I discovered Ryan O’Neal driving (“Sleeping at Last”) in the middle of the night over Monteagle on our way home from Christmas vacation last December. He is the best Christian-worldview lyricist I’ve ever heard. This song “Bad Blood” is an incredible word-picture of redemption off of his newest EP “Atlas: Darkness.” I get chills when I hear the first three notes of the song now that I know where it’s going.
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I’m very excited to finally be able to tell you that the Gospel Coalition is releasing the album “Songs for the Book of Luke” and that they included a song I submitted for the project called “Authority of Christ.” The album is a compilation of songs submitted by worship leaders and pastors around the nation that are all inspired by the Gospel of Luke. My friends David Ward and Eric Schumacher of reformedpraise.org (soon to be thousandtongues.org) also have a song on the album called “Not in Me.”
You can hear a sample of the recording, see a couple of different ways to play the song, and download the chord chart there. I’ll write more about the song and the writing process when it’s not the busiest week of the year!
I got an email from Sammy Ward, an old co-writing buddy of mine, a couple hours ago. Sammy is one of those guys that always makes you feel like a million bucks, so it’s always a lift to hear from him. He let me know about a recording of our song “I AM” that he did a couple years ago that I had no idea about, so I’m happy to post it here for you to hear! Click here for the other recording, lyrics, chart & lead sheet.
Click here to access it via iTunes.
Some of us on the worship team and in the church leadership are starting to make fun of it. It’s called “The Nod.” It happens when it’s time for someone to start up the steps toward the stage to read scripture, pray, preach, etc. I ask the person who will be coming up to make themselves easy to spot near the front row. Then, as the song before they need to be on stage is winding down, I catch their eye and give them a nod at just the right time (usually) for them to walk up the stairs and begin speaking as the last chord fades.
It’s a small thing, but it really helps. Before I began this practice, things could get awkward. Our pastor would come up during the last line of a song, only to stand there smiling (sometimes laughing and looking back at me) at the podium while we finished a long instrumental outro. Or, I would finish a song – my heart beating faster and faster – desperately trying to locate the person who was supposed to read scripture next – ready to whip out my Bible and do it myself – only to finally spy them beginning to walk from the back half of the chapel as the music ends. Insert long, pregnant pause.
I’m not a stuffy, or at least I try not to be. I appreciate the natural, human comedy that can occur around these kinds of mishaps. However, such moments can have the affect of making the congregation wonder about something they don’t need to be wondering about. Anything I can do to keep their eyes and ears focused on Jesus is a good thing. This is one of those things. If you don’t already have a fail-safe system for getting people to their place at the right time, I highly recommend “The Nod.”
Down at the bottom of the “Songs” page, you’ll see a list of re-tuned hymns that I have posted over at Reformed Praise (now officially Thousand Tongues). David Ward, the creator of that site and a co-minister with me in the realm of congregational worship and songwriting, is putting out a new album of original songs. He’s teaming up with folk/bluegrass singer/songwriter Jake Armerding to produce the music. I’m sure it will be one of those records that will make you want to take a windows-down and crank-it-up drive through the countryside!
Head on over to their Kickstarter page to hear more about it and support the project.
If you don’t already have access to “Songs of the Redeemed” through Spotify, iTunes or the actual CD, click here for a free download of “Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right” through iTickets.com. Free download ends on February 18, so it’s only there for a few more days. For a more stripped down version of this hymn that I re-tuned last year (along with a free lead sheet & piano score), click here.