Welcome!  Hymns have been and continue to be a real source of inspiration to me.  My desire in this blog is to share special hymns with my readers hoping that the words will minister to them, especially in times of great personal need.  If one of these hymns ministers to you, please take time to leave a comment so that I know that my blog is helping others as much as it helps me. Sometimes I will also provide a link where you can go to hear the hymn played.  So, please join me here each week and sing along as we praise God together.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


We've just come through another Easter season and we have celebrated the death of Christ on the cross and His life changing resurrection from the dead.  Central to this amazing historical event is the cross where the Lamb of God shed His blood to pay the price for our redemption. As the scripture tells us, without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sin. This week's hymn choice takes us to one of the great impacts of this sacrifice.  For because of His death and resurrection we now have the promise of a future eternal home with the Savior.  For the way of the cross leads home, where the Savior waits at the open door to welcome His children home.  The words were penned by Jessie B. Pounds (1861-1921).  The music was added by Charles H. Gabriel.  Pounds was born in Hiram, Ohio, near Cleveland.  She was in poor health as a child and received her education at home.  At age 15 she began to submit articles to the Cleveland newspapers and to various religious publications.  In her early years an editor commented that some of her poetry would make good hymn texts. And this led her to a song writing career. It is said that Jessie wrote 9 books, 50 cantata librettos, and over 400 hymns.  She actually collaborated with James Fillmore for three decades.  Now we don't really know what led her to pen these words, but some speculate that it could have been inspired by a popular sermon illustration that was circulating during those days.  The geographical heart of London is Charing Cross, which is referred to locally simply as "the Cross". A London police officer came upon a lost child who was unable to tell him where he lived. Finally, amid sobs and tears, the child simply said, "If you will take me to the Cross, I think I can find my way home from there".  Now I don't know if this hymn was ever very popular, but as a youngster I can recall it being sung quite often on Sunday evenings and in prayer meetings.  It was a great hymn of hope.  It is a testimony to that fact that believers are just pilgrims here and this world is not our home.  Our real home, Heaven, is the destination of our journey.  The way of the cross leads home.  May that be your hope and testimony today.  The journey may be tough at times, but a glorious end is in sight for the believer.

(1)    I must needs go home by the way of the cross,
There's no other way but this;
I shall ne'er get sight of the gates of light,
If the way of the cross I miss.
The way of the cross leads home,
The way of the cross leads home,
It is sweet to know as I onward go,
The way of the cross leads home.

(2)    I must needs go on in the blood sprinkled way,
The path that the Savior trod,
If I ever climb to the heights sublime,
Where the soul is at home with God.
The way of the cross leads home,
The way of the cross leads home,
It is sweet to know as I onward go,
The way of the cross leads home.

(3)    Then I bid farewell to the way of the world,
To walk in it never more;
For the Lord says, "Come," and I seek my home,
Where He waits at the open door.
The way of the cross leads home,
The way of the cross leads home,
It is sweet to know as I onward go,
The way of the cross leads home.

Sing along with this hymn as you listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Today is the most important day in the Christian calendar - Resurrection Day.  He is risen, He is risen indeed.  Today Christians celebrate the day that Christ was victor over death and the grave. When they came to visit His tomb that morning they found it empty. They shouldn't have been surprised because He himself proclaimed that He was the resurrection and the life.  And because He overcame these dreaded foes, we too can now have eternal life, victory over sin and death and  have hope for tomorrow.  That is the truth and message that makes Christianity different than any other religion.  If Christ hadn't died and risen from the dead He would be nothing more than  another interesting man who roamed the earth for a few years trying to teach good moral ideas.  But He was the Word, He was with God, and He was God.  And He left all the riches and glory of heaven to come to earth and give His life as a sacrifice for our sins.  And He is risen.  The great hymn writer, Charles Wesley, experienced this new life which only Christ can give and a year after his conversion, in 1739, he penned these powerful words.  They were actually written for the inaugural service at the Foundry Meeting House, London's first Wesleyan chapel. Charles Wesley has often been called the "Bard of Methodism." His prominence in hymn writing may be judged from the fact that in the "Wesleyan Hymn Book," 623 of the 770 hymns were written by him; and he published more than thirty poetical works, written either by himself alone, or in conjunction with his brother. The number of his separate hymns is at least five thousand.  Wesley's hymn, Christ the Lord is Risen Today, apparently originally had eight verses and three more were added in the 14th century by an unknown author.  However, over the years some of the words have been rearranged and today most hymnbooks contain the four familiar verses shown here.  As you celebrate this special day today, sing and meditate upon the powerful words and truth of Wesley's great hymn.

(1)    Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

(2)    Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Dying once He all doth save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

(3)    Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

(4)   Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

To help you celebrate this special day and message, I've included several choices for you to listen to.  You can choose from the following.
(1)  Singing by a congregation    LISTEN 1
(2)  A presentation at Coral Ridge   LISTEN 2
(3)  An acapella presentation   LISTEN 3
(4)  A presentation by children   LISTEN 4
(5)  A brass ensemble   LISTEN 5

Sunday, April 13, 2014


As we enter what is often called Holy Week, I felt led to choose one of the great hymns of faith, written by Isaac Watts, that expresses the truth of this season.  Watts (1674-1748) was the son of a schoolmaster and was born in Southampton, England.  Watts is said to have been a brilliant child, beginning the study of Latin when he was four and writing verses when he was seven. It is said that as a teenager he complained to his father about the monotonous way Christians in England sang the Old Testament Psalms. His father, a leading deacon, snapped back, "All right young man, you give us something better." At fifteen the young poet turned his talents to the service of the church and the great career in hymn writing began. To Watts, the singing of God's praise was the form of worship nearest to Heaven and he went on to argue, "It's performance among us is the worst on earth." Young Isaac accepted his father's challenge and eventually wrote more than 750 hymns, earning him the title "The father of English hymnody". In his hymns Watts took the Word of God, of which he must have been a diligent student, and distilled it so that all is wisdom, beauty and comfort set before us with plainness and power. Watts' giftedness for writing hymns, combined with his courage in publishing them, would eventually turn the tide against singing only psalms and set a new standard for Christian worship in the English language. C.H. Spurgeon's grandfather, himself a great preacher, and in the line of the Puritans, would have nothing else but the hymns of Isaac Watts sung in his services. Many believe that his greatest composition must be "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross."  Tedd Smith is quoted as saying, "It seems to me that Isaac Watts wrote this text as if he were standing at the foot of Christ's cross." Charles Wesley reportedly said he would give up all his other hymns to have written this one. Concerning the hymn's creation, there is no special story that makes it stand out from others that he wrote.  But what makes this hymn unique is the particular beauty of its language and imagery, and the power with which it highlights the most significant event in human and personal history - the cross of Jesus Christ.  So as we approach Good Friday, may the words of this familiar hymn remind you again of the great price that was paid for your redemption and what our response should be. "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all." 

1. When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

3. See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

4. Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Listen to it being sung here.   LISTEN

Sunday, April 6, 2014


You've probably had the same experience.  You are doing something and suddenly a melody invades your mind and its a song which you haven't heard in years.  And as you sing it over and over in your mind it just doesn't go away.  And this can happen in the strangest situations.  A few weeks ago I entered the elevator at our church and as I pushed the button to go up I suddenly began to sing "I'm going higher, yes higher someday ... I'm going higher to stay."  And for the rest of the evening those words came ringing through my mind.  Now obviously the words had nothing to do with the elevator.  They talk about that time that we anticipate when we will be taken "higher" to be with the Lord.  A time when we will be where no one gets sick or dies.  A place where we will meet our loved ones who have gone on before.  Revelation 21:4 tells of that time and place. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."  The original words and music were written by Herbert Buffum (1879-1939) who was converted at the age of 18.  He earned credentials from the Church of the Nazarene and he was a Holiness/Pentecostal evangelist.  He was also a prolific song writer with 10,000 songs to his credit, 1000 of which were actually published. Ripley's "Believe It Or Not" claimed He once wrote 12 songs in an hour.  When he died, the Los Angeles Times called him "the king of Gospel song writers." Apparently in 2001, the words were updated and performed by Bill and Gloria Gather and their Homecoming Friends.  This spirited, upbeat song shares the hope of all believers.  We don't know when it will happen, but the Lord Himself promised to make a place for us and then someday take us home to be with Him eternally.  Rejoice in this truth as you meditate upon these simple but profound words this week.  I'm going higher someday!

(1)    Often my soul has been lifted above
Lost in the ocean of God's mighty love
Higher and higher, but once still I say
I'm going higher someday

I'm going higher, yes higher someday
I'm going higher, yes higher to stay
Over the mountain, beyond the blue sky
Going where none ever sicken or die
Loved ones will meet in that sweet by and by
I'm going higher someday

(2)    Soon will the Savior appear, bless His name
And in a moment, we all will be changed
Then when he calls for his bright come away
We're going higher someday

I'm going higher, yes higher someday
I'm going higher, yes higher to stay
Over the mountain, beyond the blue sky
Going where none ever sicken or die
Loved ones will meet in that sweet by and by
I'm going higher and higher and higher

You can listen to it here.  Note that you can skip the ad after a few seconds.  LISTEN