Great resource for learning new songs

worship siteThere is an invaluable resource, particularly for guitarists, within the Worship Together website. In case you haven’t discovered it yet, go there now! http://www.worshiptogether.com/
Each song comes with a SONG VIDEO/NEW SONG CAFE where the song writer is interviewed, they share their song, and explain some of the unusual things they do to make the song work. Chord structures, rhythm and dynamics are all explored. It’s also helpful to hear the history of how the song came together, and the main things the writer intends the song to say. I always enjoy getting to know a little about the person behind the song as well.  These clips are a great research for helping with tricky chord structures, and just getting the right feel to a song. I hope you find it helpful!

 

 

Advertisements

Why should I gain from His reward?

8128-ea_fathers_love how deep for us lyrics.pngYes, the Sovereign lord is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. (Isaiah 40:10-11 NLT)

Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (Revelation 22:12-13)

Sometimes even really great songs can become tired. People just get ‘over’ singing them and the impact and meaning is lost. It’s rare to find a song that endures very long these days! But this song is somehow different: How Deep the Father’s Love for Us (1995)

I remember when I first came across the Stuart Townend song. Its unusual time signature scheme (4/4 and 6/4 in alternate bars) coupled with beautiful poetry declaring the wonder of God’s love really gave the song a certain ‘X’ factor – and won me over! Perhaps for these reasons it has endured as a singable and meaningful song. Though it’s been around for almost two decades I’d say this song can still penetrate any stubborn heart and mind to see the beauty of our salvation afresh! (In case you somehow missed it, the lyrics are down below)

There is such rich theology in this song – but I’d like to focus on one intriguing line in verse 3:  “Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer. . .”

As we see in the passages above from Isaiah and Revelation, the Messiah, Risen Redeemer King, Jesus Christ turns up to rule bringing his reward with him, a reward which is his own flock of people, saved by His blood. These are the people the Father has given to Jesus, as His reward:
“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.…” (John 10:29)

How incredible that from Jesus’ perspective we are His reward, the people of God, sinners saved by undeserved grace! We cannot give an answer for why Jesus would die for us, for his enemies – we can only look with thankfulness that for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:12)
This is Jesus, our redeemer and friend! How deep the love of the Father to send his own Son for us!

HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR US

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss –
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life –
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart –
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Stuart Townend– See more at: http://www.stuarttownend.co.uk/song/how-deep-the-fathers-love-for-us/#sthash.jX205XY1.dpuf

Here are some links to learn more about the song:

http://www.worshiptogether.com/songs/songdetail.aspx?iid=577430

1 Corinthinans 13…Remixed For Today

Thanks go to the folks at Blazing Center for this insightful application of 1 Corinthians 13:

If I status update with such insight, hilarity, godliness, or profundity, that I get a thousand retweets and likes, yet have not love, I’m a cellphone that won’t stop ringing, or a car alarm at 2 AM.

If I understand every nuance of every complicated doctrine, including eschatology and predestination, and am a constant defender of orthodoxy, and if I am renowned for my ability to communicate truth with passion, but have not love, I’m nothing more than a first grader in the kingdom of God.

If I am a fantastic worship leader, able to lead hundreds of people in passionate worship of God, yet have not love, my skills are worth jack.

If I am a blog warrior, constantly on the attack against those who would distort the faith, yet have not love, I’m that yippy dog next door who won’t stop barking…even at 3 AM.

If I live a life of radical sacrifice, crazy love, and wartime mentality, and sponsor lots of kids through Compassion International, and go on mission trips in “closed countries”, but have not love, I gain nothing.

If I am a great artist, able to capture a snapshot of the glory of God on canvas, or in song, or in prose, or on film, and yet have not love, my creative “genius” is utterly useless to God.

If I preach like Piper or Chandler or Chan or Platt, and yet have not love, I’m nothing more than a squawking parrot who likes to imitate others.

If I read all the books by all the smart theologians, and can quote them off the top of my head, yet have not love, WHO REALLY CARES!!!!

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

http://www.theblazingcenter.com/2014/09/1-corinthinans-13-remixed-for-today.html?

Should worship be fun?

From the Archives: Should Worship be Fun?People-Laughing
(by Bob Kauflin at Worship matters)
More than once I’ve heard Christians insist that worship should be fun, or act like they had a responsibility to prove that Christians knew how to “party” in church. I’ve always been uncomfortable with that connection, so I started thinking about the place of “fun” in worship, if one even exists. I’m going to address this question by answering it as I posed it, and then considering two other ways it might be phrased.

Should worship be fun? If we take the exhaustive testimony of Scripture, the answer would have to be a resounding NO. “Fun” wouldn’t characterize any of the scenes in the Bible where people encounter God together, at least not the zany, slap-happy, crazy, mindless kind of fun. We’re told to worship God with reverence and awe, for he is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:28-29). To have “fun” one of our primary motives as we gather. Among other things our goals include remembering, rehearsing, and reveling in the gospel, magnifying God’s glory in Christ, spurring one another on to love and good deeds, presenting our petitions before God, and being strengthened by his Word and the communion of the saints. Celebration will certainly be included in that, but there are also times when worshipping God will produce awe, tears of repentance, or a profound silence.

But let me rephrase the question. Can worship be fun? It depends on how we define “fun.”

If “fun” is defined as a lighthearted activity with no purpose or meaning, strictly meant to amuse, then the answer to the question, “Can worship be fun?” must surely be no. When we worship God together, we are not looking to be merely entertained or momentarily distracted from the cares of this world. We’re not seeking to promote a Christian alternative to Saturday Night Live (Sunday Morning Live?). Diversion is not the same as worship. Our joy and gladness are meant to be grounded in and informed by God’s character, nature, and acts.

But when I looked up “fun” on my desktop dictionary, the first meaning was “enjoyable.” If we’re asking, “Can worshipping God be enjoyable?” then surely the answer must be yes. That doesn’t mean Isaiah 6 has no relevance to our meeting together to engage with God. But Isaiah 6 isn’t the only chapter in Scripture that describes how we are to relate to God. There have been countless times that I’ve been leading or singing as part of the congregation and thought, “I love doing this!” Joy floods my soul, and I could legitimately say I’m having “fun!”

It may be similar to what the Israelites experienced in 2 Chronicles 30. They so enjoyed celebrating the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days that Hezekiah and the people spontaneously decided to keep the feast for another seven days (2 Chron. 30:22-23)! That must have been some celebration! On another occasion, Ezra and the priests told the people not to mourn or weep because that day was “holy to the Lord” and that the joy of the Lord was their strength (Neh. 8:9-10). Holiness and joy aren’t necessarily exclusive.

When my children were growing up, I wanted them to look forward to singing worship songs, and not see a relationship with God as something that was only serious, sober, and solemn. After all, singing to God is meant to be pleasant (Ps. 135:3; Ps. 147:1). David danced before the Lord with all his might as he brought the ark back to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6:12-15). The Psalmist was glad when they said to him, “Let us go up to the house of the Lord” (Ps. 122:1). So yes, when defined as enjoyment and not seen as the only aspect of our time together on Sunday morning, worshipping God can be very “fun.” People shouldn’t find our meetings dull or dour. Smiles and even laughter should abound as we consider how kind, merciful, and gracious God has been to us (Ps. 126:2)!

But let me rephrase the question one more time, to broaden the application.

“Should our fun be worship?” Well now the answer must surely be “yes.” We’re told in 1 Cor. 10:31 that whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we’re to do it all for the glory of God. Rather than focusing on making our corporate worship fun, maybe we should spend more time making sure our “fun” is worship.

Here are some questions that can lead us in that direction.

  • Do I choose a fun activity because there’s nothing else to do, or because I believe it will in some way cause me to grow in my love for God?
  • When I play games, participate in sports, or pursue a hobby, does my attitude demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit?
  • When I go out with a group of friends, am I seeking just to have fun, or to glorify God through encouraging them, challenging sin, and serving them?
  • Do the activities I consider “fun” increase my affections for God or dilute them?
  • Do I view my free time as belonging to me or to God?

The fun this world offers is unsatisfying, deceptive, and temporary. Let’s not idolize it or imagine it’s God offers nothing better. As Christians, we can enjoy fun activities without believing they’re the root of our happiness. The joy we experience when in worshiping God together is greater than the world will ever know, because the root is knowing our sins have been paid for through the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ and we worship a risen and reigning Savior.

Our joy is ultimately in God himself. We’d be fools to look for it anywhere else.

For more on this topic, download the following messages from the Sovereign Grace Ministries website:
Worshiping God as the Source of All Secondary Joys by Randy Alcorn
A Biblical Understanding of Leisure by Jeff Purswell

[This is a slightly edited version of a post from Feb. 6, 2007]

Don’t let the Word be strange – the Psalms included

psalms-59-16I had the privilege of leading music at a women’s conference in Brisbane last month, a conference called “Dazzled by Grace”. The speaker was Kathleen Nielson, head of women’s initiatives at the Gospel Coalition (USA). Her focus across three talks was how to read the Psalms in a way that allows us to drink deeply the beauty, poetry and truth they contain.
First she spent some time defining the Psalms, as:
*The beating heart at centre of God’s Word.
*The heart cries of God’s people: the thoughts, prayers and praises of people living in His story and seeking to trust Him through life’s ups and downs.
*Cries from a kingdom, the gathered people living under an earthly king, which points us right to God’s chosen perfect King, Jesus.

In addressing our modern difficulties in reading and appreciating the Psalms, Kathleen pointed to the fact that reading poetry has simply fallen out of practice in our culture. This was a regular practice in families for centuries gone by. They would sit around and listen to poetry, to appreciate the imagery and the repetition it contains. People would even hire poets to recite poetry for their dinner guests, and children would learn much poetry by heart. But now we live in a culture which is saturated not by poetic images, but Instagram, Facebook, Flash chat and the likes. We have trained ourselves through new technology to be addicted to cool graphics and images, through the multiple screens about us. So when it comes to the Psalms, their poetic form has become so foreign, so strange to us, something we are not used to reading.
This must really delight our enemy: “The devil is happy with a people who live on images and sound bites and tweets. He wants words of bible to seem foreign.”

So it is no wonder that we struggle to drink from the riches of the Word if the word is strange to us. How easily our minds can wander when we don’t see the point or the beauty of the poetry. But the more we immerse ourselves in it, the more the words of the Psalms become familiar to us, the more strength and confidence these words will bring to our lives. We must make friends with the imagery, the emotion, the shape, the rise and fall, of the tapestry of the Psalms. And naturally this applies to all of God’s word. We must not let His Word be a stranger to us. God has provided it for our strengthening and joy!

(Finally let me just add that I haven’t forgotten my project, of gathering all the most singable arrangements of hymns for congregational use! These talks highlighted for me the importance of us singing the Psalms together. Thanks for continuing to read along, dear followers. And welcome if you have just joined us! If you would like to spend some more time exploring the Psalms, check out this blog: Singing in Babylon)

 

The Song of a People

Enjoyed this post about the power of song to unite and encourage people. No wonder God calls us to praise Him!

A 'Mike' For Christ

US Air Force CC-NCUS Air Force CC-NC

I love hearing the different anthems at global events, like the Olympics, and watching folk be patriotic.

A national anthem is “a generally patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions and struggles of its people.”1

View original post 222 more words