#SundaySong 1/25/2015

Whoopsies–I’m a day late with the #SundaySong!  We will kick off our trek through the track listing of Centered, Doxa‘s debut album (available for preorder on iTunes and Amazon) with a look at the intro & “You Alone Are God.”

Lyrics
There are 5 verses of the song–it’s bit long, but the concepts in each stanza are helpful for memorizing them.  The first verse describes the eternality, immutability, and Triune nature of the Godhead.  Verse two hints at the creation and fall of man.  In verse three, we sing about the incarnation of Jesus.  Verse four celebrates the personal conversion of believers.  And the fifth verse explodes in worshipful commitment to walk with Jesus in obedience and faith from now through eternity.   Each verse ends with a statement affirming God’s character:  unique, all-powerful, holy, and faithful.

Music
“You Alone Are God” uses a call-and-response format, a method of singing common to the African-American slave tradition. The melody is simple and hymnic.  The background music incorporates elements of gospel (the organ!), big band (the horns!), and rock (the guitar!).  It’s mid-tempo, but the head-nodding pulse of it lends a great energy.

In our gatherings
Because of the hymnic melody and call-and-response format, this is a great song for people who are “musically challenged”–i.e., for whom picking up melodies and/or rhythms doesn’t come as naturally as it does for some others.  When I lead, I’m conscious (especially in the first 1-2 verses) of teaching the melody and rhythm to people who aren’t familiar with it (e.g., visitors & occasional attenders).  We typically use this at the start of our corporate gatherings (a call to worship) or before the sermon.  Both placements help direct our minds and affections to the Lord in preparation for later elements in the liturgy (including and especially our discipleship in the Word).

How it speaks to me
My favorite verses of “You Alone Are God” are the last two, because they call me to remember the regenerating work of Christ in my life and to renew my commitment to walking in submission to His Word and His will.

How it can speak to you
I love the idea that music can be used didactically.  I hope that individuals and families will play this song and discuss the rich theological ideas in the lyrics.  Most of all, I hope those ideas move us from head knowledge to heart application!

  1. What does it mean for you to know that God is eternal?  Does that change your focus on the time-bound challenges you encounter?
  2. How does the incarnate ministry of Jesus Christ impact your life today?  How is God compelling you to love and model a particular aspect of Jesus’ character in obedience to the Father?
  3. What aspect of God’s character can you celebrate right now?  His faithfulness?  Holiness?  Might?  Uniqueness?  Transcendence?  Immanence?
  4. In what way can you joyfully and volitionally submit to God’s Word and will?
  5. Are you living each day with a living hope (1 Peter 1:3) for Jesus’ return?

By God’s grace, Centered will be released on Friday 1/30/2015. We can’t wait for you to hear it!  Leave a comment below and let me know what you think about the song, how God is using it in your life, etc.

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Centered – The Songs

In my last post, I mentioned that Doxa, the worship team from my church, Epiphany Fellowship, is releasing our debut album, Centered, on 1/30/2015. It’s available for digital pre-order on iTunes and Amazon, along with our single, “Hosanna.”

I thought it would be helpful to go through the album’s track listing and talk about the lyrical and musical content of each song. So for my next several blog entries, we will do just that!

Here’s the Centered track listing so you know what’s ahead:

1. Intro
2. You Alone Are God
3. Our Treasure Is Christ
4. Our Dwelling Place: Psalm 84
5. Jesus Is
6. Jesus Is (Reprise) [feat. Dr. Eric Mason]
7. Trinity (Spoken Word)
8. Hosanna
9. Oh the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus
10. The Power of the Cross (Oh to See the Dawn)
11. Nail My Glory
12. Nail My Glory (Reprise) [feat. Dr. Eric Mason]
13. To Him Who Sits on the Throne (Intro) [feat. Dr. Eric Mason]
14. To Him Who Sits on the Throne

The album itself is a blend of a variety of musical styles, but the unifying element is the Christ-centered content of the lyrics–whether it’s a reimagined hymn like “Oh the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus,” a revamped version of CCM songs like The Gettys’ “The Power of the Cross (Oh to See the Dawn)” or Sovereign Grace Music’s “Nail My Glory,” or an original like “Our Dwelling Place: Psalm 84.”

We sing all of these songs in our gatherings. As we journey through the track list, I’ll try to give examples of song placement in our liturgy, how I might use it to lead our congregation in worship through song, etc (worship leader geek stuff).  I’ll also speak to how the concepts are forming me as I grow in walking with Jesus (discipleship geek stuff). And I’ll probably ask you a few questions to help stir your thinking about how God might use them to shape you (I’d like some company in the Refiner’s fire).

Please like, comment, and share. I would love to hear from you!

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Centered – The Album

I lead worship through song with Doxa, the band and vocal team at my church, Epiphany Fellowship.

On Tuesday 1/13/2015, we released “Hosanna,” the single from our debut album, Centered. It’s available on iTunes and Amazon.

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Working on this project has been like raising a baby–really, two babies, since it has grown right alongside our own precious daughter!

Let’s see…

The earliest budget draft was done before she was even conceived. We couldn’t move forward because we didn’t have adequate funding.

During a conversation with a group of worship pastors in January 2013, my husband and I shared our heart and vision for resourcing urban churches with more contextualized music. These generous men offered to pursue funding for the album. I was 6 months pregnant.

My husband & I were literally at the keyboard at home recording vocal parts for rehearsals (including songs from the album) when my water broke–the day before Mother’s Day!

Everything after that is a blur. 😄

Our baby girl turned 11 months old the day after the live recording in April 2014…and she turned 20 months the day the single was released.

Wow. Only. God.

For my husband and I, each of these moments is a “stone of remembrance,” reminding us of the faithfulness of God through the whole process. When we couldn’t see the end with our physical eyes, God gave us eyes of faith to trust Him to bring the project to completion. And those same eyes of faith are still fixing themselves on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, and asking Him to use this album to bear fruit whose impact lingers into eternity.

Centered is available for digital pre-orders on iTunes and Amazon. The album will be released on Friday, 1/30/2015.

#SundaySong 1/18/2015

For me, the best thing about winter is not the cold. It’s the comfort of warmth in the midst of the chill.

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Familiar songs, hymns, and spiritual songs are electric blankets, cups of hot tea with honey, bowls of piping hot soup–comforting our souls with the truth that the cold will not envelop us forever.

I was reminded of a song like this during a prayer and Bible study conference call this morning. The teachers began their discussion of Philippians 1:21 with a reading of the hymn, “Jesus Is All the World to Me.”

If we are honest–even those of us who have walked with the Lord for years–we know there are areas of our lives where Jesus is not all the world to us. For us, “To live is ______, and to die is ______.” We can fill in the blanks with our greatest loves and fears.

But singing this lifts my heart and reminds me of real life. Knowing Jesus. Experiencing the depths and heights of friendship with Him. Both now, and eternally.

I hope you will sing to the Lord this morning! May the Lord fill your heart so richly that when you gather with other Christians, the overflow of your personal worship through song spills over into the gathering!

Lyrics:

Jesus is all the world to me,
My life, my joy, my all;
He is my strength from day to day,
Without Him I would fall.
When I am sad, to Him I go,
No other one can cheer me so;
When I am sad, He makes me glad,
He’s my Friend.

Jesus is all the world to me,
My Friend in trials sore;
I go to Him for blessings, and
He gives them o’er and o’er.
He sends the sunshine and the rain,
He sends the harvest’s golden grain;
Sunshine and rain, harvest of grain,
He’s my Friend.

Jesus is all the world to me,
And true to Him I’ll be;
Oh, how could I this Friend deny,
When He’s so true to me?
Following Him I know I’m right,
He watches o’er me day and night;
Following Him by day and night,
He’s my Friend.

Jesus is all the world to me,
I want no better Friend;
I trust Him now, I’ll trust Him when
Life’s fleeting days shall end.
Beautiful life with such a Friend,
Beautiful life that has no end;
Eternal life, eternal joy,
He’s my Friend.

What song is warming your heart today? Please comment below…I want to sing with you!