Yesterday people had an opportunity to win a pre-release copy of 30: Three Decades of Songs for the Church by leaving a comment describing their favorite Sovereign Grace Music song.
When we’re writing songs and putting albums together we always pray God would use our music to magnify the glory of Christ and the gospel to strengthen the church. As I read through the comments I was moved to hear how God has been doing just that in specific ways. It was difficult, but I picked 5 winners based on content and then chose 5 at random.
Here are the 5 stories I picked, with a few thoughts on why I chose them.
Caleb Mathews – All I Have is Christ
I so enjoy singing this song corporately. The chorus is so simple, truthful, and powerful. So many times, I honestly feel like my heart is saying, “Ugh… all I have is Christ…” But by God’s grace, He is teaching me to count everything as loss compared to knowing the Savior. I’m also thankful for the way the song is written. The verse lyrics speak gospel truths, like “all I know is grace,” that lead to the ability to honestly declare the challenging and comforting words of the chorus.
Caleb’s comments show how God can use songs to change our hearts and give us appropriate ways to respond to his grace. They can strengthen our understanding of and confidence in the gospel.
Matt Hoage –
When You Move
When You Move has been a theme song that’s been in my head for months. In seeking God to move in our church and in our community—that he would break us, humble us, and we would be willing vessels and reflectors of His glory.
Matt’s comment shows how songs can be a form of prayer that we return to again and again.
Caleb – Show Us Christ
I have three reason. 1) A theological reason. This song is packed with beautifully articulated truth. If all the scriptures testify about Christ, then should that not also be our prayer as we hear the word of God preached? 2) A liturgical reason. I find it so helpful to have sings like this in a church’s repertoire. To be able to sing this right before the preaching event is so helpful to everyone involved. It sets our hearts together a song/prayer that we would be able to see our Savior. 3) An emotional reason. I was married a year and a half ago and we played this song at the very beginning of the ceremony. We could think of no better to begin our wedding than with those words, “Show us Christ.”
God can use songs to fulfill multiple purposes. They can teach us theologically (Col. 3:16), fill out certain aspects of a liturgy, and form associations that remind us not only of content but spiritually significant contexts.
Will Gerrald – It Is Not Death to Die
I was introduced to Sovereign Grace Music by my professor, Chip Stam. I was privileged to have participated in his memorial service at SBTS where the song “It Is Not Death to Die” was beautifully delivered. That song was my first real introduction to your ministry. Our sovereign God used Chip, his teaching and his death, to mold my priorities in worship for His purposes. You see, even before I accepted my first full time position, Chip was teaching me how to face death in a way that honors God and trusts in his Word. In the short time since my ministry has been riddled with tragic death. “It Is Not Death to Die” has been a comforting reminder of the goodness of God not only to me, but to those in my congregation that have been shaken by loss. I had the heart-wrenching privilege of helping a family in our church plan the funeral for their 11 year old son. I presented them with several songs (including “It Is Not Death to Die”) for private devotion, and they chose “God Moves” for me to sing (ultimately through many tears) at the funeral. This all seems very heavy, but all is not so sorrowful! Your songs (even happy ones) have also slowly infiltrated our Sunday services, and our people enjoy singing them. Praise God for you all and for my faithful professor who introduced you all to me even after his passing. It is not death to die, indeed.
God uses can songs to direct our hearts and minds to biblically based truth and comfort during times of tragedy. They can help articulate what faith-filled trust looks like even as we grieve. Will’s comments about my dear friend, Chip Stam, also remind me that our songs are meant not only to be sung, but lived.
Jennifer Sadler – You Never Change
My favourite song would be “You Never Change”. As a missionary here in Japan, I have sung this song many times in different events and each time it speaks to me about how God is a source of all good and it echoes the hymn, “Great is thy faithfulness” as each morning his mercies are new! In the second verse it speaks of mountains fall into the sea. As we have endured the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami here in Japan, this songs speaks to those who have lost hope and need the Author of Life – Jesus Christ.
God can use songs to remind us of God’s faithfulness and bolster our trust in his power and care. Jennifer’s comment also highlights the helpfulness of specific imagery in our songs.
And here are the five winners chosen at random:
John Braswell – All I Have is Christ
Leah – Show Us Christ
James Lundquist – Grace and Peace
Jordie Poblete – Show Us Christ
Matt Rudd – All I Have is Christ
If you won, you’ll be receiving an email today with your download code.
Thanks to everyone who left a comment. More importantly, thanks for wanting to join us in promoting songs that seek to fuel our worship with God’s Word and the gospel.
I woke up to your email yesterday and was so excited not to just have a chance to win your album but more to let you know how blessed I have been by the Lord’s ministry to me, through you. I even wrote a note and put it in my pocket to remember when I got home from work. I also told my kids, 14 and 12, that when I got home we would all write how thankful we were for your music. Well, when I got home there was an internet outage due to high winds in our area (eastern Ohio) and I was not able to respond in a timely manner. However I told my wife that I would not allow that to deter my thankfulness and I wanted to share with you one of my favorite songs and why.
One of my favorite songs is “The Father’s Love” from your “Sons and Daughters” album. As with all of your songs, I am captured by the Word of God that is always given the front seat in your music. “He has saved us, called us blameless, guides us now and will sustain us!” What more could be said. When I listen to your music it’s like listening to the Bible with the most talented voices reading and the most joyful music intertwined. Your ministry in music has literally changed my life by the Word of God. My relationship with Jesus is so much more rich having meditated on Him for hours and hours through your music. I told my wife today that if I could only have one group of musicians on my iPod for the rest of my life, that it would be Sovereign Grace Music. Keep in mind, I have at least 80 gigs worth of music. I love music…in particular, I love Sovereign Grace’s!
On behalf of myself, my family and my Lord, thank you, thank you!
Your brother in Christ,
Joe, your comments are very meaningful and very encouraging. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
I just wanted to share that my 2 year old is in love with Show Us Christ and we sing it with her multiple times a day…she knows all the words. I love that song, it’s so rich in biblical content.