Archives For worship

what a

The God who breathed stars into existence, who spoke and made the heavens created us out of dust, to be little mud men in relationship with him. What a mystery. What a privilege to be called sons and daughters because of the mind shattering love and grace and mercy of God.

Jesus, God’s plan A, took all of our sin, all of our garbage, all of our hurt on himself. All the things we have done and have yet to do. He bore it all. He did not come to condemn. As he was being beaten and nailed to a cross, He responded to the offense with “FORGIVE THEM!”.
What a privilege it is to worship Him.

The prince of peace came in humility. The bread of life was broken so that WE might have life… so that The love of God might finally be revealed with such clarity and impact that nothing would mistake it.
What a privilege it is to worship Him

And the curtain of the temple that separated the presence of God from man was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. Bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. All that was created from beginning to end, Angels and demons, principalities and rulers, Satan and the religious, All of heaven and earth, all that is seen and all that is unseen suddenly woke with a realization… Through the splinters of wood and the poured out blood, revelation came. “Truly this was the Son of God!”
What a privilege it is to worship Him

To seal the deal Jesus rose from the grave, fully man and fully God. He returned as a teacher, friend, healer, gardener… as God…He ministered to followers that would change the world as an act of worship.
What a privilege it is to worship Him

He ascended into heaven and left us with the Holy Spirit. The living God and the same power that raised christ from the grave to be with us always. So that as we draw near to the Good father we can be reminded that his love endures forever. What a privilege it is to worship Him

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. – Eph 3:16-19

What a privilege it is to worship Him

Here is the audio from a breakout session I did in Bristol, CT for “Worship Seminar with Matt Stinton” in Bethel, CT.
I read a book a few years back that God puts our art on His refrigerator and this got me thinking about our role as creators and artists.

Please note that the first 5 min of this talk did not get recorded. It included a quick speech on holiness in teams (which I will blog later) but also the text below the thing which is actually the set up for this talk… So read that and then listen

Our Art on God’s Refrigerator: Creativity in the Church

Have you heard the phrase “less of me and more of you”?
I believe that the church has perpetuated a lie with this phrase that I want to address today.

In many eastern religions the key to being close to God is the removal of self. The more you remove who you are the more you become one with your God. I believe we have created environments in our churches where the goal is to come in as you are and attempt to remove “YOU” so you can have more of Him. Almost like the BORG in star trek… a drone of the collective and individuality is not celebrated.

I know this may sound like semantics, but that is far from biblical truth.
The bible says: sell all and follow me… which is an act of surrender.

Rom 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,1 by the mercies of God, to present your bodies bas a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.2 2 Do not be conformed to this world,3 but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Simply put: instead of Less of me and more of you
we should be thinking “I surrender all to Him so He can make me the best version of me”

Worship Leader Magazine continued their series of “Top 20s” with a post of their top 20 songs of the last 20 years. I was floored by their choices once again and found myself disagreeing with much of it. I felt like “songs that impact the church” is much less subjective and should make sense but it didn’t.

Because of this I decided to create the top 20 worship songs that impact me. These are the songs that grip me, give me goosebumps, and bring me in Jesus presence like no other. They are listed in random order. Some you may think odd choices. What did you expect? shout to the lord?

Waiting on a few other friends to do same list so I can link to them, but here is my buddy Ed Rotheram’s post on same topic.

I have included some sample lyrics in same fashion worship leader mag did.
I would love your thoughts on my list or go make your own and link me so I can see and comment on yours!

My personal top 20 worship songs

Psalm 61: 2nd Chapter of Acts (Matthew Ward)
Hear my cry O God,
Give heed to my prayer,
From the ends of the earth I call to thee,
When my heart is pained,
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,
For thou hast been a refuge for me.
And a tower of strength against the enemy,

Mozart: Kyrie Eleison (From the Requiem)
Kyrie, eleison.
Christe, eleison.
Kyrie, eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Like a Lion: Daniel Bashta
Let love explode and bring the dead to life
A love so bold to see a revolution somehow

Lion of Judah: Jason Upton
Hear the sound of the Lion of Judah
See the fire and the fear in the enemy’s camp
From the sound of the lion of Judah roaring again

Messiah – Phil Wickham
Run, I want to run to your open hand
But father I can barely stand On my own

You won’t relent – Misty Edwards
You won’t relent
Until You have it all
My heart is Yours

Solid Rock – Edward Mote remade by E-Pop and Mars Hill Seattle
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

Holy Spirit move/Take me into the fathers heart – Klaus Keuhn
We don’t ever want to be the same
So breathe upon us Now and we’ll be changed

Facedown – Matt redman
And I’ll fall facedown,
As Your glory shines around.

Majesty – Delirious
Here I am humbled by your Majesty
Covered by your grace so free
Here I am, knowing I’m a sinful man
Covered by the blood of the Lamb

Micah 6:8 – Charlie Hall
Forget not the widow, the orphan, and slave
O God please remember the helpless today

Approach my soul the mercy seat – Jamie Barnes/John Newton
Fashion my heart in your alchemy
With the brass to front the devilʼs purgery
And surefire grace my Jesus speaks
I must. I will. I do believe. Oh Lord

What have we done – Joe Day
Oh my soul, oh my Jesus
Judas sold you for 30, Iʼd have done it for les

One Righteous man – Red Letter
All we like sheep have gone our own way
And distanced ourselves from our only help

Alpha and Omega – Israel Houghton and New Breed
You are Alpha and Omega
We worship you our Lord
you are worthy to be praised

Beautiful scandalous night – The Choir
At the wonderful tragic mysterious tree
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful scandalous night

All Who are Thirsty – Brenton Brown
All who are thirsty
All who are weak
Come to the fountain
Dip your heart in the stream of life

Jesus Christ – Saviour Machine
Bring them to life
Without hate, without pain
Without suffering insane
Without death, without fire
Without lies that feed the liar

Gethsemene – Jesus Christ Superstar
God thy will is hard
But you hold every card
I will drink your cup of poison
Nail me to your cross and break me
Bleed me, beat me
Kill me, take me now
Before I change my mind

Tide Wash over me – Vineyard UK Josh Thomson
As I cry out in the night
All my anger, all my pride
Seems to wash away in the strength of your beating tide

I have the privilege of listening to tons of new music and I wanted to showcase 4 CD’s/EP’s I am in love with right now.

1. Matthew Reed – Come and drink
Matthew sent this to me and asked that I check it out for him. I am a sucker for a well produced indie sound and when you mix that with worship I am instantly drawn in. I don’t know how best to describe this album other than it sounds very modern and yet I hear lots of things in it that I loved from the 90’s sonically. It has a Vigilantes of Love vibe to it (without the country folk rock). Wow honestly I really am having a hard time wrapping my head around the diversity and goodness of his sound and Don’t want to do him an injustice by comparing him wrong. The song “crash this place” is fantastic lyrically. “Holy spirit would you move in power and crash this place with love”. I love that image like we are inviting him to sleep on our couch or something. He as our companion and we are asking him to move in. “Emmanuel” is another stand out for me. Somewhere in my twisted brain this is what Norah Jones would sound like if she was a dude. I love this song and Really hope to be able to use it maybe even this Christmas. All in all this is a great 6 track CD that is creative, full of great stuff and does not get stuck in the rut of the “modern worship” sound with tons of delay pedals.

2. August York – This is How we Met
This is the First CD from my friends Mckendree and Rachel Tucker. Mckendree of course has had many great solo albums and played with Sonicflood as well, but after he got married this band evolved. I am a huge fan of what Mckendree does with his production, loops, and crazy digital fantastical surprises. He has a very cool raw voice. Rachel on the other hand is a stark contrast very similar to Zooey in She & Him. Somehow the two of them, much like their relationship, were meant to sing together. This CD takes you on a journey. I love what they do with all the different instruments and styles. It really has something for everybody and yet at the same time every song is “them”. It is great to hear them strip it down much like the Civil Wars, but also jazz it up like on the song “What I need”. One of my favorite songs is “no turning back”. It is just Rachel with nothing else and it is so haunting. You swear it is 1930 and you are listening to a Glass record. My one and only negative of the CD is I think Rachel could use more reverb in the production on some of the tracks. Her voice is just really cool and i would love to hear it even more echoed. I can picture these guys in a swanky throwback night club in the village in NY.

3. Nate Fancher – Surrender
I met nate in Sept at the Forge Conference in NJ. He, in passing, handed me his CD for me to listen to and I told him I would review it. I had 0 expectations because I knew very little about him, his ministry, or his “sound”. What I got was something very original and yet strangely familier at the same time. It is an amazing worship album and is starting to become easily one of my top favorites from anything I have listened this year. I love to compare artists to other artists so you can get a feel for it. So I would say it is like Owl City meets Gin Blossoms mixed with the spiritual integrity and lyrical content of Matt Redman. He is such a different and cool sounding vocalist with a Tener voice that reminds me of Ian Mcintosh. Great production, amazing instrumentation and a breath of fresh air. I can see myself doing a few tracks off this CD especially “holy Lovely”

3. Harvest Bashta – Make us Ready
I HATE EP’s because 90% of the time when I get an EP and sound like the church lady after listening to it “well isn’t that special!”. Sadly I find myself more times than not completely forgetting about the artist and not too excited for a full album. When I first heard of harvest of course I noticed her last name is the same as Daniel Bashta (my pick for best CD of the year). Turns out Harvest is his Sister. This EP broke the mold if you will. It is amazing and anointed. It moved me into a spirit of worship, warfare and revival right from the beginning. It is not overly complicated lyrically or musically. What it is though is a cry for God and for Him to show up, wreck us and revive the church. I love all 3 songs. I can’t wait to use them. Her sound is like what if Vicky Beeching and Misty Edwards had a baby. And since that is impossible it must tell you how cool this album is. I am praying somebody signs her ASAP because I want more of her music. Right now this EP is free on noisetrade.

Well there are 4 CD’s you may not have heard or even heard of that I think you need to go out and buy right away. I know what I am talking about so… DO IT!!

A few quotes on worship:

“it’s great… you just feel really euphoric”

“makes me feel like superman, lots of energy and a feeling like I could do anything”

“sometimes like you’re floating on the inside”
The interesting thing is that all of these are actually all quotes about what it is like to feel high. Isn’t it amazing the similarities to what we hear when there is a great worship service? People used to say they were “high on Jesus”. Some reason that always bothered me because I think there is so much more to worship worship than that.

So is worship just a drug? Is it a cheap thrill?

Modern day worship seems to have turned a corner where we have limited the holiness of God and elevated our hope for warm and fuzzy feelings every time we get together.

We treat worship Like a selfish relationship. Recently I have been involved in a multi-church prayer/worship meeting. We have moved in a direction that we feel like God is leading us to pertaining the order and flow of the monthly event. Like any event there have been amazing ones and there have been lackluster ones, but the vision stays consistent in that we Worship in unity and pray for revival in our churches and community. I have been made aware of a bunch of people who no longer got the “feeling” they were looking for out of the meeting and have chosen to not return. I wasn’t surprised by this because it happens every day, but it saddened me.

Churches lose people all the time because attendees didn’t quite get that buzz, didn’t like the sermon that week, and even have issues with the carpet color. I think the issue may be within the phrase “I attend ______(insert church name)”. When did it start being about attending a church and less about being the church.

It is the same reason why so many marriages are failing right now. People are selfish and when a guys wife no longer gives him that “feeling” it is time to go find a girl that can.

Selfish Worship is powerless worship.

We as leaders have perpetuated a culture of powerless worship. Think about that for a second….

We attempt to manipulate emotional responses from our congregations by the right formula of fast to slow songs so people can get their sunday fix. Sometimes we treat it like a spiritual Redbull, but monday comes and that high wears off. We use something designed to glorify the King and water down the power to attract the outside. Did Jesus water down the power of God? We have to be careful that we don’t confuse accessibility with seeker focused worship.

We worship God because He is worthy to be worshiped. It is because He alone is worthy and He alone is Holy. Thats it! We don’t worship so we can try to Christianize the latest Muse track. We worship because the King of Kings is Holy.

We praise God because of what He has done and continues to do.


Do we come to church ready to worship?
Have we been worshiping all week?

We love to throw around terms like “worship is not music… it’s a lifestyle”.

That is great and so true.
I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalms 34:1)

We need to be constantly praising our God and king, but Christian slogans become just that. We become desensitized to our own terms and forget the greatness of the POWER of God.

Acts 16:23-26 “And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:

(24) Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

(25) And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.”

There seems to be a divided people in the church these days. Some who want no music and some who think it should all be music.

Do you think that we would be so divided on that if we worshiped with everything we had like Paul and Silas did? Football stadiums are full of people willing to scream and yell for their favorite team and in our churches we have people who know that Jesus came and died for us to be saved and we worship His greatness with lackluster hearts. Can you imagine a worship service like paul and silas had where God shakes your church and people are released from their burdens and shackles and where “EVERY ONE’S BANDS WERE LOOSED” ?

Praise and worship bring us into the presence of God  “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance” (Psalms 89:15)

The Bible says that God inhabits in the praises of His people (Psalms 22:3).
I love that because it says That when we praise GOD dwells in the midst of us. While praise is a reaction to His greatness it is also the gateway to ushering in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

Worship gives us the ability as worshipers to be creative in our expression as well. With dance, spoken word, singing, lyrics, the arts etc… We limit this creativity in worship when we limit the freedom of expression and range of emotion.

Worship in our services should be like a buffet line. It is self serve smorgasbord of all kinds of things. The church needs to stop waiting for leaders to force feed them and seek God in their own time. Sometimes just like in a buffet they are things you may not like. A worship leaders job is to not just hand you the comfortable mac-n-cheese every time or what I like to call happy meal worship. Sometimes he needs to go deeper. Sometimes he needs to break out the oatmeal and give you something sustainable. Other times he may need to break out the broccoli which he knows you may not like, but your soul desperately needs.

Worship is a Powerful WEAPON:

2 Chronicles 20

10 “And now see what the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir are doing. You would not let our ancestors invade those nations when Israel left Egypt, so they went around them and did not destroy them.11 Now see how they reward us! For they have come to throw us out of your land, which you gave us as an inheritance.

12 O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”
13 As all the men of Judah stood before the LORD with their little ones, wives, and children,

14 the Spirit of the LORD came upon one of the men standing there. His name was Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite who was a descendant of Asaph.
15 He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.16 Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel.

17 But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the LORD is with you!”
18 Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the LORD.

19 Then the Levites from the clans of Kohath and Korah stood to praise the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud shout.

20 Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.”

21 After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the LORD and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang:
“Give thanks to the LORD;
his faithful love endures forever!”
22 At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the LORD caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.23 The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other……
26 On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing,t which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the LORD there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today.
27 Then all the men returned to Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat leading them, overjoyed that the LORD had given them victory over their enemies.
28 They marched into Jerusalem to the music of harps, lyres, and trumpets, and they proceeded to the Temple of the LORD.
29 When all the surrounding kingdoms heard that the LORD himself had fought against the enemies of Israel, the fear of God came over them.

Worship goes before the battle.
Praise and worship is our weapon in the battle.
We rejoice in the victory by praising the VICTOR.

How amazing is that section. Do we ever lead our worship services in the knowledge that this is MUCH more than singing? Are we praying for the insight and discernment to be aware that God may be using our praise and worship on the front lines of a spiritual battle?

This past sunday I was leading worship and felt a horrible spirit in the room. I felt like God was saying to change up the set list on the fly. I followed. What happened that most likely no body noticed is I was no longer leading worship, but was fighting a spiritual battle along side angels in the room with my praise to the King.

Praise and Worship are amazing and Not only is God worthy of our praise but its amazing what He will do through us and in us when we glorify him.


Are you creating a culture of “surface worship” happy meal worship?

Are you teaching people to worship and the amazing power in it?

Is your churches time of praise centered around attracting people or Christ?

During the weeks that the Spirit doesn’t fall on the church like it’s pentecost does your team consider that their failure or do you teach the ebb and flow of the movement of God?