New eBooks at WorshipTraining.com

2 Feb

BT_V.pg0new eBooks at WorshipTraining.com

So I’ve started to publish some eBooks. I’ve got two recent titles up at WorshipTraining.com with a lot more to come.. I’m pretty excited about it as it is forcing me to do some writing I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Check it out here:

http://mailer.praisecharts.com/link.php?M=505406&N=1158&L=17587&F=H

Form us, make us, mold us, shape us

23 Oct

 

“Form Us” is another “Kingdom” song in the same family as “Heaven Come Down” but it takes slightly different approach. “Form Us” is a song about personal transformation that then leads us to a heart to see the Kingdom of God break in to a hurting world responding with willing hearts to Jesus’ mission as laid out in Luke chapter 4:

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[a]

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

This is where He’s leading us – we are changed then we bring His change, we are healed then we bring healing to the hurting. We are agents of His Kingdom. We allow Jesus to do His work and transform our hearts – loving the things He loves, hating the things He hates – and then we respond by going in His name, our hearts saying “Yes Lord!”.

We want to love this things You love, we want to hate the things You hate

As Your heart is formed inside us, may we learn to walk in grace

And extend the hand of mercy, to set the captives free

Bringing freedom to the prisoner, bringing hope the blind can see

Mercy triumphs over judgement

We say, “Yes Lord!!”

 

Here’s a new version of “Form Us” from Vineyard Records UK. Pretty sweet!!

Links to buy the project

17 Oct

Just noticed this was missing…

If you’re interested in purchasing the record, here are the iTunes and Amazon links:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/this-is-your-kingdom-come/id561749299

http://www.amazon.com/This-Your-Kingdom-Come-Now/dp/B009NYUHMU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350494795&sr=8-1

Sorry about that!

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Sunday morning at 7 World Trade Center

11 Sep

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of leading worship at a Vineyard church called the River that meets in lower Manhattan. I’ve known the leadership of this church for a number of years but I’ve never been to their Sunday gatherings.

They currently meet on the 40th floor of the newly rebuilt 7 World Trade Center in the main auditorium for the New York Academy of Sciences.

The River is a doing a wonderful work among the people of Manhattan and is thriving in a culture that is perhaps one of the most secular in the US.

Here’s their mission statement:

Planted in the heart of Manhattan, the River is a diverse church that welcomes New Yorkers of all backgrounds. Our goal is to create a warm & inviting space where we can connect to God and each other to pursue life in all its fullness.

Good stuff.

The views from their main auditorium are unbelievable. Out the window to the left looking from the stage you look uptown into the heart of Manhattan with the Empire State Building in center frame. Out of the window to the right you get the East River, Brooklyn Bridge, and on the horizon the blue rim of the Atlantic Ocean.

The views are breathtaking for sure but I was moved at a much deeper level. As we poured out our hearts to God I was struck by the power of what we were doing. We were literally inviting the Kingdom of God into the heart of New York City and asking for His Kingdom breakthrough over the city – literally while we overlook much of Manhattan.

Going a little deeper, the original 7 World Trade Center was destroyed in the events of 9/11 and when the new 7 World Trade Center was completed in 2006 it was the first tower rebuilt at Ground Zero after the attacks. On this site of incredible devastation, on what maybe the deepest wound in American spirit there is a community of faith that meets every week asking for the Kingdom of God to come and bring healing and mercy and make things right.

 

As I stood on the stage looking uptown at the Empire State building I was deeply moved by this reality. On this day of remembrance I remember my time on the 40th floor of 7 World Trade Center. I remember that “Mercy triumphs over Judgement” and I say a prayer of thanks for The River church as they weekly minister God’s healing power on the site of such tragedy. God bless their work!!

Love Has Rescued Me

9 Aug

I grew up in a very musical home. Both of my parents are accomplished musicians and consummate music lovers. One of the main influences during my upbringing was ’70s and ’80s Soul/R&B/Funk. Artists such as Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, Parliament/Funkadelic, and the like. I also have had a long time love of Gospel music. These influences make their way into my writing more often than not. Love Has Rescued Me  is a great example of these influences coming to the surface.

Lyrically the song comes crashing in with Jesus being put on trial and the crowd demanding “Crucify!”. Not unlike the opening scene of a movie this abrupt entry then leads us through the rest of the story in a “snapshot” fashion – giving images of the events as they transpire with the chorus being more testimonial in an almost “call and response” style.

Here’s a look at the lyrics:

Wrongly accused, condemned to die 

The Son of God unjustly tried

The crowd demanded, Crucify

Your love O Lord, Your Love has rescued me

The wooden instrument of death

My Savior breathes His final breath

The ransom canceling my debt

Your love O Lord, Your Love has rescued me

 

 Your sweet love has rescued me (echo)

I once was blind but now I see (echo)

My sin and death’s been crucified (echo)

I once was dead, now I’m alive (echo)

 

They laid Your body in the grave

Formed from the earth Your hands had made

They laid Your body in the grave

Your love O Lord, Your Love has rescued me

Tell me O death where is your sting?

Where is, O grave, your victory?

Jesus our conquering risen King

Your love O Lord, Your Love has rescued me

 

I once was dead, now I’m alive

My sin and death’s been crucified

I once was lost and sinking down

You set my feet on solid ground 

I once was blind but now I see

O Lord, Your love has rescued me

Your love O Lord, Your Love has rescued me

 

(And the church says…) 

Amen (echo) 4X

 

O death, tell me where’s your sting

O grave, where’s your victory

Jesus, our risen King

He’s alive and I’m forgiven

 

Here’s the first look (and listen) at the new project THIS IS YOUR KINGDOM COME NOW.

Check it out:

Breathing in and out

21 Jul Seattle from the Bainbride Ferry

Recently my wife and I took a trip to Seattle, Washington. We were in the Northwest for a Vineyard leadership conference and took a couple extra days on the front end of the trip to spend some time together.

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The Seattle area is one my favorite places on the face of the earth. I spent much of my childhood in and around Seattle and in many ways it feels like home.

We took the ferry to Bainbridge Island. This simple 35 minute boat ride is always one of the highlights of a trip to Seattle (for a longer trip head north to Anacortes and visit Orcas or San Juan Island).

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Since I was a child, I have a simple practice that I do during these ferry rides. I stand as far forward as I can, close my eyes, breathe in through my nose and then out through my mouth. The cold coastal air is invigorating and filled with the smells of my childhood. After I came to faith in Jesus, this practice has become a sacred time of prayer and communion in the midst of God’s creation. I love it. There’s nothing like it.

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My simple childhood discovery is not unlike the ancient practice of “breath prayers”. The idea is simple. You choose a short phrase, something like “Holy Spirit, do Your work in me” or “Lord Jesus, have mercy” praying the first half of the phrase as you breathe in and the second half as you breathe out. Simple, yet profound. For me, the addition of this beautiful and familiar setting has made this practice all the more powerful.

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The refrain for my song “Peace” is another example of this “breath prayer” concept. I found myself praying the following lyrics from the song while on this recent trip:

Breathe in peace, breathe out strife

Breath out death, breathe in life

Breathe in love, breathe out hate

Breathe out fear, breathe in faith

While writing this song, I had the sense that God would actively use this refrain to break the power of anxiety, fear, and shame over people, especially those who struggle with night terrors and insomnia. I know it’s been a powerful tool in my life. I pray that God continues to use these simple words to bring life and freedom to many.

Breathe in, breathe out…

This is Your Kingdom Come Now

21 Jun

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A hunger for the Kingdom of God has been growing in my heart and spirit over the last few years. God has been re-awakening me to His presence in new ways, softening my heart again (thank You, Lord, for Your great love and mercy). As John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard movement, has said, “Faith is spelled R-I-S-K.” I have felt newly challenged to step out and take those risks of faith to see God’s Kingdom advanced on the earth through my life. Naturally, these things have started to bleed out through my songwriting.

The Vineyard is a “Kingdom” movement in that we are looking for God to come and transform this broken world moving us towards the new creation – bringing the Kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.” As I’ve been looking over the family of songs pulled together for this project there is a strong theme emerging of the Kingdom of God breaking into our lives and bringing healing, rescue, mercy, and salvation. In short, it’s about God coming to make things right. This is what we all long for. Specifically, the song “Heaven Come Down (This is Your Kingdom Come Now)” speaks directly to this heart cry.

V1:

For every wounded and broken soul

We cry Heaven come down, Heaven come down

For those abandoned with nowhere to go

We cry Heaven come down, Heaven come down

For those enslaved by the wickedness of men

We cry Heaven come down, Heaven come down

For the heavy-laden weighed down by sin

We cry Heaven come down, Let Your Kingdom come now

C1:

Send us out to be Your hands and feet

Always searching for the lost and the least

Send Your power, set the prisoner free and let Your Kingdom come

V2:

For the homeless man who sleeps on the street

We cry Heaven come down, Heaven come down

For every child without enough to eat

We cry Heaven come down, Heaven come down

For every family that’s been torn apart

We cry Heaven come down, Heaven come down

For the single mother with a broken heart

We cry Heaven come down, Let Your Kingdom come now

C2:

Send us out to be Your hands and feet

Always searching for the lost and the least

Send Your power, set the prisoner free

And let Your Kingdom come, and on earth Your will be done

Bridge:

Lord, let Your Kingdom come on earth

Lord, let Your power fill our hearts

Lord, let Your Kingdom come through us

Lord, won’t You come, Lord, won’t You come

V3:

A new day’s dawning making all things right

This is Heaven come down, this is Your Kingdom come now

Those in darkness have seen a great light

This is Heaven come down, this is Your Kingdom come now

Our broken bodies are being made whole

This is Heaven come down, this is Your Kingdom come now

As wayward children, we find our way home

This is Heaven come down, this is Your Kingdom come now

C3:

Send us out to be Your hands and feet

Always searching for the lost and the least

Send Your power, set Your people free

And let Your Kingdom come, and on earth Your will be done

Probably the wordiest song I’ve ever written but it drives the point home. I long to see the Kingdom of God advanced on the earth in every arena of life: the poor being fed, the oppressed being set free, and the power of God being manifest in our midst in healing and deliverance. Let it come, God.

So, with that we have an album title that best represents not only this group of songs, but some of the deepest desires of my heart.

This is Your Kingdom Come Now.

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