I have been singing this song the last couple of weeks and I was surprised to learn it was by Fanny Crosby. A bit of a walk down memory lane with an old fashioned quartet doing this song. Sadly, though, they leave off one verse.

8 Reasons Every Christian Should Sing Hymns

Not that long ago, hymn-singing was an inextricable part of corporate worship in essentially every Christian faith tradition. Fast forward a few decades to 2015, and vibrant hymn-singing is all but lost in most evangelical circles, and has a diminished presence in desperate mainline denominations. And make no mistake, our churches, people, and faith are all the poorer for it. There are many reasons to not neglect the long, ongoing tradition of hymnody in our churches. Here are just a few of them.

Read more at The Aquila Report

NASHVILLE (BP) — Fanny Crosby’s hymns have impacted lives for Christ worldwide for generations, but until recently 2,700 of them were overlooked in an archive, unsung and unpublished.

Now on the album “Blessed Assurance: The New Hymns of Fanny Crosby,” some of those forgotten lyrics have come to life through today’s worship writers and singers, introducing a new generation to one of the most substantive hymn writers of all time.

Fanny Crosby (1820-1915), undaunted by lifelong blindness, was “a songwriter for the people,” Adrian Thompson, vice president of song and artist development at Integrity Music, told Baptist Press. “She wrote songs that the common man really grasped.”

Read more at Baptist Press

the gift of a pianoIt all happened so quickly. I was shopping at Winco when the phone rang.

“Kim,” said Jean, my piano student. “Do you know anyone who needs a piano? We just came from helping our pastor move to a smaller house and we have a beautiful piano on the back of our truck. We want to deliver it to someone who needs it.”

I was taken aback as Jean did not know about my new student’s prayers.

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For hundreds of years, hymn writers have set their lyrics to classical, folk, pop and rock tunes. One recent example is Michael Perry’s hymn, “O God Beyond All Praising.”

the planetsAccording to the United Methodist Church website, this hymn was “written specifically for the melody THAXTED in 1982, a composition by the early 20th-century British composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934) [which is part of the “Jupiter” section of his orchestral suite, “The Planets.”] This tune is normally associated in the United Kingdom with a more patriotic text. Perry composed the text, he said, ‘in response to a call for alternative words that would be more appropriate for Christian worship.’”

The lyrics of “O God Beyond all Praising” celebrate “blessings without number and mercies without end” as “We lift our hearts before you and wait upon your Word.” By setting his lyrics to this triumphant, solemn tune he effectively claimed it for the church—not only that we might sing it for ages to come, but I believe (like many great hymns of the church) for throughout eternity.

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My neighbor moved out yesterday.

prince the dogIn my neighborhood, neighbors come and go, so this move was no different than the others, except it was. It was different because my neighbor had become a friend … thanks to her dog. That is because she needed someone to watch her dog, Prince, while she went to work. As I got to know Prince, I also got to know Josey.

Josey attends Victory Outreach church. I was not familiar with Victory Outreach. Victory Outreach was started years ago by a couple in Los Angeles as an outreach to street people: homeless, drug addicts, drunkards, the poor, the outcast. They do the kind of ministry that I can only admire from afar.

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My neighborhood is prone to adventures. I do not mean the stuff of storybooks, of exotic locales, of great deeds and daring, all with happy endings. No, not those kind of adventures, but the kind that a mind-your-own-business, busy-at-work, up-to-my-eyeballs-in-projects person would rather avoid. Adventures like the next door neighbor pounding on the door at two in the morning pleading for help because her boyfriend was threatening her life; an adventure like coming home to the street blocked off, SWAT teams patrolling around our home and neighborhood and the police helicopter circling overhead; an adventure like discovering the gate busted open by policemen chasing a fugitive who decided to make a quick escape through the backyard. Mind you, thanks be to the Lord, this did not all happen in one week, or month, or even year, but nevertheless, they are the kind of adventures that can unnerve and drive one to prayer.

And to prayer I did go. It was a simple prayer, but, believe me, very heartfelt: “Lord, please send me Christian neighbors.” God answered that prayer in an unforgettable way.

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grandma wilsonWhen I was twelve years old, my Grandma died. In some ways, it was a lonely, sad death. At the time, she was living in our home in Eureka, California, under the care of hospice. A grumpy nurse with a this-is-just-a-job attitude stayed at our home the last few days of my Grandma’s life. The day my Grandma died my mother, along with my sister, had travelled to San Francisco for a doctor’s appointment–an appointment that had been made many months in advance. My father was a commercial fisherman and so he was out at sea. I came home from school to find the nurse pacing back-and-forth in front of my house, irritated, waiting for my arrival. She told me that my Grandmother had been taken to the hospital and to get in the car. When I walked into the hospital room my Grandma was in a coma. In the room was an old friend of the family, my “adopted” Grandma Mabel–an older woman in our church who was also friends with my Grandma. I was then promptly ushered out of the room, taken out to eat dinner and returned home without going back to the hospital.

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