Come and love through me

worth it allFollowing on from some recent posts about love, I would like to share with you a song from Meredith Andrews, a singer I’ve only recently discovered and am really enjoying.  It comes from an album “Worth it All” and expresses a longing for God to work in her life, that he might love through her. Sometimes it is discouraging  to look at the great lack of love in the world, in people and families around us – but really it starts with us choosing to be obedient to God’s great command to love. He is willing and able to love through us, through me! What a privilege!

START WITH ME

You are air to desperate lungs
Water falling on the sand
Silence to an angry storm sight to a blind man
You’re still the God of miracles
So if You’re gonna move again
Then would You move in me move in me

You’re the beat to a broken heart
Bread for a hungry crowd
And one word from Your voice rings out
And the dead throw their grave clothes down
‘Cause You’re still the God of the empty tomb
The One who came to life again
So come alive in me come alive in me
Come alive in me come alive in me yeah

My life is an empty cup
Fill it up fill it up
I want to hear ev’ry rescued heart cry
You’re enough You’re enough
Break what needs breaking
‘Til You’re all we see and start with me
Start with me

Whose arms hold the fatherless
Whose voice do they hear
Who sits with the prisoner
And stands for the one in fear
You’re still the God of what is just
And You’re still the God of love
So would You love through me
Love through me yeah
Come and love through me
Would You love through me yeah

(Bridge)

Your kingdom come
Your will be done
Lord let it be and start with me start with me
Yes Your kingdom come and Your will be done
Oh Lord let it be
Let it start with me start with me yeah
Start with me
Start with me oh

CCLI Song # 6378185 Meredith Andrews | Paul Duncan | Paul Mabury © 2012 Word Music

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Unconditional – the type of love only God can give

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:10)

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Unconditional love is certainly an interesting topic for a pop princess to sing about. I’ve written before of the way Katy Perry’s lyrics often contain (perhaps) unintentional references to the wisdom and character of God. He is the God she was brought up to know and though she has now clearly denied him, he still speaks. (See a previous post:  ‘Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam, or maybe a Firework). Katy Perry’s “Unconditionally” expresses a commitment to live out the type of love that has no strings attached. It’s the sort of inspiring song that would well suit a marriage ceremony of committed Christ-followers, those who know God’s unconditional love in Christ and desire to minister to another person’s needs, in love, regardless of their response.

Here are some of the lyrics (chorus and verse 2)

Unconditional, unconditionally, I will love you unconditionally
There is no fear now, Let go and just be free, I will love you unconditionally

Come just as you are to me, Don’t need apologise, Know that you are worthy
I’ll take your bad days with your good, Walk through the storm I would
I do it all because I love you, I love you”

Thanks to Katy people are now singing along to a song about the type of love God shows us in Christ! (though the visuals of the film clip don’t seem to illustrate that too well :))
But in thinking this through I just have to ask: how unconditional can our human love really be? Despite our best intentions, if our partner were to suddenly start abusing us or our children, or blatantly breaking all social or moral laws (including their marriage vows) would we stick by them – really? We could work to resolve issues, but how well would we love if we received nothing back, or worse? We cannot love perfectly or unconditionally because we are not perfect.

Katy no doubt experienced this harsh truth in her failed first marriage, and no matter how much she sings about it, only God can love unconditionally. No matter how much we declare it, our sinful pride will overrule our best intentions. It is only the power of the risen Lord Jesus living in us which allows us to reflect God’s unconditional love in any way. It is his strength in us that helps us choose to keep loving, regardless of the response. Let’s pray that Katy and her fans will come to know the truly unconditional love of Christ, in the freedom and power of the Gospel.

Here is a song from Casting Crowns which I think does a much better job at describing the brokenness of human relationships, and the way we can love and accept each other, in our brokenness:

BROKEN TOGETHER (Casting Crowns)

What do you think about when you look at me Casting-Crowns-PR-Image
I know were not the fairytale you dreamed wed be
You wore the veil, you walked the aisle, you took my hand
And we dove into a mystery

How I wish we could go back to simpler times
Before all our scars and all our secrets were in the light
Now on this hallowed ground, weve drawn the battle lines
Will we make it through the night

Its going to take much more than promises this time
Only God can change our minds

Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together
If you can bring your shattered dreams and Ill bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us
The only way well last forever is broken together

How it must have been so lonely by my side
We were building kingdoms and chasing dreams and left love behind
Im praying God will help our broken hearts align
And we wont give up the fight

Our Church Song list for 2014

spotify ARPC 2014It’s always really helpful when you can get hold of lists of songs other churches are singing – so I’m reciprocating the favour (perhaps in advance). Here is our church songlist for 2014. If you follow the Spotify link, or click the picture, you should be able to find all the songs on our to do list at Acacia Ridge Presbyterian. Below I have included a few key points about each song and some of the stand-out lyrics:

All I have is Christ (Jordan Kauflin, Sovereign Grace – key C).
This is top of the list because we never got to it last year! The song is full of great truth about our redemption in Christ.  The song moves us to know that Christ (who saved us from our “hell-bound race”) is indeed now our only boast. He is all that we can count on in this world! Hallelujah! The song works well with many instruments or just one. Here is verse 3:
Now Lord I would be Yours alone And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands could never come from me
O Father use my ransomed life in any way You choose
And let my song forever be ‘My only boast is You!’

It is Well (Todd Fields – Music at North Point)
Some hymn revamps don’t work well, but this one does! The verse melody is exactly the same, and the chorus is new. The monotone melody has been replaced by one that is far more uplifting, and some additional lyrics have the same effect. It creates an effective crescendo. Here is the chorus:
It is well it is well, Through the storm I am held
It is well it is well with my soul
It is well it is well, God has won, Christ prevailed
It is well it is well with my soul

Made Alive (Citizens)
Last year my family came back from a week-long youth camp singing this song. I have already written a post about it here. The great thing is that when you sing this you commit to memory so much scriptural truth (particularly Romans 3:20-12 and Ephesians 2:8-9).
Here is verse 1 and the chorus:
I once was dead in sin, Alone and hopeless,
A child of wrath I walked condemned in darkness,
But your mercy brought new life And in your love and kindness,
Raised me up with Christ and made me righteous.
Chorus:
You have bought me back with the riches of,

Your amazing grace and relentless love.
I’m made alive forever, with you, life forever
By your grace I’m saved, By your grace I’m saved.

Overflowed (Trevor Hodge)
We have been singing this one for a few months already and it has really caught on. It is a lively song with a pretty simple melody (some syncopation, and also some very straight rhythms). But I think the best feature is the carefully crafted chorus, which effectively sums up the glory of forgiveness and grace:
In Christ Your love has overflowed
The debts we owed have been all wiped away
And now the riches of Your grace
Have raised us up to live in Him always
And bring You praise

Praise to the Lord the Almighty (Hymn – Christy Nockels arrangement)
As I have been looking for Psalms to sing, this hymn fits the bill, drawing on Psalm 103.  I’ll use this arrangement as the chord structures are a little simpler and it has a gentler feel, but the melody is the same. There are a few extra Praise Him’s and Hallelujahs (for a chorus of sorts), which could be omitted. Verse 1:
Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of creation
O my soul praise Him for He is thy health and salvation
All ye who hear now to His temple draw near
Praise Him in glad adoration

The Perfect Wisdom of our God (Getty music – key A)
This song is a gentle prayer, for understanding of God’s wisdom and ways in Creation and in the workings of his sovereign hand in our lives. Here is verse 3:
Oh grant me wisdom from above, To pray for peace and cling to love,
And teach me humbly to receive the sun and rain of Your sovereignty.
Each strand of sorrow has a place within this tapestry of grace;
So through the trials I choose to say: “Your perfect will in your perfect way.”

Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/keith-and-kristyn-getty/perfect-wisdom-of-our-god-lyrics/#ekHjSB39hg9BPA1q.99

Grace has now appeared (Rob Smith EMU music – key C)
Grace has indeed appeared – in the person of Jesus Christ! This song is quite syncopated, but predictably so, making it singable. It has a catchy opening riff, and a lively tempo. More information here.
My favourite lines of this song come in verse 3:
He has come to dwell within us, Bringing us from death to life,
Giving us the hope of glory, Making us like Christ, Shining forth his light.

Oh the Deep Deep Love (Bob Kauflin – key E)
Some of you may know this hymn by Samuel Trevor Francis, but you should definitely try the beautiful melody and tempo of this tune. I think it suits the lyrics far better than other tunes used in the past. Sheet music here
VERSE 1
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me
Underneath me, all around me
Is the current of Your love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Your glorious rest above

The Glories of Calvary (Steve and Vicki Cook, Sovereign Grace – key F)
This has been one of my favourite, lively, grace focused songs for many years, but I just haven’t got a round to it. I can’t even chose just a small excerpt of the lyrics, so here is verse 1 and chorus. Sheet music here
VERSE 1
Lord, You’re calling me to come and behold the wondrous cross
To explore the depths of grace that came to me at such a cost
Where Your boundless love Conquered my boundless sin
And mercy’s arms were opened wide
CHORUS

My heart is filled with a thousand songs Proclaiming the glories of Calvary
With every breath, Lord how I long to sing of Jesus who died for me
Lord, take me deeper into the glories of Calvary

Unashamed (Mark Altrogge – key G)
This is a older Sovereign Grace song, but it is catchy with a fast tempo. It brings a timeless challenge to be unashamed of Jesus as Lord, since he was not ashamed to bear our disgrace and sin, for our eternal good. Sheet music here
Chorus:
Let me be unashamed, Jesus, to speak Your name
For You were the one who came, The Savior of the world
Let me be unashamed, Jesus, to speak Your name
Let me be bold to claim You as my Lord

The Father’s Embrace/Psalm 27  (Stuart Townend – key A)
This song reaffirms who God is, a God we can trust as he calls us into relationship with him. I have included this one because I’ve enjoyed it personally for about a decade – also because the lyrics are so close to the original Psalm 27 (and as you know I’ve been searching for singable Psalms).  Verse 1:
You are my Anchor, My Light and my Salvation
You are my Refuge, My heart will not fear
Though my foes surround me on every hand
They will stumble and fall while in grace I stand
In my day of trouble You hide me and set me above

Christ is risen Indeed (Keith and Kirstyn Getty – key A)
This song is about the disciples, and we are now his disciples. I especially like verse 3:
Once bound by fear now bold in faith,
They preached the truth and power of grace.
And pouring out their lives they gained
Life, life everlasting.

Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/keith-and-kristyn-getty/christ-is-risen-he-is-risen-indeed-lyrics/#ClvIvl347Eg4xdvw.99

You can see last year’s list here:
https://sevennotesofgrace.com/2013/02/06/praise-the-lord-new-song-list-ready-for-2013/

Blessings, Ros

How effective is your music ministry?

Sometimes we musicians get so caught up with organising and making music happen for our church gatherings that we forget to take stock of how things are cats recordergoing. Are we really achieving any of the goals of our ministry? Or is it just a lot of hard work?
For me, music ministry goals are:
* to engage people in enthusiastic praise of our great God who alone is worthy of our praise,
* to provide encouragement for the gathered Body of believers, and
* to declare/teach the great truths that God has revealed of himself and the gospel in His Word.

So how do you measure whether or not we are achieving that, at all?
Like many areas of ministry such results cannot be quantified. God doesn’t keep a score card and send us a report!
However by talking to people and allowing them the freedom to give encouragement and criticism, they can help you know how you are going with your goals. (It is, afterall, God’s people we are serving.) Thick skin is always required in the music department, so give grace to those who are willing to share their views. You need to hear them, whether they be “right” or “wrong” or somewhere inbetween. Godly insights, shared in a loving manner, can lead to greater effectiveness.

One way to measure the engagement of your congregation is simply by joining with them in the praise times during your service. This Sunday, for the first time in a long time, I was able to simply be a member of the congregation, with the opportunity to listen carefully to the most important voices – the voices of the gathered body of Christ. I could easily hear which songs were being sung with enthusiasm, and which were still probably too difficult for the non-musical person to catch on to. It helped me realise which songs needed to be retired, better than if I was actually leading or playing on team.

Speaking of singability I find it really helpful (in the planning stage) to play potential new songs to people who aren’t on the music team. If you find they can sing along by the second hearing (and they think the song is truthful and encouraging) then you probably have something most people in your church can sing, and sing well together (which is, afterall, the whole point).

In King David’s time, the musicians were clothed in white and stood apart from the assembled worshipers:  “All the Levites who were musicians—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives—stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets.” (2 Chronicles 5:12)
Unlike these musicians we need to see ourselves as part of the gathered body, not removed from, more important or better than them. Often we are the last to know when something isn’t working to encourage people in corporate praise. We must be willing to listen, review and change and adapt to meet our goals – and not be too proud or stubborn to change.

For more help thinking through congregational singing, check out these posts:

10 Principles for Church Singinggrow music

Working for those moments of Joy

Sharing the Rich Indwelling Word (Colossians 3:16)

The Synchonicity of Singers

Worship through Congregational singing (a post from Christ Our Hope Church)

How do you get a piano on the Great Wall of China?

piano guysThe Piano Guys are great! If you have never seen them before you could spend hours watching all their clips. Unfortunately this one doesn’t answer how they got the piano on the Great Wall, but it certainly is impressive. You can also find them on Facebook. Here is a link to a good-looking Christmas album on their website (hint to my family!)

http://thepianoguys.com/portfolio/kung-fu-piano-cello-ascends/

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For great piano playing in contemporary worship
piano-hands-0

The lost music of the Psalms

As you may know I’ve been thinking about the Psalms lately and wondering if I can track down some singable and contemporary arrangements. It is proving to be a slightly frustrating quest. As this post from In Touch ministries explains, much has been lost in the translation of the Psalms – our English versions simply cannot convey the original lyrical structures, making them difficult to craft into song. But while we must enjoy them more as poetry, the Psalms still provide encouragement for us today. God’s voice still speaks through them, and in them His Spirit works.

Lost in Translation -Though silent, the book of Psalms still resonates.

by Jamie A. Hughes

There are few things worse than sitting in a crowd of laughing people when you don’t get the joke, but that’s exactly what happened to me when I saw the play Cyrano de Bergerac performed in French. The title character is a force of nature, a brash swordsman as well as a gifted musician and poet. However, there’s something else that sets him apart—an enormous nose he describes as “a monument open to the public.” Cyrano feels no one could love him because of his appearance, so he uses his words to win friends and wound enemies. That’s why it’s important to understand exactly what he’s saying if you want to keep up. I had seen the play performed in English several times, but when I heard the rhyming dialogue flowing from the actor’s mouth like a melodic river, I realized I’d never experienced the play the way it was meant to be enjoyed. Then as now, I understand just enough French to follow a basic conversation, but the finer points of the language are lost on me.

I’ve learned that the same is true of Psalms, the prayer book of Israel and what many call the central, beating heart of the Old Testament. The word “psalm” is a derivative of the Greek term psalmos, which means “song,” but these scriptures are read like poetry today rather than sung with accompaniment. The music may be unknown, but the beautiful words retain a certain melodic quality of their own. That’s why the poet Naphtali Herz Imber says, “In [the psalms] one finds the deep heartbreaking tones of a Beethoven . . . the silent, sweet whisper of love’s longing, as well as the wild galloping hallelujahs suggestive of Wagner.”

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” wrote David in Psalm 139. “If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me” (vv. 7-10). We can savor these majestic, encouraging words and know our God is always near, but without the melody, can our hearts ever totally understand what “the man after God’s own heart” was trying to express (1 Sam. 13:14)? I can’t help but wonder if phrases like “ascend into heaven” and “take the wings of the morning” climbed a bright and brilliant scale that lightened the heart and lifted the eyes. I imagine Levitical choirs singing of hell and the “uttermost parts of the sea” in rumbling bass tones, a picture of bleak places painted with sound.

In another psalm, the author uses a simile to describe his yearning for the Lord’s presence: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God” (Ps. 42:1). Beautiful verse to be certain, but we can’t fully appreciate it without knowing the melodious sounds of the instrument for which it was crafted.

This is an ache words alone cannot express, but music helps articulate such an emotion effectively. How much better would we understand this prayer if we could participate with our ears as well as our eyes?

Though the psalms are exquisite, we can’t experience them in the same way the people of Israel did. But when we reach our eternal home, perhaps we’ll hear these prayers as songs for the first time and understand what Isaiah meant when he said, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing” (Ps. 35:5-6). In that moment, we’ll know more fully the extent of God’s goodness, beauty, and delight. And we will rejoice.

As is the case with God’s creations, there will always be more to learn about the psalms. His handiwork is breathtaking in depth and scope, and this is why a scripture mulled over one hundred times can still surprise on the one hundred and first reading. Or why a story that seems insignificant in times of jubilation is the only thing that sustains us when trouble comes. So while there’s no way of knowing exactly how the 150 musical prayers of praise, lament, wisdom, and thanksgiving should sound, we can still read and delight in them—and rejoice in what they (and we) will be one day.

All Scripture quoted is from the New King James Version. 2013 In Touch Ministries, www.intouch.org.

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GodBreathed_slide1x_365_y_273steven-curtis-chapman-declaration-lyrics-4a1c

Made Alive (Citizens)

CitizensThis is one of those groovy tunes with a cool piano riff that will really get stuck in your head. It comes from the folks at Mars Hill Music, the group “Citizens” on their recent self-titled album. It became hugely popular at a recent youth camp of 150 teenagers here in south-east QLD. Isn’t it great that they are singing scriptures to a tune that will play over in their minds: Colossians 2:13, Ephesians 2:1, Romans 6:11, Romans 5:19, Romans 3:20-21, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 8:12, John 9:5 and  John 3:19.
“Made Alive presents bold Scriptural truth without apology. We are by nature objects of wrath, dead in sin, alone and hopeless. God reached us in his love and kindness and made us alive in Christ. Believers are never the same. There are some nice contrasts are in the lyrics as well — light vs. darkness, death vs. life, wrath vs. mercy, etc. This new song correctly uses Law & Gospel and makes you want to sing.” (Bread for Beggars)

Made Alive

I once was dead in sin, Alone and hopeless,
A child of wrath I walked Condemned in darkness,
But your mercy brought new life And in your love and kindness,
Raised me up with Christ and made me righteous.

You have bought me back with the riches of,
Your amazing grace and relentless love.
I’m made alive forever, with you, life forever
By your grace I’m saved, By your grace I’m saved.

Lord, you are the light, that broke the darkness.
You satisfy my soul, When I am heartless.
If ever I forget My true identity,
Show me who I am, And help me to believe.

My sin has been erased, I’ll never be the same.
My sin has been erased, I’ll never be the same.

Read more at http://lyricstranslate.com/en/citizens-made-alive-lyrics.html#T4l26eHRtUToqOQO.99

You may also like:

10 Principles for Church Singing                                                             This is Amazing Grace
praise him picfor the sake of the world

What are hymns – do we still need them?

hymn booksHere is a series of quotes from some great thinkers on the topic (borrowed from Chong’s Worship). They look at defining a hymn, why we still need hymns and how to choose them well . . . which is probably the most important thing, since the language of some hymns simply does not translate for contemporary people. Remember too that the last good Christian hymn is still yet to be written (shortly before Christ’s return). . . and fortunately we are blessed with a great variety of singable and biblical Christian songs and hymns.

What’s a hymn?

“… a poem, designed for group singing, and written as a sequence of identical units called stanzas. Each stanza has the same line length, rhythms and rhyme scheme as its predecessor, so that the hymn can be sung, stanza by stanza, to the same tune.”

– Brian Wren, Praying Twice

Are they historically literary or musical texts?

Mike-Cosper

“Many of the great hymn writers weren’t musicians… they worked as theological poets, writing hymns in meters that were commonly used amongst the churches, relying on melodies that were written by others.” Mike Cosper

Do we still need them?

“I say without qualification, after the Sacred Scriptures, the next best companion for the soul is a good hymnal.

For the child of God, the Bible is the book of all books, to be reverenced, loved, pored over endlessly and feasted upon as living bread and manna for the soul. It is the first-best book, the only indispensable book. To ignore it or neglect it is to doom our minds to error and our hearts to starvation. After the Bible, the hymn book is next . . . containing the cream of the great Christian hymns left to us by the ages…”

 – AW Tozer, We Travel An Appointed Way

Why?

“A great hymn embodies the purest concentrated thoughts of some lofty saint who may have long ago gone from the earth and left little or nothing behind him except that hymn.

To read or sing a true hymn is to join in the act of worship with a great and gifted soul in his moments of intimate devotion.

It is to hear a lover of Christ explaining to his Saviour why he loves Him; it is to listen in without embarrassment on the softest whisperings of undying love between the bride and the heavenly Bridegroom.” – AW Tozer, We Travel An Appointed Way

But even today?

“Hymns are great art! The arts, stories, poetry, music all combine to sneak into the heart by the backdoor – something increasingly important for our ministry to the coming generations” – Kevin Twit, Why We Still Need Hymns in a Post-modern World

“How will you reach this post-modern generation – a generation that cannot conceive of objective truth, cannot follow your linear arguments, cannot tolerate anything (including evangelism) that smacks of religious intolerance?”” – Kevin Ford, Jesus for a New Generation

So how do we choose and sing good hymns?

James Montgomery

“[Good hymns are those] which, once heard, are remembered without effort, remembered involuntarily, yet remembered with renewed and increasing delight at every revival.” – James Montgomery, The Christian Psalmist

“The best results happen when theologically deep and emotionally rich texts are wedded to music that is aesthetically fitting and culturally resonant, that connects at every level.”Ron Rienstra

“We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” Psalm 78:4

http://www.chongsworship.com/2013/08/05/quotable-whats-a-hymn-and-why-we-still-need-them/

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10 Principles for church singing

praise him picKevin de Young is writing lots of great material over at the Gospel coalition. If you have never visited there I would encourage you to do so. Today I’m sharing a summary of his ‘Ten Principles for Church songs’ which has been published in two parts. I have included his introduction, and then a summary of his ten principles (with some teasers) – which I would thoroughly endorse! To read his full explanation of each point you will need to click through to the actual website. It would make great material to work through with the church leadership or your music team, to clarify issues, prevent problems and encourage one another:

When it comes to singing on Sundays, churches have more options than ever before. From hymnals to Hillsong to homegrown creations, pastors and worship leaders have thousands of songs to choose from. A nice problem to have. But still a problem. No music leader or pastor can keep up. No church can sing all the great hymns and all the latest greatest songs on the radio. No musician can excel in all the available styles. No leader can please all the people all the time. . . There are other questions too. What sort of instruments should we use? How much should cultural context come into play? Is there only one right kind of song to sing? If not, are there any wrong ways? I can’t possibly answer all those questions. But there are some general principles we can use to make wise decisions with our church music. Let me suggest ten principles for congregational singing.

1. Love is indispensable to church singing that pleases God.
Love is indispensable when we sing and when we are trying to discern what is best to sing.
2. Our church singing is for God’s glory and the edification of the Body of Christ.
Congregational song is part of the teaching ministry of the church.
3. We ought to sing to the Lord new songs.
Sometimes I want to ask to very conservative Christians: “Do you really think the last good song of praise to Jesus has been written?”
4. Church singing should swim in its own history of church singing.
We should swim in this big ocean of church music, an ocean that is continually receiving new streams.
5. Sing the Psalms
It’s strange, even though we are commanded to sing Psalms and even though Psalms have been at the center of the Church’s singing for centuries, still we easily ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the middle of our Bibles.
6. We should strive for excellence in the musicality and the poetry of the songs we sing.
Some songs are simply deep and some are deeply simple, but there is a way to do both well.  With so many songs to choose from, there’s no reason churches can’t make an effort to sing songs with some sense of poetry and musical integrity.
7. The main sound to be heard in the worship music is the sound of the congregation singing.
What people want to see in your worship is that you mean it. And no matter how chill or how reverent your worship is, if no one is singing, it’s lame.
8. The congregation should also be stretched from time to time to learn new songs and broaden its musical horizons.
Every church will have a musical center. You should not reinvent the center every week. But you should not be enslaved to it either.
9. The texts of our songs should be matched with fitting musicality and instrumentation.
Musical style is not neutral, but it is elastic. Music conveys something. Some melodies are too syrupy or too raucous or too romantic.
10. All of our songs should employ manifestly biblical lyrics.
In all our songs we want to be teaching people about God. If we aren’t learning good theology and biblical truth from our songs, then either we don’t care much about our songs or we don’t care much about rich biblical truth, or both.

I will boast in the Lord my God

Recently I noticed that many of the new songs we had introduced at church were lacking a little variety in terms of tempo! What was missing? The fast songs!
It probably takes a great degree of skill to build a singable song that isn’t slow – especially when we are singing such weighty words about the grace and riches of Christ!  But I have begun a quest: to find all the good, singable, fast songs! I’m digging back into my lists of possibilities from the last few years to see what missed out, and why, and what tempo they have. There’s nothing like a lively song to engage people and draw hearts together in praise.
Here is the first one I would like to share, “I will boast in the Lord my God” by Paul Baloche, 2006. I have not used it with a congregation, so I can’t say it is tried and tested . . . but hopefully!  (I’ll be using the key of Bb, capo 1 in A for guitar – or try key of C if you don’t mind it a little higher. Alternatively, use E major for a brighter verse, and sing the chorus down the octave if necessary, which it mostly will be for the women!)

There are at least two passages combined in the lyrics of the song:
Jeremiah 9:23-24

23 This is what the Lord says:

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.

Galatians 6:14

14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Here are the full lyrics:

I Will Boast

Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom
Or the strong man boast in his strength
Let not the rich man boast in his riches
But let the humble come and give thanks
To the One Who made us
The One Who saved us

I will boast in the Lord my God
I will boast in the One Who’s worthy
I will boast in the Lord my God
I will boast in the One Who’s worthy
He’s worthy

(Bridge)
I will make my boast in Christ alone
I will make my boast in Christ alone

CCLI Song # 4662350 Paul Baloche © 2006 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music

If you want to hear more of Baloche, try my posts about 3 other songs:
My Hope in God’s Grace
The Same Love is Calling
A good blokey church song: The Kingdom of God