Posts Tagged new songs

2015 New Songs at New City Fellowship

January

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize – Mavis Staples

Following the tragic and paradigm-shifting events in St Louis, it felt necessary to look back to the Civil Rights movement and the expressions of worship that shaped the theology of righteous protest. “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize” or “Keep Your Hand on the Plow” as it’s sometimes called fit the theme. I chose to blend the lyrics of Mahalia Jackson’s recording with the more recent verses from Mavis Staples recording. Jackson’s recording focused on the more transcendent context while Staples’ recording focused on the immanent call for justice.


February  

You Reign – William Murphy

I chose this song because I liked the easy to sing call and response format that invites participation. It was also a popular recording on the Gospel charts which connects with fans who are looking for signs at NCF that we care about current cultural expressions in the community. I did choose (emboldened by my friend Michelle Higgins) to add some more verses. Murphy only composed two verses and then  created variation through key modulations. I added a few more verses to further meditation on the theme of Jesus’ sovereignty. Here they are if you want to use them:

With justice and righteousness, Your kingdom is forever blessed, You reign!

Through the blood of the worthy Lamb, we worship the Son of Man, You reign!


March

Help Me Walk With You – James Ward

My dad wrote this song based on Micah 6:8. There’s an old Maranatha setting of that verse which has been played out since the 90’s. We also sang another setting from the “Compassion Art” project in the ‘00’s called “You Have Shown Us”. However, this new setting was inspired by the music of jazz vocalist, Gregory Porter has some very tasty changes. It’s a keeper.

http://ncfmusic.com/resource/help-me-walk-you/


April

Taste and See – Edwin Hawkins

Michelle Higgins dug up this classic from the Hawkins song book for the 2014 LDR conference. The song touches on so many themes without losing focus so it’s a good opener, communion song, sermon prep, offertory, and more. I opted to leave out the bridge, but every time we sing it, I have doubts about whether that was the right call.


May

10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman

Maybe you’ve heard of this song. Sometimes you have to just play the hit. Especially when it’s got good meaty lyrics. I couldn’t just play it straight though, so we’ve turned it into a Reggae feel, kind of like “Three Little Birds” and we moved the key to E flat.


June

Nkembo Alleluia

My friend, Dieu Teku shared this song with us. “Nkembo” means glory and each verse is about one of the persons of the Trinity. It’s fairly simple to pick up by Americans.


July

Where All the Nations Shall Be Healed – Kirk Ward

This song was composed for the 2015 New City Music Conference. It was well received by our congregation despite the more laid back groove. I had a lot of fun writing this song, and it’s pretty fun to perform if you can hold the pocket together.

http://ncfmusic.com/resource/where-all-nations-shall-be-healed/


August

Tambira Jehovah – Mkhululi ft Joyous Celebration choir

African music, as I’ve come to understand it, is deeply connected to dance. This song simply says, “Come and dance to the Lord.” It’s a challenge to ask Americans (especially those from European cultures) to give into the groove and shake it. However, embracing reconciliation is sometimes more than words and ideas. If dancing is such a powerful expression in African cultures, then loving Africans requires an open attitude toward body movement. (We didn’t perform all of the song on the video. I didn’t roll around on the stage either.)

 Libéré – Maggie Blanchard

There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We are free. We are redeemed. We are heirs. We are justified. This is the message of this song composed in French by Maggie Blanchard, a Haitian singer living in French Canada. How could you not love a song with these words?

Father of Lights – Josh Davis (performed by Nikki Lerner and Bridgeway)

Josh Davis is the founder of Proskaneu Ministry. I love how this song uses multiple languages (English, Spanish, Arabic, Korean, and Swahili) to express thanksgiving. It is based on James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” This song has connected well with our congregation. I have to honestly say that our band sounds great performing it.


October

He Will Supply – Kirk Franklin

We performed this song a while back at one of the LDR conferences and I’ve been looking for a good time to perform it. In October, we were having a “Choir Sunday” and I was torn between a few different songs that we could have added. I sent an email to several Gospel music fans on my team with 4 options and asked them to pick two. They all picked this one. The message is one that we preach often here at NCF, that Jesus calls us to love the world and he has promised to supply everything that we will need to accomplish that calling. Our pastor, Tony Myles really got fired up by this song and exhorted the congregation to continue singing this song. It was a blast!

Dios Manda Lluvia – Ericson Alexander Molano with Marcos Witt

We had a “Spanish Sunday” in October when we were able to teach this song. A new singer, Marcella Lee, shared this song with us. It’s a prayer of invocation asking the Spirit to rain on us with power and to restore us again. Amen!


November

In Jesus Name – Israel Houghton

We’ve only been able to perform this once. I wrote about it a few weeks ago, so go read about it here.


December

Come Again Lord Jesus – Kirk Ward

I wrote this song for Advent and we performed it on our last Choir Sunday of the year. It was a blast and the choir had fun learning it. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to composed music for NCF and to be able see that music become the emotional framework for the people of NCF.

http://ncfmusic.com/resource/come-again-lord-jesus/

Please share any new songs your church learned this year in the comments or if you are from NCF, what was your favorite new song from 2015?

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New Song: “In Jesus Name”

Here’s a new song that we are going to learn this weekend at New City Fellowship.

This song was co-written by Israel Houghton and Darlene Zschech. It’s the single from Israel’s latest recording, “Alive in Asia”  but Zschech seems to have released it earlier with a more HIllsong-y rock vibe. 

What I love about this song:

  • Infectious groove and ear-wormish melody
  • Bold proclamation of God’s commitment to his people and his kingdom (Romans 8)

Stuff that I’m not going to worry about:

  • maintaining Houghton’s EDM pop vibe on the recording (because we’re just not that kind of band)
  • maintaining the recording’s unison only vocals (my people harmonize even when I tell them not to)
  • performing all 6 1/2 minutes from the recording

I went through a period of doing a TON of Houghton’s music. It’s always fun and for the most part, theologically solid despite his  connection to Joel Osteen. For me, his songs have been the bridge between CCM style worship and contemporary gospel which is exactly what a multicultural evangelical church needs. If you haven’t incorporated these yet, you should check out his other songs like:

  • You are Good
  • Friend of God
  • Again I Say Rejoice
  • There’s a Lifting of the Hands
  • Jesus At The Center
  • Saved By Grace
  • Who Is Like The Lord
  • Highly Exalted
  • Moving Forward
  • Deeper

Stuff to remember when attempting Houghton’s songs with a congregation:

  • His voice is at it’s best in the alto range and so his recordings are going to pitch the songs accordingly, so either give the melody to the altos or bring the key down at least a whole step – or push it up a 3rd and drop it an octave. Just be careful about losing all the intensity
  • His songs often work well in a white worship setting or a black worship setting (Friend of God is a good example) so if your group is made up of mostly white, rock musicians, you are going to have to work hard not to lose the gospel vibe.
  • His songs are simple and so to make them more interesting, the recordings throw a lot of stuff into the form to constantly change things up. You have freedom to simplify these song forms to make it more “congregational” if you need to, so don’t let all those hip details from the recording make you over-think things.

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Father of Lights

We had a very satisfying worship service yesterday. By that I mean, as we sang, listened and prayed together, we drank deep of God’s grace in the gospel, the kingdom, and the power of the Spirit. Amen!

We sang a new song yesterday called “Father of Lights” by Josh Davis, the head of Proskuneo Ministries. Here’s their mission statement: “Proskuneo Ministries exists to glorify God promote unity in the body of Christ through multilingual multicultural worship gatherings, worship resources, and training of believers…”

“Father of Lights” was recorded by Nikki Lerner’s church, Bridgeway Community in Maryland. We based our performance on that recording. The song is based on James 1:17 and has a theme of Thanksgiving. It also features phrases in Swahili, Spanish, Arabic, and Korean. This was my first time singing in Korean, and a Korean friend after church told me that we actually sang the phrase correctly! I give all the credit to copying Nikki singing it correctly on the recording because I just copied her.

Here’s the place to buy the recording. If you would like the music, you should contact Josh Davis via

We also sang a medley of “I Give Myself Away” and “I Surrender All” which came off very well. My friend, Rich Rankin had the idea and requested that we sing it that way. Rich has a son who was born with severe defects to his throat and they are talking him to see a specialist this week. These songs have been a bit of a theme in Rich’s life these days.

Here’s a PDF of “I Surrender All” in Bb with the chords from “I Give Myself Away

I Surrender All (I Give Myslef Away Med)

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Behold Your King

I was reading in John 19 this morning where Pilate is interviewing Jesus. There was a phrase that struck me this time reading it. Pilate brings Jesus out to the crowd and sarcastically says, “Behold Your King.” All of a sudden I had “O Holy Night” in my head which uses that phrase in a much different way. It started me on the process of writing a song about the humiliation of Jesus, in his ministry, his trial and his death. He is our king and we follow him into that same process of humiliation.

Side note: I was using a thesaurus website at points to get different ideas and I found that Christians have a very different understanding of the words humble or meek. I often take it for granted that these are positive qualities even in our culture. However, the synonyms for these words reveal that our culture hates these qualities. No wonder this world despised and rejected Christ Jesus as well.

Here’s the song in the 1st draft form. No music for it yet.

Behold your king
Behold your king
Impoverished and despised
His kingdom is not recognized
By the Spirit’s power he’s led
With no place to lay his head
Born into our suffering
Behold your king

Behold your king
Behold your king
Arrested and abused
Now falsely he’s accused
He stands refugee from
A kingdom yet to come
But now stripped of everything
Behold your king

Behold your king
Behold your king
Tortured and alone
A suffering servant to atone
He exhales his final breath
The sun is shrouded in his death
His blood becomes our offering
Behold you king

Behold your king
Behold your king
Vindicated, glorified
He has risen! He’s alive!
His kingdom now reality
Death has lost it’s victory
Hear the nations stand to sing
Behold your king

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You Are My God and King

This weekend at New City Fellowship, I’m introducing a new tune called “You Are My God and King” which I learned last year at the LDR Conference thanks to Michelle Higgins. The song is performed by Donnie McClurkin and it features verses in Spanish and French. How could we pass up on that?

 

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New songs from Congo and Kenya

Two weeks ago, we had another African worship service at New City Fellowship. I enjoyed working on the service, but Friday night before the rehearsal, I got to experience the stomach bug that’s been going around. So even though I was out for the rest of the weekend, I wanted to share two of the songs that we added to the repertoire that weekend.

Moyo is from Congo and in Lingala, it’s basically saying, “Greetings Mother, Father, Youth” in the chorus. The verses say, “You can’t get to heaven by your riches, wisdom, strength, but you have to be changed by Jesus.”

Amenitendea is supposedly a classic song in Kenya. My wife says she remembers singing the song when she lived there as a missionary kid. In Swahili, it’s saying, “He has done it for me!” and the following verses go into what he’s done: “Saved me, blessed me, etc.” and then  it’s offering praises.

I hope to have charts for both of these up on ncfmusic.com in the near future.

 

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New (to us) Congregational Songs from 2013

Black Gospel:

 

Modern Worship:

 

African

  1. Brule En Moi – Shekina
  2. Tokomobola
  3. Ese Oluwa – Sonnie Badu
  4. Hakuna – G.A.E.L
  5. Il Est Bon De Louer Dieu

 

Spanish

  1. Tu Nos Creaste – Jesus Adrian Romero
  2. El Espiritu Del Santo Dios – Andy Park

 

NCF Originals

  1. Hear My Cry – Kirk Ward

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New Song: “Lift Up Your Heads”

 

A new song I wrote this week. It comes from Psalm 24. 

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New Song Ideas?

I’m looking for a new worship song for July. Preferably something medium to fast tempo in the Gospel vein.

Here are a couple of the tunes that I’m considering:

Psalm 63 – Greater Allen Cathedral

 

Every Praise – Hezekiah Walker

Any thoughts?

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¡Alabamos! – Resources for Worship in Spanish

This weekend at my church New City Fellowship, we are celebrating the cultural worship expressions of Latinos in our congregation. Our church has had a more vibrant relationship to Latinos in the past. Mostly through some leadership changes about 8 years ago and subsequently neglecting to intentionally invest in these relationships as we put more attention into our ministry with Congolese refugees, we have lost ground on this particular work of reconciliation. However, we have recently re-booted the work through the addition of pastor Jim Ward (no-relation), a missionary to Peru (and killer musician) who has relocated to St. Louis. So this weekend, we are going to sing all Spanish songs.

So where do we get Spanish tunes for worship? We have a collection of “oldies” that were part of our repertoire in the 90’s which fell out of use. A lot of these are Vineyard, Integrity or Maranatha tunes that have been translated into Spanish. This week, we’re going to be singing several of these which include:

“Grande Y Fuerte Es El” aka “Great and Mighty Is He” by Todd Pettygrove

El Espí­ritu Del Santo Dios” aka “Spirit of the Sovereign Lord” by Andy Park (an excellent setting of Isaiah 61)

Cambia Mi Corazón” aka “Change My Heart Oh God” by Eddie Espinosa

“Es Tu Sangre” aka “It’s Your Blood” by Michael Christ

We’re also singing some songs that have come from less familiar  sources (to “gringos”):

Tú Nos Creaste by Jesús Adrián Romero

Te Alabaré Mi Buen Jesús by Espinosa, Emmanuel

Alegría by  Steve Coronado (as preformed by Salvador. I can honestly say without exaggeration that this is one of my most favorite worship songs ever!)

That’s what we’re doing this weekend, but there are a couple of other resources you can check out if you need more ideas:

Libro de Liturgía y Cántico – is an excellent hymnal for Spanish worship done by the ELCA.

A few artists you should check out on Spotify: Jesús Adrián Romero, Marcos Witt, Salvador, and Danilo Montero. (I made a playlist you can check out.)

Sovereign Grace Music has recorded several Spanish worship CDs. We use a tune from Allí en la Cruz called Somos Tus Hijos. 

If you already have a subscription to CCLI’s resource website, SongSelect, you have acess to a TON of Spanish songs with lyrics, chords, and lead sheets! What they lack is an easy way to filter the songs so that you can get only the Spanish tunes. I had to use a publisher filter like for CanZion or a composers name, like Emmanuel Espinosa to see what was there. However, I recently discoved that you can find a lot of the top 100 tunes like say, Mighty To Save, translated into Spanish (Sólo Dios Puede Salvar) with lead sheets there as well! This is really important because Spanish songs often have syllables that get slurred together. Here are some more top 100 tunes to check out (try to guess the English titles!): Bendito Seas TúCuán Grande Es DiosEterno DiosSólo En JesúsDías De ElíasEres Fiel

Dios es bueno

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