Music, Songwriting, Worship

living in moments of authenticity

I love music. Music – singing, playing the piano, the drums – is part of the very fabric of my soul. When I have a cough, I’m miserable. Not just because my throat is sore, but mostly because I’m in no condition to sing.

Why is singing so important to me? I think it mostly has to do with the worshiper’s heart that I was born with. My father was a worship leader and so I grew up under that covering. I grew up watching video recordings of the Brownsville Revival (1995) and singing and dancing along with the passionate worshipers on the screen. Music – worship – has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

In church, I was always up in the front, singing my heart out. This is how I was trained. I’m thankful that my parents guided my gifts and talents in a direction that glorifies God.

Now, I’m a worship leader at my church. But I’m also a songwriter. But one of the mistakes I’ve made in my songwriting is comparing myself to the esteemed worship leaders of today. You know, those guys with all the albums and tour appearances. (Hillsong, Bethel, Planetshakers, etc…)

I compare my lyrics to theirs. I compare my voice to theirs. I compare my musical style to theirs. I can’t stop comparing.

Consequently, when it comes to my songwriting, I end up trying to formulate my lyrics artificially. Meaning, I have a theme and I’ll sit down at my piano, choose a chord progression, and try to conjure up a song that means something. In the end, I have a song that means nothing, if I have a song at all.

But one thing I’ve found is that out of all the songs I’ve written, the only ones I feel proud of – not for the sake of myself, of course, but for the sake of God’s glory – are the ones that came out of a moment of worship.

If you’ve ever watched a recording of one of Bethel Music’s “spontaneous worship” segments, you might know what I’m talking about. If not, I encourage you to go look one up on YouTube.

Anyway, I find that there’s an unforeseen level of authenticity in a moment of worship that comes from your heart; even deeper than premeditated worship. (e.g. song lists) That’s not to say that there isn’t a certain depth to worship that follows a song list. But when there is a break in the set flow of things to allow Holy Spirit to move in a new way and give you a new song, there is an unfathomable depth that can be felt.

My most meaningful songs have almost always come out of a moment of worship. And for me, worship doesn’t just take place on a Sunday morning in church. As a songwriter, I will intentionally sit down at my keyboard and cultivate an atmosphere of worship, not only so that I can experience a “new song” (Psalm 40:3), but also because as a worshiper there is literally no place I’d rather be than in the presence of God. So I’ll go to the keyboard and begin to worship God with the gifts and talents He’s given me and sometimes He’ll “put a new song” on my tongue.

And it’s beautiful. Because it’s real.

I’d like to share with you a song that I recently wrote and recorded (you’ll have to excuse the poor quality of sound and video).

This song is called The End. I had gone into this moment of worship with this idea of decreasing myself so that He could increase. (John 3:30)

I truly hope you were blessed by this post and the video!

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