Behold the Lamb (Communion Hymn)

Sometimes it is easy to miss out on a really great song that could be a great encouragement for your congregation to sing together. We have been using this four-verse modern hymn for a while, courtesy of writers Keith and Kristyn Getty, with Stuart Townend. It is great for communion/Lord’s supper and Easter celebrations. If you have missed it, then it’s time to catch up. Blessings!

“Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away,
Slain for us – and we remember
The promise made that all who come in faith
Find forgiveness at the cross.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of peace
Around the table of the King.

The body of our Saviour Jesus Christ,
Torn for you – eat and remember
The wounds that heal, the death that brings us life
Paid the price to make us one.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of love
Around the table of the King.

The blood that cleanses every stain of sin,
Shed for you – drink and remember
He drained death’s cup that all may enter in
To receive the life of God.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of grace
Around the table of the King.

And so with thankfulness and faith we rise
To respond, – and to remember
Our call to follow in the steps of Christ
As His body here on earth.
As we share in His suffering
We proclaim Christ will come again!
And we’ll join in the feast of heaven
Around the table of the King ”

— WORDS AND MUSIC BY KEITH AND KRISTYN GETTY & STUART TOWNEND

What we’re singing this Easter

Today a good friend asked me what songs were on our music roster for next weekend. It then struck me that it might be a useful list to share more widely. Here it is. I’d love to hear what your church is singing . . . and where in the world you are. Please comment!

GOOD FRIDAY

Glories of Calvary (Sovereign Grace)

Man of Sorrows (Hillsong)

Behold the Lamb (Getty)

The Power of the Cross (Getty)

EASTER SUNDAY

The Father’s Love (Sovereign Grace)

Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed (Getty)

Grace has now appeared (EMU)

How deep the Father’s Love (Townend)

Here is the Spotify playlist

Book of Luke in song

This is a post about an album and a song which is no longer new News, but in case you missed it, it may be worth a look: Songs for the Book of Luke by The Gospel Coalition

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/11/05/luke-album-named-best-of-best/

You can follow links here to listen and access sheet music for all the songs on the album: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/lukealbum/
https://thegospelcoalition.bandcamp.com/album/songs-for-the-book-of-luke

luke-songCome to the Feast (track 9) is a song about the lavish banquet of God’s grace that abounds for any and all who would have it. Yet, it is also a call for the church to serve as heralds of this feast, both to those who know their need (the poor) and those who don’t (the rich). It comes from the parable of the great banquet found in Luke 14:16-24 where Jesus gives us a picture of the gracious kingdom of God that woos and welcomes the most broken, sinful, and lost of people. The musical style is not the mainstream. You may find it a refreshing change. (If used for the congregation, I would suggest the tempo could go up a little.)

COME TO THE FEAST

Go to the highways and hedges, go to the farthest of fields
Go and compel, the sick and the well
For our Father’s house will be filled

Go to the streets of the city, bring in the crippled and blind
All who would taste this banquet of grace
Must come and waste no more time.

Chorus
Come to the feast, come to the table
The great and the least, the rich and the poor
Come to the feast, come to the table,
Come and hunger no more

In the robe of the lamb you’ll be covered
Dressed in his pure righteousness
For all of your guilt, his blood it was spilt
So come by your Father be blessed

Words and Music by Jeff Lawson © 2012 Jeff Lawson Music

 

Real Love

This is a cover of Hillsong Young and Free – Real Love, sung by a young man I have been privileged to get to know this year, Myles Vele. He came as an intern to teach at my school and will continue with us in 2017. Hope you enjoy this. Blessings to all.

Watch “Paul Baloche Vocal Workshop”

This looks like a really great workshop from a humble guy who became a worship/song leader. It would be great to watch together with your music team. I haven’t watched it all yet, but what I have seen so far is really helpful.

7 tips for those who play melody instruments in a church band.

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Players of melody instruments (flute, saxophone, violin etc.) are often left to their own devices to work out what to play in the church band. Listening to what other good players do can help, but sometimes it still remains a mystery. Today I’m sharing the seven principles I work with (in my head) when I’m playing in that role (though I’m most often on keys or vocals). I hope you will find them helpful.

Melody instruments need to see their place in the band rather like the cherries on the top of a cheesecake. The cheesecake still holds together without them (the bass, rhythm and harmonies provide the main body of the music), yet melody instruments can add a great deal of sweetness and beauty, in small doses – especially if they refrain from playing the melody. Here are my top 7 pointers for being an effective single-line instrument in a church band:

1. Know why you are in the band. You are there to serve, as part of an ensemble, to add to the sound in an effective way. It is not the time for you to seek the limelight and show off your solo skills (even though that’s what you have probably been trained to do). Any note or riff you play should enhance the song and the impact of the lyrics. Don’t play just for the sake of it.

2. Less is more. Melody instruments don’t need to play all the time (please don’t!). It is better to add something small and worthwhile, a fill (when singers aren’t singing), or a harmony line for a line or two, than to play too much. Some melody can be useful in the introduction to remind people how a song goes, or when teaching a new song, but other than that your task is to add some light and shade, to help with dynamic build up to chorus, and help set the tone of certain sections of the song. If you find yourself playing start to finish, you are playing too much. If you find that you are standing about doing nothing for much of the time you have probably found a good balance.

3. Play by ear. Most of the effective things you could add to a piece will not be written on the sheet music. You will need to pencil them in during practice, or else learn to improvise. If you know the key (sharps and flats) and know the shape of the melody there is much you can do! Listen to professional recordings of worship music and learn from what the instruments are doing. Copy the types of things you hear that work to add colour and meaning to a song.

4. Fills. Trading phrases is a good thing to learn how to do during the rests of the vocal melody. If the melody goes up you can take a few steps down. If the melody goes down, fill with notes going up. Opposite movement can be quite effective. Think of your fills as a musical response or comment to the words that have been sung. Play along to recorded music to practice this skill.

5. Harmonies. On recorded music you will hear good and limited use of harmonies played by melody instruments. Again, copy good ideas you hear. Write them out if needed. If there is lots of movement in the melody line it is best to harmonise with sustained notes. Choose a note from the chord that is being played at that point. Harmonies work well a 3rd below the melody and up the octave (but it’s a rule that can be broken). Build your confidence by playing along with recorded music. And even if you can play beautiful harmonies for the whole song, don’t. It is best to drop out for whole verse at a time, so that when you do contribute it is effective. Less is more.

6. Improvising. Many people find it helpful to use the Pentatonic (5 note) scale to help with improvising fills. In the key of C major the notes in this scale would be C D E G and A (notes 1,2,3,5,6, of the scale). Play along with recorded songs (of ones you use at church) and try it out.

7. Know the song really well. With all these things I’ve described above you will be better able to effectively add to the arrangement of a song if you know the melody and structure well. It takes time and practice and making mistakes to figure out how to play as a melody instrument in a church band, yet it is a skill worth learning….for the glory of God as His people praise Him together.

Worship with a human heart

sunset-585334_1920This post comes from a student I taught about six years ago. She has recently started a blog and would no doubt appreciate some visitors and followers. I thoroughly enjoyed her post, the content of which you will find below; please visit the original post:
Worship With A Human Heart

The church fellowship I attend is small. Worship is usually run by a singer and one – or, if we’re lucky, two – musicians, along with someone in charge of displaying lyrics. . . This week, it didn’t quite go smoothly. Sometimes the lyrics were out of order, sometimes the guitar was louder than the singer, sometimes the congregation was off-key or sang at the wrong time. At one point the musician couldn’t find the music sheet for a song, so we ended up singing one song twice!

This is my favourite worship. When we raise up our voices and stumble, when our plans go awry and the guitarist stumbles. And when we continue anyway. Because we must. I love these moments. They make me smile, and I like to think they make God smile too.

Because we aren’t a concert of professionals with a stage and fancy lightning. Because we aren’t here to produce beautiful, on-key music without missing a beat. We are here as humans to worship the one true God.

And how remarkable, how astounding that He loves our worship, stumbles and all. How awesome is it that He loves such imperfect humans.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

We don’t need to be perfect to come before God. In fact, He came to us, arms held wide, while we were unworthy. How can we not praise Him? How could anyone stand to wait until perfection before raising off-tune voices in worship to our God?

Thank you, Lord, that You love it when we worship with a fallible human heart.

Frustrated in your song-writing?

Valuable Reasons To Try Co-Writing

Why You Need Writing Partners (from http://www.thesongsphere.com/co-writing-2/)

One of the biggest surprises for many songwriters who move to Nashville, is how much co-writing goes on in the professional circles.  Venturing an educated guess, I would say that 80% or more of today’s hit songs, across most popular genres, are co-written.  That’s a surprising number to most people, and the percentage could actually be higher.

A colleague of mine has often mused about the fact that songwriting might be the only art form where a work of art can be created through collaboration.   He gives the example that you don’t see fine artists “co-painting” or “co-sculpturing”.   He may be right that songwriting is different than painting in that way.  However when it comes to music, collaboration is not a new thing.  For decades (if not hundreds of years), society has created music through partnership.   And we have seen the same with the writing of literature and plays.  We certainly see collaboration in artistic performance everyday, with musicians “co-performing” as an orchestra, band or choir, and actors “co-acting” on the stage or screen.

Most of the professional songwriters that I know have a co-writing session on their calendar almost every day of the week.  Why are so many songs co-written today, and why should you work with writing partners too?

Here are four reasons you may consider co-writing your songs:

  • LEARN SOMETHING NEW –  Writing with others helps expand your possibilities – whether it’s new genres, new structures, new techniques, or something else, you’ll almost always sharpen your songwriting skills from writing with a partner.   Songwriters improve in their craft much quicker when they collaborate often.
  • BREAK BAD HABITS –  When writing solo, we tend to fall into ruts that limit us in our growth as a songwriter.  Sometimes our songs even begin to sound the same.  Through collaboration we more readily realize our weaknesses and the imaginary limits that we’ve put on ourselves.
  • TWO HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE –  With two or more working together on a song, it’s easier to get through the tough spots or the hurdles.  If you’re writing alone and you just can’t find the right word, or don’t know what to do for a bridge, you’re stuck.  With a team of writers contributing to the song, those issues are much easier to navigate.  Plus… we all want to write songs that others will enjoy.  If you bounce ideas off of one another, and you both like the outcome, there is a better chance that other listeners will like it too.
  • GET AROUND YOUR WEAKNESS –   Know what your strengths are and find someone that is strong where you are weak.  For example, one of you may be strong with melody; the other with lyric.  Or one may be more of an idea person and the other  a “finisher”.  There have been many famous songwriting teams over the years.  Often when two writers find that their skills successfully compliment one another, they will become a career team. . . .

It’s normal to be apprehensive about collaboration, especially when it’s with someone you don’t know very well.  But co-writing has become part of the fabric of today’s music business.  If you’ve never tried writing a song with someone else, let me encourage you to step out and try it.  Maybe the first time will be more of a “get to know you” coffee session.  You don’t have to write something the first time you get together.   Do try writing with 3 or 4 different partners and see which ones are the best fit.  And don’t throw in the towel immediately.  It might take a while to get the hang of it, but I believe you’ll love it in the long run!

Good Shepherd

This is a great modern hymn from Keith Getty (2013) and friends. Enjoy the rich lyrics and the performance from his wife Kristyn and Joni Eareckson Tada. If you know Joni’s story you will understand the significance of her singing this song, particularly the last four lines:
“Earth’s struggles overcome
Heav’n’s journey just begun
To search Christ’s depths
And ever to follow.”


Good Shepherd of my soul
Come dwell within me.
Take all I am and mould
Your likeness in me.
Before the cross of Christ
This is my sacrifice:
A life laid down
And ready to follow.

The troubled find their peace
In true surrender.
The prisoners their release
From chains of anger.
In springs of living grace
I find a resting place
To rise refreshed,
Determined to follow.

I’ll walk this narrow road
With Christ before me
Where thorns and thistles grow
And cords ensnare me.
Though doubted and denied
He never leaves my side
But lifts my head
And calls me to follow.

And when my days are gone
My strength is failing
He’ll carry me along
Through death’s unveiling
Earth’s struggles overcome
Heav’n’s journey just begun
To search Christ’s depths
And ever to follow.

Words and Music by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Fionan de Barra, and Stuart Townend
© 2013 Getty Music Publishing (BMI) and Fionan de Barra (admin MusicServices.org) and Townend Songs

http://www.gettymusic.com/hymns-goodshepherd.aspx?

Celebrating the Anchor of Grace – with Rend Collective

Tomorrow starts a new chapter for me as I head back to the classroom teaching Senior English. No doubt there will be many challenges ahead, yet also many opportunities to bless and encourage these high school students to put their hope in Christ. This will mean considerably less blog writing, but I’ll endeavour to share any great songs I discover as often as possible.
At the moment I’m really enjoying the bright, energetic sound and biblical lyrics of Rend Collective.

Here are a few favourites I’ve recently discovered:
(All the chord sheets can be found here: http://rendcollective.com/chords/)

Build your Kingdom Here (Come, Set your rule)

Finally Free

My LightHouse