THE PURPOSE OF THIS BLOG
I am the song leader in my church. I am not very proficient as a musician or a choral director. I pray that, someday soon, God will send someone more capable, to take this ministry from me. But for the time being it is my responsibility to select the music and lead the congregation in the singing every week.
I take that responsibility seriously. The hymns and songs that I select must be doctrinally sound, they must be appropriate for worship with a God-centered worldview, and, withing those parameters, I try to select music that will reinforce and, support the text and subject of my pastor’s messages.
Some of us have been singing the hymns for years; the words roll off our lips but the messages often don't engage our minds or penetrate our hearts. With the apostle Paul, I want the congregation to "sing with understanding."
So for the past couple years, it has been my practice to select one hymn each week, research it, and then highlight it with a short introductory commentary so that the congregation will be more informed regarding the origin, the author's testimony, or the doctrinal significance of the hymns we sing.
It is my intention here with this blog, to archive these hymn commentaries for my reference and to make them freely available to other church song leaders. For ease of reference, all the hymn commentaries in this blog will be titled IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Other posts (which will be music ministry related opinion pieces) will be printed in lower case letters.
I know that some of the comments contain traces of my unique style, but please feel free to adapt them and use the content any way you can for the edification of your congregation and to the glory of God.
All I ask is that you leave a little comment should you find something helpful.
Ralph M. Petersen
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Thursday, March 31, 2016
Monday, March 28, 2016
Eddie Eddings is a very talented and prolific cartoonist with a weird sense of humor. He began his blog, Calvinistic Cartoons in November 2008.
A few years ago, Eddie introduced a lyric contest for his followers. The object was to write lyrics of a theological nature to the tune of the children’s song, “I’m A Little Teapot.”
There were several contributors and a total of 16 entries. Some of them were actually quite clever. I submitted four entries because I thought Eddie was going to award the winner a certificate like he does for his caption contests and I REALLY WANTED A CERTIFICATE.
Well, I am happy that one of my entries was the winner but I DIDN’T GIT NO STINKIN’ CERTIFICATE. Oh well, I got over it.
My attempt at writing the winning lyrics was to articulate each of the five points of Calvinism (TULIP) in five verses. Remember, sing this to the tune of “I’m A Little Teapot.”
Well, that was lots of fun. Thank you, Eddie Eddings.
Sunday, March 27, 2016
COME JUST AS YOU ARE TO WORSHIP
Where did we ever get the idea that we could approach God “just as we are” and that He should be pleased to accept our worship? That idea did not come from scripture.
But maybe that’s the problem.
"People who arrive in heaven in their blue jeans and short shorts are going to be struck suddenly by the necessity to fall down prostrate before the throne. We dress up for our employers from Monday to Friday, but come Sunday morning, it's only the Lord of the Universe, so anything goes. It's not so much formality, but a recognition of our place before God. I recognize that the prodigal son didn't put on a tuxedo to come back home. But once back, he bathed, shaved, and shed his "pig sty" appearance.
"It seems to me that meshing rigorous, biblical exposition is increasingly hard with a "feel good" mood in the congregation. The preacher is at a disadvantage when everything else, including the nature of the music and the frivolity, connotes a club meeting rather than entering into the sacred presence of a thrice-holy God who is a consuming fire."
Saturday, March 26, 2016
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms.
Friday, March 25, 2016
The use of that imagery to make a social argument against abortion (or even homelessness) seems repugnant.
It was written by Mike Riccardi one of the contributing pastors to the Cripplegate blog and is posted here with permission.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
I GAVE MY LIFE FOR THEE is one of those songs that I generally try to avoid, not because of bad theology, but because, in casual singing or even a superficial reading, it could mistakenly convey the idea that some kind of reciprocal action or work on our part is required to earn our salvation. Of course, there is nothing we can do to earn or buy our salvation.