Thursday, June 15, 2006

Worship God Live

I'm hooked.

A few weeks after I ordered Songs for the Cross Centered Life, I was blessed to receive a copy of Worship God Live from Bob Kauflin at Sovereign Grace Ministries. One or the other has been playing in my car pretty much ever since.

Worship God Live is the product of two special nights of worship at Covenant Life Church. When I opened the CD's liner notes, the first thing I noticed was an interesting statement about worship. The project is called "Worship God Live" because it was a live recording of worship. But the note also says, "Worship is a life lived in grateful response to God, who sent His Son to save us from our sins. So take it outside the church doors. Everywhere you everything you do...Worship God. Live." I love this double-meaning for the title, reminding us that worship is much more than singing along to a CD!

All the songs are arranged primarily for congregational singing; the fact that they're sung by a worship team invites you to join in rather than drawing attention to an individual singer's voice/style. They're extremely singable and fun to learn. Some are exuberant and you can't help but tap your feet; others are more quietly moving. I find snatches of lyrics running through my head all the time--which is a wonderful way to help me center my thoughts on Jesus throughout my day. The collection also includes two great hymn updates: Isaac Watts' "O God Our Help in Ages Past" and William Cowper's "God Moves in a Mysterious Way."

My only complaint is that a few of the songs end with extended ad-libbing. I have no doubt it probably worked live--moved by the greatness of the God they are singing about and to, the congregation is clapping and all the musicians are spontaneously, individually praising Him. If you were there, I'm sure it flowed and you wouldn't even notice. But on a CD, it doesn't quite work. The piano sometimes sounds a little bit chaotic, and it ends up being more distracting than worshipful. I find myself just thinking, "OK, next track." But it's an extremely minor complaint, and easily solved (just hit the "next" button).

I love Sovereign Grace Music because it captures the beautiful balance between singing hymns in a dull and lifeless way, and excitedly repeating mindless "Jesus-is-my-boyfriend" lyrics. Bob Kauflin says it well:
"at the end of the day, I’d rather be sitting in the midst of a quiet congregation that is singing rich, doctrinal truths than be jumping around with a lively congregation that is belting out shallow, man-centered songs. But why not pursue both? God doesn’t intend for us to have to choose. We can experience theological depth AND passionate expression."
That's exactly what Worship God Live is. The theological depth of the lyrics deepens my understanding of God's character and deeds and my love for Him as I sing. I'm not just repeating shallow words; I'm learning and reinforcing truths about grace! And these compelling truths lead to passionate expression--the alive songs stir my heart to worship with joy and gratitude.

You can hear song samples and order a copy of the CD here. I hope you'll check it out!

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