Click away to find all you need, including:
- The story of how I wrote it.
- Its page on The Hymnary. Check out those audio samples!
- The chord chart, and a string quartet arrangement can be found here.
- A piano arrangement can be found in Singing the New Testament (#199), Contemporary Songs for Worship (#6), and Lift Up Your Hearts (#15).
PLEASE let me know how the Lord is using this song in your life and at your church. I’ve tracked it to Germany (including a translation) and Italy so far.
UPDATE: It was recorded (August 2015) by Kentwood Baptist. Check out the video and support their project. Here’s two other videos that people have made with the song. Video #1, and Video #2.
The First Place
Jesus, the perfect picture of the unseen God
Maker of things we cannot comprehend.
Wisdom, the earth displays Your strength and beauty.
Sovereign, yes, every throne knows You are God.
Every inch of this universe belongs to You, O Christ.
For through You and for You it was made.
Your creation endures by the order of Your hand.
So You must have in all things the first place.
Victor, over sin and death You triumphed.
Firstborn, You’ve shown us life beyond the grave.
Bridegroom, we long for You in expectation.
Jesus, Your church rejoices to proclaim.
© 1999 Matthew Westerholm
23 thoughts on “The First Place”
This is a great song, Matthew. I go to Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota. We sang it at church on Sunday and I went right home and looked for the mp3 so I could download it. No dice. I see that you have “The Sacrifice” here (which we sang last Sunday). I really appreciate the way that you present solid Reformed theology in a worshipful setting. Thanks for your work on behalf of the kingdom and His church.
I am so glad I found this website. We sang this song my freshman year at Cedarville University in Ohio and it blew me away. Hearing it sung by 3,000 plus brothers and sisters was truly a glimpse of Heaven as we all surround the throne of Jesus Christ and Worship the one who Lives forever and ever! It was Awesome and has very literally echoed in my mind these last four years. We only sang it for our Bible conference that first year and never again. I couldn’t find it any where. Finally, today I found it again! This is an awesome, true and powerful song, thank you for worshiping the Pre-Emincance of Christ!
Chris ~ pretty sure I was there at CU when you were. I remember singing it there as well for Bible Conference. 🙂 We are going to sing it at church this Sunday. Thank you, Matthew for writing this song!
-Kate (Russell) Barrett
So neat to read your comment. I was also at CU when it was introduced during fall Bible conference in 2000. I spent 10 years looking for it and finally found it in 2011. Our church is introducing it Sunday.
PS are there any other copies of congregations singing this song? I love the way it sounds with a huge amount of people singing it.
Thanks, Chris. The recording from “Here and Now” has a congregation join in (at 2:12). Hear it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fQJPsnhZwA. (The nature sounds are NOT part of the original recording.)
I know at least two other churches have recorded the song, but have not heard their recordings.
I have enjoyed your song “The First Place” on the Daily Drive audio devotions CD from Walk in the Word. I was wondering if the song is available for purchase (CD or download) so that I could listen to the whole song without the speaking in the middle (though I love hearing Pastor James, I’d also like to just hear the song!).
We introduced this song to our congregation this past Sunday. We are a church plant out of Fellowship Bible Church located in Raleigh, NC. I just backtracked your blog on my site http://www.savedalone.com Thanks for this great song!
I love this song and it is perhaps my number 1 favorite worship song. We sing it almost weekly at Hope International Church in Arcadia, CA
the piano arrangement is no longer there. can you let me know where it is now?
Thanks for the encouragement, everyone!
Faith Alive Resources made a piano part for the song, which you can download for their very reasonable fee:
Turns out we were both at SBTS today. I recognized your name on the interview schedule thanks to your song “The First Place.” We introduced it last fall to our student body at Northland International University in Dunbar, WI. Thank you for your gift in song that is being used for worship and edification around the world!
Anna! So nice of you to say ‘hi’! I hope we’ll be seeing each other often in the future.
Is there a keyboard reduction for the string quartet parts for “The First Place”. I love this song!
Everything I have is on the site, Carol (and others).
Just heard this song a couple nights ago. So good… wonderful writing!!
Dear Matthew – beautiful song. I first heard it sung at the First Christian Reformed Church in Vancouver, BC. I wanted to let you know that the link to the Faith Alive songbook is broken. It would be great to know where to find their piano arrangement though!
I was wondering if I could get a copy of the piano arrangement to The First Place. The link above does not seem to lead to the right place anymore. We would like to sing this song for a friend’s wedding. Thank for your work and heart!
Hi, everyone! All of the music that I have is on this site. You might try poking around over at http://musicblog.gregscheer.com/ and contacting Greg himself. He created (and owns) the sheet music arrangement for the song.
Hi Matthew. I’ve got a retreat for men coming up in three weeks. I wanted to use “The First Place” in our worship time. I have the song on CD, but my worship person would really like to have the sheet music so she can play it. My CD says I could get it from harvestsongs.org but it’s too old, (no longer there).
I am already making a sizable investment of my personal money in this retreat for the other men, and I am really wondering if we could still get piano sheet music for FREE, for ministry to the men. Is that possible?
The song is wonderfull and very appropriate for this retreat. I’d sure like to use it.
Thanks for your time,
Thank you for this song. It is one of my favorite worship songs. I was also at Cedarville when James McDonald taught it to us during our fall Bible Conference. After that, it was always a song I looked forward to when we sang it at college. I am now the music director at Chestertown Baptist Church in Chestertown, MD and I have taught it to our youth group and I am getting ready to introduce it to our congregation. Thanks for allowing God to use your musical talents to be a blessing to so many people!
Hi Matthew, I had just begun attending Harvest in 1999 when this song debuted. It’s a song that just stuck for me. I still remember it all these years later. Fast forward, I’m preaching Colossians 1:15-23 this Sunday at our church and we are singing “The First Place” with our congregation for the first time. Thanks for the links!
Grace Covenant, Exton PA