New Song: “Great Are You Lord”

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Tomorrow we’re introducing our next new song to our church family: “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons and Daughters. Our friend Dan Wilt always says “songs are a place we go,” and this will quickly become one of our favorite comfy spots.

Like most of our new songs, this one has been on our wish list for quite a while, and if you’ve heard it you know why. It’s one of those songs that provides vocabulary to something we all feel and know. As a result, it instantly connects and sticks with you. The lyric is short and easy to learn, and you find yourself singing it the first time through and the next day too.

It starts with some reminders about what God does:

You give life, you are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, you restore
Every heart that is broken

Just as these incredible facts sink in, the song facilitates our response to God:

It’s your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to you only

The simplicity of this verse & chorus provides plenty of space… I could hang out here for quite a while. And then the bridge gives a new feel and dimension.

The original arrangement is piano-driven, but this one will work with just about any instrumentation. It’s propelled by the melody, and in keeping with All Sons and Daughters tunes, it gets a huge boost from a strong tight harmony.

I can’t wait to sing this with our family, and encourage everyone on the team to spend time exploring and personalizing it.

New Song: “Furious”

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After years of being on our shortlist of songs to add, we’re finally teaching our church family “Furious” by Jeremy Riddle this Sunday. Here are a few reasons I love this song:

1. It helps us celebrate the gospel.

The Father loves and sends His son
The Son lays down His life for all
He lavishes His love upon us, He calls us now
His sons and daughters, He’s reaching out…

These few lines from verse 2 get me every time. As we remember our salvation stories, I believe that worship will well up in our hearts and spill out in a song of thanksgiving as we declare the great, mysterious, furious love of our God and Father:

His love is deep, His love is wide, and it covers us
His love is fierce, His love is strong, it is furious
His love is sweet, His love is wild
And it’s waking hearts to life

2. It’s a prophetic call to worship

Back when we began all our worship gatherings with Vertical Time, we practiced a call to worship that was deeply personal and navel-gazing, between the Holy Spirit and each believer. Then at the end of Vertical Time, our liturgy would quickly transition into a time of passionate worship and utilized songs that were intensely intimate and demanded a lot from the worshiper. I think it worked, primarily because the Holy Spirit moved and most people were ready to roll. But there were some in the room who had not connected during Vertical Time, and spent the next several minutes enduring worship songs they couldn’t or wouldn’t sing. And there were a few Sundays when I could identify with them… even though I’m the guy leading the worship.

Nowadays our standard liturgy opens with a song, and from time to time we’ll use “Furious.” And for anyone who feels cold and disconnected; for anyone who feels skeptical and sour; for anyone who feels exhausted and defeated and nearly dead… TO YOU we sing that God’s love is “…waking hearts to life.”

Father, may your great love wake our hearts to life. 

3. It’s ready for La Viña

One of the Vineyard Churches in Chile has already translated and recorded the song in Spanish, so it’s perfect for us to use at La Viña on Sunday afternoons!

New Song: “Take Me With You”

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Have you noticed the stirring in our church lately? The Holy Spirit is moving in the hearts of people to “do the stuff” of the kingdom, and church staff and brand new attendees alike are stepping out in faith. Then our friend Adam Russell preached, and his message was like dumping gasoline on a fire that rages on into our current sermon series “Share.” Almost every day we hear amazing stories about salvations, miracles, new ministries, and reconciliation as regular folks take risks for God.

We have a renewed sense of being sent on a mission. The language found in Isaiah 6:8 when Isaiah responds to God’s call by saying, “Here I am. Send me.” is definitely fitting for us. But I think it’s important to remember that enlisting for God’s mission doesn’t discharge us from his presence. On the contrary, pursuing his mission propels us closer to his heart. Even when nothing seems to be working and everything is collapsing into a mess, he’s near.

I find great comfort that his mission is equal parts sending and inviting. His invitation is not to go for him, but to go with him. There will surely be times when God asks us to take a blind step of faith. Times when he’s hard to see. Times when fear and doubt climb up us like dark tangles of ivy to stop our progress. In those moments, we’ll have a song to remind us he’s there and he’s leading the way:

Where you go, I will follow.
Where you lead, I’ll be there by your side.
Take me with you.
In my fear, I will trust you.
In my doubt, I will look for you to guide.
Take me with you.

This quietly intense song by St Albans Vineyard worship pastor Samuel Lane can help our perspective. And once we remember the invitation, we get to respond with resolve:

Your will be done.
To live is Christ, to die is gain.
To know the father, to see his face.
But I will follow, I will remain.
There’s strength in Jesus, there’s joy in faith.

We’re introducing this song to our church family on March 8, so please spend some time with it while you read Philippians 1. As you listen, pay as much attention to what’s NOT played as what they play. The chart is available on Planning Center. We’ll keep a similar vibe with our arrangement:

  • Acoustic players, get your DADGAD on.
  • Electric players, wade into the deep end of reverb & delay.
  • Keys, we need your atmospheric pad awesomeness.
  • Drummers, brush up on brushes.
  • Vocalists, are you up for trying those falsetto BGVs?

Side note: Samuel Lane’s entire record The Fire continues to be on regular rotation for me. We already do Fiery Love and Fall Afresh, and we used The Father for our Worship at Home 2013 video. If you haven’t already, you should check it out!

New Song: “Good Good Father”

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Story time

Every Fall, I attend the Vineyard Worship Leaders Retreat near Asheville, NC. It’s an amazing time of worship, prayer, reflection, camaraderie, and catharsis. October 2014 was no exception. On the second night of the retreat, God used two patriarchs of Vineyard worship to speak to me in a special way. Raymond McDonald spoke on the theology of intimacy and drew a contrast between acceptance and rejection from the Father. Sleepy Ray’s story as a worship leader, senior pastor, and adoptive dad gave his message a firm-yet-kind authority. Then during ministry time after the sermon, Bob Van Meter quietly prayed for me and shared a prophetic message that was like the whisper of God in my ear. His message was about generational blessings instead of curses, not only from his generation to me, but also from me to other musicians and my kids. This was particularly poignant since I was struggling to come to terms with my son Mac’s developmental challenges due to events before his adoption. Afterwards, a group worship leaders were discussing the service, and we discovered that God had used Bob to speak to all of us in really specific ways. It was so good that we coined it the night we all got “Van Metered.” 🙂

Back to present-day

A few weeks ago, Kelsi Walker showed me the song “Good Good Father” by Housefires in Atlanta. The chorus instantly transported me back to that night at the retreat:

You’re a good, good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are.
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.

I just kept listening to it over and over. And as I did, I got the sense that this is bigger than my individual experience. This song is part of the soundtrack of what the Father is doing in our church. His acceptance as sons and daughters  changes the way we receive his correction. When we know we’re accepted, we see that his discipline affirms our acceptance and proves in our hearts that our sanctification is in response to our salvation and NOT a means for us to strive for it or keep it. Check out Hebrews 12:5-11:

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

And once we get that, we learn that his acceptance is the basis for healthy relationships with everyone else. Keep reading verses 12-15:

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled…

So as we teach this song to our church family, let’s meditate on these truths. I dare you to listen to the song on repeat and soak it in. Spend time playing it and singing it, and receive our Father’s acceptance so that we can minister to people from a place of security in him.

We’ll do this song in several keys, depending on the worship leader. Probably G or A for male vocals, and C or D for female vocals. Login to Planning Center to get the charts.

Similar songs to check out:

New Song: “Glory to Glory”

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Our first new song of 2015 is an original by our very own Grady Milligan. “Glory to Glory” is sure to get your blood pumping and your foot tapping. We need more up-tempo tunes, and this one is FUN. But at the heart of all the kinetic energy, the reason we need to sing this is the incredible cry for the King of Glory:

Lion, lover, come and cover me
In this hour make your power all I can see
Cast me from my filthy throne
Take the seat that’s yours alone, my king…
Glory to glory, shekinah from above
Holy, you’re holy, I’m drowning in your love

The word shekinah is derived from the Hebrew verb שכן which means to inhabit, to settle, or to dwell. The word tabernacle is from the same root word. Shekinah doesn’t appear in the Bible, but was used by rabbis to describe the manifestation of the presence of God. For example, at the dedication of Solomon’s temple in 1 Kings 8, “…the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.” (v11)

In Exodus 33, Moses asked to see God’s glory. Verses 21-23 say:

21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”

This encounter with glory was so significant that it made Moses face shine and when he came down from the mountain, it freaked everyone out. They made him cover his face with a veil that he only took off when he went into the tabernacle to speak with God.

So let’s consider 2 Corinthians 3. You should go read the whole chapter, but here are a few verses:

12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end… 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

How to Chart a Worship Song

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Congrats! You scoured the web and found the perfect new worship song for the upcoming sermon series. Or maybe you just put the finishing touches on a killer new original. To make the process of teaching a new song to your band as smooth as possible, you will need a good chart.

There are many automated chart tools and lots of ways to make charts, but good charts share a few common characteristics. In my opinion, good charts are:

  • one page.
  • easy to read in low light from five feet away.
  • lyrically and musically accurate.
  • clearly marked with sections & musical cues.
  • copyright compliant & honor the songwriters.

Template

With these characteristics in mind, don’t rely on prefab charts that make teaching the song more difficult. Here’s my template:

Glimpse – A.zip     Pages (iCloud)

Begin by collecting all the info about the song like title, author, copyright info, CCLI number, tempo, meter, lyrics, and chords. Many worship songwriters provide charts on their website. Other resources include CCLI SongSelect (I can provide our church’s login info), WorshipTogether.com, and if all else fails, Google.

Once you’ve collected all the song info, just plug it into the template and format it for real-world use. Double-space the lyrics to leave room for the chords above the words. Be sure the placement of the chords above the words reflects the rhythm of the chord progression. Sometimes you may need to space a word out using hyphens to make room for multiple chords that all occur while a single word is sung. For example:

G    E7    Am    D/F#    G    C    D7
Glo———————————————————–ria
G    D7    G     C       G    D
In   ex – cel – sis    de—o

Other times, you’ll need to indicate the rhythm of chord changes without lyrics. It’s helpful to use slashes or dashes to indicate beats and “pipes” to indicate bar lines. Use a colon and double bar line to make the repeat sign. For instance, in 4/4 time:

Em  /  C  /   |  G  /  /  /  ||

Chart Formatting Hints

Choose a font based on its readability in normal, bold and italics. I use Helvetica, Myriad Pro, or Georgia. Make the title and key easy to spot at the top left. Use the right margin to include cues and directions. Use boldface and/or indents to accentuate song sections like the chorus. If a song is particularly long or wordy, you may need to utilize columns rather than using a second page. And don’t forget to honor the songwriter by including accurate author, publisher, copyright info, and the song CCLI number.

Charting Chords By Ear

If you can’t find the chords, listen to the song with your instrument handy. Start by listening specifically to the bass guitar and the lead instrument. Try to identify the key by identifying common chords, then trying scales over the song. Once you know the key, you’ve narrowed the chords to five or six options. There are a few songs that are rare exceptions and use more chords.

The most common chords will be the major chords built on the 1, 4 and 5 of the scale. You may also find minor chords built on 6, 3 or 2. Many songs use the same progression every time a verse or chorus is played, so isolate each section of the song to figure out the chord progression. Once you have the gist, pay special attention to inversions when the bass guitar plays a note other than the chord root, or other standout moments. You can sharpen your ear to make this process quicker using interval recognition exercises like these.

Consistent File Names

When the chart is ready, name the new file with “Title – key.” This allows you to sort the files alphabetically and easily search by key. I also create a PDF file of the chart to allow everyone to open the file regardless of device or platform. Store your chart files in the same directory so you can easily search for lyrical content, etc.

In the next post, we’ll discus transposing charts into different keys.

New Song: “Never Once”

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In a few days, we’ll celebrate our church’s tenth anniversary together. It will certainly be a special day – it’s not often that we get to see everyone in the same room.

Leading up to this special service, my mind has been flooded with memories. And seeing the Clayton Center filled with our whole church family will be a powerful visual reminder of all that God has done; all that he is doing in and through us. Every face represents a story of our father’s faithfulness.

We have so much to celebrate that I’d like to offer some focus: let’s celebrate HIM.

Let’s commemorate his constant presence in our gatherings. Let’s honor his unwavering love to our fickle hearts. Let’s recall his perfect track record of provision and guidance.

To help us center on him, we’ll introduce the song “Never Once” by Matt Redman. Check out the first verse & chorus:

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us…
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful!

As we sing, our friend Lindsay Mizell will read these thoughts:

Sometimes I wonder if it could be true. I listen to the words of this song and I wonder if God could really be so faithful. I forget so easily.
It is my wondering that needs days like today. Days that are set aside to just to celebrate. To celebrate who He has been, where he has brought us and to remind me, to remind us that never once, in all of it, did he let go.
I once read this great thing written by a Jewish rabbi. He said that in the bible celebration is not something that is passive.  It is not a chance to sit back and be amused and entertained. Instead, when looking deeply at the celebrations of the scriptures, the people of God dared to actively and expressively celebrate the faithfulness of God. So this rabbi, when he spoke of celebration he called it a confrontation.
Oh, that we might we be bold enough to confront the Holy. That we might dare to actively celebrate the God who is faithful. The God who has spent the last ten years pouring blessings and mercies and grace over our church. He has been faithful. In ten years he has given us a front row seat as he restores, repairs and rescues in Blount County and beyond. He has blown life into what was dead, healed places long devastated, and put beauty and gladness in hearts covered with hurt and ash. In Haiti we have seen orphans rescued and the oppressed set free. He has healed bodies and hearts and minds and souls. He has brought purpose to life that felt dull and peace to death that felt too heavy to bear. He has given babies to the barren and hope to the hopeless. And, he has allowed us to join him in bringing comfort and help to the depressed, abused, neglected and brokenhearted. He never let go, even when we could not see or could not breathe or could not understand.
So, let’s remember and let’s celebrate, for HE HAS BEEN FAITHFUL.

This will not be passive remembrance or narcissism. Let’s actively confront the goodness and faithfulness of our father. Let’s use the final chorus of our new song to respond:

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful!

New Song: “Fall Afresh”

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On Sunday, we start a new sermon series simply called “Prayer.”  This is the perfect opportunity to introduce the church to a song they can use for personal prayer time.

There are times that I need to be awakened. When that’s the case, I usually lack the words to ask God for help. While many of our songs are prayers set to music, for some reason “Fall Afresh” stands out. It’s a song that I often pray in quiet moments alone with the Father when my words fail me. It’s my go-to song when I’m just not feeling it, or can’t seem to get started praying. And whenever I make these lyrics my cry, God answers in some way.

Awaken my soul, come awake
To hunger, to seek, to thirst
Awaken first love, come awake
And do as you did at first
Spirit of the living God come fall afresh on me
Come wake me from my sleep
Blow through the caverns of my soul
Pour in me to overflow
Spirit come and fill this place
Let Your glory now invade

It doesn’t get much better than the original version by Jeremy Riddle. And the simple passion provided by Samuel Lane’s recording (embedded above) is stunningly beautiful. I hope we can all take these words into the secret place and experience the Spirit blowing through our souls.

Check out the chart & audio for “Fall Afresh” on Planning Center.

New Song: “Our Father”

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Our new song to coincide with the sermon series “Kingdom Come” is called “Our Father” by Marcus Meier and the incredible team from IHOPKC. More recently, the song has been popularized by Jenn Johnson & Jeremy Riddle at Bethel.

In the Vineyard, our theological Shibboleth (distinctive) is kingdom theology. We believe that Jesus came and inaugurated the kingdom of God on earth. But the kingdom of darkness persists until Jesus comes back to establish his kingdom in full. So our reality as subjects of the kingdom of God is “already, not yet.”

When the kingdom of God comes, there is no brokenness, sickness, strife, or pain. So let’s lead our church in singing this plea, and pray as Jesus taught us:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10 ESV)