Archive for March 2021

You Are Calling Me to Yourself

Psalm 25:10; 31:15; Matthew 11:28-30; John 15:11; Romans 8:28

Through everything that happens,
the restless love of God is
forever calling us and
drawing us to Him.

Printed Music

Each little joy, each morning sun
Announce a greater joy begun.
Your every word and all You do
Invite my hungry heart to You.

When deepest sorrow clouds my face,
You turn my tears to gifts of grace.
Your words of love are proven true.
O what a comfort here in You!

All light and shadow serve the same:
They sing Your great and gracious name.
They serve the purpose You pursue –
To make our joy complete in You.

Through sunny days, through hopes deferred,
I trust Your love; I trust Your Word.
O Father God, each morning new
I rest my life, my all in You.

by Ken Bible, © 2019

Catch Me Up in Your Work

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38, NIV)

I want to do something important–
important to You and
important to those You love.
it doesn’t have to feel important right now.

But I want to be
caught up in You and in Your work–
not what my interests
assume to be Your work,
or what I want to be Your work,
but what is Your work.
It doesn’t matter how small it seems,
or how overwhelming.

Lord, catch me up in the need,
not just in my own little task.
My efforts are partial and passing.
The need is bigger.
The need will go on.

I look to You.
Move me by Your Spirit.
Move me with Your heart today.
Catch me up in Your work.

Father, I feel pressured by
a mounting list of things I need to do,
but only this is important:
to do what You want me to do,
the way You want me to do it.

Hymn: I Am Your Servant

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

One of the most meaningful pieces from
Handel’s “Messiah” is
now a congregational hymn.
It expresses our joyful assurance in
the resurrection of Christ.

Printed Music

I know that my Redeemer lives
And He will stand on that final day,
My God, Himself the precious price,
Himself the ransom I could not pay.
And though death destroys this body,
He is my life forevermore!
I know that my Redeemer lives.
My Brother, my Champion, my Lord, and my Savior
Is risen from the dead!

I know that my Redeemer lives.
I’ll stand in Him on that final day,
In Him now bold, complete, and pure.
His blood has washed all my guilt away!
And though death destroys this body,
Yet in my flesh will I see God!
I know that my Redeemer lives.
My hope, my assurance, my joy, and my Savior
Is risen from the dead!

by Ken Bible, © 2011

The Beatitudes

Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

For the next two weeks, reflect on the rich, practical wisdom found in The Beatitudes. This free pdf consists of scripture, prayers, reflections, and 12 new hymns for public and personal worship.

It is part of the new series, Fresh Views of Timeless Truth, focused reflections on key topics.

Free pdf of The Beatitudes
Complete list of available volumes in Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

Turning Points

The Lord is my shepherd. (Psalm 23:1, NASB)

Sometimes God’s hand is only visible in the rearview mirror. Life’s major turning points may masquerade as the small and ordinary. They only loom large when seen in retrospect.

I was 22 and in my first and only year of graduate school, pursuing a master’s degree in music composition at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. My life plan was to compose classical music and teach at the university level.

The course was “Introduction to Graduate Studies”, designed to teach us some of the basics of graduate-level study. The instructor had assigned us to prepare an annotated bibliography—a bibliography with brief descriptions for each book entry. Any subject would do.

I was also minister of music and youth director at a small church in Cincinnati. Killing time before an appointment, I was sitting alone in my pastor’s study, idly looking over the books on his shelf. One caught my eye. It was a thin, black, clothbound book with “Wesley Hymnbook” on the spine. I began reading the introductory material, and it caught my interest. Methodist hymnody seemed as good a subject as any for my assignment.

Of course, to prepare the bibliography, I had to find and familiarize myself with other books on Methodist hymnody. Up to this point my interest had been classical music, not church music. But the more I read about Methodist hymns, the more I got hooked.

Soon I was haunting local used bookstores, hunting for old hymnals. (Side note: nearly 15 years later, having built up a collection of about 1,000 hymnals, I sold them to friend and composer Tom Fettke and purchased my first computer.) In addition to old hymnals, I bought newer collections of hymns and Christian songs and hungrily perused them. I even went to the rare book room at the University library and photocopied entire old hymnals for study.

When that school year ended, so did my classical music studies. Instead, I accepted a job as college music instructor at God’s Bible School there in Cincinnati. Among the courses I taught were hymnology and the history of church music, with my personal study as my only preparation.

After two years teaching, I decided to apply to Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City. I was driven by a strong interest, not in pastoring, but in biblical languages and theology. Some at the seminary saw my application and connected me with Nazarene Publishing House, which was looking for a music editor at the time. I started work there in June, 1975, and stayed until the end of 2009. I never went to seminary, except to audit a course now and again.

Soon after starting at NPH, I learned that Wesley Hymnbook had been one of their biggest flops ever. My pastor had a copy in his study only because NPH had given them as gifts to graduating seniors at Nazarene Theological Seminary.

But that terrible publishing investment got them a music editor, director, and product developer for 34 years. And it ignited in me a lifelong enthusiasm for hymns.

Our magnificent, incomprehensible God changes and redirects lives every day. Sometimes He reveals Himself through a dramatic divine encounter. We are struck down by a brilliant light like Saul on the road to Damascus, or we suddenly find ourselves on holy ground, standing before a burning bush. But sometimes God’s hand is artfully subtle. He lights a tiny fire deep in the heart of a young person—a fire that in time becomes an all-consuming passion.

Our lives are so brief that
we have no idea what is important.
Accomplishments that seem so major are
quickly washed away by the river of time,
while minor events,
seen in context,
take on great significance.
But in this dark world,
a Christ-like life is like a
shining star, pointing people to
something higher,
forever glorifying its Creator.

Hymn: Thank You for Your Perfect Will

Who Is He?

This hymn lets your people
join the throng that
praised Jesus on
that first Palm Sunday.
Set to a familiar tune.

Printed Music

Who is He who comes in triumph?
Who is He who comes to die,
Comes in peace and comes in power,
Hidden One now lifted high?
Jesus, Jesus, Lord, Messiah,
Mighty master of the grave!
See Him ride, the King of Glory!
God Himself has come to save!

See Him there in humble splendor.
Hear them shouting all around.
Joy explodes in wild procession.
Praise is now the victor’s crown.
“Glory, glory in the highest!”
Like the angels hear them sing,
Dancing round the Long-awaited-
Once their hope, and now their King.

Rise and join the glad procession!
Hear them passing by again-
All the ransomed, all His children,
Marching to Jerusalem!
Look ahead– the gates of splendor!
Hear the everlasting hymn!
Open wide Your hearts in worship!
Let the King of Glory in!

by Ken Bible, © 2004

A Glance Backward

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”(Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Faithful, Faithful, Faithful.
I look back over my life, and
I am startled by the love I thought I knew.
You pursued me when I couldn’t see You in my darkness.
You whispered in my ear,
You clutched my heart,
then stood in front of me and declared that
YOU were God.
I knew it was true.
As I bowed, You gave me new life—
Your life.
I was warmed by the fire of Your love,
and in its light, I saw Your glory all around me,
leading me on.

You’ve taught me that
Your deliverance, Your forgiveness,
are daily gifts,
flowing from the fountain of Your eternal love.
Viewing my past journey,
I see only Your hand
guiding, teaching, holding me,
giving my life a consistency that is Yours, not mine.
The power of Your presence has
always, always, always been there,
though I only glimpse it now and again.

Eternally Faithful One,
make our bond of love and trust
as iron.
Make it a living cord from Your heart to mine.
Draw my eyes constantly to You,
making simple faith my every breath.
Great God of power and tireless love,
in every situation,
with every desire,
with all my energies,
be my God.

When we sense God’s
presence and
in a special way,
we are simply glimpsing
the unchanging God who is
always fully with us,
always good,
always working for our best
beyond what we can imagine.

Hymn: God Is Great, and God Is Good

A Hymn for the Wilderness

Exodus; Deuteronomy 8:1-10; Psalm 105:37-45

Learn to trust God more
constantly and
completely with
these lessons from Exodus.
The tune is fun and familiar.

Printed Music

I can’t see where I’m going –
Just wilderness ahead.
This place is fierce and threatening –
O God, where have You led?
But Egypt is behind me
With all You’ve brought me through,
And now You go before me –
I trust and follow You.

Your all-engulfing presence
Is shade throughout the day.
Your fire ablaze above me
Lights all my darkened way. 
Fresh water in my desert
And bread each morning new –
O tender, faithful Shepherd,
I trust and follow You.

Through every daily challenge,
With labors still undone,
I follow in Your footsteps
And take them one by one.
Throughout our great adventure
I keep the Cloud in view,
As all the way to Canaan
I trust and follow You.

by Ken Bible, © 2020

Rest in Christ

Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

For the next two weeks, reflect on the peace and full assurance that is available as we Rest in Christ. This free pdf consists of scripture, prayers, reflections, and 14 new hymns for public and personal worship.

It is part of the new series, Fresh Views of Timeless Truth, focused reflections on key topics.

Free pdf of Rest in Christ
Complete list of available volumes in Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

I Trust You with My Time

My times are in Your hand. (Psalm 31:15, NASB)

Creator of all eternity,
Lender of my life,
I trust You with my time.
Help me relax and listen,
letting You be the Master of my moments,
accepting each one from Your hand
as I receive each borrowed breath,
each meal,
each joy,
with appreciation and anticipation.

Teach me to walk in all the freedom Your love provides.
Thank You, my Father.

Calmly, quietly attend to what
God has assigned you today.
You can accomplish far more by
calm, thoughtful work
done in God’s sight
than by hurried human busy-ness.
(paraphrased from Francois Fenelon)

Hymn: Content in You