Tag Archives | worship-songs

Coming Soon – 30: Three Decades of Songs for the Church

30: Three Decades of Songs for the Church is the newest album from Sovereign Grace Music. The idea for this album came as we were talking about how we might celebrate God’s faithfulness to Sovereign Grace Music for the past thirty years. It was in 1984 that we released our first project, a live cassette, entitled Mighty God. Since that time we’ve recorded over 60 projects and over 500 songs.  Those include 3 kids CDs, 1 rap album, 4 Spanish CDs, a remix album, and a slew of worship albums. Neil DeGraide, a member of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, a great musician, and a good friend, suggested we ask musicians we’ve come to know and …

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Oh, Oh, Ooh, Ooh, La, La, Whoa

  I’ve been thinking about the use of generic syllables in congregational singing for a while now. It’s not a new phenomenon. I remember singing, “Lai lai lai lai lai, lai lai lai lai lai lai,” as the last verse of the song in the 70s that was called “Then shall the virgin break forth into dance.” I think it was supposed to be the dance section. We sing, “Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la, la la la la” and don’t think twice about it. And the Beatles did just fine with “ob-la-di, ob-la-da” and the epic ending to Hey Jude (Na Na Na Na na na Naaaaaaa). But recently an increasing number of modern worship songs feature …

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Want to Become a Better Songwriter? Here’s Help

Over the years we’ve offered numerous seminars on songwriting at the WorshipGod conferences, taught primarily by Steve & Vikki Cook and Mark Altrogge, but also by guests that we’ve had at the conference. I thought it would be helpful to put them all in one place, so here they are. Whatever stage you’re at in your songwriting journey (and we never seem to “arrive”), I think you’ll find something here that will inspire you to be more faithful with your gifts. Mark, Steve, and Vikki will be returning with more thoughts for songwriters to this year’s WorshipGod conference: The Gathering, Aug. 10-13. I expect the website and registration …

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Are Hymns Too Weighty To Take In?

A Worship Matters reader sent me this question: With the hymns being so rich in lyrical content and theological ideas, there are often times where we can get to the end of the hymn and think “Well, what was all that about?” let alone getting to a point of engaging our hearts in response to the truth. From your experience, what could we do in terms of leading and arranging hymns with weighty (not a negative term) theological and lyrical content to allow room and time for people to engage God in meaningful worship through the song? Before I answer this, let me share a few thoughts on words in corporate worship. One of the primary purposes …

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Shout to the Lord on American Idol

As a pastor and professional musician, I find American Idol interesting on a number of levels. It’s fascinating to see how a simple idea can capture the attention of millions, how people respond to evaluation, how people can be so misled about what they actually sound like, how ordinary people handle massive fame, the difference between gifting and hard work, and more. I also appreciate how some of the contestants have used the platform to bear witness to their faith in Christ. Melinda Doolittle, from last season, stood out for her humility, modesty, and joy. Yesterday, I had started a post on my response to Wednesday night’s program. It was …

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Come Weary Saints CD Almost Ready

Next month we’ll be releasing our next CD, Come Weary Saints. The project is an invitation to each of us, whatever season we find ourselves in, to redirect our focus to the God whose love has been forever demonstrated at the cross of Calvary. Whether you’re going through trials or know someone who is, these songs are a reminder of the Father’s sovereign, loving care. Contributing song writers include myself along with Mark Altrogge, Steve and Vikki Cook, Pete Gagnon, Todd Twining, Joel Sczebel, and Stephen Altrogge. Ryan Baird, from Sovereign Grace Church of Pasadena, CA sang half the tracks. He was joined by Kyle Davis, who has sung on other …

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Introducing the New Sovereign Grace Music Website

I’ve been part of Sovereign Grace Ministries since 1981. We’re a family of churches committed to planting and supporting local churches. We support our churches personally and relationally, as well as through a variety of training opportunities and resources. One of those resources is music. That’s because for the past twenty five years we’ve written over 300 songs filled with biblical truth and gospel-saturated passion that reflect the Scriptural themes God has been teaching us – the centrality of the Christ’s substitutionary atonement, the sovereignty of God, the active presence of God’s Spirit, gratefulness, the doctrine of sin, and more. …

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Before the Throne of God Above (music by Vikki Cook)

A few Sundays ago, I led worship at my home church. One of the songs we sang was Before the Throne of God Above. I’m posting an audio of what we did because I wanted to make a number of points with it. Feel free to listen as you read. [Audio:http://sgm.edgeboss.net/download/sgm/worshipmatters/freesong/before_the_throne_of_god_above.mp3] 1. Introducing You to the Song: Even though “Before the Throne of God Above” has been recorded by Sonic Flood, Selah, Promise Keepers, Lou Fellingham (from Phatfish), Sojourn Church, GLAD, Shane and Shane, Matt Papa, and possibly others, you might not have heard it yet. So I wanted you to hear it. The lyrics, …

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New Song – How Great You Are

One of the joys of doing what I do is meeting people who share a similar passion for glorifying Jesus Christ through music. Will Pavone has been a good friend of mine for the past few years. He was part of the group Circadian Rhythm a few years ago, served as a worship pastor at McLean Bible Church, and is now at Dallas Theological Seminary. Besides being a great husband and dad, Will is a gifted songwriter. I was e-mailing him the other day about a song I’ve recommend a couple times on Worship Matters, called “How Great You Are.” Will said I could feel free to let people know about or give away any of his songs. He’s that kind of guy. So here …

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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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Worship Leaders – How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways

This morning the Washington Post business section ran a column called, “To Me, With Love: Retailers Embrace Valentine’s Day as an Excuse for Singles to Celebrate Themselves.” Among other interesting facts, the article reports that Piperlime, an online shoe store owned by Gap, has a “Be your own Valentine” category. Sales are strong for Valentine’s Day gifts you can give to the person you love the most – yourself. You may not have the nerve to give a Valentine’s gift to yourself, but you’re probably no stranger to self-love. There is an appropriate way to humbly acknowledge that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14). However that …

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Should Worship Be Fun?

More than once I’ve heard Christians claim that worship should be fun, or act like they had a responsibility to prove that Christians knew how to “party” in church. I’ve always been uncomfortable with that connection, so I started thinking about the place of “fun” in worship, if one even exists. I’d like to address this question by answering it as I posed it, and then considering two other ways it might be phrased. Should worship be fun? If we take the exhaustive testimony of Scripture, the answer would have to be a resounding NO. “Fun” doesn’t seem to characterize many of the scenes where people encounter God in the Bible. We’re told to worship …

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Worship Leaders & Pastors – I-MAGnify Who?

Every leader of congregational worship dreads those meetings when everything seems to be going wrong. Vocals are out of tune, strings break, everyone but the drummer finishes the song, you forget the words, sing the wrong verse, or play the wrong chords…the list is endless. Last August at the WorshipGod06 conference, we presented the skit I-MAGnify to encourage everyone who has encountered or someday soon will encounter that situation. We watch a struggling worship leader receive instruction from his “alter-ego” about how he can get people more involved. Ironically, the song he’s attempting to lead is “Receive the Glory,” based on Psalm 115: Not …

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Should We Change Musical Settings?

This question was sent in by Juanita: As a classically trained musician and someone who has sung parts for most of my life, I am confused when I see arrangements for hymns that are completely different from what is traditionally written…Do congregations actually sing songs often enough to get tired of the musical arrangements, especially when there are other options available for freshening up a piece? It seems to me that it can actually be unsettling to a congregation, especially for the musical people in its midst, to have the music, i.e., the basic structure of the music, changing. I actually find it distracting to the words myself. As …

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