Sunday, November 30, 2008

Check out... (Mark Heinrich, worship leader at Bethlehem Baptist/Minneapolis) 
and, also from Mark.
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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

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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 

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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.”

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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

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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
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Come to the Waters

On Sunday evening we sang this hymn for the first time. It comes from a wonderful collection in which Jim Boice (words) collaborated with Paul Jones (music) -- in what turned out to be the last year of Dr. Boice's life (the Lord took him home in May, 2000). Check out "Hymns for a Modern Reformation" from Tenth Presbyterian Church/Philadelphia. These hymns are gold.

May the Lord give us more hymn writers who know their Bibles and theology, have a good poetic ear, and who convince us that they really know these things experimentally (as the puritans would say it). In other words, they speak of truths they believe and live. They walk with Christ and you can sense it in their lines. James Pettigrew Boice was, by God's grace, such a man. 

And may the Lord give us more (hymn) tunesmiths who not only know their craft well, but know what is singable in our generation, and have a feel for placing such words in musical settings that get right to our affections.

Come to the Waters
Come to the waters whoever is thirsty
drink from the Fountain that never runs dry
Jesus, the Living One offers you mercy
life more abundant in boundless supply
Come to the River that flows through the city
forth from the throne of the Father and Son
Jesus the Savior says "Come and drink deeply"
Drink from the pure inexhaustible One
Come to the Fountain without any money
buy what is given without any cost
Jesus, the gracious One welcomes the weary
Jesus, the selfless One, died for the lost
Come to the Well of unmerited favor
Stretch out your hand fill your cup to the brim
Jesus is such a compassionate Savior
Draw from the grace that flows freely from him
Come to the Savior, the God of salvation
God has provided an end to sin's strife
Why will you suffer the Law's condemnation?
Take the free gift of the water of life
Words: James P. Boice/ Music: Paul S. Jones / © 2000 TenthPres
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The Infinite and the Finite

I had one of our seminary students lead us in prayer during the music worship. This is my "NIV" version of p. 190 from The Valley of Vision.

O great I AM,

Fill our minds with exceeding hope

      when we consider a Being with whom one day is as a thousand years,

      and a thousand years as one day.

  You are Almighty God, who,

      amidst the decay of worlds and revolutions of empires --

      you are never unsettled!  You are glorious in your immortality!

 Let us rejoice that,

      while men die, the Lord lives! 

      That while all creatures are nothing more than broken reeds,

                  empty wells, fading flowers, withering grass –

      You are the Rock of Ages! You are the Fountain of Living Waters!

  Turn our hearts away from seeking empty pleasures,

      from grumbling, from anxiety over our present circumstances. 

Turn our hearts to our eternal interest in Christ.

 Help us remember that though life is short and uncertain –

      it is an opportunity for useful service

 Give us, then, a holy "greed" to make the most of every opportunity – 

      so that we may feed the hungry, clothe the naked, instruct the ignorant, reclaim the vicious,  forgive the offender, spread the gospel and love our neighbor as our ourselves.

 While we would live lives of self-distrust,

      teach us greater dependence on you.

This we pray in Jesus. Amen.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sunday Setlist November 9, 2008

"Swift shall pass thy pilgrim days...."
Pastor Ted continued his exposition of James, finishing ch.4 (rebuking the arrogance of boasting). Having already sung good hymns last week for that text (there was a last-minute change in sermon plan), it took a bit to come up with a central idea for the singing this week. The idea that we are pilgrims emerged and shaped the music. We were sort of "hymny" (is that a word?) this morning. 

Opening Song
God himself is with us / G with We exalt thee / C in an A-B-A form. 

I sing the mighty pow'r of God / A (tune: ellacombe)
Blessed be your name / A (redman) [fun transition to the next song, since it ends on the IV]
Glorious and Mighty / Bb (sovereign grace)
--time of praying --
Father, I know that all my life / D (tune: morwellham)

B4 Sermon
Jesus I my cross have taken / F-G (tune: beecher)

In the evening the sermon came from Gal 1:4, on the self-giving of Christ on the cross.
1st Set
Bb Let us love and sing and wonder (tune: all saints old)
Eb/F To the praise (D A Carson's text on Eph 1)
F Lord, I lift your name
F How deep the father's love (Getty)

2nd Set
We have Matthew Smith and Indelible Grace coming here this Wednesday! So we had to sing a couple of their songs, of course.
G Your mercy, my God
A God be merciful to me (ps 51)

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday Setlist November 2, 2008

We did a bit of Reformation Sunday this morning. Actually the sermon was to be from the end of James 4 (on being humble before God's sovereignty in our lives), and I wanted to bring both themes into our singing. But the sermon was switched to lessons to be learned from the Reformation. And that's just fine. It was really helpful and gospel-centered As you can see, the singing worked well either way.

Psalm 100/doxology   Eb/E
Opening Song: This is the kind of song we love to do -- mixing 2 songs into 1. The psalm setting (slightly altered from the Scottish Psalter version) plus Thomas Ken's well-known "praise God from whom." (Someday I'm going to write something about the use of doxologies in our singing. There's not just one, you know!) 
The psalm we sang to the tune "old 100th," and the doxology we sang as a bridge. I don't know the name of the tune we use for the "doxology" -- it's a 6/8. Sounds Sicilian (think music history, not mafia).

We've changed how we do our sets: We have an opening song before the call to worship. After the opening prayer, we do a long set (long for us, anyway). Then before the sermon, a final song.

A Mighty Fortress  C
Always good -- Luther's paraphrase of Ps 46. I used the translation common in evangelical churches. There is another one found in Lutheran hymnals that we also sometimes sing -- helps keep it fresh.
Grace Unmeasured  C
from SovereignGrace. Here the band opened up!
God Moves a Mysterious Way  C
Here's another "2 for 1" song. We use the tune Dundee for Cowper's text (Bob Kauflin's modernized version), then insert Kauflin's chorus "So God we trust in you" every couple stanzas. Here's a case where I want to keep a standard tune that we know well, that works well -- but also include places for response. A mixing of old and new styles.
Whate'er My God Ordains  C/Db
If you don't know this hymn, get it. It will do you and God's people much good. We use a recent tune, one composed by Joy Malone (one of our musicians). It so helps the text. 
His Forever  Db/D
Another SovereignGrace -- it takes a major part of its inspiration from the hymn "I've found a Friend, oh such a Friend" (James Small, #433 in the blue Trinity Hymnal). Really Good Stuff. Right to the cross -- right to our union with Christ -- our security in him.

Before the Sermon:
To The Only God  F
Tomlin's wonderful treatment of Jude's doxology (vv.24-25).

We celebrated the Lord's Supper. Usually we sing a short set. Last night, Lift Hight the Cross, Glorious and Mighty (Ps 96 from SovereignGrace), Give Me Jesus (the old "white spiritual"), and Elliott's "Romans Doxology" (rom 11:33). 

See! Three doxologies in one day! Hmm...could be a pattern here.

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