Communion solo by cellist Samuel Cho

Samuel Cho

Last weekend Topeka Bible Church’s resident cellist, Samuel Cho, played his arrangement of “Near the Cross with Jesus Love Me” — a thought provoking arrangement that represents Jesus’ death on the cross.  He also played it at the Overflow worship event held Fellowship Bible Church later that evening (another great Topeka worship event).

The foot stomps Sam did represent the nails being driven through Christ’s hands.  You can hear the rope being twisted — not a fun experience musically, which is the point.  It was a tense moment.  Have a listen here.

Free Online Worship Study | got worship?

Everyone can benefit from sharpening their game at what they do — whether is someone who is raising kids, a team preparing for the superbowl, or the president of a world power.  This hold true for worship leaders and pastors.

That’s what peaked my interested when was facilitating a webinar for worship leaders with the book by Tim Hughes.  What a great chance to sharpen the focus of worship leading with others.

If you are a worship leader/pastor out there…maybe you’d enjoy a little sharpening this month. Why not join us?  Here are the details…

Free Online Worship Study

January 30, 2011 in Leadership Course,Worship Training

If you are a worship leader or worship pastor interested in growing your team, starting a team, or simply learning to become a better leader – then I want to invite you to a free online worship study that we will be launching next month.

The course is free – but we will be going over a book by Tim Hughes entitled Here I Am To Worship for the course.

We will break apart the chapters each week and have a set time that we can discuss the content and have devotionals and lessons designed to help you become a more effective leader.  These weekly lessons will be in webinar form – and you can chose to actively participate in the discussions or sit back and absorb.

Interested?  Grab your copy of the book by clicking the picture of the book cover or by clicking here.

Then, use the form below to sign up for the course.  We are scheduled to begin the first week in March – so you will have plenty of time to pick up the required book and have it shipped to you.

via Free Online Worship Study | got worship?.

Loops for A Beautiful Exchange by Hillsong — some of my favorite songs right now

The recent album by Hillsong has some great songs on it. I have to think God smiles when music for worship is written like these. We will be teaching some of these song in the near future at our church. And finding loops and click tracks that go with new music can be difficult — but has 6 of the songs off the album posted (here). I’m excited for these fresh batch of new songs that Hillsong is cranking out. These were very fun to work on. It’s easy to create stuff for songs that are clear cut awesomeness.

Yes, it’s funny to watch again. Sunday’s Coming [video]

Can’t resist to post this again.

Pushing limits of GarageBand loop making for worship, Rain Down (Crowder)

Many of you know there’s a website called that loops we use are published to.  Here’s a crack at a worship loop for the song Rain Down by David Crowder Band. Enjoy the sample…all from Apple’s GarageBand. If you don’t get into the weirdness of the loops, that’s OK. It will sound amazing live.

(You’ll have to image it with live drums playing along.)

MP3 sample file

There once was a church that published names in the bulletin…

There once was a church that published names in the bulletin of the “special music” vocal solos every week. (Yes, even I’ve done this in the distant past.)  Some of the vocalists sang like larks — others barked.  And it usually turned out that people would whisper to their own family members and friends ahead of time, “Look who’s singing today…it’s gonna
be goooood. I love it when they sing.”  And on those off weeks the comment would be, “See who’s singing today (rolling the eyes).  Hope it’s a short song today.”

I’ve heard people say years ago, “Well, I don’t know who they are if their names aren’t published?”  Oh really?  Does it really matter you know who they are?  Are you more concerned about the lark singing, or the content of the song lyrics?  What about going up to them following the morning and introduce yourself if you REALLY need to know who it is?  Who’s the focus when we say WE NEED TO KNOW WHO’S SINGING?

That leads to ask the question, “Are we waiting for the planets to align in order for us to worship.” Come on, admit it…we love it when it seems like everything is “perfect” and it appears something authentic, meaningful, and heartfelt took place in a church worship environment.  You know what it looks like — that perfect combination of vocalists, the lighting levels are such, volume levels are ideal (for you), the songs were your favorites, the hymn/modern song ratio was in your preference, the cloths worn on stage didn’t distract or embarrass you, and everything else that typically would make you think about something other than God simply vanished…and God was left as the object of your worship.

Question.  At what point did we needs the planets to align in order for us to focus on God?

News flash, the planets rarely, and sometimes never, align. So stop waiting.  Stop caring.  Stop pining for something that is not God-centered.

So what do we do? For starters, let’s make a decision ahead of time to make God our focus before we show up and begin to make us the focus.  We, the worshippers, have the complete ability to make the decision to make worship about us or all about God.

Which will it be for you this week?

Not To Us

Verse 1

The cross before me the world behind
No turning back raise the banner high
It’s not for me it’s all for You
Let the heavens shake and split the sky
Let the people clap their hands and cry
It’s not for us it’s all for You

Chorus 1

Not to us, but to Your name be the glory
Not to us, but to Your name be the glory

Verse 2
Our hearts unfold before Your throne
The only place for those who know
It’s not for us it’s all for You
Send Your holy fire on this offering
Let our worship burn for the world to see
It’s not for us it’s all for You

Bridge 1

The earth is shaking
The mountains shouting
It’s all for You
The waves are crashing
The sun is raging
It’s all for You
The universe spinning and singing
It’s all for You
Your children dancing dancing dancing
It’s all for YouIt’s all for You

CCLI Song No. 4046093¬© 2001 songs | sixsteps Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) | (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)Chris Tomlin | Jesse ReevesFor use solely with the SongSelect Terms of Use.  All rights Reserved. http://www.ccli.comCCLI License No. 21985

Sweetly Broken, a worship song with two words that don’t go together

The two words (sweetly, broken) really don’t seem like they belong together. In fact, I don’t recall ever saying a sentence to anyone with the two words together.  Yet, a popular worship song (Sweetly Broken) — the most recent song we’ve been learning, puts them right together.

Sweetly is a word that is attractive and positive. When we eat a candy bar, it should be sweet.  When we write that Christmas card to grandma, it should be sweet.  When we talk to our boy/girl friend or spouse, well — you get the point.  In contrast, let’s look at the other word.

Broken is a word that is more unattractive and negative. When you are ready to ride your bike, it’s a bummer when the chain is broken.  When the temperature is way up, the air conditioning doesn’t work, and you live in Kansas; it’s a big bummer.  When your relationship breaks up — bummer.

However, in regards to the Gospel — the two words couldn’t be a better match. In fact, they have everything to do with how salvation works.  Salvation, very simply put, is recognizing that your relationship with God is broken because of the sin in your life.  But if you recognize and believe that Jesus Christ died as payment for those sins and came back to life three days later, and therefore has power of death…your belief and complete trust in Jesus’ act saves you from an eternal separation from God after this life.

Think of it like sugar cane. Sugar cane isn’t really sweet until it gets ripped apart, shredded, and all the juice is squeezed/evaporated out of it.  Then it’s sweet.  It wouldn’t be sweet unless it was broken first.

Here’s how salvation is a sweet brokeness. So God sent His son Jesus to be broken on the cross (death) — in order to turn it around into something sweet (salvation for you and me).  That’s how the words work together.  It was the best deal and worst deal.  God is just and demands payment for sin — bummer.  Yet God is love, and therefore provided the death in our place — His Son Jesus Christ.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.   Isaiah 53:5

How about you? Have you been broken by sin (the Bible says no one is perfect, without sin)?  Do you know you’ll end up with the sweetest deal…spending an eternity after this life with God in heaven?  Or are you banking on the fact that you’ll get the heaven by being good (an attempt to somehow break yourself out of the sinful situation)?  Why don’t you today decide to simply tell God you recognize what He did for you — and claim through repentance, belief, and trust that Jesus is the only way to heaven.

Sweetly Broken
Verse 1
To the cross I look
And to the cross I cling
Of its suffering I do drink
Of its work I do sing
On it my Savior
Both bruised and crushed
Showed that God is Love
And God is Just
Chorus 1
At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees
And I am lost for words
So lost in love
I’m sweetly broken
Wholly surrendered
Verse 2
What a priceless gift
Undeserved life
Have I been given
Through Christ crucified
You called me out of death
You called me into life
And I was under Your Wrath
Now through the cross
I’m reconciled
In awe of the cross I must confess
How wondrous Your Redeeming Love
And how great is Your Faithfulness
CCLI Song No. 4514635
© 2005 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Music Services)
Jeremy Riddle
For use solely with the SongSelect Terms of Use.  All rights Reserved.
CCLI License No. 21985