My First Country Song

Several years ago, to my surprise, I found myself listening to a significant amount of country music in my (radio-only) car. I appreciated the way country songs told stories, usually sad ones, which often smuggled important ideas into the heads of unsuspecting listeners. (For what it’s worth, I also like the songs about nothing and dogs and pickups and girls…)

One day I had the thought, “I bet I could do that.” (Humble, I know.) So I sat down over my lunch hour and whipped out a story-poem about a boy and his big brother — “I Have a Champion.” I emailed it to my friend Jeff Bourque, trusting his Nashville-sense could tell me if it was any good. He wrote back, “Made me cry. ‘Nuff said,” and went to work on a tune. Though it is one of my favorite collaborations with Jeff, we haven’t done anything with it in the years since.

I Have a Champion (book)Last June, my wife and children surprised me with a Father’s Day gift, one they had evidently worked on for some time—a storybook containing the song lyrics with illustrations by my kids. (Probably my favorite Father’s Day gift ever.)

Continue reading “My First Country Song”

Hope and The Last Rose of Summer

It is no secret that the end of the year can be a depressing time for some. The holiday parties and family gatherings are over—leaving us to say goodbye to loved ones or remember those who departed this year. The decorations and lights come down. The days are dark and cold. The trees are brown and the fields are barren. A year draws to its end, perhaps with reminders of unaccomplished goals and the speed with which life progresses, and we wonder if the next year can bring anything different. For some, the world and the future appear bleak. Continue reading “Hope and The Last Rose of Summer”

Merry Christmas!

merry-christmasThank you for following this site since its launch in November. I’ve been encouraged by the feedback from those who have listened to and shared songs.

I wanted to take a moment wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

No song to post tomorrow. I’m taking a Christmas break. But I do hope you’ll take a moment to enter my end of the year giveaway, featuring a few books that have encouraged me.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Singing “The Excellency Of Christ” by Jonathan Edwards

At the center of the Christmas story is the miracle of the incarnation—the eternal Son of God becoming human, fully God and fully man. We find the creator of all things in the form of a baby, dependent upon a mother and father to carry and clothe and feed him. This theme continues throughout his life, as the one who is the source of all creation trusts in his Father to provide his needs. He who is the life-giver is executed. He who will be given all authority in heaven and on earth submits himself to the will of God.

In 2004, as a young pastor, I read Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, “The Excellency of Christ.” This sermon from Revelation 5:5-6 discusses what Edwards calls the “admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Christ.” It is an extended meditation on the “meekness and majesty” that meet in Jesus Christ as described above. That sermon inspired me to pen a hymn so that I could worship Christ in song for these “diverse excellencies.” Continue reading “Singing “The Excellency Of Christ” by Jonathan Edwards”

Singing in the Face of Death

Despite its association with joy and hope, Christmas and the New Year are also a season in which we might think of death. We are starkly aware of friends and family who were here last Christmas, but not this one. We face the reality that this Christmas may be the last we enjoy with those who are aging or terminally ill.

Several years ago, David Ward and I met for a songwriting retreat for the purpose of writing a few songs on subjects that were rarely addressed in corporate worship music. One of those subjects was death.

Continue reading “Singing in the Face of Death”

Your Work Matters to God

“Vocation” — Today, this word is often used synonymously with “employment” or “occupation” to refer to what you do to make money (or what you do for no pay, as the case may be).

“Calling” — In the modern church, this word is often Christian-speak for one’s “spiritual service” or what “God has called you to do.”

It is unfortunate that “vocation” and “calling” have come to have two different meanings. “Vocation” comes from the Latin “vocare,” which means, “to call.” Your vocation is your calling. Your calling is your vocation. And if what occupies your time is not what you believe God has called you to do, you might spend some serious time considering the disparity.

C4 - ATGThis week’s song — “All Things Good” — is written to help God’s people celebrate his goodness in our vocations, reminding ourselves of how our various vocations glorify God. Continue reading “Your Work Matters to God”

December Giveaway

Thanks for your interest in emschumacher.com!

As thanks for your following and as encouragement to spread the word about the content on this site, I’m offering regular giveaways.

As thanks for your following and as encouragement to spread the word about the content on this site, I’m offering regular giveaways.

Visit here to see how to enter this month’s giveaway.

A Christmas Carol

The season of Advent is incomplete without the singing of Christmas carols.

This week’s song— “How Beautiful the Mystery” —is  based on a Christmas carol I wrote in late 2000 as the text of our Christmas card. (Go ahead. Follow the link and have a listen. You can finish this post later.) I set the original text of this song to the existing hymn tune “Manoah.” Ten years later, my friends David Ward and Jeff Bourque would write a new tune, for which we added a chorus and additional verse. Continue reading “A Christmas Carol”

When the Worst Thing Happens

Naomi is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. Her story is told in the book of Ruth (which, in my opinion, is misnamed—Naomi is clearly the main character).

This week’s song— “A Sweet and Pleasant Providence” —is a hymn based on the story of Naomi. (Go ahead. Follow the link and have a listen. You can finish this post later.) Continue reading “When the Worst Thing Happens”