Wes Crawford

Worship Leader. Musician. Songwriter. Coach.

Simple Words: the Music of Nathan Partain

Friends, the time has come to release this album to the public! Digital and CD formats are available exclusively at my Bandcamp page

I recorded the bulk of this album this past December with friends in Kansas City, and then finished it up in January in Austin and Denton. I'm so proud of how it turned out; it's simultaneously a realization of my own artistic vision and a great expression of the musical personalities of everyone who played and sang on it.

All the songs were written by Nathan Partain, who, by the way, has just released a fantastic album of new songs called A Lovely Wait.

Huge thanks to all my Kickstarter backers who helped me bring this to life and in the process made it a community effort.

These songs and this album are a testimony to the grace and glory of our Lord Jesus.

Artwork by Bethany Joy Foss
Montana photo by Archer Messenger

Ascension

The church is unique because it is, at the core of its being, in its fundamental reality, the only theanthropic (“God-bonded-to-man”) reality in the universe, the likes of which never has been before and never will be again, a reality in which the members are bonded forever to the triune God… in the communion of the Holy Spirit. Because of our theanthropic union with God the Father, through Jesus Christ, in the communion of the Holy Spirit, and since the ascension of Jesus to the right hand of the Father, where we are already seated with him in the heavenly places (Eph 2:6), we as the people of God are closer to God, in the act of worship in spirit and truth, than the cherubim and seraphim, the holy angels themselves. True worship on earth is the beginning of a never-ending journey into the very heart of the Trinity.
— John Jefferson Davis (from Worship and the Reality of God)

Today we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord Jesus, after his death and resurrection, to the right hand of the Father. In 2012 I contributed a song to a Cardiphonia compilation of songs about the Ascension. I wrote a new tune to an Augustus Toplady text, called "For All that Come to God by Him." (See player above.) Cardiphonia also has several additional resources for Ascension (which most churches celebrate on the Sunday after Ascension) compiled on this page.

When you went to bed last night, Jesus was at work subduing his enemies. While you slept, he was continuing to rule over the world. He was still at it when you woke up this morning and even now as you read this. That is the outrageous claim of the ascension. It is outrageous because his rule is not recognized in this world. Open a newspaper, and it is not full of how Jesus is reigning. Instead it is full of conflict and crime. ...Yet the story of the ascension is the story of the enthronement of Jesus as the king of the world.
— Tim Chester and Jonny Woodrow

New Album in the Works! (and how you can be part of making it happen...)

I'm excited to announce the worship album I'm working on! It's called Simple Words: The Music of Nathan Partain. So many of Nathan's songs have meant so much to me over the past several years, that I decided to do a whole album of them. Much of the work is done, but the album needs to be mixed, mastered, adorned with artwork, manufactured to CD, etc., and in order to make that happen I'm running a Kickstarter campaign to give you a chance to be part of helping me make this record. Click the link to check out the perks I have made available to backers, and help me get the word out by sharing this project with anyone you think might be interested.

Songs to Celebrate the Birth of Our Lord

Man owes to God for his sin something which he is incapable of paying back, and cannot be saved unless he repays it… If, therefore, as is agreed, it is necessary that the heavenly city should have its full complement made up by members of the human race, and this cannot be the case if the recompense of which we have spoken is not paid, which no one can pay except God, and no one ought to pay except man: it is necessary that a God-man should pay it.
— St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109)
You must understand why it is that the Word of the Father, so great and so high, has been manifest in bodily form… he has been manifested in a human body for this reason only, out of the love and goodness of his Father, for the salvation of us men. We will begin, then, with the creation of the world and with God its maker, for the first fact that you must grasp is this: the renewal of creation has been wrought by the self-same Word who made it in the beginning… he became what we are that he might make us what he is.
— St. Athanasius of Alexandria (293-373)
Man’s maker was made man that he, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at his mother’s breast; that the Bread might hunger, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired on its journey; that Truth might be accused of false witness, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Foundation be suspended on wood; that Strength might grow weak; that the Healer might be wounded; that Life might die… the first coming of Christ the Lord, God’s Son and our God, was in obscurity; the second will be in the sight of the whole world. When he came in obscurity no one recognized him but his own servants; when he comes openly he will be known by both good people and bad. When he came in obscurity, it was to be judged; when he comes openly it will be to judge.
— St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Did you know the Twelve Days of Christmas refers, not to the 12 days leading up to Christmas Day, but rather to a 12-day feast celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus that starts on Christmas Day (December 25th) and goes through January 5th? Here is a playlist of 70 songs to sing as you feast and celebrate the Incarnation of the Son of God.

Songs for Advent

We are currently in the 4th week of Advent. Advent reminds us that the birth of our Lord Jesus, which we celebrate at Christmas, wasn't an unexpected event that came out of nowhere, but rather was the long-awaited fulfillment of a promise to God's people. During this season we look at the ways that the Old Testament people of God longed for and expected the coming of the Messiah, and we let that train our hearts to long for his promised second coming, when he will come to make all things new.

Here are 53 songs to sing during Advent.

John Witvliet on Psalms for Specific Situations

Here some suggestions from John Witvliet (from an essay called "Praise and Lament in the Psalms and in Liturgical Prayer" in his book Worship Seeking Understanding) of specific psalms that can help us in experiences of crisis, giving voice to feelings of difficulty, loss, and perplexity.

"Choose

Psalm 69 for a crisis of shame,

Psalm 51 for a crisis of guilt,

Psalm 38 or Psalm 41 for medical crises,

Psalm 88 for times of utter despair,

Psalm 71 for the afflictions of old age, and

Psalm 143 for occasions of oppression or victimization."

[see also 13, 59, 64, 102, 142]

— Witvliet, Worship Seeking Understanding, p. 45

 

Musical settings of many of these psalms can be found in the playlists on this post.