Joel Bridges' personal blog

Christian Music

Thomas’ Song

I was strumming some chords with one of my students & I decided it would be good for him to write some lyrics to go with it, so he came up with some really good words, starting with “When the light of the Son comes shining down”.  I asked if he meant “sun” or “Son” & he said “Let’s make it a church song”…

Thomas asked me, “Are you a Baptist?”  so I said, “I’m non-denominational”

He said, “So you’re Methodist…that’s almost like a Christian, right?”

When the light of the Son comes shining down on the precious land
then the world worships the one who died to save us from our sins
The Prince of peace is coming back to the new world He once knew
I was very impressed with this, but now we needed a chorus or a bridge to go with the verse.  I thought some minor chords would be a nice contrast, so I asked Thomas if he could come up with some more lyrics.  He decided Satan would be appropriate for the minor chords & Jesus for the major chords.  It sounds like he’s going to be a great songwriter…
Then there are some who don’t want to follow the way of the Light, and they stand in the way of the rays of the Light.

It’s Your Song

We believe the songs are yours

We receive them from you Lord

It’s your word that leads us

It’s your love that frees us

It’s your light that guides us

It’s your song

Now I don’t know what tomorrow holds

I may be high, I may be low

But I believe you promised

you’d never leave me hopeless

And I believe whatever happens

it’s your song

It’s the way you show me

It’s the way you hold me

It’s the way you love me

It’s your song

Ok, I confess…

I would love to be on a tour bus with Roye, Brad, Dean, & Darrell, traveling around the countryside, playing churches & festivals & such.
Roye would fight Dean & Darrell for the top bunk (I would have the master suite in the back) & Brad would drive.  We wouldn’t be gone too long, just 15-20 weekends per year, play a gig, then get back on the bus & travel to the next town.  We would sit around the table on the bus, late at night, play games, make chocolate chip cookies, laugh & pray & sing & be silly.  Our families would come along, we would play our songs, the music would be annointed, & Roye would get up to speak & thousands of people would be touched by the power of the Holy Spirit.
If Will Hardy is right, & we can dream big dreams, that’s what I would dream.

Free to be me

Sun Feb 26, 2011  WRC West Paulding…morning services

Steve V & Brad C played acoustics, Jon on drums, Jason on keys, Derrick B & Jody D on guitar: The Time Has Come, Your Love Never Fails, Inside Out.  When Roye & I arrived @ 7 am, Derrick said we were replacing a song with one I had never heard  before, but any jitters I might’ve had disappeared when I inserted my ear buds.  The mix coming from the Avioms was CD quality.  I felt like a caveman experiencing some strange new enlightenment.  The bass guitar & kick drum were so thick & tight, I almost cried.  When we played Inside Out, the keyboard swelled, the drums & bass came in like a heart beat pounding in my chest, it sounded like Hillsong was playing.  The JBL line arrays hung above the stage.  4 OAP double-18 cabs lined the floor.  And if that wasn’t close enough to heaven, the volunteers were like angels swooping in to assist your every need.  When Brad needed help with his acoustic guitar, they were there to patch his cables, change his battery, wisp the hair out of his eyes, every possible act of service & assistance was eagerly administered.  Surely this must be what heaven is like.   

Then, we came back Sun night & it was beautiful.  I was exhausted from the night before.  I only got 2 hours of sleep.  I told Roye if it was God’s will for us to be there, He would make a way.  Well, He parted the Red Sea & made a way for Kathy & Abbie to come.  At every turn, in the morning & again that night…the sound, the spirit, the comfort level, the message, the people, & the look in Abbie’s eyes, it felt like God was confirming Himself.
Oak Leaf does not allow children in the adult services, so this was Abbie’s first official adult worship service.  I wish I had taken photos or video, because it was a perfect example on how to worship.  She was clapping, singing, lifting her hands & having an amazing experience in front of her grateful parents. 

Worship Like a Child

As I was driving down the road, I popped in an old CD & started to sing along.  I noticed Abbie in the backseat, singing right along with me, not knowing a single word.  She had never heard the song before, but she could tell I was excited about it, so she was happy to join in for the pure enjoyment.  Her words were unintelligible & her pitch wasn’t exactly right, but in her father’s eyes, it was beautiful.  It made me so proud to see her singing from her heart, just to make me happy. 

As a part-time worship leader, I’m always looking for ways to encourage people to join in worship.  Sometimes we may not know a song, or prefer something different, but it’s still possible to enjoy the music & join in worship.  If I’m excited about the song & I’m singing from my heart, it doesn’t matter if I don’t know the words or the melody, it will be beautiful in my Father’s eyes… & it will be contagious.

Spirit of the Living God

Angel or Devil?

Two voices are always battling inside my head…

One voice says I should give up my childish dreams of playing music & grow up.  I should abandon my selfish desires, crucify my flesh & allow God to use me however He sees fit.  My aspirations hinder God’s plan for my life.

The other voice says I have been gifted by God to play music & I should use His gift to glorify Him. God planted that dream in my heart & I should pursue it with passion. The joy & fulfillment it brings affirm that God is pleased with my music.

This has been a recurring theme in my life.  When I was 10, I wanted to be Spiderman & fly around Cartersville from building to building.  My mom even made a suit for me.  She encouraged me to dream.  When I graduated high school & it was time to go to University of TN, I decided it was God’s will for me to stay home & play music with my band.  My dad was disappointed, but he encouraged me to follow my dream.  When I was in college, the voices were still battling, telling me I was selfishly following my own desires, & it was time to abandon my silly dreams & live a life of total submission to God’s will.  For a time, I quit listening to secular music completely.  I was convinced that playing music was the wrong path for me. 

Even now, I still hear both voices & they are still at war.  But if I follow my parent’s example when my own daughter wants to follow her dream, it becomes clear what God wants for me.  He is my inspiration, He gave me the gift, & He wants me to dream…

And yet, just like Abraham, I have to be willing to sacrifice the things that are closest to me, if God requires it.  I must offer up my own desires & pleasures, just like Jesus did.

 Oswald Chambers says  “If you select your own spot to be planted, you will prove yourself to be an unproductive, empty pod.  However, if you allow God to plant you, you will “bear much fruit” ( John 15:8  ).
This passage in The Message explains it well, if you substitute “music” for “food” 
   Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. I’m convinced—Jesus convinced me!—that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it or talk about it, can contaminate it.     If you confuse others by making a big issue over what they eat or don’t eat, you’re no longer a companion with them in love, are you? These, remember, are persons for whom Christ died. Would you risk sending them to hell over an item in their diet? Don’t you dare let a piece of God-blessed food become an occasion of soul-poisoning!

    God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness’ sake. It’s what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. Do that and you’ll kill two birds with one stone: pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you.

    So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. You’re certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God’s work among you, are you? I said it before and I’ll say it again: All food is good, but it can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it to trip others up and send them sprawling. When you sit down to a meal, your primary concern should not be to feed your own face but to share the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to the others who are eating. Don’t eat or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love.

   Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others. You’re fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you’re not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—then you know that you’re out of line. If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong.   Romans 14:13-23

Ready for Battle?

Ask yourself this question:   Can God count on me?  Does He consider me first string?  or 2nd or 3rd sub?  Have I shown Him that I’m dependable and trustworthy?  Have I proven that I can get the job done like He wants?  Or am I like an intern who has to be spoon-fed instructions, & then God has to do it Himself?

Maybe the more important question is, am I willing?  The Psalmist says, “Your troops will be willing on your day of battle”  Ps 110:3 NIV   Am I willing to go to the front lines, or am I content to keep my position in the rear where it’s safe & comfortable?

“So take up your sword and your shield, and START FIGHTING!!”

Ulf Christiansson…Swedish Christian Metal band Jerusalem

Use Your Voice

“My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the King”   Psalm 45:1  NIV

Last night, I felt like I had been “anointed with the oil of joy”, like it says in Ps 45:7.   That’s what happens when we worship God in spirit & in truth.  So I must’ve been in a church service or a Bible study, right?  No, actually it was band practice for Oak Leaf Church & I thought the room was going to explode as we went through the songs for next Sunday.   It’s hard to describe how it feels to use my voice the way God intended, to lift up His name & glorify Him with a song from my heart.  For so long, I used my voice for my own pleasure & my own benefit.  I sang songs that didn’t really mean anything, for people that didn’t really care, & it was a waste. 

I wonder what God thought about His wasted gift?   

My dad was a huge UT fan, so naturally he hated UGA.  Sometimes I try to imagine how he would’ve felt if he had left me a generous trust fund, in the hope that I would use it to go to his beloved alma mater.  Then when I turned 18, what if I had rejected UT & decided to use his money to go to UGA!!!  That would’ve been like a knife through his heart.

Well, that’s what I did to God.  I took His precious gift, which He entrusted to me & I used it for the enemy.  I used it for my own purposes & my own entertainment, & the devil was laughing the whole time.  I used The Force for the dark side.  I sold my birthright for some pork & beans.  I went out & spent my inheritance on what I wanted & found myself eating pig slop.  I traded my gold top Les Paul for a Squire Strat.  Well, you get the idea…

So now I’m starting to see what it feels like to use my voice the way it was intended, & for the purpose it was created.  As we all know, music is a powerful force.  It can take us to places that can’t be reached otherwise…to very good places, or very bad.  There are plenty of people who sing with amazing passion & energy for plenty of different reasons.  But when we use our voices to worship our Creator, to shout to God with cries of joy, & to magnify His name with all our strength & all our breath, we experience a whole new level of expression & power.   How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth!   Sing praises to God, sing praises;  forever God is faithful, forever God is strong, forever God is with us, forever!

“The world does not bid you sing, but God does.  Song is the sign of an unburdened heart;  so sing your songs of love unbidden, ever rising higher & higher into a fuller concept of the greatest, grandest fact on the stage of time…God is Love”

Old School

Yeah, I’m old school…or maybe I’m just old?  I still use my old Acid software from 1997 (version 1.0) to make loops for songs that need piano, or strings, or whatever.  I know I should be using Reason or some other state of the art software, but I can’t help it.  I like the old familiar stuff.  I like to order the same thing when I go to my favorite restaurant.  I still like my Motorola V188 cellphone.  I still use an old Dell PC with Windows XP for all my music.  When I was making the loop for a song we played at Oak Leaf Church this past week, I had to go back & forth to remove programs, files, etc…in order to make room on my C drive.  I probably re-booted 3 or 4 times every time I started working on it.  Whenever I finished a section, my computer would hickup or hesitate, so I would have to start over.  Why don’t I upgrade?  Why don’t I get a Mac, or a new i-phone?  Why don’t I order something new at Village Porch or Ross’s?  Because, I’m old school.  I like the old familiar stuff.  Let’s face it, every brand new gadget comes with it’s own set of problems.

When I finally finished that loop, & saved it on my mp3 player, I said a prayer before I pressed the save button.  If there was the slightest hickup or hesitation, all my effort would go down the drain.  So when I played the song, in it’s final form, with no glitches or problems, & I listened to the piano loop in perfect sync with the click track, it was a great feeling.  It was a miracle, really.  When we played the song Sunday morning, the loop worked to perfection (thanks to Kyle) & I was like a proud father, beaming over a simple piano pattern, his crude little work of art, his miracle.

TCAW Setlist 1/11/09

Surrender it All  (Even Adam)

Yahweh  (U2)

Happy Day  (T Hughes)

Beautiful One  (T Hughes)

We Stand  (L McDerment)

Now is the Time  (Delirious)

All That You Do  (Even Adam)

January 11 @ The Church at Woodland

Even Adam will be leading worship @ The Church at Woodland in Cartersville, GA on January 11.  TCAW has two services each Sunday.  Service times are 9:45 and 11:30.  For more information on TCAW and to get directions click on the link above.

See you there.

Publix Setlist 11/18/08

Beautiful Day  (U2)

Happy Day  (T Hughes)

One Way  (Hillsong)

Beautiful One  (T Hughes)

Salvation is Here  (S Fee)

Hosanna  (Starfield)

Everlasting God  (T Fields)

Let Me Sing  (T Fields)

Here is Our King (D Crowder)

Surrender it All  (Even Adam)

All That You Do  (Even Adam)

Say (J Mayer)

Pride  (U2)

Still Haven’t Found (U2)

Streets (U2)

The Garden

I was reading the Bible tonight in James. As I read this passage I thought of you guys and wanted to pass this verse along to you as well as the idea that went along with it. This is out of the Message,

In simple humility, let our gardner, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.

I love this verse and how it reads in the Message – the wording of this is a beautiful picture of how God wants His love to appear in our hearts and through our lives. We are His… we are his garden. He is the Master Gardener and we are his garden. As I thought about you guys, you are the fruit if His garden. You are writing music and expressing God’s love and Message through the lyrics He gives. What God is producing are seeds that He will use in others lives.

 Now lets turn back to the Book of Genesis…
 Genesis 2:4b-5, “When the Lord God made the heavens and the earth, there were no plants or grain growing on the earth, for the Lord God had not sent any rain. And no one was there to cultivate the soil.”
God created Adam in order to cultivate the soil. This was an earthly soil. Genesis 2:15, “The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and care for it.” God has raised each of you (Even Adam) to cultivate soil that is found in the souls of man. This cultivation will occur as an overflow of how God works in your lives.

The book of James in Chapter 1 deals a lot with faith and standing through trials that come our way. “You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced out into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” God desires for us to live by faith. To seek Him out with everything that we are made of. James says to ask God boldly, believingly, without a second thought. I like the Message when it says we are not to be “people who worry their prayers”.  Live your lives with an attitude of faith and that built on prayer. It is out of your life of faith, prayer, and devotion to God’s Word that He will speak. And when He speaks, “Act on what you hear.”
I look forward to seeing what God does with you!!!
This is an email sent to Joel, Dean, and Brad while they were practicing at Brad’s house January 19, 2008.