Mike Cope's blog

Monday, March 07, 2005

We're meeting this morning in Nashville to begin planning for the next Zoe conferences. Then Brandon will get busy selecting songs and putting together the next CD. So many of our the songs we're singing in Churches of Christ right now come from the arrangements on those Zoe CDs. So . . . want to make a few suggestions to Brandon? (He'll kill me. But, hey, I'm not making any promises.) What are some songs you wish could work their way into our worship assemblies? Now . . . a complaint. Why aren't there more songs being written today about mission, discipleship, and justice? Faith, as our brother James said, is worthless if it isn't an acting faith. Some people have thought James was heretical here; I think he was just writing about faith as he'd learned it from Jesus. (Try reading the Sermon on the Mount again.) I'm tired of "Shine, Jesus, Shine." But at times it seems like there aren't many other options when you're wanting to sing about the call to follow the Way of Jesus -- a way of justice, evangelism, and mercy. What songs are leading us to our identity as people who participate in the breaking in of the kingdom of God? Any songwriters out there? Or any songwriting wannabees out there? Get with it! I love all the "praise songs" that have been written. They were certainly needed -- especially for those of us who grew up on a steady diet of "To Canaan's Land" songs. But it's almost as if we've now equated "praise" and "worship." There are so many other voices of worship besides praise: thanksgiving, lament, and confession come to mind. Where are the new songs that lead us to the mystery of God like "Be Still My Soul" and "God Moves in a Mysterious Way"? But mostly, we need more songs that speak of our new identity as the people of God --blessed by God to be a blessing to the world.

27 Comments:

  • I agree, Mike. The songs that I really want to hear more of are songs that talk about "We," "Ours," and "Our," rather than "I," "Mine," and "Me."

    I love the personal songs, but I really feel like when we sing in a group we should sing like we're in a group, not just a bunch of individuals.

    The great irony of the Christian life is that it is an intensely personal journey, but it's one that can only be done really effectively in the context of community.

    Blessings on you, Mike. Keep challenging the blog world. Change is a lot slower than many of us like it to be.

    By Blogger Phil, at 3/07/2005 06:02:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Matt Redman has a song called, “Mission’s Flame.”

    Let worship be the fuel for mission’s flame
    We’re going with a passion for Your Name
    We’re going ‘cause we care about your fame
    Send us out.

    The chorus says,

    You should be the praise of every tongue…

    Not very politically correct in our culture, but bold. I think that’s a very big reason we don’t have these mission songs you want. It’s not politically correct to say that we’re going somewhere in the name of Jesus to accomplish something that could change other people. Even a mission that is strictly about serving cannot be tied to the name of Jesus without the risk of offending somebody.

    By Blogger Jon, at 3/07/2005 06:36:00 AM  

  • I have posted this request a few times to BST, but thanks for the opportunity to request it again! The song is called "Restore Me" by Jason Ingram & it is a cry out to God.

    Restore me
    I would have no way but Yours my Lord
    Restore Me
    Like an eagle spreads it's wings & soars
    I will lift my faithless heart to a God whose love is pure
    Resting in Your arms I am secure
    Restore me

    By Blogger Beaner, at 3/07/2005 06:39:00 AM  

  • Mike- I'm in Nashville, too! See you at Baja Burrito! :)

    By Blogger Katie, at 3/07/2005 07:58:00 AM  

  • There are several newer songs out there. The first on that pops into my mind is Casting Crowns "We are the Body"

    But if we are the Body,
    Why aren't His arms reaching?
    Why aren't His hands healing?
    Why aren't His words teaching?
    And if we are the body,
    Why aren't His feet going?
    Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
    There is a way.

    There are others. Hope you have a great meeting!

    By Blogger TCS, at 3/07/2005 08:05:00 AM  

  • How 'bout some laments? We have very few songs that express the downside of life, but we have pews full of people that are experiencing just that. The Psalms have some "communal laments." We should too. "Blessed Be Your Name" comes pretty close, but sometimes the words of the Psalms push despair even further.

    By Blogger Josh, at 3/07/2005 08:16:00 AM  

  • You know what I would like to see is a song based on Micah 6:8

    "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

    The only time I have heard this in song is by a Reggae artist, Jimmy Cliff, who used to be in Bob Marley's band.

    Great words; Micah 6:6-8 is one of my favorite OT passages.

    Jonathan

    By Blogger jds, at 3/07/2005 08:40:00 AM  

  • Ok, Mike, here are some great songs that we’ve been singing for a while with our students at YouthWAVE and at Glenwood. They are:
    Show Your Power
    Memorable line: “and for our inheritance give us the lost”...
    You should here 300 teens screaming this out—I still get chills just thinking about it.
    You Said
    Memorable Line: “You said, ask and you will receive.....O Lord, we are asking for the nations...”
    Incredible song with energy and a clear proclamation about God doing what He said He would do!
    Undivided Heart
    Memorable line: “Teach me your way O Lord, and I will walk in your truth. Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”
    It’s straight from Psalm 86.11-13a and just reminds me every time I sing that the way of the Lord is my mission! See benwall@tyler.net for sheet music.
    Here I Am:
    Memorable line: “Here I am, wholly available. As for me, I will serve the Lord.”
    That’s the whole song. Before you say that it’s got too much of the “I” language, please consider two things. First, this song was written by a teenager. Second, when you think of the church as the “I” here, it’s a beautiful picture of a bride who is fully surrendered to Christ. bw

    By Blogger Ben, at 3/07/2005 09:01:00 AM  

  • Ok, Mike, here are some great songs that we’ve been singing for a while with our students at YouthWAVE and at Glenwood. They are:
    Show Your Power
    Memorable line: “and for our inheritance give us the lost”...
    You should here 300 teens screaming this out—I still get chills just thinking about it.
    You Said
    Memorable Line: “You said, ask and you will receive.....O Lord, we are asking for the nations...”
    Incredible song with energy and a clear proclamation about God doing what He said He would do!
    Undivided Heart
    Memorable line: “Teach me your way O Lord, and I will walk in your truth. Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”
    It’s straight from Psalm 86.11-13a and just reminds me every time I sing that the way of the Lord is my mission! See benwall@tyler.net for sheet music.
    Here I Am:
    Memorable line: “Here I am, wholly available. As for me, I will serve the Lord.”
    That’s the whole song. Before you say that it’s got too much of the “I” language, please consider two things. First, this song was written by a teenager. Second, when you think of the church as the “I” here, it’s a beautiful picture of a bride who is fully surrendered to Christ. bw

    By Blogger Ben, at 3/07/2005 09:04:00 AM  

  • Mike, you can tell Brandon that "No One Else Knows" by Building 429 is a great song. It's track 7 on their self titled CD.

    By Blogger Fajita, at 3/07/2005 09:30:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Brandon might not want you to tell him what kind of music to sing just like you wouldn't want him to tell you what Sermon to preach. Oh, sorry wait people do that already.

    In regards to you complaint: songs that are written are not necessarily songs that can be transcribed to acappella.

    But anyway here is my partial list:
    Hughes - Beauty of you Peace, Nothing in this World
    Tomlin - Holy is the Lord, How Great is our Lord
    Watermark - Knees to the Earth.

    Hey maybe even "Wedding Dress" by Derek Webb. We could all sings together:

    am a whore i do confess
    but i put you on just like a wedding dress
    and i run down the aisle
    i’m a prodigal with no way home
    but i put you on just like a ring of gold
    and i run down the aisle to you

    In regards to in - justice how about this Joni Mitchell's Magdalene Laundries

    I was an unmarried girl
    I’d just turned twenty-seven
    When they sent me to the sisters
    For the way men looked at me
    Branded as a jezebel
    I knew I was not bound for heaven
    I’d be cast in shame
    Into the magdalene laundries

    Most girls come here pregnant
    Some by their own fathers
    Bridget got that belly
    By her parish priest
    We’re trying to get things white as snow
    All of us woe-begotten-daughters
    In the streaming stains
    Of the magdalene laundries

    Prostitutes and destitutes
    And temptresses like me--
    Fallen women--
    Sentenced into dreamless drudgery ...
    Why do they call this heartless place
    Our lady of charity?
    Oh charity!

    These bloodless brides of jesus
    If they had just once glimpsed their groom
    Then they’d know, and they’d drop the stones
    Concealed behind their rosaries
    They wilt the grass they walk upon
    They leech the light out of a room
    They’d like to drive us down the drain
    At the magdalene laundries

    Peg o’connell died today
    She was a cheeky girl
    A flirt
    They just stuffed her in a hole!
    Surely to God you’d think at least some bells should ring!
    One day I’m going to die here too
    And they’ll plant me in the dirt
    Like some lame bulb
    That never blooms come any spring
    Not any spring
    No, not any spring
    Not any spring

    Okay maybe not. This is probably why we lean toward the Shine Jesus Shine.

    By Blogger happytheman, at 3/07/2005 09:58:00 AM  

  • There is a song written by Dwight Liles called "We Are An Offering" that is just wonderful. There is actually an arrangement of it in "Songs Of Faith And Praise." I first heard this song on a worship album by Chris Christian back around 1985-86. Please give it a listen.

    We lift our voices,
    We lift our hands,
    We lift our lives up to you
    We are an offering.

    Lord use our voices.
    Lord use our hands.
    Lord use our lives, they are yours.
    We are an offering.
    We are an offering.

    All that we have,
    All that we are,
    All that we hope to be
    We give to You, we give to You

    By Blogger MichaelPolutta, at 3/07/2005 11:37:00 AM  

  • I am a wannabee song write for sure. I have tried my hand at a few lyrical sound bites (the latest posted on my blog a few days ago) but dont really have enough confidence do get em out there. Its rough attempting to translate your innermost desires for Gods glory into a song that is singable. Most of my desires come out as groans which arent too pretty, and hard to harmonize with.. haha.. anyway... a few favorites..

    Here I am Lord
    Is it I Lord?
    I have heard you calling in the night.
    I will go Lord, if you lead me.
    I will hold your people in my heart.


    I hope I can answer that call in my life...

    mmmmm...

    By Blogger Phyllistene, at 3/07/2005 01:11:00 PM  

  • "Deep Calls to Deep"
    and
    "If You Say Go"

    are two of my favorite songs. As is "Surround Us, Oh Lord" and "This is How We Overcome."

    Lament, Response, Pleading and Victory songs -- they still exist. ^_~

    By Blogger Q, at 3/07/2005 01:22:00 PM  

  • Mike,
    We need some arrangements of U2 songs like these from HTDAAB:
    Crumbs From Your Table
    "You speak of signs and wonders
    But I need something other
    I would believe if I was able
    But I’m waiting on the crumbs from your table
    Where you live should not decide
    Whether you live or whether you die"

    and Love and Peace
    "I don’t know if I can take it
    I’m not easy on my knees
    Here’s my heart you can break it
    I need some release, release, release
    We need
    Love and peace
    Love and peace"

    and Yahweh
    "Yahweh, Yahweh
    Always pain before a child is born
    Yahweh, Yahweh
    Still I’m waiting for the dawn
    Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
    The sun is coming up on the ocean
    This love is like a drop in the ocean
    This love is like a drop in the ocean
    Yahweh, Yahweh
    Always pain before a child is born
    Yahweh, tell me now
    Why the dark before the dawn?"

    By Blogger Greg, at 3/07/2005 02:45:00 PM  

  • How about the first verse only of "All of Self and None of Thee"???

    Oops. That's what we're tryin' to get away from, aren't we...

    Yesterday we sang the seldomly-done-congregationally "You're the One, You're the Only One." It was blessed!

    In response to Josh's call for songs of lament, how about Psalm 61:1-3 - VERY powerful!

    By Blogger Kevin Hammond, at 3/07/2005 03:20:00 PM  

  • Mike-

    If you're looking for a song about the mission of the church in the world, United Live's "To the Ends of the Earth" is worth a look (sample here). The chorus goes like this:

    And I would give the world to tell the story
    For I know that you've called me, I know that you've called me
    I've lost myself for good within your promise
    And I won't hide it, I won't hide it

    Jesus, I believe in you, and I would go
    To the ends of the earth, to the ends of the earth
    For you, alone, are the son of God
    And all the world will see
    That you are God, that you are God

    One of the most moving songs of lament that I've heard in a long time is Tim Hughes' "When the Tears Fall" (Full lyrics and sample here):

    I've had questions without answers
    I've known sorrow, I have known pain
    But there's one thing that I'll cling to
    You are faithful, Jesus, you're true

    When hope is lost, I'll call you "Savior"
    When pain surrounds, I'll call you healer
    When silence falls, you'll be the song within my heart

    I'm also partial to Jeff Deyo's "We Come to Your Throne With Weeping." The entire song is available for streaming in this ecard - you just have to click through some preliminary stuff and use the player's browsing buttons to get to it. (While you're there, be sure and also check out "Bless the Lord," a song that gives praise to God not only for his beauty and holiness, but also for his suffering, his fire, and his testing.)

    By Blogger Matt, at 3/07/2005 03:37:00 PM  

  • Writing and selecting our music. What responsibility and fun.

    I know, this sounds like a quote from Captain Obvious, but I like the songs that are basically Scripture set to music. And if someone wanted to bring on more material for community lament (great suggestion) why not use what's already there?

    I'm not an insider on this, but it seems like we're moving away from the ditty-fication of our music. Keep making the music deep. At least some of it. Write it after a really rich sermon.

    By Blogger Frank Bellizzi, at 3/07/2005 03:51:00 PM  

  • I wish that Brandon & group would consider some of the songs from GODSPELL--"Save the People","Day by Day","Bless the Lord", "All Good Gifts","Light of the World","Beautiful City", "We Beseech Thee",and "On the Willows". I think their version of these songs would be something I would like to purchase. Also, "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR would be beautiful. Anything Zoe sings is always wonderful,imho. Can't wait to get the next CD--whatever is on it!

    By Blogger annie, at 3/07/2005 06:18:00 PM  

  • I am with ya, Phyllistene-I am also a wannabe writer and have written a few songs, but I am definitely not an arranger, and hardly even a lyricist-sometimes they pour out out of my heart, but like you said-they don't always come out singable...but I am sure there are well abled people out there with that gift to shape them that way!! I just haven't utilized them yet...keep pouring them out though!!

    And, Mike...I'll get right on those requests for you ;-)

    By Blogger Katherine, at 3/07/2005 07:13:00 PM  

  • My favorite song right now is Nicole C. Mullen's "Redeemer." It would be a wonderful Easter song --her singing it is incredible -- just crank it up and man -- what a song...

    "Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?

    Who told the ocean you can only come this far?

    Who showed the moon where to hide 'til evening?

    Whose words alone can catch a falling star?

    Well I know my Redeemer lives

    I know my Redeemer lives

    All of creation testify

    This life within me cries

    I know my Redeemer lives

    The very same God that spins things in orbit

    He runs to the weary, the worn and the weak

    And the same gentle hands that hold me when I'm broken

    They conquered death to bring me victory

    Now I know my Redeemer lives

    I know my Redeemer lives

    Let all creation testify

    Let this life within me cry

    I know my Redeemer, He lives

    To take away my shame

    And He lives forever, I'll proclaim

    That the payment for my sin

    Was the precious life He gave

    But now He's alive and

    There's an empty grave

    Now I know my Redeemer lives

    I know my Redeemer lives

    Let all creation testify

    Let this life within me cry

    I know my Redeemer, He lives

    By Blogger Michelle, at 3/07/2005 07:52:00 PM  

  • Check Out Chris Rice's song...Take Your Candle, Go Light Your World...
    That's my theme for Bible Camp this summer.

    Les Ferguson, Jr.
    Gulfport, MS

    By Blogger Orange Grover, at 3/07/2005 08:10:00 PM  

  • thanks for the ideas guys. I really appreciate it. Some of you probably don't have any ZOE recordings considering that you've suggested things we've already done. BUT--all ideas are great. Thank you!! Matt--good suggestion on the Hilllsongs one.

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 3/08/2005 11:05:00 AM  

  • One of the ABSOLUTE BEST WORSHIP SONGS I know...

    I'll Pour My Love on You, Phillips, Craig and Dean

    The song centers around the "sinful woman" anointing Jesus' feet...if it can be done well acappella, I know Zoe could do it :o)

    Like oil upon your feet,
    Like wine for you to drink,
    Like water from the heart,
    I'll pour my love on you.

    If praise is like perfume,
    I'll lavish mine on you,
    Til every drop is gone,
    I'll pour my love on you.

    Wonderful song...I taught it to all my ministry leaders...it is about the heart of service.

    Glenn Drysdale

    By Blogger Glenn Drysdale, at 3/08/2005 11:55:00 AM  

  • Here are some lyrics I wrote that are more lament/confession:

    Papa (a prodigal’s lament)

    Verse 1
    I’ve taken my share and wasted
    I’ve taken His name and cursed it
    Hurt the one that took care of me
    Hurt the one that would set me free

    Verse 2
    I’m guilty of the things I’ve done
    I’m guilty, the prodigal one
    My face is buried in the ground
    My heart is crying homesick sounds

    Chorus
    I think of what my Papa would say
    I sink low for what He did pay
    I wonder if love waits for me
    And if He’d forgive the guilty
    Oh I miss His sweet, gentle voice
    Will He still see me as His boy?
    I’d be happy to be a slave
    If He will let me come and stay

    Verse 3
    I’ve squandered all of His blessings
    I’m a broken fool confessing
    And I have spend my time alone
    But now I feel like going home

    Repeat Chorus

    And I have spent my time alone
    Oh Papa, I feel like coming home

    Copyright 2005 Khris Robinson

    Now if I could only find someone to put some music to it....thanks for the post...great subject.

    By Blogger Khris, at 3/10/2005 12:08:00 PM  

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    By Blogger Zach, at 3/14/2005 09:21:00 PM  

  • This song first came to mind when you copied Edward Fudge's gracEmail re: Prayer. Then when you mentioned songs of lament, I knew I had to post it. It's a Rich Mullins song that he recorded shortly before he died.

    Hard to Get

    You who live in heaven
    Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth
    Who are afraid of being left by those we love
    And who get hardened by the hurt
    Do you remember when You lived down here where we all scrape
    To find the faith to ask for daily bread
    Did You forget about us after You had flown away
    Well I memorized every word You said
    Still I'm so scared, I'm holding my breath
    While You're up there just playing hard to get

    You who live in radiance
    Hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin
    We have a love that's not as patient as Yours was
    Still we do love now and then
    Did You ever know loneliness?
    Did You ever know need?
    Do You remember just how long a night can get?
    When You were barely holding on
    And Your friends fall asleep
    And don't see the blood that's running in Your sweat
    Will those who mourn be left uncomforted
    While You're up there just playing hard to get?

    And I know you bore our sorrows
    And I know you feel our pain
    And I know it would not hurt any less
    Even if it could be explained
    And I know that I am only lashing out
    At the One who loves me most
    And after I figured this, somehow
    All I really need to know

    Is if You who live in eternity
    Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time
    We can't see what's ahead
    And we can not get free of what we've left behind
    I'm reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears
    All the words of shame and doubt, blame and regret I can't see how
    You're leading me unless
    You've led me here
    Where I'm lost enough to let myself be led
    And so You've been here all along I guess
    It's just Your ways and You are just plain hard to get.

    By Blogger Zach, at 3/14/2005 09:23:00 PM  

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