Hymn Stories: Praise the Lord!

This has been a trying week. In addition to losing a dear friend to a brain tumor in a matter of 4 days, the schedule and emotional expenditure of ministering to her dear family has been exhausting, bringing me home at 6am and 3am on consecutive evenings. It’s been a delight—sincerely, I love what God has called me to do, and I love this family—but it has been physically, emotionally and spiritually draining.

Well, I received a great deal of encouragement today from unexpected sources. Several friends contacted me out of the blue with gracious notes about the hymns I’ve written. Today within just a few hours I received 4 encouragements regarding 3 different hymns:

Joe Tyrpak, our assistant pastor at TCBC, was in Detroit for the Mid-America Conference on Preaching. He called sometime around 2pm. When I answered my cell phone, he didn’t speak. Instead he held up his phone so I could hear the special music that preceded the afternoon message at the conference: a gorgeous rendering of My Jesus Fair. I was moved to tears, especially to hear the strong tenor voice belt out that “the Lamb arose, and death is slain!” Amen! What timing!

A short time later I received an email from Jim Bishop, a friend from college and the music pastor at Tri-City Baptist Church in KC. He let me know that he would be introducing Holy, Mighty, Worthy this Sunday night in their evening service. Amen!

Next, I got a note from Jesse Bartz, a friend who is church planting in Canada. He wrote the following about My Jesus Fair:

I am very thankful for your hymn. We sang it last Lord’s Day and intend to do so again this coming one.

I am longing for that day when with unfettered eyes and untainted hearts we will join the eternal choir to sing “You are worthy!” to our God and Saviour. God used your hymn to lift my eyes to Christ.

Finally, I received an email tonight from Dennis, Tracy’s loving husband who lost his wife so suddenly this week. He was rejoicing in God’s goodness, even in the midst of his own sorrow. He magnified Christ, then closed his note with a line from I Love Your Church: “We love our church because we love her Lord.”

What an unusual series of blessings. Sometimes the Lord gives us encouragements that, though unnecessary, are surprise expressions of His grace. To be used of God in this way is a particular joy. Praise the Lord! Glory to God alone!

Psalm 115:1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, But to Your name give glory, Because of Your mercy, Because of Your truth.


4 Responses

  1. A sample midi of Holy, Mighty, Worthy is available here. (Do note that the tempo of the sample midi is a bit swifter than we generally sing the song.)

    Also, I should have said again that I so appreciate Greg Habegger’s lending his considerable musical talents to both Holy, Mighty, Worthy and My Jesus Fair.

  2. Well, our choir introduced My Jesus Fair this morning, then our congregation sang it. The service theme was “Propitiation!” and the text for the morning message was 1 John 2:1, so we also sang His Robes for Mine. The Lord allowed us to have an encouraging, Christ-exalting service!

    (FWIW, I also adjusted the 2nd verse of His Robes for Mine to take care of an awkward rhyme scheme.)

  3. Chris,

    Why don’t you bring some of your music to Camp next year in August and teach us some new songs.

  4. Our youth group sang My Jesus Fair around the campfire tonight. We haven’t memorized it yet, but they sing it well.

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