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?”
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
“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”
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.
Surrender it All (Even Adam)
Happy Day (T Hughes)
Beautiful One (T Hughes)
We Stand (L McDerment)
Now is the Time (Delirious)
All That You Do (Even Adam)
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.
Beautiful Day (U2)
Happy Day (T Hughes)
One Way (Hillsong)
Beautiful One (T Hughes)
Salvation is Here (S Fee)
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)
Still Haven’t Found (U2)
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.