Archives for category: worship

Even though the marketers have been trying their darndest to co-opt this truth, I still believe stories will change the world.

I had the privilege recently of hearing some close friends share their stories of how God’s love has been real to them over the years. Our redeeming King is able to bring beauty from the burned out wreckage of our lives — and I see it in the faces and hearts of my friends.

Around that table, I shared how music has always been a part of my redemption story. Even when I hated “hypocritical” Christians and felt completely unmoored, His whisper was the dulcet melody calling clear through the noise.

There was a King who was more precious than silver, whose love was wider than oceans. When I finally began to understand the power of the cross — that Jesus understood our sorrow, pain, shame; that He never gave up on me; that real love is sacrifice; that Someone so amazing would die for us — the song Only the Blood was the soundtrack.

Only the blood of Jesus covers all of my sins
Only the life of Jesus renews me from within

I am thankful for the countless, talented, godly women & men around the world who are writing the songs the Church is singing. Yes, Christian music is an industry worthy of scrutiny (and, sometimes, heavy-duty eye-rolling). Yes, there is more to music that glorifies God than being “safe for the family.” And, yes, there are more ways to make God’s praises soar than with heavy reverb and delay-soaked guitars (banjos, for one!).

But, friends, no matter how jaded we become, let us hold fast to the One who was, and is, and is to come, before whom people from every tribe, nation, and language will bow down in worship, and let us sing!

Our God is infinite, yet intimate; mighty and merciful; creative and compassionate. Were all the skies of parchment made and all the oceans filled with ink, as the old gospel song sings, we would still only begin to describe how great is our God.

I need words as wide as sky
I need language large as this longing inside
And I need a voice bigger than mine
And I need a song to sing You that I’ve yet to find
I need You, oh, I need You
                                                             – David Crowder

Sometimes, it takes years to see the thread God has tied together, but wherever He is King there is beauty and soul and life:

Time and again, the words of the psalmist have been proven true:

You did it: You turned my deepest pains into joyful dancing;
You stripped off my dark clothing and covered me with joyful light.
You have restored my honor.
My heart is ready to explode, erupt in new songs!

It’s impossible to keep quiet!
Eternal One, my God, my Life-Giver, I will thank You forever.

An already wonderful Beirut song beautifully reimagined by Kishi Bashi for a string quartet.

Songs that speak this deeply to me inevitably turn my thoughts toward the music of our worship as followers of Jesus. We don’t need soaring chorus/delay-soaked electric guitars to create anthems of longing, beauty, and connection (although I’m certainly not opposed to tipping our hats to The Edge’s guitar electronic-wizardry).

Also makes me think I should’ve stuck with violin past middle school.

* * * * *

And, just for reference, the original by Beirut:

The Rend Collective Experiment plays worship music with a jangly, fun, indie vibe (all good things in my book).

In the video below, they play Chris Tomlin’s popular worship anthem How Great is our God as a full band with nothing but their iPhones.  Engaging and, strangely, breathes some fresh air into this well-worn song (must be the nerd in me!).

I just posted the first of a two-part interview with Daniel DK Kim over at Next Gener.Asian Church.  DK is the worship leader at Newsong Church in Irvine, California; he and his family are moving to Mexico City this month for the next two years to fight human trafficking.

We all need stories of courage and redemption to push us further along the path to which God has called us.  You can support DK and his family in their journey by purchasing his album thefirst over at his site.

Tim Hughes and his Worship Central crew have made available a free acoustic worship album for download.

Tim is best-known for penning popular worship anthems such as Here I Am to Worship (Light of the World), Beautiful One and Happy Day.

The Worship Central site has loads of free chord sheets, video tutorials (for guitar, drums, etc.) and worship-related articles.  Merry Christmas, friends!

I often hear complaints about the state of praise & worship music these days (including Jesus is my boyfriendtype lyricism, blatant commercialism, bland musicianship, etc.). While much of this criticism is warranted, the question before us is How do we move forward? I continue to believe that connecting and worshiping God through music is important for individuals, families and churches — so, how do move from a posture of frowning critique into constructive adaptation?

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This Sunday, January 25th, The Ecclesia Collective will be hosting a worship gathering of missional communities throughout the San Diego area.

The missional endeavor, like the mustard seed of Jesus’ parable, is often small.  [I’ll share some thoughts soon on how, though the phrase “missional” has been misused, over-used and downright abused lately, it is worth rescuing.]

Although they might not headline conferences or publish best-selling books, small communities of Kingdom conspirators and mischief-makers are springing up throughout San Diego.

If you are in the San Diego area, we invite you to join us as we seek to:

Provide an opportunity for these different communities to continue growing together

Let others know of the different communities now meeting across the county

Allow a diverse, ecumenical group of people to work together to create a space of worship