Tag Archives: music

Friday Night Ramblings

2 Mar

A few random thoughts on a Friday evening . . .

  • Good fiction and good biography share the common trait of compelling narrative. We seem to be wired for story. Interesting that so much of the Bible is story (and the whole book has an overarching storyline).
  • Reading poetry is a wake-up call for those enmeshed in the information age.
  • I believe most of us would lose weight and feel better if we gave up sugar and simple carbs.
  • I believe giving up sugar and simple carbs is for many of us as difficult as a two pack a day guy quitting smoking.
  • Doing the hard things early in the day is often wise.
  • I would prefer to listen to a “secular” song that grapples with life and reality over a “spiritual” song that is empty or lacking in biblical content.
  • For modern day “spiritual” music that is not lacking in biblical content, I don’t think you can do much better than Andrew Peterson.
  • I admired Billy Graham. Never met him and only heard him once in person. I like the fact that the good news about Jesus went out in his death as it had in his life.
  • Why can’t we look at school shootings in a holistic way instead of running to our ideological corners to defend what we care about or destroy what we detest? Why not instead come together and work together, leaving nothing off the table, using an evidence-based approach to develop policies that will save lives.? We can’t prevent evil behavior but is there a way to protect people while also upholding personal freedom?
  • My favorite movies of the last few years (in no particular order) . . . Lion, Fences, Les Miserables, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Rogue One, LaLa Land, Hidden Figures, Doubt
  • My favorite movies of all time . . . To Kill a Mockingbird, Jaws, On the Waterfront, A Face in the Crowd, A Few Good Men, Shawshank Redemption (TV version), In the Heat of the Night, Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, The Natural, Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  • With all that said, I am not a huge movie person. I may go to two movies a year and don’t watch many on TV.
  • Fiction I enjoyed (but didn’t read until after the age of 40) . . . Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jayber Crow, Hannah Coulter, P.G. Wodehouse books (hilarious).
  • If I could only have one style of music to listen to for the rest of my life I think I would choose the singer-songwriters of the 70’s (James Taylor, Carole King, Bread, Cat Stevens, etc.).
  • Why do some people think being against abortion is only a religious issue? I’d be against it based on the science alone.
  • How many of the decisions we make are rooted in our idolatries? (scary thought)
  • You’re always going to let people down, and they are always going to let you down. When it happens, gratitude is better than bitterness.
  • Jesus is great and He is good. He is full of grace and truth. In His cross we find a firm place to stand and a soft place to fall. We find in His perfect life not only a model but His very righteousness accounted to us through faith. We find in His death on the cross the only way to be delivered from the righteous wrath of God against sin. We find in His empty tomb the proof that He is who He says He is and that as He lives, so will we. This is my hope. I pray you will find life and hope in Him too, the way, the truth and the life.

Be Thou My Vision

7 Jan

Definitely in my top ten favorite hymns, this hymn will open our morning worship service on this first Sunday of 2018. Let these lyrics encourage you today . . .


Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

My Favorite Hymns

6 Jan

Hymns are kind of outdated in the minds of many, but I still like them. I could take or leave the musical style in which they are presented, but the pattern of verses which build a story (often the story of the gospel) is a real encouragement to me. Here are a few of my favorites . . .

Be Thou My Vision — http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/b/t/btmvison.htm

And Can it Be? — http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/a/c/acanitbe.htm

My Song is Love Unknown — http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/m/y/mysongis.htm

I Asked the Lord That I May Grow — http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/i/a/iaskedtl.htm

Crown Him with Many Crowns — http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/c/r/crownhim.htm

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross — http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/w/h/e/whenisur.htm

He Will Hold Me Fast — http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/h/w/hwilhold.htm

If you ask me next year, I’ll probably have a new set of favorites.

I am thankful for the musical and lyrical treasures we have in the Church. I am thankful for these songs that can lift our hearts or help us re-focus on Jesus.

What are your favorite hymns?




My Favorite Piece of Music . . .

7 Jan

for a long time has been symphony no. 2 by Jean Sibelius. When tragedies local and worldwide surround me, I like to remind myself that human beings are capable of such beauty. We are made in the image of God, corrupted as we may be. Beautiful and broken. Awaiting redemption even as we strive for the blessing of others. Knowing our efforts are always tainted and incomplete. Knowing only a coming Deliverer can make all things new. Yet on we go, unyielding, unwavering, even as we limp along in our humanity. And every once in a while, something beautiful emerges out of the brokenness.

Listen if you wish, the link is below. It is good web-browsing music. But is far better to listen in a comfortable chair in a dimly-lit room with a favorite beverage and your undivided attention.

Carly Simon and the Wonder of the “Ordinary”

13 Sep

Yesterday I was working in the office and the silence was a little too much for me. My brain was not firing the way I wanted so I decided to turn on Pandora, the online music player. I had it on a songwriter channel, kind of elevator music with words. It was just the kind of music I needed; great for background noise but not so deep or meaningful as to distract me from my work. The only problem was a song came on that did distract me from my work. It was Carly Simon’s, “The Stuff That Dreams are Made Of.”

This song is not incredibly deep but it presents a profound spiritual truth for marriage and for life; slow and steady wins the race. Persistence in good is good for you. Cheap thrills and low commitment will shrivel your soul. The song is from an older Simon, not like her earlier songs of breezy on again, off again relationships. This is the wisdom of experience singing, the grass is not greener and the effort is not easier on the other side.

Here are the lyrics. If you want some good elevator music for your day, you can click on the link that follows the lyrics to hear the song.

Take a look around now
Change the direction
Adjust the tuning
Try a new translation
Don’t look at your man in the same old way
Take a new picture
Just because you don’t see shooting stars
Doesn’t mean it isn’t perfect
Can’t you see…

It’s the stuff that dreams are made of
It’s the slow and steady fire
It’s the stuff that dreams are made of
It’s your heart and soul’s desire
It’s the stuff that dreams are made of

So what’s this about your best friend?
She’s got a brand new shiny boy
And they’re moving out to Malibu
To play with all his pretty toys
And you feel closed in by the same four walls
The same old conversation
With the same old guy you’ve know for years
But use your imagination
And you will see….

It’s the stuff that dreams are made of
It’s the slow and steady fire
It’s the stuff that dreams are made of
It’s your heart and soul’s desire
It’s the stuff that dreams are made of

What if the Prince on the horse in your fairytale
Is right here in disguise
And what if the stars you’ve been reaching so high for
Are shining in his eyes

Don’t look at yourself in the same old way
Take another picture
Shoot the stars off in your own backyard
Don’t look any further
And you will see
It’s the stuff that dreams are made of….


Wherever Worship

30 Jun

I was coming back from a dinner last night with my family, just riding up highway 321 in our minivan. The sun was beginning to set and my children were on their last legs. My two oldest were alternating between lighthearted banter and full-on torment of each other while my youngest was getting a little fussy, just about ready to be done with the day.

Sometimes I have found that turning on a little music in the van helps my youngest son settle down. So I flipped on the radio to WDAV and heard a familiar tune, one of my favorites, Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. It doesn’t always work, but this time, Timothy settled right down. Even the back-seat shenanigans died down a bit. And as the music moved toward its conclusion, the sky became more and more orange as a large cloud bank stretched from the setting sun eastward, yellow-orange at its beginning and fading to light pink at the tops of the mountains. The cloud bank and the music made for a majestic moment as our little minivan chugged down the road, flanked by Mitsubishi’s and Ford trucks. My heart sang for joy to God, for giving us such great gifts as a reflection of His own greatness. This was worship. The majestic work of the Creator filled and surrounded that van. These moments of wherever worship are really all around us. There are endless opportunities to delight to God, but we are often unaware of them, until one so unmistakeable makes you realize what you’ve been missing.

Just in case you want to hear the music, here is a clip of Stravinsky himself conducting the finale of the Firebird. We’ll have to wait until later to see what kind of sunset the Lord gives us tonight.


Great Music for Your Saturday

30 Jul

Last Sunday night, one of our church members, Rick Hefner, presented a worship concert at the church.  Rick, along with our music director and organist, Jim and Elizabeth Dellinger, and violinist Jay Dellinger, presented a wonderful program of instrumental worship music and hymns.  We are blessed to have Rick and the Dellingers at WHBC.

Here is a link to a few of the songs featured in the concert.  May these great songs help you set your mind on things above today.

Embrace the Cross

22 Apr

At the heart of grace and truth is the cross, the proof that grace and truth are not enemies, the proof that grace and truth are not divided, the proof that justice and mercy can meet.

As a young Christian (I was saved at age 16), one of my early inspirations musically was Steve Green.  I played the cassette tape (yes, I am that old) of the album God and God Alone until it was worn out.  So on this Good Friday, my mind turned to Steve Green’s  song Embrace the Cross.  I wanted to link to it here as well, in the hope that someone might be encouraged through it today.

This link should get you to a YouTube recording of the song . . .

%d bloggers like this: