What Notting Hill Taught Me About Worship

In the famous clip above, Julia Roberts character (a super-famous rich actress) tells Hugh Grants character (essentially a nobody)…

“The fame thing isn’t really real, you know.  Don’t forget I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.”

Worship leaders and musicians have so often gravitated to a rock-star mentality, caring too much about image and ‘product’.  Churches and conferences need to have big lights and staging to be taken seriously.

I believe Jesus is calling for the church to just stand in front of him as a his bride and seek is love.

Strip away self-image, self-promotion, products, packaging, presentation, and come back to heart of worship – simply a full hearted devotion of love to Jesus.

Let’s take away all that doesn’t really matter, and just stand before Jesus offering our love.

What’s The Deal With “Crown of Praise”?

Crown of Praise started with the small idea of releasing small “chapters” of music. Where recording a whole album can be prohibitive because of the costs involved, I’ve decided to explore releasing music in smaller bite size chunks. Crown of Praise will be the first in a series of “chapters” over the coming months.  Here’s a little detail about the project…

I have loved making Crown of Praise.  I have challenged myself lyrically and musically to be even more creative than I have been before. The emotive sounds of the orchestral elements floating over the piano and acoustic guitars really moves me into worship, and I really hope that it helps you in your personal worship times too.

This first little ‘chapter’ of planned EP’s contains two brand new songs, a new recording of an old song called My Reason and an instrumental.

Praise You For The Blood is a song where I wanted to capture both the reflective nature of acknowledging our sin and shortcomings before God, and the celebratory nature of rejoicing in the grace we recieve.  The song explodes half way in with joy, and seems a wonderful way to open the EP!

My Reason is a number of years old, and I have led with this song many times.  After being pushed by my church leader to re-record the track, I decided to try a new take on it, changing the time signature of the song, chord structure and ambience completely compared to the ‘rock’ approach I had previously used.  I think it works brilliant with the piano track laid down by David Skoppek, and the song still moves me into worship all these years later!

Crown of Praise contains some of my favourite lyrics and thematically follows My Reason with an understanding of our very lives purpose is in the worship of God.

Finally, the instrumental When We See Him finishes the EP allowing the music to inspire your worship rather than words.  The simple repeating melody line throws all sorts of imagery in my head that…well it’s better you just take a listen and interpret it for yourself!

I am on a faith journey where I don’t have a regular job, but I believe God is calling me to write and record worship music for the Church and I want to be faithful in that.  Often money is a barrier in doing what we want to do, and certainly recording music can be a very expensive venture, that can take months or even years to break even on costs.  But I guess that is the nature of a ‘faith journey’ – there has to be an element of the impossible to allow you to put your faith in higher powers.

So please pray for me as I journey – for melodies and lyrics that inspire and encourage the Church…and for resources to do what I believe God is calling me to do. I hope you enjoy this little project and join me in crowning Jesus with your worship.  Download here.

I offer you this crown of praise, formed of my heart, my life, my days
'Surrender' fashions precious jewels and 'sacrifice' the gold for you
And here my alabaster jar, where lie the treasures of my heart
When 'gratitude's' too weak a form, I pour myself, my life, my all

The words of man cannot convey, my debt of love, my breadth of praise
For every hymn and melody, but a token of the love I bring
From time where cells began to form, you watched within my mothers womb
And reason you composed my frame, that I may live to raise your name

I do nor fear the day I die, for you my God are by my side
And final breath won't cease my song, for this symphony has just begun

All blessing, all honour is yours, forever and ever amen
All glory, all power is yours, forever and ever amen

4 Things I’ve Learned About Worship Leaders & Musicians

1 – Worship leaders & musicians are human

supermanMany people see those who minister from ‘the platform’ as kind of special.  Surely they are super-spiritual?  Maybe really in tune with God?  They are chosen and the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon them special powers? Use the Force Redman, use the Force!

Nope.  Worship leaders and musicians are real people, with real problems, feelings, and issues.  They wake up in a bad mood like you.  They sleep in like you.  They forget to read their bible, like you. Read more “4 Things I’ve Learned About Worship Leaders & Musicians”

I Surrender All (or maybe 0.4%)

Yes I know you didn’t come here for a maths lesson, but stick with me a minute…100_percent

The terminology we use in church is often wrong when talking about worship.  When we have a correct understanding of worship –  that worship is all of our lives – our sleeping, breathing, thinking, moving of every minute of every day in dedication, honour and love of God, then the phrases we use in church beginning to lose sense.

The ‘worship leader’ should really be a ‘musical worship leader’ – because they are not leading me in worship while I’m at work or with my family etc. but only our time of singing. Read more “I Surrender All (or maybe 0.4%)”

Don’t Forget Your Heart

527617_10151067553230683_626265866_nKids screaming.

Missed breakfast.

No coffee left.

Argued with wife.

Alarm didn’t go off.

Headache.

Drummer is late.

PA guy forgot.

Broken string.

Forgot your music.

Haven’t we all had at least one of the above (or something similar?), and if you’re like me, you may have had more than one on the same morning! Read more “Don’t Forget Your Heart”

Taylor Swift Being Prophetic? – Part 3

Headpones & BibleYou can read part 1 HERE, or part 2 HERE.

After discussing our moral diet that comes from both secular music and other media such as televison, we are left with an important question.

What do we want our souls to feast on?

The easy answer to this question, is the Word of God.  The Bible.  66 books of history, poetry, prophecy, teaching and inspiration, written as a love letter to humanity by God through his people.

But as musicians, worship leaders and songwriters, we need to take this responsibility seriously. Read more “Taylor Swift Being Prophetic? – Part 3”

Behind The Song – At The Foot Of The…

At The Foot Of The CrossSometimes I am so in despair over my own fallibility. My complete failure to live a life worthy of who God has called me to be.

“Where would I be, how could I stand, if your grace had not found me?”…read the lyrics…

I mean, think about it for a minute, where would you actually be right now if it wasn’t for Gods’ grace intervening, renewing and rebirthing you into a new creation? Read more “Behind The Song – At The Foot Of The Cross”

Best Worship Albums 2012

2012As I don’t have enough time to listen to everything that’s out there, I thought I’d compile the best-of lists from a few websites.

Here’s the top christian worship albums of 2012.  Is there anything missing?  What were your favourites? Let me know your thoughts! Read more “Best Worship Albums 2012”

Who Am I?

What defines you?  What are you known for in your community, your peer group, your church, your work place?

People I’ve known in the past (no names, I promise!) have found their identity in various things: Read more “Who Am I?”

Taylor Swift Being Prophetic? – Part 2

This post is best read in the light of Part 1 which is here.

Part 1 dealt with the music we listen to, and trying to make a consious decision over where we take our moral-food from…what do we digest into our bodies…what nutritional diet does our soul feast on…

This morning, a news story has emerged about an actor called Angus Jones.  Angus is a highly paid performer, starring in one of Americas most popular sitcoms Two And A Half Men.  The controversy surrounding the article is over his declaration that the entertainment program consists of ‘filth’ and that continuing to act in the program is incompatible with his christian beliefs.

Check out a news story HERE or watch a clip from his interview below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=AcZL87J8-xo

This is a brave move from a young guy, who is risking his £200,000+ an episode salary and future working opportunities because he has decided to make a stand for Truth and the moral standards of living set out in the bible.

Having never watched Two And A Half Men, I cannot personally comment on the content of the program, but isn’t this a refreshing stance?

Taylor Swift commented that the songs on the radio are raising this generation, surely the TV is a natural ‘add on’ to this.  If todays moral values of compromise are soaked into the core of our daily TV diet, as well as our music, is it no surprise to see the downward spiraling of generations into ‘not loving your neighbour’, ‘everyone for yourself’ and ‘if it makes me feel good then it must be OK’.

What surprised me is the furious backlash people have had to Angus Jones comments.  Check out the comments at this bottom of this page to read just a few of them.  Where it’s become forbidden to speak out against Islam, suddenly it’s become OK for Christianity to be the easy target.  Because a young man takes a stand for good morals, no compromise and biblical Truth, this is taken as a ‘christian rant’ by a ‘deluded celebrity of limited intelligence who believes in fairy stories’.

Jesus is the only hope!!

I challenge you to also view Angus Jones’ comments in context with his full testimony (which the news outlets have conveniently ignored).  Part 1 and 2 are below.  But before you do, note this quote from Angus from the interview:

“The name of the game right now is compromise…according to the bible, when that happens we’re no longer standing for anything…no longer on the side of the Truth…pick your side now, and you need to be 100% for that…you need to be 100% or nothing at all.”

Part 3 of this blog series is HERE.