Posts tagged contemporary Christian music
Lenten Devotional Series: All Creatures of Our God and King

All Creatures of Our God and King
Lyrics by St. Francis of Assisi
 
Hymn 455 in our Hymnal
 
Classical: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26DHOhynJ1Q
 
Contemporary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSFK7UiH5Us
 
Psalm 148
 
I chose to share thoughts on  All Creatures of Our God and King for two reasons. First, we sing this song in both services. We sing the hymn in the classical service, and we sing the adaptation by David Crowder in the contemporary service. Second, this song is one of my favorite hymns, and it is a song that translates well into contemporary worship music.
 
The lyrics of All Creatures were originally in a poem by St. Francis of Assisi in 1225. Francis is considered the patron saint of Italy, San Francisco, CA, and the environment. The latter is evident in this song. In the spirit of Psalm 148, which I encourage you to read, Francis calls upon God’s creation to praise its Creator.
 
Do you ever consider other parts of creation praising God? If you are like me, you usually think of humanity alone praising God. This song challenges us to see beyond that. It opens up to us the mystery and grandeur of God’s creation. It’s not just God and me. It’s not just you, some friends, God, and me. This song reminds us that it’s not even merely humanity and God.
 
What does it mean for another part of creation to praise God? If St. Francis is right, creation praises God simply by being. “Thou burning sun with golden beam, Thou silver moon with softer gleam;” “Thou rushing wind that art so strong, Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along;” “Thou flowing water, pure and clear, Make music for thy Lord to hear.” These parts of creation praise God bydoing what they were created to do.
 
What are you created to do?
 
We are all specially created, and we all have something special to do to honor our Creator. God has plans and purposes for you individually. But I think this is true for each of us: we were created to worship God. All of us. Individually, corporately, continually. As we continue through the Lenten season toward Easter with our series on worship, ask God to continue to build you and your worshiping life. Pray for the Holy Spirit to move your heart constantly to worship God. It is what you were created to do. - Drew Hanson

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: Music helps us to focus on God

 

Lent is a season of the church life where we prepare our hearts for Easter by being aware of our need for redemption.  Traditionally, Lent has been a time of fasting.  A choice to deprive one’s life of something to remind us of our dependence upon God alone.  

This lent, we at Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church 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.

So this Lent, we offer a number of devotionals centered upon music.  These devotionals are meant to invite you into moments of worship throughout your week.



I can remember the point in my life where worship music transitioned from church into my car.  Shortly after college I was working at a bank in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.  The grind of my commute, my new lifestyle of “work-all-day-every-day” was different from my “wake-up-when-you-want, study-when-you-want” college lifestyle.  It was a bit of a shock to me.  I soon found that I was getting to work each morning in less than a good mood.

One morning, I realized that the radio personalities I was listening to on my commute weren’t helping my attitude.  So I turned the radio to a local Christian music station.  I believe I would have called the Christian music at the time “a bit cheesy.”  But I was desperate for as much positive to be poured into me as I could get.  

Before long, I found my mind and heart turning to God’s goodness and grace.  My morning commute became a time of worship.  This practice not only transformed my commute but affected the rest of my day.

Today, the songs have changed but the practice is the same.  I am blessed by the gift of music to help remind me that I am defined by the God who has called me, saved me, and sent me into my every day.  Each day, he does so with singing!

We’ve created two Spotify lists with some of the music we use during our two worship services.  Click on the link below to listen!

https://open.spotify.com/user/drewhanson89/playlist/3eDumU1iiYXgUqfthj7bq8