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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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

*TELL ME THE STORY OF JESUS

"But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman," Galatians 4:4

What can we say really happened on Christmas day?  Well, the short answer to that question is, “Easter.”  And without trying to sound trite about it, It’s like the nursery rhyme, “Mary had a little lamb,” That’s the Christmas part of the rhyme but the verse continues, “Its fleece was white as snow.”  And that is the Easter part of the rhyme; The Lamb of God would be the pure, spotless, and only acceptable sacrifice for the sins of many.

The Savior was born in Bethlehem for the express purpose of redeeming His people by the deliberate and voluntary sacrifice of His life on the cross at Calvary.  His death was the purpose of His incarnation.  We get a glimpse of that purpose at his birth where we see that He was swaddled in burial cloths and later, one of the gifts of the Magi was myrrh; a kind of embalming fluid.  He was born to die.


The birth of Jesus is meaningless and irrelevant without His death, burial, and resurrection. It was all part of His divine plan that started “when the set time had fully come.”


TELL ME THE STORY OF JESUS was written by Fannie Crosby and in four short verses, she chronicles His birth, His triumph over temptation, His death on the cross, His resurrection, the accomplishment of the redemption of His people, His ascension, and His soon return for His Church.


That phrase, "the fullness of time," literally means “at the appointed time.”   The arrival of the Savior in a dirty feeding trough in a strange town was not an accident.  He came exactly on schedule in the precise place, and time, and circumstances as God ordained and foretold in prophetic scripture.

 







1. Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth.”

Refrain:
Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.

2.  Fasting alone in the desert,
Tell of the days that are past,
How for our sins He was tempted,
Yet was triumphant at last.
Tell of the years of His labor,
Tell of the sorrow He bore;
He was despised and afflicted,
Homeless, rejected and poor.

3.  Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,
Writhing in anguish and pain;
Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender,
Clearer than ever I see;
Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
“Love paid the ransom for me.”

4.  Tell how He’s gone back to heaven,
Up to the right hand of God:
How He is there interceding
While on this earth we must trod.
Tell of the sweet Holy Spirit
He has poured out from above;
Tell how He’s coming in glory
For all the saints of His love.


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