Behind the Hymn: Softly and Tenderly

Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling was written by William Lamartine Thompson. Softly and Tenderly is one of his best known compositions, alongside Jesus is All the World to Me. Softly and Tenderly first appeared in a collection of songs, Sparkling Gems, Nos 1 and 2, by Thompson’s company in 1880. “UM Hymnal editor, the Rev. Carlton R. Young, notes: […]

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Behind the Hymn: Jesus is All the World to Me

  Jesus is all the world to me was written by Will Lamartine Thompson. William Lamartine Thompson was born on November 7, 1847 in East Liverpool, Ohio. He was the youngest of seven children born to Josiah and Sarah Jackman Thompson. Thompson was composing songs by the time he was a teenager, including “My Home on the Old Ohio” and […]

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Behind the Hymn: Take my life and let it be

Francis Havergal grew up the youngest child of a Church of England minister and hymn writer. She was born around Christmas 1836. She led an active life, even while dealing with fragile health. From a young age she would memorize vast portions of the Bible. She is described as a brilliant pianists and said to have such a lovely voice, […]

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Song Story: Lead Me, Guide Me

  Lead Me,Guide Me was written by Doris Akers. Doris Mae Akers was born on May 21, 1923 in Brookfield, Missouri. She was one of ten children born to Floyd and Pearl Akers. In the 1930s, she and some of her siblings had a group known as “Dot and The Swingsters”. In 1948, she formed the Simmons-Akers trio with Dorothy […]

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Hymn Story: Sitting At the Feet of Jesus

Sitting at the Feet of Jesus, tells the story of Mary, sitting and listening at Jesus feet. Can you imagine the lessons and wisdom she learned from the Lord? The account is found in Luke 10:40 and this Mary is the sister of Martha and Lazarus. If you recall the story, you will remember that Martha was upset because her […]

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Hymn Story: Lift High the Cross

Lift High the Cross was written by George Kitchin in 1887. At the time he wrote the song, Kitchin was the Dean of Winchester for the Church of England. “It has been suggested that the hymn was inspired by the story of Constantine the Great’s conversion to Christianity after seeing a cross with “In hoc signo vinces” on it. It […]

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Behind the Hymn: Let Others See Jesus In You

I had a request for the song history on “Let Others See Jesus in You”. The gentleman shared a special memory of his grandmother. “Her personal favorite was “Let Others See Jesus in You.” We sang the song at her funeral. Indeed, Jesus was visibly evident in her life. I suppose that is the primary reason the song means so […]

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Behind the Song: Reach Out to Jesus

Reach Out to Jesus was written by composer Ralph Carmichael. Ralph Carmichael was born on May 27, 1927 in Quincy, Illinois. He was the son of a Pentecostal minister. As a child, he learned to play the violin. By the time he was a teenager, he was playing with the San Jose Civic Symphony. He grew up in the days […]

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Behind the Doxology: Gloria Patri

  The Gloria Patri is another doxology sung by many denominations from the Catholics to the Orthodox to the Presbyterians and Lutherans to the Methodists and Baptists. This is often referred to as the Lesser Doxology {in contract to Gloria in Excelsis Deo, the Great Doxology}. The English version is translated from the Latin text, “Gloria Patri, et Filio, et […]

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Behind the Doxology: Gloria in Excelsis Deo

  “Gloria in excelsis Deo” is a doxology based on the words the angels sang to the shepherds. {Luke 2:14} “Gloria in excelsis Deo” is often referred to as the Greater Doxology. {Gloria Patri is the lesser doxology}. The Latin translation is attributed to Saint Hilary of Poitiers {310-367 AD}, the Bishop of Poitiers. This translation is believed to have […]

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Behind the Hymn: The Banner of the Cross

The Banner of the Cross was written by Daniel W. Whittle. Daniel Whittle served in the Civil War, obtaining the rank of major. He was known as Major Whittle the remainder of his life. After the war, he went to work for Elgin Watch Company. In 1873, he resigned his job and became a revival evanglist in the Dwight L. […]

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Behind the Patriotic Song: Some Gave All

The fourth of July is in just a few days, so I thought we would enjoy a Patriotic favorite. Some Gave All was written by Billy Ray Cyrus and debuted on his 1992 album of the same name. Billy Ray and his first wife, Cindy Smith, wrote the song together after talking with a Vietnam Vet. This occurred sometime during […]

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Song Story: Father’s Love

Happy Father’s Day!!! I wanted to share this Father’s Day song with you today. If your father is still here, cherish the time you have together. While I miss my earthly father, I am so thankful for a Heavenly Father who never leaves me and loves me regardless of my mistakes and mishaps.  He daily shows me His Kind of […]

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Behind the Song: The Family of God

The Family of God is a song that I grew up singing in church and is ingrained on my heart and soul. At one church, we gathered together and held hands as we sang this song. Even four decades later from the toddler I was at the time, this song remains deep in my soul and heart. The Family of […]

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Behind the Song: Let’s Just Praise the Lord

This month we will be exploring popular praise hymns from the last few decades. Let’s Just Praise the Lord was written by Bill and Gloria Gaither. In their book Something Beautiful, Gloria shares that one evening at one of their concerts in 1972, the praise and applause moved from praising God to praising them. This led them to become very […]

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Behind the Hymn: Tell It Again

Mary Bridges Canedy Slade lived in Fall River, Massachusetts. This was the town made famous by the 1892 Lizzie Borden murder case, who was tried for the brutal murder of her father and step-mother. Mary Slade was a pastor’s wife and lived her entire life in Fall River. By the time of the Lizzie Borden tragedy she had died, but […]

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Behind the Song: Follow Me

In 1953, two young missionaries, Charles and Mary Greenaway attended the Grand Paririe conference in Texas . The couple shared their journey and experience as missionaries to Africa. They shared that they felt Africa was not for them in the beginning. They had gone their as medical missionaries, yet Mary was very sick in those early years. Poverty was so […]

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