Thinking Out Loud

April 16, 2017

Songs for Easter Sunday Morning

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:57 am

Today is the 8th of eight consecutive days that subscribers to Thinking Out Loud are getting a 5:30 PM bonus item in addition to the usual morning article. We’ve been highlighting some of the great songs that are focused on the cross and the resurrection of Jesus.

Christianity is a singing faith. The scriptures provide a solid libretto, but most songs go beyond a straight reiteration of Bible passages and include an artistic rendering of a particular narrative or a story of personal testimony in a changed life.

Of all those songs however, I’d like to go out on a limb and suggest that the very best of these are the ones we use in the Communion Service (Eucharist) or on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Jesus on the cross is simply a theme that even the worst songwriter making a reasonable attempt is bound to end up with something vital. Fortunately, most go beyond that standard.

Furthermore, this is proved true regardless of whether or not your church sings classic hymns or modern choruses.

This morning, I want to add to what’s already been posted a few more songs that are a little more personal to me. These are more Good Friday than “Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” so perhaps I might have done this a few days ago. I’ll remember that for next year.

The first one is by my wife. She had put this version of it together with the video, but we discovered last night it had never been posted.

Next is a song I found on an album by Christian heavy metal band, Scarlet Red. No, it’s not heavy metal. It’s also one of the first songs my wife and I performed together in what would be our primary church home for the next 28 years. This is the original version.

The next one is by David Wesley whose music has over 8 million YouTube views and who we are privileged to know personally. This is a cover of a Jars of Clay song. (Song ends at 5:05)

Okay, I had to end with one more up-tempo song. It is Easter Sunday after all. This is a song that was written at North Point Community Church, which is the church I visit via the internet every Sunday afternoon at 2:00 PM EST, something I’ve been doing for the better part of the last decade. At the resurrection, death was arrested in its tracks.

…we’ll get back to regular programming at Thinking Out Loud on Monday morning…

June 26, 2016

More from the Lost Songs Channel: CCM’s Early Days

Part two of the top-ranking songs on the YouTube channel I manage for Searchlight Book. See yesterday’s post for the top 5 Click through to YT for descriptions. And when I say top-ranking, realize this is a rather obscure YT channel. These are very old CCM songs and the criteria for choosing them was to select songs that had not been uploaded (that we could find) on the day they were posted.

#6 Noel Paul Stookey – Building Block (1982)

#8* Danniebelle Hall – Work The Works (1974)

#9 Wayne Watson – Born in Zion (1985)

#10 Craig Smith – God and Man at Table are Sat Down (1979)

#12* John Fischer – Righteous Man

*Items 7 and 11 on this site are spoken-word (non-music) extras.

Yes, John Fischer had two songs on this list. I always felt the chorus of the one featured today, Righteous Man, would make a great song for Promise Keepers.

June 25, 2016

Samples from the Lost Songs YouTube Channel

Today, the top-ranking songs on the YouTube channel I oversee which is sponsored by Searchlight Books but has never, to the best of my knowledge, posted anything that has anything to do with books. We think of it as a “Lost songs of Christian music” channel, and that’s what it should have been named; additionally we started out with songs that had not been posted by others, so these were intended to be unique in terms of what’s on YouTube. Click through to YT for descriptions. And when I say top-ranking, realize this is a rather obscure YT channel.  Again, remember these are very old CCM songs.

#1 Barry McGuire – Communion Song (1977)

#2 Ken Medema – Lord, Listen To Your Children Praying (1973)

#3 Scott Wesley Brown – I Wish You Jesus (197?)

#4 John Fischer – All Day Song (197?)

#5 Michael and Stormie Omartian – Seasons of the Soul (1978)

January 16, 2013

Wednesday Link List

In the first link today, I want you to join me in a promotion project for a deserving songwriter and embed the video on your Facebook page, your blog, or whatever it takes to spread the word.

  • Our first link today is the above video. I’ve been corresponding with the creator of this for some time, but it couldn’t go public until now.  “An uplifting song that furnishes a concept of peace and oneness for humanity in deliberate contrast to John Lennon’s iconic anthem, ‘Imagine’.”  Here’s the story behind the song. I want to encourage you to share this with everyone you know! 
  • Here’s an article I wrote for C201, that I may yet reblog here. It’s about Jesus’ last words to his disciples, and they may not be the words you’re thinking of right now. 
  • And another C201 post that is both packed with scripture and introduces the new Chris Tomlin song, Whom Shall I Fear.
  • Essay of the week: Canadian Dave Carrol explains his faith, his faith journey, and his ‘conflicted’ Protestant and Catholic sides to a largely secular audience in his city’s newspaper.
  • The Harvard Theological Review is postponing publication of a major article on the papyrus fragment in which Jesus seems to refer to his wife, raising further doubts about a discovery that was set to turn Christian history on its head. More at Religion News
  • Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove critiques a PBS special on the abolitionists; noting what the producers missed and what he is pleased they included.
  • If you’ve been following the Jack Schaap story, you’ll want to know that First Baptist Church in Hammond (IN) has hired a new pastor, John Wilkerson. More also at the church website.
  • Meanwhile in another casting call, how about Brad Pitt as Pontius Pilate?
  • Would Brian McLaren be a good fit to replace Louis Giglio at the Presidential bash?
  • And what if a letter from Barack Obama to Louis Giglio looked something like this letter?  Plus, I couldn’t overlook a piece that Gabe Lyons wrote on how Louis was ‘bullied off the stage.’
  • Pushing past the controversy, Christianity Today reported on Louis Giglio’s signature event, The Passion Conference. Between Passion and Urbana, it’s easy to see what American Christian youth were up to over the holidays. So why does a search for Urbana at CT turn up nothing?
  • While it doesn’t have a Christian message, this 3-minute public service announcement from the Australian government should give you good reason to slow down in all areas of life.
  • As the countdown begins to the Big Game in the U.S. (February 3rd, if you’re wondering) poet Greg Asimakoupoulos: laments that these sports extravaganzas now routinely happen on Sundays. As game day approaches, you might want to copy and paste this to the American football fans you know.  [HT: David Fisher]
  • The issue of prayer at civic events switches this week to a debate about the subject at West Point Academy.
  • Mike Duran is closing in on 300 comments for a piece he wrote about websites that put evangelicalism under the microscope or simply put it to ridicule. Some of the language is edgy, but if you’re okay with that, check out, The Anti-Evangelical Hate Machine. Later, in an effort to better understand one of the bloggers, he interviews Darrel Dow of Stuff Fundies Like.  (SFL is also the source for today’s lower graphic.)
  • A few weeks ago we attended a New Year’s Eve-Eve night of ‘clean comedy’ with Timmy Boyle, and learned that a number of comedians in Canada are creating a family-friendly comedy circuit. Here’s a story of Matt Falk, a similar entertainer whose debut album topped the iTunes comedy category on its day of release. 
  • Also for my Canadian readers, next Monday night at 8:00 PM on CBC TV’s Mr. D., history teacher Gerry Duncan wades into religion with this line, “Jesus was Jewish and even he was Catholic.” Sigh.
  • Ending with a video since we opened with one: Cindy Jacobs tells an interviewer about the ‘miracle’ of her shoes not wearing out.

Christian Family Off For Vacation

October 17, 2012

Wednesday Link List

Welcome to WLL # 125, the first link-list I’ve composed entirely in HTML. Let me know if renders a little weird on your screen. (Weirder than most weeks, that is!)


August 31, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Due to an unfortunate accident last week, we have to remind readers: DO NOT PET THE WEDNESDAY LIST LYNX

Starting off this week with something a little un-characteristic for this blog…

  • From Drew Marshall’s Facebook page:  “Saw this somewhere: ‘For all you single ladies who are in such a hurry to find someone, here’s a quick piece of biblical advice: Ruth patiently waited for her mate Boaz. While waiting on YOUR Boaz, don’t settle for ANY of his relatives: Broke-az, Po-az, Lyin-az, Cheatin-az, Dumb-az, Cheap-az, Lockedup-az, Goodfornothin-az, Lazy-az or Married-az….. and especially his 3rd Cousin Beatinyo-az !!!!’ “
  • Okay, that was a strange way to start the link list, but it was actually an excellent lead in to a piece by Donald Miller who doesn’t waste words but just asks, “Ladies, Why Do You Hook Up?”  Closing in on 400 responses.
  • CNN’s tech page reports on a Bible-based video game, El Shaddai, except that the Bible-book it’s based on is The Book of Enoch, not exactly part of the core canon of scripture.
  • Now that we’ve hooked you in with superficial story links, let’s aim for some substance with Confessions of a Former Worship Leader.  Yeah, I know, even that one starts with “confessions.”
  • “Are you busy but not intentional? Do you feel like you are just spinning your wheels and not getting any traction? Does there seem to be a lack of any kind of momentum in your organization? Could be you are dealing with way too much “sideways energy.” So begins a post at Brad Lomenick’s blog.
  • The Brink — an online magazine for twenty-somethings — interviews the voice behind the currently popular “Blessings” song, Laura Story.
  • A former Mormon thinks that Rachel Held Evans gave a Mormon apologist a free pass with questions that were too easy.
  • 150,000 views isn’t much by YouTube standards, but on GodTube it’s fairly significant. Check out Brazilian child singing sensation, Jotta A. singing Agnus Dei.
  • You didn’t know Eugene Nida, but depending on what Bible translation you use, you’ve been affected by his research and ideas.  Nida pioneered the translation philosophy often referred to as ‘Dynamic Equivalence.’ Nida passed away last week at age 96.
  • Your new word for the day: Biblicism.  It means Biblical Literalism.  Of which one kind is Letterism. (Hey, that’s what Wikipedia says; I think it’s a typo: read the section header that follows its mention.) Even though our family played Balderdash on Monday night, I’m not making these words up. Actually this was sparked by this article at Jesus Creed.
  • Rather than wait for a fan to post a lyrics-only video for his song, The Real World, Owl City did the job himself. Nothing new here, just a musical style that obviously works. More important might be his new website, Reality is a Lovely Place.
  • “God moves at three miles an hour because walking pace is the pace of love. Efficiency, hurry and haste do not effectively communicate love, and so a vision of mission centered around haste cannot be carried out according to the character of our God.” Eddie Arthur quoting Simon Cozens at Kouya Chronicle with a link to Cozens’ full article.
  • The activity known as gleaning — look it up — is alive and well as Kevin Rogers notes in a profile of Forgotten Harvest.  (Does anyone else think “The Activity Known as Gleaning” would be a great name for band?  How about “Forgotten Harvest?”)
  • It’s not a Christian movie in the sense we normally use that term, but on Sunday morning, Pete Wilson was gushing about a forthcoming film, Machine Gun Preacher.
  • Visit Zac Hicks blog for a free download of the song “Hail Thou Once Despised Jesus” from the album Without Our Aid by Zac Hicks and Cherry Creek Worship. (Offer ends Sept. 13/11)  Furthermore, get ‘the story behind the song‘ along with the classic lyrics.
  • Zach quotes Tim Chester in 12 Reasons to Give Up Porn. Heck, any two or three of these oughta be sufficient.
  • If you find you need something today to get angry or frustrated about, you could always read the King James Bible Declaration. Posted at SFL of all places!
  • I actually did read some other things this week that were a little deeper, you can find those over at C201.
  • And now for something completely different. Click the image to find the answers to James West’s Bible Puzzle

March 10, 2010

Wednesday Lynx Links

This is the link list you want to tell your friends about.   Or you can tell them about this one.   Or even this one.  This week is extremely random.  And the lynx is back, too!

  • Linda McKinnish, professor of ministry at Wake Forest Divinity School suggests that Celtic Christianity is a separate religion, in this article.
  • Randy Morgan recalls a riveting story from Mark Buchanan’s visit to Thailand from his book Things Unseen at Randy’s blog, Your Best Life Later.
  • Talbot Davis at Good Shepherd United Methodist in Charlotte, NC has some sure-fire ways to make sure you have a bad church experience.
  • An old friend of ours, Martin Barret and wife Nancy have scored a finalist position in Session 2 of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.   Go to this page, select the 5th category (gospel/inspirational) and click on the song “On That Day.”   (You can also buy the song at iTunes.)
  • Canadian Dave Carrol, with help from Pete Wilson and others, addresses the loner/rebel mindset among pastors .
  • I know a lot of churches want to identify as gay-friendly, but Texas Baptists?
  • Jonathan Brink catches Francis Chan asking the question, ‘What is our primary motivation for following Christ?’ with this video.
  • Chris Hyde reviews The Vertical Self by Mark Sayers.  (Sayers is the co-creator of The Trouble With Paris DVD which I reviewed recently.)
  • An article credited to John N. Clayton at the Don Cole Cartoons blog uses funny pictures to address a sobering topic, What is Hell?
  • Kathy aka Kaybee quotes 17th century Puritan author Thomas Brooks on the sufficiency of Christ in this short post at The Well.
  • Speaking of Thomas Brooks, you might want to read this article at Wikipedia about the Conventicle Act of 1644.   So much for house churches.   Or the Act of Uniformity of 1662.
  • Author John Shore says if you’re going to be passionate about Paul said about gays, you’d better be equally passionate about what Jesus said about wealth.
  • Michael Krahn catalogs and categorizes the works of C. S. Lewis at his blog, The Ascent to Truth.
  • Trevin Wax often includes classic prayers in his blog Kingdom People, such as, from the Book of Common Prayer, The Litany of Penance.
  • Andrew Nordine repeats a popular — but worth repeating — series of four questions on the topic, Abortion and Christianity at his blog, Seeking The Face.
  • If you miss those classic Christian films from the mid-1970s, Krista McKinney offers you the story of Edith Easter in this 20-minute short.
  • Blog Name Change:  Charlie Pharas, lead pastor of Stonecrest Baptist in Woodstock, GA, was known as Dear Charlie until yesterday when he became Adventures in Ignorance and Apathy.  (Subtitle: I Don’t Know and I Don’t Care.) (His link day is Sunday night!)
  • Blog Spinoff:  The daily prayers from the Daily Encouragement devotional website (always at the top of sidebar at right) is now a blog of its own at A Daily Prayer.
  • Our cartoons this week are from Baptist Press.   Church of the Covered Dish is from Thom Tapp, while Church People is by Frank Lengel.


October 21, 2009

The Motions: How a Song is Changing the World

“I don’t want to spend my whole life asking, ‘What if I had given everything?'”

Matthew West Something To SayI’ve been aware of this song for some time now, but it really hit home a few weeks ago when I attended the installation service for a local pastor and he asked his worship team to perform “The Motions” by Matthew West from the album Something To Say; also on the album WoW! Hits 2010. In an industry where songs come and go, it’s a song that’s gaining momentum week by week.

“I don’t want to spend my whole life asking, ‘What if I had given everything?'”

The song has haunted me since that morning.   If that pastor means what that song says — he wants God’s all-consuming passion inside him — there is nothing that he and his church can’t accomplish in the years to come.

“I don’t want to spend my whole life asking, ‘What if I had given everything?'”

What’s true for that pastor is true for all of us.   What might we feel at the end of the ride called life if and when we realize there’s so much more we could have done?   So much time that could have been better spent?   So many resources that could have been put to better use?

“I don’t want to spend my whole life asking, ‘What if I had given everything?'”

Matthew West invited fans to comment on his website as to how the song has impacted them.   So far, over 2,870 comments!   On the HearItFirst.com website, you can select a video where Matthew tells the story of 18-year old Ryan from Oklahoma, a young man who posted the lyrics on his Facebook page and asked his friends to hold him accountable to that song; just before he was killed — the same day — in a car accident.   The song became the central theme for his funeral.

“I don’t want to spend my whole life asking, ‘What if I had given everything?'”

Here are the lyrics:

Matthew WestThis might hurt, it’s not safe
But I know that I’ve gotta make a change
I don’t care if I break,
At least I’ll be feeling something
‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
“What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?”

No regrets, not this time
I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I’m finally feeling something
‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

‘Cause I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
“What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?”

Take me all the way (take me all the way)
Take me all the way (’cause I don’t wanna go through the motions)
Take me all the way (I know I’m finally feeling something real)
Take me all the way

Here’s the song on YouTube including clips from Matthew’s (ouch!) vocal surgery:

The Motions (Matthew West) video

Why did I write this post today?   Because…

“I don’t want to spend my whole life asking, ‘What if I had given everything?'”

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