Brand new song from Selah: The People of the Cross; and Honoring the Martyrs (part 2)

April 28, 2015

People Of The Cross

[Scroll down for new song from Selah – it’s SO good, Wow!  But the intro is inspiring, important and relevant…]

Last week I posted an entry about the Ethiopian, Kenyan and Egyptian martyrs: Lifting High the Cross: How the Martyrs Exalted Christ by Their Deaths (part 1) I have an additional entry I planned to post as a followup, but a very busy workload in recent days kept me from completing that draft.  Today I found myself with some unexpected free time between meetings and I was browsing Twitter catching up on various prayer needs and current events around the world…  Two posts on Twitter related to the martyrs killed by ISIS grabbed my attention, and I felt it very important to post them here.  So what was going to be a two-part series, will now be a three-part series.  I’ll hope to post the third entry on Thurs. or Friday.

The first tweet related to the martyrs today was posted by the famous Catholic monk and musician John Michael Talbot:

The full text of what he wrote was:

Coptic Christians in praise of Jesus in 2011 before the uprising of recent persecutions by fanatical Islam. This is the strength that gets them through the persecution today. Do we have the same?

I watched the linked video from the great Middle Eastern Christian channel SAT-7 (over 2 million views for this video!)

Here are excerpts from the lyrics in English – they utterly astound me in light of ISIS actions killing our brothers from Egypt & Ethiopia on the grounds that they were PEOPLE OF THE CROSS.  It is almost as if this song was written to prepare the church in Egypt for the time of testing to come.  INCREDIBLE.

Increase your praises to Christ, lift up the Lord with your tunes
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you
Increase your praises to Christ, lift up the Lord with your tunes
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you
Say that He has risen and death has no authority
And there is no forgiveness except through His blood
Say that He has risen and death has no authority
And there is no forgiveness except through His blood
And the light of the Gospel is increasing
[…]
Say that He has conquered darkness and its authority
He has lit up our days and given them color
And the light of day is increasing
[…]
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you
Say that He is He is defeating his foes
We’re winning with His testimony and blood
And our heritage is increasing
[…]
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you
Live the joy of heaven, joy, joy
Satan will wear the clothes of one in mourning
[…]
Increase your praises to Christ, lift up the Lord with your tunes
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you

No sooner had I finished watching that, then I glanced back at my Twitter feed, and the VERY FIRST tweet I saw was this from We Are Worship USA:

So, I went straight to YouTube to watch this video. This song People of the Cross was just released today – it’s on iTunes and other music download sites.

So powerful.  May this be true.

We are the People of the Cross.  We choose Christ and count all else as loss.  We won’t be shaken.  Hope won’t be taken. We are the People of the Cross.

May this be a rallying cry to the Evangelical Church in the West to truly live as People of the Cross, following in the footsteps of the martyrs from Egypt, Kenya and Ethiopia who have counted the cost and shown that Christ is worth dying for.

Go buy this song and keep listening and keep praying for the church around the world that we may not shrink back in the face of suffering and persecution….


Easter Music – Sojourn: the Warrior

April 17, 2015

The Easter music I’ve chosen for today is one of the best contemporary songs in my Easter playlist, Warrior by the Louisville, KY based group Sojourn. The combination of the words and the great musicianship – a blend of jazz and rock – make it so powerful.

I only discovered Sojourn in 2013.  This is from their album Over the Grave, released in 2009. I also love the songs Over Death and We Are Changed from this same album, and Good Day from the 2011 EP The War.  All of these are 5 star songs in my Easter playlist.

The songs on this album are inspired by hymns written by Isaac Watts:

In the midst of the Reformation in England, Isaac Watts recognized that people needed to see the gospel in the psalms and hymns of the church, and they needed to sing them in language and metaphors that they understood. In this, he became not only the father of the modern hymn, but the pace-setter for contextualizing the gospel for the people of God.

As musicians, pastors and songwriters, our desire was to explore the hundreds of hymns that Watts wrote during his lifetime, to learn from the incredible range and depth of his lyrics, and to re-envision those songs with modern language and melodies. In particular, we gravitated towards themes that seem unfortunately absent in modern worship — themes about God’s wrath and judgment, His righteousness, and a dramatic vision of the cross and atonement of Christ.

This CD is the first installment of the Isaac Watts Project: songs inspired by and adapted from his hymns. The record was written and performed entirely by musicians from Sojourn Community Church — 35 in all. It is our hope that this project, like Watts’s hymns, will point us beyond the music and lyrics to see the glorious Savior who inspires them.

You can find all of Sojourn’s music at their bandcamp page.

David rejoiced in God alone
He was raised by grace to an earthly throne
But Christ the son demands our praise
For His kingdom has no end of daysLord, you rejoice in victory
When another lost soul bows to its knee
Rising tide of righteousness
With the shield of truth upon your breast

Oh the Warrior!

Honor and majesty divine
Around his sacred temple shine
Grace and might so long foretold
In crowns of glory, not of gold

Your hand shall find out every foe
And as a fiery furnace glows
With raging heat and living coals
They will feel your wrath upon their souls

Oh the warrior will conquer all
The world will fall before His feet

Earth and sea will give up their dead
The nations gathered before him
A day of glory, a day of dread
No one dares now ignore him

words: Dave Moisan, Neil Robins, Bobby Gilles, and Isaac Watt
©2008Sojourn Community Churchand Bobby Gilles
CCLI Song #5429035
I found a Chord Sheet here.  I post the lyrics and chord sheet for edification and as a resource, but please respect copyright and purchase the song if you’ll be using and sharing it.

Music for Easter – Victorious, a fantastic new song by Third Day

April 8, 2015

This is probably my favorite new song of 2015: Victorious, by Third Day, from their new album “Lead Us Back: Songs of Worship” (I really recommend the whole album!)

The focus is Christ’s resurrection, but I confess I gave it some air play during Lent…!  I just couldn’t resist, its message is so full of hope, and I needed to hear it in the wake of the Egyptian martyrs in Libya, the killings in Kenya, etc.  Soak in the truth of this song today. Christ’s resurrection is the seal on His victory over all powers of darkness!

 

  “And having disarmed the powers and authorities,

he made a public spectacle of them,

triumphing over them by the cross.” Col 2:15 (NIV)

lyrics:

[Verse 1]
In all the heavens, there is One
Who conquered death alone and brought our freedom
Your throne will last throughout all time
Let all the nations bow and bring You praise

[Chorus]
Victorious, You reign victorious
Over sin, over death, over all, over us

[Verse 2]
And with the angels, we will sing
A blessed multitude of Your creation
Rejoicing with our holy King
The only One that brings us our salvation

[Chorus]

Victorious, You reign victorious
In Your mighty name we trust
Let all proclaim You reign victorious
You reign victorious

[Bridge]
All nations rise and they will fall
The kingdom of our God will last forever
All nations rise and they will fall
The kingdom of our God will last forever

Victorious, we lift You up, victorious
Victorious, we lift You up, victorious

[Chorus]


An Easter Adaptation of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah – Kelley Mooney and Choir

April 7, 2015

I discovered this song online yesterday.  It’s the third entry that shows up when one types “Easter Music” into the Google search bar.

It’s lovely, and there’s a wonderful story behind the song.  Kelley Mooney is a Roman Catholic singer and songwriter in Canada.  Her parish priest had heard Leonard Cohen’s classic “Hallelujah” and thought it might make a good song for Kelley to sing in church for Easter.  She became troubled that the lyrics might not be so appropriate for church worship, so she wrote a modified version focused on the narrative of Christ’s passion and resurrection.   Kudos to her, she contacted the publishers for copyright to use Leonard Cohen’s music, and then it was first recorded with her singing with a school choir.  She later published a CD with the song.   The video of her singing with the choir has gone viral – 8 million plus views on GodTube and nearly 3 million on YouTube!  Wow.

Below is the GodTube version of the song.  It’s also available on You Tube.   Here is Kelley Mooney’s website, and here is the link to purchase the recording of her singing the song  (via iTunes).

Here are the lyrics:

Hallelujah by Kelly Mooney
Adapted to the music of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

“A crown of thorns placed on His head
He knew that He would soon be dead
He said did you forget me Father did you?
They nailed Him to a wooden cross
Soon all the world would feel the loss
Of Christ the King before His Hallelujah

Hallelujah (repeat 4 times)

He hung His head and prepared to die
Then lifted His face up to the sky
Said I am coming home now Father to you
A reed which held His final sip
Was gently lifted to his lips
He drank His last and gave His soul to glory

Hallelujah (repeat 4 times)

The soldier who had used his sword
To pierce the body of our Lord
Said truly this was Jesus Christ our Savior
He looked with fear upon his sword
Then turned to face his Christ and Lord
Fell to his knees crying Hallelujah

Hallelujah (repeat 4 times)

Took from his head the thorny crown
And wrapped him in a linen gown
And laid him down to rest inside the tomb
The holes in his hands, his feet and side
Now in our hearts we know he died
To save us from ourselves oh hallelujah

Hallelujah (repeat 4 times)

Three days went by again they came
To move the stone to bless the slain
With oil and spice anointing hallelujah
But as they went to move the stone
They saw that they were not alone
But Jesus Christ has risen Hallelujah

Hallelujah (repeat 4 times)
Hallelujah (repeat 4 times)


Easter Music – Great Contemporary CCM songs – Andrew Peterson: High Noon

April 25, 2014

Ok, so far in our Easter Music series for 2014, I’ve posted: 

some Easter CCM Classics, some Easter Hymns, some Easter worship songs, oh yes, and some awesome Classic Gospel too!   And I’ll be posting more songs in each of those sub-categories.

But there’s still another sub-category of music – “Contemporary CCM” (yes… I know CCM stands for Contemporary Christian Music, so I’m repeating “contemporary” and that’s really lame! LOL!)  But, if “CCM classics” are (roughly) from the CCM genre’s first 20 years (the early 70’s to early 90’s), we need a way of describing CCM songs from the past 20 years, and for better or worse, “Contemporary CCM” is the tag I’ll use.

Anyway, whatever we call them, there are some great Easter songs from the last 20 years from artists such as Andrew Peterson, Casting Crowns, Jeremy Camp, Natalie Grant, Gungor, MercyMe, Mark Schultz, Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, Newsboys, Todd Agnew, etc.  These are not generally “worship” songs that would be sung in church on Sunday morning, and yet they are wonderful worshipful songs celebrating Christ’s resurrection. And I’ve got a bunch of them in my CCM playlist. Some of them will be posted here…

***

For today, I thought I’d post the song I’ve most recently added to my Easter Contemporary CCM playlist.  I’ve long enjoyed many of Andrew Peterson’s songs, and his song All Things New was already in my Easter playlist.  But thanks to Trevin Wax’s blog post about Easter Music  earlier this week, I discovered Andrew Peterson’s song High Noon, from his album Love & Thunder, released in 2000.  Somehow, I’d never heard this song before this week, and wow, the lyrics are SO powerful. (Really can’t believe I’ve missed hearing it for 14 years!)  It’s a wonderful contemplative song that fits in really well with the devotional reading I’ve been doing focusing on “Why does the Resurrection matter in our everyday lives?”

Grab a cup of tea or coffee and settle in and savor this song and the freedom and victory we have in Christ because of His resurrection.

“… Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”  (2 Tim 1:10)

Here’s a YouTube video featuring the song:

Here are the lyrics:

High noon in the valley of the shadow
When the deep of the valley was bright
When the mouth of the tomb shouted,
“Glory, the groom is alive”
So long, you wages of sin, go on,
Don’t you come back again
I’ve been raised and redeemed;
You’ve lost all your sting
To the victor of the battle at
High noon in the valley
In the valley of the shadow

Now the demons, they danced in the darkness
When that last ragged breath left his lungs
And they reveled and howled
At the war that they thought they had won
But then, in the dark of the grave
The stone rolled away
In the still of the dawn on the greatest of days

It was high noon in the valley of the shadow
When the shadows were shot through with light
When Jesus took in that breath
And shattered all death with his life
So long you wages of sin
Go on, don’t you come back again
I’ve been raised and redeemed
You’ve lost all your sting
To the victor of the battle at
High noon in the valley of the shadow

Let the people rejoice
Let the heavens resound
Let the name of Jesus, who sought us
And freed us forever ring out
All praise to the fighter of the night
Who rides on the light
Whose gun is the grace of the God of the sky

High noon in the valley of the shadow
When the shadows were shot through with light
When the mouth of the tomb
Shouted, “Glory, the Groom is alive”
So long you wages of sin
Go on, don’t you come back again
I’ve been raised and redeemed
All praise to the king
The victor of the battle at
High noon in the valley
In the valley of the shadow


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