Songs

Living Hope - Apr 2019

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

- 1 Peter 1:3


The other day I was helping my dad load some things in his car when he asked me to go inside and grab a few specific boxes. After walking through the front door, I froze, literally not being able to recall a word he’d just said! Something about some boxes, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember which ones or where they were… even though he had just told me 20 seconds ago!

Have you ever had Gospel amnesia? Not that you couldn’t explain the Gospel if asked, but maybe you’ve lost sight of what Jesus has done for you in the moments you needed most to remember it? Or maybe life’s routines have settled you in to a rhythm of security and provision that the wonder of the Gospel has faded? Or perhaps the cares and temptations of this world have given you a clouded view of your need for God’s transforming grace?

One of Israel’s besetting sins was the plague of forgetfulness. Moses was constantly on them saying, “Take care lest you forget the LORD your God” (Deut 8:11). When would they forget the Lord? Would it be in life’s most broken moments? Much more concerning was the temptation to forget God when life went well! So Moses warned that enjoying the gifts of their God while forgetting their God would ultimately be deadly for them. Instead, they must take care to remember what He had done for them. How he met their greatest need in their most hopeless moment, freeing them and feeding them.

As Christians, Jesus isn’t just the one we turn to when we have no other place to go, but He is the One we turn to every moment of every day. Because otherwise we will, no doubt, turn to ourselves or somewhere else for assurance and satisfaction. Will we have seasons of doubt and wandering? It’s likely. But that’s why we need to be constantly reminded of the Gospel. Constantly telling and retelling the wonders of God’s glorious grace in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Because we are so prone to forgetfulness.

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Our hope is a living hope because we have a living Savior! Our hope is a living hope because we were dead but have been made alive in Christ! Our hope is a living hope, because Christ is the very sustenance by which we live. As we need a constant reminder of the Gospel, one of the most vivid pictures we have is the sacrament of Communion. At the Table we feast on Christ for spiritual nourishment (John 6:54).

I rejoice also that God has provided songs for the church throughout the generations that tell and retell the central story of the Gospel: the depth of our need and that Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose for sinners like you and me. As we sing “Living Hope” throughout Easter, remember. Remember that there was nothing you could do to save yourself, but God sovereignly and graciously called you by name and breathed new life into your dead soul. What great mercy and what boundless grace! Praise be to the One who set us free! This is a story that can’t be over-told. For there indeed is no other name by which we can be saved than Jesus Christ, our living Hope (Acts 4:12).

Living Hope

Written by Phil Wickham & Brian Johnson

Lyrics:

How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation, I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night
Then through the darkness, Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is finished, the end is written
Jesus Christ, my living Hope

Who could imagine so great a mercy?
What heart could fathom such boundless grace?
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame
The cross has spoken, I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior, I'm Yours forever
Jesus Christ, my living Hope

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There's salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living Hope

Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Jesus, Yours is the victory!

© 2017 Phil Wickham Music, Simply Global Songs,
Sing My Songs, Bethel Music Publishing / CCLI #193208


His Mercy is More - Mar 2019

He will again have compassion on us

he will tread our iniquities underfoot

You will cast all our sins

into the depths of the sea

- Micah 7:19


There have been times in my life where I’ve had a clouded view of God’s love. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience? Seasons of doubt, rebellion, pride, and disobedience, coming face-to-face with my sin, wondering whether God’s mercy really could go that far. In my head, knowing what the Bible says, but in a moment feeling the heaviness of my sin. Utterly broken. Surely, I’ve exhausted God’s patience?

In moments like these we need the church to remind us who we are. Brothers and sisters in Christ, not to pick us up, but to point us to the only One who raises us to new life (Col 2). Friends who won’t just offer advice, but who offer God’s Word to remind us that the blood of Christ is sufficient to cover all our sin (Eph 1:7, Heb 10:14, 2 Cor 12:9)! So that instead of turning to our own strength, we can turn to the very Spirit of God working powerfully within us (Rom 8:13). Remembering that for those who would throw themselves on the mercies of God, trusting in the redemptive work of Christ, God really has removed our transgressions as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12).

This beautiful modern hymn from Matt Papa and Matt Boswell was inspired by a letter written by John Newton (writer of “Amazing Grace”):

For the more we know of ourselves, the more we shall prize and love Jesus and His salvation. I hope what you find in yourself by daily experience will humble you, but not discourage you: humble you it should, and I believe it does.

Are not you amazed sometimes that you should have so much as a hope, that, poor and needy as you are, the Lord thinketh of you?

But let not all you feel discourage you. For if our Physician is almighty, our disease cannot be desperate and if He casts none out that come to Him, why should you fear?

Our sins are many, but His mercies are more: our sins are great, but His righteousness is greater: we are weak, but He is power. Most of our complaints are owing to unbelief, and the remainder of a legal spirit. And these evils are not removed in a day.

Wait on the Lord, and He will enable you to see more and more of the power and grace of our High Priest.

No matter how bad we’ve been, no matter how far we’ve run from God, no matter awful our sin, His mercy is more. This is incredibly good news! What other response can we have than to praise the Lord for His glorious grace in Christ Jesus!

His Mercy is More

Written by Matt Papa & Matt Boswell

Lyrics:

What love could remember no wrongs we have done?
Omniscient, all-knowing, He counts not their sum
Thrown into a sea without bottom or shore
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more!

Praise the Lord, His mercy is more!
Stronger than darkness, New every morn’
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more!

What patience would wait as we constantly roam?
What Father so tender is calling us home?
He welcomes the weakest, the vilest, the poor
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more!

What riches of kindness He lavished on us?
His blood was the payment His life was the cost
We stood ‘neath a debt we could never afford
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more!

© 2016 Getty Music Hymns and Songs, Getty Music Publishing, Love Your Enemies Publishing, Messenger Hymns / CCLI #193208


Also appearing on the Getty’s Newest Album

Click album cover to listen


God is For Us - Feb 2019

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

- Romans 8:31, 38-39


Romans 8, what a chapter! The ultimate relief for the heavy-burdened. The ultimate ammo against the enemy’s lies. The ultimate hope that God is the one working, for His glory and our good.

The world has no lack for songs to bolster one’s faith. It’s just usually about faith in yourself to “rise above”, “hold on”, or “shake it off.” What makes our faith different is its object. Not faith in ourselves, but in our God who “gave His Son to free us” from the bondage of sin and doubt. He is the reason we can keep going, because He is the author and finisher of our faith, Christ our firm foundation.

I came across this group of worship leaders in Australia called CityAlight, whose mission is to write “Christian worship music with Biblically-rich lyrics and simple melodies.” Oh what an answer to prayer! My family has been ministered to significantly by their music and I hope to introduce more into the mix here at New Covenant.

This song is one of those anthemic declarations best sung in large groups. I picture singing this bridge in a sea of believers, fists in the air, declaring God’s praises and preaching to one another of God’s firm grip on His children. Such that no one can snatch us from His hand! I boldly invite you listen, learn, and lift your voice as we bolster our faith in the only one worthy of it!

God is For Us

Written by Michael Farren, James Ferguson, Tiarne Tranter, Jesse Reeves, Jonny Robinson, James Tealy, Rich Thompson

Lyrics:

We won’t fear the battle
We won’t fear the night
We will walk the valley
With You by our side

You will go before us
You will lead the way
We have found a refuge
Only You can save

Sing with joy now, our God is for us
The Father’s love is a strong and mighty fortress
Raise your voice now, no love is greater
Who can stand against us if our God is for us

Even when I stumble
Even when I fall
Even when I turn back
Still Your love is sure

You will not abandon
You will not forsake
You will cheer me onward
With never ending grace

Neither height nor depth can separate us
Hell and death will not defeat us
He who gave His Son to free us
Holds me in His love

© 2018 CityAlight Music / CCLI #193208


God With Us - Dec 2018

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

- John 1:14


One of the most foundational aspects of the Christian faith is that our God has come to us. No, we are not required to achieve a certain status or climb high enough to get to Him, because Christ made Himself low that we might be given access to the Father.

From the beginning God has been sovereignly working this plan to be “with” His people. In Genesis 26, we see this promise to Abraham. Declared in Exodus 29 and fulfilled in Leviticus, God says, “I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God.” When Moses passes on the baton to Joshua, he encourages the young leader, “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.” The list could go on…

But, of course, this earth-shattering concept of a holy God dwelling with a broken and sinful people finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, who among many names, is given the name Emmanuel (which means “God with us”) by the prophet Isaiah over 700 years before His birth. Not only would the Word become flesh to dwell among us, but He would be the means through Whom God would bring hope to this world, peace between God and man, and victory over sin and death.

Among the host of beloved Christmas songs for worship, we’ll be singing “God With Us” as a declaration and reminder that God has indeed made good on His promise to dwell with His people in the person of Jesus Christ. And let’s not forget that Jesus made His own promise to be “with us” forever (Matthew 28:20), quickly fulfilled in the coming of the Holy Spirit to dwell intimately in the heart of every believer. 

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas, may we enjoy the festivities of the season, but truly marvel in our great Savior who became one of us so that we may be one with Him.

God With Us

Written by Jason Ingram & Leslie Jordan

Lyrics:

You've come to bring peace
To be Love, to be nearer to us
You've come to bring life
To be Light, to shine brighter in us
Emmanuel, God with us

Our Deliverer, You are Savior
In Your presence we find our strength
Over everything, our Redemption
God with us, You are God with us

You've come to be Hope
To this world, for Your honor and name
You've come to take sin
To bear shame and to conquer the grave
Emmanuel, God with us

You are here, You are holy
We are standing in Your glory
You are here, You are holy
We are standing in Your glory, Lord

© 2018 Integrity’s Praise! Music / CCLI #193208


My Heart is Filled With Thankfulness - Nov 2018

I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

- Psalm 69:30


What are you thankful for? We toss this question around each November as we gather with family and friends… and turkey! But it’s also a key question to consider when talking about singing from the heart.

We often express thanks for family, for friends, for jobs, homes, health, and of course, food. The Bible certainly tells us to be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:18), so thanking God for physical blessing is appropriate and right. In fact, Paul constantly commands thankfulness to permeate all areas of our lives (Eph 5:20; Col 2:17, 3:15-17, 4:2, etc).  

Still, as Christians, what are we to be most thankful for? You probably know the answer, but in the busyness of our lives and ironically, the joys or the sorrows of our lives, we often forget it. The greater testimony of Scripture is a posture of thanksgiving first and foremost for spiritual blessing- that God has already given us! (Eph 1:3) Over and above success in this life, Jesus teaches His disciples to rejoice that their names are written in Heaven! (Luke 10:20) When Paul thanks God in 1 Cor 15:57, he refers to a “victory” in Christ that is ultimate- that dwarfs all earthly blessing or earthly pain.

So what are the benefits of being thankful? Thankfulness is the key to remembering God’s character, His goodness, and faithfulness- remembering His mighty acts and ultimately redemptive work through Jesus. Forgetfulness was one of the biggest plagues of God’s people in the OT. But thankfulness helps us remember the Gospel when we’re so easily tempted to forget it. Whether physical blessing is plentiful or seemingly absent, thankfulness for our abundant spiritual blessing helps us magnify God in all circumstances.  

In October, Pastor Rountree preached on joy in the Lord, saying,  “every gift given to you connects you to the Giver…the most significant thing about the gift is that it should bring you back to rejoice in the Giver!... Our God is so engaged with us and committed to us in giving us things, if we just rejoice in the things and don’t see that the things are there to connect us to Him, we’re gonna miss the joy… What it really does is engage us to Christ forever, both body and soul.” Simply put, thankfulness is the path to joy.

This Getty hymn focuses our hearts and minds on the immeasurable riches of God’s grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:7).

My Heart is Filled With Thankfulness

Written by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend

Lyrics:

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who bore my pain
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness
And clothed me in His light
And wrote His law of righteousness
With power upon my heart

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly
Whose every promise is enough
For every step I take
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who reigns above
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace
Whose every thought is love
For every day I have on earth
Is given by the King
So I will give my life, my all
To love and follow him

© 2003 Thankyou Music / CCLI #193208


Show Us Christ - Oct 2018

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

- John 6:66–69


We sing about many aspects of our faith: giving glory to God, retelling the wondrous Story of the Gospel, celebrating the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, expressing our love for God and dependence on His grace and mercy. No doubt we seek to sing Scripturally-based songs, but how often do we sing songs that petition God to transform us by His powerful Word?

This beautiful and simple song is just that. It’s a humble prayer of preparation and yearning for God to impress His Word upon our hearts by the power of His Spirit in such a way that our lives bear the fruit of the Gospel as a response. At the heart of this prayer is the centrality of Christ. What great privilege we have as Christians on this side of the Cross, with the joy of seeing Christ as the fulfillment of God’s written Word (Matt 5:17) and the very Word of God in flesh (John 1:14).

This is a perfect song to sing before hearing God’s Word preached, but it’s also very relevant to sing afterwards! The truth is we need God’s help to prepare us beforehand, give us the ears to hear during, and apply His Word to our hearts even after we sit under the teaching of Scripture.

With so many worldly voices competing for our attention, may we cling to God’s Voice, spoken to us in His living Word. For as the disciples recognized: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69).

Show Us Christ

Written by Doug Plank & Bob Kauflin

Lyrics:

Prepare our hearts, O God
Help us to receive
Break the hard and stony ground
Help our unbelief

Plant Your Word down deep in us
Cause it to bear fruit
Open up our ears to hear
Lead us in Your truth

Show us Christ, show us Christ
O God, reveal Your glory
Through the preaching of Your Word
Until every heart confesses Christ is Lord

Your Word is living light
Upon our darkened eyes
Guards us through temptations
Makes the simple wise

Your Word is food for famished ones
Freedom for the slave
Riches for the needy soul
Come speak to us today

Where else can we go, Lord?
Where else can we go?
You have the words of eternal life

© 2011 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)/ Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI). Sovereign Grace Music, a division of Sovereign Grace Churches. / CCLI License# 193208


Come Thou Fount - Sep 2018

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

- 1 Corinthians 13:12


This is one of the tried and true hymns of the church, sung by generation after generation. These beautifully poetic lyrics express a heart-felt dependence on the Lord for what He’s done, what He’s doing, and what He will do (Phil 1:6). Though this world seeks to pull us away from God, the good news of the Gospel is that Jesus has drawn us close, decisively securing our place as God’s children, redeemed by His blood (John 10:28).

Do you feel apathetic towards worshipping with God’s people? Ask for God to “tune your heart to sing His grace.” Do you doubt God’s goodness towards you? Look back and remember what Christ has done. Do you feel your heart wandering? Throw yourself on the mercy and grace of our good God. Believe the promise, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

A few years ago, I came across this lesser known 4th verse and immediately fell in love with it! Taking us on a journey as many of our hymns do, this final verse turns our affections towards the future, our heavenly hope in Christ. No longer will we suffer the stain of sin. No longer will we be prone to wander. No longer will we ache with pain. For will see the Lord face to face, with renewed hearts, worshipping in His presence (1 Cor 13:12). Oh, what joy! Indeed, come Thou Fount of every blessing.

What’s that word mean?

Ebenezer – “stone of help” from 1 Sam 7:12, a declaration and remembrance of God’s divine help

Interposed – to place in between, Jesus’ blood shields us from the righteous wrath of God

Fetter – A chain of restraint, expressing the desire for God’s grace to keep us ever so near to Him

Come Thou Fount

Written in 1758 by Robert Robinson
(4th Verse added by Bradford J. Brown)

Lyrics:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I'm fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I come
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be
Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Oh, that day when freed from sinning
I shall see Thy lovely face
Full arrayed in the blood washed linen
How I'll sing Thy sovereign grace
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry
Take my ransomed soul away
Send Thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day

© Public Domain