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The Look

For years, I heard C.J. Mahaney reference a John Newton hymn that began with the lines, “In evil long I took delight.” Newton imagines the Savior looking down at him twice from the cross. The first look communicates our guilt and responsibility for the death of Christ. The second look assures us that this sacrifice forever secures our forgiveness before God. The two looks together fill us with a “pleasing grief and mournful joy.” “Pleasing grief and mournful joy” describe well the proper response to Christ’s death on the cross. I can never grieve long over what it cost the Savior to redeem me before my heart wells up in joy that his death has …

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Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed

Keith and Kristyn Getty (along with Ed Cash) have a new song that celebrates the resurrection of Christ. Great lyrics, accessible melody, and reminders of how the resurrection affects our lives today. I’ve posted the lyrics below. And thanks to the generosity of Keith and Kristyn, you can download the MP3 and various charts (choral, rhythm piano, hymn) by clicking here. Verse 1 How can it be, the One who died, Has borne our sin through sacrifice To conquer every sting of death? Sing, sing hallelujah. For joy awakes as dawning light When Christ’s disciples lift their eyes. Alive He stands, their Friend and King; Christ, Christ …

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Show Us Christ – Video from The Gathering

When we were putting together the songs for The Gathering: Live from WorshipGod11, we ended up having not one, but two songs that served as a “prayer for illumination.” One is Your Words of Life, written by Pat & Joel Sczebel. The other is Show us Christ, which I co-wrote with Doug Plank. Show Us Christ reminds us that the purpose of preaching God’s Word is not simply to give insights for living, impress people with our knowledge of Greek, or to tell people they need to try harder. The primary goal is to display the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). The written and preached Word is meant to point us to the riches of …

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Have Mercy on Me – Video from The Gathering

The first song I heard that I thought would be on our most recent album, The Gathering, was Have Mercy on Me. Co-written by Dale Bischof and Pat Sczebel, it combines grief over sin with an assurance of God’s mercy in Christ. Even though as Christians all our sins are completely forgiven (Col. 2:13), we can continue to battle either ongoing condemnation or arrogant presumption. The first results in an attitude that binds us, discourages us, and makes us fearful of approaching God. The second equally dangerous mindset supposes that because our sins have been paid for by Christ’s substitutionary death, we don’t have to think about them any more. …

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As You Go – The Evolution of a Song

Here’s our latest video from The Gathering: Live from WorshipGod11. As You Go was written by Mark Altrogge, who has been writing songs for Sovereign Grace Music since the early 1980s. That’s a long time. It amazes me how he continues to write such theologically rich, relevant, singable songs. What you may not know is that even with the decades of experience Mark has, he is one of the easiest people to work with when it comes to suggesting changes to his songs. Rather than giving you a detailed explanation of why he wrote what he did, or sharing 5 reasons why no alternative could possibly be better, he typically gets back in less than …

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Now Why This Fear – Video from WorshipGod11

One of my favorite songs from our most recent album, The Gathering,  is Now Why This Fear. Doug Plank adapted the words from the hymn “Now When This Fear and Unbelief” by Augustus Toplady. Toplady (1740-1778) was a strong, if sometimes contentious, defender of Calvinism. More importantly, he tirelessly preached the sufficiency of Christ’s atoning work for our sins. This hymn, like Rock of Ages, encourages believers to rest completely in the finished work of Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. It’s the news that never grows old. I asked Doug Plank to share a few thoughts on the how he came to update Toplady’s hymn. “From Whence this …

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Come Praise and Glorify – Video from WorshipGod11

Yesterday, I posted the video of Shine into Our Night from WorshipGod11. The second song we’ve finished editing is Come Praise and Glorify. I wrote this with Tim Chester, a pastor in Sheffield, UK, who has written over 20 books (including Total Church, You Can Change, and A Meal with Jesus). The fact that I wrote a song with Tim is purely providential. I was leading the music at the New Word Alive conference this past April and happened to stay in a flat with Tim and his wife, Helen. I thoroughly enjoyed a couple late night chats with Tim and after I got home he sent me some of the songs he had written that they sang at his church. One of …

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Song for Advent: Shine Into our Night

Each year as Christmas approaches we have the opportunity to remember in a more focused and thoughtful way why Jesus had to come to earth. It wasn’t plan B, it wasn’t optional, and it certainly wasn’t something we asked for. Paul tells us, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Gal. 4:4-5) The phrase “under the law” means we were justly condemned as transgressors and rebels before God, held captive by our sin, and in need of His mercy and forgiveness (Rom. 3:19-20). Of course, God did better than …

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Love Divine – The Hymns of Charles Wesley, Updated (and win a free copy)

I think it was about 6 weeks ago that I received a copy of the CD, “Love Divine:The Songs of Charles Wesley for Today’s Generation,” which came out April 19. It’s a collection of Charles Wesley (1707-1788) hymns that have been set to music by John Hartley and Chris Eaton. There are a lot of hymns albums being made these days. In fact, I’m working on a post now that highlights some of the ministries and individuals who are participating in rearranging, rewriting, or composing hymns. Very exciting to see more people realizing that the songs we use for praising God can’t be restricted to ones that are driven more by melody and beat than lyrical …

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Sheet Music for Risen

We’re excited that the Risen CD is finally out. If you ordered the actual CD, all the sheet music is included. Insert the CD into your computer and a separate file of all the music will show up on your desktop. But we’ve had some problems getting the sheet music up on our webstore. We’re in the midst of redesigning the store and it’s causing some glitches. So, for the present, you can download all the lead sheets, guitar charts, and three-staff piano scores below. We’re included both the recorded keys and suggested congregational keys. NOTE: The lead sheets and piano scores were updated at 2:40 PM EST on Wednesday, Mar. 30. Enjoy! Risen …

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