Archive | —Easter

Will the Sunday After Easter be a Letdown?

Many pastors, music leaders, and production personnel are breathing a deep sigh of relief after this past weekend. After all the planning, strategizing, prayer, preparation, and practice, the Easter weekend service(s) finally happened. Everything (for the most part) came together and people were well served. The music was moving, the preaching powerful, and the effect exhilarating. And throughout the world, thousands of people were baptized and saved for the glory of God. But you may be starting to wonder what you’re going to do next Sunday. Maybe you’re even asking yourself, “How do I keep this coming Sunday from being a major letdown?” …

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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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Hail the Day Training Video

Matt Richley has served us again by making another training video for our song Hail the Day, written by Steve & Vikki Cook. Although this song is from our Risen album, it actually focuses on the fact that Christ is ascended and is now interceding for those He redeemed. The words are below. Enjoy. VERSE 1 Hail the day that Christ arose Through the skies to worlds unknown Glorious there, He ever reigns Object of all Heaven’s praise VERSE 2 See Him lift His hands above See the scars of His great love He has conquered death and sin Saving all who hope in Him CHORUS Hallelujah, hallelujah The King of Love is on His throne Hallelujah, …

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We Have Been Healed Video

This is a another video of a recent Sunday morning at my home church. Again, the arrangement is slightly different from the recording. The song is “You Have Been Healed” (from our Risen album) and we sang it while the elements for communion were passed around. The lyrics are taken from 1 Peter 2:22-25. : VS 1 You bore our sins in Your body As You were hung on a tree, So we might die to rebellion And live for him who set us free VS 2 You were mocked and reviled Suffering in our place Trusting all to Your Father So enemies could know Your grace CH We have been healed, justified Made alive in the life of Christ Righteous …

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From Album to Sunday Morning

When Sovereign Grace produces an album, one of our main goals is to write songs that can be sung by local churches. Songs that are singable, memorable, and theologically informed. Another one of our goals is to make albums that are musically creative enough to bear repeated listenings without sounding tired. Those two goals can compete with each other, at times making it challenging to take a song on an album to Sunday morning. One of the ways we’re hoping to address that issue is by producing training videos that present songs as they might be played in a small group. You can find one for Jesus Lives here and one for You Have Been Raised here. Another …

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Training Video for Jesus Lives

For a few years now I’ve wanted to produce training videos for Sovereign Grace songs that would break down a song into learnable sections for guitar players. They would also serve guitarists who have a hard time translating a full band album arrangement into something that can work for their small group. Matt Richley and Nathan Edwards (behind the cameras), two of three interns we’ve had this year, have been working on this project and finally finished the first one. In this video, Matt unpacks how to play the song “Jesus Lives” from our recent album, Risen. We’re already working on more videos and in the future hope to produce a few for …

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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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Risen Has Arrived

I’m happy to announce that our latest album, Risen, came out yesterday — a whole album of songs that celebrate the reality and meaning of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. When we first were planning Risen my hope was to get it out in time for Easter. God helping us, we did. And we managed to squeeze in a few extras. More Sheet Music We’ve included lead sheets and guitar charts as in the past, but this time both in the recorded key and in suggested congregational keys, when needed. Risen also includes the piano scores for all the songs. More Sovereign Grace Musicians Most of our previous major releases have …

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We Have a Winner

Thanks to everyone who left a comment on my previous post casting their vote for the most creative arrangement of a song from our King of Grace album. As many of the commenters said, it was difficult picking which arrangement  was the best, creatively speaking. But the overwhelming first choice was Joshua Spacht’s arrangement of “Behold the Lamb,” by Mark Altrogge. Joshua has served as the Director of Music and Worship Ministries at Grace Immanuel Bible Church since May, 2006. He sent me some information about his background that I thought was worth sharing: I grew up in a very musical family outside of Erie, PA where my father served …

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Songs that Celebrate the Resurrection in View of the Cross

I’ll never make any apologies for encouraging Christians to live cross-centered lives, or leaders to lead in gospel-centered ways. Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross which reconciled us to God will always be central to our faith. But while we are called to glory in the cross of Christ (Gal. 6:14), the death of Christ isn’t meant to stand alone in our thinking or preaching. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Cor. 15:17-19) Still, …

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How Do You Approach Planning for Easter?

Kendall sent me this question: I think most of us feel the pressure to “pull out all the stops” for Easter, whether that means a drama, special choir number, special communion service, hired orchestra, etc. What are some ways you have sought to make the celebration of the Resurrection special at Covenant Life? Does your congregation and/or pastoral team do anything different to make that Sunday a more focused evangelistic outreach? Many non-Christians are more likely to attend a Sunday meeting on “special” days like Christmas and Easter. Reasons vary. It may be persistent family members or neighbors. It might be the big production the …

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Reflections on Easter (With Some Song Recommendations)

Churches throughout the world will celebrate Easter next month, following a church calendar that Christians have used for centuries. Many may also do something unique for Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and/or Good Friday. It should go without saying that Jesus’ substitutionary death for our sins and his victorious triumph over the grave should be our focus not only every Easter, but every week and every day. This is the Gospel of Christ, who is our life – the Gospel that we must continue in and never shift from, the Gospel in which we stand, the Gospel that strengthens us, the Gospel that has been entrusted to us, the Gospel for which we are called …

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Easter Service – Songs for the Resurrection

JP wrote in to ask, “I enjoyed your blog on ‘What Christmas Songs Do You Use?’ With April fast approaching, could you please post a similar list for Easter?” I polled some of the other guys who serve in some of the Sovereign Grace churches, and this is a tentative list. I’ve left off some of the more obvious ones like “Christ the Lord is Ris’n Today.” I’ve included songs that focus exclusively on the resurrection, as well as those that reference it at some point. Crown Him with Many Crowns Including the verse: Crown Him the Lord of life who triumphed o’er the grave And rose victorious in the strife for those He came to …

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