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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O Little Town of Bethlehem, the Song and the Story <br/>Recalling a magical Christmas Eve night in Bethlehem, Brooks wrote a song for the children's choir of his church. His organist put melody to his words and <i>O Little Town of Bethlehem</i> was sung for the very first time.<br/>
O Worship the King, the Song and the Story Several of Charles Grant's writings, prose and poetry, were published during his lifetime. After his death, his brother gathered 12 of Grant's poems into a book titled Sacred Poems. One of those poems, O Worship the King has appeared in church hymnals ever since.
O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing, the Song and the Story The great hymn writer, Charles Wesley, wrote more than 6,000 hymns. He wrote <i>O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing</i> in 1739, shortly after his conversion.
Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow (The Doxology), the Song and the Story Originally written in the 1600s as a prayer for teenage boys to sing, <i>The Doxology</i> has since become one of the most widely-sung hymns in the world.
Revive us Again, the Song and the Story Some of Mackay's writings from the 1800s are still in print today, including Abundant Grace: Selected Address, and The Seeking Saviour and Other Bible Themes. He is remembered best for one of his hymns, Revive Us Again.
Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me, the Song and the Story In 1776, Augustus Montague Toplady wrote an article on God's forgiveness. The purpose of this publication was to rebut statements made by John Wesley. The article concluded with Toplady's poem, <i>Rock of Ages</i>; a poem that would many years later find its way into the very same hymnals as many of John's brother, Charles Wesley's (Arminian) songs.<br/>
Satan as the Original Worship Leader A focus on God creates the humble heart that attracts the favor of God. Therefore, Satan attempts to redirect the believer's focus to anything but God. The most common way the enemy tries to interrupt the flow of corporate praise and worship is by stirring up pride and/or fear.
Shall We Gather at the River, the Song and the Story As Rev. Robert Lowry was wondering why there seemed to be many hymns that referenced the river of death, but very few that mentioned the river of life, the words and music to <i>Shall We Gather at the River</i> came to his heart and mind.
Silent Night, the Song and the Story <br/>In 1838 <i>Stille Nacht</i> was published in a German hymnbook for general congregational singing. Germans who moved to America brought their songs with them to the new world. It wasn't long before <i>Stille Nacht</i> was translated into English, and <i>Silent Night</i> became America's most beloved carol.<br/>
Song of the Lord The term 'Song of the Lord' or 'Spiritual Song' refers to a spontaneous new song given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus, the Song and the Story Pastor George Duffield (1818-1888), preached a sermon on Ephesians 6:14, as a tribute to the final words of his friend, the Reverend Dudley A.Tyng - "Let's all stand up for Jesus". He concluded his sermon with the six stanza poem, Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus.
Story behind the song - Crown Him with Many Crowns In the 1800s there was great tension between the Catholic and Anglican churches. Crown Him with Many Crowns is a wonderful example of how God takes the troubles of man and turns them around for good.
Story behind the song - Fairest Lord Jesus The hymn <i>Fairest Lord Jesus</i> has a somewhat elusive history. It is thought to have originated as early as 1607, possibly written by German Jesuits.
Story behind the song - He Hideth My Soul For those who have natural sight, but are blind to the things of God, Fanny Crosby, who was blind since six weeks of age, wrote songs to bring a sense of His Presence.
Story behind the song - I Surrender All As Judson Van DeVenter fully surrendered his life to the Lord, committing to become a full-time evangelist, the words to I Surrender All were born in his heart.
Story behind the song - Precious Lord Take My Hand <br/>Reverend Thomas Dorsey ( 1899-1993 - <i>not</i> the famous ball player) has an honored title of 'The Father of Gospel Music', and his music is loved around the world. Two of his most famous gospel songs are <i>Peace in the Valley</i> and <i>Precious Lord, Take My Hand.</i><br/>
Story behind the song - Search Me O God During the great New Zealand revivals of 1936, Dr. James Edwin Orr overheard some Aborigine girls singing a beautiful song called Maori Song of Farewell. The melody of that song stayed with him, until following a stirring Easter morning service he put words to it, using Psalm 139:23-24 as his inspiration, and the back of an envelope as his script paper.
Story behind the song - Trust and Obey The words of the young man who knew little about doctrine spoke volumes to seasoned and new believers alike: I'm not quite sure. But I'm going to trust, and I'm going to obey. His simple yet profound statement inspired the lyrics to Trust and Obey.
Story behind the song - Victory in Jesus Throughout Eugene Bartlett's 56 years of life, he composed more than 800 songs, including Everybody Will Be Happy Over There and Just a Little While to Stay Here. He wrote the words to his last hymn in 1939 - Victory in Jesus.
Sunshine in My Soul, the Song and the Story After six months in bed due to a back injury, Eliza E. Hewitt was finally released from her body cast and able to leave the house for a walk in the park. As she reveled in the joy of freedom and the beauty of the day, she was inspired to write the lyrics to the hymn <i>Sunshine in My Soul</i>.
Take My Life and Let it Be, the Song and the Story Take My Life and Let it Be has stirred many hearts towards a deeper commitment to Christ. Even as she was writing the words, Francis herself was motivated to submit more to her Lord. As she wrote the words, Take my voice and let me sing..., she made a decision to give up her career as a concert soloist, and sing only for Him. As she wrote the words Take my silver and my gold..., she made a choice to donate her considerable jewelry collection for the sake of missions.
The History of Hymns Part 2 <br/>For 2,000 years songs of praise, old and new have been rising from the collective heart and mouth of the worldwide Church. The introduction of the internet in the 1990&Atilde;&fnof;&Acirc;&cent;&Atilde;&sbquo;&Acirc;&euro;&Atilde;&sbquo;&Acirc;&trade;s has made it possible for Christians to see and hear praise and worship sounding across U.S., Canada, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Holy Lands, and to recognize that the sound is the same wherever the people of God gather together. It is a sound that grows every day more like the praises of Heaven - a sound that will soon usher in the glory of God that will cover the whole earth.<br/>
The Holly and the Ivy A story passed down over the centuries (its origin unknown) tells us that the holly tree (Holy Tree) originated by springing up here and there beneath the footsteps of Christ as he walked the earth. The sharp points of the plant prophesying of His crown of thorns, the bitter bark representing His death, the red berries His blood, the white flower His resurrection.
The Old Rugged Cross, the Story The Old Rugged Cross has been one of the most beloved songs in all Christendom since it was written by Reverend George Bennard in 1913. As a tribute to the song, to the writer and to the Cross of Jesus Christ, a large wooden cross and The Old Rugged Cross Museum were dedicate near Rev Bennard's home just after his death in 1953.
The story behind Down From His Glory To sing <i>Down From His Glory</i> as a member of a congregation or a choir is uplifting. To listen to it sung by a power soloist or duet is a spine-tingling thrill.<br/> <br/>
The story behind the song - Go Tell It on the Mountain In one format or another since its conception, the anthem of <i>Go Tell It on the Mountain</i> has been sung in the fields, on buses, in the streets, in churches, on school choir platforms and in concert halls.
The story behind the song - Standing on the Promises <br/>Carter began to 'stand upon the promises' of healing, determining to believe no matter what his physical condition, no matter how he felt. Over the course of several months, his strength returned and his heart was completely healed! The hymn Carter had written several years before his healing miracle then became more than words and music to him. Standing on the Promises became an integral part of his life.
The story behind the song - The First Noel In varied Christmas Carol books the song title will either read <i>Noel</i>, or <i>Nowell</i>. The English word <i>Nowell< /i> is from the French word <i>Noel</i>, which means Christmas and is derived from the Latin word <i>natalis</i> meaning birth.<br/>
The Twelve Days of Christmas, the Song and the Story The words of <i>The Twelve Days of Christmas</i> appear to be nonsensical. They do however, have significant spiritual meaning.
There is a Balm in Gilead, the Song and the Story The haunting beauty of the Negro Spiritual stays with us as a reminder of people who suffered a terrible injustice, and of a God who is bigger than the greatest human plight. And that He truly is a balm for the wounded soul.
This Little Light of Mine, the Song and the Story Taking his theme from Matthew 5:16, Harry Dixon Loes (1895-1965) composed the children's song <i>This Little Light of Mine</i> in 1920. The song has since been sung, often with hand motions, by many children in Sunday Schools throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus, the Song and the Story The tragedy that prompted the lyrics of <i>Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus</i> has resulted in bringing comfort to many souls, for close to 130 years.
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, the Song and the Story The inspiration for Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, which composer Helen H. Lemmel entitled <i>The Heavenly Vision</i>, came from her writings - "Dare to have it out with God, and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focused on Christ and His Glory. Turn your soul's vision to Jesus, and look and look at Him, and a strange dimness will come over all that is apart from Him."
Under His Wings, the Song and the Story Reverend Cushing wrote the lyrics for <i>Under His Wings</i> in reference to Psalm 17:8, &ldquo;<i>Hide me under the shadow of Thy wings.&rdquo;</i> Ira Sankey composed the music for the hymn.
Using Piano for Worship In the Church Part 2 How does one learn to become an effective worshipping pianist? By spending time in God's presence and with other worshipping musicians. By continually building piano skills and learning new worship songs. And by never giving up! If God has granted a desire to be a worshipping pianist,He will provide the grace and resources to build the necessary skills.
Using the Piano As A Worship Instrument in The Church The pianist and worship leader have the responsibility to work together towards leading the congregation by faith to the foot of the Cross, to the feet of Jesus, and indeed, into the very Throne Room of God. The pianist, the worship leader and the worship team would do well to spend time honing their musical skills and researching songs that move the heart to seek God. They would do much better to spend time alone, and as a team, kneeling before the Living God, seeking His face, His will, and His anointing.
Using Worship as Spiritual Warfare Part 1 Among the most powerful of spiritual warfare weapons at a believers disposal, is the corporate time of praise and worship. When believers in one accord focus all attention on their Divine Leader, a great Light shines, darkness is dispelled and the enemy's power is broken.
Using Worship as Spiritual Warfare Part 2 God has ordained human voices to exalt His Name and to invite the manifest presence of one or more of His attributes, providing certain and often palpable victory over the power of the enemy.
Using Worship as Spiritual Warfare Part 4 The battle between Light and Dark is not just a theme or sub-plot of a movie, play or a novel; it is a reality of life on planet earth. Speak forth the Truth, live in the Light - The Word of God promises victory.
Using Worship To Do Spiritual Warfare To step into the realm of musical spiritual warfare is to enter into territory unlike any other on this earth. The Truth, combined with faith, expressed through the power of music is a combustible force!
Various Forms of Worship in the Church Part 1 Worshipping God with words and music is a practice older than time itself. Angels and humans alike lift their voices and instruments to honor and glorify the Creator of all.
Various Forms of Worship in the Church Part 2 In response to His disciple's plea, Jesus outlined the perfect pattern for prayer - Prayer that begins with worship of Who God is, and continues to magnify Him and His various attributes throughout.
Various Forms of Worship in the Church Part 3 In the Bible, there are both Old and New Testament passages and words that indicate various body positions acceptable to God as praise and worship.
Various Forms of Worship in the Church Part 4 Written in the Holy Scriptures the words of Jesus, Isaiah and Paul make it clear that to meet the needs of others is to give to God; is to worship Him.
Various Forms of Worship in the Church Part 5 God gave gifts to believers in order that they might bless one another, and thereby glorify Him and thus draw men to the Cross
We Three Kings of Orient Are, the Song and the Story <i>We Three Kings</i>, also known as <i>The Quest of the Magi</i> is based upon a story from the Bible, telling of men who traveled a long distance (most likely from Persia), guided by a star to see the child Jesus, the promised Messiah.
Were instruments used in New Testament Church? While there is only one reference to musical instruments in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul tells us that the Old Testament Psalms are to be a part of the Christian's worship practices. The book of Psalms is filled with examples of praise and worship methods that are pleasing to God; with and without musical instruments.
What a Friend We Have in Jesus, the Song and the Story Joseph Scriven was living in Canada when he received word from Ireland that his mother was ill. He could not go to be with her, so he wrote a letter of comfort and enclosed one of his poems entitled What a Friend We Have in Jesus. It would be 30 years before it was published as a hymn.
What Child is This, the Song and the Story At the age of 29, William Chatterton Dix was confined to bed because of illness. During this time he wrote several hymns, including <i>What Child is This?</i>
What is Davidic Worship? Davidic worshp included singing, instruments playing, sacrifices to God and dancing. Musicians were appointed to sing praises day and night. The house of God was a place of worship without boundaries.

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