The Story Behind “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

The Story Behind “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
In March of 1863, 18-year-old Charles Appleton Longfellow walked out of his family’s house on Brattle Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and—unbeknownst to his family—boarded a train bound for Washington, D.C., traveling over 400 miles across the eastern seaboard in order to join President Lincoln’s Union army to fight in the Civil War. Charles (b. June 9,… Read More

Story Behind the Song: ‘The Old Rugged Cross’

If someone approached you, asking you to name America’s most popular hymn, no doubt many of you would respond with “The Old Rugged Cross.” It has been the most favored of the approximately 300 songs written by George Bennard. George Bennard Bennard was born into a very modest family in Youngstown, Ohio, in 1873. His… Read More

Why the Church Needs War Songs

When I was a teenager, I loved listening to Christian hardcore music. You know, the kind where someone “screams” into a microphone, where you can barely understand it. Guitar and drums rhythmically pound in the background. Many Christians identify it as “satanic” music, because it sounds very—well, serious and adamant. As I began studying theology,… Read More

30 Ideas for Your Church’s Easter Impact

Churches shared out-of-the-box thinking for communicating the transformational message of the cross. Here are their ideas: PRE-EASTER: INVITING YOUR COMMUNITY 1. Easter kindness. Easter is often more inwardly focused than Christmas and Thanksgiving. This year, mark Easter weekend with a significant act of service to your community (restore hiking trails, host a dinner for the homeless and… Read More

10 Things You Should Know About the Lifting of Hands in Worship

Worship involves our bodies as well as our hearts and minds. Our posture tells a story. It makes a statement to God and to others about the state of our souls and the affections and passions of our heart. If you were to visit Bridgeway, you would immediately recognize that we freely and frequently lift… Read More

9 Reasons a Church Choir Is Important

I like a choir, and I think a church without one might be missing something. I am not arguing here that every church should have a choir (I, in fact, attend a young church that does not have one), but I do think a choir is worth considering. Here’s why: It provides opportunities for many members to serve. Think practically… Read More

6 Hymns That Have Been Teaching You Bad Theology

6 Hymns That Have Been Teaching You Bad Theology
In his book, Doxology and Theology, Matt Boswell says this: When the church is gathered together in the name of God, only singing which glorifies Him is appropriate. We don’t sing corporately because it was our idea. We sing because it was God’s idea for His people. Since it is God who has commanded us to… Read More

The Story Behind: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

One of the things that makes Christmas such a memorable time of year is the music. The same songs, year after year, get stuck in our heads and we can often recite the words without even thinking about it. Recently, I attended an incredible performance by the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, which was dedicated to the… Read More