Connie Ruth Christiansen

Connie is a long-time teacher of college academics, Bible, drama and music. She has been involved in worship ministry for more than 20 years. As an inspirational musician, speaker and author, her desire is to motivate members of the Body of Christ to their true destiny: Healthy, vibrant, free to worship, confident to share their unique gifts within the church, and bold to actively share their faith with a world that so desperately needs to experience the love of God. To provide feedback on Connie's articles or to contact her, write to: beautyforashes@live.com.

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Abide With Me, the Song and the Story <br/><i>Abide With Me</i> made its debut at the composers memorial service. As He often does, God took the sad ending of a life and made something lasting and beautiful<br/>
Alas and Did My Savior Bleed, the Song and the Story Alas and Did My Savior Bleed, written in 1707 by Isaac Watts (who wrote 600 hymns), was the song being sung at a revival meeting when Fannie Crosby gave her heart to Jesus in 1851. Fanny went on to write more than 8,000 hymns.
All Creatures of Our God and King, the Song and the Story <br/>Written in 1225, the words of <i>All Creatures of Our God and King</i> still ring true with believers around the world who share Brother Francis' heart for animals and nature; and who believe that the heavens and earth truly do show and sound forth the glory and praise of God.
All Hail the Power of Jesus, the Song and the Story Written in 1779, <i>All Hail the Power of Jesus Name</i> has been called the "National Anthem of Christendom," and has been translated into nearly every existing language.
Almost Persuaded, the Song and the Story The final words of a Sunday morning sermon in 1871, "He who is almost persuaded is almost saved, and to be almost saved is to be entirely lost", inspired Composer Philip Paul Bliss to write a song with the same sentiment -- Almost Persuaded.
Am I a Soldier of the Cross?, the Song and the Story <br/>Isaac Watts wrote this hymn to accompany a sermon regarding spiritual warfare, and based on the scriptural text I Corinthians 16:13.<br/>
Angels From the Realms of Glory, the Song and the Story <i>Angels From the Realms of Glory</i> first appeared in print on Christmas Eve, 1816, in a political activist newspaper.<br/>
At Calvary, the Song and the Story William R. Newell (1868-1956) is remembered fondly as a pastor, evangelist, Bible teacher, author, conference speaker and writer of the beloved hymn <i>At Calvary</i>. And he is remembered as a humble man who recognized that it was only by the grace of God that he was able to accomplish so many good things.
Away in a Manger, the Song and the Story This beloved Children's song was first published in an 1885 Lutheran Sunday School book compiled by James R. Murray (1841-1905), who gave the song a subtitle of <i>Luther's Cradle Hymn</i>.
Be Thou My Vision, the Song and the Story An 8th Century Monk, Dallan Forgaill penned the words to <i>Be Thou My Vision</i> as a tribute to St. Patrick's wholehearted loyalty to God.<br/>
Beyond The Sunset, the Song and the Story <Virgil Brock's cousin Horace Burr, who had been blind from birth, suddenly spoke out with excitement, saying that he had never seen such a beautiful sunset. One of the other guests asked how it was possible for him to see events of the sky. Horace's reply was to have a lasting affect: <i>I see through other people's eyes, and I think I often see more - I see beyond the sunset.</i><br/>
Blessed Assurance, the Song and the Story Although blind from shortly after birth, Fanny Crosby wrote 8,000 songs. Among her most beloved was the hymn <i>Blessed Assurance</i>.
Brighten the Corner Where You Are, the Song and the Story In 1913, Ira Ogden wrote <i>Brighten the Corner Where You Are</i> to remind Christians that the pulpit and the mission field were not the only places one might make a difference for the Kingdom of God.
Calvary's Stream is Flowing, the Song and the Story Eliza E. Hewitt (1851-1920) was a school teacher for many years, until an accident injured her spine and left her a partial invalid. Unable to continue with her first career choice, she decided to try her hand at hymn writing. The song <i>Calvary's Stream is Flowing</i> was one of the blessings that resulted from her tragedy.
Christmas Carols, the History and Origin Even the skeptics cannot deny that the Christmas season is different from all the others. No matter what style of music a person may choose to enjoy the rest of the year, the traditional Christmas Carol breaks through the musical preferences and barriers, to be universally recognized as the most beloved music of all people and of all time.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, the Song and the Story <br/>On Dec. 10, 1755, at age 20, Robert Robinson yielded his life to Christ, and very soon thereafter answered a call to the ministry. Three years later, as he was preparing to preach a sermon at the Calvinist Methodist Chapel in Norfolk, England, Robert wrote <i>Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing</i> to compliment his sermon.
Face to Face, the Song and the Story The music for the beautiful hymn Face to Face was inspired by a jar of jellie. The words for the song came from a woman who was tone deaf.
For the Beauty of the Earth, the Song and the Story Teacher and writer Folliot S. Pierpoint published seven volumes of poems during his lifetime, many of them telling of his love for nature. He is most remembered today as the author of the hymn, For the Beauty of the Earth.
God Bless America, the Song and the Story In 1938 Irving Berlin published God Bless America as a prayer that the U.S. would triumph over Hitler, and that there would come an end to the Nazi cruelty towards the Jewish people.
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, the Song and the Story <br/>The composer of <i>God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen</i> is unknown. There is record of it being sung within the Christian Church since the 15th century.
Good King Wenceslas, the Song and the Story Although 'Good King Wenceslas' does not refer to a particular Christmas event, because it is written about the day after Christmas (The Feast of Stephen), and about a man who showed Christ's love to the poor, it is considered a Christmas song.
Great is Thy Faithfulness, The Song and the Story While away from home on a missions trip, Thomas often wrote to one of his good friends, William Runyan, a relatively unknown musician. Several poems were exchanged in these letters. Runyan found one of Williams' poems so moving that he decided to compose a musical score to accompany the lyrics. <i>Great is Thy Faithfulness</i> was published in 1923.
Hark the Herald Angels Sing, the Song and the Story <br/><i>Hark the Herald Angels Sing</i> was originally sung to the tune of <i>Amazing Grace</i>, and later to the tune of <i>Christ the Lord is Risen Today</i>. George Whitfield (1714-1770), a preacher in the Church of England and later a Methodist minister, gave us the familiar melody sung today.</br/>
He Lives , I Serve a Risen Savior, the Story Alfred Ackley (1887-1960) wrote lyrics and/or music for more than 1,500 religious and secular songs, including lyrics for the still well-loved He Lives! (I Serve a Risen Savior).
His Name is Wonderful, the Song and the Story <br/>As the pastor's voice read from the Bible, <i>"His Name shall be called Wonderful"</i>, Audrey May Mieir's spirit jumped within in her and she began to hear a melody forming in her mind. She quickly wrote down these lines,which would soon become a well known song, on the flyleaf of her Bible: <i>His Name is Wonderful, Jesus my Lord.</i>
History of Hymns In the early 16th century the Protestant Reformation brought about many changes, including hymns being translated from Greek and Latin into languages of the common people, and songs being written with familiar folk rhyme and rhythm easy to sing and memorize.
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, the Song and the Story The hymn <i>Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty</i> was writtent in 1826 for Trinity Sunday celebration. Its beautiful words and melody echo the timeless worship of heaven.
How Great Thou Art, the Story As missionaries Reverend and Mrs. Hine traveled the Russian Carpathian Mountains, they were inspired by the incredible beauty to translate one of their favorit songs into English. When WWII broke out in 1939, the Hines returned to England carrying How Great Thou Art to its new home.
I heard the Bells on Christmas Day, the Song and the Story Over the years, listeners and singers alike have noted that <i>I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day</i> is at once both joyful and mournful. The words to the song were written in just such a setting, by the beloved poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.<br/>
I Know I'll See Jesus Some Day, the Story Avis Christiansen (1895-1985) wrote her first poem at age 10. A few years later while listening to a church soloist, the Lord reminded Avis that her talents and gifts were from Him, and to be used for His glory. She soon began using her poetry talents to write hymns.<br/>
I Will Sing of My Redeemer, the Song and the Story I Will Sing of My Redeemer was the last song to be written by Philip Bliss. The year after Bliss' death, singer George Cole Stebbins made a recording of the song - one of the first songs ever to be recorded on Thomas Edison's new invention, the phonograph.
Id Rather Have Jesus, the Song and the Story As the congregants listened to George Miller's deep voice sing for the first time, "I'd d Rather Have Jesus, than silver and gold," little did they know that the song was destined to become one of the most well-known of all contemporary Christian songs
In The Garden, the Song and the Story <br/><i>In The Garden</i> was written in 1912 and quickly became a theme song of the Billy Sunday evangelistic crusades. It was recorded on an album by Perry Como in 1950, was sung in the closing scene of the 1984 film <i>Places in the Heart</i> and continues to be a favorite of hymn lovers, who treasure that quiet 'garden time' with their Savior.<br/>
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, the Song and the Story <i>It Came Upon a Midnight Clear</i> was first sung at an 1849 Sunday School celebration. It has been enjoyed by millions ever since.<br/>
It is Well with My Soul, the Song and the Story For more than a century, the tragic story of one man has given hope to countless thousands who have lifted their voices to sing "It Is Well With My Soul."
Jesus Loves Even Me, the Song and the Story In 1870 Bliss was inspired to write 'Jesus Loves Even Me' while he was listening to the (new at the time) song, Yes, Jesus Loves Me.
Jesus Loves the Little Children, the Song and the Story The tune for Jesus Loves the Little Children was originally written to accompany an American Civil War song called Tramp, Tramp, Tramp.
Jesus Paid it All, the Song and the Story As the Rev. George W. Schreck listened to a new song written by his choir director, he immediately thought of the verse written by another of his parishioners, Elvina Hall. At the pastor's suggestion, the music and words were combined, and then sent to Professor Theodore Perkins, publisher of the periodical Sabbath Carols. The hymn became almost immediately a favorite and has been published in and sung from hymnals across America ever since.
Jesus, Lover of My Soul, the Song and the Story From his hiding place, which was situated by a quiet babbling brook, Charles Wesley could hear the movement and angry voices of his pursuers. He settled back into the hedge to await their departure. He filled his waiting time by composing a hymn; a prayer of trust in God as his refuge: <i>Jesus, Lover of My Soul</i>.
Joy to the World, the Song and the Story <br/>Lowell Mason boldly changed the acceptable church program format from that of professional choirs and orchestras to congregational singing accompanied by organ music. One can almost hear the excitement of his congregation in 1836 as they lifted their voices with freedom to sing for the first time his arrangement of <i>Joy To the World.</i> <br/>
Just As I Am, the Song and the Story Charlotte Elliott wrote <i>Just As I Am</i> as a testimony to her newfound faith, and as a tribute to the man who had told her that she could come to Christ, 'just as she was.' Over the remainder of her life, Charlotte wrote 150 hymns.<br/>
Lord, I'm Coming Home, the Song and the Story While singing a brand new song <i>Lord I'm Coming Home</i>, the soloist was so moved by the melody and lyrics that he went forward at the alter call to accept Jesus as his Savior!
Marys Boy Child, the Song and the Story Mary's Boy Child was written in 1956 by Jasper Hairston. The melody of the song is reminiscent of the music the composer so loved to preserve: The Negro Spiritual.<br/>
My Jesus I Love Thee, the Song and the Story Little else is known of William Ralph Featherson's short life except for the fact that some time during his 16th year of life he put pen to paper to record a love poem. The love he expressed was deep and true. The words of that poem have lasted more than a century beyond Williams' life and death.
Nearer My God to Thee, the Song and the Story <i>Nearer My God to Thee</i> was written by Sarah Flower Adams who preferred the stage, but chose hymn writing because ailing health kept her from pursuing her original dream.
Nothing but the Blood, the Song and the Story The blood of Jesus to Christians are some of the most beautiful words ever spoken or penned. To others, the idea that all mankind needs a Savior is foolish thought.(Corinthians 1:18).
O Christmas Tree, the Song and the Story The first Christmas trees were tied upside down from house rafters, with no decorations. In the 1500s, Martin Luther created a new tradition when he placed his tree upright in a container of dirt, then decorated its branches with candles.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel, the Song and the Story The beautiful <i>O Come, O Come, Emmanuel</i> was translated from a Latin text. The haunting melody of this song still hints of its Gregorian chant origin.
O Happy Day, That Fixed My Choice, the Song and the Story Barely escaping death at birth, orphaned a few years later and frail in health much of his young life, Philip Doddridge's faith in God remained strong. His manuscripts and hymns still remain more than 200 years after his death. The most famous of his legacy is the hymn <i>O Happy Day.</i><br/>
O Holy Night, the Song and the Story <br/>On Christmas Eve, 1906, Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian inventor, broadcast the very first AM radio program which included him playing a violin solo. The hymn he chose as the first musical piece to ever be broadcast via radio airways was <i>O Holy Night</i>.<br/>

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