A Bowl of Seeds

A Bowl of Seeds
By Steve & Bob Brown

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. – Jesus (Mt 13:24)

A bowl of seeds, my arm did guard
As I ran out into the yard
And in the morning of the spring
Like the birds, my heart did sing

And in the silence all around
I put the bowl upon the ground
In the garden the soil was cold
And in my hands, the seeds, I’d hold

Upon my knees, I had some fun
As I pushed the seeds in, one-by-one
Through the soil way down below
Knowing one day, they would grow

Then I watered the garden there
And to the water I added prayer
Then getting up I ran away
To enjoy the beauty of the day

And in each morning that lay ahead
With joy I’d visit the vegetable bed
For beauty would come up through the weeds
From that lifeless bowl of seeds.

The Passion

The Passion

A review of the latest CD release by Contemporary Christian artist Michael SchroederM Schroeder
by Steve Brown

“The Passion” was released in time for Holy Week observations 2014. It is a compilation of Michael Schroeder’s best passion-filled songs together with a few new pieces.

Vinyl Records and a Trip Down Memory Lane
One thing that I enjoy about Michael’s CDs is that in one way, they remind me of vinyl album releases back when I was a teen. I remember the actual buying of an album to be such a fun experience because when you got home and opened it up, you were treated to an array of album artwork, printed lyrics – sometimes there were even messages from the artists; but the real treat was if a poster was also included.

More than an MP3 Download
Michael’s CDs, at least his last two, contain little gems that harken back to these fond memories of opening up a new album. His last CD, titled “Worship” contained two discs: (1) the music CD and (2) a bonus disc of backing tracks to be used in a corporate worship setting. The 2-CD package also included all the lyrics together with an exhaustive list of scripture references and an article on Michael’s thoughts relating to worship.

His new CD, “The Passion” contains a devotional booklet to be read for each day during Holy Week. It is this kind of stuff that is missing in today’s world of digital downloads. The eight devotional readings are paired with the first eight songs from the CD. It is worth the purchase of the CD just to experience the worship moment of reading through these devotions while listening to the selected song. Without giving too much away, in the devotions you will learn that the first song, the song that goes along with Palm Sunday – was written in a very inspirational and special place. As the saying goes, “sometimes we just need to strike while the iron is hot.”

The Song List
Here’s a quick rundown of the ten songs contained on the CD:

1. Jesus is Lord* – Palm Sunday (originally released on the Worship CD)

2. Handle with Prayer – Monday (originally released on A Witness)

3. The Greatest Gift – Tuesday (originally released on Fuel for the Soul)

4. The One – Wednesday (originally released on Fuel for the Soul)

5. Just as I Am* – Maundy Thursday (originally released on the Worship CD)

6. The Nails* – Good Friday (new)

7. Free – Saturday (originally released on A Witness)

8. Jesus Christ is Risen Today* – Easter Sunday (new)

9. Paradise* (originally released on A Witness)

10. Love Changes Everything* (originally released on the Worship CD)

The “*” next to some songs are what I would classify as “congregational friendly” – meaning these can be sung in corporate worship if you have a good enough worship team to pull-off the accompaniment. All of the songs are a pleasure to listen to and nicely produced.

The Poppy
Poppy
The CD cover art is a simple, delicate, pink poppy – a symbol of sleep (remember in the Wizard of Oz), peace, remembrance, life lost and the promise of resurrection after death – perfect for a Holy Week compilation! Do you see any other symbolism? There is one more important element. Look closely and open up your mind and think about Holy Week and your savior. It will come to you.

 

 

 

Song Reviews
Rather than provide a critical commentary on each song, I will concentrate on the two newbies – “The Nails” and the remake of “Jesus Christ is Risen Today“.

He Nailed It!
The Nails is obviously a passionate piece for Schroeder as it is sung with great feeling and emotion. I think this is so important in worship. Charlie Chaplin, was once quoted as saying: “we tend to think too much and feel too little.” I think he’s right. If us worshippers could harness this emotion in our corporate singing, God would be greatly glorified and we would also sound a whole lot better! Music is meant to be felt. We are not stones. Like Jesus, we are passionate people.

I haven’t understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it.” - Ivan Stravinsky

I am pleased that Schroeder sings with heart-felt emotions making these lyrics his personal testimony to his Savior. In the church, we call this “inwardly digesting the lyrics”. Lyrically, the song hits deep, as most of Schroeder’s songs do. It strikes a ringing minor chord in my heart. It is a perfect song for Good Friday as it captures the essence of this incredible substitutionary sacrifice – for You! And for me!

You can hear “The Nails” here:

He Makes All Things New!
The new arrangement for “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” to me, is only recognizable with the singing of the title line followed by Alleluia. There are plenty of new lyrics, new progressions, new instrumentation, a new groove, new, new, new… to make this a joyous pleasure to listen to. I guarantee that you will be smiling and tapping your foot within a few seconds of listening to this piece.

What’s really special to me is that I love the original hymn and when this is the case, I just don’t like it when people mess around with them. Leave them alone! They have survived a few centuries for a reason! What I do like, is when it is changed so much that it takes on a new life and this is exactly what happens with Schroeder’s arrangement of the classic hymn. It does have a new life and a new meaning. You will just have to hear it for yourself.

Link to listen to “Jesus ChristChrist is Risen Today”:

A Penultimate Thought
On a closing note, check out the pinnacle of the song titled “Paradise“. You will know the pinnacle moment by the pitch of one exemplary high note. I’m guessing it’s at least a very impressive high G note. It does it’s job. It draws attention to the lyrics and after all, our music is supposed to serve the word, right?

It strikes me that this CD would be a great confirmation gift or a good subject matter for a teen bible class!

You can read all the lyrics, watch a few videos, and purchase the Passion CD at michaelschroeder.com.

 

 

Four Contemporary Song Choices for Good Shepherd Sunday

Four Contemporary Song Choices for Good Shepherd Sunday

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. – John 10:11

Good Shepherd Sunday is celebrated on Easter 4 which is May 11, 2014.

“You Never Let Go” by Matt Redman:

“Dwell” by Aaron Keys:

“Good Shepherd of My Soul” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend:

“The Lord is My Shepherd (Angel of The Lord)” by Miriam Webster:

For WELS & ELS Churches only – The sheet music for one of these songs will be shared within our group of churches that use Contemporary music.  There are twenty churches so far from all over the US that have already joined the group.  You can see the group members here: link

You can join the group here: link

There is no obligation on your part to join. You will receive about an email a month containing helpful resources, links and information for churches within our fellowship.

WELS – Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

ELS – Evangelical Lutheran Synod

The Heart

The <3

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take <3! I have overcome the world.”  – Jesus

If you ask someone to point to themselves, they won’t point to their faces, they won’t point to their toes; they will point to their <3 because that’s the center of who we are.

 

Lord, I want to give my <3 to you
I need a Jesus – oriented <3
To see you
To dwell on you
To meditate on you
To sit in your presence all the days of my life
I need a sweet <3 not a hard heart, not a broken <3
I need a tender heart, a spiritual heart; a <3 that is the core of my emotions
I need a healed <3 and a <3 filled with joy
I need a <3 that’s focused on the big picture of what really matters
I need to keep God’s commands in my <3
I need a <3 encounter with God.
I need to keep Your Word close to my <3 today
I need the word “love” written on the tablet of my <3
To sing it
To meditate on it
To speak it
To commit it to memory
To inwardly digest it
God, you know my <3
I need to love you with all of my heart, all of my soul and of all my strength
I ask that you regenerate my <3 and to keep it pure
It is at the center of my being

Psalm 27:4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

A Contemporary Song for Palm Sunday

A Contemporary Song for Palm Sunday

Here’s a great free contemporary song to use for Palm Sunday.  The song is “Hosanna” (Praise is Rising) by Paul Baloche and Brenton Brown.  The song makes good use of the word  “Hosanna” and it tells the story of the praise rising from amongst the crowd gathered in the street on the Palm Sunday parade.

Here’s a link to the piano arrangement:
Piano link

Here’s a link to the guitar chord chart:
Guitar link

Here’s a link to the lead sheet for the congregation:
Congregational link

Here’s a link to an instructional video:
Video link

Here’s a link for some slick electrical guitar parts:
Electric Guitar link

from dbworship.com

from dbworship.com/resources

That should do it!

Thanks to Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown and dbworship for the great free resources!

Contemporary Songs for Good Friday

Contemporary Songs for Good Friday

20140318-063613.jpg

  1. “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty
  2. “By His Wounds” by Mac Powell (Third Day)
  3. “Once Again” by Matt Redman
  4. “Nothing but the Blood”, traditional; Andy Cherry arrangement with added chorus
  5. “Beautiful the Blood” by Steve Fee and Louie Giglio
  6. “Sweetly Broken” by Jeremy Riddle
  7. “On My Cross” by Jeromy Deibler (FFH)
  8. “Amazing Love” by Graham Kendrick
  9. “At the Foot of the Cross” by Kathryn Scott
  10. “Majesty” by Martin Smith and Stuart Garrard (Delirious)
  11. “Lamb of God” by Twila Paris
  12. “Lost in Wonder” by Martyn Layzell
  13. “The Power of the Cross” by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty
  14. “Lead Me to Calvary” by Don Chapman
  15. “This Man” by Jeremy Camp
  16. “Before the Cross” by Jon Payne
  17. “Jesus, Paid it All”, traditional; Alex Nifong arrangement with added chorus
  18. “The Message of the Cross” by Martin Smith (Delirious)
  19. “Depth of Mercy”, traditional; arranged by Caedmon’s Call

Moods and Tones of the Season

Moods and Tones of the Season

Season Mood & Tone & Emotions & Key Words Chord Types A Good Hymn Example A Good Contemporary Song Example
Advent Anticipation Expectation Hope
Promise Repentance Light Waiting
Diminished Suspended 4 Sevenths Come, O Long Expected Jesus Behold the Lamb (Shaun Starbuck)

Christmas Eve

Excited
Awe
Silence Reverence Peace
Major Suspended Silent Night Glory in the Highest (Chris Tomlin)
Christmas Day Celebration Joy
Big Party Excitement
Major Power 5 Joy to the World All Creation Sing (Steve Fee)
Epiphany Ministry Baptism Major 7 How Lovely Shines the Morning Star Offering – Christmas Version (Baloche)
Transfiguration Glory Light Wow Major
Augmented
Ninths
Diminished Add 9
Down from the Mount of Glory Speak O Lord(Getty & Townend)
Ash Wednesday Repentance Sorrow Introspective Minor
Minor 7
O Gracious Lord, with Love Draw Near The Scandal of Grace Hillsongs)
Lent Sins
Mini-Easters
Minor (mid-week) Major (Sundays) O Sacred Head Now Wounded The Power of the Cross (Getty & Townend)
Palm Sunday Praise
Humility Hosanna
Major Augmented All Glory, Laud and Honor Hosanna – Praise is Rising (Baloche & Brown)
Maundy Thursday Love Communion Fellowship Major ‘Twas on that Dark, that Doleful Night Broken and Poured Out (Kevin Bueltmann)
Good Friday Funeral Despair
Guilt
Sorrow Somber Sadness Darkness Tearful
Minor
Minor 6
Minor add 9 Suspended Diminished Seven – Minor9
Oh, Darkest Woe How Deep the Father’s Love for Us (Getty & Townend)
Easter Celebration Wedding
Big Party Excitement Happiness Energetic Upbeat Hallelujah Alleluia
Major
Power 5
Major 7
Christ the Lord is Risen Today Christ is Risen (Matt Maher)
Good Shepherd Sunday Protection Solitude Serenity Tranquility Peace Major 7 The King of Love My Shepherd Is You Never Let Go (Matt Redman)
Ascension Wow
Alone
Major A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing Glorious (Baloche & Brown)
Pentecost Inspiring Spiritual Gifts Prayers Major
Suspended 2
Hail Thee, Festival Day Where the Spirit of the Lord Is (Tomlin & Nockels)
Reformation Boldness Confidence
Faith
The Church Scriptures Lutheran Traditional Liturgical
Major
Power 5
A Mighty Fortress Mighty Fortress (Shust & Baloche)
End Times Fear
Joy
Judgment
Major
Diminished Augmented Add 9
Forever with the Lord A Mighty Fortress (Nockels)
Thanksgiving Thanks Blessings Major Now Thank We all Our God My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness (Getty & Townend)

 

Most people, even non-musicians know that major chords sound happy and that minor chords sound sad but it goes deeper than that. Much deeper.

For example,

A minor sixth chord is the saddest chord on earth. I am quite sure that this chord will not exist in heaven.  It sounds of loneliness, separation, abandonment and heartbreak.

An Augmented chord is used to express astonishment, amazement, surprise, magic and transformation.  Substitute it into a Transfiguration song!

Two Responsive Laments based on Psalm 13:1-6

A Responsive Lament based on Psalm 13:1-6

M:        How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
C:        Look on me and answer, Lord my God.

M:        How long will you hide your face from me?
C:        Look on me and answer, Lord my God.

M:        How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
C:        Look on me and answer, Lord my God.

M:        How long will my enemy triumph over me?
C:        Look on me and answer, Lord my God.

M:        But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
C:        I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me. 

A Poetic Responsive Lament based on Psalm 13:1-6

M:  How long will you forget me?
C:  Here in time and space.
M:  How long will I have sorrow?
C:  How long will you hide your face?

M:  How long shall I take counsel?
C:  Each and every day?
M:  How long will heaven be silent?
C:  As I close my eyes to pray.

M:  How long shall mine enemies be exalted?
C:  How long must I weep and wail?
M:  How long must I wait for you?
C:  How long must I continually fail?

M:  But I have trusted in your mercy.
C:  And yes, I truly see.
M:  So my heart rejoices in your salvation.
C:  For you have dealt bountifully with me!

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