What in the what, is the Lord doing?

So, yesterday as we were hitting our goal (and while we were freaking out) I had a flashback to the moment when I pressed the "publish" button on our Kickstarter project late the night before. I said a small anxious prayer to the affect of "Lord, please, if we could just make this goal." As I sat there watching us pass our goal in less than a day I felt like the Lord was saying, "Your faith was so small. What is in your heart?" The first thing that came into mind was the record of original Christmas songs that Sarah and I have been talking about all year. Then, of course, I thought, "No, that's a whole different project. That's too much!" But I felt my heart soften to be vulnerable in hope and obedience so I have decided to put it out there by faith for you all to consider.

We are fully funded toward "A Lovely Wait" and I am working to finish tracking this week and the songs get turned in for mixing next week. Thanks to you all, that is happening at full speed.

If you all would like me to put out an original Christmas record this year, Sarah and I would love to make that happen. I have been writing songs for Advent and Christmas for over 10 years now and I would love to share a collection of those songs with you to add to your holiday music playlist and to encourage your devotion to Jesus during that season. If you are anything like us, we are always looking for edifying Advent/Christmas music focused on Jesus and I would love try to capture the mystery, awe, hope and gratitude of the Advent and Christmas season.

Stretch Goal
Recording a Christmas record the most efficient way is the most expensive. It would cost $26,000 if we recorded with a producer in the studio and if I was able to pay the musicians for their work. If I self produce the record and the musicians are willing (and able) to volunteer their time then it could be as inexpensive as $10,600. So, if we can raise between $10,600-$26,000 in the next 18 days, we will get going on planning and scheduling a record of songs on the incarnation and second coming.

So, big stretch goal beyond the original $7,000: 
Advent/Christmas Record $10,600-$26,000

That's a potential Kickstarter total of $33,000.

How will the Rewards Work? 
As far as rewards go, if you'd like to support the Christmas Record I'll honor the same rewards levels for "A Lovely Wait" but toward the Christmas record. So, for instance if you want to donate $20 you can choose which record you wanted to get or if you wanted to donate $40 at the "Come on Sing Along" level then you could choose the Christmas record lead sheets and chord charts. Make sense? So just pick a reward and then send me a comment if you want your reward to count toward the Christmas record.

We're Listening
If you have any other ideas of things that you would love for us to do, let me know. I had someone mention a video and folks in the past have asked about vinyl. I'm open to your ideas so don't hesitate to send them my way. If I get enough of a ground swell I will definitely listen.

All Funds will Be Dedicated to Music
Lastly, to be clear, no matter what happens or how much we raise, I want you to know that it will all go directly into getting more music out to you all. No other purpose. 

Click here to join the project.

Again, thank you for your kindness and generosity in supporting my music. May it always point you to Jesus and bring him glory.

Words cannot express...

...how grateful we are for what has happened today. We are in shock. I spent the afternoon off and on in tears. We had no idea that it was even possible that we could be totally funded in less than 24 hours. You all are amazing and we feel the love and support. I will be working to get this record in your hands as soon as possible and if this overflow of generosity means that you are wanting more music and you want to continue to fund for the next 19 days, I will work extra hard on getting more music out in your hands. Sarah and I have been talking about doing a Christmas record. If it were funded I would work to get it out by mid November. If that sounds like something you'd like to support, leave a comment and let us know and we will make it a stretch goal. Thank you all so much!

For His Own Sake

There are some songs that you get pregnant with and you can't help but finally just to let it out. This is one of those songs. Whether through my own life or through the deep suffering of dear friends, I have been working through this aspect of our walk with Jesus. What does it mean to love the almighty God when he allows calamity? What should we expect in this life? After spending much time in the word and prayer, after trying to teach these truths to myself and those around me, this song comes and it sums up one of the largest truths that has emerged during this season. That I do not love God for what he does for me. I love him for who he is alone. That is what it means to really love. He is worthy of my love, my strength, my devotion and honor. And it is not just that I am obliged to give my everything to him. I want to. In fact, there is nothing I want more than to give my all to my God. This song was recorded live in worship on Palm Sunday. ......................................................................................................................................................................

Vocals: Nathan Partain, Katherine Green, Kyle Ragsdale Guitar: Nathan Partain Violin: Wes Lackey Accordion: Corinn Gove Bass: Joe Wheeler Percussion: Brian Allee

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For His Own Sake            (Listen/Download)      (Chord Chart)

I have seen the bright birth of the morning, I have worked through the sweat of the day. I have laughed as the summer rains poured down from heaven, and I've harvested oceans of grain.

I have worked and I've worked and had nothing, I have prayed and I’ve prayed but no rain, I have lost to the fire, storm and locust, And woke up to find all my land left in shame.

Still each morning and noon and in evening, I will trust my Lord and bless his name. Never seeking the gain but the Giver, So I love him for nothing but for his own sake.

I have made the mistake that my blessing, Means the favor of God on my ways, And thought every hardship, his anger against me, And cried out in darkness for grace.

Now I know that his kindness is steadfast, He has anchored my soul in his peace, So that suffering is now just the pangs of my hunger, to know the embrace of my King.

Still each morning and noon and in evening, I will trust my Lord and bless his name. Never seeking the gain but the Giver, So I love him for nothing but for his own sake.

I have learned that this world is not truest, There’s a hope held securely beyond, And since Jesus has suffered through my own destruction, I entrust my all to my God.

I have seen deepest loss bring rejoicing, Seen a mother with her stillborn sing praise, I have seen those abused and those ravaged by sickness, Through tears and in anguish give thanks.

Still each morning and noon and in evening, I will trust my Lord and bless his name. Never seeking the gain but the Giver, So I love him for nothing but for his own sake.

Your Beloved is Ready

PANO_20131224_203048Here is a song I wrote for Advent last month. I wrote it in an effort to depict the church as she really is in Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. I wanted to describe the beauty of her holiness and the intimacy of her love and relationship with her God. It was meant to entice and draw the Lord himself toward the one he died for, as if he needed someone to remind him of his beloved, his delight and joy. It was meant to be a vision for us, to remember who we are as the church and what it looks like to shine like stars in the depraved generation so that we might also yearn to be this beautiful for our Savior. It was also meant to be another sung-prayer added to the thousands of years of prayers that the church has cried out, "Come, Lord Jesus!" It was recorded live during worship on December 8th. ............................................................................................................................

Vocals: Nathan Partain, Kyle Ragsdale, Andrea Homoya Guitar: Nathan Partain Fiddle: Kipp Normand Mandolin: Shawn Collins Banjo: Kyle Edgell Washboard: Elyce Elder Bass: Rob Meyer Percussion: Brian Allee

Photograph: Jamie MacGregor

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Your Beloved is Ready     (listen/download)     (chords)

She has saved her whole heart for you Lord, She has kept her eyes pure for you Lord. She has waited and waited, while her hungers were raging, To taste only the love of her Lord.

She has set her delight in you Lord, She has stayed all her thoughts on you Lord. She has stilled her desires, all her tossing and straying, She has put all her hope in you Lord.

You have washed her for the day of her wedding, Promised yourself, by your Spirit abiding. In the earthquakes and war, Lord, can you hear her singing, Her arms are raised high, she is radiant, she is holy, Your beloved is ready.

She has shut out the greed of her soul, Scoffs at scarcity, rotting and mold. She has given so freely, to the mean and unworthy, She’s so loved that she cannot withhold.

She surrendered her fight for control, She has waived every right that she holds. She wiped out all the debts that she’d demanded from others, Cause she knew that she’d owed so much more.

You have washed her for the day of her wedding, Promised yourself, by your Spirit abiding. In the earthquakes and war, Lord, can you hear her singing, Her arms are raised high, she is radiant, she is holy, Your beloved is ready.

She has torn up her murderous laws, Her comparing and searching for flaws. But you’ve made her so humble, holding others so highly, That her joy has been filled to the full.

She took off her pretense for you Lord, She confessed all her shame to you Lord. She came out of her hiding, to be know so profoundly, She's so free she can dance for you Lord.

You have washed her for the day of her wedding, Promised yourself, by your Spirit abiding. In the earthquakes and war, Lord, can you hear her singing, Her arms are raised high, she is holy, she is radiant, Your beloved is ready.

The Lord will Provide

Here is a John Newton hymn (1775) that I rewrote a while back. While I was writing the tune and especially the refrain, I had a picture in my mind of the people of God going through hard times. I saw them traveling from one place to another on pilgrimage or on the run, weary and in need and I wanted to put a song in their mouths for their encouragement. I also wrote it with a call and response type refrain in mind so that the worshiping community would be repeating to themselves the promise of God's help rooted in his action of purchasing us through the death of his son. I recorded it in my office and Rebekah Osborn joined in with harmony.

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The Lord will Provide       (listen/download)     (chord chart)

The birds, without garner or storehouse, are fed; From them let us learn to trust God for our bread. His saints what is fitting shall ne’er be denied Just as long as it’s written, “The Lord will provide.”

Though troubles assail us and dangers affright, Though friends should all fail us and foes all unite, Just one thing secures us, whatever betide, His Spirit assures us, “The Lord will provide.”

Leader: And this promise remains, People: Our Lord has redeemed us, Our Lord will provide Leader: Through all ages unchanged, People: Our Lord has redeemed us, Our Lord will provide Leader: In all our want, in our pain, People: Our Lord has redeemed us, Our Lord will provide Leader: Faithful through all of our days.

When Satan assails us to stop up our path, And courage all fails us, we stand but by faith. He cannot take from us, though oft he has tried, This heart glad’ning gospel, “The Lord will provide.”

We’re told we are weak, and our hope is in vain, The good that we seek we never shall obtain, But when such suggestions, our graces have tried, This answers all questions, “The Lord will provide.”

Leader: And this promise remains, People: Our Lord has redeemed us, Our Lord will provide Leader: Through all ages unchanged, People: Our Lord has redeemed us, Our Lord will provide Leader: In all our want, in our pain, People: Our Lord has redeemed us, Our Lord will provide Leader: Faithful through all of our days.

No strength of our own and no goodness we claim; Yet, since we have known of the Savior’s great Name, We run to this strong tow’r and for safety we hide: For the Lord is our power, “The Lord will provide.”

When life sinks apace, and death is in view, The word of His grace shall comfort us through, Not fearing or doubting, with Christ on our side, We hope to die shouting, “The Lord will provide.”

Leader: And this promise remains, People: Our Lord has redeemed us, Our Lord will provide Leader: Through all ages unchanged, People: Our Lord has redeemed us, Our Lord will provide Leader: In all our want, in our pain, People: Our Lord has redeemed us, Our Lord will provide Leader: Faithful through all of our days.

Love is a Gift but It's not Free

This is a song I wrote for an offertory during worship in late March. It came out of a season where, as a community, we were dwelling on the immense cost of real relationship, what the overused-misunderstood word "love" means and what was spent for God to "love" us through his son. Most of our relationships are surface. Unfortunately, even some of our relationships that are supposed to be our closest, relationships we think are deep, can remain somewhat surface for our whole life. To really know someone, to see their true beauty and their irreparably deep brokennes, to accept them even when they cannot love you well in return or even when to love them is to endure pain, this is completely amazing. It is almost nonexistent among humanity (although we get glimpses of it from time to time) but this is what the word "love" means. This kind of love can never be earned, it must only be received but it is never free. It comes at immense cost to the giver. I recorded this in my office last month.

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Love is a Gift but It's not Free       (listen/download)      (chord chart)

Love is a gift, but it's not free. Love gives and gives until it bleeds. Love doesn't try to even keep it's dignity, Love is a gift, but it's not free.

Love is so simple, but it's not easy. Love is forgiveness before apology. Love, bruised and beaten, moves toward its enemy. Love is so simple, but it's not easy.

Love, I need you. Love, desperately. Love, I cannot reach you. Love, come for me.

Love is so gentle but its not weak, Love crushed the head of Depravity. Love marches steadfast in the flood of entropy. Love is so gentle but its not weak.

Love, I need you. Love, desperately. Love, I cannot reach you. Love, come for me.

Love is a savior, Christ Jesus my King. Love took my judgment on the tree. Love traded splendor for my vulgarity. Love is a savior, Jesus my King

Love, I need you. Love, desperately. Love, I cannot reach you. Love, come for me.

Emmanuel, Part II

So this song is harder for me to post and requires a bit more explanation. It draws from the second half of the Beatitudes in the gospel according to Luke where Jesus gives not just the "Blessed be" but also the "Woe" (Luke 6:24-26). Jesus is saying that in his kingdom everything will be different. The poor will be rich and the rich will be poor. The cast out will be brought in and those who are now accepted will be cast out. The hungry will be satisfied and the fat will waste away. But the other scary thing about this is that the woes in this sermon are for the religious. He is warning the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the sanhedrin, the chief priests. This song was originally written for Palm Sunday in 2012. Its seed was the image of the children who were calling out to Jesus, "Save us!", as he rode into Jerusalem. They were begging for relief from the rule of the Romans who taxed and raped and split apart families. And Jesus' silent answer to them was, "No. Not yet.". He instead came to save them from Satan and from their sin so that they would be safe no matter what the Romans did. In fact he also wanted to save them from the righteous reformers (the Pharisees) as well. He wanted them to have a relationship with God as their Father. Not just a reciprocal business transaction. He wanted to give them a relationship of love, not one driven by fear or threat. He was going to save them from hypocrisy and adopt them into his family. He was going to die for them, rise for them, reign for them, intercede for them, prepare a place for them and then come again to deal, once and for all, with the Romans and the Pharisees.

And he is coming back.

He is not going to leave the abusers in this world forever unchecked. And when he comes, Emmanuel - God with us, the whole mechanism of the world with its fear and danger, with its molesting and trickery, with its false prophets and self-righteous, he is going to bring the whole thing down in judgement into a chest high river of blood until all the earth is still and the new heavens and the new earth come to their fruition with the beautification of all things in Christ. And those little children crying "Save us!" will be shouting "Hallelujah!"

And there will be peace forever.

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Emmanuel, Part II       (listen/download)      (chord chart)

He comes to raise the meek and make them reign, While the arrogant drown in a river of their own blood. He comes to set the lowly on their thrones, While the proud strewn out naked in the dust.

He comes to bring the whole machine to an end, To suddenly spill the over-brimming glass, With the cries of his children still ringing in his ears, He turns their foes to ash. The hour of favor is closing, soon breaks the day of wrath.

He comes to make Peace a city where his people dwell, While bloodthirsty scoffers are eaten by their very own words. He comes to bring the orphans into his home, While the rich and fat and greedy lie covered with flies.

He comes to bring the whole machine to an end, To suddenly spill the over-brimming glass, With the cries of his children still ringing in his ears, He turns their foes to ash. The hour of favor is closing, soon breaks the day of wrath.

Today is the day the Christ Jesus awaits, Though his eyes never close over all the depraved. For a sentence has fallen on all he has made, Built for love but instead cannot help but to hate. Now this season of harvest is starting to fade, While the impartial arm of God’s judgment is raised, Hear His plea echo out into every place, “Come take my life for yours, turn to me, receive grace!”

He comes to wash the sinners with his blood, While the righteous in anguish are clawing at the walls outside. He gathers all his adopted in his arms, And throws their infected garments into the fire.

He comes to bring the whole machine to an end, To suddenly spill the over-brimming glass, With the cries of his children still ringing in his ears, He turns their foes to ash. The hour of favor is closing, soon breaks the day of wrath.

Emmanuel, Part I

This is a song that I wrote for Advent this year and finally got a chance to record it last week in my office.  This song focuses on the incarnation and what it means for Jesus to come and live as one of us and how that changes our lives with a new calling to extend his life on earth.

Next week I will post Emmanuel, Part II which I wrote for Palm Sunday.

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Emmanuel, Part I      (listen/download)     (chord chart)

He comes to be the Word that all words are judged by.
He comes to be the Light that all lights are seen by.
He comes to be the Blood that all debts are paid by.
He comes to be the Word that all words are judged by.

Emmanuel

He comes to bring some rest to the heavy laden.
He comes to gut the one who abused his children.
He comes to burn all memories of Satan.
He comes to bring some rest to the heavy laden.

Emmanuel

We beheld him, we have seen God’s face.
We have touched him, God with us remained.
We received him, we believed
In his name,
In his name,
In his name.

He comes to lift our heads to proclaim his witness,
He comes to dwell in us to reflect his radiance,
He comes to send us out, his incarnate presence,
He comes to lift our heads to proclaim his witness.

Emmanuel

When he comes again then we will be always with him.

I have so Little Faith

This is an offertory I wrote back in December for worship during advent. Each year I struggle to try to understand and express the incarnation of God: how unthinkable and appalling it is, how strange it is, how I wish I could have known Jesus on earth and how I long to see him in his glorified body and how I have a hard time believing. So why am I posting this Advent song so close to Easter? (other than the fact that I am just running behind in life) We are about to celebrate as a global church, Jesus dying a real death, not just a spiritual one, for our sake and Jesus rising in his physical body from death. Jesus was intimate with us, walked through our pollution, got it in his lungs and on his face and hands, and then redeemed it on the cross to make all things new. He know reigns in his physical human body in the heavenly realms. He did not just save us and shed his flesh. He continues to share humanity with us as he lives to intercede for us. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

I have so Little Faith       (listen/download)       (chord chart)

Lord can I touch you, I want to feel your embrace. I want to hear you, say just about anything I long with Moses and Elijah, to see your Day But I have so little faith.

I want to ask, there’s so much I need explained. I want to fall down with weeping and kiss your feet. I long to lean on and let you hold all of my weight. I have so little faith.

O God, now man, you give me hope, You breathe my breath and touch my sores. You hear me call, “I am unclean!” Yet here you are, with me.

I want to love you, O God, you know the truth, How I have hated and traded my Lord for filth. I have not wanted to wait here for you in my pain. I have so little faith. I have so little faith

O God, now man, you give me hope, You breathe my breath and touch my sores. You hear me call, “I am unclean!” Yet here you are, with me.

Hold Thou my Hand

This is a rewrite of a Fanny Crosby (1879) hymn that I did back in 2002 and have yet to release anywhere. However, since it has become a such a part of our worship at Redeemer and since I have gotten a such a good amount of prodding (Thanks Richard!), I thought I would finally get it posted. Hope it is a blessing to you all! ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Hold Thou My Hand          (listen/download)       (chord chart)

Hold thou my hand; so weak I am, and helpless, I dare not take one step without thy aid; Hold thou my hand; for then, O loving Savior, No dread of ill shall make my soul afraid.

Hold thou my hand, and closer, draw me closer To thy dear self—my hope, my joy, my all; Hold thou my hand, lest haply I should wander, And, missing thee, my trembling feet should fall.

Hold thou my hand; the way is dark before me Without the sunlight of thy face divine; But when by faith I catch its radiant glory, What heights of joy, what rapturous songs are mine!

Hold thou my hand, that when I reach the margin Of that lone river thou didst cross for me, A heavenly light may flash along its waters, And every wave like crystal bright shall be.

Hold thou my hand; so weak I am, and helpless, I dare not take one step without thy aid; I dare not take one step without thy aid.

I Need Jesus

Here is a song that I wrote back in November. It is a meditation on how we never graduate from our utter dependence on Jesus and how sanctification actually drives us deeper into that need. I hope it is an encouragement. .............................................................................................................................................................

vocals: Nathan Partain, Andrea Priest guitar: Nathan Partain

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I Need Jesus       (listen/download)    (chord chart)

Well, I was lost inside confusion and a nightmare of a dream, I did not know which god to turn to or if it were up to me, Until some simple words were spoken that I gratefully received, And just one prayer sprang up within me and I started whispering, I need Jesus. Oh, I need Jesus. I need Jesus. Oh, I need Jesus.

But soon I found that sweet salvation just uncovered all my need. That sin and me, like blood and ink, were all mixed up inseparably, And that it’s not my deeds or branches but the roots of my whole tree, That are so rotten full of hatred, that for me to merely breath, I need Jesus. Oh, I need Jesus. I need Jesus. Oh, I need Jesus.

See, I had thought, one day, more holy or mature that I would be, That I’d lead others on to righteousness and teach the blind to see. Instead, I’ve found each day I'm frightened just how evil I can be, And now I feel the most at home with all the perverts and unclean 'cause I need Jesus. Oh, I need Jesus. I need Jesus. Oh, I need Jesus.

I keep on looking for some reason I should raise my self-esteem, 'Cause all my gifts and all my efforts must sure add up to something, But then again, again with tears of joy, I’m brought down to my knees, Here at the foot of him who died for me I’m stripped of everything and, I need Jesus. Oh, I need Jesus. I need Jesus. Oh, I need Jesus.

Now I say, "Glory! Hallelujah!", I'm so glad to be redeemed! To be so desperate for Jesus and so gloriously weak, I do not ever want to stray from the Community of Need, O may I never leave dependence or forsake my Food and Drink, I need Jesus. Oh, I need Jesus. I need Jesus. Oh, I need Jesus.

Pass Me not O Tender Loving Savior

This Fanny Crosby (1868) hymn was introduced to me by my friend, Jeff Sparks. It was one of his father's favorite hymns and he commissioned this rewrite as a birthday gift to his son. It was recorded live during worship in 2010. .......................................................................................................................................

Pass Me not O Tender Loving Savior        (listen)       (chords)

Let me at Thy throne of mercy, Find a sweet relief, Kneeling there in deep contrition; Help me, help my unbelief.

Pass me not, O tender loving Savior, Hear my humble cry; While on others Thou art gently calling, Do not pass me by.

Trusting only in Thy merit, Would I seek Thy face; Heal my wounded, broken spirit, Save me, save me by Thy grace.

Pass me not, O tender loving Savior, Hear my humble cry; While on others Thou art gently calling, Do not pass me by.

Thou the Spring of all my comfort, More than life to me, Whom have I on earth beside Thee? Whom in Heav’n, whom have I but Thee?

Pass me not, O tender loving Savior, Hear my humble cry; While on others Thou art gently calling, Do not pass me by.

Glory to God in the Highest

This song was a gift of God to me. I had written about eight mediocre ideas during the month of December and was not excited about any of them. Then one afternoon in the midst of writing I had the beginning of a concept that I thought could actually go somewhere. I thought I wrote it down or recorded it before I had to move to the next thing but apparently i did not because the next day when I went back to work on it, I couldn't find it...anywhere. It took a while but I finally let it go and tried to keep writing. However, I still didn't like anything I was doing. Finally, under the pressures of my work at the church, Christmas services and my own downward spiraling I found myself on my face before the Lord in frustration and failure. God was gracious with me and took all of my thrashing. When I had prayed all that I had left I felt like he had heard and that it was time to lay down my wrestling and go home. Then the next morning while I was making my lunch the concept that I had lost started coming back to me. The song began to just fall into place in my head as I was getting ready for work. Before long I found myself in the shower weeping with joy and thanksgiving in the way that the Lord was providing for me, tending to my heart and helping me tell of his beauties. Anyway, this song is a reminder to me of how God blesses me so that I can proclaim the glories of his Name. .......................................................................................................................................

vocals: Nathan Partain, Rebekah Osborn, Kyle Ragsdale guitar: Nathan Partain fiddle: Kipp Normand viola: Ashley Overley upright bass: Joel Chodakowski percussion: Brian Allee djembe: Wes Homoya

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Glory to God in the Highest      (listen)     (chords)

There was a boy, went for a walk, down by the stream, picked out some rocks, and stepped out on, the battle field, no shield or sword, for him to wield. The giant jeered, and boasted loud, the little boy, just held his ground, and pulled a stone, out of his pouch, and raised his sling, and slung it round singing…

"Glory to God in the Highest! Glory to God! Glory to God!"

A coward man, was hiding low, an angel called, told him to go, and lead his kin, to overthrow, the burdens of their wicked foes. His troop was small, three hundred men. The foe too vast, to count, like sand. Still they around, the foe that night, raised up their horns, and jars of light singing…

"Glory to God in the Highest! Glory to God! Glory to God!"

A pilgrim folk, in desert sun, were told to take, a fortress town. No siege ramps built, no batter ram, the word of God, would be their plan. Six days they marched, around its sides, the seventh day, the seventh time, the trumpets made, a victor’s sound. The people raised, a mighty shout singing…

"Glory to God in the Highest! Glory to God! Glory to God!"

A virgin aches, in labor pains.  She’s giving birth, to “Him who Saves”. There in the barn, the humble means, the filthy rags, the trough unclean. The rock now strikes, the giants face. The jars now break, the light dismays. Jerricho’s walls, are tumbling down, for Christ is born! Angels are singing…

"Glory to God in the Highest! Glory to God! Glory to God!"

The Hour of the Christ

I had the privilege of playing a benefit last weekend with some friends and this song off of the 11:43am record was in the set. Afterward, I was encouraged by Adam Nevins, who put on the benefit, to post this on my blog. So here it is with a little background. As a recovering church cynic, I have always struggled to get something out of the traditional Christmas carols (and the Christmas season in general). They seem to be built more around the sentimental fictional nativity scene and not so much set in the reality of what the gospels hold (although, there are certainly some exceptions and I have been introduced in recent years to quite a few that have greater depth).

In fact,  the point of the gospel accounts is not to paint a quaint rural scene but to confirm prophecies like Isaiah 53, that from the very beginning, the Savior of the world would suffer. The birth of Jesus takes place in a context of real poverty (giving birth in a dirty animal shelter) and oppressive captivity (being forced by the occupying government to travel out of town to file a census). On top of that, the only people that get the immensity of who this child is, are some Gentile seers and Herod. Of course the angels do appear to some shepherds (read: truck drivers) who end up being the only eye witnesses to the baby in the food trough.

The interesting thing is that Herod does get it. He doesn't get the whole picture but when the travelers from the east show up and talk about the star, he understands that something big is happening. So much so, that he kills every baby two years old and under in Bethlehem and its surrounding areas trying to keep himself safe from the threat of this newborn king.

So why am I writing all of this? When we see Jesus in the manger we need to see him as a revolutionary, an antagonist, someone who is dangerous and will totally turn upside down every system of this world. That baby in the manger is the one who will say, "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." 

So...there you are...Merry Christmas! Jesus is Lord!

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The Hour of the Christ      (listen)      (chords)

There’s a rumor on the breeze, Midnight cold upon the grass, Above the tents of darkened kings, A star appears of golden glass. What it is and what it means, Sends a chill among their camp, Like chariots at the opening sea, It’s a message from the great “I AM”

Herod cannot sleep tonight, Terror sings outside his door, He can hear the angels tell, “The Christ is born who is the Lord!” Who he is and what he brings, Is justice to the weak and poor, Those who wait their Light will see, And He himself will end the war

Kingdom’s coming like a storm, Kingdom’s coming like a storm, Kingdom’s coming like a storm. Can you hear the Lord?  Can you hear him call?

Burst the gates and shout for joy! The Savior mighty sets you free! Run to him and don’t look back, For in Him you have all good things. Jesus after all was done, Took his seat at God’s right hand, Said he soon would come again, And put his sword within our hand!

New Compilation: Songs for the Supper

I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. -- Jesus [John 6:53]

I got the privilege to get a couple of songs (Gathered Round your Table / Lord Jesus Christ be Present Now) on a new compilation by Cardiphonia called Songs for the Supper. It is one of the many projects instigated by Bruce Benedict who runs Cardiphonia and who himself is a great song writer, pastor and worship leader. There are a number of other great song writers involved from around the country. The compilation includes 30 new songs built around helping us understand, with greater depth, what the Lord Supper means to us as children of God. Check it out, name your price and enjoy!

Our Lover

This is a song I wrote back in 2000. It actually came after having a very shameful dream. I woke up and found myself before the Lord needing to be covered and in the intimacy, vulnerability and safety of that moment with him this song flowed out. It has been a while since I have sung it at church but recently Jason Dorsey has been preaching on what Godly sexuality is and it felt appropriate to sing it again. I wanted to bring a slightly different musical mood to the song so I so that I might own it freshly so I remixed it a little and put it in a different key to force the melody into a slightly different space. .................................................................................................................................................

Vocals: Nathan Partain, Rebekah Osborn Guitar: Nathan Partain Banjo: Kyle Edgell Harmonica: Jeremy Grimmer Viola: Ashley Overley Bass: Joel Chodakowski Percussion: Brian Allee

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Our Lover      (listen)    (chords)

O my God, lead me to a rainbow, O my God, your sunlight through dark rains, O my God, tell me of your promise, O my God, I will not be afraid.

For you O God, rescued us from danger,      For you O God, let us your sweetness taste,      For you O God, have led us like a lover,      And O my God, I will seek your face

O my God, lead me to the river, O my God, wash away the stains, O my God, fill my heart with music, O my God, before you I will play.

 For you O God, I will sing with trembling,      For you O God, close to your fearful strength,      For you O God, have called me to your presence,      And O my God, I will know your Name.

O my God, you lift me like a bridegroom, O my God, hide me in your train, O my God, hold me close forever, O my God, cover up my shame

For you O God, took off all your glory,      For you O God, to clothe me in your grace,      For you O God, with tender hands you heal me,      And O my God, I on your beauty gaze

O Worship the King

I rewrote this Robert Grant/William Kethe hymn (1833/1562) back in 2002, but last Sunday we played a bit mellower and I rewrote the turn around portion to fit. We really enjoyed it so I thought I would share it. ...............................................................................

Vocals: Nathan Partain, Rebekah Osborn Electric guitar: Nathan Partain Acoustic guitar: Rebekah Osborn Bass: Rob Meyer Drums: Joe Lamusga

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O Worship the King       (listen)          (chords)

O worship the King, all glorious above, O gratefully sing his pow’r and his love; Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days, Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.

O tell of his might, O sing of his grace, Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space; His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form, Dark is his path on the wings of the storm.

O measureless might!  Ineffable love! While angels delight to hymn thee above, The humbler creation, though feeble their lays, With true adoration shall all sing thy praise.

O worship the King, all glorious above, O gratefully sing his pow’r and his love; Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days, Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.