Songs for Sunday: Almost Persuaded

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This hymnal is the one used in my home church up until I was about 15 years old. I don’t know how long they used it before that, but the copyright is dated 1937 with Roman numerals. IMG_2142

Since I am trying to alternate between old hymns and contemporary music, I decided to look through it to see if anything jumped out at me. Well, that worked. Everything jumped out at me!  Unfortunately, when I tried to get a picture of the hymn I wanted to use, the camera did it’s thing again. Looks like it’s time for a new one.

Written by P.P. Bliss, in 1871,  Almost Persuaded was often used as the Invitation Hymn; the song after the sermon, when the preacher invited anyone who was not already a Christian to come forward, make his or her confession of faith, and get baptized.

Almost Persuaded

“Almost persuaded” now to believe;
Almost persuaded” Christ to receive;
Seems now some soul to say,
Go, Spirit, go Thy way,
Some more convenient day
On Thee I’ll call.”

“Almost persuaded”, come, come today;
Almost persuaded”, turn not away;
Jesus invites you here,
Angels are lingering near
Prayers rise from hearts so dear;
O wanderer, come!

“Almost persuaded”, harvest is past!
Almost persuaded”, doom comes at last!
Almost” cannot avail;
Almost” is but to fail!
Sad, sad, that bitter wail—
Almost”, but lost!

While the song does issue an invitation in the second verse, the theme of the song is that some one had an opportunity to come to the Lord, missed it, and was forever lost. It’s heartbreaking.

Phillip Paul Bliss (1838-1876) wrote both the words and music to Almost Persuaded.  Bliss was one of several 19th century hymn composers, including  Fanny Crosby, Charles Wesley and Ira Sankey, whose hymns make up much of our hymnals today.  He was a friend of evangelist D.L. Moody and sometimes took part in Moody’s revival meetings.  Wholesome Words.org has links to several biographical sketches on Bliss as well as Moody’s sermon on the day after Bliss and his wife were killed in a train wreck.

Hymntime.com says this of his death
“December 29, 1876, Ashtabula, Ohio. Bliss and his wife died in a tragic train wreck caused by a bridge collapse. He survived the initial impact, but went back into the flames in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue his wife.”

On the same page, there is a quote from Fanny Crosby’s autobiography.
“The night before that terrible railroad accident at Ashtabula…he said to his audience, ‘I may not pass this way again’; then he sang a solo, ‘I’m Going Home Tomorrow’. This indeed proved prophetic of his own home going.”

Bliss was 38 years old when he died. His wife Lucy was 35. They left two small children. A list of the known songs of P.P. Bliss is found here. The list is a long one. Only God knows how many he would have written had he lived.

In another biography listed on the Wholesome Words site, author Ed Reese says this about Almost Persuaded.

Outside of Just as I Am, this has been the most successful gospel invitation song ever written. In the early 1870’s, Mr. Bliss was listening to a sermon by Rev. Brundage, a friend of his, in a little church in the east. The preacher closed his appeal with, “He who is almost persuaded is almost saved. But, to be almost saved is to be eternally lost!” These words impressed Bliss so deeply that it led him to write this great hymn.”

Other sources suggest the scripture reference for that sermon was Acts 26:27-29.

King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.” Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

Here is a nice recording of Almost Persuaded uploaded  to YouTube by ihatetoro in 2010.

If you have a decision to make for the Lord, make it now!  Don’t wait! You may not have another chance.

See you in church.

Connie

Songs For Sunday: Good Good Father.

Happy Father’s Day!

This is such a great song!

Good Good Father

Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
And You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

You’re a good good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Oh, and I’ve seen many searching
For answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching
For answers only You provide
‘Cause You know just what we need
Before we say a word

You’re a good good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Cause You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

You are perfect in all of Your ways
Oh, You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

Oh, it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

You’re a good good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

You’re a good good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am
You’re a good good Father

You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways

The song was written by Pat Barrett and Tony Brown, who are both members of the Atlanta based worship band Housefires. The band recorded their version of the song on their 2014 album Housefires II .  The song has been recorded by several artists, but Chris Tomlin’s recording is the one that most people recognize. It’s the first track on his 2016 album Never Lose Sight.

I am including three different videos in this post, and I hope you will take the time to watch all of them. The first one was uploaded to YouTube by Worship Together

Co-writers Pat Barrett and Tony Brown perform the song, and then they talk about how the song came about. The video is a little over twelve minutes long, but it’s worth your time to watch it.

In my post about God the Father, I said that people sometimes have trouble relating to God as Father because their father was “absent, emotionally distant, critical, or abusive.” Song Co-writer Tony Brown says in this video that he never had a dad, and that the only one he has ever called “Father” is God.

At the end of the video, Pat goes over the chord progressions for anyone wanting to play the song. From what I have seen, that is standard procedure for New Song Cafe. That’s kind of cool, in my opinion

 

The 2nd video was uploaded to Youtube by ChrisTomlinVevo. In it, Chris and Pat Barrett talk about the song, and Pat says more about his thoughts behind the song. I love that he addresses how Jesus talked about God, and how that causes us to change how we see God.

Finally, here is the “official video” also uploaded to YouTube by ChrisTomlinVevo

See you in church!

Connie

Songs For Sunday: Tell Me The Old Old Story – I Love To Tell the Story

I am always amazed when I research old hymns. I always find something interesting. I started looking for Tell Me the Old Old Story, which is similar to I Love To Tell The Story.

Researching this morning, I discovered that both hymns are based on one lengthy poem, written in 1866 by an English woman named A. Katherine Hankey (1834-1911). The poem called “The Old Old Story” is written in two parts; the first dated in January of 1866, and the second in November of the same year. You can read the whole poem here. It is said that she wrote the poem while convalescing after a serious illness.

A. Katherine Hankey, or Kate as she was called, was the daughter of a banker, and a member of the Clapham sect, which was both anti slavery and pro missionary. She taught Sunday school for girls as a teenager and later worked as a nurse in South Africa, while helping her invalid brother.

Tell Me the Old Old Story was taken from the first part of the poem. The music was written by William Doane, (1832-1915), who according to Cyber Hymnal.Org, heard the poem recited in 1867 by a Major General Russel at a men’s fellowship in Montreal. He wrote the music on a “hot afternoon while on the stage-coach between the Glen Falls House and the Crawford House in the White Mountains.”

Noting the years of Doane’s life, curiousity got the better of me. I wondered if he might have written music for any of Fanny Crosby’s lyrics. He did. Both “Near the Cross”, and “Safe in the Arms of Jesus” were collaborations between Doane and Crosby. All told, Doane composed over 2000 songs.

Tell Me the Old, Old Story

Tell me the old, old story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
Tell me the story simply, as to a little child,
For I am weak and weary, and helpless and defiled.

Refrain

Tell me the old, old story, tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story, of Jesus and His love.

Tell me the story slowly, that I may take it in,
That wonderful redemption, God’s remedy for sin.
Tell me the story often, for I forget so soon;
The early dew of morning has passed away at noon.

Refrain

Tell me the story softly, with earnest tones and grave;
Remember I’m the sinner whom Jesus came to save.
Tell me the story always, if you would really be,
In any time of trouble, a comforter to me.

Refrain

Tell me the same old story when you have cause to fear
That this world’s empty glory is costing me too dear.
Yes, and when that world’s glory is dawning on my soul,
Tell me the old, old story: “Christ Jesus makes thee whole.”

Refrain

Here is a YouTube video uploaded by Gandalf1948, of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s recording of Tell Me the Old, Old Story.

William G. Fischer (1835-1912) took from the second part of the poem and wrote “I Love To Tell The Story” Fischer was an interesting character in that he began singing with the church choir as a child, where he learned to read music. He learned piano and organ as well . While learning book binding during the day, he practiced music in the evening. He directed choirs, taught singing and music theory. He finally opened a piano business which became extremely prosperous.

I Love To Tell The Story

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.

Refrain

I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story; more wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams.
I love to tell the story, it did so much for me;
And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee.

Refrain

I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.

Refrain

I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.

Refrain

Here is another Tennessee Ernie Ford recording uploaded by Gandalf1948. This time, Ernie is singing I Love To Tell The Story

See you in church!

Connie

Songs for Sunday: Remind Me Who I Am

Yesterday, I wrote about our forgetfulness.

Remind Me Who I Am, by Jason Gray and Jason Ingram, addresses our  need to be constantly reminded of who God is and who we are in Him.  Jason Gray recorded the song and released it on his album A Way to See in the Dark in 2011.

Remind Me Who I Am

When I lose my way
And I forget my name
Remind me who I am
In the mirror all I see
Is who I don’t wanna be
Remind me who I am

In the loneliest places
When I cant remember what grace is

Tell me, once again
Who I am to You, who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to You, that I belong to You
To You

When my heart is like a stone
And I’m running far from home
Remind me who I am
When I cant receive Your love
Afraid I’ll never be enough
Remind me who I am

If I’m Your beloved
can You help me believe it

Tell me, once again
Who I am to you, who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to you, that I belong to You
To You

I’m the one You love, I’m the one You love
That will be enough, I’m the one You love

Tell me, once again
Who I am to you, who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to you, that I belong to You

Tell me, once again
Who I am to You, who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to You, that I belong to You
To You
To You…

See you in church!

Connie

Songs for Sunday: Thank You Lord

First of all, let me say “Happy Mother’s Day” to all the moms out there. Thank you for everything that you do for your families.

This week’s song is a perfect expression of what we discussed in yesterday’s post. It’s about being thankful in all circumstances.

I found this YouTube video posted by the songwriter Dan Burgess, where he talks about writing the song, and then gospel recording artist Cynthia Clawson tells her own story about the song before she sings it.  I think I’ll just let them tell it.

See you in church!

Connie

Songs for Sunday: Need You Now

Christian Artist Plumb wrote and recorded the song I Need You Now in 2013. In this recording she says she drew on her own experience with anxiety while writing the song.

Need You Now (How Many Times)

Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there’s beauty here
‘Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
I can’t let go, I can’t move on
I want to believe there’s meaning here

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

Standing on a road I didn’t plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

Though I walk,
Though I walk through the shadows
And I, I am so afraid
Please stay, please stay right beside me
With every single step I take

How many times have you heard me cry out?
And how many times have you given me strength?

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

I need you now
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.
I need you now
I need you now

For many of us, anxiety, depression, bi polar, and other disorders are an every day fact of life. For others, circumstances become overwhelming. Those of us who belong to the Lord often echo Plumbs words “God please take this!”  Some times he does. Sometimes he says “My grace is sufficient”, and it is.

See you in church. Remember that person sitting next to you in the pew might be hurting and need some encouragement. Maybe that’s why God sat you next to them.

Connie

Songs For Sunday: I Am Loved

1 John 4:19 says,

We love because he first loved us.

Back in the 70’s, Bill Gaither wrote a simple little song with simple little message.

I Am Loved

CHORUS
I am loved, I am loved
I can risk loving you
For the One who knows me best
Loves me most
I am loved you are loved
Won’t you please take my hand
We are free to love each other
We are loved

VERSE 1
I said if You knew You wouldn’t want me
My scars are hidden by the face I wear
He said my child My scars go deeper
It was love for you that put them there

CHORUS

VERSE 2
Forgiven I repeat it I’m forgiven
Clean before my Lord, I freely stand
Forgiven I can dare to love my brother
Forgiven I reach out to take your hand

CHORUS

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We are free to love each other, we are loved

The Bill Gaither Trio recorded it, and the simple little song was an enormous hit! It became the theme for their concerts.  My step dad took me to see them that year. I think I was about 15.

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Flyer from the concert I attended
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The inside of the flyer with a message from the Gaithers on the left, and the song lyrics on the right.
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A closeup of the message from the Gaithers.

Everyone was wearing these pins. Churches were giving them out.

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 I Am Loved Pin

Yes, I am a pack rat.

You can hear the original Bill Gaither Trio recording here, but I’m adding a live version by the Gaither Vocal Band, posted to YouTube by nashvillehigh. At the beginning, Bill talks about those concerts back in the 70’s.

The message hasn’t changed.

I am loved!

You are loved!

See you in church!

Connie

 

Songs for Sunday: Love the Lord

Songs for Sunday

Good morning!

Continuing the theme of yesterday’s post, here is a song written and performed by Lincoln Brewster called Love the Lord.

Love the Lord your God
With all your heart
With all your soul
With all your mind
And with all your strength (2x)

With all your heart
With all your soul
With all your mind
And with all your strength
Love the Lord your God
With all your heart
With all your soul
With all your mind
And with all your strength

I will serve the Lord
With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
And with all my strength (2x)

With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
And with all my strength
I will serve the Lord
With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
And with all my strength

I will love You (I will love You)
I will praise You (I will praise You)
I will serve You, Lord (I will serve You)
I will trust You, Lord (I will trust You)

And with all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
And with all my strength
With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
With all my strength

I will love You Lord
With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
And with all my strength (3x)
The song was first released on the album All to You…Live in 2005.

Yep, you’re going to be singing it all day now, aren’t you?

See you in church.

Connie

Songs for Sunday: He’s Alive!

Happy Resurrection Day!

Choosing just one song for this day was hard! There are so many great songs, but I had to go back to the one that has been my favorite since the first time I heard it. I was probably fourteen years old, when I heard Don Francisco’s “He’s Alive” on Christian radio. It’s the resurrection story told from Peter’s perspective. It was powerful stuff then, and it still is 40 years later.

He’s Alive

The gates and doors were barred and all the windows fastened down,
I spent the night in sleeplessness and rose at every sound,
Half in hopeless sorrow half in fear the day,
Would find the soldiers breaking through to drag us all away.

Then just before the sunrise I heard something at the wall,
The gate began to rattle and a voice began to call,
I hurried to the window and looked down to the street,
Expecting swords and torches and the sound of soldiers feet,

There was no one there but Mary so I went down to let her in,
John stood there beside me as she told us were she’d been,
She said they moved him in the night and none of us knows where,
The stones been rolled away and now his body isn’t there.

We both ran toward the garden then John ran on ahead,
We found the stone and the empty tomb just the way that Mary said,
But the winding sheet they wrapped him in was just an empty shell,
And how or where they’d taken him was more than I could tell.

Something strange had happened there but what I did not know,
John believed a miracle but I just turned to go,
Circumstance and speculation couldn’t lift me very high,
Cause I’d seen them crucify him and then I saw him die,

Back inside the house again all the guilt and anguish came,
Everything I’d promised him just added to my shame,
‘Cause when at last it came to choices I denied I knew his name,
Even If he was alive it wouldn’t be the same.

But suddenly the air was filled with a strange and sweet perfume,
Light that came from everywhere drove shadows from the room,
Jesus stood before me with his arms held open wide,
And I fell down on my knees and clung to him and cried,

He raised me to my feet and as I looked into his eyes,
Love was shining out from him like sunlight from the sky,
Guilt and my confusion disappeared in sweet release,
And every fear I’d ever had just melted into peace.

He’s alive, He’s alive, He’s alive and I’m forgiven,
Heavens gates are open wide.
He’s alive, He’s alive, He’s alive and I’m forgiven,
Heavens gates are open wide.
He’s alive, He’s alive, He’s alive and I’m forgiven,
Heavens gates are open wide.

He’s alive!
The song was included on Don’s second album called, “Forgiven”, in 1977. Many other artists have recorded it, the most well known probably being Dolly Parton. I love Dolly’s music, but for me, no one does the song like the man who wrote it.

This YouTube video is only a couple years old, and I think Don sounds just as good as he did 40 years ago; maybe better.

See you in church!

Connie

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, the day we remember Jesus’ death.

I’ve spent the last few days talking to the Lord, and trying to determine what He wanted me to say about it.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)

That’s it.

God intended for us to have a personal relationship with Him. Adam and Eve had it in the garden, before they disobeyed God’s word and put the whole Earth under a curse.

God longs to have that relationship with us again, but only the sacrifice of a sinless life could do that.  That’s a problem, because there isn’t one human being who can live a totally sinless life.

God, however had a plan. He would send His son to live that sinless life, so that he would be the perfect sacrifice.

That’s what He did.

He sent Jesus to live as a human being. The only difference was that He would live a perfect life, and then, when it was the right time, He would offer up His own life in our place.

And that is what Jesus did.

When the work was complete,

…Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)

What was finished? Our redemption.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)

Hold on though, that’s not the end of the story…it’s just the beginning.

Like this song performed by David Phelps

Connie