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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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It’s Your Grace – The Acoustic Sessions

A few weeks ago we posted the first song from “The Acoustic Sessions,” Our Only Hope is You. These are going to be stripped down versions of songs we’ve recorded on Sovereign Grace albums. We’re starting with songs from Grace Has Come, our latest release, but plan on going back to other albums and recording arrangements that are easier for a smaller church, or any church for that matter, to adapt. In this video, Devon, McKenzie, and Jonatan offer a simpler version of the song, It’s Your Grace. I wrote this song with Doug Plank, a good friend and a pastor at Crossway Church of Lancaster, PA. Right before he left for a two week trip …

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Glorious Christ – New Song from a New Album

On April 10 we’ll be releasing our next album, From Age to Age, a collection of 14 new hymns for the church. We call them “hymns” because either they were based on or inspired by hymns of the past, or because the lyrics adhere to a metrical pattern in the verses. The songs also contain a theological richness that characterize most hymns. One song I wrote for the album is called Glorious Christ. I unashamedly got the idea for the song from Chris Tomlin’s How Great is Our God, which seems to be sung throughout the world. I love how Chris’ song focuses on God’s character and works then draws out the appropriate response of magnifying the Lord …

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Show Us Christ – Video from The Gathering

When we were putting together the songs for The Gathering: Live from WorshipGod11, we ended up having not one, but two songs that served as a “prayer for illumination.” One is Your Words of Life, written by Pat & Joel Sczebel. The other is Show us Christ, which I co-wrote with Doug Plank. Show Us Christ reminds us that the purpose of preaching God’s Word is not simply to give insights for living, impress people with our knowledge of Greek, or to tell people they need to try harder. The primary goal is to display the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). The written and preached Word is meant to point us to the riches of …

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Behold Our God (with orchestra)

A while back I held a contest asking people to send us their arrangements of songs from the Sovereign Grace album, King of Grace. Joshua Spacht won the contest with his version of Behold the Lamb. He recently sent me a version of another Sovereign Grace song, Behold our God, from Risen, written by Jonathan, Ryan, and Meghan Baird, and Stephen Altrogge. Joshua’s church sang it as part of their Christmas service. While God doesn’t need orchestras, choirs, and great arrangements to glorify his name, he can certainly use them to communicate grandeur, awe, majesty, and more. I think that’s what Joshua and his musicians accomplished through this …

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Now Why This Fear – Video from WorshipGod11

One of my favorite songs from our most recent album, The Gathering,  is Now Why This Fear. Doug Plank adapted the words from the hymn “Now When This Fear and Unbelief” by Augustus Toplady. Toplady (1740-1778) was a strong, if sometimes contentious, defender of Calvinism. More importantly, he tirelessly preached the sufficiency of Christ’s atoning work for our sins. This hymn, like Rock of Ages, encourages believers to rest completely in the finished work of Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. It’s the news that never grows old. I asked Doug Plank to share a few thoughts on the how he came to update Toplady’s hymn. “From Whence this …

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Come Praise and Glorify – Video from WorshipGod11

Yesterday, I posted the video of Shine into Our Night from WorshipGod11. The second song we’ve finished editing is Come Praise and Glorify. I wrote this with Tim Chester, a pastor in Sheffield, UK, who has written over 20 books (including Total Church, You Can Change, and A Meal with Jesus). The fact that I wrote a song with Tim is purely providential. I was leading the music at the New Word Alive conference this past April and happened to stay in a flat with Tim and his wife, Helen. I thoroughly enjoyed a couple late night chats with Tim and after I got home he sent me some of the songs he had written that they sang at his church. One of …

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Song for Advent: Shine Into our Night

Each year as Christmas approaches we have the opportunity to remember in a more focused and thoughtful way why Jesus had to come to earth. It wasn’t plan B, it wasn’t optional, and it certainly wasn’t something we asked for. Paul tells us, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Gal. 4:4-5) The phrase “under the law” means we were justly condemned as transgressors and rebels before God, held captive by our sin, and in need of His mercy and forgiveness (Rom. 3:19-20). Of course, God did better than …

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Desiring God Interview

Last month I had the privilege to lead a few songs at John Piper’s Gravity and Gladness seminar, and participate in a Q&A with Dr. Piper. It was somewhat of a surreal experience sitting next to John answering questions about worship. I first heard the audio of John preaching this series around 2000. As I listened to him again I realized how much his message of both knowing and treasuring the supremacy of God’s glory in Christ has affected my thinking. So grateful for the ways God has used John to magnify the glory of Jesus Christ. After the seminar was over, Jonathan Parnell, content strategist for Desiring God, asked me a few questions …

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The Piano in Contemporary Worship, Part 2

Here’s the second part of the pre-conference piano seminar I led at WorshipGod11, focused on playing with a band. Dave Campbell and Neil Stuckenschneider helped me out on guitar and bass. I’ve included the outlines notes after the video. Playing with a Band Be aware of the audio spectrum. Guitars – 80-880 Hz Bass – 40-260 Hz Vocals – 110-660 Hz Piano – 27-4200 Hz Fills. Distinct and memorable Don’t tread on others Octaves Use your LH wisely. With the bass player Around the bass player More with just a guitar, acting like a kick drum Not at all Acoustic piano vs. electric keyboard More overtones …

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“Completely Done” Led by the Na Band

One of my favorite songs on our Sons & Daughters album is Completely Done. I appreciate the simple, clear, and effective way it challenges our struggles with condemnation. Am I really forgiven? Did God know about that sin? What if I mess up again? Are my sins really fully paid for? Completely Done, by Jonathan and Ryan Baird and Rich Gunderlock, answers those questions with the assurance only the gospel can bring: What reason have I to doubt Why would I dwell in fear When all I have known is grace My future in Christ is clear My sins have been paid in full There’s no condemnation here I live in the good of this My Father …

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Hail the Day Training Video

Matt Richley has served us again by making another training video for our song Hail the Day, written by Steve & Vikki Cook. Although this song is from our Risen album, it actually focuses on the fact that Christ is ascended and is now interceding for those He redeemed. The words are below. Enjoy. VERSE 1 Hail the day that Christ arose Through the skies to worlds unknown Glorious there, He ever reigns Object of all Heaven’s praise VERSE 2 See Him lift His hands above See the scars of His great love He has conquered death and sin Saving all who hope in Him CHORUS Hallelujah, hallelujah The King of Love is on His throne Hallelujah, …

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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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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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