The Retelling the Story Release Concert, Told in Pictures


On July 23, 2018, we held a special concert to celebrate the release of my new books with InterVarsity Press, The Advent of the Lamb of God, The Passion of the King of Glory, and The Mission of the Body of Christ.

As I was preparing for release of the Retelling the Story Series, I knew I wanted to put on some sort of release event, but I wanted it to reflect the way the story of Scripture has shaped my community of friends—something that wasn’t just about me and my books.


So I asked my friends Andrew Peterson, Melanie Penn, and Sandra McCracken if they would join me for an evening of songs and stories drawn from the pages of Scripture. The books are just that—a celebration of the story of Scripture. But so are many of the songs my friends write. So I asked, and they said yes. The Rabbit Room hosted the event as part of their Local Show concert—a great series featuring great songwriters.


We organized the event as an “in the round,” where we each took turns singing (or in my case, reading excerpts of) original works drawn from Scripture. We did four rounds, with an intermission in the middle.


Andrew went first, acting as the host of the evening. He always does such a wonderful job of welcoming people, and preparing them to come along on the journey. His songs focused on the blood of Jesus and our hope in His resurrection.


I went second, reading excerpts from each of the three books. I read about Abraham and Sarah, Jesus’s birth, and the impact of Jesus’s resurrection, both then and now.


Melanie Penn flew in from her home in New York City. I love Melanie’s songwriting. Her voice is powerful, pure, and filled with nuance. She sang about the fall and about Gabriel’s visit to Mary.


Melanie and Sandra sang back-up for each other, and man, those two voices together… Good grief. Their voices blend as though they were sisters. Hearing them sing together was a highlight of the evening for me.


Sandra went last. I don’t know many songwriters who draw from Scripture with as much personal connection as my friend Sandra McCracken. Scripture is meant to hide in our hearts, and this is so clearly the case with her.

The great Allen Clark took photos for the evening. I love this one of Sandra a lot. Check out his work. I promise you will be impressed and surprised by this guy.


As a special treat, we asked Andrew Osenga to join us and sing a song off his latest record, The Painted Desert (which is wonderful—you should get it). He sang a song from Joel, about the Lord restoring what the locusts have eaten.


We closed the night singing Sandra’s song Steadfast. It was a fun, full night. I was struck by how Scripture has so shaped each of us that when we each came to the mic, we were clearly telling the same story, but each in our own way. Beautiful.


Big thank you to the folks at The Well Coffeehouse for letting us use your place. You have a beautiful venue. Thanks for your generosity.

(Photos by Allen Clark. Check him out.)

Russ Ramsey
Russ is a pastor and author living in Nashville, Tennessee. His books include Struck: One Christian's Reflections on Encountering Death (IVP, 2017), and the Retelling the Story Series, featuring The Advent of the Lamb of God (IVP, 2018). His personal mission is to communicate the truths of Scripture in accessible ways to people in process. Follow Russ on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram.

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