it so the focus can be on the words since most already know the tune.

  • TFRStaff 4:43 am on 2014-12-13 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hymns   

    He Is Alive 

    There is beyond the azure blue,

    Deut. 4:39 Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.

    A God concealed from human sight.

    John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (More …)

  • TFRStaff 3:42 pm on 2014-08-18 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Hymns   

    Hugh's News & Views (Hold To . . .) 



    In most of my gospel meetings this year I have emphasized the theme “Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand.” This is the title of a song that I have sung all my life in church. I love this moving old spiritual song with its strong cadence (especially the chorus), and as I have grown older it has become more meaningful to me. (It might be remembered that the melody of this song was played in a stirring scene of the 2010 version of the movie “True Grit,” starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Hailee Seinfeld.)

    We live in an unsettled and therefore an unsettling world, a shakable and therefore a shaking world, a changeable and therefore a changing world. In the midst of such a world we long for stability and security. Where is this security and stability to be found? In God and God alone! (More …)

    • d owens 1:07 pm on 2014-09-06 Permalink | Reply

      enjoyed your article I do have a question you might can help me on. do you think a Christian can use lottery money to educate their children. seems to me you would also be steering the young adult wrong also thanks

  • J. Randal Matheny 8:13 am on 2013-12-31 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hymns,   

    Video: Song “No temptation” for 1 Corinthians 10.13 

    I don’t know the people who did this, but you might enjoy this arrangement. It uses the NKJV as a basis for the words, following exactly except for maybe one word.

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:49 pm on 2013-07-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Hymns,   

    Video: How great Thou art 

    This has a bit of humming in the beginning, if that bothers you, but otherwise a very nice arrangement, sung by one fellow.

  • Michael Summers 11:55 am on 2013-07-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Hymns, , , ,   

    Long May Our Land Be Bright With Freedom’s Holy Light 

    An American patriotic hymn’s final verse is a prayer:
    “Our father’s God, to Thee,
    Author of liberty,
    To Thee we sing;
    Long may our land be bright
    With freedom’s holy light;
    Protect us by Thy might,
    Great God, our King.”

    When we sing this prayer, written in 1832 by Samuel Smith, we remember passages that talk about Christ’s concern for freedom. When Jesus preached in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth, he read a passage from Isaiah 61:1-2:
    “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18,19). He chastised religious leaders who attempted to go beyond the word of God in binding additional requirements on God’s people. He modeled how freedom works best when exercised with discipline and respect for others. Jesus could converse with people whom others disdained because of their lifestyle because he could see their potential for being God’s people. He could forgive people who tried to hurt him and even people who had committed adultery, but express anguish over others who tried to deny help to suffering individuals because of religious laws. Jesus understood, as they did not, that submission means giving up my desires and wants to serve another, not making another into a clone of myself. Freedom does not mean doing whatever one wants. The same biblical chapter that begins, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” also warns that those who engage in the acts of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God, and concludes, “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying one another” (Galatians 5:1, 19-21, 26). Freedom is messy. Sometimes I am bothered by something I observe in a congregation, but when I search the Scriptures, pray, and perhaps check out the history there, I realize they are merely exercising their freedom in Christ. That sometimes is hard for me to admit, because I thought initially that they were wrong and needed to be corrected. On the other hand, some times what people do or tolerate is wrong and should be corrected (Note Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, whom the apostle corrected on several issues. Christ’s letters to the seven churches in Asia (Revelation 2 and 3) also emphasize that there are limits to individual and congregational freedom in Christ. What helps me is to imitate what Barnabas did at Antioch and look for the grace of God at work (Acts 11). Freedom, whether in our nation or in the church, may make us uncomfortable, but so long as it is in harmony with the word of God, we rejoice because we too are free in Christ.
    We celebrate the beginnings of our nation’s independence and its continuing quest for freedom for its citizens. We moan because someone else’s freedom conflicts with our own. We worry when our freedoms (both as citizens and Christians) seem to be threatened. Let’s keep singing and praying that God will protect us and our nations (for those who live elsewhere), that he will use us to bring liberating light into the lives of our neighbors and our enemies, that we will grow in love and in disciplined use of the freedoms God has given us.

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:57 pm on 2011-09-14 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hymns, inner man,   

    Without a heart 

    The fervent march, the hymn of praise,
    The echoed chant in hallowed halls,
    Without a heart to launch the phrase,
    Will only bounce off deadened walls.

    The soul that finds in God his rest,
    His manly strength and glorious weight,
    Will sing with words that from the breast
    Spring lively up to heaven’s gate.

    JRM, on this quiet evening of thanksgiving

    • John Henson 1:34 pm on 2013-07-07 Permalink | Reply

      Very much like the hymn of praise we will sing during our journey to eternal bliss with our Father!

  • Richard Mansel 10:52 pm on 2010-05-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Hymns, ,   

    Jesus and Songs 

    Some people have problems with certain hymns because they refer to walking and talking to Jesus.  They say that we do not pray to Jesus because he is the intercessor.

    This exists in hymns such as:

    1). Follow Me

    2). He Lives

    3). My God and I

    4). I Must Tell Jesus

    5) Jesus Hold My Hand

    6). Tell it to Jesus Alone

    What would be your Biblical argument for or against this idea? Thanks for your help.

    • Richard Hill 11:12 pm on 2010-05-10 Permalink | Reply

      I used to be concerned about that, too! A good brother quoted the prayer of Stephen to me from Acts. He clearly prays to Jesus. To me, that was the end of the argument.

      Act 7:59
      While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

    • Ed Boggess 11:11 am on 2010-05-11 Permalink | Reply

      We sing all of those listed. We also sing “Breath on me Breath of God” to the HS. Somehow I find it hard to swallow the teaching that we should not be on talking terms with either the Lord or the Spirit. If I quit talking to someone, it usually is an indication that we are at “outs” with one another.

      • Richard Mansel 11:25 am on 2010-05-11 Permalink | Reply

        Ed, that is not the issue. The issue is that Jesus is the intercessor and he carries our prayers to the Father. That is Biblical. The sticking point is whether that means we can sing about something that we don’t teach. The people who say this mean well and are seeking consistency.

  • jimnewy 1:33 am on 2010-03-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Hymns, ,   

    Song in My Heart Today 

    The song in my heart today is Victory in Jesus. Regardless of the trials and tribulations of the day, I always have a victory in Jesus.

  • Daniel Haynes 12:13 am on 2010-03-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Hymns   

    It Is Well With My Soul 

    If you have never read the story behind the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” I highly recommend that you read it. The story is available on my blog, Know Him Better.

    • Mike Riley 2:49 pm on 2010-03-09 Permalink | Reply

      Daniel, a great story of courage and faith in times of severe trial and loss.

  • J. Randal Matheny 10:20 am on 2010-03-08 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Costa Rica, Hymns,   

    Daily Nudge: song in heart — and news 

    On this fine Monday morning, with the promise of all things new, the Daily Nudge asks the Fellows, “What song is in your heart today, and why?” If a non-Fellow reader would like to reply, you can click Reply in the upper right of this post. The question doesn’t ask your favorite song, just what song your heart is singing today. If they’re the same, by chance, then well and good.

    A bit of news: our sister Barbara Ann travels to Costa Rica the 15th, I believe it is, for three months of work and study. Please pray for her that all goes well and that these last days of preparation go smoothly. Always so much to do as the day approaches.

    What news have you, good reader?

  • Glenda Williams 3:54 am on 2010-02-01 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hymns,   

    I wonder…. 

    While we are discussing favorite hymns, I wonder if you all could share your thoughts on the song, “Where Could I Go.” The first verse I have never understood. Living below in this old sinful world; Hardly a comfort can afford, etc….. I wonder if I misunderstand the meaning of that verse because I usually don’t sing it until that verse is past. Can you all help me?

    • Richard Hill 5:13 am on 2010-02-01 Permalink | Reply

      Hi, Glenda. I’m pretty sure it’s talking about being poor. Many find it difficult to sing songs that don’t describe themselves. I’ve had this discussion before and I have an opinion on this topic. I stress this is my opinion with the exception of the last thought.

      Songs, like poems, often use imagery that does not necessarily describe our personal situations. We who are Christians sing invitation songs like, _Just As I Am_ or _Lord, I’m Coming Home_ when we are presently in a saved state and in good standing with God. It’s understood we are singing for those who still need to answer the call.

      Similarly, there are songs which were written by those or for those who live in more difficult physical and financial circumstances. The second verse of _When the Morning Comes_ speaks of being destitute, lacking food and shelter. I can empathize with those Christians who are literally struggling to survive. As I sing I can imagine being faced with that situation and pray I have the faith to withstand it, if poverty ever becomes reality for me.

      _He Knows Just What I Need_ talks about friends who have let us down. The problem is, I can’t think of a friend who has let me down. It’s not really a problem. I’ve been blessed with great friends, but as I sing I can empathize with those who have been let down by their friends.

      Some people (a cloaked reference to my wife) have difficulty singing anything that does not describe their life situation. While I personally don’t have a problem singing those songs, I do respect and appreciate their (her) sensitivity. To everyone who struggles with those particular songs I say, follow your conscience. This last thought is not opinion. Romans 14:23 “…everything that does not come from faith is sin.” NIV

      I’ve described how I feel about it. I’m interested to read what others might have to say.

    • Laura 1:03 pm on 2010-02-01 Permalink | Reply

      Good thoughts, Richard. I was going to say it was probably a spiritual, written during the period of slavery, which might explain the author’s description of his condition. However, upon doing some research, I found that the author, J. B. Coats, lived from 1901 to 1961. He was college educated and a music teacher. So it’s not clear to me that the author is describing his own situation, unless perhaps it was written during the time of the great depression. Many then became homeless and were destitute. He could have simply been writing as a sympathizer of the families he knew of as a teacher.

      Personally, I’m not sure that song is appropriate for our congregation, as there is NO ONE in the congregation who has “hardly a comfort”, unless we want to take poetic license and understand that line to mean mental anguish as opposed to physical discomfort.

      I think the one thing about that song that bothers me just a bit is that it could possibly convey the thought that we go to God out of desperation. All too many do that. We should not wait until times are desperate to turn to God and then turn our backs on Him when we think we no longer need Him. However, there is nothing wrong with capitalizing on misfortunes to bring one to God. I do believe that part of His providence is to allow misfortunes to happen so that people recognize their need of Him.

    • Ken Thomas 11:16 pm on 2010-02-04 Permalink | Reply

      Glenda, I agree with Richard in that the song was probably written during the time of genuine hardship, the Great Depression. The same may be true of the song “Showers of Blessings”, which declares that “MERCY DROPS ’round us are falling, but for the SHOWERS we plead.” Besides songs that teach questionable doctrines, another group of songs that I’d label as “whining songs” bother me. One example is “Tempted and Tried” which opines, “Then do we wonder why OTHERS prosper, living so wicked year after year.” But perhaps we should not let those things bother us since they speak of real questions that come up in people’s minds. The Psalms of David have more than a few complaints about the prosperity of the wicked and the difficulties of those who try to walk uprightly.

      Thanks for raising the subject.

  • J. Randal Matheny 10:54 pm on 2010-01-31 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Hymns,   

    My favorite hymn 

    Most of my Christian life has been spent in Brazil. I was baptized 10 Jan. 1971, some 39 years ago, and we’ve been in Brazil 25. Although English is my native tongue and spoken during my formative years, we’ve sung songs in Portuguese so much that they’ve become warp and woof of my spiritual life.

    With that preface, ONE of my favorites is the Portuguese translation of “More About Jesus.” We had only two stanzas of it in Portuguese. So for the hymnal I published, I wrote a third stanza, here translated literally, with no rhyme:

    More about Jesus will I speak,
    I will proclaim His Cross,
    His inner pardon,
    His superior power.

    Maybe I’ll get around some day to doing a loose translation into English that will rhyme and fit the music.

    • Randal Matheny 11:24 pm on 2010-01-31 Permalink | Reply

      The challenge kept buzzing around my head, so I bopped this out. Try this adaptation from the Portuguese original on for size, and see if it sings well for you.

      More about Jesus’ holy name,
      His full suffering I’ll proclaim,
      His forgiveness of all wrong,
      His way to heav’n where we belong.

  • Glenda Williams 4:13 pm on 2010-01-31 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hymns, ,   

    My favorite hymn is Tell Me the Story of Jesus 

    It is old and beautiful and it brings me to tears.

    Speaking of hymns, if I were going to write one, which I’m not, I would leave out the third verse. Why? So many song leaders leave the third verse out when leading. Look at How Great Thou Art. Is there a more beautiful verse than the third verse?

    “And when I think of God, His son not sparing, Sent Him to die; I scare can take it in;
    That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin.”

    • Laura 4:29 pm on 2010-01-31 Permalink | Reply

      We sing that verse Glenda. And you are right. It is beautiful! But I think you definitely have a point. Many song leaders just want to sing verses 1,2, and 4. Do they even look at the words before making such a decision, or is it just habit?

      My husband is one of our song leaders. He tries to pick songs that center around the lesson of the day, talking about some relevant aspect where possible. That means he has to examine the words closely, and then he chooses the verses based on that. Sometimes that means we sing ALL the verses. 🙂

      • Mike Riley 9:21 pm on 2010-01-31 Permalink | Reply

        Laura and Glenda, I’m one of the song leaders for the Montana St. congregation, so maybe I can answer these questions.

        The answer to your first question is no, they don’t look at the words, because if they did, they would see that all of the thoughts in those verses interconnect with one another. Leaving one verse out, destroys the whole import of the song.

        The answer to your second question about leaving the third verse out of a song is simply because of habit – it’s kind of become one of those unspoken “traditions of men” that the Lord talked about. The habit probably originated when some member thought that singing all four verses took too long, and as a result, the service ran over the given time frame. Thus, they complained, either to the elders, are to the song leader directly. So, not wanting to cause any friction among members of the congregation, they opted to leave the verse unsung.

        In my view, this is a sad attitude to have when we are offering our worship to the Lord. Since He’s provided us the “time” to worship Him in the first place, shouldn’t we make Him the “priority” of our worship?

        The answer is obvious.

        • Laura 9:53 pm on 2010-01-31 Permalink | Reply

          Thanks for your insights Mike. I think you are on to something. And yes, the answer is obvious.

        • Glenda Williams 3:39 am on 2010-02-01 Permalink | Reply

          I agree Mike. Great answer. Wouldn’t you hate to write a poem and have some person reading it leave out part of it? Yuk!

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