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Hymn of the Week – Wonderful Love of Jesus

Music & poetry by Edmund S. Lorenz (1883)

In vain in high and holy lays
My soul her grateful voice would raise;
For who can sing the worthy praise
Of the wonderful love of Jesus?

Refrain:
Wonderful love! wonderful love!
Wonderful love of Jesus!
Wonderful love! wonderful love!
Wonderful love of Jesus!

A joy by day, a peace by night,
In storms a calm, in darkness light;
In pain a balm, in weakness might,
Is the wonderful love of Jesus!

My hope for pardon when I call,
My trust for lifting when I fall;
In life, in death, my all in all,
Is the wonderful love of Jesus!

Hymn of the Week – Abide With Me

Music by William Monk (1861)
Poetry by Henry Lyte (1847)
Audio recording

Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens. Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me!

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me!

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me!

I fear no foe with Thee at hand to bless:
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee!
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!

Tackling Unforgiveness

At the Duluth Church of Christ this coming Sunday morning, Cary Oglesby will bring us a lesson about getting rid of unforgiveness in our lives. Our worship, while directed primarily toward God, will also help us to encourage each other as a Christian family to live and love more like Christ would have us to.

All song numbers are from the book Praise for the Lord.

Doxology – 528

The music of this classic hymn dates back to 1551, and the words to 1673. Despite its age, the message rings ever true: Each member of the Godhead is worthy of praise and glory from both men and angels.

A Common Love – 842
Audio recording
I have fond memories of singing this song with other young people, hand in hand as we finished a time of devotion together. When we forgive each other, we show our love and strengthen the bond between us.

He Paid a Debt – 859

Before the sermon, we will sing this song and remember the debt that Jesus has already paid for us. Now that we are forgiven, we can forgive others! And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. (Matthew 6:12 NKJV)

Sweet Will of God – 432
Audio recording
As the invitation is given, we will sing this beautiful hymn from the turn of the last century. This song puts into words our longing to want what God wants, for His will to be ours, “Till I am wholly lost in Thee.” May this be our goal every day!

Nailed to the Cross – 444
Audio recording
Part of the sweet will of God was for the Son to willingly give His life on the cross, in order to pay our debt. This solemn song will remind us of that sacrifice and help us get into the right mindset to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows. (Isaiah 53:4 NKJV)

Beloved, Let Us Love One Another – 846

Our final song will return to the theme of loving our brothers and sisters in Christ, which includes forgiveness. Dennis Ryder put 1 John 4:7, 8 to music in 1974, and it is a great way to memorize this Bible verse, complete with the reference!

Two Special Brothers

At the Duluth Church of Christ this coming Sunday morning, Thomas Reid will be speaking to us about two brothers in Christ who were very special to the apostle Paul: Timothy and Epaphroditus. As we look at the characters of these two special men, we can learn how we can model our character after them.

The following songs are from the book Praise for the Lord.

Seek Ye First – 883

The words to this song come straight from Jesus’ mouth, quoted from Matthew 6 and 7. And although you might not think of this as a song of praise, notice that each phrase ends with the word “Alleluia,” a Hebrew interjection meaning “Praise the Lord!” As we think about the providence of God, we can praise Him for taking care of us as we seek His kingdom first, just as Timothy did: “For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 2:21 NKJV)

God’s Family – 855

This spiritual song was written in the 1970s, shortly after “Seek Ye First,” and paints a beautiful picture of what Christians should be as children of God. Paul may not have been married, but he knew his true family was his brothers and sisters in Christ. “When a brother meets sorrow, we all feel his grief.” This is how the Christians in Philippi felt when they heard that Epaphroditus was sick: “he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick.” (Philippians 2:26 NKJV) In the same way, Paul knew they would rejoice to see him again. As children of God, we are family, and we should act like it!

There’s a Royal Banner – 671

Before the sermon, we will sing this rousing spiritual song from the 1880s that encourages us to serve as “soldiers of the king.” One of the descriptions Paul gives Epaphroditus is “my fellow soldier” (Philippians 2:25), and when we realize that being a Christian means being at war, and that it is a matter of life and death, things suddenly become more serious! As a soldier of Christ, Epaphroditus understood this, and almost died as a result of his service to God (Philippians 2:30). We should follow his example and “For Christ count everything as loss.”

Come Unto Me (O Heart Bowed Down With Sorrow) – 107

We will sing this song after the sermon to invite those who are burdened with the sin and troubles of the world to come to Christ and make their life right. This song emphasizes what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, that the way of salvation is so much easier than the life of sin. “His peace is like a river, His love is like a song…”

Oft We Come Together – 511

As we begin turning our minds towards the Lord’s Supper, we will sing this beautiful spiritual song by brother Tillit S. Teddlie. Notice the first line: “Oft we come together, oft we sing and pray.” This should be true for all Christians, but sadly, for some it might be more accurate to say “Sometimes we come together, every now and then we sing and pray.” Let us be more devoted to worshiping our God and being with the saints every time the door is open!

God Will Take Care of You – 191

Before the closing prayer, we will return to the thought introduced by the first hymn, that God will take care of us if we seek Him first. And although not specified in this song, one of the ways that God takes care of us is through other Christians like Timothy and Epaphroditus. As we go through life, let us always “beneath His wings of love abide.”

Hymn of the Week – Shout for Joy

My own recording of “Shout for Joy” (MP3)

I don’t know who composed the music for this rendition of Psalm 100, but it’s beautiful. I only have the music in my head, so I thought I would make a recording of it this afternoon for anyone who would like to learn it. The second echoing voice would be sung by the ladies. Praise the Lord!

Know that the Lord is God;
it is He who has made us,
and we are His.
We are His people,
the sheep of His pasture,
and we are His.

Shout for joy!
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Shout for joy!
Come before Him with joyful song!

Enter His gates with thanks,
and His courts with praise,
for we are His.
Give thanks unto Him,
and bless His holy name,
for we are His.

For the Lord is good,
His love endures forever,
and we are His.
And His faithfulness
lasts to all generations,
and we are His.