Sing Unto the Lord

Burn to Shine
August 28, 2008, 2:41 pm
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Having a day off today after busy times these last two weeks. Went to JB HiFi to grab Flight of the Conchords. Funny. While I was there I picked up a random purchase.

Burn to Shine is a series of DVDs set in American cities. Each DVD is filmed in a condemned estate. Bands from that city perform one song in one of the rooms of the house before watching the building be demolished. Pretty cool. Good way to hear new indie music. I picked up Number 5 set in Seattle. Partly because I’ve been talking a bit about Seattle this week and partly because Eddie Vedder is on there. I’m about halfway through. It’s chocked with some of the best music I’ve heard in ages.

Bands so far that I’m keen to look out for:

Harvey Danger

Spook the Horse

Dave Bazan

Minus the bear

and Benjamin Gibbard (of Death Cab fame)

If your into that scene… get this DVD. JB only had Seattle and Chicago. I might have to get some others from elsewhere.


Driscoll on the coast music
August 26, 2008, 11:40 am
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Last night went well. We had to do some songs that everyone would know. We tried these:

Blessed be your name

Nothing but the Blood (Matt Redman)

When I survey

Let your Kingdom come

I thought Let your kingdom come would be a bit of a risk, but people belted it out. We wrote a new bridge for When I survey to sing on the night. It worked nicely having something a bit different in the Hymn. We’ve found that a few times that sticking a new bridge into an old hymn can highlight some of the truths of the hymn in a new way. This was our new bit:

‘On the cross, my Saviour died

Lord of Life now crucified

And all I am belongs to Him

On that cross He bore my sin’

‘When I Survey’ is all about dying to yourself and living for Jesus. The cross humbles you. The cross demands a response.

Mark spoke faithfully and convictingly. I’m looking forward to tonight with some more item-y stuff and a call to non-christians. Be praying.

What matters
August 22, 2008, 5:54 pm
Filed under: Thinking Music

I know that it is Friday and noone reads blogs on Fridays. Well at least I hardly get any hits on Fridays. However I thought this was so important and I didn’t want to lose my thoughts over the weekend.

I had a conversation with a mate today from another church and he was talking about a friend of his who is involved in music ministry. I won’t tell you too much about his situation but it was very similar to my own just a couple of years ago.

I was involved in a growing music ministry and I was keen to explore the opportunities I could have to do Music stuff full time for a church. Others encouraged me to think through doing MTS (Ministry training… like an internship) and getting some theological training but I wondered if it would be more beneficial to enrol at a music college or something similar and study there part time while running music stuff part time at church. Besides the obvious arrogance and pride of thinking that I could just dictate to my church what kind of job I wanted, I came to realise something about music ministry. Since then I’ve seen so many examples of it that it makes so much sense.

A ministry in music that is going to last and have a significant impact for the gospel will HAVE to be found, centred and forged from a deep rich theological understanding of God’s word and an ability to teach his word faithfully. Lots of guys are able to put out great songs and organise bands so that they are tight and can produce good tunes. Less but still lots of guys can write good Christ honouring songs.

However the ability to teach congregations not just how to sing but WHY to sing and to not just do that through little bits and pieces throughout a set but from the pulpit, requires someone to have a good handle on what the word says about song but even more than that, what it says about Jesus.

The ‘music guy’ or the ‘magnification guy’ depending on your context wants to help people see Christ’s glory properly and so to be moved by it that they want to give up everything for him, let alone sing their guts out. Music guys too often sell ourselves short and aim way too low by having as our main goal to do music in a way that people will love.

Who cares if people love it if Christ isn’t honoured.

I believe it is important to think about ways of doing music in a culturally relavent way. I also think that it is important to improve skills so that you achieve that goal well, but there is a greater goal.

We want to see Jesus glorified.

In the metropolitan tabernacle when Spurgeon was preaching there the music was fantastic. There wasn’t a band or even an organ. The song leader would hit the tuning fork and then the whole congregation would sing with so much enthusiasm that there would be tears all around the hall. The reason for their awesome singing was that they loved Jesus so much that their songs reminded them of him. There were hymns written that were reflective of what they had been taught.

However once spurgeon died and others took over the preaching lost some of it’s christ centeredness. But the music kicked on. So the church threw all it had at making the music great even though the gospel was becoming more and more watered down. People now loved singing those songs because of the experience of singing them. They didn’t love Jesus anymore, they loved singing. And so the church grew more and more liberal.

In the end it doesn’t matter what great songs you sing, if you worship the music more than the one who the songs are about then you are committing idolatory.

Is it more important for the guy who will have probably the greatest influence on how his congregation sings to be trained musically or biblically? In the end you might have some sweet music but if you just assume that you can input your own gospel centred lyrics because you’ve been hearing the Bible taught for ages in your church, then you have begun to assume the gospel. What legacy do you want to leave? Do you want to be the guy who made sure the music rocked or the guy who taught people Christ’s proper place in their lives.

I’ve got a good friend who did music stuff in a church for years. He was an evangelical but the church was on shaky ground. It lacked direction and good biblical teaching. He refused to be ‘the worship pastor’ because he rightly saw that that role would need to include a MASSIVE teaching component. He was adamant that he was just the music guy. He was a fantastic musician who had a good head on his shoulders for the theology of music but he never spent time teaching it to his church or pastors. He has left that church now and their music still rocks. He has left a massive legacy there in terms of skill. BUT, their theology and thinking in this area is wishy washy and directionless. Far from being christocentric. I never want to just be the music guy.

So I did MTS.

The Sons and the Psalms
August 19, 2008, 11:58 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Went and saw Sons of Korah on Friday night playing with Mike McCarthy at Kincumber high. It was an unreal night with a good set.

Mike started off with a couple of songs from his new album coming out in October.

Then SOK hit it off with the fisrt half of Psalm 42. They followed this with a few psalms of lament and anguish but as the night went on they kind of got more and more joyful. Lots of Resonator guitar and some cool latin rhythmns.

Some of the stuff the lead singer, Matt, said throughout the night got me thinking about the psalms and their beauty. Matt said that he thought the Psalms were written to take us on a journey nearer to God. I don’t know if I wholeheartedly agree with him that that is the purpose of the Psalms.

I’m stoked that they are included in the Bible however because I am an emotional person. The Psalms give words to my emotions. They help me express my longings and desires and hurts and pains. The Psalms remind me that the Christ centred life involves our emotions. God’s greatness should elicit an emotional response.

We spent some time at our last staff conference talking about how singing should look and be expressed in our church. The line we came up with was that we wanted ‘exuberant, emotionally appropriate praise.’

Andy Judd wrote a cracker article over at the Garage Hymnal blog last week about how so often people are expressing negatives about music in church context. eg, ‘no eye closing’ ect.

He goes on to say we should be encouraging positives. Be strong on encouraging people to express emotions appropriately. One line that hit me was:

Let’s teach to the heart well. With great stirring melodies and words dripping in right emotion.

Its a big thing to teach people to engage with God emotionally. Praise him for the Psalms that give us clear examples of how to respond to Him.

Sons of Korah TONIGHT
August 15, 2008, 1:34 pm
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Been ages. Ren and I went away for a couple of weeks to Crescent Head. It was mad. Spent a bunch of time thinking about Music and Magnification at church and where we are headed. Good times.

Tonight heading to Kincumber High to see Sons of Korah. Should be sweet. Review tomorrow.

Driscoll on the coast music… Monday night got some tunes lined up for all peeps from different churches to sing together as we get stoked for mission to the coast.

Tuesday night there will be some tunes done by My friends Jon, Mike and Nic. Hope to see you all there.