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When I began substitute preaching a couple years ago, I thought I’d only be preaching. I soon learned that I could be responsible, not just for preaching, but leading the entire service from beginning to end! What?! Yes. But I learned I am capable. However, keep in mind that these are very small churches and the services are simple and traditional. For example, they use hymnbooks. (Yea, I love hymnbooks!)

When I led 2 churches Labor Day weekend (one church at 10am, and the next at 11:15am) I was able to choose the hymns. (Usually I don’t get to choose them.) One I chose was “O for a thousand tongues to sing” by Charles Wesley. Before we sang it, I shared this…

In the preface to a collection of the hymns of Charles Wesley published in 1761, his brother John provided some singing instructions! Here are two of them:

  • Sing with good courage…Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep, but lift up your voice with strength.
  • Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing Him more than yourself, or any other creature.

I encouraged the congregation to sing in this way.

Are you singing in church or just standing there?? That would be another post, and here it is: Do something novel, sing in church!

Meanwhile, here are the words to O for a thousand tongues to sing, and consider singing it and meditating on the words:

1 O for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer’s praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!

2 My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread thro’ all the earth abroad
the honors of your name.

3 Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
that bids our sorrows cease,
’tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’tis life and health and peace.

4 He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
he sets the prisoner free;
his blood can make the foulest clean;
his blood availed for me.