On each album we record we try to strike the balance between creative production and accessibility. But at times it can still be difficult to tell what songs might work best for a congregation. So I want to save you some time here and explain the content of each song and how I’ve led or plan to lead them.
1. Sooner Count the Stars
A joyful, mid-tempo, straight ahead song that seeks to capture the “unsearchableness” of God. While this song doesn’t address God as Father, Son, and Spirit, it helps us understand though we only know God in part, “that part exceeds all praise.” I’ll most likely use this after a call to worship as it reminds us of the greatness of the God in whose presence we’ve gathered. I plan to do this in Eb, but it could also be sung in D.
2. Your Name is Matchless
A bright modern worship song that extols the supremacy of Christ and his atoning sacrifice, with a focus on our adoption. The syncopation in the melody could make it more challenging for traditional churches, but congregations that use Hillsong, Tomlin, Redman, etc. should find it fairly easy to pick up. I’m pretty sure I’ll teach this one in Ab, or maybe A.
3. You Stand Alone
A mid-tempo song that focuses on the uniqueness of the God we worship as Creator and Redeemer. One of my favorite lines is, “Lawmaker you have saved lawbreakers from the grave, and by your Son our guilt has been removed.” The feel on the album is contemporary, but we hope to release an acoustic version at some point that will be more accessible to a small group, with an alt country feel. We’ll do this in the key of E.
4. This is Our God
This is our attempt to set the Nicene Creed (or at least a large portion of it) to music and was the first song we introduced from the album. It’s set to a celebratory tune, and I loved the result. I’ve led this a few times in F, a step lower than the album, and it works great.
5. Spirit of God
This song could be done like the album, but I may lead it in a slightly more reflective way. It’s a prayer asking God’s Spirit to open our eyes to the glory of Christ, and revive our weary hearts. I plan on raising this up to the key of G.
A beautiful ballad with allusions to Isaiah 6 that helps us remember the miracle of our conversion and the appropriate response of awe. Can’t wait to do this one. It would be work well following a sermon on God’s mercy in saving us. It could be done in A, or even better, Bb.
7. Cling to Christ
A 3/4 ballad that’s a confession of sin and hope at the same time. We confess our sinful trust in our performance, our perspective, and our earthly pursuits, and acknowledge that we can only cling to Christ because He clings to us. We’ve done this a few times in C and it’s been powerful.
8. Blessed Assurance
We taught this yesterday and I plan to be teaching it at the Sovereign Grace Pastors Conference this week. David LaChance, Jr., a member of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, used parts of Fanny Crosby’s hymn to write a faith-building song that is part prayer, part assurance. We did this slightly slower than the recording in the key of C. Update: At the Pastors Conference we ended up doing this in D.
9. Great One in Three
We sang this a couple times at the WorshipGod conference this past August and was surprised how well it went. It’s an uptempo song inspired by the hymn Come Thou Almighty King. The verse is in 3/4 and the chorus in 4/4, which might throw some musicians off. But it’s not too difficult once you know the song. This would be great to sing early in a meeting as it’s also a prayer to the Father, Son, and Spirit asking God to reveal Himself more fully to us. We’ll probably do this as a second song and do it in D.
10. Lamb of God
This is a joyous celebration of the person and work of Christ as the Lamb of God, from His pre-existence in glory with the Father to his victorious return for His bride, the church. I may try it as a ballad, though, to give people more time to reflect on the lyrics. I’ll probably do this in Bb.
11. We Are Not Ashamed
We wrote this because we don’t think enough congregational songs speak to the work of Father, Son, and Spirit in evangelism. It’s drawn from 2 Cor. 4:3-5, Rom. 1: 16-17, Acts 4:25-31, and John 14:6. I’ll probably introduce this during a missions/evangelism series and do it in the key of F.
12. Hallowed Be Your Name
A beautiful hymn by Doug Plank that exalts the glory of God as Father, Son, and Spirit, encouraging a response of wonder and awe. We’ll do this in D.
I’d love to hear how you’re using or plan to use the songs from Sooner Count the Stars.
You can download all the charts and lead sheets (and soon, the piano scores) from the Sovereign Grace Music site. If you don’t have the album yet, you can get it at iTunes, Amazon, or Bandcamp. You can also check out the acoustic videos we’ll be recording that are stripped down versions of each song.