22nd July 2015
This is the 2nd blog post is from a series I recently did as seen on the New Scottish Hymns website.
What does it mean to have a heart of worship? Good question. We could talk about this for the rest of our days, so I’m going to keep this short and sweet!
Romans 12:1 says to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” What does that mean? Simply put, I think it means being in a right relationship with God- that I’m on good terms with the Bible’s author. Do I please or grieve the Holy Spirit with the way I lead my life? That’s a challenging question I face each and every day.
Whilst I will admit that there have been a few times I have ‘gone through the motions’ in Church, especially if I’ve had an ‘off-day’, or just feel that the worship ‘isn’t great’, I know that the fruit of my ‘sacrifice’ to God is that I give my whole self to Him. I submit to Him. He knows best. So I’m reading my Bible, praying, confessing sin, spending time with Him experiencing God’s great love. Whatever that looks to me might be different for you. And the fruit of that ‘sacrifice’ to me is to know I deeply loved by the Father. My identity is secure in what He thinks of me, not what other people say or think!
When I am in a place of heartfelt worship, I know that I am chosen by God, anointed by God, and saved by God to serve the One who saved me from my sin. And that I know and can experience His love. For me that is the heart of worship. As one of my heroes, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said:
“Holiness is not something we are called upon to do in order that we may become something; it is something we are to do because of what we already are.”
I don’t confess to be a ‘holy’ person by my own strength, but through Christ who strengthens me and makes me holy. Weakness is the way- because He is strong. I love the quote from the great preacher Robert Murray McCheyne: “Lord make me as holy as a saved sinner can be.”
So when it comes to playing drums in Church, I try to pray a short prayer. When I pray this simple prayer in faith, I believe that God will act.
“Lord, help me to fix my eyes upon You today.
Thank You for your mercy, for Your love & grace.
Thank You for sending Your Son to die on the Cross for me.
Thank You for the indwelling Holy Spirit. Fall on me afresh and fill me to overflowing. Grant me the humility to play, help me to play the best I have ever played.
Come in Power in this place today, that we as a Church may know and experience You. Change us Lord, from the inside out.
Let there be freedom for You to move today.”
8th July 2015
And another ‘Church Drummer’ cover! It’s been a few months but here’s the latest one: Chris Tomlin’s ‘God of Angel Armies (Whom Shall I Fear).’ A great song from his 2013 album ‘Burning Lights.’ Nice drumming from both Paul Mabury and Travis Nunn throughout the album. Enjoy!
29th April 2015
Another video of the brilliant group (I am biased of course), New Scottish Hymns, with their song ‘O Saviour of Sinners.’ It was an absolute pleasure to be part of this video.
A forthcoming hymn from Scottish hymn-writer, Greg de Blieck as part of the ministry New Scottish Hymns; seeking to encourage and equip the church with new songs and hymns.
Other songs, resources and concert dates can be found at the website – www.newscottishhymns.com
O Saviour of sinners, let voices unite
In praise of that excellent name
Let cares find their place – Our sins are erased!
For Jesus has died and has risen
O Saviour of sinners, now help us recall
The wonderful things you have done
God’s kingdom has dawned, so let us respond
To all the good gifts He has given
Just as the darkness retreats from the day
Let sinful indifference be driven away
Together we’ll stand, and raise up our hands
To praise Him in willing surrender
O Saviour of sinners, though hardly we knew
The wrath our rebellion deserved
You died in our place, then offered us grace
And life in its fullness – forever
O Saviour of sinners, no words are enough
To bring you the praise you deserve
Unmatchable worth! O light of the earth
The heavens are filled with Your glory
Just as the sun overpowers the grey
The clouds in our hearts shall be melted away
Forgiven we rise, so lift up your eyes
For God is our light and salvation
12th February 2015
February’s new drum cover, the 2014 version of Paul Baloche’s song (originally released in 2007 on his album of the same name) ‘Our God Saves.’ Enjoy!
19th January 2015
My latest drum cover – Hillsong Y&F’s ‘Wake!’ Check it out!
28th December 2014
2014 was a pretty decent year for worship and CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) albums – here’s a brief look at what came out. In January Switchfoot released ‘Fading West’ – a really great album, and Casting Crowns put out ‘Thrive’. Elevation Worship’s latest offering ‘Only Kind Forever’ is decent. Nice drumming from Luke Anderson throughout, and the standout song is definitely ‘Grace So Glorious.’ ‘Blessed Assurance’ is also quite good and ‘Glory Is Yours’ is a nice upbeat number. There are some good songs here, although nothing that much different stylistically from their previous. 7/10.
In February, Bethel Music released TIDES LIVE, and in March came the remixes from Hillsong UNITED and Jesus Culture. Kari Jobe also released her album ‘Majestic: Live’ – a decent offering but all-too-similar to other releases to be honest. Planetshakers released ‘Endless Praise’, John Mark McMillan released ‘Borderlands’ and Rend Collective released ‘The Art of Celebration this month too. I quite enjoyed this album, with songs like ‘Joy’, ‘More Than Conquerors’ reminiscent of their early offerings, and ‘My Lighthouse’ being the ‘hit single’, but also songs like ‘Boldly I Approach’ standing out in quieter offerings. 7.5/10.
In April, Paul Baloche released ‘Live’ – a collection of some of his best material. Well produced but not anything different than his others. Like me, though, if you like Baloche, you will enjoy this. 6.5/10. Also this month came Francesca Battistelli’s ‘If We’re Honest’, which I personally enjoyed, and Phil Wickham’s ‘The Ascension.’ Bethel Music released another album, this time from their annual Women’s Conference, the title of this album ‘You Make Me Brave.’ I personally thoroughly enjoyed this, from the drumming to the production, to the all-female vocals. ‘You Make Me Brave’ and ‘Shepherd’ by Amanda Cook, ‘It Is Well’ by Kristene Di Marco and the big version of Jenn Johnson’s ‘Come To Me’ all sound lovely – as do the spontaneous moments. Steffany Frizzell-Gretzinger’s ‘We Dance’ is a beautiful intimate track too. If you like Bethel you will like this album. Great mixture of joyful numbers and expressions of reverence. 8.5/10. Also this month was the next Passion album which, again, was a mixed bag for me. Kristian Standfill’s songs sound all-too-similar. My favourite tracks were Redman’s ‘Mercy’ and Christy Nockels ‘You Came To My Rescue.’ 5/10.
May saw the release of Crowder’s first solo album, ‘Neon Steeple’, which I personally enjoyed (7.5/10), and All Sons & Daughters self-titled studio album which I thoroughly enjoyed (9/10). In June, Leeland released a cool EP called ‘Christ Be All Around Me’ (also featured on AS&D album) and in July, Hillsong Worship (no longer called Hillsong Live) released ‘No Other Name.’ It’s a fairly enjoyable album, the title track will no longer be sung in Churches globally (as will ‘The Creed’), and marks what I think is a change for Hillsong. Gone are the ‘big’ moments (mostly) in this album and what arrives are a stream of mid-tempo songs with nice pad sounds and effects. Great to see them step out of the comfort zone and they always write quality songs. ‘Calvary’ is a nice song, as is ‘All Things New.’ Gungor and Tenth Avenue North also released albums this month. August saw the release of Steffany Frizzell-Gretzinger’s solo album ‘The Undoing’, as well as Lincoln Brewster’s ‘Oxygen’ (a very “meh” album – overly commercialised and cheesy), Colton Dixon’s ‘Anchor’ and Jars of Clay’s 20th Anniversary release. In September, Lecrae released ‘Anomaly’, Desperation Band ‘Banner’ and Dustin Smith ‘Coming Alive’. Now this is a cracker. Powerful, fiery, prophetic and declarative, and at times vulnerable, its a great album full of a mix moments – definitely worth a listen. 8.5/10.
October saw the release of Planetshakers ‘This Is Our Time’, Kings Kaleidoscope’s ‘Becoming Who We Are’ (see Jesus Freak Hideout for a good review). Chris Tomlin also released ‘Love Ran Red’, yet another safe and unmemorable batch of songs. That doesn’t mean that its not good or that many won’t be sung in Churches, but there are few ‘wow’ moments or times where you feel Tomlin steps outside of his box, apart from maybe ‘Waterfall’ and ‘Boundary Lines’, which are both enjoyable. ‘I Will Boast’ and ‘The Table’ takes us back to 2002-era Tomlin and ‘At The Cross’ is good. 7/10. Also this month came Worship Central’s ‘Set Apart’. I was quite disappointed by this album, to be honest. I expected more creativity (since they say they are big on that), but found little of it – ‘The Way’ is a nice track but with an all-too-similar feel of “let’s do Avicii in the chorus”, but it is expected to be one of the tracks of the coming year. ‘Set Apart’ is also good, and ‘Awesome Is He’ – but apart from that, found myself asking when the strong tracks were to come. Nice spontaneous moment at the end, though. 5/10.
Nothing much more of note towards the tail end of the year, with the exception of Brooke Fraser who released ‘Brutal Romantic’ a great album with lots of wonderful moments – 8.5/10. Misty Edwards, who released ‘Little Bird’ and Andrew Peterson’s ‘After All These Years’. I’ve only listened to the latter and its an excellent collection of Peterson songs past and present. Passion also released a collection of songs.
Over and out! Here’s to 2015!
16th December 2014
My latest cover, Matt Redman’s ‘Your Grace Finds Me’ from his 2013 album of the same name.
16th December 2013
Ah the predictable ‘end of year review’ blog post! On a serious note, I’ve never done this and I wanted to write an article about some of the most-well known and some not-so-well known Christian albums released that over the past year I’ve come across. I say the past year… I mean, a year or so…give or take…some were released in late 2012. Here’s Part 1.
*a brief note: I am not taking a swipe at any particular band or ministry. I am just trying to critique music in general, according to my taste.
1st March 2012
This was taken from Worship Leader magazine’s website, a post released on 4 January, 2012. For more information, please visit Worship Leader’s Website.
Do you agree with the choices made? Post below!
Twenty years ago Worship Leader published the inaugural issue of the magazine. With key editors and contributors such as, Chuck Fromm, Ron Allen, Chuck Kraft and Robert Webber it was designed to be a resource that shined a light on many practices of worship and gave those from different traditions a place to better understand one another.
The first issue of WL had a grand total of two music reviews. Bethel Chapel’s The Glory of the Lord and Saddleback Church’s Saddleback Praises: Music With I.M.P.A.C.T. We get a few laughs around the office looking at the picture of Robert Webber with the permmed hair and perennial mustache and Chuck Fromm’s shout out to his mentor Peter Drucker. And we are also proud when we think of the moments of worship we have witnessed and taken part in, and the movement of God’s children finding renewal in his sprit and truth.
So we want to celebrate our birthday. But the truth is Worship Leader has never been about celebrating itself. Our whole existence is centered on helping people point to the One who is worthy. Less us, more him.
Here is a statement in Chuck Fromm’s editorial in that inaugural issue of Worship Leader:
Our God is still seeking “true worshipers,” those who worship in spirit and truth. Our goal is to provide you with ideas, information, and resources to help you enhance and facilitate worship at your church.
We could still use that as a mission statement today! That is something that we certainly are proud of. So, we are asking you to join with us in a bit of celebration right now. It’s a celebration and a remembering of sorts. For fun and as a look down memory lane, we have chosen what we consider the top 20 most influential worship releases of the past 20 years. And we have asked a couple of our friends to share what some of those offerings meant to them.