Voices of Victory Online Concert TONIGHT!

VOV-group-2019

Don’t forget – TONIGHT is the Voices of Victory Online concert! Live-streamed from Grace PRC at 8 PM (EST).

We have been calling this our “Corona Concert” and we have been planning it for months (and back practicing for weeks!) because we wanted to perform a special live concert as a means of comforting and strengthening your faith and hope in these difficult times.

We will be singing many of our “classic” numbers (and some news ones, including a brand new one for the first time – “So Be It”!), specially selected for this night and this purpose (“Don’t Be Afraid,” “Be Thou Near to Me,” “Four Days Late,” “Little Is Much,” “Then Sings My Soul,” to name a few).

We will be joined by the (younger 🙂 ) quartet, One Accord who will perform four numbers between our two sets.We are delighted they can join us, as they too have been unable to perform any concerts of late.

So we hope you will take the time to join us – wherever you are (inside or outside!)  – for this special concert of comfort, peace, and hope, founded on the work of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Again, this live concert begins at 8 PM, Eastern Standard Time, from the sanctuary of Grace PRC. The concert will be live-streamed at youtube.com/graceprc. We will be blessed by your “presence.”

Published in: on June 6, 2020 at 9:26 AM  Leave a Comment  

Old Year’s Night with the Voices of Victory

As we end this year of our Lord 2019, the Voices of Victory quartet would like to invite you to end the year on a high, spiritual note – by worshiping the Lord in His house with His people (If you are looking for a place to worship, these churches have services!) and by attending the special Voices of Victory concert Tuesday night in downtown Grandville, MI from 8-11 pm!

Here are the details from our Facebook page and poster:

The Voices of Victory male quartet’s annual concert on Tuesday, December 31 will be held from 8-11 PM at First Reformed Church in Grandville (3060 Wilson Ave SW, Grandville, MI 49418). As in past years, you are welcome to come and go whenever you would like throughout the evening. The Voices of Victory will be joined by the Sacred Harmonies quartet and Bryan Westra, piano. Admission is free, coffee and cookies will be served, and the free will offering will go to Georgetown Harmony Homes. End your old year, and begin your new year in praise to God!

VOV-NYE flyer 2019

Maybe the weather forecast sounds bad, but don’t let that discourage you! It’s a short drive from wherever you are, and once there, you will be safe and warm! We would be delighted to see you there! And we hope we do! It promises to be a wonderful night of praise and fellowship. And the cause is a good one – housing needs for young adults with special needs in the West Michigan area!

Come on out – you won’t be disappointed!

Published in: on December 30, 2019 at 10:29 PM  Leave a Comment  

The 30 greatest Christmas carols of all time – Classic FM

While searching for a Christmas carol or poem to feature this week, I came on this list of the 30 greatest Christmas carols compiled with featured videos by the Classic FM. “From ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ to ‘Gaudete’, these are the best Christmas carols ever written,” says the online station.

The one I’ve chosen for this post is one of my favorites, “In the Bleak Midwinter,” written by Christina Rossetti (c.1872). The lyrics are as follows:

1 In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

2 Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

3 Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshiped the beloved with a kiss.

4 What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him: give my heart.

And who sings it better than the choir of King’s College, Cambridge. Enjoy!

To listen to the other Christmas carols, visit the link below.

Source: The 30 greatest Christmas carols of all time – Classic FM

Published in: on December 23, 2019 at 10:44 PM  Leave a Comment  

Risen Indeed

1-corinthians-15-21-22

Now is Christ risen from the dead. That cornerstone of the gospel was firmly laid through the revelation of the risen Lord himself as attested by many and faithful witnesses. The truth of this gospel is corroborated by the experience of the church, of believers of every age. Jesus lives! Raised he was by the Father, and Jesus’ resurrection was God’s answer to Christ’s ‘It is finished.’

Just ask the thousands upon thousands who found no peace in their own righteousness, who were troubled because of their sins, and who were engrafted by faith into Jesus Christ, crucified and raised. They found peace with God through Jesus. Why? Because the Christ who was delivered for our transgressions and raised for our justification entered their heart, and they by grace heard God’s word of righteousness through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

He lives! Just ask the countless throng of believers who in themselves are dead in trespasses and sins, but who have died and have been raised with Christ, who have been delivered from the bondage of sin and now have become servants of righteousness. How? Through the power of the living Lord. He is risen and is become the firstfruits of those who slept. Christ is the first begotten of the dead. He went through the grave into the glory of eternal life as the head of the church. The resurrection is begun, and it cannot possibly stop until all who belong to him and believe on his name and look for the city that has foundations have followed him in that glorious resurrection.

‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?… Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor.15:55-57).

Taken from Herman Hoeksema’s The Amazing Cross, chapter 6 “Risen Indeed,” based on Luke 24:34 (2nd ed. RFPA, 2018), 73-74.

And for your music meditation this Resurrection Sunday, hear this powerful recording of “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” by the King’s College Choir.

“By Grace Alone” – A Blessed Summary Song of the Five Points of Calvinism

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Tonight the teachers and students of Heritage Christian School (where we have several grandchildren) gave a marvelous program of music and readings (Scripture and Reformed confessions) centered on the theme TULIP, the Five Points of Calvinism.

While all the songs were fitting, there was one that stood out, perhaps in part because the lyrics were new to me and also because they so completely captured the doctrines of grace, as we often call them. The title of the song is “By Grace Alone,” and it was sung to the tune “Melita,” (also known as the “Navy hymn”) perhaps most commonly known as the hymn “Almighty Father, Strong to Save,” but also found in the PRC Psalter (#232 – “Expectancy of Grace” – based on Psalm 85).

I found the words on several websites; one said the author is unknown, while another gave as the author Rev. Paul Treick. If someone can help sort that out, it would be appreciated. UPDATE: Rev. Paul Treick has left a comment and confirmed that he is the author is this song. Thank you – and thank you for the precious song! (August 2021)

While the 5th and 6th grade-choir did not sing all of the stanzas of “By Grace Alone”, I post them here in complete form. You will readily see why they so faithfully present the truths of Calvinism.

By Grace Alone author unknown

1)
Thou art our God, and we thy race
Elected by thy sovereign grace.
Not by the works which we have done
But by the cross our vict’ry’s won,
Oh keep this truth within my heart,
That from it I may ne’er depart.

T
By nature we depraved did dwell
Under thy curse–deserving hell–
Sinful, corrupt in every part,
Not one pure motive in our heart.
Hadst thou not looked on us in grace,
We would remain a perished race.

U
In love eternal thou did chose
To save thy sheep; their bonds to loose,
No good did we within us have
To claim thy gracious plan to save.
Elected by thy grace alone;
Holy to stand before thy throne.

L
Incarnate did thy Son appear–
A sacrifice–a Lamb most pure;
To make atonement for his sheep
And perfectly thy will to keep.
Now cleansed from sin and righteous, we
Are sons and heirs eternally!

I
The blood of Christ by grace supplied
Was by thy Spirit’s pow’r applied.
Thy Spirit we could not resist,
Who breathed new life into our breast.
Our souls alive, which once were dead,
Sing praise to Christ, the Lord, our Head!

P
With all thy saints we are preserved
To enter heav’n–a place reserved.
Secure we’re kept within thy care,
Lest we be lost to Satan’s snare.
Oh Sovereign God, all praise to thee
For our salvation, full and free!

7)
This hymn of thanks, Oh Lord we bring;
For by thy grace alone we sing.
Employ our lives in every sphere,
Thy law to keep; thy Name to fear,
“By grace alone”–this doctrine pure–
Our only comfort doth secure.

Old Year’s Night with the Voices of Victory

As we end this year of our Lord 2018, we would like to invite you to end the year on a high, spiritual note – by worshiping the Lord in His house with His people (If you are looking for a place to worship, these churches have churches!) and by attending the special Voices of Victory concert tonight in downtown Grandville, MI from 8-11 pm!

Here are the details from our Facebook page and poster:

Our annual New Year’s Eve concert is tonight at First Reformed Church of Grandville (3060 Wilson Ave). A schedule somewhat subject to a few minutes added or subtracted here and there is: Sacred Harmonies 8:10-8:40, Voices of Victory 8:45-9:15, Covenant Chr. HS quartet 9:15-9:30, Collection for Georgetown Harmony Homes 9:35, S.H. 9:40-10:10, VOV 10:15-10:45, closing singing with audience 10:45-11. To God be the glory!

VOV-Old-Years-flyer-2018

Maybe the weather forecast sounds bad, but don’t let that deter you! It’s a short drive from wherever you are, and once there, you will be safe and warm! Love to see you there! And we hope we do! It promises to be a wonderful night of praise and fellowship. And the cause is a good one.

O, and the cookies and coffee are tasty and “on the house.” 🙂

Published in: on December 31, 2018 at 11:53 AM  Leave a Comment  

Christmas Eve 2018 in Poetry and Song

On this Christmas Eve 2018 we share a couple of edifying items – one a classic Christmas poem and the other a beautiful choral piece we heard in a program recently. The latter is not strictly speaking a Christmas song and, yet, is certainly appropriate for the gospel of Christmas. The lyrics really point us to the second coming of our Lord, and from our perspective as NT Christians that is now our hope and prayer.

First, then, is this classic Christmas poem, penned by Welsh poet Henry Vaughn (1621-1695) and titled “Christ’s Nativity.” It may take you a few times to go through to get the sense, due to the seventeenth-century-style English, but the poem is a powerful tribute of praise to the Christ of Bethlehem and to the power of His person as the Savior.

Awake, glad heart! get up and sing!
It is the birth-day of thy King.
Awake! awake!
The Sun doth shake
Light from his locks, and all the way
Breathing perfumes, doth spice the day.
Awake, awake! hark how th’ wood rings;
Winds whisper, and the busy springs
A concert make;
Awake! awake!
Man is their high-priest, and should rise
To offer up the sacrifice.
I would I were some bird, or star,
Flutt’ring in woods, or lifted far
Above this inn
And road of sin!
Then either star or bird should be
Shining or singing still to thee.
I would I had in my best part
Fit rooms for thee! or that my heart
Were so clean as
Thy manger was!
But I am all filth, and obscene;
Yet, if thou wilt, thou canst make clean.
Sweet Jesu! will then. Let no more
This leper haunt and soil thy door!
Cure him, ease him,
O release him!
And let once more, by mystic birth,
The Lord of life be born in earth.

Secondly, the song we wish to feature is “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come” and was written by Paul Manz (a Lutheran). The lyrics go like this (and to learn more about the context in which it was written, visit the link provided):

Peace be to you and grace from him
Who freed us from our sins,
Who loved us all and shed his blood
That we might saved be.

Sing holy, holy to our Lord,
The Lord, Almighty God,
Who was and is and is to come;
Sing holy, holy, Lord!

Rejoice in heaven, all ye that dwell therein,
Rejoice on earth, ye saints below,
For Christ is coming, is coming soon!

E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come,
And night shall be no more;
they need no light nor lamp nor sun,
For Christ will be their all.

This is a glorious performance of it I found on YouTube – by a famed British Boys Choir! Rejoice in Jesus’ second coming, even as we celebrate His first!

Published in: on December 24, 2018 at 5:59 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Perfect Wisdom of Our God

At the “Evening of Praise” program tonight at Grandville High School Auditorium (an annual fundraiser for Heritage Christian School Foundation) we were privileged to hear a variety of vocal and instrumental music again. From piano duets to strings to voices in trios and groups, young and old joined in praise to God.

One of the numbers the Daling Family Trio sang was a song written by Stuart Townend and composed by the Gettys (Keith and Kristyn). The title is “The Perfect Wisdom of Our God,” (from their album “Hymns for the Christian Life”) and is based on a variety of Bible passages that speak of God’s wisdom , especially Rom.11:33.

Here are the beautiful lyrics to the song:

The perfect wisdom of our God
Revealed in all the universe:
All things created by His hand
And held together at His command.
He knows the mysteries of the seas,
The secrets of the stars are His;
He guides the planets on their way
And turns the earth through another day.

The matchless wisdom of His ways
That mark the path of righteousness;
His word a lamp unto my feet,
His Spirit teaching and guiding me.
And O the mystery of the cross,
That God should suffer for the lost,
So that the fool might shame the wise,
And all the glory might go to Christ!

O grant me wisdom from above,
To pray for peace and cling to love,
And teach me humbly to receive
The sun and rain of Your sovereignty.
Each strand of sorrow has a place
Within this tapestry of grace;
So through the trials I choose to say:
“Your perfect will in Your perfect way.”

The video below records Kristyn singing the song and shows the lyrics.

It was a good night for leading us into the worship of the day of our risen Lord tomorrow.

Soar around the Moon, carried by the music of Debussy | Aeon Videos

Not too late to squeeze in our “Friday Fun” item while also appreciating amazing video of the moon and a beautiful piece of classic music.

Below is the introduction; click on the link at the end to view the wonderful video.

Behold the handiwork of God – in creation and in creative music! Enjoy!

Vast lunar landscapes set to the aching, shimmering piano of Claude Debussy’s 1905 composition ‘Clair de Lune’ (French for ‘moonlight’) offer an enchanting melding of science and art through the interplay of light, texture and music. The video, which traces the flow of sunlight over the Moon’s surface, was created by NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio using images captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. It was first shown at a celebration of NASA’s 60th anniversary along with a live performance of Debussy’s music.

Source: Soar around the Moon, carried by the music of Debussy, in this breathtaking space flight | Aeon Videos

July 2018 “Tabletalk” – The Eighteenth Century of the Church

The July 2018 issue of Tabletalk continues a series Ligonier has been doing for some years now on the centuries of church history. As you will judge from the cover, this one focuses on the eighteenth century (Can you identify the significant man whose image is on the cover?).

If you are like me, you probably do not know a lot about the history of the church in that century. Maybe in part because we so focus on the sixteenth century and the Reformation that we ignore God’s work in His church in subsequent centuries. But we ought not do that. If we believe, as our Heidelberg Catechism teaches us in Q&A 54, that Jesus Christ is at work gathering, defending, and preserving His elect church in every age (from the beginning of the world until the end!), then we may not neglect to study each century of church history. This month’s issue of “TT” will help us overcome both our ignorance and neglect of the eighteenth century.

Burk Parsons introduces the issue with his editorial “To the Ends of the Earth.” Pointing out that this was an era of mission fervor as well as of personal piety, Parsons tells us what we can gain from studying this century:

We study church history not merely to learn from and remember the past but to help us wisely serve and glorify God now and for the future. We look to the great figures of eras gone by in order to learn from their successes and failures. We examine their lives that we might be encouraged to imitate them insofar as they followed Christ (1 Cor. 11:1). For until Christ returns, we must be concerned to see the conversion and discipleship of our neighbors and the nations. As we labor toward this end, we must rest in the glorious truth that God is sovereignly fulfilling His purposes as He sovereignly works in and through us as His instruments. As some have said, history is a story written by the finger of God, and that story is centered around the history of the cross of Christ Jesus, who is coming again at the culmination of His mission, when the Great Commission has been fulfilled and all the elect have been saved from every tribe, tongue, and nation.

The first featured article is an overview of the century, and well worth your reading. “The Eighteenth Century: An Overview” by Dr. Nick Needham is linked below, but we quote from a portion of it here. Needham covers these main topics: “Enlightenment and Religion,” “The Kantian Revolution,” “Moravian Missions,” “The Church in America,” “Rome and the East,” and “Machines and Music.” How’s that for a  variety of significant subjects covering this century? While we could reference any of these sections this evening, I chose the last subject from which to quote. Let that be a good reason to read the rest of Needham’s article linked below.

Machines and Music

One last word on the eighteenth century—another paradox. On the one side, it was the century that witnessed the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution—the birth of the machine age, with all its transforming impact on technology, society, and human thought patterns.

On the other side, the same “century of the machine” witnessed an outpouring of creative musical genius perhaps unsurpassed in history. Composers including Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750), George Frideric Handel (1685–1759), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–91), Joseph Haydn (1732–1809), and Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) ensured that music would never quite be the same again. Many of their works are explicitly Christian in nature and have provided spiritual as well as aesthetic inspiration to millions. Karl Barth captured this in a beautiful if half-humorous saying: “When the angels play music for God, they play Bach. When they play for themselves, they play Mozart.”

Tolle lege!

Source: The Eighteenth Century