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?  
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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...
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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

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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
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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

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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. 
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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
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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

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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
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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
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Always another critic...

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

-Erasmus, 1516

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Check out...

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