Brother Moon

Yikes it’s been a little too long. I’ll write a post in a bit explaining why this post has taken so long to write. This next song is most definitely outside the norm for Sunday worship. The song always reminds me of Psalm 19.

“God’s glory is on tour in the skies,
God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
Madame Day holds classes every morning,
Professor Night lectures each evening.” – Psalm 19:1-2 (The Message)

The language and imagery are very similar. I am also a fan of songs that use nature images to bring glory to God. This is probably because being in nature make me feel closer to God. I do not go hiking or spend a lot of time outside, but when I can I see God in the forest, in the majesty of the mountains, in a sun set, or on a quiet night with a full moon shining down. Nature images just show me who God is. He is so great and big and powerful and creative and awesome, and the only thing I can do is sing a little song to Him with my little voice, clumsily strumming a guitar. The great thing is God loves it anyway.

“Maker of it all, You provide it all

In You we live, in You we move

In You we have our being, You’re glorious”

Nature shouts God’s glory. In my blog about “After All (Holy)” I talked about the difference between God’s holiness and His Glory. I shared that God’s glory is what we see of Him, it is what shown. Nature displays God’s greatness, creativity and omnipotence, nature shouts God’s glory. God provides everything for us, without Him we do not live, He gives us our body, our breath, everything. This song reminds us of the scope of God’s power and creativity, and that still despite that, He cares enough to give us these gifts, gifts that amount to life, and a life that can be overflowing (John 10:10)

Oh Great Love of God: Part 2

When I set out to write about this song I did not intend for it to take two posts. The song has a lot of lyrics, and so it is taking longer. This is not a bad thing, it just is. We left off discussing portions of the chorus. If you hav not read the first post, please do so before proceeding farther. Now I am going to turn my attention to verse two, then the bridge. It seems that almost the entire song will be covered in these two posts:

“Servant King of rich and poor, beggar that the world ignores,

Oh let me see Your face, hidden in simple thing.”

These lines are reminiscent of the passage of scripture in which Christ tells the disciples that whatever one does to a “brother, even the least of them, he has done it to Me,” (see Matt 25:34-40). Not only is this singing scripture, which is an act of worship, but it is reminding us of another act of worship, serving other in love! Often in our culture we only see worship as the 90 minutes that we gather together every weekend. This however is only a very small part of what our worship should be. This time of worship, should fill us to the point of overflowing so that we may serve others and worship God individually throughout the week. The chorus communicates, in a way, what Sunday is about.

“This is not a song, this is a revival”

Sunday is about reviving our strength, and our faith. Each song should spark a revival in our lives and faith. If it is not, then something is wrong, not with the song, not with the church, and not with the worship team, but more than likely with the worshiper. Worshipers do not worship through the week, and so they wonder why their Sunday worship is so dry. Sunday worship should overflow into the weeks worship, and the worship from the week should overflow into Sunday. If this is not the case, then one needs to grow. I have been in this place all to often.

“This is a return back to life, oh Your life in my life, it’s Your life in my life that I’m dying for”

Is this something we believe? That acquiescing to Christ is a return to life to true life, to abundant life (John 10:10).

This blog had some tough things in it, I try not to sugar coat when I can, and it may be off putting to some. It’s a struggle for me to put such things in a blog, as it sometimes appears to be done out of arrogance. In reality I am on the same journey as you the reader is. These lyrics speak to my heart and soul, they challenge me, and convict me, just as I hope they do you. Which is why it is in my “Dream CCLI top 25.”

What about this song challenges you?

Oh Great Love of God

Worship is about bringing glory to God. It isn’t about singing, it’s not about having the coolest music. This next song is probably one that many worship leaders would avoid. I believe that many worship leaders would label it as ‘unsingable’ or at least hard to sing. Does a higher percentage of singing in the congregation lead to authentic worship? I would argue and encourage worship leaders to include songs that may be difficult to sing but congregationally but have great music, lyrics and most importantly theology, to help teach this theology to their congregation. This is exactly what this song is. Over time the congregation will become familiar enough with the song to sing along as well.

“Oh Great Love of God” has some lyrics that I feel are awkward, but are theological truths that often get left out of worship songs (at least the ones I hear and know). The first verse for instance:

“Victim of our Sacrifice, gift of love a perfect life, all for a wayward bride, all for a wayward bride.”

The repeated phrase is a little awkward. Perhaps we know that we are the ‘Bride of Christ’ but how often are we reminded that we “have wandered away” as the scriptures say. Despite this Christ still died for us. Let us turn to the Chorus:

“Oh great Love of God, who takes away the sins of all of us, gone forever,

Heaven open wide in a resurrection, You won’t be denied, bringing life to the dead and dying.”

I suppose we can argue that this resurrection is the resurrection at the end times. I instead believe that it is a resurrection of the spirit or soul of a man upon salvation. The work of Christ is to restore life, “and life abundantly” This lyric speaks of the mission of God, a mission that sadly some churches do not pursue. I do not wish to bash the Church or churches, for the Church is the hope of the world, for it is the Body and Bride of Christ. It is just a simple truth that church leaders must work to rectify. There are a number of other lyrics that merit a writing about. For now I will leave it here, and instead of writing a novel of a blog, I will write a part 2 for this song.

Thanks for reading!

 

After All (Holy)

Here we are once again, taking a look at a song for my “Dream CCLI 25.” This time around we are looking at probably my favorite song on this list, which is saying something, because I love all the songs I picked. I actually responded to an e-mail from the worship leader at our church asking about new song ideas, and this one I did quite a bit of talking on this song. Firstly, this song, like most songs, can be broken down into a simple chord structure that is easily reproduced. However, it also has a complexity if you intend to duplicate the sound and layers of the song. So it’s a simply complex song, which is indicative of many Crowder songs. The most important part of this song is the lyrical content. This song does two things. It communicates our reaction and perception of God. However, it does this in a grand, clear and honest way. Let’s look at the lyrics:

“I can’t comprehend your infinite beautiful and perfect love,

Oh I’ve dreamed dreams of majesty as brilliant as a billion stars

But it’s never bright enough”

This is the first verse, the second verse is similar:

“I will sing a song for you my God with everything I have in me,

But it’s never loud enough”

What do these lyrics communicate? That our worship, our efforts to glorify God are never enough, I hesitate to say they are never good enough, because it sounds so negative but it’s true. The Bible says that even our best offerings are like filthy rags when compared to God’s holiness and glory. This is the way we should perceive God, as so far above us, so much holier and glorious than us that we cannot worship him perfectly or sufficiently yet. However, this does not mean we should not worship God, “After all” He is “Holy.”

The chorus of this song repeats over and again that God is Holy. This is the second  aspect of the song, not only does it present a human perception of the truth of God. It presents the reality of who God is, holy! This is why we need to worship God.

The bridge of the song declares that God’s glory is everywhere, that it is much to big for us as well. “My soul it overflows, full of Your glory, Your Glory.” And finally ends with a praise to God for his salvation saying, “Hosanna we are found for after all, You are Holy.” This line simply puts the reality of what God through Christ which is gained through the power of the Holy Spirit has done for us. A perfectly holy God that reached down and saved us, he found us while we were lost. Praise the Lord!

I feel like many worship leaders would not want to use this song because of the verses, how they communicate our deficiency to be able to worship God sufficiently. This perception could be very wrong, but if it’s not, then I encourage them to take a risk and use this song. The chorus is so memorable and easy to learn (after you drop the key a bit) and there is so much truth and ways to worship God with this song, that it must be used!

There is a Sound

The CCLI top 25 is a list that shows the top 25 songs used in churches today during their worship services. While there a number of songs on here that are great musically, lyrically and theologically. However, I believe that there are better songs still. I must emphasis that this is my opinion, and nothing more. I may have good logic behind my opinion, but it doesn’t make it the right songs for this list. My hope is that some churches will come across these posts and think about using these songs.

The second song on my list is “There is a Sound” by David Crowder*Band. For those that know me there is no surprise that I have a number of DC*B songs on the list. DC*B has long put together a stellar set of songs both musically and theologically. What I have always loved about them, is that their lyrics make you stop and think, they change the way you see your faith and the way you think about God and who God is. This song has similar lyric.

“There is a Sound” has a few lines that I just love and for me make a song that should make the CCLI Top 25 list. First lets look at what I believe is the most important set of lyrics:

“He alone is holy,

He alone most high

To God be the glory

To God be the glory

Spirit, Father, Jesus Christ”

There are three reasons these lyrics are so important, first: the trinity is clearly mentioned. Currently zero CCLI top 25 songs mention the trinity. Second it mentions that God alone is Holy and separately that we should give God glory. I don’t think that Christians really think about the difference between God’s glory and God’s holiness. Holiness is who God is, it is as much of God as Love is. God’s glory is what is seen or heard of God. This could be by His own doing, like His creation, or His revelation or His appearance before Moses and others. It could also be His work in our life and our testimony to that.

Lets look at a few other lyrics now:

“Behold the Lamb of God

Who takes away our sin

Have Mercy”

This is the pre-chorus for the song, it communicates a knowledge and understanding that our sin is taken away by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, but that mercy is still needed. Our sins being taken away is a free gift of grace. We should never take it for granted, God’s mercy and grace is something we should always cherish and hold in high regard. Which, to me, is what the lyrics say.

Ok last set:

“There is a love, like the brightest day

When all is glowing

In unending praise.”

This communicates the brilliance of God’s love, and the unending praise that results because of that love. This song is so great! I hope you take the time to listen to it.

The Doxology

On my list of songs that I think should be on the CCLI top 25 list, the Doxology starts us off. The reason for this is two-fold: 1) Its short, simple and easy to remember, 2) It is trinitarian in nature. Most of our popular worship songs today are not trinitarian in nature. Additionally the Doxology communicates something very important, and quite apparently (if your looking). It communicates that all of creation is called to worship God. Lets take a look at a few lyrics:

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow”

If we are to praise God, and praise Him properly we are to do it fully to God. This means worship must be trinitarian. I have no doubt that anyone could argue that worship shouldn’t be trinitarian, but I believe it must. At the very least because the blessings of the Lord are possible to us through the word of the trinity. We are brought into a whole relationship with Father through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ and by the endwelling of the Holy Spirit in us. Thus, the blessings of God are made possible because of that relationship, sent by the Father, through the blood of Christ and we are only able to accept them because of this blood and the indwelling of the spirit.

Ok next lines:

“Praise Him all creatures here below, praise Him above, ye heavenly Hosts.”

These two lines encapsulate all of creation. It does not say “Praise Him all humanity here below.” it says “creatures”! If you turn to Revelation 5-7 you will see how all of creation ends up praising the Lord.

Lastly,

“Praise, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost”

Trinitarian worship, more fully spelled out. This song calls all of creation (and perhaps more specifically the Church) to praise God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen!

I’m Back and the CCLI 25

Hello to anyone who may read this post. I have been away for far too long. I’ve been busy with work and school. There is probably more than enough for me to write and share about over that time, but I havn’t, and here I am again. I have been spending a lot of time thinking about ‘popular’ worship. I am not here to criticize what the western church has been using on Sunday mornings for worship music. Every Church picks the songs that speaks most to their congregation and helps them to worship most easily. However, I believe that there are a number of songs that are being neglected and that should be on the top 25 list of the CCLI.

Here is what I am going to try to do, I am going to list off the songs I believe should be on the list and in subsequent posts I will write more thoroughly why I believe each song should be on the list. For starters here is a link to the CCLI top 25. There are some great songs on there, Everlasting God, Hosanna (Praise is Rising), How He Loves, Our God, In Christ Alone, The Stand and How Great Thou Art for instance all great great songs, some of my personal favorites. However, you’ll notice that very few, and quiet possibly none of those mention the Holy Spirit. For that reason my first two songs will, here is my list (I may add to this over the weeks).

1. The Doxology

2. There is a Sound by David Crowder*Band

3. Glorious by Paul Baloche

4. After All (Holy) by David Crowder*Band

5. Oh Great Love of God by David Crowder*Band

6. Brother Moon by Gungor

7. The Earth is Yours by Gungor

8. To the Cross by Paul Baloche

9. SMS (Shine) by David Crowder*Band

All of these songs have deep theology, great lyrics and will teach congregations great things about God (not just the Father or the Son but also the Holy Spirit) and worship. Stay tuned, and share your opinions. Even better if you have songs that you think should be on the list, let me know, and tell me why please!