“Come Ye Sinners”

Joseph Hart’s old hymn “Come Ye Sinners” is one I’d love to see make its way into every congregation’s song library. It’s a simple, yet earnest call to come to the Lord Jesus. One of the better modern arrangements you can find is one I doubt you’ve come across.

When I was a student pastor back in 2007 one of my former student leaders have me an album named “Grace Comes Home” by a band named Cambridge. Surrounded by decent covers of the time’s popular praise songs is a bright and full rendition of Hart’s singing gospel call. Check it out below and then consider singing one of the lesser known verses.


Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.


I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.

View Him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies.
On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?

Lo! th’incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood:
Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.

Old Hymns Made New

I’m surely biased since he’s a good friend, but few modern hymn writers are as good as Matt Boswell. In addition to his many originals Bos has rearranged some old hymns well worth your attention. Here are two you should know about.

The first is “God the Spirit,” a new melodic arrangement of Samuel Stone’s lyrics from 1866. Songs have instructive power and Stone’s hymn is a crash course in pneumatology. The second redone hymn is Henry Allon’s “In the Name of God the Father,” an eloquent tune on the Lord’s Supper. The language on this one is earnest, poetic, and rich. It would be a great preparatory song for the church’s gathering at Jesus’ Table.

How many songs does your church have that explicitly and melodically extol the doctrines of the Holy Spirit and the Lord’s Supper? However many you have, I’m sure you’d love to have more! So check out these two old hymns made new.

God the Spirit

Holy fount of inspiration
By whose gift the great of old
Spoke the word of revelation
Marvelous and manifold

God the Spirit we adore Thee,
In the Triune Godhead One
One in love and power and glory
With the Father and the Son

Author of the new creation,
Giver of the second birth
May thy ceaseless renovation
Cleanse our souls from stains of earth

When we wander Lord direct us,
Keep us in the Master’s way
Let they strong swift sword protect us
Warring in the evil day
Shall the church now faint or fear
When the Comforter is near

In the Name of God the Father

In the Name of God the Father,
In the Name of God the Son,
In the Name of God the Spirit,
One in Three, and Three in One;

In the Name which highest Angels
Speak not ere they veil their face,
Crying, Holy, Holy, Holy,”
Come we to this sacred place.

Lo, in wondrous condescension,
Jesus seeks His altar-throne;
Though in lowly symbols hidden,
Faith and love His Presence own.

When the Lord His temple visits,
Let the listening earth be still;
May the Spirit’s sweet indwelling
Each believing heart fulfill.

Here, in Figure represented,
See the Passion once again;
Here behold the Lamb most Holy,
As for our redemption slain;

Here the Saviour’s Body broken,
Here the Blood which Jesus shed,
Now the offer of communion,
Into lasting joy be led.

Here shall highest praise be offered,
Here shall meekest prayer be poured,
Here, with body, soul, and spirit,
God Incarnate be adored.

Holy Jesus, for Thy coming
May Thy love our hearts prepare;
Thine we pray would have them wholly,
Enter, Lord, and tarry there.

The Hymn of The Season

There are few things in this world that stir my soul like the nostalgic power of Christmas hymns and carols. In my estimation, the king of all carols is Charles Wesley’s “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.”

It was first published in 1744 in Charles Wesley’s Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord, a little collection so popular that it was reprinted 20 times during Wesley’s lifetime. Some people think it may have been the first hymn Wesley wrote. If so, his first at-bat was an out-of-the-park grand slam. “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” is a perfect portrayal of how to rightly communicate truth in a song. Every line is dripping with profound and searching theology. The phrases are carefully order to exalt Christ.

In short, our churches need this hymn. Let’s give it to ’em with delight each year. Here are three different arrangements for you to consider, from the traditional to the creative.


Come thou long expected Jesus
Born to set thy people free
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in thee

Israel’s strength and consolation
Hope of all the earth thou art
Dear desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart

Born thy people to deliver
Born a child and yet a king
Born to reign forever
Now thy gracious kingdom bring

By thine own eternal spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone
By thine all sufficient merit
Raise us to thy glorious throne

A Hymn for the Pilgrim Life

Truth-filled and gospel-saturated hymns have power to sustain and strengthen.

Our congregations need songs that speak to the fullness of human experience – songs of adoration, celebration, lamentation, confession, and supplication. You can discern much from the songs a church sings. Not just their theology, but their understanding of the Christian life. The Christian life is a pilgrim life (Heb. 10:11; 1 Pet. 2:11), full of pains and sorrows on our journey toward heaven. And we need songs to carry us on the way.

One old hymn that preaches truth into our pilgrimage with moving clarity is Henry Francis Lyte’s “Jesus I My Cross Have Taken.” Originally set to a Mozart melody, the men of Indelible Grace reworked back in 2001 and it’s what a hymn should be.

Check out IG’s hymn-sing recording below and the different arrangements at the bottom.


1. Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition,
All I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition!
God and heaven are still my own.

2. Let the world despise and leave me,
They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
Thou art not, like them, untrue.
O while Thou dost smile upon me,
God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me,
Show Thy face and all is bright.

3. Man may trouble and distress me,
’Twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me;
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me
While Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me,
Were that joy unmixed with Thee.

4. Go, then, earthly fame and treasure,
Come disaster, scorn and pain
In Thy service, pain is pleasure,
With Thy favor, loss is gain
I have called Thee Abba Father,
I have stayed my heart on Thee
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather;
All must work for good to me.

5. Soul, then know thy full salvation
Rise o’er sin and fear and care
Joy to find in every station,
Something still to do or bear.
Think what Spirit dwells within thee,
Think what Father’s smiles are thine,
Think that Jesus died to win thee,
Child of heaven, canst thou repine.

6. Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.
Heaven’s eternal days before thee,
God’s own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission,
Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.


Let the Singing Begin

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Christmas is near and that means Advent songs are here.

The nostalgia of Christmas carols is nearly intoxicating to me. From today through December 25th a Christmas tune will never be far from earshot.

While my favorite Christmas carol varies from year to year my favorite band never wavers, I always tip my hat to the men of Future of Forestry. Their three Advent EPs (Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3) are well worth your money and attention. To whet your appetite for their creative mastery and subtle brilliance check out a couple offerings below: an ancient anthem and a contemporary chorus.


Wohl mir, daß ich Jesum habe (Jesu, joy of man’s desiring)
wie feste halt’ ich ihn (Holy wisdom, love most bright)
daß er mir mein Herze labe (Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring)
wenn ich krank und traurig bin (Soar to uncreated light)

Jesum hab’ ich, der mich liebet (Word of God, our flesh that fashioned)
und sich mir zu eigen giebet (With the fire of life impassioned)
ach drum laß’ ich Jesum nicht (Striving still to truth unknown)
wenn mir gleich mein Herze bricht (Soaring, dying round Thy throne)


A teenage girl and her soon-to-be
A simple trip far as they could see
The sky was clear and the hour serene
But did they know what the night would bring

Lonely hearts strung across the land
They’ve been waiting long for a healing hand
My heart was there and I felt the chill
Love came down and the earth stood still
Love came down and the earth stood still

Shepherds stirred under starry skies
Tasting grace that would change their lives
The angels trembled and the demons did too
For they knew very well what pure grace would do.

The hope of the world and a baby boy
I remember Him well like I was there that night
My heart was there and I felt the chill
Love came down and the earth stood still
Love came down and the earth stood still
Love came down and the earth stood still

Death, Be Not Proud

Yesterday I spent some time weeping with a good friend who is a member and deacon candidate at IDC.

Last week he and his wife found out their third child, a thirteen-week-old infant, has anencephaly. It’s a serious birth defect that means the baby, if it makes it to term, will not survive many hours out of the womb.

I weep at the consequences of sin. I weep for our Lord’s return.

But even through such pain we have faith, for death will not win.

Then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

So death, be not proud.

“Death, Be Not Proud” by Audrey Assad

Death, be not proud, though the whole world fear you:
mighty and dreadful you may seem, but death, be not proud—
for your pride has failed you— you will not kill me.
Though you may dwell in plague and poison, you’re
a slave to Fate and desperate men—
so death, if your sleep be the gates to heaven,
why your confidence?
You will be no more — you will be no more — you will be no more.
Even death will die.
Even death will die.

– Inspired by John Donne

5 Ways to Promote Unity in Worship

9780801026980mYesterday I finished Daniel Block’s magnificent volume For the Glory of God: A Biblical Theology of Worship. We need more books like this: rigorously exegetical and thoroughly pastoral.

“True worship involves reverential human acts of submission and homage before the divine Sovereign in response to his gracious revelation of himself and in accord with his will,” says Block. With that definition in place he proceeds to helpfully treat a topic of worship in each chapter, tracing its development across redemptive history. For example, he takes on things like, “The Object of Worship,” “The Subject of Worship,” “The Ordinances as Worship,” “Prayer as Worship,” and “The Drama of Worship.” At the end of each chapter he offers contemporary reflections on how to apply the truth just studied.


When I scanned the chapter on “Music as Worship” I noticed that Block’s practical reflections were almost three times as long as those on any other topic. And for good reason. He writes,

I devote more space to application here than in preceding chapters because music has become arguably the most divisive factor in North American evangelicalism. Too often in worship wars, pragmatism (‘What do people want?’) and personal taste (‘What do people like?’), rather than biblical perspectives or theology, drive the discussion, and music in worship is often designed to satisfy those whose worship is unacceptable to God. To achieve the highest administrative goal, that people will return next Sunday, the music must create a certain mood, and the service must engage attendees like a theatrical performance or concert.

Delighted – if not intoxicated – by the crowds, we may be oblivious to the reality that a packed house may be proof of disingenuous (calculated) worship rather than worship acceptable to God. (236)

I trust that whets your appetite enough to purchase the book, but on the outside chance it doesn’t, let me show just how useful Block can be.


After surveying the biblical landscape on music as worship one of Block’s main applications is, “Evangelicals must rediscover that truly worshipful music is primarily congregational and unites the body of Christ.” He’s absolutely right. How can we increase the unity of our church’s worship through song? The Wheaton professor gives five considerations.

  1. If true worship involves reverential acts of homage and submission, then music should be selected and presented to glorify God and promote reverence and awe. This commitment will naturally result in excluding certain kinds of music (narcissistic and subjective lyrics, jarring and raucous tunes).
  2. The music of worship should be subordinate to the Word of worship, and planning should involve all the staff, particularly persons responsible for reading and proclaiming God’s word.
  3. Songs chosen for congregational singing should be singable, with tunes and lyrics that are readily grasped by worshipers. Worship is not enhanced by improvisation or unexpected rhythms that confuse and inhibit participation.
  4. Assuming commitment to music that has theological and melodic integrity, corporate worship should regularly have something for everyone. Some speak of “blended worship,” which connotes a centripetal approach, the emphasis being on satisfying various tastes. Perhaps we should rather speak of “distributed worship,” which suggests a healthier centrifugal picture of reaching out and ministering to each other. Instead of asking, “What kind of music will you sing for me?” we might ask, “What kind of music may I sing for you?” In a healthy local manifestation of the body of Christ, people are not preoccupied with self-serving satisfaction of their own tastes.
  5. Over time, worshipers’ musical tastes should mature. While mature Christians celebrate the faith and enthusiasm of younger believers, something is wrong if people who have been believers for ten or twenty years still crave the elementary lyrics and simple tunes they sang when they first came to faith. Just as we need to progress from milk to meat in our understanding of the Scriptures (Heb. 5:12-13; 1 Pet. 2:2), so in musical appreciation and taste the goal should be growth and maturation – the development of appetites for songs that are weightier theologically and more sophisticated musically.

Amen. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of For the Glory of God. It will be of immense benefit for your church and ministry.

A Gospel-Hymn

Songs have power. When they carry the gospel, they can become instruments of conversion. Consider the case of Charles Wesley’s “Arise, My Soul, Arise.”

A Wesleyan mis­sion­ary la­bor­ing in the West Indies once wrote, “I have a record of two hun­dred persons, young and old, who re­ceived the most di­rect ev­i­dence of the forgive­ness of their sins while sing­ing ‘Arise, My Soul.’ The con­ver­sion of the great­er num­ber of these per­sons took place while I was a mis­sion­ary abroad.”

If you are looking for a rich, gospel-hymn to add to your church’s repertoire consider this class from Wesley. Here are two popular variations:



Arise, my soul, arise,
shake off your guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice,
in my behalf appears;
Before the throne my Surety stands,
Before the throne my Surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

Arise (arise), arise (arise), arise
Arise, my soul, arise.
Arise (arise), arise (arise), arise
Arise, my soul, arise.
Shake off your guilty fears and rise

He ever lives above,
for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love,
His precious blood, to plead;
His blood atoned for every race,
His blood atoned for every race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

Five bleeding wounds He bears;
received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers;
they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray,
His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away
the presence of His Son;
The Spirit answers to the blood,
The Spirit answers to the blood
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled;
His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child;
I can no longer fear
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.



Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears
Before the throne my surety stands
Before the throne my surety stands
My name is written on His hands

Five bleeding wounds He bears, received on Calvary
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me
“Forgive him, oh forgive,” they cry
“Forgive him, oh forgive,” they cry
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray, His dear Anointed One
He cannot turn away the presence of His Son
His Spirit answers to the blood
His Spirit answers to the blood
And tells me I am born of God

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear
With confidence I now draw nigh
With confidence I now draw nigh
And “Father, Abba, Father” cry

See The Conqueror

I first came across Wordsworth’s “See the Conqueror” when one of our elders mentioned it as a potential Easter hymn. This is surely what the great apostle meant by teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom with hymns.


See the Conqueror mounts in triumph
See the King in royal state
Riding on the clouds His chariot
To his heavenly palace gate

Hark the choirs of angel voices
Joyful alleluias sing
And the portals high are lifted
to receive their heavenly King.

Who is this that comes in glory
with the trump of jubilee?
Lord of battles, God of armies,
He has gained the victory!

He who on the cross did suffer!
He who from the grave arose!
He has vanquished sin and satan!
He by death has spoiled his foes!

They raced to the tomb, angels stood by
Mary was weeping for the empty inside
For the sins of the world, for the sake of His bride
He went to His death, and behold, He’s alive!

He’s alive! O He’s alive!

Thou hast raised our human nature
In the clouds to God’s right hand
There we sit in heavenly places
There with Thee in glory stand

Jesus reigns adorned by angels
Man with God is on the throne
Mighty Lord in Thine ascension
We by faith behold our own
We by faith behold our own

See the Conqueror -Jenny & Tyler-Open Your Doors- Copyright 2011 One Eyed Cat Music (BMI)
Verse Lyrics by Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885), 1862.
Bridge Lyrics by Jennifer Somers (BMI), Tyler Somers (BMI), and Mitch Dane (ASCAP)
Music by Jennifer Somers (BMI), Tyler Somers (BMI), and Mitch Dane (ASCAP)