Hymns, some people love to sing them and belt them out at the top of their lungs, others struggle with them and with the melody and some of the language used. But most Christians I know will have at least one ‘old’ hymn that has really impacted them and their spiritual growth as they’ve pondered the deep truths that it conveys. Hymns can be a wonderful tool that push us to Scripture, point us to Christ and spur us on in spiritual growth as we meditate on lyrics that often convey truth so powerfully.
I have just finished a book that you should read, not just if you like hymns, but if you’re wanting to grow in both your faith and your love for hymns. A friend of mine, Joe Barnard, a pastor in Edinburgh and an author has written a book called Hymn Workouts. The book doesn’t come out until September, but I recommend that you pre-order a copy now. There is also a website which helps you get a flavour for one o the ‘workouts’ which also has training videos and will have music soon.
Don’t be freaked out by the word workout, there is little movement involved. The book takes you through different hymns, each ‘workout’ has a title that points you to a theological truth, a passage to read and think about, a hymns to meditate on with scripture references next to it and then reflection questions to consider at the end.
The thing that I really like about this book is that it doesn’t just give you some great songs to think about, it encourages time in God’s Word, it educates you in theology in a non-daunting way and it will give you a greater vocabulary to express the whole range of emotions that come with the Christian life.
Here’s what Joe says in the introduction…
“A lot of Christians hit a low ceiling of spiritual growth. Most of us have felt this frustration. For a while, especially at the start of our Christian journey, we feel as if, every day, God is unlocking a new chest in the treasuries of His grace. Character is being transformed. The horizons of knowledge are expanding. The wellsprings of the heart are like irrepressible geysers that spontaneously shoot forth praise and gratitude.
Yet, over time, the pace of growth begins to slacken – first, from a sprint to a gallop, then to a canter, then to a lumbering walk, and, finally, to a standstill. We keep reading our Bibles, but we begin to feel as if our understanding of them is no better than it was a year – or even a decade – before. The coals of devotion that once burned so brightly begin to look more like a pile of ashes than a pile of embers. Spiritual disciplines grow stale. Routines harden into ruts. Eventually, the Christian life starts to feel a little bit like the process of aging. Our deepest ambition is no longer to continue the course of maturing, but just to hang on as long as we can to whatever vitality lingers in our deteriorating bones.”
I know that so many Christians will be able to resonate with Joe’s words here. I highly recommend you grab. copy of this book and spend quality time, probably about 20 minutes a day, diving into Scripture with hymns as your guide to focus more on Jesus, to remember gospel truths and to see the amazing God that we serve. You can pre-order your copy here, or through the dedicated website here.
*** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not change the way I rate the book. My views are my own. ***