Beautiful Savior

During the month of May, the sermon series will highlight the various spiritual benefits that we receive from Jesus because he is risen from the dead.  At the 11:15 service, we will sing a new song, “Beautiful Savior,” to celebrate the many victories Jesus won for us in his resurrection.  If we are united to the risen Jesus by faith, then we can sing of “sins forgiven, of conscience cleansed and of death defeated and life without end.”  Jesus’ resurrection shows that he is the “Lord of history” and “heaven’s champion” who “reigns over all,” and it will be our greatest joy to celebrate his victory eternally with the whole company of heaven where “the glory never fades” and “cries of ‘worthy’ will honor the Lamb” forever. Continue reading

Who Is the One We Love the Most?

This text by Lutheran hymn writer Jaroslav Vajda is a marvelous exposition of Martin Luther’s description of the meaning of the First Commandment in his Small Catechism:
“‘You shall have no other gods.’  What does this mean?
Answer:  We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.”

Who Is the One We Love the Most

Who is the one we love the most,
the one who has our total trust?
Something or someone is our God,
whose will is willingly obeyed,
to whom we give the years we live.
Let that be you, our God, our Lord!

Count every heartbeat, every breath,
trace every step from birth to death,
track every second to its source,
each drop of blood, each blade of grass,
the rising sun, and every one.
Let that be you, our God, our Lord!

Preserve us from all other gods,
all damned, deceitful, loveless frauds.
Compare them ruthlessly to you,
the only One, eternal true
Creator of all life and love.
You are that One, our God, our Lord!

A love no other god has shown,
your Son upon a cross makes known.
How shall we worship such a God
with more than words and passing nod,
if not with whole heart, mind, and soul,
like yours for us, our God, our Lord?!

You can find a choral setting by Carl Schalk here, which the Chancel Choir of Central Presbyterian Church in St. Louis will sing on March 15, 2015.

You Alone Can Rescue

During the month of September, the first part of the fall sermon series on spiritual renewal will focus on the gospel (good news) of Jesus as the foundation for our spiritual life.  At the 11:15 service, we will sing a new song, “You Alone Can Rescue,” to celebrate the work of Jesus that is the heart and hope of all spiritual renewal.  The Christian author J. I. Packer suggests that the core message of the gospel of Jesus Christ can be distilled into a very simple statement: “God saves sinners.” “You Alone Can Rescue” enables us to celebrate that core message in a way that is both simple and profound.  “When our hearts were far away,” God in Christ “came down to find us” and “led us out of death.”  Therefore, we confess to God with joy, “You alone can rescue. You alone can save…To you alone belongs the highest praise.” Continue reading

Before the Throne of God Above

During the month of September, the first part of the fall sermon series on spiritual renewal will focus on the gospel of Jesus as the foundation for our spiritual life. At the 8:30 and 9:45 services, we will sing a new song, “Before the Throne of God Above,” to celebrate the person and work of Jesus that is the heart and hope of all spiritual renewal.  This old hymn text set to a modern tune enables us to sing of both the past work of Jesus in dying and rising to free us from sin’s guilt and power and also of the present work of the risen Jesus that gives us access to God and the strongest assurance of God’s forgiveness and powerful presence in our lives. Because he is our “great high priest whose name is love,” and because our names are “graven on his hands” and “written on his heart,” we can sing with confidence, “one with himself I cannot die….my life is hid with Christ on high with Christ my Savior and my God.”  The Chancel Choir has learned an arrangement of this song in four-part harmony to sing with the congregation, and their musical leadership will add even greater glory to an already beautiful melody. Continue reading

Behold Our God

The new song for Easter season in the 11:15 worship service is “Behold Our God.”  The sermons during this season will focus on the beauty and supremacy of the risen and reigning Lord Jesus Christ as revealed to us in the Book of Revelation.  This song draws our gaze to the risen Lord Jesus so that we might behold him together with awe and delight as we sing.

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Psalm 130 (From Depths of Woe)

The new song for Lent at the 11:15 worship service is an arrangement of a portion of Psalm 130.  The sermons during Lent this year will focus on the need for spiritual renewal with a special emphasis on the role of humble, repentant prayer in our personal spiritual growth as well as the growth of the church.  Psalm 130 is a classic prayer of confession and petition that will enable us to express to the Lord our repentance as well as our longing and confident plea for his gracious healing work in setting us from “from all our sin and sorrow.”

Psalm 130 [From Depths of Woe]  (Audio)

Text: Martin Luther 1523; trans. Richard Massie 1854, alt. 1961
Music: Eric Priest 2006

1.  From depths of woe I raise to thee the voice of lamentation!
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me and hear my supplication.
If thou iniquities dost mark, our secret sins and misdeeds dark,
O, who shall stand before thee?

2.  To wash away the crimson stain, grace – grace alone – availeth!
Our works, alas, are all in vain, in much the best life faileth.
No man can glory in thy sight; all must alike confess thy might,
and live alone by mercy.

3.  Though great our sins and sore our woes, his grace much more aboundeth!
His helping love no limit knows; our upmost need it soundeth.
Our Shepherd good and true is he, who will at last his Israel free
from all their sin and sorrow.

Lord, I Need You

The new song for worship in November in the 11:15 service at Central Presbyterian Church is “Lord, I Need You.”  The refrain in this song is a modern adaptation of the refrain from the classic hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour.”  As pastors Eric Stiller and Daryl Madi continue preaching through the book of Philippians this month, this song will help us respond to the word of God with a prayer that we will find Jesus to be our true defense and righteousness (Philippians 3:8-10) and our sure hope and strength who supplies our every need (Philippians 4:11-19).

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At the Name of Jesus

The new song for worship in November in the 8:30 and 9:45 services at Central Presbyterian Church is “At the Name of Jesus.”  As pastors Eric Stiller and Daryl Madi continue preaching through the book of Philippians this month, this hymn will help that word dwell in us richly, for the hymn text is a setting of Paul’s summary of the gospel story that lies at the heart of the letter (Philippians 2:5-11).  The tune (KING’S WESTON) is a strong melody by the famous 20th-century English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.  This tune embodies the sweeping and regal majesty of this story of Jesus exalted from the depths of the grave to the throne of God and rule over all things.  May the Lord through this song encourage us to enthrone him in our hearts and subdue all that is not holy in us so that we may confess and experience him as the King of glory.

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O Church, Arise

The new song for October in the morning worship services at Central Presbyterian Church is “O Church, Arise.”  This is a new hymn by the well-known writers Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, authors of such beloved worship songs as “In Christ Alone,” “Speak, O Lord,” and “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.”

During October and November, pastor Eric Stiller is preaching a sermon series through the book of Philippians.  The hymn “O Church, Arise” is a helpful hymn to learn during this series since it enables us to sing many important truths from Philippians and to affirm together in song our calling to live as a faithful people.

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Forever Reign

The new song for June in the 11:15 service at Central Presbyterian Church is “Forever Reign.”  This worship song is familiar to many of our children who sang it enthusiastically at the 2013 Spring Storm retreat.

This song is a strong affirmation of God’s strong love and healing presence that reign over our sin, doubt, and fear.  As our church goes through many transitions that can make us feel unstable, anxious, and afraid, one powerful way that we can find strength to stand firm and to follow the Lord together as a united church family is to sing the word of God to one another in spiritual songs.  The Lord promises us that our singing is a means by which the word of Christ will dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16).  So let us sing of the Lord’s reign with faith and thankfulness so that we can experience more deeply the peace and wisdom of Christ ruling in our hearts.

Forever Reign (Audio)
Text and tune: Reuben Morgan and Jason Ingram 2009
© 2009 Hillsong Music Publishing

You are good, you are good when there’s nothing good in me.
You are love, you are love on display for all to see.
You are light, you are light when the darkness closes in.
You are hope, you are hope; you have covered all my sin.

You are peace, you are peace when my fear is crippling.
You are true, you are true even in my wandering.
You are joy, you are joy; you’re the reason that I sing.
You are life, you are life; in you death has lost its sting.

Oh, I’m running to your arms; I’m running to your arms.
The riches of your love will always be enough.
Nothing compares to your embrace.
Light of the world, forever reign.

You are more, you are more than my words will ever say.
You are Lord, you are Lord, all creation will proclaim.
You are here, you are here; in your presence I’m made whole.
You are God, you are God; of all else I’m letting go.


My heart will sing no other name,
Jesus, Jesus.