5 Albums I’m Loving Right Now

book

I’m a huge fan of music and every year I post my favorite albums of the year. You can see my honorable mentions and favorite albums of 2013.

Since we’re halfway through the year, I thought I’d share 5 albums that I am digging right now (in no particular order). You can see all the albums I’m digging for the year on my spotify list here.

  1. Broken Bells - After the Disco
  2. Houses - A Quiet Darkness
  3. Lost in the Trees - Past Life
  4. Passenger - Whispers
  5. William Fitzsimmons - Lions

The list is definitely more melancholy and serious than my normal tastes. Part of that is getting older and the main part is I’ve been doing a ton of writing this year on my book, so I need the quieter stuff.

What are your favorite albums of the year so far?

My blog will be moving in a few weeks and I don’t want you to miss anything. Simply click here to subscribe via email so that I can serve you better and continue to help you grow to become who God created you to be.

[Image]

Dear Worship Leader

book

Dear Worship Leader,

Because I speak every week and have done so for the last 10+ years, I’ve seen a lot of worship leaders. From camps, conferences, church services, student and college ministry, it takes all kinds. Most of them are great. Some of them, not so much. Most of them have great hearts with a desire to lead a group of people into the presence of Jesus to worship, others, not so much. I thought I’d share some thoughts as a person who preaches and worships in church on a weekly basis, sort of my viewpoint of you and some requests.

  1. It’s not about you. I know worship leaders would never say it is about them or preachers either. But sometimes, it seems like it is more about you than Jesus. We are not there to watch you worship. We are not there to see how amazing you are or how incredible your voice is or that killer drum or guitar solo you just nailed. If that’s all people talk about at the end, it failed.
  2. Talk normally. So many worship leaders when they talk between songs sound like they are trying to seductively get me out of my clothes. If your voice sounds like Barry White normally, then great. If not, talk normally. Don’t breath heavy, make weird pauses. I leaned over to Katie at one worship service recently and told her I felt like the worship leader was hitting on us. It shouldn’t feel that way.
  3. Everything you say, pray and the songs you sing teach me about God. When you pray, think through it. When you talk about asking for more of the presence of the Holy Spirit, is that possible? Or do we need to be more aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit? Make sure you know what the Father, Son and Spirit do. When you make it up on the fly, you make theological errors that we in the seats listen to and believe. After all, you’re on stage. As for lyrics, make sure they are theologically correct. Also, what does it mean to sing to the heart of Jesus? When you tell us to sing this straight to Jesus I wonder who we’ve been singing to this whole time. A lot of what is said on the latest Hillsong and Passion album sound awesome in an arena, but when there are 25 people in a church planet, we don’t want to shout to God.
  4. Pray normally. When you pray, do you say God or Jesus over and over. Dear God, we love you God. Thank you God. God, your presence is so amazing God. Oh God. If that’s how you pray, great. If not, pray normally. The way you pray teaches the rest of us to pray and if it doesn’t sound normal, it communicates a normal person can’t pray. Also, when you pray, I learn theology about God.
  5. Don’t repreach the sermon. There is nothing worse than preaching a sermon, one that I as the preacher has thought about for anywhere from 1 week to 8 months just to have a worship leader come up after me and on the fly repreach it in 5 minutes and make me wonder, “Why did we just sit here?” Or, when you repreach it incorrectly? I remember speaking at another church and the worship leader came up and tried to make my point, but missed it. Showing he wasn’t really listening.
  6. Your dress reflects your heart. This is for men and women. If your dress is distracting, revealing or over the top, no one is paying attention to Jesus. They are looking at you. What you wear, how low cut it is, how shirt your skirt is, how tight your shirt is, all reflects your heart.
  7. Don’t make us stand forever. I know people stand forever at a concert, but once you start getting to 15, 20, 25 minutes of straight standing people start checking out because it hurts. Knees, back, necks, they all start to ache.
  8. When you sing high, men stop singing. If you are a worship leader, you probably have an incredible range. That’s awesome. You can probably sing all the songs exactly as they are recorded on the CD. That’s awesome. The problem is few other people can, especially men. When you sing too high, men stop singing and check out.
  9. Explain what we are doing. Why are we standing? Why are we reading this prayer? If you want me to do something, tell me and explain it. Don’t assume I want to do the thing you want me to do. You’ve spent all week thinking about it, working on it and I just heard about it.
  10. Sing songs each week. I love new songs and if you lead worship, you get tired of songs quickly. The reason? By the time you teach a song to a church, you’ve listened to it 100 times. The problem is, most people do not listen to worship music throughout the week. They don’t know the songs. So, if you teach a song and the following week don’t sing it again, we forget it.

I love worship leaders. I love that at Revolution, almost half the service is music. I want you to be great. If you don’t serve with a pastor that wants you to be as great as possible, go find a new pastor to work with. The people who show up each week show up wanting to meet Jesus and you are a big part of that. You help us encounter Jesus in a personal, emotional and logical way. I want you to be great and I don’t want anything to stand in the way of you being the worship leader God called you to be.

[Image]

Enhanced by Zemanta

We Are Voices | Loneliness

My brother-in-law is in a killer band called We Are Voices. This is their latest song “Loneliness.” Be sure to check them out.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Best Albums of 2013

PandP_BestAlbumsOfTheYear

It’s that time of year again, the time to share my “best of” lists of the year.

It started with the top sermon downloads from Revolution Church, then my almost best books & almost best albums of the year. Then I shared my favorite books of 2013. Today is the last list: my favorite albums of 2013.

Enjoy.

13. The Civil Wars The Civil Wars

This band is just incredible. It’s too bad they can’t stand each other. Still an incredible album.

12. Sleeping at Last Atlas: DarknessAtlas: LightAtlas: Space 1

3 incredible EP’s from this Ryan O’Neal. So good.

11. The Head and the Heart Let’s Be Still

This album took some time to grow on me, but now I love it. Definitely a good step from their last album.

10. The Lonely Wild The Sun as It Comes

I could’ve paid $8 to see this band in Tucson over the summer, but didn’t. Still kicking myself for that because of how great this album is. So much heart in it.

9. Kodaline In A Perfect World

Just discovered this band. Wow.

8. Andrew Belle Black Bear

I’ve been a fan of Andrew Belle for a few years. This is his best and most ambitious album yet.

7. Hey Marseilles Lines We Trace

According to the Seattle Times, “Hey Marseilles is a contender for a local rock band to break out in a significant way in 2013.” This album is that good.

6. Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires of the City

This album is higher on a lot of other year end lists. I think because of my high expectations, it hurt this album. Still good, but not as good as I hoped it would be.

5. Gregory Alan Isakov | The Weatherman

Wow.

4. Sigur Ros Kveikur

Katie and I saw Sigur Ros in April. If you can ever get to their show, you need to. Wow. This album is off the charts.

3. Marble Sounds Dear Me, Look Up

This is such a good album. It would be #1 if not for how good the next two are.

2. The National Trouble Will Find Me

Not quite as good as High Violet, but such a good album. In fact, until I heard the next album, this one was #1.

1. Bastille Bad Blood

I can’t believe this is the debut album for this band. So, so, so good.

How’s my list? What albums did I miss? What albums did I rate too high?

[Image]

The Almost Best Albums of 2013

abbac1a7

In case you are new to my blog, I love music. My life is rarely silent, whether at home, working on a sermon, in the car, or working out. Music is on. Our family loves music because of this.

So, every year I like to look through my music library and share the albums that have been getting the most play in my life. And as it is the end of the year, it is year end list time. If you’re curious which albums I liked last year you can look at the honorable mention list and the top albums of the year.

On Monday I shared the top sermon downloads from Revolution Church. Yesterday, I shared the almost best books of 2013. Tomorrow I’ll share my favorite 13 books of the year and Friday I’ll share my top 13 albums of the year.

But today. We’re listing the albums that were good, but not good enough to be in the top 13 list of the year. Here they are in no particular order:

Youth Lagoon | Wondrous Bughouse

A great follow up to The Year of Hibernation. A really good, introspective album.

She & Him | Volume 3

“She” is so talented. End of story. All of their albums are worth owning, and this one is no different.

Denison Witmer | Denison Witmer

I went to high school with Denison and have loved his music ever since then. This album is easily his best. I wanted to put this in the top 13 for sentimental reasons, but couldn’t.

Matt Redman | Your Grace Finds Me (Live)

Normally Matt Redman songs are only good when other people sing them, not this album. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe since he’s hanging around Chris Tomlin more he’s gotten better. Either way, this worship album is incredible.

Local Natives | Hummingbird

Hard to believe this is only their second album, but it is good.

Ra Ra Riot | Beta Love

Best way to sum this album up: fun. Good, upbeat fun.

Pickering Pick | Tropic

Make a good cup of coffee on a cold day, grab a blanket, a book and this album. You’ll thank me.

Olafur Arnalds | For Now I Am Winter

His albums are perfect background music to working, reading or hanging with friends. So good.

City and Colour | The Hurry And The Harm

As one review said, “If you’re looking for heartbreak, purpose, and tears, then step on board City & Colour’s The Hurry and the Harm.”

Pacific Air | Stop Talking

A great dreamy pop album.

Washed Out | Paracosm

I never get tired of this band. Perfect for blasting in the car when you just want to rock out.

The Avett Brothers | Magpie And The Dandelion 

Every year The Avett Brothers release an album, they make this list. They are that good.

Courrier | Cathedrals of Color

Great indie pop record. You will not be disappointed with this one.

Hillsong United | Zion

The second best worship album of the year. Matt Redman was third, this one is second.

The Digital Age | Evening:Morning

This is the best worship album of the year.

[Image]

Your Input Please | Best Albums of 2013

PandP_BestAlbumsOfTheYear

It’s almost the end of the year. If you are new to my blogyou may not know that at the end of the year I share my favorite albums and books of the year. You can see pasts lists here.

Before giving you my list of favorite albums of 2013, I’d love to hear what were your favorite albums of the year. Unlike the book list, to make my favorite albums of the year list, it must be an album released in that year (ie. 2013).

So, in the comment section, fire away and share with us your favorite albums of the past year. I’ll share my list next week.

[Image]

Christmas Music You Should Own

book

I’m not a huge fan of Christmas music, but thankfully, there is some really good Christmas music out there. Here are some of the ones our family is loving this year:

Enjoy!

[Image]

New Song Sunday @ Revolution: “Greater”

Here’s a new song we’re learning Sunday at Revolution Church as we look at John 14:7 – 31 and the peace that the Holy Spirit brings to our lives. Fits perfectly.