Monday, September 27, 2010

Music Set | September 25/26

Here's the music set from September 25/26 at Constance Free Church //

God Is Alive | Fee | Hope Rising album
- - - - -
The Lord Reigns | Gateway Worship | Wake Up The World album
Today Is The Day | Lincoln Brewster | Today Is The Day album
Hosanna | Starfield | I Will Go album
- - - - -
Thank You For Loving Me | Jason Breland (Tommy Walker) | Believe album
Unfailing | Michael Olson & Steven Curtis Chapman | Sacred Invitation album

* All songs (including watchword:truth/CFC originals) can be downloaded from the iTunes store.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Song Story | "Quiet Voice"

Across all of our venues, Quiet Voice has become a congregational favorite at our church.  It was written in 2008 at the end of a songwriting retreat that I had been on with a songwriting partner of mine.  We had already experienced a really fulfilling week of writing new worship music for our church to engage but thought it would be fun to go through the exercise of writing a hymn.  It's something that we had done before (All Was Quiet and To Pay It All) and we always appreciate the challenge of developing the skill of songwriting by utilizing a variety of forms.

The inspiration for Quiet Voice is probably easy to guess.  Most of us live very very busy, LOUD lives and it can be difficult to allow the quiet voice of God to break through the "noise" of our existence.

While we were writing, I was reminded of Elijah's experience with God in I Kings 19.  He's instructed to go out on the mountain because God himself is about to pass by.  There was powerful wind, an earthquake, and fire but God wasn't in any of it.  After these things, Elijah heard the "gentle whisper" of God's voice.

My own life can be full of powerful wind, earthquakes, and fires.  If I'm not careful, they can drown out the voice of God.  More than anything, Quiet Voice is the desperate prayer of a man who's deep desire is for God to break through all of life's distractions and help my soul comprehend His love for me.  Deep down, I think we all need to pray the prayer that's contained in this song's refrain.  

Quiet voice of God resound deep within me now
From rising day to falling night, I'm breathless at Your power
Consume my heart and take the place 
Long reserved for You

Quiet voice break through the noise and settle in my soul
The blessed thought of all Love bought to make a sinner whole

Quiet voice of God compel, make my heart aware
Of love renown, Your blood poured out so I no longer bear
The weight, the yoke, the heavy load
That sin had placed on me

Quiet voice of God sustain joy You gave to me
Faithfulness, redeeming love is all You know to be
From wandering You sought me out
Exchanging old for new

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Song Story | "Find The Words"

I'm not shy.  I'm certainly not an introvert.  If I don't make a conscious decision to turn on my internal self-awareness meter, it's easy for me to monopolize a conversation.  I generally don't have a problem putting words together.  If we're being honest, I really like talking.  And yet, there are times when I'm so overcome with gratitude for what God has done in my life that I can't find words that feel adequate enough to express it.

Maybe I'm the only one, but I'm guessing I'm not.

Sometimes it feels like the words we have available to us in our spoken language just can't be enough to say thanks to God.  He has provided for me in unimaginable ways.  He's blessed me with so much.  He just introduced me to the precious little boy across the world who has become my son.  He's comforted me in some of the darkest hours of my life.  He's protected me from harm.  He's given me hope.  He's given me grace I don't deserve.  I could go on.

But the only thing I can say is ... thanks ...?  It's just not sufficient.

These were my thoughts when I sat down and wrote Find The Words.  I wish there were new things I could say.  I wish more emphatic words would magically appear in our vocabulary but they won't.  So instead, I frequently ask God to look into the deepest places of my heart and find the words that I can't speak.

These are the lyrics that have become a meaningful song to me ...

I wish that I could find new words to say
Expressions of my gratitude and thanks
For the life-giving, soul-loving, ever-present Help that You have been

I wish that I could find new words to be
A declaration of Your love for me
For the unending, storm-calming, mountain-moving strength that You have been

When I can't find the words
The real song I sing is composed deep within this heart of mine
Where only You find the words

I wish that I could find new words that may
Explain the things I feel in some new way
You protect me and shield me and show me every day what You have been

Words of praise on my lips
Just a simple melody
But a symphony within 
Is singing of Your majesty
Singing words that only You can hear

Monday, September 20, 2010

Song Story | "All Together"

I love songs about the Church singing together - God's people, crying out as one, lifting Him up with unity and solidarity.  That was the inspiration behind the title track of the new album, All Together.

I set out to write an anthem that would serve as a "battle cry" for the new record.  I wanted it to be energetic, exciting, and catchy.  I also wanted it to declare several biblical truths:

  1. There's never a time when God's not faithful to us (Psalm 100:5; Psalm 117:2)
  2. There's never a time when God's not moving in this world (Exodus 34:10; Isaiah 64:3-4)
  3. There's no other name but the name of Jesus (Philippians 2:9-11)
  4. There's only one Hope - the hope that we find in Christ (Ephesians 4:1-6)
  5. God's mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)
All these things together serve to remind us of the truths that UNITE us in our love for God.  

The most influential passage in writing this song and choosing it as the title track for the album was Romans 15:5-6 which says "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."  

This is also our prayer for this album.  As it's used in our local church (and wherever else God may use it), we want our anthem to be an undivided song of adoration raised with ONE heart and ONE mouth, glorifying the ONE who unites us through faith in Christ. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Song Story | "God On High"

If you've ever walked into my office, you'd notice that on the far wall there's a bookshelf FULL of hymnals.  Many years ago, I decided that it would be a cool collection for a worship leader.  So every time I visit an antique store or hear of churches wanting to dispose of hymnals, I look for new and unique songbooks to add to my collection.  I have some that date back to the early 1800s and even managed to pick one up from each of the cathedrals that we visited in Scotland, England, and France during our 1997 European Concert Tour with our college chorale.

Over the years, I've often browsed through the pages of these hymnals and used them as a devotional resource in my own spiritual journey.  I love reading the old, poetic lyrics and researching the Scripture on which some of the hymns are based.

When I was working on writing songs for our new worship project, I thought it would be fun to adapt one of the obscure hymns from my collection.  So I turned to Glory To God On High, a hymn by Rev. James Oswald Allen.  You've probably never heard this hymn before - it was one of only a handful of songs that Allen wrote and I purposefully sought out a hymn with "modernizable" lyrics that would't spoil the integrity of an already well-known melody, since this is a fairly big pet peeve of mine.  (Incidentally, Aaron Shust did a great job of this very same thing with "My Savior My God" which utilizes another obscure hymn for its verses.)

After a little tweaking, the chorus became:

Glory to God on high
Let heaven and earth reply, "Worthy!"
His love and grace adore
Who all our sorrow's bore
Sing loud forevermore, "Worthy! Worthy!"

I added some new original verses that speak to this being a "song for the ages" that's "rising up for everyone to hear."  I love songs that speak of God's wonder, His beauty, and His worth.  I wanted to write a song that acknowledged the prevailing love that moved God to fulfill an incredible redemptive plan that would bear the weight of our sin and reconcile us back to Him.  

Philippians 2 reminds us of the power of the name of Jesus.  I used the bridge of God on High to remind us that there really is no greater love, no greater power, and no other name that can deliver us, pay the ransom for our sin, and restore our relationship with God.

Release Week Song Stories

With the release of watchword:truth's new album coming this Friday, I've decided to share several "song stories" in the days leading up to the CD Release Concert.  Since we won't have time to share all of these stories in the concert, I thought posting them here would be the next logical place.  Check back throughout the week to get updates on some of the songs that are featured on "All Together" and don't forget to join us for the big concert this Friday, September 24 at 7:00 pm at Constance Free Church!

Music Set | September 18/19

Here's the music set from September 18/19 at Constance Free Church //
You Are Love | The Museum | Let Love Win album
- - - - -
Happy Day | Tim Hughes | Holding Nothing Back album
Our God | Chris Tomlin | Passion: Awakening album
Reign In Us | Starfield | I Will Go album
- - - - -
You Can Have Me | Sidewalk Prophets | These Simple Truths album
- - - - -
Power Of The Cross | Natalie Grant | Love Revolution album

*Most songs can be downloaded from the iTunes music store.  Many watchword:truth originals can be purchased on the upcoming release "All Together," available after Friday, September 24 from Constance Free Church.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Music Set | September 11/12

Here's the music set from September 11/12 at Constance Free Church //

Our God | Chris Tomlin | Passion: Awakening album
- - - - -
You Are Love | The Museum | Let Love Win album
All Because Of Jesus | Fee | We Shine album
Freedom Is Here | Hillsong United | A_CROSS // The_Earth album
Adoration | Brenton Brown | Adoration album
- - - - -
Send Me Out | Fee | Hope Rising album
- - - - -
Loving Hand Of A Savior | Dan Leverence | n/a

*Most songs can be downloaded from the iTunes music store.  Many watchword:truth originals can be purchased on the upcoming release "All Together," available after Friday, September 24 from Constance Free Church.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Music Set | September 4/5

Here's the music set from September 4/5 at Constance Free Church //

Our God | Chris Tomlin | Passion: Awakening album
- - - - -
The Loveliest Sound | Starfield | I Will Go album
All Together | watchword:truth | All Together album
Alive | Pocket Full Of Rocks | More Than Noise album
- - - - -
What A Savior | Laura Story | Catalyst Worship Project album
Forever Reign | One Sonic Society | One album
- - - - -
No Other Saviour | Starfield | The Saving One album

*Most songs can be downloaded from the iTunes music store.  Many watchword:truth originals can be purchased on the upcoming release "All Together," available after Friday, September 24 from Constance Free Church.