Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

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Resurrection Letters, Volume 1 – Andrew Peterson
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Ten years ago, Andrew Peterson, one of our most respected singer/songwriters, was working on an album that he says was more or less on the resurrection of Jesus. As he started working on the songs, he realized that they actually were more about the way Jesus’ resurrection plays out in our lives rather than the resurrection itself. So, the album was creatively titled Resurrection Letters, Vol. 2.
This year, Peterson finally began work on Vol. 1 with producer Ben Shive, who also produced Vol. 2, ten years ago. But Peterson felt it would be odd to write about Jesus’s victory over death without spending time writing about his death itself. That led to an EP, Resurrection Letters: Prologue. See my review here.
Now it is time for Resurrection Letters, Vol. 1. And it has been worth the wait. A Deluxe Edition version includes Resurrection Letters: Prologue. Below are a few brief comments about each song on this wonderful collection from one of our best songwriters.

His Heart Beats –  This joyful song is about our Lord waking up, coming back to life in the grave. It begins with a drum beat that sounds like a heartbeat. It includes piano, drum, acoustic guitar and backing vocals. The Lamb of God slain for us is a lion ready to roar. His work is already done, he has defeated death, the final enemy, and the grave. Death no long has dominion over him. He took one breath and put death to death. The song includes the chorus of the much-loved Matthew Bridges 1851 hymn “Crown Him with Many Crowns”.
Key lyric: The blood that brought us peace with God is racing through his veins.
Risen Indeed – This is a song that Peterson wrote in 2009 on the Resurrection Letters Volume 2 tour and was saving to record for Resurrection Letters Vol. 1. The song begins with piano and builds with base and drum. He sings of Peter racing to the tomb and then of Jesus speaking Mary’s name. Abraham could not have dreamed of how all of those promises would be fulfilled in Jesus.
Key lyric: He is not dead; he is risen, risen indeed.
Remember Me –  This song was written by Ben Shive to help himself and his church remember Jesus one Good Friday. There are references to familiar scripture passages throughout. The chorus is based on words spoken by the thief on the cross who came to faith in Christ. “Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom.” The uses a creative drum beat throughout, as well as piano and backing vocals.
I’ve Seen Too Much – This song is from the perspective of Peter. He knows it sounds crazy, but he knows what he saw. He saw Jesus die and be laid in the tomb.  He’s seen too much to deny Jesus. Though the faithful have been scattered and he is tired and doubt has crept in, he can’t deny what he knows to be true. The song echoes Peter in John 6:68 when he said to Jesus “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”. The song opens with piano, percussion, acoustic guitar and then builds.
Remember and Proclaim – This upbeat song about celebrating the Lord’s Supper features some nice guitar work, light percussion and backing vocals. As we gather around the table, break the bread and drink the wine, we remember and proclaim his death until he comes again. Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.
Maybe Next Year – This song was inspired by Peterson’s recent trip to the Western Wall, or Wailing Wall, in Jerusalem. It begins and ends with voices based on what we might hear at the Wailing Wall, and features piano, light percussion, accordion, keys, backing vocals and a guitar solo. Jesus never felt so real to him. He never felt so close to him. We’ll meet in the New Jerusalem someday, maybe next year.
Rise Up –  This encouraging song is written by Ben Shive. It begins with piano and light percussion and then builds, featuring strings. Await, await the day of His return. Every stone that makes you stumble, every sad seduction and every clever lie will be crushed by the King of Love one day.
Key lyric:
‘Cause He will rise up in the end.
He will rise up in the end.
I know you need a savior,
And He is patient in his anger,
But He will rise up in the end.

Is He Worthy? – It is rare when that song comes along and from the first listen you know that it is special. That’s was the case with this song, the first song released from the album. Peterson has written that “the chorus is taken from that staggering moment in Revelation 5 when the prophet asks, “Is anyone worthy to break the seal and open the scroll?” He looks around, along with all the hosts of heaven, and when no one is found who is worthy to do so, he weeps bitterly. But then one of the elders says, “Do not weep! Behold, the Lion of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able.” And then the Lamb, looking as if it has been slain, appears at the center of the throne, takes the scroll and breaks the seal, and at once all the heavenly hosts sing his praises: “He is worthy!””
I think this song, is destined to be a song that will be sung for years in churches around the world. The song starts with Andrew’s vocals and piano. It builds powerfully and triumphantly with strings and a choir.
Key lyric:
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Of all blessing and honor and glory
Is He worthy of this?
He is   

All Things Together –  The album ends with this worship song about Jesus. He sings about the attributes of Jesus from Scripture. He holds all things together. The song begins with piano and light percussion and then builds with strings and backing vocals.
Key lyric: He made peace by the blood of His cross.

  • Praying Hands. Listen to this remix of “Praying Hands” by Ty Brasel, featuring Trip Lee.   
  • Keith Getty Is Still Fighting the Worship Wars. On this episode of Christianity Today’s The Calling podcast, Richard Clark visits with Keith Getty about how children’s choir changed his life, the problem he has with Wall Street, and the ways he leads his own family in worship in his day to day life.
  • Not Today Satan. Watch this new video of “Not Today Satan” by KB and featuring Andy Mineo.
  • Love Always Wins. Watch this new video for Michael W. Smith’s Love Always Wins from his new album A Million Miles.
  • Michael Card Update. Michael Card, one of my favorites (music, writing, speaking) has finished his new book on Hesed. He is now working on a new album and has five songs finished to date. The plan is to have the album and book out in December.
  • I’m With Her. All of a sudden, I’m hearing a lot about this trio. Sorry I missed them when they played locally recently. Here is their version of John Hiatt’s great song “Crossing Muddy Waters”.
  • Help Us to Love. Watch Tori Kelly perform “Help Us To Love” featuring the Hamiltones live at the Stellar Awards 2018.
  • Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Musicians? In reviewing Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?: Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock by Gregory Thornbury, Russell Moore writes “Perhaps this book should prompt us to ask who are the Larry Normans around us right now, gifted but tortured, able to write or sing about a gracious God but unable to find him in their own lives. Who, right now, will each of us one day look back upon, reflecting on a similarly agonized life, and saying, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready”? Perhaps we should ask such questions and recognize when we need help finding the answers.”

  • The greater the storms we face, the louder our songs must be. Matt Redman
  • Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
    Of all blessing and honor and glory
    Is He worthy of this?
    He is. Andrew Peterson
  • And on that day
    When my strength is failing
    The end draws near
    And my time has come
    Still my soul will
    Sing Your praise unending. Matt Redman

Burning Bridges by NEEDTOBREATHE

This week’s song of the week is “Bridges Burn” from NEEDTOBREATHE’s new EP Forever On Your Side (Niles City Sound Sessions). Listen to the song here.

Da-doo, da-doo, doo, doo, doo, doo (repeat 3x)

It’s time for moving on
There’s some things you can’t forget
It’s sinking us like a stone
I just wanna bury it


I wanna watch all my bridges burn
Stand in the rain ’til the page is turned
Dance in the light of a lesson learned, lesson learned
I wanna leave everything that hurts
Never go back to the way we were
Set it on fire, baby, watch it burn, watch it burn

Da-doo, da-doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Da-doo, da-doo, doo, doo, doo, doo

Out into the unknown
We traded in our regrets
Not gonna go alone
‘Cause we’re gonna finish this

I wanna watch all my bridges burn
Stand in the rain ’til the page is turned
Dance in the light of a lesson learned, lesson learned
I wanna leave everything that hurts
Never go back to the way we were
Set it on fire, baby, watch it burn, watch it burn

Burn it all, set me free
And let the smoke blow on out to the sea
I need to find somewhere I can believe
I need to know there’s a chance we can be
Burn it all, set me free
And let the smoke blow on out to the sea
I need to find somewhere I can believe
I need to know there’s a chance we can be

I wanna watch all my bridges burn
Stand in the rain ’til the page is turned
Dance in the light of a lesson learned, lesson learned
I wanna leave everything that hurts
Never go back to the way we were
Set it on fire, baby, watch it burn, watch it burn

Da-doo, da-doo, doo, doo, doo, doo (repeat 3x)

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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 37 years, a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 50 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and Colossians 3:23 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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