Archive | December, 2010


Looking Back at My Top Ten Posts of 2010

I’m aware that new people are always visiting Worship Matters, so I wanted to list the ten posts I wrote this year that received the most traffic and/or comments. I omitted posts that suggested songs for Christmas/Easter. Hope one or more of these will freshly encourage you or remind you of something you’ve forgotten! 1. Reflections on Turning 55 A few thoughts I shared last January on what I’ve been learning in the 50+ years God’s granted me. 2. Open the Eyes of my (Face), Lord While it’s fine to sing with your eyes closed, I think a lot of worship leaders do it out of habit or for more ungodly reasons. Hence, this post. 3. What Do …

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Why I’m Reading the Bible in Ten Different Places

At the end of 2009  I finished reading through the ESV Study Bible and posted a few thoughts on what I learned. During the first half of 2010, I read through it again (just the Scripture, not the notes), but wanted to try something different for the last half of 2010. I had been looking at Prof. Grant Horner’s Bible reading plan and decided to try it. You can read Grant’s  thoughts on it here. The plan involves reading one chapter from ten different places in the Bible each time you read. Once you reach the end of a section you start over. I was drawn to the plan because I wanted to gain a better perspective on how the Bible comments on …

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Christmas Mystery

Christmas Mystery He who forged Earth’s iron core And scattered stars to distant skies Came shattered beauty to restore And answer lost ones’ mournful cries. A God who stands among the weak To lift each burden that they face, To lift away their bondage bleak And give them strength in holy grace. The star of hope for all the years, Though spoken of through ages past, Lies born in dust and blood and tears Without His glorious trumpets’ blast. Yet in His tiny hand He holds The power that built the mountains high. His glory shatters earthly molds As angels’ voices split the sky. The angel heralds call out clear To tell us of …

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Twenty Six Years Ago…In the First Light

Twenty six years ago I wrote a song for a friend who was doing a custom album. She was looking for an “all season Christmas song.” I set about writing a song that would highlight what happened before and after the birth of Christ. The result was a song called In the First Light. At the time I had just gotten off the road with the group GLAD. My arrangements and melodies for GLAD were typically on the complicated side, so I intentionally tried to write a simple melody. Ironically, it became one of my most well known songs. It was the first of many times I’d learn complex doesn’t always mean better. Last year Travis Cottrell did a version …

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Music – Gift or God?

Back in November I had the privilege of speaking at the Christian Musician Summit in Seattle, WA. In one of the main sessions, I spoke on the topic of Music:  Gift or God? and mentioned that I’d post my notes on my blog. I had forgotten until someone emailed me the other day asking for them. So here’s what I shared… Music is a very good gift. The 13,000 songs on my iTunes are testimony to that. My eyes have often welled up in tears as I’ve been affected by a lyric, a chord progression, or a musical texture. I’ve thanked God for the gift of music more times than I can remember. Whenever I think about my love for music, I’m reminded of …

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Spontaneous Song for Those Facing Impossible Situations

During the Christmas season, many people find themselves in the midst of impossibly difficult circumstances. They find out the hard way that pain and sorrow are no respecters of holidays. For these individuals, Christmas becomes the most terrible time of the year. Recently I ran across an insightful and hopeful post by Matt Redmond called “Christmas is for Those Who Hate it Most.” He writes, “We have it sunk deep into our collective cultural consciousness that Christmas is for the happy people. You know, those with idyllic family situations enjoyed around stocking-strewn hearth dreams.” Matt then goes on to remind us that Jesus came for those …

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Tips on Becoming a Better Drummer

I was in Nashville recently, recording basic tracks for our upcoming album “Risen,” due out in March. The drums were superbly handled by Ben Phillips (and no, that’s not a picture of his set). I asked Ben if he’d answer a few questions to encourage drummers who are growing in their skills. He kindly obliged and the questions and answers appear below. How long have you been playing and who are some of the artists you’ve played for, live or recorded? I’ve been playing drums for 27 years. in that time i’ve had the privilege of playing or recording for steven curtis chapman, toby mac, francesca battistelli, natalie grant, josh wilson, plumb, rush …

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Becoming a Better Bass Player

This week I’ve been in Ben Phillips’ studio in Nashville with Sal Oliveri and Joel Sczebel (from the Sovereign Grace Church in Surrey, BC), recording drums, bass, and guitars for Risen, an album of congregational songs that focus on the theme of the resurrected Christ. Due out in March, Lord willing. The three players (Ben Phillips – drums, Joeie Canaday – bass, Greg Hagan – guitar) were amazing and a joy to work with. When I say “amazing” I mean we tracked 12 songs in two days, that the guys played creatively, often nailed the song in 1-2 takes, seemed as eager as we were to come up with great parts, and did it to honor the Lord. Like I said, …

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