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Posts Tagged ‘sojourn’

5.5.  This post is dedicated to my self-respect, which I released when I watched a few episodes of American Idol in a row.  Does it matter that one of the contestants (who made the top 60) used to go to my church?

5.  Louis over at Baker Book House Church Connection (longest blog title ever?) posted some of the titles to be released this year by Baker Publishing.  The highlights for me are Victor Hamilton’s commentary on Exodus, G K Beale’s NT Theology, and Craig Keener’s Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts.

4.  Also in the world of publshing, Fortress Press is offering a 40% off sale of all their titles through the month of March (HT).  Fortress publishes a lot of stuff I couldn’t care less about, but they also publish a number of N T Wright’s best volumes.  If you’re a commentary collector, this could be a good time to purchase something from the Hermeneia series (although even at 40% off they’re still expensive).

3. The active and passive sides of God’s love.  Or, what makes Gordon Fee cry.

2. I need some music recommendations.  I have Christmas gift cards (iTunes, maybe even my Amazon gift card) to use, and would like to update some of my music.  By “update” I don’t mean it has to be new.  In fact, I generally am not a fan of the latest music.  I’ve already purchased some: finally got Mutemath‘s debut album (which has extra live tracks on iTunes) and Lettuce‘s Rage, per the recommendation of my co-blogger, Brian.  I’m leaning towards The Rocketboys, but also have enough money left over to get something else.  Some Stevie Wonder?  Any great blues guitarists (big fan of Stevie Ray Vaughan and old Clapton stuff)?  Great classic rock?  So many options…

1.  Our friends over at Sojourn Community Church have released another album, The Mercy Seat/The War, half Jamie Barnes songs and half Brooks Ritter.  Have a listen!

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Get Yourself Some Hymns

We here at BBG have hardly kept it a secret that we love hymns.  In fact, if you look under our worship links to the right, you’ll find them to be hymn-heavy.  So I wanted to take a moment to let you in on some hymn news that I’ve run across in the last few weeks.

First, you can check out the live worship from the 2008 Together for the Gospel Conference.  The music is pretty simple: Bob Kauflin on the piano, the voices of the attendees carrying the powerful words of worship.  You can download 3 songs for free right now (Oh for a Thousand Tongues to Sing, Jesus Paid It All, All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name).  The other 16 songs will be released sometime next month.  Check it out here

Second, and staying in the Sovereign Grace network, Covenant Life Church in Maryland has released a cd of hymns entitled How Sweet the Sound.  Good news- you can pay whatever you want for it.  Don’t believe me?  See for yourself.

Lastly, Sojourn Music has been working on a 2-disc project based on Isaac Watts’ hymns.  You can keep up with the latest on their blog, but also check out videos of the recording process here.  So, if you’re interested not only in hymns but in the work that goes into an album, you might enjoy these.

Anyway, there you go.  I hope you enjoy these little treasures that only the internet can provide.

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I’d like to venture out of my comfort zone of book geekery for a moment to review a worship album released last year by Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY.  Though I love music, I don’t know much about the intricacies; I don’t recognize many of the important things the trained ear will notice (Brian is the trained musician of BBG), nor am I really a great judge of poetical quality, though I’d like to think I know a bit more about that.  My friend A-Rock reviews music for PopMatters, and he uses words like “sublime” or “transcendent”, whereas I’m more prone to use “cool” or “wicked awesome.”  Alas, here we go.

 

I ventured upon Sojourn’s album, Before the Throne, earlier this year and have joyfully  weaved it into my regular rotation of worship.  The album consists of 10 songs written by Sojourn members, and 1 great hymn, “Before the Throne of God Above”.  While much of modern worship would probably be classified as “pop” musically, this album has a rootsy-folk feel, incorporating other styles such as a little rock (“My Maker and My King”) and a jazzy Norah Jones-esque tune (“I’m Coming Back”). 

 

There are two things that set this album apart from most of what I’ve heard in recent years.  First, the lyrical quality is very high, and not just the hymn.  “In the Shadow of Your Glorious Cross” is the kind of song that can excite even the most ardent hymnophile, including yours truly.  “I’m Coming Back” and “All I Have Is Yours” are two fabulous tracks, as are “Lead Us Back” and “There Is a Peace.”  You can check out the lyrics on the Before the Throne Page.

 

Second, I noticed that this album incorporates a number of themes, only to find out later that Sojourn intentionally used a liturgical format for this album (see the comments here).  Thus, it incorporates lament & confession (“Lead Us Back”, which I’ve written about on my previous blog), a communion tune (“All I Have Is Yours”), a benediction (“All Good Gifts”), etc.  You don’t have to be aware of this to enjoy it, but it helped me appreciate all the more how much thought went into this album.  With so many albums these days feeling like a collection of disconnected radio-friendly singles, I feel like this is the kind of album that could benefit a church seeking to have a well-rounded repertoire of worship songs. 

 

As for critiques, I suppose the one thing I can think of is that a couple of the songs seem like they’d be difficult for congregational singing (“My Maker and My King” and “Evergreen”), though I’ve been wrong about that in the past.

 

I couldn’t recommend this album highly enough.  The songs “In the Shadow of Your Glorious Cross” and “Lead Us Back” are #s 1 and 2 Most Played on my iTunes, and their version of “Before the Throne of God Above” is my favorite of recent renditions.  And in an age of celebrity worship leaders, who go on tours with laser light shows and smoke machines, I’m excited to see a church taking the time to write songs for their community.  You can download the entire album (11 songs) from iTunes for $9.99, but if you want to try it out, check out their Before the Throne Page and download the 4 songs they offer for free (I noticed that I can’t download them on my wife’s Mac, though that may be due to my technological incompetence).  While you’re there, check out the other albums they have (many more free songs!), as well as their terrific blog.  For anyone who leads worship, either in a church service or in smaller groups, their website will be an excellent resource (hence its inclusion in our “Worship” links to the right).  And for those of us who don’t lead worship, you just might learn something too.

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