Tag Archives | Christian music

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The Gathering: Coming to New Orleans Next Weekend

In 2011, Sovereign Grace Music recorded The Gathering, a collection of 15 songs that walk through the flow of the gospel and our response to it. Among others, the album included Greater Than We Can Imagine, Shine Into Our Night, Show Us Christ, and All I Have is Christ. The idea for the project had its origins in Bryan Chapell’s excellent book, Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice. Chapell makes the case from Scripture, history, and our personal need that, “Corporate worship is nothing more, and nothing less, than a re-presentation of the gospel in the presence of God and his people for his glory and their good.” While …

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Listening to Music for God’s Glory

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking to the parents and youth of my home church on the topic of listening to music for the glory of God. The parent/youth ministry is currently discussing the book, Wordliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World. My message was something of an adaptation of a chapter I wrote for the book, called “God, My Heart, and Music.” I started out by saying God gave us music as a gift to direct our attention to him. In the Bible, music is connected with worship, weddings, funerals, work, play, and war. The basic elements of rhythm, melody, and harmony aren’t inherently evil or sinful. Non-Christians can …

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How Do You Teach an Inconsistent Melody?

A friend recently emailed me and expressed a dilemma he was facing when teaching new songs performed by an artist who varies the way he or she sings the melody. My friend asked: When do we go with the lead sheet, and when do we go with the CD melody?  And when do we go with what is simple and consistent and when do we go with what is sung on the CD? I’ve faced the same dilemma. While I’m grateful for many of the new congregational songs that have emerged in recent years, they’re not always sung in a way that makes it easy for a congregation to pick them up. Phrases are elongated in one verse and not the other, melodies are changed, and sometimes …

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Reflections on the Christian Songwriter’s Retreat

Last week I spent four days in beautiful Mt. Hermon, CA, near San Jose. I had the joy of participating in a Christian Songwriter’s Retreat sponsored by the Mt. Hermon Retreat Center. About 300 folks came to learn how to develop their heart and craft as Christian song writers. The speakers/musicians included Paul Baloche, Joy Williams, Mia Fieldes, Charlie Peacok, Don Moen, Derek Webb, Sara Groves, Phil Wickham, and yours truly. I really enjoyed the format. There were morning and evening sessions with seminars during the day. The main sessions started with about 25 minutes of singing, followed by a 30 minute teaching. I was the speaker in the …

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How Does Music “Work” in Worship?

This is the third clip from a longer video in which Tim Smith, worship pastor from Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA, asked me various questions related to worship. In this portion, Tim asked me about the relationship between music and worship. In it I talk about some of the factors that have made music such a volatile issue in the church today, and different ways that Christians view music. Just scratching the surface here…If you want to dig deeper, I’d highly recommend you read Harold Best’s Music Through the Eyes of Faith. I read it in the mid-90’s and haven’t found anything as insightful, helpful, and biblically faithful. …

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For Music

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine, Greg Gilbert, posted a blog on the 9Marks site called Against Music. The title was more an attention grabber than a statement of Greg’s attitude toward music in general. He was cautioning Christians against becoming spiritually dependent on music in their relationship with God. He wrote: The bottom line, I suppose, is that it would do every Christian well to do some honest heart-searching about what makes them feel “close to God.” Can you feel close to God just by reading or saying the words, “In Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”? Would you be able …

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Can Christian Musicians Play Secular Music for God’s Glory?

Steve left a comment on a previous post, asking about the validity of a secular music “ministry,” referencing a comment Phil Keaggy made years ago about the lack of spiritual Christians involved in the secular music field. I received an e-mail recently asking a similar question about the legitimacy of Christian musicians pursuing a career in secular pop music. How should we think about it? Is it always wrong? It is something we should encourage?Here are some thoughts I’ve shared over the years with individuals who were trying to determine God’s will for their lives in this area. The most important question to ask (and sometimes the most …

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Random Thoughts on MP3 Downloads and Copies

I recently finished The Future of Music by David Kusek and Gerd Leonhard. It was a fascinating read. The authors discuss how the face of music distribution has changed significantly in recent years and insist that many changes are still needed. Bottom line, they think that increased access to music and freedom to distribute it legally will benefit consumers, companies, and artists alike. From the intro: Imagine a world where music flows all around us, like water, or like electricity, and where access to music becomes a kind of “utility.” Not for free, per se, but certainly for what feels like free…A brave new world is waiting for those who …

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