Prepare Him Room Giveaway Contest Winners!

Thanks to all those who participated in the Prepare Him Room giveaway contest. I learned a few things along the way. 1. People can have a hard time counting to 50, or else the joy of commenting on a post can cause a person to wax eloquent and ignore silly contest rules, e.g., a 50 word limit. 2. O Come, O Come Emmanuel is a really popular Christmas song. 3. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day has more content than I thought. I had forgotten how meaningful the words are: “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: ‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep! The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men.’” I …

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Win a Free Download of Prepare Him Room!

In another post I shared the story behind our new Christmas album, Prepare Him Room. Now you can be one of ten people who can win a free digital copy. Here’s the deal. Leave a comment below telling us your favorite Christmas carol and why in 50 words or less. You can enter three times. I’ll pick some of the most creative answers as winners and the rest at random. How many random comments I pick depends on how many creative responses I get! You have until midnight on Tuesday, Sept. 30 to enter. I’ll announce the winners around noon (EST) on Wednesday, October 1. We’ll contact the winners by email with your download code. And if you …

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Prepare Him Room Releases Today!

In June of 2013 I received an email from my friend, Marty Machowski. Marty serves on the pastoral team of Covenant Fellowship Church, a Sovereign Grace Church near Philadelphia. He has writes children’s books and devotionals, most notably The Gospel Story Bible. Marty asked me if Sovereign Grace Music wanted to produce an album to accompany an Advent devotional and curriculum he had written for New Growth Press. I was instantly intrigued by the idea. Our first and only Christmas album, Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man, came out in 2006 and I thought we were long overdue for another Christmas project. Marty’s devotional had …

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The Gathering: Coming to New Orleans Next Weekend

In 2011, Sovereign Grace Music recorded The Gathering, a collection of 15 songs that walk through the flow of the gospel and our response to it. Among others, the album included Greater Than We Can Imagine, Shine Into Our Night, Show Us Christ, and All I Have is Christ. The idea for the project had its origins in Bryan Chapell’s excellent book, Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice. Chapell makes the case from Scripture, history, and our personal need that, “Corporate worship is nothing more, and nothing less, than a re-presentation of the gospel in the presence of God and his people for his glory and their good.” While …

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The Unbelievable – Acoustic Preview

This coming Monday, Sept. 29, our second Christmas album, Prepare Him Room, is coming out. And we’re pretty excited. I’ve been breaking all my rules for “no Christmas music before Thanksgiving” and loving it. In preparation for the album, we’ve put together four acoustic videos to preview some of the songs. They aren’t the versions that went on the album, but they give you an idea of what to expect. The Unbelievable is the fourth video we recorded, written by my good friends Steve and Vikki Cook. We’re so familiar with nativities, carols, and the Christmas story, that we often lose the sense of awe, wonder, and amazement that the incarnation …

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Thoughts on a Call to Worship

For most of the thirty three years I’ve been involved with Sovereign Grace churches we’ve had a fairly free and simple liturgy. Singing, welcome/announcements/offering, sermon, ministry time. While simple liturgies have some advantages, there are good reasons to consider including liturgical elements that have been used in church gatherings for centuries. One of those is the call to worship. I remember being less inclined to use a call to worship after reading Harold Best’s thoughts years ago in his insightful book, Music Through the Eyes of Faith: There can only be one call to worship, and this comes at conversion, when in complete …

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Prepare Him Room – A Video Preview

This is the third video we put together in anticipation of our upcoming Christmas album, Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus in Song, due out Sept. 29. It’s the title track, Prepare Him Room, and was written by Rebecca Elliott and Dave Fournier. They started it at our songwriter retreat back in January and after a number of revisions came up with the current version. The lyrics are loosely based on Luke 2:25-35, where Simeon meets the newborn Christ. The last line added to the song was this one in vs. 3: “Through the cradle, cross, and grave see the love of God displayed.” I love the way it succinctly brings together the significance …

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Do I Lead To Impress or To Serve?

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about moving to Louisville two years ago and helping to plant Sovereign Grace Church is the opportunity to train interns from Southern Seminary and Boyce College. I meet weekly with a group from each school to talk theology, focus on heart issues, and work on music and leadership skills. They also serve on Sundays and help out with Sovereign Grace Music. Young musicians and leaders are often overly self-conscious and nervous. While confidence comes with experience, we don’t want to overcome self by becoming more assured in ourselves. So one of  my goals for the interns is that they get to the place where …

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He Who is Mighty – Video Preview

I know it’s a little early to be talking about Christmas songs, but the last few weeks I’ve been listening to the tracks of our upcoming album, Prepare Him Room. I am so excited for you to hear these songs. We’ll be releasing the digital album on Sept 29 (not Sept 1 as I previously wrote) and the physical CD at the same time. As I explained in an earlier post, this album came about through the request of my good friend, Marty Machowski. He had written an Advent curriculum and devotional, Prepare Him Room, and wondered if we wanted to record an album to accompany it. We were more than happy to do so. In anticipation of the full release …

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Songs from WorshipGod14: TRIUNE

We just wrapped up the last session of WorshipGod14: TRIUNE, where we spent 3 days exploring the depths, joys, and significance of worship the God who has revealed himself to us as Father, Son, and Spirit. I’m so grateful for the folks who made it all possible as well as the people who made sacrifices to attend. We all know God better than we did three days ago. I’ll be posting a summary of the conference in the coming weeks, but here’s the list of the songs we sang. Not surprisingly, a lot of them specifically reference the Trinity in some way. Click on the title to access charts and/or original sources. Wednesday PM – Bob Kauflin …

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Who Would Have Dreamed – Christmas Album Preview

We released our first Christmas album, Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man, in 2006. A few years ago I started thinking we should do another one. After all, we can never have too many songs that help us reflect on and celebrate the wonder of Jesus becoming Emmanuel, God with us. So I was intrigued last fall when my good friend, Marty Machowski, asked if Sovereign Grace Music would be interested in producing a Christmas album to accompany an Advent curriculum he had written. After a few conversations with Marty and his publisher, New Growth Press, we decided it would be a great opportunity. The result was our next album, …

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What I’ve Been Up To

Not writing this blog, obviously. At some point I hope to start posting regularly again, but right now I wanted to share what’s been going on in the world of Sovereign Grace Music. The Dominican Republic and a New Spanish Album I got back last night from the Dominican Republic where I had the joy of speaking twice this past weekend at the Por Su Causa (For His Cause) conference, “Worship: The Purpose of Redemption.” The conference was sponsored by International Baptist Church (IBI) and a ministry called Integridad y Sabiduría (Integrity and Wisdom), both led by my good friend, Miguel Núñez. Jeff Purswell and Donald Whitney also …

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Songwriting Camp with Steve and Vikki Cook (and me)

Writing songs for congregational worship is a craft. While God has been known to use mediocre songs to accomplish his purposes, he doesn’t want mediocrity to be our goal. He intends that writers work hard to produce congregational songs that enable the word of Christ to dwell in people richly (Col. 3:16). That’s why I’m excited to be participating with Steve and Vikki Cook in a 2½ day songwriting camp, July 13-15, in Santa Ana, CA. It’s sponsored by Eric Turbedsky of  Sovereign Grace Church of Orange County, and will be held at Calvary Church, Santa Ana, CA. The camp will consist of classroom instruction, workshops, group exercises, …

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Ten Reasons Why You Should Come to WorshipGod: TRIUNE

Last year we held our first WorshipGod conference in California, Called to Be Faithful, co-hosted with Eric Turbedsky and Sovereign Grace Church of Orange. Lots of learning, lots of giveaways, lots of fellowship, lots of laughter, lots of equipping, and lots of time to encounter God together. Due to the number of requests to come back we’ll be hosting WorshipGod: TRIUNE, July 16-19, again at Calvary Church in Santa Ana, CA. Here’s a video recap of last year’s conference. Because there are so many conferences you could attend, I wanted to give you 10 reasons why you should consider joining us for WorshipGod:TRIUNE this year. 1. …

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Will the Sunday After Easter be a Letdown?

Many pastors, music leaders, and production personnel are breathing a deep sigh of relief after this past weekend. After all the planning, strategizing, prayer, preparation, and practice, the Easter weekend service(s) finally happened. Everything (for the most part) came together and people were well served. The music was moving, the preaching powerful, and the effect exhilarating. And throughout the world, thousands of people were baptized and saved for the glory of God. But you may be starting to wonder what you’re going to do next Sunday. Maybe you’re even asking yourself, “How do I keep this coming Sunday from being a major letdown?” …

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