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Vertical Church Band: The Rock Won’t Move

“VCB encourages us to have a faith that stands on the Rock that won’t move.”

 

vertical-church-rock-wont-moveI turned 57 this last week and it seems the older I get the more I’m turning into that guy. You know, the one who loves the old songs and wonders why we need a constant glut of new worship songs? I’m still trying to learn how to sing the ones from last year! And whatever happened to being able to hear individual instruments? Where did this wall of sound come from?  (I can hear my bones fossilizing as I write this…) As a worship leader, I honestly do value what new songs bring to the church and I’m always on the look out for great ones. More than once I have seen a new song breathe fresh winds into the sails of congregational worship. That being said, I’ve also seen a lot of really bad songs become popular due to catchy hooks but added nothing to edification of the church. (Col. 3:16) The great songs lift our hearts and feed our souls not not only with beauty but strong truth.

Enter Vertical Church Band and their new collection of worship songs entitled “The Rock Won’t Move.” VCB comes out Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago, pastored by James MacDonald.  Harvest  has a strong emphasis on solid doctrine and biblical preaching that shows up clearly in the worship music that flows out of the church. Yes, there is the typical wall of sound going on here (Can’t wait for that pendulum to swing!) and some of the usual over worked exultations:

I am free, I am free indeed
I am free, I am free indeed
We are free, free indeed
We are free, free indeed
– “I’m Going Free (Jailbreak)

But there are some real gems here that are original, poetic, musically inspiring and theologically tasty. Two really stand out. First is “Worthy Worthy.” Somewhat akin to Revelation Song, “Worthy Worthy” has the kind of simple chorus that one can get lost in while worshipping, but the verses are what really stand out to me. It opens with:

No pen or quill, no scribe in perfect skill
With flawless words could capture all You are
No lofty thought, no scholar of this world
Could grasp an inch of such infinity

I appreciate songs that capture the notion of how transcendent God is and the smallness of our capacity to comprehend His greatness. The second verse with the pre-chorus:

With hearts amazed and songs that never frame
The fullness of your worth and majesty
We come again and fall on bended knee
And here adore the God that we don’t see
Though we cannot comprehend such a mystery
Just a glimpse of You revealed is compelling us to sing

Indeed! His self-revelation to our hearts is compelling! How can we not worship? The melody makes the song very congregationally friendly and I can see our church doing this.

“With hearts amazed and songs that never frame the fullness of your worth and majesty, We come again and fall on bended knee and here adore the God that we don’t see”

The PR folks are trumpeting  “The Rock Won’t Move,” “Strong God,” “Worthy Worthy,” “Call On The Name,” and the album opener “Found In You.” There really are some nice songs here but one not mentioned as a “key track” that I would consider THE track is “I Will Follow.”  Why? Because we have done such a poor job of  highlighting the reality of suffering and death in our worship. I’ve been saying for some time to young worship leaders that our job is not just to instruct people in living but preparing them to face suffering and the reality of death in a godly way. I can see some of this making an appearance in several of the songs in this collection but “I Will Follow” captures it beautifully:

When I see the wicked prospering
When I feel I have no voice to sing
Even in the want, I’ll follow You
Even in the want, I’ll follow You

When I find myself so far from home
And You lead me somewhere I don’t wanna go
Even in my death, I’ll follow You
Even in my death, I’ll follow You

These are profound statements with huge implications – ones that we need to train believers to deal with. The chorus is a simple affirmation:

I believe everything that You say You are
I believe that I have seen Your unchanging heart
In the good things and in the hardest part
I believe and I will follow You
I believe and I will follow You

In the “good things and in the hardest part.” One thing that 57 years have shown me is that the hard parts are relentless. VCB encourage us to have a faith that stands on the Rock that won’t move.
 
Check out the promotional video below and click here to get the song The Rock Won’t Move with leadsheet from Noisetrade!
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Jeff Ling is the Pastor of Clear River Community Church in Northern Virginia.

If you’re not already familiar with Tree Hill Collective, I would encourage you to discover their gift to the church. I became a fan after hearing their One Redemption collection and I have looked forward to subsequent releases. Their website describes their ministry in these words:

“We are a network of songwriters, independent artists, and music industry professionals who exist to create and share the very best worship songs and to craft and make freely available all of the resources the church needs to use them.”

That is a great and worthy vision!

Their latest release is called Shelter in the Wind and features the songs and vocals of Mia Koehne. There is a sampler available on Noise Trade and it’s well worth a listen. The four songs range widely from the elegant single piano and vocal of the title track to the full band and rap insert of You are Holy. I’m particularly drawn to the simple anthem We are More than Conquerors. Once again, the Tree Hill folks know how to make space in their music. Rather than bury the vocals under the usual barrage of U2 riffs and extra keyboards, producer Jeff McCullough lets the vocals stand front and center. One of the nice things about this is that it allows a small church to think “we could do that song!” as opposed to “we could never sound like that.” In an “industry” (hate to have to use that word!) that is driven by name recognition and radio airplay there is so much great music that gets overlooked. It’s unfortunate, and I hope this blog may help to promote some of the very anointed and talented songwriters in the church today. Tree Hill Collective is helping to make that possible. Follow them on Facebook to find out about more.

Click the cover below to listen or to get a free download from Noisetrade

 

 

City Sounds - City Church Bristol

I’m always on the look out for new worship music that serves the church in creative and faithful ways. City Church Bristol has put out an EP that’s well worth a listen to. Produced by Phatfish’s Nathan Fellingham, “City Sounds” is a beautiful effort by a local church band writing some strong material for their congregation.

To be honest, I almost didn’t get past the first song,

“Come On” is featured first on the preview page and it follows what seems to be a formulaic approach that seems to litter the worship landscape right now which is a driving rhythm with what has become the obligatory “whoa-ohs” being sung over it. Look, it’s just me, I know I’m out of the mainstream but, frankly, my first reaction is “more of the same” and I move on. In this case, I have such an appreciation for Nathan Fellingham that I previewed the next and I’m so glad I did. All of the songs are fresh and singable but two really stand out to me. “Jesus Has Shown Us” is a a lovely piece that centers on creation:

Jesus has shown us the God who cannot be seen
The picture of his endless love for all he has made
Though we were lost, without hope, unclean in his eyes
He came to find us suffered so willingly died

Beautiful saviour, Universe maker
Creation sustainer, Jesus our King
Matchless designer, Revealing the Father
Alpha and Omega, Reigning Supreme

“What A Savior” is the stand out on the EP. Violating the sacred rules of modern worship songs, there are 4 verses including one about death!

Happy if with my final breath
I may gasp His holy name
Preach him to all and cry in death
“Behold, behold the Lamb!”

What a saviour we have In Jesus
What a saviour we have in Him
For he conquered the grave
And now he reigns
What a saviour we have in Him

Maybe it’s just cause I’m an older guy but I think the worship community does precious little to prepare their congregations to face death. As much as it is dealt with in the scriptures, and given that it will be an experience common to all of us, we could use more songs that joyfully anticipate not only the Savior’s victory over the grace but that our future suffering is followed by resurrected glory.  Check out City Sounds here and here. They offer free chord charts as well! Follow them on @CityChurchBris

New Music to Check Out

January 24, 2013

Sovereign Grace Music has released a new collection by Ryan, Jonathan, and Meghan Baird who collectively are known as West Coast Revival, You can read the particulars about them below. Let me just mention here that their rendition of  is very, very satisfying and uplifting. That’s the only one of the 6 songs they didn’t pen the lyrics to. The other 5 are a master class in combining solid theological concepts, poetry and music into a feast that’s both relevant musically and enriching in the best way.  is a song I can’t wait to get into the hands of our congregation. Check it out below and get it today!

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From Sovereign Grace: “For years Ryan, Jonathan, and Meghan Baird have been contributing to Sovereign Grace Music as vocalists, songwriters, and instrumentalists. Their songs include Always Forgiven, The Prodigal, Completely Done, and most recently Behold our God. Something special happens when the Bairds get together to play and sing, and on this EP you’ll get a chance to hear what that is. Their sound is a rootsy, sometimes bluesy, form of Americana, always communicated with tight harmonies and compelling lead vocals. Just what you’d expect from kids who were raised by their dad and mom to love Jesus, his church, and good music.”

I’ve been smiling all day over this wonderful video…

Tom Read - Over All, Kingsway Music

I’m pretty knocked out by Tom Read’s new effort released by Kingsway. So fresh, so current and so good! Here’s how Kingsway describes it:

Asian based Worship Central leader, Tom Read, releases his debut solo album. An album that merges beautifully with the current worship scene. With hints at Rend Collective’s authenticity, nods towards Worship Central’s energy and embracing the Spirit-soaked urgency of Jesus Culture, ‘Compass’ is a journey in itself. As worship leader at The Vine church – a thriving community in Hong Kong – Tom’s voice brings with it some unique experiences and perspectives. His songs, including co-writes with Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon and Marc James, are as honest as they are inspiring.

Two things you must do! First, check out the video below and just enjoy the gladness that permeates the song. Easily a great congregational tune. Next click the pic to the left for a link to Kingsway’s Song of the Week “Over All” by Tom. Register for free and get the mp3 and chord chart. I’m really looking forward to listening to this collection a good bit!

All About Worship Collective Vol. 4 – Free for 90 Days Only! 

The folks at All About Worship are providing a great service to the church with the release of these albums and the accompanying charts. Take advantage of this offer right away!

“The vision for the Collective is to be a resource of quality, top-notch, corporate worship songs for local churches all over the world…AT NO COST TO YOU!…thanks to the generous artists, songwriters, and record labels!”

And that’s exactly what it is.

The collection on Vol. 4 includes material by the familiar (Israel Houghton, Aaron Shust) and the not so familiar but should be! (Drew Lay, Jamie Nunnally) One of the stand outs for me is “How Great the Love” by Sean Hill and Milton Gardner, a simple and beautiful gospel proclamation that would serve any church well.

“Nail pierced hands, a bleeding side
blameless life condemned to die
For my sin He was crucified
How great the love of Jesus Christ.”

Links are below for info and charts. You can find this and more at All About Worship

Here’s the set list from their site:

Volume 4 Track List: 

1. Join in The Sound – Brothers McClurg
website | iTunes | chart | twitter

2. We Are Free – Aaron Shust
website | iTunes | chord chart | lead sheet | twitter

3. Fearless – Travis Ryan
website | iTunes | chart | twitter

4. To The One – Harvest Bashta
website | iTunes | chart | twitter

5. I Call You Jesus – Israel Houghton & New Breed
website | iTunes | chart | twitter

6. Hallelujah (He’s Alive) feat. Dave Fitzgerald – Roma Waterman
website | iTunes | chart | twitter

7. More Than Songs – Stephen Miller
website | iTunes | chart | twitter

8. Glorify – Drew Ley
website | iTunes | chart | twitter

9. How Great The Love – Sean Hill
website | iTunes | chart | twitter

10. Lord We Worship You – Jamie Nunnally
website | iTunes | chart | twitter

11. You Make Us Strong – Northstar Arts
website | iTunes | chart | twitter

12. Song of The Lamb – Harvest Bashta
website | iTunes | chart | twitter

We Still Believe by Kathryn Scott

One of the great ongoing resources we feature here is Kingsway’s Song of the Week – a free mp3 and chord chart each week simply for logging in. This week the song is “We Still Believe” by Kathryn Scott, a lovely song of faith in the midst of trials.

From the thankful heart to the battle scarred
From the comforted to those who grieve
From the mountain top to the empty cup
From the waiting to those who have received
We cry out as one

We still believe, we still believe
We’re still surrendering our hearts
Your faithfulness is our reward
We still believe, we still believe
And though the journey has been hard
We will confess Your goodness, God
We still believe

From the reborn hope to the weary soul
From the quest for truth to those who see
From the soaring wings to the shattered dream
From the broken to those who have been healed
We cry out as one

Through the fire, through the pain
We offer You our ‘yes’ again

Kathryn Scott
Copyright © 2010 Integrity Worship Music/Adm. Kingswaysongs for the UK

Here’s a video of Kathryn and Brian Doerksen talking about the We Still Believe album:

A Thousand Amens: LIVE Worship with The Falls Church Anglican.The Falls Church Anglican church has been thrust into the wilderness of portable church land after many years in its historical location in Falls Church, Va. as an Episcopal Church. After refusing to compromise God’s Word in reference to sexuality, the church lost its building (a stunningly beautiful facility) and has moved into a local high school. Before leaving, under the direction of Jamie Brown (Associate Director of Worship and Music), the church recorded a live CD called A Thousand Amens in the old facility. In Jamie’s words:

This recording captures the cry of a congregation that has learned and clung to the reality that Jesus is worthy of costly worship. And if that means we lose everything to gain Christ, then we say a resounding “amen”. So be it, Lord. We believe you’re all to us.

It is both a beautifully executed artistic work and a testament to the glory cloud that rested over that facility for many years and certainly is leading them forward on their journey. Below is a video that features the song A Thousand Amens and below that, links to purchase the CD as well as a free mp3 and chord chart for the song More Than Conquerors

Free Song Mp3 : More Than Conquerors
More Than Conquerors Chord Chart 

Purchase Physical CD

Purchase Download