Hope College Worship – Psalms EP 2017

Last Fall we invited singer-songwriter and anglican artist-in-residence Wendell Kimbrough to perform a concert of his most recent Psalms album as well as lead a songwriting retreat with my worship teams with Hope College.  After a few hard months of edits, arrangements, and pre-production work my students booked one day in Hope’s fancy new recording studio and knocked out all 7 songs in a few takes!!

For most of my students this was the first time they had ever been commissioned to write something explicitly from the psalms – and for some of them the first time they had actually sung the words of the psalms in worship! The album is a mix of congregational, devotional, and small group worship expressions from the Psalms. We hope you find something that blesses you and your worshipping communities.

Album downloads include a songbook with chord charts and leadsheets. Any questions or comments can be directed to worship (at) hope (dot) edu.

To Heaven Restored: Songs for the Great Litany

To Heaven Restored: Songs for the Great Litany cover art
To Heaven Restored: Songs for the Great Litany

Holy Week has always been filled with the cries and songs of God’s people. From the chants of “Hosanna” at Christ’s Triumphal Entry to the hymn the disciples sing with Jesus after the upper room passover meal to Jesus’ own swan song of Psalm 22 from the cross. Music is the gift God has given us to express the intensity of both communal events and personal laments. In this spirit we offer you a collection of new songs rooted in the life of Christ and the testimony of the church to the good news. Christ has died, Christ is Risen. Christ will come again! 

The text for this compilation comes from a collection of hymns Charles Wesley published in 1746 “Hymns for Our Lord’s Resurrection.” Nestled away in this collection is a nine stanza hymn “Jesus Show Us Thy Salvation” riffing on a section of a very long Anglican prayer called “The Great Litany.” The hymn we choose for this compilation is an amazing meditation on the glories of Christ’s birth, life, death, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. It is also a dense poetic and theological vision of Jesus Christ and our life with him. 

We invited a group of very gracious artists and sound designers to re-imagine this hymn as a meditation for Holy Week 2014. My huge thanks to them!

Starting on Palm Sunday we will release one track a day through Easter. 

(section of great litany)
“By the mystery of thy holy Incarnation; 

by thy holy Nativity and submission to the Law; 
by thy Baptism, Fasting, and Temptation, 

Good Lord, deliver us. 

By thine Agony and Bloody Sweat; 
by thy Cross and Passion; 
by thy precious Death and Burial; 
by thy glorious Resurrection and Ascension; 
and by the Coming of the Holy Ghost, 

Good Lord, deliver us.” 
The Great Litany (BCP) – www.bcponline.org/GreatLitany/Litany2.html 
Hymn – www.hymnary.org/text/jesu_show_us_thy_salvation

*post on the Great Litany from friend David Taylor.

Church of the Servant New Psalm Contest

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 7.35.23 AMExcited to share that Wendell Kimbrough and I have co-won the Church of the Servants (Grand Rapids, MI) New Psalm Contest for our collaboration on Psalm 113 that was featured on the Hallel Psalms album.  The contest is sponsored by and held in memory of Ben Fackler.

Listen to a performance of this psalm at Church of the Servant from Sunday, Feb 2, 2014.

A huge thanks to COS and Greg Scheer for hosting such a wonderful contest every year.  You can see the past winners HERE. (Our friend Zac Hicks won in 2010 for his version of Psalm 100).

Who is Like the Lord our God? (Psalm 113)
mp3 | chords | leadsheet

Words: Wendell Kimbrough; from Psalm 113, Phil 2, 3;
Music: Bruce Benedict & Wendell Kimbrough.
(c) 2013 Cardiphonia Music

Our Father, He lifts from the ashes
He raises the poor and the lost;
He seats them to dine at his table,
To feast without money or cost.

The lonely he settles in families
The barren, a mother he makes;
O happy the heart of the stranger
Who’s welcomed by this King of Grace.

Who is like the LORD our God,
Whose glory fills the skies,
But humbles himself with the broken to dwell
Who is like our God?

Though equal to God in His glory,
Christ Jesus became like a slave;
He humbled himself in obedience
To Death, and the Cross, and the Grave.

Victorious, he rose to the highest;
In glory, the Savior was raised.
His name above all names exalted;
The heavens and earth sing His praise

O Saints, fix your eyes on the Savior
And count all your righteousness lost
Be found in his love and his favor
And share in his death on the cross

That all of his power in victory,
Imparted to you, may abound
And sharing the suff’rings of Jesus,
You share in his glory and crown

Recorded by Wendell Kimbrough and Ben Hofer

Songwriting from Scripture by Caroline Cobb


Here are three very helpful and thoughtful articles from Caroline Cobb on writing songs from scripture that she has recently posted to the Gospel Coalition Worship blog.

1. When the power of scripture meets the power of music.

2. How to write a song from scripture.

3. Six ideas for writing songs from Scripture

…and check out her new album where she has systematically written songs across the whole spread of scripture.

The Blood + the Breath: Songs that Tell the Story of Redemption: An album that tells the story of redemption in scripture, beginning with creation and ending with Jesus’ return.

Looking forward to sharing a new song from Caroline based in Habbakuk 3 in our upcoming Canticles album!

New song for advent by Matt Boswell and DA Carson


GC just featured a new song for advent written by Matt Boswell and DA Carson called “Exult in the Savior’s Birth.”  Matt and DA Carson teamed up to write a song from Luke 24 “Our Hearts Still Burn” for the Songs for Luke Album and Matt has contributed to a number of our compilations. Check it out the song page HERE for a short video, chart, and free mp3!



DOWNLOAD Sheet Music

DOWNLOAD Chord Chart

Interviews with Mike Cosper, Sandra McCracken, and Jeremy Casella on the Songs for the Book of Luke

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 10.32.10 PMStumbled upon these cool interviews about the Songs for the Book of Luke album that Naaman and I contributed too.  Featuring Mike Cosper, Sandra McCracken, and Jeremy Casella.


You can also read the thoughtful posts on each song that Bobby Gilles has been rolling out for the new Gospel Coalition Worship site HERE.

Here is what Bobby has to say about “The Spirit of the Lord” (from the Gospel Coalition site)


Cleansing the Songwriting Palate and a new commission


It’s always good to be on the lookout for songwriting challenges.  Recently, one found me. Some of our good friends at church are expecting their first child and wanted some original songs to sing with their little one.  They commissioned me to write one song that they could begin to sing over the womb and then use as a lullabye after she was born. Initially I thought this would be a fun, and relatively easy commission.  After writing a whole musical last year I thought “how hard can this be!”

that was three months ago…

Now on top of being incredibly honored I was quickly struck with how difficult this would be! Writing a lullaby is the condensation of the perfect song.  Easy to sing (in a very comfortable register), simple but memorable, comforting but not too sentimental or contrived, stands up to multiple repeated use at odd times of day and night, etc. But where to start?  Lullabye’s are as simple as they are enigmatic. (I’ve never quite figured out the popular ‘hush a bye baby’ pictured above). Check out this book for further delving!

Writing a lullaby, I also realized, was a palate cleansing creative exercise for a songwriter.  There are no complex theological ideas to wrestle with, or detailed song structures…just the essence of a true song. This kind of balancing exercise is really important.  After the last year of wrestling with texts and songs like THIS and THIS…It was a challenging relief to focus on this project.

I ended up writing eight lullaby’s and enjoyed three enough to pass them on to my friends. My goal was to have a morning song, a midday song, and a bedtime song. (At one point I tried to write lullaby’s to correspond with the daily bcp prayers…#fail) Here is a demo for the one I liked the most, but my friends have been gracious enough to let me post the lead sheets for the others too.  Hope you enjoy!  If you have ever written/recorded a lullabye let me know.  I would love to post others!

Morning Will Come (Psalm 5:2-3; 143:8)
mp3 | leadsheet

One Day (Psalm 84:10;100:5)
mp3 | leadsheet

Sleep… (Psalm 4:8)
mp3 | leadsheet

Psalm 113 O Who is Like the Lord Our God

Hallel Psalms cover art
New composition for Psalm 113 that my friend Naaman Wood and I worked on for the latest Cardiphonia compilation on the Hallel Psalms.  One of many psalms that’s fitting to use for Ascension Sunday coming up.

O Who is like the Lord Our God?(Psalm 113)
mp3 | chart | leadsheet

O who is like the Lord our God,
Who sits enthroned on high,
Who turns his gaze on all below,
On all the earth and heav’ns?

He lifts the wretched from the dirt,
The poor from heaps of ash,
To make them sit in princely thrones,
In royal company.

Are You the Christ who is to come?
Or should we still tarry on?

O who is He whose lowly birth,
In ill repute and shame,
Assumed the Virgin’s empty womb,
As Joseph’s common son?

O who is He whose wretched life,
In poverty and want,
Received the shepherd’s filth and praise,
Within the feeding trough?


O who is He whose words refused,
The reach of Satan’s power;
Who healed the blind and raised the lame,
And banished hellish throngs?

O who is He who stopped the feast,
With prayers and broken bread?
“This fractured bread—
my ruptured flesh,
“This wine—my bleeding wounds.”

Are You the Christ who is to come?
Or should we still tarry on?

(c) Naaman Wood and Bruce Benedict, 2013
Cardiphonia Music, 2013 (Ascap)

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