Archive | May, 2011

stock image hands palying a full sized piano keyboard

Should We Play Music Behind People Praying?

Someone in my church recently sent me an email asking why we play music behind different portions of the Sunday meeting (prayers, baptisms, readings, etc.). It’s a good question. We can be influenced by our musically addicted culture, as well as our traditions and practices, to believe it’s impossible for God’s Spirit to move in people’s hearts apart from music. That kind of thinking makes music a mediator rather than a means. God can use music to do his work. But he doesn’t need music to do his work. So the direct answer to the question, “Should we play music behind people praying?” is “not necessarily.” It can easily be mistaken for …

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We Have Been Healed Video

This is a another video of a recent Sunday morning at my home church. Again, the arrangement is slightly different from the recording. The song is “You Have Been Healed” (from our Risen album) and we sang it while the elements for communion were passed around. The lyrics are taken from 1 Peter 2:22-25. : VS 1 You bore our sins in Your body As You were hung on a tree, So we might die to rebellion And live for him who set us free VS 2 You were mocked and reviled Suffering in our place Trusting all to Your Father So enemies could know Your grace CH We have been healed, justified Made alive in the life of Christ Righteous …

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From Album to Sunday Morning

When Sovereign Grace produces an album, one of our main goals is to write songs that can be sung by local churches. Songs that are singable, memorable, and theologically informed. Another one of our goals is to make albums that are musically creative enough to bear repeated listenings without sounding tired. Those two goals can compete with each other, at times making it challenging to take a song on an album to Sunday morning. One of the ways we’re hoping to address that issue is by producing training videos that present songs as they might be played in a small group. You can find one for Jesus Lives here and one for You Have Been Raised here. Another …

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Behind Closed Doors – Connecting Your Public and Private Worship

WorshipGod11: The Gathering, (Aug. 10-13), is a little under three months away. I’m excited that Bryan Chapell, Ray Ortlund, Jr., Thabiti Anyabwile, Craig Cabaniss, Enfield, Sojourn, Shai Linne, Don Whitney, and a few others will be joining us as we reflect on what kind of story our meetings are telling. One of the 40 seminars we’ll offer will be taught by Joseph Stigora, who serves on the pastoral team at Covenant Fellowship in Glen Mills, PA. His seminar is called “Behind Closed Doors.” It addresses the relationship between our public and private worship. I asked him a few questions about his topic. 1. What do you hope will be filling …

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Getting Ready for Next 2011

At the end of this month (May 28-31) I’ll be heading down to Orlando, FL to lead the worship in song at Next 2011, with the Na Band and Generation Letter. Shane and Shane will also be leading us in corporate worship for one session, and presenting a concert that same night. Next is geared towards young adults but open to anyone. This year’s focus is understanding how Christ transforms the way we look at the world. The speaker line up includes D.A. Carson, R.C. Sproul, Jeff Purswell, Kevin DeYoung, Scott Oliphint, and Vern Poythress. They’ll be helping us grapple with how the Christian faith relates to reason, science, law, art, postmodernism, …

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Training Video for Jesus Lives

For a few years now I’ve wanted to produce training videos for Sovereign Grace songs that would break down a song into learnable sections for guitar players. They would also serve guitarists who have a hard time translating a full band album arrangement into something that can work for their small group. Matt Richley and Nathan Edwards (behind the cameras), two of three interns we’ve had this year, have been working on this project and finally finished the first one. In this video, Matt unpacks how to play the song “Jesus Lives” from our recent album, Risen. We’re already working on more videos and in the future hope to produce a few for …

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Reflections on New Word Alive 2011

If you follow Worship Matters with any kind of regularity you may have noticed a dearth of posts over the past few weeks. Most of April was taken up by the New Word Alive conference (Apr. 10-15) in Pwllheli, North Wales, followed by 13 days with my best friend, Julie, celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary four months early. We spent a week in Italy and 5 days in England, flying out the day before the royal wedding. For some reason we weren’t invited. I wanted to take this post to share a few thoughts on New Word Alive. Over 5000 (families and college students) gathered for a week of biblical teaching, worship in song, seminars, and fellowship. …

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All I Have is Christ Animated Video

Chris Powers has been putting together animated videos of Sovereign Grace songs for a while now. The first one I saw was The Prodigal, followed by The Gospel Song. Recently he put a video together based on the song my son, Jordan, wrote, All I Have is Christ. He sets the song in the context of preaching the gospel in a country that’s closed to the gospel. I found it very moving. Let me know what you think. If you’re interested, Chris has graciously allowed you to download a high-res copy of the video at Vimeo. …

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