Posted June 20th, 2011 by admin with Comments Off
Last week we found ourselves leading worship at New Freedom Church in Webb, AL, on the heals of teaching a number of High School musicians/vocalists at the Illuminate Worship-Arts Camp, which will hopefully be the first of many. After six hour and a half sessions in which we poured out personal stories, Bible teaching, and practical worship-leading and musical tips, we figured we’d really stretch them and actually utilize them all (some of them were BRAND NEW to what we were challenging them in) on-stage at the church. First, after some technical difficulties (aren’t there ALWAYS?) left us with less than a half-hour to REALLY rehearse, I was thankful to discover that the team there really had it together, and their servant attitudes, and gentle spirits helped rehearsal/soundcheck to flow smoothly.
For the primary set we lead:
“Your love never Fails” – Chris McClarney / “One Thing Remains” – Brian Johnson (medley)
“Our God” – Chris Tomlin, et al.
“Your Mighty Hand” (original)
“Wandering Heart” (original, done as a special)
New Freedom is a passionate worshiping community with a culture that reminds me of, and is connected to the church Cyle grew up in, so worship is very celebratory, and it is a very exciting environment to lead in. After that, we brought up a number of the youth from camp (one was already on stage playing electric), and had them vocally lead “How He Loves” (John Mark McMillan) and “Sing my Love” (Sarah McMillan), which – I was told by a number of parents – was nothing short of a miracle, as a few of these kids have been adamantly declining opportunities to do this sort of thing publicly for years. Personally, it was just exciting to see young people step out in their gifts for the first time. I’m looking forward to the report I’ll receive 10 years from now when some of them are worship pastors shaping the worship culture of their own churches.
Now on to this week…
My friend Aaron Keyes has been in town for SuperWow, so we asked him – while he was in town – to come by and sit in with out team on Sunday A.M. Last time he led at our church was long before I was there (and I’ve been around about 7 years), so it was wonderful to co-lead with him on my turf. If you’re not familiar with Aaron, he’s lead with a comfortable, conversational voice, sharing Scripture and teaching from the Word, as he shares his original songs, and it’s not only fresh and unique in the world of high profile worship rock superstars, but it’s nothing short of – a word I don’t throw around lightly – “anointed.”
“Glory to God Forever” – Fee
“Our God” – Tomlin, et al
Then Aaron was welcomed out on stage, and taught our congregation two of his originals:
“Not Guilty Anymore” – Keyes
“Song of Moses” – Chris Moerman, Keyes, & friends
Lastly, following David’s interesting sermon on following one of the two Adams (Adam or Jesus), we co-led “Father will You Come” by his co-pastors at Grace, Ben & Pat.
What I noted about this morning: Daddy (God the Father, for you stiff, religious types – JOKE… reeeelaaax…put down the stones) seemed to be dispensing a lot of both freedom and grace. Aaron led freely, and each service was unique – we were far more flexible with our time, allowing a lot more time for corporate singing and response, and it felt GREAT. Sure, we ran over a bit – who cares? A lot of people were touched.
I’m thankful for a great Sunday, and even more thankful for being able to entrust a large portion of the service to someone I always receive a blessing from. If you haven’t checked out Aaron’s new CD, you can pre-order if from his website HERE.
Posted June 3rd, 2011 by admin with Comments Off
May 21st, 2011 will mark a first for me.
May 21st was the first time I’ve played live with David Walker (it was his CD release party). I hope it’s not the last, because I love what God is doing through David, and enjoy partnering with him as a worship leader, songwriter, and a musician. To get a better idea of who David is, swing by and give his latest CD a listen: Songs of Sons and Lovers.
May 21st was my very first time in downtown Greenville, SC. WHY OH WHY was this my first time?!? Greenville is truly one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever experienced. I wanted to drink and eat the whole place: a taste of every restaurant and coffee shop; a swim in the river; a chat here and there with kind strangers and new-found friends. Everywhere I went was a new discovery. I wasn’t the slightest bit bothered that I’d be traveling back to Greenville less than a week later – in fact, I was EXCITED!
May 21st was my first time in the Channel. The Channel is every Christian musicians dream come true – quite possibly the perfect venue in size, sound, and most of all, atmosphere/vibe. Downstairs is Grille 33, a restaurant that – get this – makes it’s own potato chips! Have you ever had fresh, right out of the vat, potato chips. Oh yeah, they’re good – along with everything else. The menu was diverse, without being overwhelming. Then there is an acoustic music venue downstairs, along with a coffee shop, which uses beans roasted locally and ground fresh. I’ll admit it, I’m a coffee snob. Those things are important to me. But best of all is what is upstairs: a beautiful old room – in fact, it looks like you’ve stepped into an old-time cotton mill that’s been refurbished into a music venue – with a viciously loud system, run by skilled sound people and the WHOLE thing has a Kingdom-focus! I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears. I can’t wait to play there again, God-willing.
Our set was all originals:
Musically, the highlights for me were Cyle’s original “Quiet Your Heart”, which we haven’t attempted as a band since our CD release last May. It’s just so layered and lush that it’s hard to recreate in a live setting, but utilizing a click track and some minor loops we’ve finally made it possible to really give the song a go. We were told by some that it was the highlight of our set. Way to go, sweetie! You sang GREAT (and Nikki was a great help as well)! The other highlight was “Don’t want to get over You”, a song I co-wrote with David, himself, but for which this was the first time I really was able to showcase my vision for the song. I don’t write ‘intimacy’ well, so a song that bleeds so much of it is a breath of fresh air for me, and I love sharing it. I wish we had recorded our whole set, to be honest.
Though it wasn’t recorded, it was captured on film by the deft photographer Elisha Yopp. You can check out more of his excellent work HERE. And here are a few more views of the evening…
May 21st was my first time for a good many things, but I’m hoping it will not be the last.