Archives For Music

Some Friday Stuff

Erik Raymond —  June 29, 2007

: Tonight I get the wonderful privilege to perform a wedding here at OBC. Weddings have become one of my favorite things to do as a pastor. It is such a perfect opportunity to put all of the emphasis upon Christ and to be able to preach the gospel to all in attendance. It is interesting and awesome to consider the gospel I proclaimed yesterday in the jail is the same that I preached to myself this morning and will preach again tonight.

:: I am now on Facebook and so is Omaha Bible Church (link)

:: Last week my daughter (Alexis, 3) acted like a liberal protestant female pastor and baptized…err…sprinkled my Treo650 with a bottle of water. It was my bad because it was not in my pocket. Anyway, I was able to upgrade and the 755P is all that. It (the Treo) actually became an avenue to talk about Christ as some guy yelled across the gas station to me to find out if I had a 755 and if it was good. We were able to talk about what I was doing (checking to see if I broke the 45 min preaching rule this sunday am). It was very cool to have a time to talk with this guy about the gospel and ministry.

:: Colin from Unashamed Workman was just blessed with a third child. I love the picture on his blog because it captures that heaven sent gleam in a new parent’s eye. Join them in rejoicing.

:: The new Beastie Boys album is out and is excellent study music. All instrumental; pretty fresh tracks and not what you would think of with the Beastie Boys. Perfect for studying. They have a video up if you are interested. Thanks for all the feedback on study music. We are a diverse people, no doubt, but hopefully chiefly united around and for the gospel.

Study Music

Erik Raymond —  June 26, 2007

I spend a lot of time by myself with the headphones on. Whether I am writing, reading, crafting a sermon, or doing administrative work I more often than not have myself plugged into iTunes listening to something. I think some of this comes from the fact that we did not have ceilings in the offices at our old building (wharehouse) so music was imperative in order to retain concentration.

I am curious if others (not just pastors) listen to music when studying and if so what are some of the favorites? Are you one of those who need silence?

My music style is admittedly eclectic. I find myself bouncing between the genres of Beck, Coldplay, Donovan Frankenreiter, DJ mixes, all the way to classical music. It is strange but I can only study to music that I can drain out the words, so oftentimes Christian music becomes more of a distraction for me. I am all about sound.

Here is a video of something that I have been enjoying for a couple of months now, ever since they appeared on NPR’s All Songs Considered podcast. The group is called The Battles and the whole album is an electronic soundscape that is fun to study to.

[ev type=”youtube” data=”IpGp-22t0lU”][/ev]

The Lifter of our Heads

Erik Raymond —  March 6, 2007

This past Sunday morning we sang a song that was drawn from the third Psalm. Perhaps you have sung the same song before, the main verse is:

Psalm 3:3 But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

It is a song that I have sung many times before, however this time it hit me between the eyes like a 2-by-4.

David is writing about fleeing from his son Absalom and the ever increasing number of adversaries (3.1). There are many who were mocking David in this midst of such troubles (3.2). However, David, standing resilient as ever, drenched in the gracious dew of heaven in this valley of despair, sings this praise to his God and ours.

David of course is finding comfort, peace, confidence and praise because God is his shield, his glory, and the one who lifts his head.

And this is where the 2-by-4 came in…as we sang I wondered why. Why could David sing with such optimism? How could God have given victory to him? On what basis may God extend grace? How is God’s mercy, love and forgiveness compatible with David’s lust, murder, and adultery?

It is because of the Son of David. Any optimism that has ever and will ever be legitimately felt, anticipated, or reflected upon is anchored to a blood-stained tree in Israel. The reason why God could and would lift David’s head is because the Son of David, the Lord Jesus had bowed his head. Yes we are too familiar with that scene aren’t we? You know the scene well, for it is here when Jesus said, “it is finished’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (Jn. 19.30).

Gaze upon this scene in your mind’s eye Christian when you are feeling the weight of sin, the bitter herbs of despair, and the pain of persecution.

Remember that it was Jesus who bowed his head that you may have your head lifted. You have no right to bow your head now. There is no reason to despair! For the greatest ills and enemies lay slain in the shadow of the crucified Savior.

“O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15.55).

The Absolams of this world are but gnats compared to the deadly vipers of sin, death and Satan, but mark it believer, these foes are dead, for they have been crushed by the powerful saving sovereign, our Jesus.

God does lift our head, but only because God has bowed his head. Now I want to sing.

come, ye sinners

Erik Raymond —  February 24, 2007

Last night at Crossroads we sang this song. It was entirely appropriate as we studied James 4.1-10. I love the lyrics; they are so true and so powerful. Our guitar guy (he goes by ‘the Tick’ in the comments) played this well; it was fast and strong. So good. Read, meditate, and enjoy as you find yourself comforted in Jesus.

1. Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,

Weak and wounded, sick and sore;

Jesus, ready, stands to save you,

Full of pity, joined with power.

He is able, He is able;

He is willing; doubt no more.

2. Come ye needy, come, and welcome,

God’s free bounty glorify;

True belief and true repentance,

Every grace that brings you nigh.

Without money, without money

Come to Jesus Christ and buy.

3. Come, ye weary, heavy laden,

Bruised and broken by the fall;

If you tarry ’til you’re better,

You will never come at all.

Not the righteous, not the righteous;

Sinners Jesus came to call.

4. Let not conscience make you linger,

Nor of fitness fondly dream;

All the fitness He requires

Is to feel your need of Him.

This He gives you, this He gives you,

’Tis the Spirit’s rising beam.

5. Lo! The Incarnate God, ascended;

Pleads the merit of His blood.

Venture on Him; venture wholly,

Let no other trust intrude.

None but Jesus, none but Jesus

Can do helpless sinners good.


(lead sheets and chords available at RUF)

I don’t know the answer but apparently Johnny Cash did.  Here is an interesting video of contemporary stars singing about God’s impending judgment.  The ironic thing is that they are singing willingly.  I just find this incredibly interesting, and in some cases prophetic. 

This is a song off of Cash’s American V: A Hundred Highways album.

[ev type=”youtube” data=”1e0EQlQXoEo”][/ev]


Sovereign Grace Music

Erik Raymond —  January 17, 2007

Within the last three years or so I have been introduced to some great friends. These friends are like me in a lot of ways and in so many ways they are different. They are the same in that they love the Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel preeminently. They are different in that they have musical ability.

My friends are Sovereign Grace Ministries, led by C.J. Mahaney, have been serving me and my family through their gospel-centered worship of the Savior, so in effort to love my neighbor and share I want to make sure that you are aware of them. Listed below are four of my favorites:

songs-for-the-cross-centere.jpgSongs for the Cross-Centered Life: This CD is amazing. I remember having studied for a sermon on Romans 3.21-28 and my wife was blasting this CD through the house on a Saturday afternoon. It seemed as though every single song was preaching the greatness of the gospel to me. God used these songs to stir my soul in preparation for preaching. Favorites: The Gospel Song, Before the Cross, I Come by the Blood, The Glory of the Cross.


Worship God Live: This is the compilation CD from Sovereign Grace’s annual worship conference. There are some outstanding songs on this album as well. This past weekend in our Care Group (home small group) in lieu of singing we listened and meditated to some songs from this album. Favorites: Jesus Thank You, You
are the Way, Always Forgiven


Upward: Bob Kauflin and his gang did a great service to the church in rearranging (I think this is the word) many of our old hymns. For a guy like me who did not grow up in a church and for the most part have not been exposed to much in the way of hymns, this work really introduced me to some great music. We sing many of these songs on Sunday mornings here at OBC. Favorites: Hallelujah What A Savior, Before the Throne

valley-of-vision-sgm.jpgValley of Vision: This is the newest CD I have from them (they also did a Christmas album). I really like it. You could sit and read the lyrics and be edified so greatly. They took the ‘inspiration’ from the collection of puritan prayers entitled Valley of Vision, published by Banner of Truth. These are great also. Favorites: Heavenly Father, Beautiful Son, Let Your Kingdom Come, Only Jesus (this song is amazing)

I find myself regularly returning to my Sovereign Grace play list on my iPod and I encourage you all to make them a part of your musical diet. In terms of value, from my view there is nothing like this available to us today to musically stir genuine Christ-centered affections, they are in a class by itself. So take advantage of their service to you who love Jesus and his gospel.

Note: Bob Kauflin, the musical man behind all of this, has a great blog for worship leaders. It may be a good idea to forward a link onto your worship pastor for encouragement.

This was sung at Pensacola Christian College. I post this not to make fun of anyone but to motivate all of us to study the Bible so that God-centered theology would so pervade us and produce God-centered worship.

I don’t know about you but this motivates me to work harder, knowing that anything I get right theologically is wholly a product of divine grace and anything I get wrong is a product of my own falleness.

I am curious though, what Scripture verse they were thinking of when they sang this song.

[ev type=”youtube” data=”IrczyFvkv8Q”][/ev]

(hat tip: Justin Taylor)

Matthew Smith online

Erik Raymond —  December 28, 2006

matthew-smith.jpgMatthew Smith’s new album is streaming for your enjoyment. I have been enjoying Smith’s God-Centered and biblical music for awhile now and I recommend it highly. It is so hard these days to find Christian music with good biblical content, so for artists like Matthew Smith I am thankful.

Worship of Mary

Erik Raymond —  December 12, 2006

This past Sunday we sang a great song that echoed Mary’s prayer in Luke 1. It was so God-Centered and Christ exalting. In particular I loved the part that echoed Mary’s words, “my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”.

After singing this song I was struck by the regrettable damage done by the Catholic Church to this grace-filled woman. As evangelicals, and particularly formerly catholic evangelicals, we recoil when people talk about Mary for more than a couple of minutes because we are so cautious of the popular worship…err…veneration of Mary at the hands of Rome.

What a tragedy this is. Mary was a great woman of faith, not because she was a great woman, but because God is a great God. The hero of the virgin birth is not Mary, but God! We do not see Mary’s virginity, piety, or spirituality exalted in any of the biblical texts. Instead we see God’s glorious grace amplified. So shame on Rome for erecting a statue to Mary that obstructs our view of God’s grace and power. And shame on us for closing our eyes to the biblical Mary (regardless of our motives) and in so doing missing the power, glory and grace of God in the life of Mary.

Here is the text from Luke 1. Find yourself agreeing with Mary’s theology and God-centered worship that points to the faithfulness, power, grace, love, mercy, and righteousness of God as expressed through this wonderful prayer.

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Luke 1.46-55