Baltimore, church, city, Movement, Music, Sunday Setlist, worship

He is Risen, Indeed! An Easter 2012 Recap

What an incredible weekend we had! As I write this, I am amazed at how many parts of your body can be sore at once, yet praising God that I still have a voice! What a joy it was to be able to join in with my church family and friends (and their family and friends) and celebrate the good news that Jesus is Messiah and King and has defeated death!

We began our gathering with Angus Dei as our way of unburying the alleluias. This brought our Lenten journey full circle as we had removed the word “alleluia” from out weekend liturgies since Ash Wednesday in preparation for Easter. And it showed. What our church deposited then by burying, they dug up with interest and really lifted their voices, even when we sang in Spanish!

We then sang two hymns that I love. the first, All Creatures of our God and King, was originally penned by Saint Augustine and then arranged more recently by David Crowder. We then transitioned into the song In Christ Alone. To be honest, it is difficult to get through this song without getting choked up. The Gettys really know how to compact a rich Christology into 4 verses. This line gets me every time : No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me / From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny / no pow’r of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from his hand.

Ellis taught on Mark 8:31-9:1 in a teaching he entitled Antonym. He did a masterful job displaying how much we think that Jesus is the opposite of what he really is (i.e. Peter’s rebuke).

We then responded with more singing. A song that has become a sort of anthem for our church is All the Poor and Powerless. This song is by one of my new favorite worship artists, All Sons and Daughters. If you don’t have their latest full album, buy it. And if you do the iTunes thing, buy the LP on iTunes because it comes with chord charts and videos.

Then keeping with the ‘alleluia” theme, we did a rewritten version of Jef Buckley’s Hallelujah called Another Halllelujah by Lincoln Brewster. I LOVED singing this one with all our voices! We then ended our set with Gungor’s This is Not the End. This is such an epic sounding song and I have to give strong kudos to the band for working through the difficulties of this song (it changes time signature in the middle of the song and then goes back again!)

Thanks again to my bandmates and all our volunteers who made yesterday possible. It is an honor to serve with you all!

Grace and Peace be with you…


Music, Musings, Sunday Setlist

Sunday Set-list: 3/25/12

(Other people do this here.)

It was great to have Ellis back teaching us again from Mark 8 concerning the Pharisee’s response to Jesus . You can listen to the podcast here (it’s usually up on Tuesdays). 

Harbor East 10am Gathering

All Who Are Thirsty Brown/Robertson
This is a song based on Psalm 42. We did a meditation on this song, asking our King Jesus to come and fill in our depths with the deep that is him.

I Will Not Forget You Pasley

All We Need Hall

How Great is Our God/How Great Thou Art Tomlin
This song gives me chills every time I hear a group of people sing it. It never fails

Open the Eyes of My Heart Baloche

Highlandtown 5pm Gathering
Jon, Kate, Colter, and Jared did a wonderful job leading us Sunday evening! It was awesome to see how others can use their gifts to serve in our body! I will let them provide their own commentary, but I loved being able to sing with everyone!

Cannot Keep You Gungor

Be Thou My Vision Traditional

From the Inside Out Houston

Come Thou Fount Traditional
I loved the arrangement of this song. The band pulled off a noticeable homage to the Sufjan Stevens version of this song from one of his Christmas albums. Beautiful and wonderful, especially with voices added! Sadly, no banjo…if you play one, let me know!!

Feel free to share any thoughts or reflections in the comments section!

Baltimore, church, Music, Musings, Sunday Setlist

Sunday Set-list: 3/18/12

(Other people do this here.)

What an incredible weekend we had. We LOVED having Ed and Lorna Dobson with us this weekend. Ed taught about Jesus feeding of the four thousand in Mark 8. You can listen to the podcast here (it’s usually up on Tuesdays). 

Harbor East 10am Gathering

Already Here Niequist
Aaron Niequist, a worship leader at Willow Creek in Illinois, wrote this song. I love the concept behind it. So often we pray things like, “God, show your face,” or “We want you to come here and be with us,” rather than confessing that He is here. We rarely are awake to His presence. But He is always around us.

Oh, Great God Give Us Rest Crowder
We used this song as a form of Daily Window meditation, recognizing that God is the source of our rest and the giver of all the things we need.

All My Fountains Tomlin
Chris talks a lot about how this song came about here.

Let it Rain Farren
It was fun to weave together the ideas of God’s blessing as water. We recognize that all we have comes from him, and that he is the one who controls how blessings fall.

‘Til I See You Houston
My favorite part of Sunday was Ed answering a question by simply stating “I don’t have a good answer for that question.” He went on to say that there are some things about the Scriptures that are troubling at times, and he plans on asking God on the other side. But he still believes the Bible and he still trusts. There is a line in the song that says “‘Til I see you face to face, and grace amazing takes me home, I’ll trust in You.” That can be hard to do. But in light of all that we have received from him, it really shouldn’t be.

Highlandtown 5pm Gathering
(we did a similar set with a few changes…)

Everlasting God Tomlin

We Believe Original
I think I wrote this song over 2 years ago! We were learning about how Jesus made all of these claims to be God and meet our needs. It seemed right, at that time, to call Jesus the “pantry” of bread as we are just one beggar showing another beggar the way.

Feel free to share any thoughts or reflections in the comments section!

Baltimore, Music, Musings, Sunday Setlist, worship

Sunday Setlist: 2/26/11

(Other people do this here.)

This is a Monday Miracle! The Sunday Setlist is posted on a Monday before noon! It must be all the Sigur Rós I listened to this morning…

Sunday, February 26, 2012: Harbor East

Wake Up Sleeper Gungor
I love listening to this song..but playing it is another story! Playing this probably stretched me the most as a musician who had a very loose grasp of music theory. It is days like this that I am very grateful for a talented and creative band. I love you guys! A special thanks to Chris for working through all the hard parts of the song!

You Have Me Gungor
This song has become very special to me. It is a very simple song about how, when things fall apart, God is always faithful to us. It is incredible that when we find our faith “torn to shreds”, that is when we seem to find God. This is a love that goes beyond just mental belief. It is enduring relationship. And…the original recording of this song has a banjo!

Wholly Yours Crowder
As we have entered into a time of Lent in preparation for Easter, we decided to engage in this activity of “burying the Alleluia”. For some of you, this may be a weird concept or even seem legalistic. My friend, Josh, who has begun the process toward becoming an Anglican priest wrote something here that helps to better explain the tradition. So we will seek to omit the word from our liturgy, from our lives, until Easter. A verbal fast. We did that with this song, intentionally not singing it.

In Christ Alone Getty
This song has long been one of my favorite new hymns. I love the richness found in each verse. And you all did a wonderful job singing it! One of my favorite memories is singing this song a cappella in my theology class in college. After finishing a section on Christology (the study of Jesus and his work), one of the students requested that we sing that song. After all, proper theology (study of God) leads to doxology (worship of God).

Come Thou Fount Traditional
We sort of emulated the David Crowder arrangement of this song. I was really struck by the line “tune my heart to sing thy grace” and how it so perfectly fit with the message this week. Matt did a wonderful job explaining how we are born with a bad heart and how we need Jesus to give us a new one. It conjured up the picture of a child coming to Jesus with a little broken toy ukelele, and Jesus sends him away with a $3,000 Taylor guitar. And then he says, “Learn to play”. When we come to him and sing, worship, and learn in our gatherings, God is tuning us from the inside and teaching us how to play the melodies of his grace.

Sunday, January 19th 2012: Highlandtown
(we did a similar set with a few changes…)

Nothing Compares RockHarbor
See a video behind this song here.

Feel free to share any thoughts or reflections in the comments section!

music, Musings, Sunday Setlist, worship

Sunday Setlist: 2/19/11 (incredibly overdue)

Other people do this here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012: Harbor East

The Resistance Niequist
Aaron Niequist’s music has helped to restore my faith in “church music”. I have become extremely weary of the worship music scene. To me, it began to sound all like 90s-era U2. (I love U2, but not all the time, and not when everyone else wants to sound like them. Aaron is an innovator. And he loves the church. Moreso, he loves the Movement of God in the world. And that is what this song is all about. God is working in the world, through us, to bring about his purpose. We are the resistance. We are the revolution. And we won’t back down. Go to iTunes and buy everything Aaron has there. Then go here and here.

Carry Each Other Niequist

This is another song that has come to be an anthem for our body. The story behind the song is good and you can read it here.

I love these words:

We’ve got:
Different gifts and different names
Different dreams and different ways
Different hopes and different views
Different walks but one God.
Different strengths and different paths
Different loves and different pasts
Different needs and different beliefs
Different dreams but one God!

Cannot Keep You Gungor
This is a song that can make you feel uncomfortable at first. After all, are we saying that the Bible can actually become an idol for us? Yes, yes we are. And I should know because I have been guilty of doing that very thing. And even more so, we can use the Scriptures to feel like we have an “angle” on God. Like we can pin him down and describe him in words. I think it is quite cute of us to use words to describe God like er… indescribable or omnipotent…those are kind of nonsense words. What I mean is that they forego the more (dare I say) biblical example of metaphor and simile and just jump straight into the more metaphysical, cognitive terms. Instead of us saying that God is like wind or air, we say God is omnipresent. All I am saying is that words have power, and when we use them to describe God, who has the power, us or God? As we sang, we cannot contain the glory (weight/importance/intensity) of Your name.
Michael Gungor’s blog about mystery is also quite helpful…and damning.

All We Need Hall
Charlie Hall is one of the more legit worship leaders out there. I once heard him say that his main goal was to help those he lead feel like they can come to Jesus without any shame. What would it look like if we did that? Anyway, this is a frightening and joyful song for me. It is a song I mean and want to mean more each time I sing it. My default is to want God when I “feel” like I need him; which is usually when I am broken down or have made dumb decisions. But the truth is I need him all the time. But it is going to take giving everything to him. I’m always learning how to do that.

Take My Life Havergal
This is a song of consecration: a song that is us telling God that we are setting ourselves apart totally for him. It walks through all the different ways in which we give parts of our lives over to God through singing about our lips, mouths, feet, etc. It was a good way to meditate on the ways in which I have not given myself fully over to God.

Sunday, January 19th 2012: Highlandtown
(we did a similar set with one addition for our Spanish-speaking friends! Note: you guys did an incredible job singing this past weekend!)

Everlasting God Tomlin
This is such a catchy song (I find myself singing it a lot afterwards). It was also really great to sing this in Spanish as Infinito Dios. Tú no dismayas núnca fallas!

Feel free to share any thoughts or reflections in the comments section!

music, Music, Suffering, Sunday Setlist

Sunday Setlist: 1/29/12

So, each week I will be posting the music setlist from our gatherings over the weekend. I do this as a part of a worship community that shares these sort of things.

As of now, we have two gatherings: Harbor East at 10am and Highlandtown at 5pm. I will try to post from the gatherings in which I lead, and make comments from those I don’t! You should expect to see these posts come through each Monday.

Sunday, January 29th 2012: Harbor East

Blessed Be Your Name Redman
The one thing about this song that stuck many of us was this: we have a choice in how we respond to life. Will we always choose to say that God’s name is blessed (meaning that He is good, worthy of our love, and holy)? This is a hard choice for me sometimes. Many of us want to curse His name, as if He is responsible for the mess we find ourselves in. The truth is found not in whether or not He caused it but in the fact He is in the mess with You.

Scripture Reading: Mark 6:17-29-This is such a twisted and sad story. (you can listen to Pastor Ellis teach through it here.) We tried to approach it from the perspective of John the Baptist’s disciples and the grief they must have felt. Thus, many of the songs we sang would be classified as laments. These songs (or psalms in the Hebrew Scriptures) have a flow to them: crying out to God about pain, remembering how God has dealt in the past, questioning whether or not He will continue to act, deciding to trust that God will be faithful in the future.

How Can We Sing a Joyful Song? Original
This is a song that I wrote based on the text of Psalm 137. It deals with the sadness that the Israelites felt when they were asked to sing the joyful songs of home while they were forced to live somewhere else. Sometimes I have felt this way: it is difficult to sing when you feel you have nothing to be joyful about. Here are the lines from the last verse that bring us hope.

One day we will sing a joyful song
When darkness in the world all comes undone
All the wrong will be right
All the blinded will have sight
And peace will be our only battle song

Today we will sing a joyful song
‘Cause we all have a place where we belong
Together we are one

As are the Father and the Son
So together we will sing a joyful song 

Psalm 13 (How Long, O Lord) Doerksen
We focused on how sometimes the most profound times in our lives are when we can say the word “but”. This song echoes the words of David; asking “have you forgotten me, God?” He even demands that God answer him before it is too late. Yet he says, “but I will trust in Your unfailing love, Yes I will rejoice because You have been good to me!” This helps us to engage in the work of lament: cry out, remember, question, decide, trust.

I Lift My Hands Tomlin
There is a great video about how this song came to be here, along with chord charts if you want to learn it yourself. (And Tomlin sings it better than I do!) Sometimes our physical actions help to change our hearts, even if it is simply a hand raised.

Amazed Anderson
My buddy Nate did such a great job leading out on this song on the keys! When we get to a point where we really recognize that God is with us and his love is abounding to us, our response can be nothing but amazement.

Sunday, January 29th 2012: Highlandtown

Blessed Be Your Name Redman

Levanto Mis Manos Hernandez
This is the first song I have led that was actually written in Spanish. I am so thankful for my friends and fellow staff members, Bill and Aida Medina who introduced this song to me. To be honest, I didn’t do the best job, but it is helping me to learn how to lead our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters. And the church sang very well!

I Lift My Hands Tomlin

Majesty/Majestad  Smith/Garrard
I remember the first time I sang this song. I was in high school at a worship event where we were all singing the line: “Your grace has found me just as I am/Empty-handed but alive in Your hands” . I was broken. I needed to remember that all I have and all I am is because of the grace of God. I come to Him with empty hands. That moment caused a huge shift in my life and I am always drawn back to that place when I hear or sing this song.

Amazed Anderson

Feel free to share any thoughts or reflections in the comments section!