The song has actually been part of our church’s repertoire for several years, but with the “Songs of the Redeemed” recording, it’s about time I made it available on this site! James Tealy and I wrote several songs in a row directly from Scripture, and “Bless the Lord” is part of that unofficial series. It’s based on Psalm 103, and the chorus is one of my favorites to sing in a congregational setting.
As I was looking through the site a few weeks ago, I realized that I had not posted a new song for two years! Realizing I could not justify this website’s name with such poor posting behavior, I decided to re-direct Congregational Songs back to it’s original intended emphasis: the songs. Here are the new features:
1) New Songs Page: cleaner look, search by category, full audio streaming for each song
2) Featured Song: different song featured each week on the home page
3) Choir Arrangements: I’m very happy to announce that I’ve teamed up with my friend and arranger Zack Stanton to begin providing piano music, hymn sheets, and full SATB scores. Each of these is now available for purchase for the re-tuned hymn “Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right.” We will be adding more choir arrangements soon.
4) Worship Team and Choir Packages: everything you need for your worship team or choir with a single purchase at a discount
I am about halfway through one of the most clear, perspective-changing books on worship I’ve read. “Worship, Community, and the Triune God” is a must read for worship leaders in my opinion. For instance, read these verses from Amos:
I hate, I despise your feasts,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the peace offerings of your fattened animals,
I will not look upon them.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
How did that make you feel? Guilty? Like you need to work harder? I know for me, I’ve always seen these verses as a call to grit my teeth and create some sort of “true passion” in my worship that God will be more happy with. In truth, what God is calling out is the way his people are ignoring what he has done for them because they began to assume that their worship could be pleasing to God in and of itself (legalism). It was no longer a response to God’s grace.
The truth is that God has given us worship. He gave His people the sacrificial system – not to tell them how to appease Him, but to show them that He would provide for their spiritual shortcomings. He gave us Christ (and gives Him now) as the One who has done the work that alone is acceptable to God as worship. Torrance’s theologically-rich view is this: “True worship is reposing on and participating in the self-offering of Christ who alone can lead us into ‘the Holy of Holies.’”
So rest easy, you leader of worship! Your job as a worship leader has already been done by Christ EVERY Sunday. You need not work up excitement or passion in order to lead well. Join Jesus through the Spirit in worshiping God, the giver of every good gift.