Tag Archives | reformed-worship-music

All I Need Is Here – Michael Gungor Band CD

I met Michael Gungor briefly a few years ago at an Integrity Songwriter’s retreat. I was struck by two things. He’s an incredibly gifted guitarist. And he’s a humble man. A great combination. After hearing his most recent CD, All I Need is Here, I’ve learned that he’s also a thoughtful and creative songwriter. His new CD, on the EMI/Worship Together label, goes beyond the “norm” in everything from melodies to production to packaging. His lyrics aren’t among the most profound I’ve seen, but Michael is consciously trying to say something meaningful and biblical that draws our hearts to the glory of Christ and our responsibility to love and obey …

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Looking for Free MP3 Messages or Sermons on Worship?

Since a few dozen bloggers have already announced that we at Sovereign Grace Ministries have decided to give away all our message MP3’s, I thought I should do the same. Especially since I work here. We decided to give away all past and future messages simply because we hope more people might benefit from their content. I always appreciate it when I go to a site and can download messages for free with no hassle. Now you can do that at the Sovereign Grace website. Free messages can be a mixed blessing. You end up with a overloaded iPod filled with sermons you never have time to listen to. I’ve been there. In fact, I still am. So, to make …

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Should We Worship Jesus as the Beautiful One?

Joshua is interested in teaching his church the song, “Beautiful One,” by Tim Hughes. He wrote: As I began to think about it, I couldn’t come up with a scripture verse that refers to Jesus as ‘beautiful.’ I did a word search in the NIV and the NASB for beautiful, but it seems to always refer to other things than God. Can beautiful be a substitute word for splendor or glorious or majestic? Is it better to use only Biblical words to describe Jesus? In another part of his e-mail Joshua pointed out that other songs contain the word “beautiful,” like “O Lord You’re Beautiful” by Keith Green, “I Stand in Awe” by Mark Altrogge (You are beautiful beyond …

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What a Savior Free MP3 and Chart

I’ve received a number of e-mails asking for the new version of the hymn “Hallelujah, What a Savior,” that we taught at the New Attitude conference, music and chorus written by my son, Devon. I promised a while back that I’d post them, so here you go. The original version was by Phillip Bliss, an American hymn writer who died at the age of 37 in a train accident. Devon’s version is called “What a Savior.” It keeps the reflective sense of the verses, but adds a celebrative chorus that expands on Christ’s work and expresses our desire to offer our lives to proclaim how great our Savior is. We’ve sung it on Sunday mornings at Covenant Life, and …

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What About “Me” Songs?

Matt wrote in to ask: What do you think about singing songs that have a lot of me/we/I content. Is it wrong to sing a lot of songs that talk about us? A couple come to mind right now: “We stand and lift up our hands…” “I love you Lord…” etc…I think there’s value in having some songs with personal language as we sing/speak to God, but is there a balance that we should seek in using songs that speak of we, me, or us? Great question. Lyrics in worship songs can be generally categorized as objective, subjective, or reflective. Objective lyrics tell us something true about God that helps us know him better. Most, but not all, hymns …

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“Let’s Do a Hymn”

Normally I answer a question on Fridays, but I’m currently on a writing retreat. I came across these thoughts I wrote down a few weeks ago, and thought I’d post them today. I’ve often heard people suggest that we “do a hymn.” I usually interpret that as a good suggestion. There are many reasons we should value and take advantage of the rich hymns that history has handed down to us. Many of them contain biblically rich lyrics that develop substitutionary atonement (And Can It Be), God’s sovereignty in suffering (God Moves in a Mysterious Way), God’s attributes (Immortal, Invisible), the Trinity (Come Thou Almighty King) and countless other themes. …

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Quality or Quantity on the Worship Team?

I recently received this question from John: We currently have four worship teams, giving 15-20 people a month a chance to lead in music, either by singing or playing an instrument. I’d guess that a quarter of these people are very skilled musically, and have been split among the four teams. We’ve discussed cutting the number of teams down to one or two that would be much more musically adept; the downside of this is that many “moderate” musicians would no longer have a chance to share their musical gifts as a part of worship. We want to be sensitive to everyone, yet provide the highest quality music possible for all of the obvious reasons. What …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? In Closing…

I was going to entitle this post “Final Thoughts,” but that’s probably not going to happen. One of the reasons I started this blog was to explore this role in an ongoing way. But this does mark the end of the series on the role of the corporate worship leader. Really. If you’re a musician who is responsible to lead others in praising God, I pray you’ve been served by this series. I’m grateful for those of you who have taken the time to post an encouraging comment, expand upon my thoughts, or ask questions. We need to continually ask ourselves if what we’re doing is lining up with Scripture. On most Wednesday mornings I have the joy …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 16

One more time, this is the definition for a congregational worship leader I’ve proposed: An effective corporate worship leader, aided and led by the Holy Spirit, skillfully combines biblical truth with music to magnify the worth of God and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, thereby motivating the gathered church to join him in proclaiming and cherishing the truth about God and seeking to live all of life for the glory of God. Today, I’m going to share a few thoughts on that last line. Worship doesn’t begin when the singing starts, nor end when the music stops. We don’t “do worship” in a meeting, nor compartmentalize …

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Hymnals or Screens?

A while ago, Richard wrote in to ask: “Do you think there is an advantage one way or the other for a congregation to sing from a hymnal and songbook/sheet (so that they are all looking down), or singing from the words on a large screen in the front of the room (where they are all looking up and facing the same direction)?” First, I think that people can sing from hymnals and still be “facing the same direction,” and that you can sing from a hymnal and still be looking up. However, I’m not making a case for using hymnals. Or not using them. Actually, I’m surprised at how strongly people defend one position or the other in dealing with this …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 1

Before I start this series, I wanted to give you some background. Eight years ago, after I had served as a pastor for twelve years, C.J. Mahaney invited me to assume the new role of “Director of Worship Development” for Sovereign Grace Ministries. One of my assignments was to study and train others in the practicals of biblical worship, particularly as it relates to music. As I studied Scripture and read books like Engaging with God by David Peterson and Adoration and Action, ed. by D.A. Carson, I quickly realized that the Bible, especially the New Testament, didn’t give much space to my role as a worship leader. None, to be exact. The …

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