A blog about current Christian songs that have strong, deep lyrics and can be used in contemporary or blended Christian Worship formats.

Lent

The Scandal of Grace by Hillsong United

Today’s Strong Worship Song is The Scandal of Grace by Hillsong United. This song is solidly based on numerous portions of Scripture including Ephesians 2:8-9, Isaiah 53:7, 1 Peter 2:22, Revelation 1:5, John 15:13,1 Corinthians 1:23, John 3:16, Romans 9:23, Philippians 3:7-11, Acts 4:12, John 14:6, Psalm 19:6, Ephesians 1:18, 1 Corinthians 15:54-56, 2 Corinthians 5:20-21, and  2 Corinthians 5:15.

Some may be taken back by the title, The Scandal of Grace. There is Biblical grounds for this, however. The crucifixion of Christ, the ultimate example of grace, is referred to by Paul as a “stumbling block” to those who refuse to believe (1 Corinthians 1:23). The Greek word for “stumbling block” is skandolon” which is the word from which “scandal” is derived. Most often we associate scandals with man’s willful sins. The scandal of God’s grace, however is Jesus becoming sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21) so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. The lyrics accurately show the depravity of man. They also clearly paint Christ as the hero for lost mankind which is what the gospel is all about.  I choose to post this song at this time partially because it was just released but also because it is a good song for the season of Lent.

The Scandal of Grace

Verse 1:
Grace what have you done?
Murdered for me on that cross
Accused in absence of wrong
My sin washed away in your blood
Too much to make sense of it all
I know that your love breaks my fall
A Scandal of grace you died in my place, for my soul will live

Chorus:
Oh to be like you
Give all I have just to know you
Jesus there’s no one beside you
Forever the hope in my heart
Verse 2:
Death where is your sting
Your power is as dead as my sin
The cross has taught me to live
And mercy my heart not to sin
The day and its troubles shall come
I know that your strength is enough
A Scandal of grace you died in my place, for my soul will live

Bridge:
And it’s all because of you Jesus
It’s all because of you Jesus
It’s all because of your love that my soul will live
 

 

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Savior of the World by Ben Cantelon and sung by the Newsboys

Today’s strong worship song is Savior of the World by the Newsboys. This song was featured on the God’s Not Dead album that came out at the end of 2011. The song was written by Ben Cantelon in 2010. The Newsboys have been around a long time, have a familiar sound, and are loved by many. The lyrics are strong on several levels. The song is didactic in teaching the passion of Christ. It is gospel centered. Death has been defeated and Christ has overcome the darkness  for us. He is our Messiah and worthy of all praise.

Initially, I hesitated with this song because of one little word “a”. The songs says “For He made us a way.” Normally we think of Jesus words in John 14:6 in which He says “I am the way…no one comes to the Father except through me.” The word “the” is an important one in John 14:6 in that it is exclusive. Jesus is the only way not just one of many ways. It was pointed out to me, recently, however that in Isaiah 43:16 God says “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness…”  In others words, the lyrics are still Biblical in saying that Jesus provided us a way out of our sin and shame.

Scripture references include Isaiah 53:12, 1 Peter 2:24, John 19:30, 1 Corinthians 15 :54, 2 Timothy 1:10, John 3:16, Isaiah 43:16,

Savior of the Word

God so loved, that He gave His son
To lay down His life for the sake of us
He bore the weight of our sin and shame
With a cry He said, It is finished

Christ the Lord overcame the darkness
He’s alive: death has been defeated

For He made us a way
by which we have been saved
He’s the Savior of the world
So we lift up a shout for his fame and renown
Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord
Jesus, Savior of the world

We must spread the word of His soon return
To reclaim the world for His glory
Let the church now sing of this coming King
Crowned with majesty, our Redeemer

And He reigns, ruler of the heavens
And His name is Jesus, the Messiah

Christ the Lord overcame the darkness
He’s alive: death has been defeated
And He reigns, ruler of the heavens
And His name is Jesus, the Messiah


What a Savior – Laura Story

Today’s strong worship song is What a Savior by Laura Story which came out in 2009. The lyrics are very strong and incorporate all of the elements that I look for in a strong contemporary song. It is a song of praise to Jesus, our hero who by his mercy saved us from the depravity of our sin through His atoning sacrifice. He, the Beginning and the End (God) took our sin and shame on his shoulders!  Hallelujah, what a Savior. I also appreciate Laura Story’s God-given faith shining through her songs.

Scriptural references include Psalm 43:4, 1 John 2:2, John 14:6, Psalms 23, John 10, Revelation 22:13, Revelation 21:6, Philippians 2:9, and  John 15:15

What a Savior

Atoning Sacrifice
Keeper of this life
Hallelujah You are savior
Beginning and the end
Forgiver of my sin
By Your mercy You have saved us

Jesus You are stronger
More than any other
Hallelujah what a savior

Jesus You are higher
My soul’s deepest desire
Hallelujah what a savior

You are the shepherd king
You lead us by still waters
Hallelujah You are savior

You are my only hope
Your kindness is my friend
In Your presence You restore us

You are the way the truth and the life
You are my joy and salvation
Stood in my place taking my shame
Upon your shoulder

Jesus You are stronger
More than any other
Hallelujah what a savior

Jesus You are higher
My soul’s deepest desire
Hallelujah what a savior


Hero by Abandon

Today’s strong worship song is Hero by the group Abandon which appeared on their first album Searchlights back in 2009.

I like the song because it beautifully portraits Jesus as our Hero which He is. Part of what makes Jesus a great hero was His true humility that brought Him to the cross to pay for our sins. For many “humility” and “hero” are contradictory. When it comes to Jesus, however, they are complimentary. True humility makes a great hero into an even greater hero. There is no greater Hero than Jesus Christ. I also like the song because it emphasizes the fact that Jesus is the Savior of the world. His death paid for the sins of all people of all time.

We will be using this song in our Good Friday service at Lamb of God Lutheran in a few weeks. We will use is as a reflection song sung by a soloist.

Scripture references include Romans 10:11-13, Matthew 4:19-20, John 14:6, 1 John 4:14, John 6:17-19, Luke 8:24, Mark 8:22-24,Matthew 15:37-39, Romans 5:8, Matthew 28:5-6, John 3:16, 1 John 2:2, and 1 Timothy 1:9-10.

Abandon – Hero

He walked the dirty streets famous for nothing
He said, “Come follow me” and they came
A face like all the rest, but something was different
The Son of God would lead the way

And soon they all would say
There He goes, a hero, a savior to the world
Here He stands with scars in His hands
With love He gave His life so we could be free
The savior of the world

He spoke with clarity, walked across the sea
A single word would calm the storm
His touch could heal the sick, but He was called a hypocrite
Laid behind the stone, his death was shortly mourned
He left the curtain torn

There He goes, a hero, a savior to the world
Here He stands with scars in His hands
With love He gave His life so we could be free
The savior of the world

He chose to take the cross, shed tears for the lost
The broken and the needy, forgiving those who were and will be
The angel made it clear, he told them, “Have no fear
He’s not here, He’s not here”

There He goes, a hero, a savior to the world
Here He stands with scars in His hands
With love He gave His life so we could be free

The savior of the world
(The savior of the world)

The savior of the world
(The savior of the world)

The savior of the world


Overcome by Jeremy Camp (words and music by Jon Egan)

Today’s strong worship song is Overcome sung by Jeremy Camp with words and music by Jon Egan. This song has alternate titles including We Will Overcome, Savior, Worthy of Honor and Glory, and Seated Above.

Jon Egan wrote this song  in 2007 in response to a horrible incident at his Colorado church in which a mad gunman shot six innocent church goers killing two of them in their church parking lot.  Jeremy Camp, a personal friend of Jon, featured this song on his Worship Project album that came out August of 2010. The lyrics are very strong on several levels. First and foremost they are Christocentric or Christ-centered. They emphasize the amazing fact that the God’s perfect, sinless son suffered and died to pay for the sins of all mankind. Not only did Jesus suffer and die, but He overcame death on the  third day and now lives in full majesty and authority.

We are called to give testimony to His name and with that will come trouble at times.  Jesus put it this way “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The song lyrics which are based on this verse encourage us to take heart and to overcome whatever trouble through Christ. I am amazed at how many great worship songs have come out of tragedy.

Scripture references include: John 16:33, Colossians 3:1, Luke 22:20, 1 Peter 2:21, Matthew 26:28, Ephesians 1:20, Revelation 12:11, 1 Corinthians 1:6, 2 Thessalonians 1:10, 3 John 1:12, Luke 10:19, 1 John 2:14, 1 John 4:4, 1 John 5:4-5, and Revelation 2:7.

Overcome

Seated above, enthroned in the Father’s love
Destined to die, poured out for all mankind
God’s only son perfect and spotless one
He never sinned, but suffered as if He did

All authority, every victory is Yours
All authority, every victory is Yours

CHORUS:
Savior, worthy of honor and glory, worthy of all our praise, You overcame

Jesus, awesome in power forever, awesome and great is Your name, You overcame

Power in hand speaking the Father’s plan
You’re sending us out, light in this broken land

We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb
And the word of our testimony, everyone overcome

CHORUS:

Savior, worthy of honor and glory, worthy of all our praise, You overcame

Jesus, awesome in power forever, awesome and great is Your name, You overcame


Aaron Shust – Sing of My Redeemer

Today’s strong worship song is Sing of My Redeemer by Aaron Shust which is the fifth song in his album This Is What We Believe released last month (August of 2011).  The song is a re-make of the hymn “I Will Sing of My Redeemer” by Philip Paul Bliss back in 1876. This hymn was the last hymn that Bliss wrote before dying in a train crash the same year.

Thy lyrics are very strong and Christocentric.  They focus on Christ and His work of redemption. Aaron Shust does a masterful and beautiful job in re-working this hymn with contemporary sounds.

Scripture references include Hebrews 12:2, Galatians 3:13, Psalm 107:2, Mark 10:45, Revelation 5:9, Isa 55:7, Psalm 50:9-10, Rev 17:14, I Cor 15:57, Rom 6:13),  Luke 23:43, Rev 5:12, Rev 7:14, Ephesians 1:1-7, Acts 4:20, Isaiah 63:15-17, Romans 5:8, and Titus 2:13-14.

Sing of My Redeemer
I will sing of my Redeemer
And His wondrous love for me
On the cruel cross He suffered
From the curse to set me free

I will tell the wondrous story
How my lost estate He saved
In His boundless love and mercy
He the ransom freely gave

I will sing
Sing of my Redeemer
With His blood
He has purchased me
On the Cross
Jesus sealed my pardon
He paid the debt and set me free

I will praise my dear Redeemer
His triumphant power I’ll tell
Of the victory He gives us
Over sin and death and hell

I will sing of my Redeemer
His Relentless love for me
He from death to life has brought us
Son of God with Him to be

We will praise the Lamb for sinners slain
For His blood can wash away our stain
Singing glory, glory to His name
For His blood can wash away…


Sing to Jesus by Fernando Ortega

This week’s strong worship song is Sing to Jesus by Fernando Ortega and Richard Nibbe. This song was included on Fernando’s 2006 album The Shadow of Your Wings: Hymns and Sacred Songs which I never grow tired of listening. For that matter, I like all of Fernando’s music. Fernando has a knack for creating fresh, interesting arrangements of ancient hymns. Sing to Jesus however is not an ancient hymn but a current song. Even though Sing to Jesus is reflective and meditative in nature, we regularly use it as a congregational song at Lamb of God Lutheran.

The lyrics are strong and vivid and work especially well for Good Friday.

Sing to Jesus

Come and see
Look on this mystery
Lord of the universe
Nailed to a tree

Christ our God
Spilling His holy blood
Bowing in anguish
His sacred head

Sing to Jesus
Lord of our shame
Lord of our sinful hearts
He is our great Redeemer
Sing to Jesus
Honor His name
Sing of His faithfulness
Pouring His life out unto death

Come, you weary
And He will give you rest
Come you who mourn
Lay on His breast

He who died
Risen in paradise
Giver of mercy
Giver of life

Sing to Jesus
His is the throne
Now and forever
He is the king of heaven
Sing to Jesus
We are His own
Now and forever
Sing for the love our God has shown

Sing to Jesus
Lord of our shame
Lord of our sinful hearts
He is our great Redeemer
Sing to Jesus
Honor His name
Sing to Jesus
His is the throne
Now and forever
He is the king of heaven
Sing to Jesus
We are His own
Now and forever
Sing for the love our God has shown

Scripture references to this song include Galatians 3:13, Matthew 11:28, John 8:37, 1 john 2:2, Isaiah 53, and John 19:30.