O Beautiful Heaven

maryhendricks-alfredblalock

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

O BEAUTIFUL HEAVEN

“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

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All Life Comes From Thee

hersey_kelly_news

(Photo of Kelly Hersey)

“ALL LIFE COMES FROM THEE”

“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)

LORD, I THANK YOU

“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

O Sinner, Come to the Savior

berryman

(photograph of Fred Berryman)

O SINNER, COME TO THE SAVIOR

“…And him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (Jn. 6:37)

      INTRO.: A song which encourages us to come to Him who will in no wise cast us out is “O Sinner, Come to the Savior.”  The text was written by William Frederick “Fred” Berryman, who was born on Jan. 17, 1898, at Yellowpine in Sabine County, Texas, to James Charley Berryman (1862–1932) and Helen Ada Veatch Berryman (1866–1938).  His wife’s name was Roxie (nee Brown), and they had two sons, Billy Don and Ed, and one daughter, Violet Sue.  Berryman started his singing career at the age of 22.  He taught singing schools and led singing at gospel meetings for 45 years.  Most of his work was in east Texas and west Louisiana.   His occupation was listed as “Minister for the Churches of Christ.”

Berryman wrote his first song at the age of thirty.  His early songs were “Look Up and Catch the Sunshine” and “Shine On, Fair Star.”  Several of his songs have been published, including “O Sinner, Come to the Savior,” with the tune composed by J. H. Ener.  It was copyrighted in 1968 by the National Music Co., which was owned by the composer of “No Tears in Heaven,” Robert S. Arnold, and first appeared in their Songs So Precious.  It was also used in the 1982 book Our Garden of Song edited by Gene C. Finley.

The Berrymans lived in Yellowpine and were members of the Hemphill Church of Christ.  Berryman died, aged 83, at the Sabine County Hospital Hemphill, Sabine County, Texas, on Mar. 9, 1981, following an extended illness.  Preceded in death by his parents, he was survived by his widow, his children, eight grandchildren, three brothers, and two sisters.  Funeral services were held on Friday, March 13, at the Warren Meadows Funeral Chapel in Hemphill, with Don Gannon officiating.  Burial was in the Victoria Cemetery at Toro, in Sabine Parish, Louisiana.

“O Sinner, Come to the Savior” suggests three reasons why the sinner needs to come to Jesus.

I. Stanza 1 says that He alone can save us

O sinner, come to the Savior;

He alone can save your soul.

Plunge ‘neath the soul’s cleansing fountain;

Come now and be made whole.

  1. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners: 1 Tim. 1:15
  2. To be saved, we must plunge beneath the cleansing fountain in baptism: Rom. 6:3-4
  3. When we do this, we are made whole by the redemption through His blood: Eph. 1:7

II. Stanza 2 says that He will take our burdens away

Come unto Him with your burdens;

He will take them all away.

Write your dear name up in heaven,

Where it will ever stay.

  1. Our burdens cause us to be weary and heavy laden: Matt. 11:28-30
  2. But when we come to Him, we can cast our burdens and cares on Him: 1 Pet. 5:6-7
  3. The result of coming to Him is that our names will be written in heaven: Lk. 10:20

III. Stanza 3 says that He is calling and waiting

Come while for you He is calling;

He has often called before.

In pearly parts He is waiting,

Calling from heaven’s shore.

  1. He calls us through the gospel: 2 Thess. 2:13-14
  2. Now He is waiting for us where the gates are of pearl: Rev. 21:21
  3. Calling from heaven’s shore, He wants to take us to be where He is: Jn. 14:1-3

CONCL.:  The chorus continues to urge lost sinners to come to Jesus for salvation.

Come while for you He’s waiting;

Come, there is rest in His fold.

Only the Savior can save you;

Only His blood makes whole.

The Scriptures do not specifically require an “invitation song.”  However, in preaching the gospel we are extending the Lord’s invitation, and we are authorized to teach and admonish in song.  What better way to invite the lost to Jesus than by singing “O Sinner, Come to the Savior”?

o sinner come

There’s Just One Way

bailey

(photo of Raymond Bailey)

THERE’S JUST ONE WAY

“Make me to understand the way of Thy precepts…” (Ps. 119:27)

      INTRO.:  A song which helps us to understand the way of God’s precepts is “There’s Just One Way.”  The text was written and the tune was composed both by Raymond Henley Bailey, who was born in Portia, Lawrence County, AR, Feb. 12, 1914, the son of Robert Lee Bailey and Mary Ida Hooton Bailey.  He was the tenth child in a family of eleven children and grew up in Tuckerman, AR, where he graduated from high school in 1932.  Spending the first 25 years of his life on a farm, he married Opal Woodard, a hometown girl, in 1938.  They had two children, Karyl and Rayma.  The Baileys moved to Detroit, MI, in 1939, and Bailey worked in industry there from 1939 to 1944.  In 1944, he was inducted into the United States Navy for two years and served in the Navy during World War II.  He began writing songs while stationed on Attu in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska in 1945.

In 1946, Bailey entered Freed Hardeman College, graduating in 1948.  In 1951, he graduated from Harding College and in 1954 received a Master’s Degree in history from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.  Beginning in 1955, he taught school, conducted singing classes, and preached the gospel except for about a year and a half.  He taught at Valparaiso, IN, and conducted singing classes in Arkansas and Indiana.  His song “There’s Just One Way” was copyrighted in 1956 by Church Music Co. and was published in Singing His Praises by Christian Worker Publishing Company.  Bailey did full-time preaching work in Piedmont, AL; Huntsville, AR; Crawfordsville, IN; and LaPorte, IN, and held gospel meetings in Alabama, Arkansas, lndiana, and Missouri.

“There’s Just One Way,” which was arranged by Robert Shaub, later appeared in the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons for the Firm Foundation Publishing House.   After Raymond retired from public school teaching with the Pulaski County School System in 1979, the Baileys moved to Searcy, AR, where they were members of the College Church of Christ,  as well as the American Legion Post 144 in Bradford, and the White County Retired Teachers Association, and Raymond, whose hobbies were reading and writing, spent eighteen years substitute teaching in White County.  He died, aged 88, on Sept. 11, 2002, at Searcy, White County, AR, and his body was buried at Pinecrest Memorial Park and Garden Mausoleum in Alexander, Saline County, AR.

“There’s Just One Way” reminds that only God’s way will bring us to Him and His blessings.

I. Stanza 1 points out that the one way leads to the shining gate

There’s just one way to heaven’s shining gate;

There’s just one way that always leads you straight—

No other way for one to enter in,

To meet the Lord, be free from sin.

  1. Heaven is pictured as a city with shining gates of pearl: Rev. 21:12-13, 21
  2. There is no other way but Christ for us to enter in: Jn. 14:6
  3. Only the truth can make us free: Jn. 8:32

II. Stanza 2 points out that the one way leads to the eternal shore

There’s just one way to lead you safely o’er;

There’s just one way to that eternal shore.

Let’s safely walk the strait [orig. straight] and narrow way;

We’ll press right in on that great day.

  1. Heaven is pictured as being on the eternal shore of the river of life: Rev. 22:1-2
  2. To arrive there, we must walk the strait and narrow way: Matt. 7:13-14
  3. And if we do, we shall enter into the joy of the Lord: Matt. 25:21

III. Stanza 3 points out that the one way leads to the blest home above

There’s just one way to that blest home above.

There’s just one way; keep daily in His love,

If we will now accept while we have time,

And enter into that bright clime.

  1. Heaven is pictured as a blest home above in the New Jerusalem: Rev. 21:1-4
  2. To reach it, we must daily keep ourselves in His love: Jude vs. 20-21
  3. And we should accept Him today while we have the time: Heb. 4:14-15

CONCL.:  The  chorus emphasizes the fact that we must walk in the right way to receive these blessings.

Obey the blessed gospel, walk in the righteous way;

Live faithful to the Savior, do not forget to pray.

Be always watching, waiting for Christ the Son,

And walk right through the portals when life is done.

Most everyone wants to go to heaven.  But we need to remember, if it is our desire to go home and be with God, that “There’s Just One Way.”

theres just one

Servant Song

Tim Jennings Picture - update

(photograph of Tim Jennings)

“SERVANT SONG”

 “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45)

     INTRO.:  A song which asks the Lord to help us to be like Him in ministering to others is “Servant Song” or “Servant’s Song.”  The original text was written and the original tune was composed both by Jimmy Owens (b. 1930) and Carol Owens (b. 1931).  Usually known as “Jimmy and Carol Owens,” they are a husband and wife songwriting and author team who are pioneers of Contemporary Christian Music.  Jimmy and Carol have been married since 1954.  Their children are Jamie Owens Collins, a well-known recording artist, songwriter, and speaker, and Buddy Owens, an author and a teacher at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA.   Another song by Jimmy is “Holy, Holy,” and another by Carol is “Freely, Freely,” both from 1972.  Best known for the children’s album Ants’hillvania, which was nominated for Best Album for Children in the Grammy Awards of 1981, Jimmy and Carol received the Christian Artists’ Music Achievement Award in 1986.  They serve through the work of School of Music Ministries International, which they founded in 1991.  Jimmy was inducted into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame in 2001. Their God Songs: How to Write and Select Songs for Worship, co-authored by Paul Baloche, was given the WorshipMusic.com Book of the Year Award in 2005.

The Owenses’ original song, copyrighted in 1978 by Communique Music and entitled either “Make Me a Servant” or “Make Me Like You,” appears to have been a single stanza:

Lord, make me like You ,

Please make me like You.

You are a servant ,

Make me one too.

O Lord, I am willing

Do what You must do

To make me like You, Lord,

Just make me like You,

Whatever You do.

This was evidently altered later to a three stanza version:

  1. Make me a servant, Lord, make me like You,

For You are a servant, make me one, too.

Make me a servant, do what You must do

To make me a servant, make me like You.

  1. To love my brother, to serve like You do.

I humble my spirit, I bow before You.

And through my service, I’ll be just like You.

So make me a servant, make me like You.

  1. Open my hands, Lord, and teach me to share;

Open my heart, Lord, and teach me to care.

For service to others is service to You.

Make me a servant, make me like You.

Around 2000, during a series of lessons on servanthood presented at the Spring Creek Church of Christ in Plano, TX, a member of the congregation remembered hearing a song called “Make Me a Servant” that his mother had sung to him in his youth but that he had never seen in a hymnbook.  Without their knowing the true origin of the song, the lyrics of the single stanza were reworked by the local preacher, Tim Jennings, who was born on August 19, 1967, in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  After graduating from Las Cruces High School in 1985, he attended Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida, graduating in 1987; New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, graduating in 1990; and Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, graduating in 1993.   On May 28, 1993, he married; his wife’s name is Jennifer, and they have three children, sons Jack and Parker, and daughter Kayla.   Becoming a gospel preacher, Tim has worked with the Spring Creek church from June, 1996, to the present.  The music was arranged by one of the elders, Richard Morrison (b. 1945).  Morrison felt that the theme merited fuller treatment, so he sought help from Matthew Bassford, who had been a member of Spring Creek in his high school years and was later the local preacher with the church of Christ in Joliet, IL, who quickly provided two more stanzas.  This version of the song has appeared in the 2007 Hymns for Worship Supplement edited by R. J. Stevens et. al., where the tune is listed as “Traditional”; and the 2007 Sumphonia Hymnal Supplement and the 2012 Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs both edited by Steve Wolfgang et. al.  Other versions of the song have appeared, one having the Owenses’ single first stanza labeled “Traditional” with music arranged in 1995 by Darrell Bledsoe in the 2010 Praise Hymnal, and another with that stanza and two additional stanzas written in 2009 by Jack Boyd in the 2010 Songs for Worship and Praise, both edited by Robert J. Taylor.

The song points out the importance of being a servant like Christ.

  1. Stanza 1 tells who our example of being a servant is

Make me a servant, just like Your Son.

For He was a servant, Please make me one.

Make me a servant, do what You must do

To make me a servant, Make me like You.

  1. The Bible teaches the importance of being a servant:: Matt. 10:24
  2. Jesus Christ came to be a servant and thus is our example: 1 Pet. 2:21
  3. In being servants, we are learning to be holy as God is holy: 1 Pet. 1:14-16

II.  Stanza 2 tells us how to become a servant

Make me a servant, take all my pride,

For I would be lowly, humble inside.

Giving to others with all that I do

In love for my brother, Make me like You.

  1. We must get rid of pride: Prov. 16:18
  2. Instead, we must strive to be lowly and humble: 1 Pet. 5:5-6
  3. And we must love one another: Jn. 13:34-35

III. Stanza 3 tells us the results of being a servant

Make me a servant, filled by Your might,

And may all my labors shine with Your light.

Show me Your footsteps and what I should do;

For now and forever, Make me like You.

  1. Those who are willing to be servants will be strengthened by God’s might: Eph. 3:16
  2. They will also shine as lights in the world: Phil. 3:15
  3. And they will dwell with the Lord both now and forever: Ps. 23:6

CONCL.:  The additional stanzas by Jack Boyd are as follows:

  1. Take me and mold me, and make me like You;

For You are a servant, make me one too.

Light me the pathway that leads on to You.

Please make me a servant; make me like You.

  1. Watch me and guide me, and make me like You;

For You are a servant, make me one too.

This is the prayer that I send up to You:

Please make me a servant; make me like You.

In doing research, I have found two other similar songs in the Contemporary Christian Music repertoire, one beginning “Make me a servant, humble and meek” from 1982 by Kelly Willard (b. 1956), and another beginning “Make me a servant like You, dear Lord” (“Servant’s Heart”) from 1987 by Ron Hamilton (b. 1950).  The Owenses’ original song was addressed to Jesus, “Make me a servant, Lord, make me like You.”  Jennings changed the object of the request from Jesus to the Father, “Make me a servant, just like Your Son,” because of some disagreement in the congregation about whether it is scriptural to sing songs addressed directly to Jesus.  If we want to be like Jesus, we must follow the instructions of the “Servant Song.”

servant

Make Some Other Heart Rejoice

fillmore_cm

(picture of Charles M. Fillmore)

MAKE SOME OTHER HEART REJOICE

“Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop, but a good word maketh it glad” (Proverbs 12:25)

     INTRO.:  A song which emphasizes the joy of making glad a heart that is stooped in heaviness is “Make Some Other Heart Rejoice.”  The text was written and the tune was composed both by Charles Millard Fillmore who was born on July 15, 1860, in Paris, Edgar County, IL, the son of Disciples of Christ minister Augustus Damon Fillmore (1823–1870) and Hannah Maria Lockwood Fillmore(1826–1896), and brother of hymn publishers James and Frederick Fillmore. Charles won a music scholarship at the Cincinnati College of Music, and then taught for a year at Bath Seminary in Owingsville, KY.  After that, he traveled for about a year and taught singing classes in various parts of America.  Following this, he took additional music studies in Cincinnati, and studied for the ministry at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN, graduating in 1890.  His wife’s name was Margaret, and they had 3 daughters.  For some fifty years, he served churches including those in Lafayette, IN; Shelbyville, IN; Ogden, UT; and Peru, IN.

A member of the Fillmore Brothers Publishers in Cincinnati, and one of the editors of their monthly periodicals The Musical Messenger (1891-1897) and Choir: a Monthly Journal of Church Music (1899-1922), as well as the temperance paper Clean Politics, Fillmore also produced several hundred gospel songs in his lifetime.  His 1886 hymn “The Olden Story” was included in the 1889 Christian Hymns edited by Elisha G. Sewell and Rigdon M. MacIntosh for The Gospel Advocate.  His best known song, “Tell Mother I’ll Be There,” comes from 1898. Fillmore wrote this song upon reading of the death of the mother of American president William McKinley. McKinley had a special relationship with his mother, who was very proud of him.  When “Mother McKinley” fell ill in the winter of 1897, she lived some distance from the capital, so the president had a special telegraph line installed between Washington and her home town. When word finally came of her impending death, he quickly wired back, “Tell mother I’ll be there!”

“Make Some Other Heart Rejoice” was also copyrighted in 1898 and first appeared that year in Fillmore’s Sunday School Songs No. 1‎, edited by Palmer Hartsough and James H. Fillmore in Cincinnati for Fillmore Brothers.   In 1905, Charles became minister with the Carthage Christian Church near Cincinnati.  Then in 1910 he moved to Indianapolis where he was minister for many years at the Hillside Church.  His death occurred at the age of 92 on September 17, 1952, in Indianapolis, Marion County, IN, and his remains were buried at the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati.  “Make Some Other Heart Rejoice” later appeared in the 1956 One Hundred Songs We Love edited by Austin Taylor for the Firm Foundation Publishing House of Austin, TX.

The song encourages us to do those things which will help other hearts to rejoice.

I. Stanza 1 talks about the benefits to us from helping others.

Would you know earth’s highest happiness?

Would you know its greatest blessedness?

Would you know its truest joyfulness?

Make some other heart rejoice.

  1. God wants us to be happy by doing His will: Ps. 128:2
  2. He wants us to be blessed by following His way: Ps. 1:1-3
  3. And He wants us to be joyful in praising the Lord: Ps. 100:1-2

II. Stanza 2 talks about what we can do to help others.

Pleasant smiles will cheer a drooping heart,

Kindly words relieve a bitter smart,

Helping hands to weakness strength impart,

Make some other heart rejoice.

  1. Pleasant smiles help bring about a merry heart: Prov. 15:13, 17:22
  2. A good word fitly spoken will make a depressed heart glad: Prov. 12:25, 25:11
  3. We can use our hands to assist others in strengthening their hands: Isa. 35:3-4, Heb. 12:12-13

III. Stanza 3 talks about why it is so important to help others.

Many hearts are crushed with bitter woe,

Many hearts with grief are bending low,

Many hearts need help you can bestow,

Make some other heart rejoice.

  1. Many hearts are filled with woe and trouble: Job 14:1
  2. Many souls are bent low by suffering grief wrongfully: 1 Pet.2:19
  3. Many folks have other needs which we can help bestow, even if it is only a cup of cold water: Matt. 10:42

CONCL.:  The chorus continues to remind us of our need to lend a hand to help others.

Give a pleasant smile, speak a kindly word,

Lend a hand to help a brother;

Give a pleasant smile, speak a kindly word,

Lend a hand to help another.

As we journey towards eternity, our lives here on this earth can be much more satisfied and fulfilling if we would only take the time to “Make Some Other Heart Rejoice.”

make some other