Two days ago I lead worship for a school that disciples and equips people to live lives that glorify the Lord. I have lead worship for this group of people before but there was something different this day. Maybe it was a sense of desperation in the worship. It made me think about the scene in the movies where someone is about to leave on an airplane or train and the person getting left behind shouts "I love you! Don't you know I always have! I love you! I love you!" At that point in the movies this last minute confession is painful to the viewer because we knew the love was always there but the character just wouldn't say it. Maybe because of fear. Maybe because of pride. Who knows. All I know is that it is frustrating being on the outside looking in and knowing that they will regret all the days they spent NOT expressing their love. This brings me back to leading worship the other day, that group of people were throwing aside their fear and pride and saying "I'm gonna tell Him! I'm going to shout it!" and within just a few minutes they were doing just that. They were the ones standing on the train platform shouting "I love You! I always have!" Hands were lifted, hearts were pumping, eyes were lifted, and voices rising. The room became a house of worship.
The songs we sing and lead have a lot to do with the worshippers being able to express this. Each mouth/heart is waiting for the words to take root inside them and become the expression of worship that they feel towards the Lord. Each time someone like Tim Hughes or Paul Baloche or Chris Tomlin sits down to write, they are coming before the Father on our behalf because we will be the ones who get to grab a hold of their words and make them our words. We are the ones(if we are worship leaders) who will look at the congregations we are leading and say "What do they need to say? What are they waiting to say that will tear down the walls of distraction that are between them and their Savior?"
With this in mind I have found that there are songs that I am leading or hearing led that I see are doing this. Some songs are new, some are old but each one fills our mouths with what we are desperate to say to our Savior.
1. Our God- Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin, and Chris Tomlin wrote this song and I am seeing it change peoples lives of worship. This is the song that gets people shouting. This is the song that gets those who never sing, singing.
2. Glorious- Paul Baloche and Brenton Brown. Brenton sang this song to my husband and I while we were at a retreat up in the mountains a few years ago and I remember getting a catch in my throat. Ahhh! That chorus lyric(Glorious! My eyes have seen the glory of the Lord!) and the chorus melody grasp hands to provide the rescued with a song of response to our saving.
3. Hosanna- Brooke Fraser. In comparison to the number of the male worship leaders/songwriters that are currently writing and singing for us, there are few that are female and even fewer that are great female worship leaders. Brooke Fraser is one of those and this song is calling people to worship across the globe. Recently I had a girl tell me that she is attending a discipleship school because of the lyric "I see a generation, rising up to take their place, with selfless faith." A song that can call the worshipper into a life of worship is exactly what it should be.
4. Revelation Song- Jenny Lee Riddle. I grew up in Texas with a man named Mark Jobe as my youth leader. This same man is the father of the gorgeous voiced Kari Jobe who is now one of the worship leaders of my mothers church in Texas. One Christmas a few years back I was in town at church with my mother and had the opportunity to see Kari lead this song, I had never heard it before and I was rocked. The idea behind this song is simple, describe our God and respond and ohhhh does that chorus give us the perfect melodic/lyrical response.
5. How He Loves- John Mark McMillan. A friend of mine sent me the link to a youtube video of a girl named Kim Walker-Smith singing this song and I think I have watched the video perhaps dozens of times since. I simply can't put into words the effect this song has had on me as a worshipper and on those around me worshipping along with me. John Mark doesn't walk through the front door of songwriting. There is nothing typical or expected with the way he writes to or about our Savior and it is because of that that we find ourselves with tears in our eyes as we sing "If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking." Ahhh that makes my heart ache just in the typing. O How He does indeed love us!
There are many more songs I could put on this list but these are the ones jumping out to me this morning. These are the songs that I know you could add to your set list(if you are a worship leader) or listen to on your ipod and life shifts. These are the songs that are tilting our chins towards our heavenly Father. These are the songs that are the words for our mouths and hearts. Spend some time praying for the songwriters out there that are writing our songs. Pray that the Lord will bless them and reveal Himself to them and provide for them and challenge them and teach them...all so that they might continue to write so that His praise can ring out around the world.