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Day of Judgement!

This week at CCM, we're learning a new song to help us engage with our upcoming sermon series on Amos. And it's on a topic we don't sing about much...

The theme of God's judgement is significant in Scripture. It's an uncomfortable one to speak about, let alone sing about. And as the general tone of Church music has become more joyful and celebratory over the years, we've lost some of the hymns that talk about judgement, lament over sin, and so on. The truth is, it's only by dwelling on these 'low' points of sin and judgement that we can understand and appreciate the 'high' points of the cross and eternal life.

The Olney Hymn book, published in 1779, contains the hymns of pastor John Newton and William Cowper (pronounced 'Cooper'), a poet in his congregation. Newton often wrote hymns to go with his sermons, and the Olney Hymns preserves the best of those, including  Amazing Grace and Cowper's God moves in a mysterious way. These hymns contain a great variety of topics presented with Newton's typical pastoral sensitivity.

This Sunday, we'll be learning an updated version of Newton's hymn Day of Judgement, day of wonders, which helps us feel the dread of that great final Day, and points us to the mercy we so desperately need in Christ. The lyrics are below, and you can find the lead sheet on our CCM Music page:

Day of judgment, day of wonders!
Hear the awful sound,
Louder than a thousand thunders,
Shakes the vast creation round!
 
2. Jesus calls: the dead awaken,
Rise from earth and sea;
All the pow’rs of nature shaken
by his look, prepares to flee:
 
When all earth and heaven melt away,
Gracious Saviour, own me in that Day!

 
3. Every knee shall bow before Him,
Every heart exposed;
All the stains of our rebellion
Clear before His judgement throne.
 
Under earth and heaven’s blackened sky,
Gracious Saviour, You were lifted high,
Bearing all the curse that my sin deserved
As You bled upon that tree:
God the judge hangs cursed for me.
 
4. Rise now, sinner: come to Jesus
Pardoning grace to know.
Meet Him now as gracious Saviour,
Not just then as Judge alone.
Original words by John Newton. Additional words & music by Ben Slee. © Ben Slee 2017.

 

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The Glory and the Crown: 18 months on

It's been about 18 months since CCM released it's first EP, The Glory and the Crown, so I was asked to put together a little update on some of the encouragements we've heard about since it's launch...

The vision was simple: we wanted to share some songs written by people at CCM, which we thought would be an encouragement to our church family and others who hear them. We long for the word of Christ to dwell in us richly; we recorded 5 songs which we hoped would help us do that.

Although most of the team involved with the project had been involved in various recording projects before, we'd never attempted anything quite like this. But, spurred on by that vision, we put together the EP over the course of about 6 months. We learned a lot and, even though it isn't perfect, we hope and pray it will serve the church: both CCM and further afield.

In God's kindness, He's taken our efforts and used them for His glory!

The songs from the EP are now being sung around the world. We've received messages from American and Australian churches passing on their thanks for the songs, and saying they're using them regularly. Lots of churches all over the UK are singing them, too.

Some of the songs from The Glory and the Crown have been re-recorded for live albums last year, including the Word Alive 2016 album New Again and The first Co-Mission album, See Him Face to Face.

We also launched a brand new music page on our website, packed with resources to help churches sing the songs; including free sheet music, how-to videos, acoustic demos and devotionals to do with your band, small group of family.

Will you join us in giving thanks to God for all He has done! We want to keep serving the church like this - not building a name for ourselves, but building the kingdom of Jesus and serving His church. Please pray for us!

 

 

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He will hold me fast

We really enjoyed learning this new song on Sunday Night. It speaks of the assurance we have in Christ, that he'll never let go of those He's died for:
When I fear my faith will fail,
Christ will hold me fast;
When the tempter would prevail,
He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path;
For my love is often cold;
He must hold me fast.

He will hold me fast,
He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so,
He will hold me fast.

Those He saves are His delight,
Christ will hold me fast;
Precious in His holy sight,
He will hold me fast.
He’ll not let my soul be lost;
His promises shall last;
Bought by Him at such a cost,
He will hold me fast.

For my life He bled and died,
Christ will hold me fast;
Justice has been satisfied;
He will hold me fast.
Raised with Him to endless life,
He will hold me fast
‘Till our faith is turned to sight
When He comes at last!
Words: vv. 1-2 Ada Habershon (1861-1918), Public Domain.
Alt. words, new words (v.3), and music: Matthew Merker
© 2013 Getty Music (BMI)/Matthew Merker Music (BMI) (adm. by Music Services)
All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Here's the story behind the song from it's author, Matt Merker (source: gettymusic.com)

A member of our church had sent the original words to “He Will Hold Me Fast” to me and our senior pastor, suggesting that this could be a good song for us to learn as a church. I forgot about the song for a while, but later pulled it out again when I was walking through a difficult personal season of doubt and uncertainty. I was wrestling with the hard questions of the faith and struggling to place my trust in the enduring power of God’s preserving grace. John Piper’s sermon from T4G 2012 on Jude vv. 20-25 was a lifeline for me, and Jude 24 became an anchor for my soul in that trying time: “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy...” It was at this time that I was beginning to try my hand at writing new tunes for old texts, mainly as a personal devotional exercise to help aid my own soul in seeking Christ. I pulled out “He Will Hold Me Fast” again and the words ministered to me deeply. I wanted to see the resurrection and return of Christ featured in the lyrics, since our hope is guaranteed by the reality that Christ has risen and is coming again.

I first shared the song with my wife and then with our pastor, and he suggested we should try singing it as a congregation. We introduced the song to CHBC early in 2013 and the church quickly owned the song and began singing it with joy (and really loud voices!) For anyone who is discouraged by the enormity of the work or by the apparent lack of fruit in any particular missions context, it reinvigorates us to know that God is in control and he will preserve us to the end!

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Things we loved about Word Alive 2016

WA2016_Holidays

The CCM Music team were privileged to join over 4,000 believers being encouraged at Word Alive 2016!

Some particular highlights we enjoyed...

Singing with so many believers

There's something hugely rousing in singing the wonderful truths of the gospel in a big group. You can find the list of songs we sang in the morning sessions here. If you were there, thanks for belting it out - it was so encouraging!

Teaching on Job from Vaughan Roberts
We found the morning session talks on Job from Vaughan Roberts real and sobering, and yet gave us courage to cling to the gospel in the midst of suffering. It was clear that, as we began to respond through song to what God was saying to us, many were deeply moved and helped; they're well worth a listen.

Time together as a team
Despite a busy schedule, we did manage to get some time together as a team, which was hugely valuable. Having an extended time away together always helps deepen relationships and provides opportunity to talk, laugh, cry and pray together - and we certainly found that to be true. We've returned from Word Alive understandably knackered, but more thankful for each other and our unity in Christ!

Thank you to the many who encouraged us in our service - it was a huge joy to be with you all to gather around the gospel! Looking forward to hearing the Word Alive album when it's done!...

File 14-04-2016, 10 40 07

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Songs from Word Alive

WA2016_Holidays

CCM had the joy of leading some music at Word Alive 2016! We had so much fun doing it; and what a privilege to sing with so many voices, heartily praising God!

Here's a list of songs we sang to go along with Vaughan Roberts' very helpful talks on Job:

  • Where, O grave, is your victory? (Free sheet music, how-to videos and devotional available right here!) - Christ Church Mayfair
  • It is well (When peace like a river) - Horatio Stafford
  • Man of Sorrows - Hillsong
  • Rejoice (Come and stand before your maker) - Dustin Kensrue
  • To God be the glory (Tune by Nathan Fellingham)
  • Come, people of the risen king - Keith & Kristyn Getty
  • In Christ alone (King's Kaleidoscope version) - Stuart Townend
  • Come, thou Fount of every blessing
  • Even though I walk through the valley (You never let go) - Matt Redman
  • Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Citizens & Saints version)
  • How great Thou art - Stuart Hine
  • Before the throne of God above - C. Bancroft / V. Cook
  • Behold our God - Sovereign Grace Music
  • No other name - Trevor Hodge, Emu Music
  • Amazing grace (My chains are gone) - Chris Tomlin
  • Be Thou my vision
  • Blessed be your name - Matt Redman
  • This is amazing grace - Phil Wickham

We hope and pray that the songs helped God's word to dwell in us all richly 🙂

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Music and Mission: Thoughts from Psalm 98

How can we grow in our songwriting? How will we write better songs? The surprising answer from Psalm 98 is that we all go on mission.

Phil Allcock preached on Psalm 98 for us at our annual World Focus Sunday a couple of weeks ago (Listen here).So, I've shamelessly stolen some quotes from that sermon and distilled them into this post!

There are lots of great reasons to sing in church, but Psalm 98 (and lots of other parts of the Bible*) call us to 'sing a new song to the Lord' because singing both expresses our joy in the gospel, and increases it as we sing with others. As Phil says in his sermon:

When we experience God rescue us, help us, save us, we want to sing to him afresh. With every fresh experience of his saving, we sing a new song of praise. When we sing we don't just express our joy, we increase it. So, why do Xns sing? I sing because God is enjoyable, when I sing I enjoy him more, and I sing in church because that's when I enjoy him most of all.

Ok, so singing is good. But how does that relate to reaching others with the good news of Jesus?

If we want our next [CCM] album to be even better, we should send a whole load of us out to the mission field.
As we...are involved in what God is doing around the world, seeing people willing to suffer for the gospel, and seeing great stories of Gods miraculous work in individuals; as we celebrate what we're part of as a church...we can trust the songwriters to turn them into great songs of praise. But their songs will be much, much better if they're part of a church busy with God's work around the world and so we're inspired to sing new songs of praise to [Him].

Singing God's praise is the overflow of what he's doing in the world. Seeking to reach others with the gospel of Christ brings God immense glory as people turn and are saved. And so we'll have countless reasons to praise Him in song as we go boldly to reach the nations.

I find this inspiring, and greatly challenging.

*cf. 40:1, 144:7-9, 149:1-4; Isa. 42:10; Rev. 5:9, 14:3

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