“Rest Easy” by Andrew Peterson

I’ve been a huge fan of Andrew Peterson ever since I heard his masterpiece of a CD called Behold the Lamb of God in 2005. He has a rare gift of being able to craft songs that are full of lyrical and theological depth, musical creativity, and a pastoral heart. Plus he really loves his wife and kids.

Andrew released a new CD in late August called Light for the Lost Boy. I wanted to highlight one of the songs off this CD called “Rest Easy”. You can listen to it here:

It’s not a congregational song (i.e. you wouldn’t expect your congregation to sing along). But if you’re looking for a song to sing over your congregation as a gospel-soaked blessing, this should be one you add to your repertoire as soon as possible. Here are the lyrics:

You are not alone
I will always be with you
Even to the end

You don’t have to work so hard
You can rest easy
You don’t have to prove yourself
You’re already mine
You don’t have to hide your heart
I already love you
I hold it in mine
So you can rest easy

So do not be afraid
Nothing, nothing in the world
Can come between us now

So you don’t have to work so hard
You can rest easy
You don’t have to prove yourself
You’re already mine
You don’t have to hide your heart
I already love you
I hold it in mine
So you can rest easy

You work so hard to wear yourself down
And you’re running like a rodeo clown
You’re smiling like you’re scared to death
You’re out of faith and all out of breath
You’re so afraid you’ve got nowhere left to go
Well, you are not alone
I will always be with you

You don’t have to work so hard
You can rest easy
You don’t have to prove yourself
You’re already mine
You don’t have to hide your heart
I already love you
I hold it in mine
You can rest easy

We sang this song this past Sunday at my church as the offering song just before communion. When it was over, all I said was “isn’t this good news?” The congregation responded “yes!” Then I said “this is why we can stand and sing ‘Praise God from whom all blessings flow…'” and we sang the Doxology together.

I strongly recommend all of Andrew Peterson’s albums to you for your own listening and edification, and also to provide you with special songs throughout the year to sing in your services. This song is one of his best. It’s simple, to-the-point, and almost shocking in its statement of assurance of God’s love. And that’s why I like it so much!

Here’s Andrew sharing the story behind the song (it’s worth watching the whole thing:

And you can download the song for free at Desiring God’s website.

Another Free Song: God of All Power and Grace

One of the songs on my church’s new live worship CD that I wrote is called “God of All Power and Grace”. I wanted to share the story behind the song, the lyrics, and then a free recording and chord chart.

I wrote the bulk of this song several years ago in my church’s former main sanctuary. I had been on staff at that point for a couple of years and had been witnessing God making our worship more and more free on Sunday mornings. I was trying to find a song that helped articulate what we were experiencing in corporate worship, since this kind of freedom was new to a lot of people. We weren’t just singing words off a page or off a screen. We were actually encountering the glory of God together and experiencing his manifest presence  as we sang to him.

So I ended up writing this song to help us express three things: (1) praise to God, (2) reasons why we praise God, and (3) what happens when we praise God. God is the God of all power, but also the God of grace who calls us to himself and helps us to praise him. The lyrics evolved a bit over the years and we finally settled on these for the CD:

Verse 1: God draws near to us when we praise him

God of all power and grace
Be enthroned in the midst of our praise
As we lift or voice to bless You
God who inhabits our praise
We welcome You in this place
As we lift our song before You

Chorus: We gather to magnify the name of Jesus – and as we do that, God frees us even more

We lift You up, we glorify
You who are worthy, You who are mighty to save
Be lifted up, be glorified
Here in Your presence, You free us to offer You praise
God of all power and grace

Verse 2: Jesus is worthy of worship because he saved us and bought us with his blood

God of all power and grace
We who were lost have been saved
So we lift our voice to bless You
God, our Redeemer and Friend
We know mercy and love without end
So we lift our song before You

Verse 3Our worship here on earth is a foretaste of worship for all eternity

God of all power and grace
When we look upon Your holy face
We will lift our voice to bless You
God who all heaven adores
We will worship You forevermore
When we lift our song before You

You can purchase the whole live CD here.

You can download a free mp3 of this song here: God Of All Power And Grace MP3

You can download a free chord chart of the song here: God of All Power and Grace CHORD CHART

What Songs Work Well for Advent?

This coming Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent. Advent is based off of the Latin word “adventus” and literally means “coming”. We are expectantly awaiting the celebration of Jesus’ coming on Christmas, and we’re expectantly awaiting his coming in glory. It’s a very cool season and provides congregations several weeks to express our cries of “how long”? Not only “how long until we can finally sing Christmas carols and open presents?” but “how long until you finally come back, Jesus?”

Two years ago I wrote some posts on songs that work well in Advent.

The first post had to do with “what to do with Advent” and some good hymns to sing. The second post had suggestions of newer, more contemporary songs that work congregationally. The third post had a couple of songs that worked as special/not congregational songs.

Here are some other songs I’ve become aware of that might work during Advent.

Soon (Brooke Ligertwood)
– Slow, tender song about when we will finally see Jesus
– Either a congregational song or a solo, but probably better as a solo
– “Soon and very soon, my King is coming, clothed in righteousness and crowned with love…”
– You can listen to the whole song, read the lyrics, and download the music here

All to Us (Redman/Maher/Reeves/Tomlin)
– Slow/midtempo song
– Either as a congregational song or a solo
– The recorded key of C is too high. I find A to be better
– “We are waiting on you, Jesus”. “When this passing world is over, we will see You face to face…”
– You can listen to the whole song, read the lyrics, and download the sheet music for free here

We Belong to the Day (Mike Morrow)
– Midtempo song
– Either as a congregational song or a solo
– “We belong to the day, to the day that is to come when the night falls away and our Savior will return…”
– Bob Kauflin featured this song on Worship Matters in June and linked to free downloads of the recording and the music

How Long? (The Reckoning) (Andrew Peterson)
– An upbeat song of lament/longing for Jesus to return
– From his excellent CD, “Counting Stars”
– Would work as a special (not congregational) song
– “How long until this curtain is lifted? How long is this the song that we sing? How long until the reckoning?”
– Justin Taylor at The Gospel Coalition featured this song last year. Click here to listen to the song and read the lyrics.

God With Us (Jamie Brown)
– Slow song
– OK, I wasn’t going to share this song because (a) the recording is awful and (b) I don’t want to push my own stuff. But, hey it’s free, you don’t have to like it, and it it’s helpful, then great
– The verses describe different people and situations that look hopeless, but actually “God with us”, Jesus, is right there in the middle
– Would work as a special (not congregational) song
– A female vocalists should sing the response part in the chorus. But again, this recording is so bad, from several years ago, that I tried to take care of both parts
– The lyrics are below the audio player

In the long, cold winter of waiting,
Every day a new door is closed
No job for so long and no money
Every letter, every call, a new “no”
God with us

She has cried, she has prayed for a husband
Still she lies in her bed all alone
Every Christmas, every birthday, every morning
Every baby – another one that’s not her own
God with us

Surely he has borne our griefs (God with us)
He has carried all our sorrows (God with us)
His chastisement brought us peace (God with us)
Yesterday, today, and tomorrow
God with us

He has lost his ability to fight it}
It has stained every corner of his mind
He is drowning in the darkness in private
Every click – a step back from his bride
God with us   (chorus)

The baby in her womb is not her husband’s
They have fled from their home to hide
But she believes what the angel told her
That she would bear the Son of the Most High: God with us

Surely he will bear our griefs (God with us)
He will carry all our sorrows (God with us)
His chastisement will bring us peace (God with us)
Yesterday, today, and tomorrow
God with us

Jamie Brown. © 2011 Worthily Magnify Music. CCLI Song # 6026949.

 

Song Recommendation: Grace is Not Earned

A few months ago I came across this new song from Kate Simmons and wanted to recommend it to you. It’s called “Grace is Not Earned”.

Here are the lyrics:

Grace is not earned, nor deserved,
It is a gift from God.
Saved by Your mercy alone,
Rescued by Your great love.
Grace is the heart of the Father,
Grace is the gift of the Son,
Grace is the work of the Spirit,
Revealing the wonder of an amazing God.

You know how often I fail
And all that I can’t undo,
Stains I’ve no means to erase,
How can I stand before You?
Christ takes the cross on His shoulders,
Steadfast to Calvary’s hill,
Leaving my sin in the grave
He rises, the conquering Son,
Such amazing love!

Raised by Your life, now in Christ,
Chosen and dearly loved,
I am now seen through Your eyes:
Righteous through Jesus’ blood!
Ransomed, restored and forgiven,
My sins are remembered no more!
Though still I’ll stumble, You’ll keep me.
By grace, I’ll continue on in unending love!

Oh the mercy, oh the mercy of our God, of our God. (repeat)

Kate Simmonds. © 2010 Phat Music / Administered by Song Solutions CopyCare. 14 Horsted Square, Uckfield, East Sussex, TN22 1QG England. info@songsolutions.org

Here’s a video of Kate singing the song:

What I like about the song:
– It says things in a new way. I love the line: “Grace is the heart of the Father, grace is the gift of the Son, grace is the work of the Spirit…” So good.
– It points us to the finished work of Christ on the cross and what that means for us.
– It’s clear. You can’t read the lyrics of this song and wonder what it means.
– It teaches. The very first line is key: “Grace is not earned, nor deserved, it is a gift from God”. This is worth singing about.

You can purchase the mp3 and PDF of the music here.

Ten New-ish Songs Every Church Should Know By Now

Every once in a while I’m asked by pastors and/or worship leaders at smaller and/or more traditional churches what new songs would work for their congregations. Apart from a hymnal, and maybe (just maybe) some songs from the late 70’s, their repertoire has pretty much remained stagnant.

I’m going to be gracious in my definition of “new” and include (except for one) songs from the last fifteen years that, for most congregations, should probably be added to the repertoire.

These songs might seem old to you. If so, this post isn’t for you. This is for the churches who have never sung these. Here are some suggestions.

In Christ Alone
Written by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, © 2001 Thankyou Music.
iTunes

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us
Written by Stuart Townend, © 1995 Thankyou Music.
iTunes

Beautiful Savior
Written by Stuart Townend, © 1998 Thankyou Music.
iTunes

The Power of the Cross
Written by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, © 2005 Thankyou Music.
iTunes

Blessed Be Your Name
Written by Matt and Beth Redman, © 2002 Thankyou Music.
iTunes

Holy is the Lord
Written by Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio, © 2003 worshiptogether.com songs.
iTunes

How Great is Our God
Written by Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, and Jesse Reeves, © 2004 worshiptogether.com songs.
iTunes

Here I am to Worship
Written by Tim Hughes, © 2000 Thankyou Music.
iTunes

Before the Throne of God Above
Written by Charitie Lees Bancroft in 1863 (Public Domain), music by Vikki Cook © 1997 Sovereign Grace Music.
iTunes

Shout to the Lord
Written by Darlene Zschech, © 1993 Hillsong Publishing.
iTunes (VeggieTales version)

Please add any you think I’m missing!