Posts filed under Thoughts On Worship

Hope...

I was recently asked to do a video blog for my song "Hope." I gathered my thoughts about the writing of this song and set to work putting on my camera face. There are times when it is hard to put into words what the thoughts behind a song are, perhaps because they are too emotionally wound around my heart, but this song is a clear memory. Maybe it is clear because I wrote this song with a friend of mine, Jimmy Robeson, and at the point of writing this song we had already written many songs together and were comfortable in the writing process. We opened our bibles, dug through our hearts and were quick to agree about what we felt like we ourselves and the church were needing to say. We were so quick in fact that we had the entire song written and a demo recorded within just a couple of hours. It was like this song was pushing its way out, ready to be heard and passed around, so it could find its place vibrating through the throats of all those desperate to cling to its hope filled lyrics. In two weeks my album, "Current," with this song, "Hope," is being released, worldwide, by Integrity Music. You can mark your calendars for March 6th but until then you can listen to the track playing along with this video blog about it. Please share it with your friends. You will see the Facebook share button and the Twitter tweet button, please use both because the moment I recorded this song it became not for only me, but for all who's hearts are already beating

"We have hope! We have hope! Let our mourning Spread Your glory We have hope!"

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NfQfOeIKrM&w=560&h=315]


Singing What You Know (Knots That Bind #18)

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" Praise Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, praise Him in the assembly of His saints....Let the saints be joyful in the glory and beauty [which God confers upon them]; let them sing for joy upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their throat"-Psalm 149:1,5-6

My Daughter has started writing music and it has been interesting to see what words line the melodies of her songs. She, like most kids her age, sings about what she knows. She wrote a song today with the melody of old MacDonald that said "Dada loves blue and his shirt is blue and this cup is blue too!" while the other day another melody and another cluster of words, "I love my Mommy and Daddy...because I love them." She even wrote a song with a chorus that repeated "I love to obey, I love to obey." Yes, she wrote that song after getting into trouble and a quick discussion about making good and bad choices.

Will this change in her?

Did we change?

As adults do we still write songs about what we know or are we too dependent on others to write our songs for us?

If we had to write a song centering around what we know about God, instead of using other worship leaders songs, what would our song sound like?

Would it sound like a song written by someone who didn't really know their subject or would it be extremely immature and lacking depth?

Would it sound like someone who actually knows Christ?

I don't think you need to have a songwriting career to write songs. You don't have to have a voice like Adele to sing songs. All you need is something/someone worth singing about.

Do you have that?

Find some quiet right now and think of your song. What words do you use? You don't have to worry about melody or rhyming or a hook, just think of what your song says.

What does your song say?

I love in this verse that it says

"Let the saints be joyful in the glory and beauty [which God confers upon them]; let them sing for joy upon their beds."

The Psalmist (or songwriter) here was stating that the saints sing a new song in the good times and the bad, in the glory and beauty as well as on their beds, which refers to times of mourning.

During the best and worst.

So what moment are you in? And what does your song say?

I'm going to spend time thinking over this and post my own song. I will only post it's lyrics because I want to encourage you to also find and write your song and post it as well and I don't want to get distracted by the sound of voices or talent but instead keep the focus on what we are saying.

So what does your song say?

Close out all the words from everyone else, think only of what you know about Him, and tell me, what does YOUR song say?

Once you have it figured out, come back to this post and let us see it, let us worship with you.

But for right now, sing about what you know, "sing a new song and let the praises of God be in your throat." (Paraphrase mine)

(This is my newest blog in a weekly series where I share my thoughts behind some of my favorite scriptures out of the bible. If you want to see why I've started this weekly undertaking you can go back and read my blog called "Pirates And Their Knots...")


Brenton Brown- Our God Is Near(Album Review)

Sunday night I had the privilege of watching a dear friend of my husbands and mine, Brenton Brown, lead a group of a few thousand people into worship. I stood and watched as he and the 3 guys that make up his band (aka Worship Republic) cracked open a grouping of new songs that Brenton has carefully and purposefully crafted for us. These songs that are meant to be our words of worship. At the end of the night, I sat back and thought "Wow! Did an hour and a half really just pass? It seems as though we just started." But, this is always the feeling when you are being led by a great leader, and that is Brenton Brown.

I have the cd of these new songs, although it doesn't actually release to the public till March 22nd, and thought I would listen to it and be able to give an unbiased review for you. I have come to the conclusion, though, that it's not possible. If I am to be honest, I can't separate myself far enough from Brenton and his wife Jude and their amazing daughter Bella (my daughter's BFF) to give you an unbiased opinion. I am biased. I want everyone to buy his new cd in droves. I want their family to be able to sit back and see the response of the worldwide church affirm that the time, money, heartache, toil, joy, time apart, time together etc. has all been a seed well planted and tended. I want them to see leaves sprouting and fruit being born of their labor of love.

So here is what I will say. I have spent hours on planes, in distant countries, on stages singing with, in the audience watching, lounging poolside while our daughters were still growing within our bellies, crying together, laughing together (quite a bit of this), sharing songs/ideas together and just simply being friends and growing the relationship between our families with the Browns, so, I know that when you watch Brenton worship, when you hear his lyrics, when you hear him speak and see his joy filled smile as he sings you are getting honesty, you are getting something that is real. This is a huge reason that I buy and listen to music, honesty. I want to hear someone sing something they know deep down and this is something that Brenton does. This is why you should buy his cd, this is why you should jump at a chance to go where he is leading worship.

Here are the lyrics that have planted themselves on my mind from Brenton's song "All I Want":

"All I've got, all I want is in You, it's in You. Like the air in my lungs I will breathe You in. All I want, all I need is in Your grace and Your truth. Fill me up, fill me up, let me sing again."

You can check out an interview he posted about his new record "Our God Is Near" here on his blog. And watch iTunes next Tuesday for the albums release...Don't worry, I will mention it again just to remind you :)


Thoughts after getting a speeding ticket…

Yesterday I was on my way to church, listening to a sermon on my Iphone, when I saw the repetitive flashing of a California Highway Patrol car in my rearview mirror. Yep, there was no mistaking it, he was after me. Ugh. My heart sank. How fast was I going?

It has been 12 years since the last, and only other, time I have been pulled over and I ended up with just a warning that time. Maybe I would only get a warning again. What would I say though?

As the cop made his way up to the passenger side of my car (I was pulled over on a very busy part of the freeway) I found myself blushing and tongue-tied and trying not to make any sudden movements that could be interpreted as reaching for a gun (yes, that thought entered my head and NO I don’t own a gun nor do I ever intend to). Well, I thought, there will be no groveling. That’s just not my style. I would be honest and take the ticket. After all, I was in the wrong if I had been speeding.

With the cop tentatively crouching at my window we went through the uncomfortable dance of question and answer. Can I get your license, registration and insurance? Is this your correct address on your license? Do you know how fast you were going? Is there any particular reason you were going that fast?

I scrambled and found the things he asked for and I had a bit of a hesitation at the last question. This was my chance to stretch the truth. I could play the “I’m going to church to lead worship,” card. But no, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I wouldn’t want my bad driving behavior to reflect badly on my church.

A few minutes later, after making sure I wasn’t a convicted felon or serial speeder/ticket collector, the cop returned to the car and sent me on my way with a golden ticket. No not a fun Willy Wonka golden ticket, but the see you in traffic court/pay a fine for speeding kind of golden ticket.

With an ache in my chest I merged back onto the freeway and then spent the rest of the drive replaying "what I said" VS. "what I should have said." The number one thing repeated in this one sided pretend conversation, though, was “I am on my way to church to lead worship.” I kept thinking, what in the world does that mean? Lead worship. Those two words now feel like rocks on my tongue. How could something that sounded so normal now sound so foreign? Take a moment and imagine if you’ve never stepped foot inside a church. Then imagine hearing that sentence. It just doesn’t translate. Outside of the church, that phrase does not exist.

So I am going to ponder this for a day or so and then finish this blog. In the meantime I want you to tell me your thoughts. How would you explain to a non-christian or someone who doesn’t attend a church or maybe even someone who does attend a church but is still confused:

“What is musical worship that is found in a church?”

Sit down and imagine yourself talking to the barista at Starbucks, or the cashier at your grocery store, or the cop that just pulled you over who has no clue what you are talking about and tell me what you would tell them…

Feel free to repost/retweet/ask all your friends this question so that we can get a large number of answers. I will post my thoughts in a few days. Till then, get to commenting your thoughts here!

Posted on March 7, 2011 and filed under Anything and Everything, Thoughts On Worship.

Top 5 Favorite Worship Songs I'm Singing...

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.


What does your worship look like?

No one has your voice when it comes to worship. No one else can take your place. It is one thing that no one else can do for you. So when you are thinking you are going to come to church and kick back and relax and let someone else (perhaps the person on stage who is looking awfully energetic anyway) do your worshipping and singing for you remember that you are creating a void. A void so vast that as Luke 19:40 says "If we keep silent, the stones would cry out"(paraphrase mine). I was out of town this weekend and my husband and I were texting frequently about what was going on at home and what my 2 year old daughter was up to. I would have been suspicious if my husband said "oh by the way, Scarlett loves you and she wants you to know that she thinks you are the best mom and she was telling me that she can't wait to see you tomorrow and she has been telling me all day how she loves the way you take care of her and love her...." First of all my daughter doesn't have quite that kind of vocabulary. I would immediately know that those weren't her words. I would also be thinking "how does he know this? did she tell him? why didn't she tell me herself?" When I arrived home the best thing happened though, Scarlett's face lit up and she screamed "Mama!" with great pointing and waving and kicking and smiling and laughter and hands on her huge open excited mouth. Her expression of her love for me was beyond anything my husband could've said for her. It was her own. It was genuine and spontaneous and honest.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and I'm thankful that I have such a clear picture, through my daughter, of what worship to a Heavenly Father that we love should look like. Is this similar to what your worship looks like? Think about that. Is it honest and spontaneous or contrived and forced? If we truly knew Him I don't know how we could respond without worship. Real worship. Take a bit of time today to learn something else about Jesus. It's only in this way that you will recognize Him when He walks through your door.

PS- If there are misspellings or is any bad grammar in this post it's only because I am not proofreading it. My daughter is coming and asking for my hand to go play and I can't resist :)

Posted on July 26, 2010 and filed under Anything and Everything, Thoughts On Worship.

Balloons...

I had an imagining...

A lady is driving home from a long day at work and is feeling lonely and heavy laden because it is her birthday and no one has called her to wish her happy birthday. As she pulls up to her house she sees a cluster of colorful balloons floating above her mailbox, blowing back and forth in the breeze. "There! There! There is someone's affection. There is someone's acknowledgment and celebration of me!" she thinks to herself. She quickly turns off her car and heads straight to the mailbox where she grabs the balloons and cries and comforts herself with them. She smiles at them and thanks them and talks to them as if they were the person that tied them to the mailbox. Finally she decides to sit down on the curb and spend the evening with the balloons because they have brought her so much joy after such a bad day.

We are like this lady. We are spending our lives giving glory to balloons when the balloons are only a signal. They are only a hint. They are only a sign that there is something more. She should've seen the balloons and quickly known that something more was going on, someone placed them there. If she had run into her house instead of to the balloons then she would've found it packed with friends and loved ones waiting to celebrate her with singing and gifts and hugs. Much more than the balloons could ever give her. Today I will remind myself to focus on my heavenly Father and not the things of this world. Those things of this world are only signs pointing to something so much greater and bigger than we could ever imagine. I will turn toward Him today and away from the silly balloons that I am sitting with and taking comfort from.

Posted on April 13, 2010 and filed under Anything and Everything, Thoughts On Worship.