Posts tagged Worship Songs
Lenten Devotional Series: Worship Music
"How He Loves" - Live Performance Video

by Ronnie Steadman
945 Worship Lead

With its soaring guitar riff and it's catchy repeating chorus it's no wonder that John Mark McMillan's How He Loves is a favorite worship song. What sustains the song for me though is the gritty, earthy and "sloppy" verses. The words come rapid fire almost like an Eminem song, and though they are poetic they are organic and packed with feeling. You talk them more than sing them. Somehow, at least for me, the song is at once sad and searching, but hopeful and victorious at the same time.

David Crowder's version of the song, which is great by the way, takes out the lyric "heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss" and replaces it with "unforeseen kiss". I like the "sloppy" version. It speaks to the mess. It's forceful and chaotic just like my relationship with Christ. In this mess, in this chaos, in this doubt, He still loves me. He is still jealous or like Drew mentioned in church "zealous" for me. In my doubt He is still there. 

The author of the song wrote it at a time when he lost a good friend to a car accident. In the haze of confusion and loss he was just plain mad at God. And this song was part of his conversation with Him where he expressed that frustration and anger and he found that God loved him through all of that. I have certainly had my times of being angry with God. That is something I would not have thought okay when I was young. It would have felt blasphemous to me to express that anger, to question my beliefs, to let myself be frustrated with the things He lets happen in our lives. Things weren't really allowed to be messy when it came to talking about God. I have come to believe that the Christian walk is a struggle not a breezy walk with no questions, but a true struggle, a journey, a mystery. It's messy. It's ugly sometimes. And sometimes it doesn't look "Christian", at least in the way I used to see it. We have to work it out. And God is okay with that. He's much bigger than that.

He loves "like a hurricane". He loves so passionately it is overwhelming. I don't think I could've fully understood that line until I became a parent. You love that kid so hard. So hard they could never understand it. And it is not always pretty either. But even though they make you crazy, and they don't do things like you want them to, you still love and you love hard. It doesn't really matter what they do. It's not going to make you love less. Our grace may not be " ocean-like" such as God's, but it extends further than the grace you have for anybody else. And somehow God loves me even more than that! And the song pays that off so wonderfully with the chorus of "Oh's" and in one of these versions even "Whoa's." Whoa, how He loves us!

Check out the song on our Spotify playlist (on the right). I also encourage you to check out the story behind the song as told by the author, which has live version of the song at the end that is worth the experience..



Spotify Classic Worship Playlist
Spotify Contemporary Worship Playlist
How He Loves : A Song Story
The Story Behind the Song
 
Lenten Devotional Series: Singing Scripture

When we sing worship music, no matter the style, we are given the opportunity to sing Scripture; the inspired words of God. Additionally, one of the beautiful gifts in any type of worship music is that it provides us a way to interact with Scripture artistically. It provides us a way to learn and memorize Scripture in a creative way and embed those words in our everyday speech and thoughts. It provides us a way to sing back to God the words He wrote for us. Your Love is Strong is a great example.
 
                                                           

                                                               Jon Foreman's "Your Love Is Strong"

Scripture beautifully frames this song. Lyrics and music retranslate Bible passages so that we learn Scripture through song. Below is a side-by-side comparison of the lyrics along with the passages of Scripture that inspired those lyrics. I invite you to listen to this song several times. Listen to it with an open Bible, and turn to the passages referenced in the lyrics. Note the changes the artist made. Note the significance of the passages in your life as you listen and sing. Allow these lyrics, these Bible passages, to wash over you and remind you of God’s love for you. At church this week, remember that you are joining other voices in singing Scripture.

     Lyrics                                                                                

Heavenly Father, You always amaze me
Let Your kingdom come in my world and in my life
Give me the food I need
To live through today
 
And forgive me as I forgive
The people that wrong me
Lead me far from temptation
Deliver me from the evil one
READ:  Matthew 6:9-13 

I look out the window
The birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune
Or out of place
 
I walk to the meadow
And stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl
On her wedding day
 
So why should I worry?
Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need
You know what I need
READ:  Matthew 6:26-31

The Kingdom of the Heavens
Is now advancing
Invade my heart
Invade this broken town
 
The Kingdom of the Heavens
Is buried treasure
Would you sell yourself
To buy the one you've found?
READ:    Matthew 13:44

Two things You told me
That You are strong
And You love me
Yes, You love me
READ:  Psalm 62:11-12a 

 

This lent, we have decided to focus upon musical worship.  When we worship God, we essentially fast from our own tendencies to self-absorption, control, fear, anxiety, and an assortment of other problems of focus. Instead of focusing upon ourselves, we rightly focus on God.

For Lenten we offer a number of devotionals centered upon music. These devotionals are meant to invite you into moments of worship throughout your week.

To help you practice the discipline of worship, we have made some of the music from our two worship services available as playlists on Spotify on the HOME page.  Simply click on the words or photo to be directed to the site to setup your new Spotify account. Spotify is a free website.

- by Drew Hanson