We Shall Rise


(photo of J. A. Copeland)


“But some man will say, How are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come?” (1 Cor. 15:35

     INTRO.:  A song which helps us to understand how the dead are raised up is “We Shall Rise.”  The text was written by Jairus “Jady” Augustus (J. A.) Copeland, who was born in Corinth, Howard County, Arkansas, on April 23, 1881, to James David and Nancy Kansas (Womack) Copeland, and raised in a Christian home.  His father was an unusually religious man who was often seen reading the Bible or the Gospel Advocate early in the morning by lamplight.  It was common in those days to see a farmer resting at noon on a “pallet” on the porch or open breezeway, and Copeland’s father used these rest periods to read his Bible as well.  His father also was a singing school teacher.  Even before his baptism into Christ at age fourteen by C. M. Wilmeth in July, 1896, Copeland loved the church. Sometimes he would spend Saturday nights with other boys, but he always made sure to get up and go to the services on Sunday mornings, although it might mean walking two miles.  When in worship, he often reminded other children who might be unruly that they should not behave that way in the Lord’s house.

Early in life, Copeland took part in the church services by leading singing, waiting on the Lord’s table, reading the Scriptures, and sometimes making comments on the reading.  On Dec. 21, 1898, he was married to Georgia F. Watkins. They had thirteen children, eight girls and five boys, twelve of whom lived to be grown.  He began preaching at an early age and the Lord used him as an active minister of the gospel for more than 52 years. In the late summer of 1904, Copeland preached his first sermon at Bills, Arkansas, and began preaching regularly at Billstown, Arkansas, in 1905.   His first convert was baptized when preaching at Nathan, Arkansas.  In his early years he sustained his livelihood through farming during the week and preaching on Sundays for country and small town churches such as at Delight and Antoine, Arkansas, and Arp, Texas.  He did much evangelistic work during the summers.  In addition to holding meetings, primarily in Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri, he preached for the Twelfth and Thayer Street Church of Christ in Little Rock, Arkansas, beginning in 1936. Later he worked with the church in Hope, Arkansas, from 1938 to 1942. Further he preached at Prescott, Arkansas, from 1945 to1948.

After the death of his good friend and co-worker, Grady Alexander, in 1939, Copeland served for a number of years as editor of the Gospel Light magazine, having previously been an associate editor, and worked in this capacity until his physical strength and other duties made it necessary for him to be relieved of the burden.  Also he wrote for the Firm Foundation and other gospel papers.  In addition, he provided the words to the song “We Shall Rise,” with music by Earl Womack, which was copyrighted in 1954 by the Stamps Quartet Music Co. and published in their book Homeland Guide.  Jady Copeland passed from this life on November 24, 1955.  The funeral service was conducted at the Delight Church of Christ, Delight, Arkansas, on November 25 by Dillard Sarrett, Edgar Lafferty, and Milton Peebles, and his body was buried at the Pleasant Home church cemetery near Delight, Arkansas.  Three of his sons, Ordis, Jady W., and Gilbert, became gospel preachers.  Also, some of his grandchildren, including Jady W.’s son Wilson, with whom I went to Florida College from 1972 to 1974, and great-grandchildren have served in the ministry. In 1980, Gene C. Finley included “He Shall Rise” in his collection Our Garden of Song.

“We Shall Rise” looks forward to the time of our resurrection from the dead.

I. Stanza 1 uses the illustration of the seed

The seed is sown into the ground

With form or body small;

The germ of life within is found,

Providing food for all.

  1. God created the plants with their seed: Gen. 1:11-12
  2. When the small seed is planted, it contains the germ of life but must first die: 1 Cor. 15:36-38
  3. Then it springs forth to provide food for all: Mk. 4:26-29

II. Stanza 2 emphasizes the death of Jesus

The Son of God was also laid

Beneath the heavy sod,

To save poor man from all His sins

And lead him home to God.

  1. The Bible teaches us that Jesus died for us: Rom. 5:6-8
  2. Specifically, He died for our sins, that is, to save us from sin: 1 Cor. 15:1-4
  3. His purpose in doing this was to lead us to glory: Heb. 2:9-10

III. Stanza 3 emphasizes the resurrection of Jesus

The Lord was placed inside the tomb,

His form was buried there;

The grave was rent, could not Him hold,

He  rose our sins to bear.

  1. Jesus was buried inside Joseph’s new tomb: Jn. 19:38-42
  2. However, three days later the grave was rent: Matt. 28:1-3
  3. Thus, Jesus who died arose again for our justification: Rom. 4:23-25

CONCL.:  The chorus then points us toward our own coming resurrection from the dead

Though dark to us the grave may be,

And dreadful its embrace,

We shall arise, the Savior see,

And sing, “We’re saved by grace.”

We plant the seed in the ground where it dies and then springs forth with new life.  Jesus died, was buried in the tomb, and then came forth alive.  Just so, even though we may die, when the Lord returns, all who are in the grave will hear His voice, and “We Shall Rise.”

we shall rise0005


Jesus, Our Pilot

j c bunn

(photo of J. C. Bunn)

“Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them unto their desired haven” (Ps. 107:30)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which identifies the Lord as the one who will guide us through the storms of life and bring us to our desired haven is “Jesus, Our Pilot.”   The text was written and the tune was composed both by Jesse Calvin (“J.C.”) Bunn, who was born on June 30, 1882, in the community of Farmer’s Ridge, IL, near Nebo in Pike County, to Samuel Bunn (1834-1939) and Elizabeth Rosanna (Calvin) Bunn (1844-1905).  The youngest of seven children, with four older brothers and two older sisters, he was raised in a Christian home.  His father gave each of the sons an opportunity to raise crops on a portion of the home farm and to raise animals for sale.  Funds raised in this way enabled Jesse to finance his education in Nashville, TN.  Also he attended school at Canton, MO, and began preaching in 1900 at the age of eighteen.

On May 4, 1904, in Chambersburg, IL, Bunn married Frances Anna Whitaker who was his beloved and supportive companion for 68 years.  They had three children, Roxie, Ralph, and Kenneth.  His early preaching years were spent as a traveling evangelist, serving churches in the Midwest and conducting meetings in Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado, until moving to Wenatchee, WA, in 1931, at which time there were only thirteen small churches in the state of Washington. He labored in the Pacific Northwest from 1931 until his death, establishing several congregations in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, as well as strengthening older ones.  During this time, he attended Bible readings under Daniel Sommer and A. M. Morris and held several Bible readings of his own in later years.

In 1951, the Bunns moved to Annapolis, WA, and J.C. worked with the church there until 1962 when it was thought best to move closer to their daughter Roxie who lived in Seattle, WA.  Bunn’s biography had appeared in the Gospel Advocate, Oct. 21, 1943, and he was featured in both Preachers of Today, Vol. 1 (1952) and C.R. Nichol’s Gospel Preachers Who Blazed the Trail (1957).  In addition, he published a little book entitled Praises to Our King, containing many of his poems, and was a gospel song writer.  His songs include “Wonderful Savior” and “Jesus, Our Pilot,” the latter of which, as arranged by B. D. Spear and M. Pepper, is dated 1967 but marked “Not copyrighted.  This song free to all publishers and singers.”  Bunn preached regularly until bad health forced him to retire in May, 1977.  He died, aged 95, at the home of his daughter in Seattle, King County, WA, on the afternoon of Feb. 2, 1978, with burial in Evergreen-Washelli Memorial Park.  His obituary appeared in the Gospel Advocate, March 16, 1978.  In 1980, Gene C. Finley included “Jesus, Our Pilot” in his collection Our Garden of Song.

The song compares the Christian’s life to a storm-tossed journey at sea.

I. Stanza 1 says that Jesus is our Pilot

While sailing o’er life’s deep tempestuous sea,

Toward the haven in yon sheltered lea,

Oh, Lord, I pray that Thou wouldst pilot me,

Each hour and day.

  1. The trials of life make us feel as if we were in danger of perishing on the sea: Matt. 8:23-27
  2. Our aim is to sail to God’s sheltered haven: Rev. 7:15-17
  3. To make it, we must look to Jesus as our Pilot and Captain: Heb. 2:10

II. Stanza 2 says that we need a good anchor

I know I cannot anchor on time’s shore,

I must cut loose and sail life’s ocean o’er,

While tempests rage and try me more and more,

Lord, pilot me.

  1. We cannot anchor on time’s shore but must cast our anchor within the veil: Heb. 6:18-20
  2. Thus, we must loose from things on earth and set our minds on things above: Col. 3:1-2
  3. And we must do this through raging tempests which represent the trials of life: 1 Pet. 4:12-13

III. Stanza 3 says that we may encounter situations in which we cannot see

When my poor eyes cannot see through the gloom,

When heaven’s bliss does not before me loom,

And in my heart grave doubts and fears find room,

Then pilot me.

  1. Just as a dense fog may obscure the sight from a ship, there may be times when gloom keeps our eyes from seeing and we simply must walk by faith: 2 Cor. 5:7
  2. Even if heaven’s bliss does not before us loom, we must keep our eyes on that which is not seen: 2 Cor. 4:16-18
  3. We may have grave doubts and fears, but perfect love will cast out fear: 1 Jn. 4:17-18

IV. Stanza 4 says that there are hindrances like rock and reef along the way

I need Thy hand to pilot me past rock

And reef of sin which might my courage shock,

And when the dangers would my courage block,

Oh, pilot me.

  1. Treacherous rocks might represent trials which test our faith: Jas. 1:2-4
  2. Dangerous reefs might represent temptations to sin which can lead to death: Jas. 1:14-15
  3. To face such challenges, we need courage: Josh. 1:7

V, Stanza 5 says that we are heading to home port

Oh, pilot me safe through the ocean’s foam,

Let not my heart incline from Thee to roam,

Steer my frail barque safe to Thy port at home,

Then anchor me.

  1. One way in which we let Jesus steer us is by following His example: 1 Pet. 2:21
  2. We must be careful not to roam so that we end up drifting away: Heb. 2:1
  3. Only by remaining faithful in following our Pilot can we expect to gain that port at home and receive the crown of life: Rev. 2:10

CONCL.:  As we think about sailing the seas of life with their storms and other dangers, we know that God has provided everything that we need.  Our destination is the safe harbor of heaven.  Our chart is His revealed word.  Our anchor to keep us steadfast in times of tempest is hope.  All that we need to do is to be sure to make “Jesus, Our Pilot.”

jesus our pilot0003

Glory to God

steve kearny

(photograph of Steve Kearny)


“To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen” (1 Pet. 5:11)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which expresses glory and dominion to the Lord is “Glory to God” (#299 in Hymns for Worship Revised).  The text was written by Stephen (Steve) Kearney, who was born on Dec. 12, 1946, in Dublin, Ireland, and raised in a Roman Catholic home.  His wife’s name is Cora, and they have one daughter named Noelle.  After completing his early education at the Milltown National School, he spent three years in Dundrum Technical College and an additional two years of evening classes in the National College of Art.  The Kearneys moved to South Africa with Steve’s work, and he was converted there through the teaching of Wayne Sullivan in Pretoria, renouncing Catholicism.  A few months after his baptism, his wife obeyed the gospel.

Steve studied in special teacher training classes taught by Gene Tope from 1967 to 1974, and he preached while also working as a display artist in Krugersdorp and Pretoria.  In 1975, the Kearneys returned to Ireland so that Steve could preach the gospel and establish a local church there, and he continues to work with the Knocklyon Church of Christ at Templeogue in Dublin.  I met Steve and Cora in 1975 when he delivered a series of lectures on “Mothers of the Bible,” focusing mainly on Mary, the mother of Jesus, in a series of lectures at the Thayer St. Church of Christ in Akron, OH.  Also, he spoke during the 2001 lectures at Florida College in Temple Terrace, FL, on the subject of “Surpassing Righteousness,” but that was not a year when we attended.

The tune for Kearney’s song “Glory to God” was composed by Sammy Stirling, about whom I have no further information, except that I have been told that he was a Christian who lived in Northern Ireland.  The arrangement was made by Dane K. Shepard (b. 1951).  The song was copyrighted in 1990 by Kearney and Stirling and published in Hymns for Worship Revised.  In earlier editions of Hymns for Worship, originally published in 1987, #299 was “Jesus Is Coming Again,” written in 1957 with both words and music by John W. Peterson.  The church at Knocklyon now has 60 in attendance at worship services on Sunday mornings.  The property is located on Knocklyon Road in Dublin.

The song suggests three ways in which we give glory to God.

I. Stanza 1 indicates that we can give glory to God by praising Him

For Yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory;

Yours is creation, redemption’s story.

Yours is the love in Christ we see;

Yours is the beauty of Jesus in me.”

  1. We praise Him for His kingdom: Col. 1:13
  2. We praise Him for creation: Gen. 1:1
  3. We praise Him for the redemption that we have through His love in Christ: Eph. 1:7

II. Stanza 2 indicates that we can give glory to God by praying to Him

“Lord, give me compassion for souls that are lost;

Give me a mind that’s counted the cost.

Give me the courage to master my sin;

Give me the Spirit of Jesus within.

  1. We should ask God to give us a compassion for souls that are lost like what Paul had: Rom. 10:1-3
  2. We should also ask Him to give us a mind that has counted the cost: Lk. 14:26-33
  3. And we should ask Him to give us the courage to master the sins of a carnal mind by having the Spirit of Jesus within us: Rom. 8:6-11

III. Stanza 3 indicates that we can give glory to God by thanking Him

“O how can I thank You for all You have done:

For Christ Who died, my heavenly home,

Love of the faithful, Your Word so true,

The hope of glory forever with You.

  1. One thing for which we need to thank God is for Christ who died: Rom. 5:8
  2. Another thing for which we need to thank God is His word of truth to guide us: 2 Tim. 3:16-17
  3. And one other thing for which we need to thank God is the hope of glory forever with Him in heaven: 1 Pet. 1:3-5

CONCL.:  The chorus continues to express glory to God.

Glory to God, Yes, glory to You,

Splendor and majesty, righteousness too;

Eternal dominion, the praises of men

Are Yours forever and ever again.

When we consider all the blessings bestowed by the Lord on mankind, both the physical provisions for life on earth and especially the gift of salvation with the hope of eternal life, we should be moved to give “Glory to God.”

glory to god

Mighty Is the King of Glory

don boring

(photograph of Don Boring)


“Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (Psalm 24:8)

      INTRO.: A hymn which identifies Jesus Christ as the King of glory who is strong and mighty in battle is “Mighty Is the King of Glory.”  The text was written and the tune was composed both by Don Bullock Boring, who was born on Dec. 19, 1934, in New Baden, TX, to Holland L. Boring Sr., a gospel preacher and hymn writer among the Churches of Christ, and his wife Gladys Boring.  After graduating from Grand Prairie High School at Grand Prairie, TX, in 1952, he attended Abilene Christian University where he received the B.S. and M.Ed. degrees.  While at Abilene, he was in the college band, studied music, and took voice under Dr. Leonard Burford.  He had already learned to read music and had sung the lead in the family quartet.

Boring married Ann Yvette Shirley, and they had two children, DeAnne and Todd.  From 1956 to 1957, he was coach and Bible teacher at Columbia Christian College in Portland, OR.  Moving to Floresville, TX, in 1957, he was minister with the Church of Christ there and was responsible for the construction of the church building in Floresville.  He was also a teacher and principal in the public schools for eleven years.  In addition, he assisted his father in a number of singing schools and later taught many of his own.  During the summers, he helped in camps for young people and taught in the Foundation School of Church Music.  He first suggested the site for the Foundation School.  “Mighty Is the King of Glory” was copyrighted in 1968.

Not only was Boring an excellent speaker as a minister, but he was also involved in a number of service organizations.  He received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Floresville Lions Club in 1968 and the Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Floresville Independent School District.  In 1968, the Borings moved to Basalt, CO, where Don established the church and helped them get a nice church building.  In 1970, he was listed as one of the Outstanding Young Men of America, chosen for this honor by a Jaycee Chapter in Colorado.  Also, he was a principal in the Basalt school system until his untimely death on Sept. 23, 1972, at the age of 37. His body was buried at the City Cemetery in Floresville, TX.  “Mighty Is the King of Glory” was used in the 1978 Hymns of Praise compiled for the Firm Foundation Publishing House by Reuel Lemmons and the 1980 book Our Garden of Song edited by Gene C. Finley.   It was also included in an undated book entitled Gleam of Glory edited and published by Boring’s father, Holland L. Boring Sr., and the 1999 Into Our Hands: Songs for the Church edited by Leland R. Fleming.

The song mentions three things that the Mighty King of glory does for us.

I. Stanza 1 states that He sets the captives free

Mighty is the King of glory,

How we love to tell the story,

He it was by His mighty word who made the land and sea;

Mighty is the Prince of heaven,

Mighty is His grace now given,

Came to earth, making known His mighty plan to set the captives free.

  1. This mighty King is the one who by His word made the land and sea: Jn. 1:1-2
  2. This same King is the one who brought God’s saving grace to mankind: Eph. 2:8-9
  3. And the same power by which He made the world can set the captive free: Jn. 8:32

II. Stanza 2 says that He is willing to forgive

Mighty is the Lord’s salvation,

Spread the news to every nation,

Constantly His great message herald, bidding man to live;

Mighty is the Christ of mercy,

He will hear the great and small,

Come repenting, in faith and hope obeying, He now will forgive.

  1. Jesus came to bring salvation to sinful mankind: Acts 13:26
  2. This salvation is the result of God’s mercy shown in Christ: Eph. 2:4
  3. And it is possible because the Lord is willing to forgive: Acts 26:18

III. Stanza 3 states that He leads us to eternal life

Mighty is our Captain, Jesus,

Lasting is the word He gives us,

March with Him through the mountain rugged, into regions fair;

Mighty is the hand that ruleth,

Through the day and darkest night,

Trusting souls who are led by His example, His pure life will share.

  1. Jesus is the Captain of our salvation: Heb. 2:10
  2. He guides us by His lasting word which He gave us: Matt. 24:35
  3. His goal is to lead us to share in His pure eternal life: Rev. 7:17

CONCL.:  The chorus praises Jesus Christ as the mighty King of kings.

Mighty is the King of kings,

Mighty is the Prince of life;

Lift your voice in song,

Shun the way of strife.

Hears us when we plead,

Let Him have complete control;

Lay your all at the feet of Jesus bowing,

He will save your soul.

Because of all the good things that Christ does for us, such as setting us free from sin, providing continual access to forgiveness, and leading us to eternal life, we should extol Him, saying, “Mighty Is the King of Glory.”

mighty king

O Beautiful Heaven


(Photograph of Alfred M. and Mary Ellen Hendricks Blalock)


“Then hear Thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven Thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause” (2 Ki. 8:49)

     INTRO.:  A song which describes the beauty of heaven as God’s dwelling place is “O Beautiful Heaven.”  The text was written and the tune was composed both by Mary Ellen Hendricks Blalock, who was born on Oct. 24, 1880, at Cedar Hill in Dallas County, Texas, one of nine children, to William Noah Hendricks (1847–1922) and Susan Delilah Brown Hendricks (1854–1936).  On January 8, 1902, she was married at Comanche, OK, to a piano tuner and music teacher by profession named Alfred Moore Blalock (1867–1953).  Mary’s father performed the service.  The Blalocks had six children and in 1909 traveled from Oklahoma to Atascosa County, Texas, in a covered wagon as part of the Simmons Land Project in response to an advertisement by Charles Simmons.

Simmons promoted the South Texas land as the “garden spot” where the winters are warm and the summers are cool. He planned a railroad system heading south from San Antonio. The railroad system never materialized as promised, and the new towns did not prosper, but Alfred and Mary stayed in this area, where they were members of the Jourdanton Church of Christ.   When they arrived in Atascosa County they lived in their wagon until they could build a one-room house. They made their living by farming and ranching, and they owned a small dairy.  It was from her husband that Mary learned to sing and write songs.  She herself was a gifted musician who played both the piano and the violin, and passed this talent on to two of her five children who lived to adulthood, Vance and Sylvia.

A devoted mother and homemaker, Mary still had time to compose some very beautiful songs which depict her love for Christ and the home of the soul.  There are five known hymns.  They are “I’ll Walk with Jesus All the Way,” “He Is the Lord of Love,” “Our Precious Lord Is Coming Soon,” “Keep Me Near Thee, Blessed Savior,” and “O Beautiful Heaven.”    It is not quite clear when all these were put on paper, but the last one was copyrighted in 1957.  She once said, “My study and my mind have always been on the Lord and His work.” Mary Ellen Hendricks Blalock died, aged 94, on July 30, 1975, in Pleasanton, Atascosa County, Texas, with burial at Christine City Cemetery.  In 1980, Gene C. Finley included “O Beautiful Heaven” in his collection Our Garden of Song.

The song suggests some reasons why heaven is such a beautiful place.

I. Stanza 1 tells us that the water of life is flowing there

O beautiful, beautiful heaven,

When shall I thy beauty behold,

Where pure, crystal waters are flowing,

And streets are all paved with gold?

  1. The beauty of heaven is symbolized by precious stones: Rev. 21:19-20
  2. The pure river of water of life is pictured as flowing there with the tree of life beside it: Rev. 22:1-2
  3. The street is said to be of pure gold: Rev. 21:21

II. Stanza 2 tells us that Jesus is abiding there

O beautiful, beautiful heaven,

Where Jesus my Savior doth stay,

Eternally there up in heaven;

He scattereth night away.

  1. Jesus the Savior is now in heaven at the right hand of God: Eph. 1:20
  2. It is the place where we shall have eternal life: Mk. 10:30
  3. And there will be no night there: Rev. 21:23-25

III. Stanza 3 tells us that Jesus is reigning there

O beautiful, beautiful heaven,

Where Jesus my Savior doth reign!

Exalted in honor and glory

Is Jesus who once was slain.

  1. Jesus now reigns because He overcame and sat down with His Father on His throne: Rev. 3:21
  2. Thus, He is in a position to receive honor and glory: Rev. 5:11-12
  3. This is because He is the Lamb who was slain for us: Rev. 5:5-6

CONCL.:  The chorus tells us that the most beautiful thing about heaven is that God dwells there.

O beautiful (beautiful) heaven,

O beautiful home of love,

O beautiful (beautiful) heaven,

Where dwelleth my God above!

With all the trials and tribulations of life on this earth, the older we grow the more we long for our eternal home of love, saying, “O Beautiful Heaven.”

o beautiful heaven

All Life Comes From Thee


(Photo of Kelly Hersey)


“In whose hand is the soul of every living being, and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which reminds us that in God’s hand is the soul of every living being and the breath of all mankind is “All Life Comes From Thee” (#656 in Hymns for Worship Revised).  The text was written by Craig Arthur Roberts (b. 1957).  Roberts currently serves as Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO.  He also is a co-founder and the first President of Sumphonia, a nonprofit organization founded in 2002, that promotes hymn-writing and hymns for congregational use.  The tune was composed by Kelly Roger Hersey.  A medical doctor, Hersey graduated from the University of Arkansas College Of Medicine, Little Rock, AR, in 1987, doing his Internship and Residency Programs in pediatrics from 1987 to 1990, and a Fellowship Program in Neonatology from 1990 to 1993, both at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine Hospitals and Clinic.  He is board certified in Pediatrics and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine by The American Board of Pediatrics and for several years practiced perinatal medicine, neonatal medicine, and pediatrics at the University-Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson, MS, where he was director of telemedicine, director of the Newborn Follow-up Clinic, and medical control director for Neonatal Transport.

On December 7, 2017, Parkridge East Hospital CEO Jarrett Millsaps named Hersey, who is also affiliated with Regional Obstetrical Consultants, as director of the facility’s level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), saying, “Dr. Hersey’s clinical expertise makes him a critical part of the future of the NICU at Parkridge East as we continue to expand our service area to provide care to more families across the tristate region.”  As director of the NICU, Hersey oversees the 22-bed NICU at Parkridge East, which serves families throughout the tristate region, providing specialist care for babies born at less than 28 weeks gestation and those who have severe or complex conditions. The unit is staffed around the clock by board-certified neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners and registered nurses.

In addition, Hersey has been active in church music.  He provided the tune for another hymn, “Our Fellowship” also with words by Craig Roberts, copyrighted in 1993, which appears in Hymns for Worship Revised, as well as other hymns such as “Glory Yet Untold” and “Lord, Grant Me Strength,” which are found in some other supplements.  “All Life Comes from Thee” was copyrighted in 1993 as well.  In 2007, Hersey helped to edit the Hymn Supplement 2007 published by Lexington Hymns of Muncie, IN.  Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ, “All Life Comes from Thee” appears only in the 1998 Hymn Supplement: Let the Whole Creation Cry Alleluia, published by the Columbia Hymn Association so far as I know, in addition to Hymns for Worship Revised (not in the original edition).

The hymn expresses praise to the One from whom all life comes.

I. Stanza 1 refers to God’s power

Lord God Almighty, Thy strong hand

Created sky and sea,

And lifted, from deep sea, dry land,

And cause all life to be.

  1. God is the Almighty One: Gen. 17:1
  2. He demonstrated His almighty power by creating sky, and sea, and dry land: Gen. 1:1-10
  3. Also, He caused all life to be so that it is in Him that we live: Acts 17:24-28

II. Stanza 2 refers to God’s love

Lord God of love, Thy tender hand

Reached down to man in sin,

And raised him up in Christ to stand

Alive and pure again.

  1. Over and over the Scriptures affirm the love of God: Jn. 3:16
  2. One manifestation of His love was reaching down to man in sin by sending Jesus to die for us: Rom. 5:8
  3. The result of this is that we can be raised up to sit with Christ: Eph. 2:4-6

III. Stanza 3 refers to God’s immortality

Lord God Immortal, soon Thy hand

Shall beckon us to Thee,

Ascending to an unknown land

To live eternally.

  1. God is by nature immortal: 1 Tim. 1:17
  2. We are not by nature immortal but will be beckoned by His hand to an unknown land in death: Heb. 9:27
  3. But those who by His grace are saved and remain faithful will be made immortal and given eternal life: 1 Jn. 2:25

IV. Stanza 4 refers to God’s salvation

Lord God our Maker, Savior and

Eternal Deity,

We reach up for Thy mighty hand,

For all life comes from Thee.

  1. The Lord God our Maker is also our Savior: 1 Tim. 2:3-4
  2. To receive His salvation, we must reach up for His mighty hand by obeying His will: Heb. 5:8-9
  3. The reason is that the Eternal Deity is the source of all life, not only physical but spiritual: Jn. 1:1-4

CONCL.:  The vast majority of spiritual songs written by members of the Lord’s church over the last one hundred fifty years or so have fallen into the category of “gospel songs” which deal with various aspects of the Christian’s life.  There is nothing necessarily wrong with that.  However, it is good to see some brethren in more recent years who have set their hand to writing hymns that simply express praise, honor, and glory to the Lord.  In this song, we magnify our God by telling Him, “All Life Comes from Thee.”

all life

Lord, I Thank You

norman bales

(Photograph of Norman L. Bales)


“Now therefore, our God, we thank Thee, and praise Thy glorious name” (1 Chr. 29:13)

    INTRO.:  A hymn which thanks God and praises His glorious name is “Lord, I Thank You.”  The text was written by Norman Lane Bales, who was born on June 21, 1935, at Hico in Bosque County, Texas, the son of Burl and Ruby Lois (Lane) Bales.  Reared in Clyde, Texas, where he became a Christian and began to preach, he graduated from high school and enrolled in Abilene Christian College (now University), graduating from that institution with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biblical Studies in 1957 and later returning to do graduate work there.  That same year, he began full-time preaching with the church in Rosebud, Texas (1957-1959).  In 1959, he married Sarah Ann Williams of Waco, Texas, and they had four children, Elliot, Jim, Ruby, and Gary.

Bales served the Lord in various capacities, ministering with churches in Belton near Houston, Texas (1960-1962), and Albany, New York (1962-1964).  In 1964, he joined with Charles Williams and Jim Sheerer in a team mission effort to establish a church in Jamestown, New York (1964-1969), where he was also on the board directors of Christian Youth Enterprises Inc., in Buffalo.  He then worked with the Argentine Church of Christ in Kansas City, Kansas (1969-1973), where he was also Devotional Chairman of the Turner Parent-Teachers Association, and Louisiana (1973-1977).  Most of his song writing was confined to producing lyrics.  “Lord, I Thank You” was copyrighted in 1976 with the tune composed by Weldon Kennedy.  Also he collaborated on several other songs with Kennedy and Bob Connel.   In 1977, Bales began labor with the Central Church of Christ in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he was also a Patron of the Performing Arts.

“Lord, I Thank You” was used in the 1978 Hymns of Praise compiled for the Firm Foundation Publishing House by Reuel Lemmons and the 1980 book Our Garden of Song edited by Gene C. Finley.  Bales was a published author of several books who enjoyed playing the guitar, singing, and especially spending time with his many friends and beloved family.  In addition, he also served on the board directors at Camp Sunset Inc., in Groesbeck, Texas.   He died, aged 83, on Thursday Nov. 8, 2018, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa.  Preceded in death by his parents, he was survived by his wife, his children, their spouses, three grandchildren, one great-granddaughter, and several cousins.  Funeral services were held on Nov. 12, at the Central Church of Christ with burial at Cedar Memorial Park in Cedar Rapids.

“Lord, I Thank You” is an expression of heart-felt thanks to the Lord for His spiritual blessings.

I. Stanza 1 refers to what God has done in the past

Yesterday my life was sad,

I was deeply trapped in sin,

Burdened down with care;

But Your grace has made me glad,

Now there’s joy down in my soul

I long to share.

  1. At some time in each person’s past, he or she was trapped in sin: Rom. 3:23
  2. But God’s grace has made it possible to be saved: Eph. 2:8-9
  3. As a result, the Lord brought joy unspeakable to our souls: 1 Pet. 1:8

II. Stanza 2 mentions what God will do in the future

Days ahead may bring me grief,

Pain may greatly try my soul,

Failure may bring me low;

You, my Lord, will give relief,

And You will heed my earnest prayer,

I trust you so.

  1. Days ahead may still bring us grief because man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble: Job 14:1
  2. But the Lord will give relief by not allowing any testing beyond what we are able but making a way of that we might be able to bear it: 1 Cor. 10:13

3.  And we can always count on Him to hear our prayers: 1 Pet. 3:12

III. Stanza 3 talks about what God is doing in the present

Even now You bear my load,

Give me joy and hope within,

Love flows through my heart;

Faith will take me down the road

That leads to gentle peace and love,

May we not part.

  1. Even now each of has a load that we must bear: Gal. 6:5
  2. But we can bear our burdens because God’s love flows through our hearts: Rom. 5:5
  3. As a result, we can have the gentle peace of God to rule our minds: Col. 3:15

CONCL.:  The chorus continues to express thanks, praise, love, and service to God for all the blessings that He gives us.

Lord, I thank You,

Lord, I praise You,

I thank You for the joy that’s in my soul;

Lord, I love You,

Now I serve You,

I’ve served You since Your love has made me whole.

As we remember all the blessings that God has provided for us in Christ, each one of us should be moved to say, “Lord, I Thank You.”

Lord I Thank You