Opening with Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

We opened our Sunday morning service with “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.” I did not tell the hymn story, though it is a good one! I had told a longer story the week before. And I knew that Pastor Mike wanted to share the story of song that is special to him later in the service.

Meditation using Come, Lonely Heart

After the “opening hymn,” we sang all four stanzas of Pastor Chris Anderson’s hymn “Come, Lonely Heart.” What a wonderful text based on John 4! And I love the parallelism in this spiritual meditation. Singing these two hymns back to back was a strong example of worshiping God in His transcendence and His immanence. The first hymn describes God Who is not like us—very far removed from His creation. The second hymn describes God Who stoops to sacrifice Himself for His lost creation.

Choir Presents I Sing the Mighty Power of God

After Pastor Mike prayed, the choir presented Isaac Watts’ text “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” using the tune FOREST GREEN. The accompaniment for this setting was a jaunty, rhythmic 3+3+2 in the piano. Very exciting. And the choir sang it well.

Just As I Am and the Story of Charlotte Elliott

After the choir sang, I wanted a gospel song feel, so we sang “It’s in His Name” before Pastor Mike told the story of “Just As I Am.” He related that as the son of a traveling evangelist, he sang that hymn as an invitation song more times that he could count. He was particularly blessed by the story of Charlotte Elliott. So he shared her story and we sang several stanzas of that famous song.

Offertory Emergency

I missed the first part of the message because I had an “offertory emergency.” I had to make sure that the words for the offertory were correct. Good thing I checked because I did use the wrong ones! The correct words are by a Polish Lutheran pastor, Benjamin Schmolk (1672-1737). Influenced by the pietism movement (see my post here), he became the most popular hymn writer of his day, according to Wikipedia. The text is below.

Pietistic Offertory

A church member adapted the music to a famous tune by the classical composer Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826), the German composer, conductor, pianist, guitarist, and critic of the Romantic Era. I will admit I did not know the famous tune. But I heard two music geeks talking after church outside my office. They both knew it! And they both thought it was brilliant to marry that text with that “famous” tune. TJ and Christa Roberts sang it sweetly. But more importantly their pianist told me that they had all been blessed as they discussed the meaning of the text and how it related to their lives. How pietistic of them!


My Jesus, as Thou wilt!
Oh, may Thy will be mine!
Into Thy hand of love
I would my all resign;
Through sorrow, or through joy,
Conduct me as Thine own,
And help me still to say,
My Lord, Thy will be done!


My Jesus, as Thou wilt!
Though seen through many a tear,
Let not my star of hope
Grow dim or disappear;
Since Thou on earth hast wept,
And sorrowed oft alone,
If I must weep with Thee,
My Lord, Thy will be done!


My Jesus, as Thou wilt!
All shall be well for me;
Each changing future scene
I gladly trust with Thee.
Straight to Thy rest above
I travel calmly on,
And sing, in life or death,
My Lord, Thy will be done!


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