Great lyrics, updated music

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There has been a renewed interest the last several years in worship music, specifically hymns. Many of my favorite recording artists have recorded worship albums, among them Michael W. Smith, Third Day and Jars of Clay. Of those, I would have said that that Jars of Clay’s “Redemption Songs” has been one of my favorites for the way they breathed new life into some great, old songs through updated music.

In the last month or so, I was introduced to the music of Matthew Smith and I have to say that it has been incredibly uplifting. Smith, who has sung lead with the group Indelible Grace, released his first full-length solo album in 2006, entitled “All I Owe.” It is a collection of hymns that have been updated musically. The result is a treasure of 10 songs whose lyrics powerfully minister while sung to very accessible music.

It has been my pleasure to be introduced to great hymns like “The Lord Will Provide,”My Lord I Did Not Choose You,” and “All I Owe” while reconnecting in a new way with hymns like “Jesus I Am Resting” and “Thy Blood Was Shed For Me.” You don’t have to be a hymn-lover (although you should be!) to enjoy this album.

And if you like that, you’ll appreciate the work of Indelible Grace because the group has been devoted to putting the words of hymns to updated music. It is like finding new treasure when you hear some of these great hymns that have been brought back so we may worship God through them. And, ultimately, we can treasure God more through them.

Currently, you can buy “All I Owe’ at the iTunes Store and online (and at your local music store, if you are old school). The Indelible Grace albums are not available at the iTunes Store, but can be purchased online at the link provided.

How not to lose your faith at college

It has been a blessing to attend the same church for more than 12 years. I love my church family, and it has been wonderful to have grown closer to them by growing closer to our Heavenly Father during that time. And like all families, we have children, teach them and then send them off to the world. It is a great privilege and huge responsibility.

Each year, we have children who’ve grown up in our church who, hopefully, have heard the gospel message and God has changed their hearts. Many of those kids head off to college where, sad to say, the attitude toward people who believe in God is less than kind. It does us no good if we raise children whose faith can only survive in an incubator of the local church but shrivels when they head off to college.

That’s why I was pleased to come across an article on Focus on the Family’s e-zine (Web magazine, for those who wonder) Boundless entitled “How Not to Lose Your Faith in College.” The author shares some basic steps a youngster can take to make sure their faith is nurtured rather than hindered when they go away from home. If you have a child that is nearing the end of their high school career and will be heading away to college this fall, I’d encourage you both to read the article and talk about it together.