Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Check out...

Another website from Don Chapman: worshipideas.com. The sign up is free. And you can read this short article called, "The Top Three Mistakes In Contemporary Worship." Actually I think this a good read for those making the transition from a traditional worship format to something more contemporary.

And yes, I really do hold to the regulative principle. We are not as those who think we may do anything we dream up for the worship of God. God's Word rules and directs our approach to him. But we can safely agree that the traditional form of worship is just that -- a tradition. Doesn't mean it's wrong.  But it may not be most effective in our generation. Could it be that we Reformed Baptists could make some adjustments in how we sing?  
Read More......

Musical Developments

We are a confessional Baptist church -- so we love good hymns; words matter to us more than musical style. But we're trying to connect everywhere we can with contemporary sounds and approach in our worship. So...

1. We sing a 20+ minute set in each service. We want an extended time for God's people to encounter the greatness of God -- to stir the heart. We are looking for a whole-souled (including emotions) response to the "wonders of grace." Long gone are the days of popcorn music -- up and down for a hymn now and then.

2. We are looking for greater measures of freedom in physical expression. Hands in the air. Clapping (though that's still being worked on by the elders).

3. Our worship is very consciously vertical. We want to sing/pray to the Lord -- not sing about him. So I don't hesitate to change words in a hymn to make them "you" oriented.
In "I will sing of my Redeemer," the last chorus becomes,
Now I sing to my Redeemer—
With your blood you purchased me,
on the Cross you sealed my pardon,
paid the debt and made me free!

For "When I survey the wondrous cross," the last lines repeat as a tag this way,
"Love so amazing, so divine,
You have my soul, my life, my all."

4. We have a "band" of sorts -- guitar, bass, djembe, synth, piano & vocals. We're not large enough to have "teams" of musicians -- so our group looks different from week to week.

5. Our sound, our "musical center," isn't real loud. We want the congregations's voice to be the sound remembered.

6. We incorporate Scripture reading and prayer in our sets (see Seedsower Music for help on this).

7. The piano no longer leads melodically. The vocals do. The piano provides the harmonic and rhythmic support. And when all the musicians are here, the piano doesn't play on every song.

8. We really want the worship to flow -- to feel seamless in moving from one song to the next. We work hard on transitions and "noodling" music underneath prayer and reading. Check out Don Chapman's worshipflow.com for help on key changes and underscores.

9. We want to sing hymns -- but we want to use a contemporary styling whenever appropriate. While style may not as important as words, it is important. I want folks who worship at Heritage BC to feel that the music connects with them right away. So we began using some resources from lifewayworship.com (Southern Baptist) to help. Gave us good ideas for singing hymns in a fresh, upbeat manner. Also helped us with the synth string part -- since none of us really have any idea how to use it well. It was wonderful this Sunday to have the synth support.

Talkback is always welcome...
Read More......

Setlist for December 28, 2008


PT preached 1 Tim 1:15, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." The theme for worship was "Adoring God for his faithfulness in 2008." We had piano, synth, djembe and vocals in our music team today. All 3 guitars were unavailable!

Couple of developments in how we do our music which I'll explain in a separate post.

Opening Song:
Praise to the Lord  Eb/F
[ancient prayer]
Lord Most High   Eb
Your great name we praise  F (updating Immortal, invisible) / Sovereign Grace
[Ephesians 2:1-10]
Glorious and mighty  (Ps 96) Bb  / Sovereign Grace
[3 men lead us in prayer, thanking God for his faithfulness in 2008]
I stand in awe of you  G
B/4 the sermon:
Fairest Lord Jesus  C/D


PR preached the book of Romans! Theme: "Christians need the gospel, too."

Opening Song:
Hear our praises  Bb
[cong. reading Ps 98]
Sing to God new songs (Ps 98) F/G 
   (tune: ode to joy)
[Rom 8:28-30]
The wonderful cross  C  / Tomlin
[a prayer from Augustine]
The power of the cross  Bb/C   /Getty
[Rom 8:31-39]
I will sing of my Redeemer  Eb/F
   (tune: hyfrydol)
B/4 sermon:
[Rom 11:33-36]
Romans doxology   C  / John G. Elliott

This post is a part of Sunday Setlists hosted by FredMcKinnon.com

Read More......

Monday, December 22, 2008

Where Shepherds Lately Knelt

Words: Jaroslav Vajda, Tune: Carl Schalk © 1987 Augsburg Publishing House. See a tribute to Vajda here and here. He loved his Lord, and his hymns breathe his wonder at God's love to him, to us.

Where shepherds lately knelt and kept the angel's word
I come in half-belief, a pilgrim strangely stirred
but there is room and welcome there for me
but there is room and welcome there for me

In that unlikely place I find him as they said
Sweet newborn Babe, how frail! and in a manger bed
a still small voice to cry one day for me
a still small voice to cry one day for me

How should I not have known Isaiah would be there
his prophecies fulfilled? With pounding heart I stare
a child, a son, the Prince of Peace for me
a child, a son, the Prince of Peace for me

Can I, will I forget how Love was born, and burned
it's way into my heart unasked unforced, unearned
to die, to live, and not alone for me
to die, to live, and not alone for me
Read More......

Sunday Setlists for December 21, 2008

In the language of England long ago, May God rest you merry!


Pastor Keith preached Mat 1:21 on Sunday morning. The theme of the service was “The surprising hope of his name.” I moved closer to a “worship script” as Walt Harrah conceives it – much Scripture, prayer in and around the songs.

Opening song

O come, all ye faithful


Joy to the world

Rejoice (Sovereign Grace)

Hark, the herald angels

How great is our God (Tomlin)

B/4 the sermon

What child is this? using O come, let us adore him (as a final refrain)


Sam Emadi preached on the Lord's Prayer, that is, on the gracious wonder of our God. His throne is GRACE. And upon this throne sits one who is our FATHER. God has given this young man a wonderful gift to open up God’s Word.

This was the service for our annual Christmas Carol Sing. We used the synth again to play glock and chimes.

Opening song

All my heart this night rejoices

Set: carol sing

God rest you merry

Good Christian men rejoice

O little town of Bethlehem

Go tell it on the mountain

Angels we have heard on high

Gentle Mary laid her child

Infant holy, infant lowly

Lord you were rich

Silent night – guitar only, like the first time

B/4 sermon

Where shepherds lately knelt

    This is a wonderful text from Jaroslav (“Jerry”) Vajda (VY-dah). See it here. His hymns are really worth your perusal. He forces images into minds, and brings us to ponder them, to worship.

This post is a part of Sunday Setlists hosted by FredMcKinnon.com

Read More......

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another book recommendation

I found this in a serendipitous moment while perusing a local Christian bookstore. It was also highly recommended later at the WorshipGod08 conference (sovereign grace/gaithersburg) in August. Greg Scheer (see his web site here) is connected to the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. This book (get it here) has helped me greatly -- a classically-trained musician trying to 'get up to speed' in the contemporary worship genre. 
Read More......

A hymn about the Incarnation of our Savior

"Lord, you were rich" -- a language-updated version of Frank Houghton's "Thou who wast rich" / © OMF, Jubilate Hymns / tune: Fragrance (also called Bergers) 98 98 98

Lord, you were rich beyond all splendor
yet for love's sake became so poor
thrones for a manger did surrender
sapphire-paved courts for stable floor
Lord, you were rich beyond all splendor
yet for love's sake became so poor

Lord, you are God beyond all praising
yet for love's sake became a man
stooping so low but sinners raising
heavenwards by your eternal plan
Lord, you are God beyond all praising
yet for love's sake became a man

Lord, you are love beyond all telling
Savior and King, we worship you
Immanuel, within us dwelling
make us and keep us pure and true
Lord, you are love beyond all telling
Savior and King, we worship you
Read More......

Setlist for December 14, 2008

Morning: Pastor Sam preached Phil 1:1, on the doctrine of the church. After the sermon we ordained another pastor/elder, Richard Barcellos (we now have five) and another deacon, Greg Lontine. The musical theme (trying to combine advent and church) was, “Christ is King.”

Opening Song:
Scripture: John 1:1-5, 14
In our darkness / tune: easter hymn / Bb 
a setting of John 1 by Timothy Dudley-Smith
Sing praise to the father – tune: to God be the glory  F/G  (Margaret Clarkson)
Congregational reading: Psalm 98:1-3
Joy to the world  – C
In Christ alone  – D
Time of prayer
How sweet and awesome  – C
B/4 the sermon:
I love thy kingdom  -- tune: St. Thomas  – F
After the ordaining:
O church arise – Db/D (from Getty/Townend)

Evening:  Pastor Mark Sellers (from NY) preached Psalm 78, on Israel’s misery and God’s mercy.

Opening song:
Scripture: Isa 9:6
O come, O come, Emmanuel – d minor
1st Set:
Congregational reading: Psalm 24:7-10
Lift up your heads / tune: duke street – C
an advent hymn based on Psalm 24
Rejoice – C
a new Christmas hymn we started last week, from Sovereign Grace. See their albumSavior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man
I will glory – C  (again, from Sovereign Grace)
2nd Set:
Scripture: 2 Cor 8:9
Lord you were rich – C
A language-updated version of Frank Houghton’s “Thou who wast rich.” See it here.
The Lord is – E
Our 3rd week on this setting of Psalm 23, from Sovereign Grace

This post is a part of Sunday Setlists hosted by FredMcKinnon.com

Read More......

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Setlist for December 7, 2008

This is late getting out! I wasn't able to be at Heritage this Sunday -- Mark Sellers led in the morning, Mark Redfern at night. I'm glad for Mark!

Pastor Ted continued the exposition of James, 5:7-11. The music theme, then, was "The Lord is King"

Opening song
God is in control  Eb-F
Come, thou long-expected Jesus / tune: hyfrydol / Eb-F
Psalm 98 / tune: ode to joy / F-G
Let your kingdom come  G
It’s been mercy all the way  G
My lips will praise you  C
B/4 the sermon
Be still my soul / tune: finlandia / Eb

In the evening we celebrated the Lord’s Supper. And, without aiming for it, all the songs are Sovereign Grace.

Opening song
Rejoice (from "Beautiful Savior" CD, about Christ's coming)  C
I’m forever grateful   G
The Lord is (Psalm 23)   E
Depth of mercy   C
Read More......

Friday, December 5, 2008

Clodhoppers, take note...

“A person who gives this music some thought and yet does not regard it as a marvelous creation of God, must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs.”

-- Martin Luther
Read More......

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Always another critic...

Modern church music is so constructed that the congregation cannot hear one distinct word.

-Erasmus, 1516

Read More......

Monday, December 1, 2008

Check out...

Another web site with all kinds of links to helpful places. Read More......

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Check out...

http://furtherup.com (Mark Heinrich, worship leader at Bethlehem Baptist/Minneapolis) 
and http://alllifeisworship.com, also from Mark.
Read More......

Sunday Setlist for November 30, 2008

Good singing today -- always thankful for that. We want our music-making to be translucent, so that hearts are engaged with God through the means of music. I've heard it said (and probably said it myself) that we should want to be "invisible" as musicians. I'm not sure that makes any sense. We want the congregation to hear and respond to the music -- changes in tempo, dynamic, texture, etc. But we want all the music-ing to be but the means to enhance the flow in worship -- to assist God's people in praise and prayer. 

Mark Redfern preached from Luke 9 on "Who is Jesus?" It was our monthly "Friend" Sunday, so we truncate things a bit -- and try to keep in mind an audience of folks not so used to corporate worship. 

Opening song:
Glorious & Mighty / C -- a setting of Ps 96 from Sovereign Grace
Shout to the Lord / Bb -- Hillsong
B/c we believe / C
Join all the glorious names / C/Db / tune:darwall
More love to thee / Db/D / tune by Katie Malone Redfern (one of our pianists)
B/4 the sermon
Eb Come to the waters / Eb -- James Boice & Paul Jones

The evening was really truncated due to a business meeting -- so things had to move along. We taught a new song, "The Lord Is," a setting of Ps 23 from Sovereign Grace. What a beautiful telling of this psalm. See it here. The singing tonight was even more vigorous than this morning.
The Lord is / E
How deep the Father's love / F -- Stuart Townend
Give thanks / F

This post is a part of Sunday Setlists hosted byFredMcKinnon.com
Read More......

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I boast no more

This is a delightful text by Watts, with refrain from Eric Schumacher, a pastor at Northbrook Baptist Church (Cedar Rapids, IA). Check out his hymns here. We sang this to the music of Twila Paris’ “Lamb of God.”

No more, my God, I boast no more
of all the duties I have done
I quit the hopes I held before
to trust the merits of your Son 

Now, for the love I bear his name
what was my gain I count my loss
My former pride I call my shame
and nail my glory to his cross. 

No more, my God, I boast no more
but plead your Son before your throne
that I might share my Savior’s death
and count his righteousness my own 

Yes, and I must and will esteem
all things but loss for Jesus’ sake
O may my soul be found in him
and of his righteousness partake! 

The best obedience of my hands
dares not appear before your throne
but faith can answer your demands
by pleading what my Lord has done 

No more, my God, I boast no more
but plead your Son before your throne
that I might share my Savior’s death
and count his righteousness my own

Words: Isaac Watts, Eric Schumacher (ref); Music: Twila Paris / ©1985 Straightway Music 

Read More......

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday Setlist for November 23, 2008

These songs are an example of having done the work this week (i.e., putting together the setlists) without feeling any real creative juices flowing. The musicians were fine, of course. But I felt no “aha” moments in the preparation. Trust it was still helpful as we sought to bring the congregation to encounter the greatness of God in Jesus Christ. That’s the good news, of course. Whatever other themes are brought to our singing, we’re always going to sing the gospel – the doings and dying of Christ. This unites God’s people.

By the way, you need this book: Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God by Bob Kauflin

Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Crossway Books (March 31, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 158134824X
ISBN-13: 978-1581348248

Morning: Pastor Sam (aka Dr. Waldron) preached Roman 5:1-5, on the multi-faceted blessings of reconciliation.

Opening Song: Marvelous Grace   F/G    Sometimes it’s good to sing a ‘gospel song’ – much truth in a singable format.


Jesus, what a friend for sinners / tune: hyfrydol    Eb/F

Arise, my soul, arise  / tune: lenox    F    We’re going to learn the Indelible Grace tune sometime. But for now we sing the one we know.

Your mercy, my God    F   This is the indelible grace tune

Salvation belongs to our God   F/G   The guitar intro sounded something like “wild thing.” Not sure if anyone noticed! 

Here is love   Eb/E    I know this has become one of my favorites. We do it with the Lincoln Brewster bridge.

B/4 the sermon: 

God be merciful    A    Another Indelible Grace. This hymn Pastor Sam requested.


Evening: Pastor Rich (aka Dr. Barcelou) preached a topical sermon on brotherly love.

Opening Song: Amazing Grace/my chains are gone   Eb   Nice guitar work, Jim!


For all the saints   F   With updated words. I often use the Praise! Hymnal (British) for help here. This hymn is lengthy – working through the entirety of church history – from early to modern, the church triumphant and the church militant. We actually sang 8 stanzas – and I still left out quite a few.

The gospel is true   F 

I boast no more   C     This is a delightful text by Watts, with refrain from Eric Schumacher, a pastor at Northbrook Baptist Church (Cedar Rapids, IA). Check out his hymns here. We sang this to the music of Twila Paris’ “Lamb of God.” See the text here.

Beneath the cross / Getty   Db/Eb

Come to the waters   Eb   Again, the new song we started last week. I like to run a new song 3-4 weeks in a row until I think we have it. Then once a month until it is safe to enter the main repertoire list.

B/4 the sermon

Blest be the tie  / tune: Dennis    Eb    Did something a bit different – told the story of the hymn, using pictures of John Fawcett, John Gill, Yorkshire and Southwark. I make the slides in powerpoint, then save them as jpeg and import as graphics in MediaShout. We sang this without instruments. And as we say it, we sang the whole “thang.”

This post is a part of Sunday Setlists hosted byFredMcKinnon.com

Read More......

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday Setlist for November 16, 2008

We sang much yesterday. In the morning Pastor Ted continued his exposition of James – 5:1-6, on rebuking the wicked rich who oppress the righteous. I went for the larger context where the apostle counsels us (v.7) to be patient until the coming of the Lord. So the music theme—patience under trial.

We had a large group of musicians today. A new projectionist (yeah! I was doing it till now.), violin, guitar, piano, synth, djembe, vocalists.

G         O worship the King

            We sing b/4 the call to worship. This hymn with updated language we sang to the classic tune (hanover).

            The Set:

E          Your grace is enough

E/F      Mighty God while angels bless you

Updated language, tune: ode to joy

F          My faith has found a resting place

Then I had one of our seminary students lead us in a prayer from The Valley of Vision. These are wonderful helps in worship – I update the language, put them in plural language (“we,” not “me”), etc. Kind of the NIV approach. P. 190, “The Infinite and the Finite.” See my version here.

Db       This is my Father's world

            Heed the last stanza – “This is my Father’s world, the battle is not done, Jesus who died shall be satisfied, and earth and heav’n be one.”

Db/D   Lord, be glorified

Before the sermon

F          The sands of time are sinking

            Sang this with only violin and organ (on the synth).


In the evening Pastor Rich preached Jude, vv.20-21, keeping yourselves in the love of God (i.e., in a frame where you love God more and more)

F/G      Praise him! Praise him!

            Opening song

            1st Set

E/F      How firm a foundation (tune: foundation)

F          Your great name we praise

            Kauflin version of “Immortal, invisible”

Eb       Psalm 27 (tune: federal street)

            That is, Anne Steele’s meditation on psalm 27, at least. See here for the text.

Eb       Come to the waters

            From Dr. Jim Boice. I cannot now go into the story behind these songs (he wrote 12), or my connection to them, him. Check out Tenth Pres in Philly. “Hymns for a Modern Reformation.” These hymns are gold. This was our first time with this precious song. I’ve posted the words here.

    2nd Set

Eb/E    Lo! He comes (tune: coronae)

            With updated language

E/F      There is a Higher throne / Getty

     After the sermon

F          I love you, Lord

This post is a part of Sunday Setlists hosted byFredMcKinnon.com

Read More......

Anne Steele's meditation on Psalm 27

On Sunday evening we sang this to the tune, federal street.

The Lord my Savior is my light, 
what power against my soul shall fight?
While God, my strength, to me is near, 
what foe can harm, whom shall I fear?
The greatest joy my heart desires 
and for which all my soul aspires
is in God's house to spend my days, 
my life devoted to his praise
This do I seek with ceaseless care 
and God attends my earnest prayer;
Here may my soul his beauties trace, 
and know the wonders of his grace
When troubles rise, my guardian God 
will hide me safe in his abode!
Firm as a rock my hope shall stand 
sustained by his almighty hand
Should every earthly friend depart 
or should I lose my parents' heart
then God on whom my hopes depend 
will still be Father, Guide and Friend
Anne Steele / Public Domain
Read More......