Monday, July 22, 2013

Why We Sing New Songs. Pt. 1.

Recently I had a great conversation that made me realize something super obvious.

Not everyone is like me.

I knew that before hand, but I also realized that because everyone is not like me, not everyone understands things the way that I do.

I know that you're saying, "Duh. Get to the point."

Most people kind of scratch their head or rattle off some verse when answering this question, but not me. I've always, innately known the answer to this question. The answers are very obvious to me, but I've also studied it to try to understand it more fully. So I'll share a few of the answers here to the question:

Why do we sing new songs in NewSong? 
(Besides the fact that it's the name of the service).

Here are a couple of reasons why I think it is important for us to sing new songs. (Notice the italics on the I. I feel like I should put a disclaimer right here like when The 700 Club comes on ABC Family: The views expressed on this program are not those of ABC Family. The views expressed on this blog are not those of anyone else. They are my views as Courtney, not the foundational reasons why our church does what it does- although I don't think they're in conflict!)

1. We don't watch the same movie over and over again.

Well, sometimes we do. Like that summer that my sister made me watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory everyday. (Worst summer ever.)
Back to the point.
I believe that God is creative. I believe that He instilled a spirit within some people to create and make new things. I believe that just as each sunset is not the same, not every bird is the same, not every landscape is alike, not every person looks alike, not every day has the same weather, we are not meant to experience the same things over and over again. When we look at the earth, we see God as the creator and when we look at places and people who are vastly different from our places and our people, we see that God is indeed very creative. 
So from that idea, we are not meant to limit ourselves to what we know and have known. We are meant to experience the differences of new songs, new words, new thoughts. God does not reveal Himself in the same old ways every time that He speaks to us. The wonderful paradox is that while God is always Himself, always faithful and always true, He reveals Himself to us in very different ways along our journey with Him.

So we sing new songs. We seek Him and worship Him in different ways, through different words, melodies, tempos and passions because He is all of those things. He is beautifully reflected in the soft whisper of an acoustic guitar, the banging of drums, the experienced and the amateur voices. We sing new songs to our God because He is infinite and the things that He inspires us to say about Him are also infinite. Our language will never completely describe the whole of our God. So we keep trying through different ways. Different words. Different melodies. Different passions.

We sing a new song so that we can experience the same, magnificent God in a new way.

2. If you eat peanut butter every day, you get tired of peanut butter.

We sing new songs because we get bored. This is closely related to the last reason. How many times have you found yourself singing along with a really old song on the radio without even thinking about it? There was a time when someone kept asking me to sing George Michael's "Faith" in church. They had sung along to the chorus for so long that they forgot that the verse had quite an inappropriate message.
We do the same thing with worship music. If we sing the same songs over and over again, we not only get tired of singing them, we get lazy. We get to the point where we only remember small parts and forget what the entire song message was about.
That's why God speaks to us in different ways. He speaks to us in different ways so that we will hear Him more clearly and be less apathetic. He is always moving in new ways, so we should try to follow Him in new ways.
The first time I listened to "Our God" by Chris Tomlin, I was blown away. Then we sang it constantly. The Holy Spirit still had power through that song and revealed new things to me each time I sang it, but when I wasn't careful, I was lazy. The comfort had fooled me. I had eaten peanut butter so much that I forgot how good it tasted and became indifferent.

3. Some people don't like board games.

We don't all like the same things. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't play board games, but maybe we should switch to cards some times. As a congregation, we don't all love every song. I'd love for you all to say "Not true!" to that, but to be honest, there are times when I don't love that song, but I felt the Holy Spirit pushing me towards it, so we sing it because it was meant for God to speak to someone else. So while I don't ever change songs just for the sake of someone not liking it, we do sing different songs so that people aren't constantly frustrated by that one that I keep picking.

Disclaimer here too: I most often find that when I didn't "get anything" from a song or a sermon, I wasn't really worshiping or listening. While I get that sometimes songs just aren't for us because of the place our lives are in, I've found that when I start feeling that, it is usually because I have not held up my end of the bargain. And being a stubborn person, that happens to me a lot. I have to be attentive, be open and be ready for what the Holy Spirit has to say through songs - even ones with melodies I don't like - or else I feel like "I just didn't get that one."

So while not everyone likes board games, we still play board games sometimes because unexpected joys and experiences can come out of things that we don't always like.

4. The most important one. The Bible says to!!
Psalm 33:3 "Sing a new song of praise to Him, play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy."
Psalm 96:1 "Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!"
Psalm 40:3 "He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord."
And there are many more like it!

Because the Lord is always doing a new work in our lives, we always have a new song to sing to Him. Because He is always shaping and molding us into different versions of ourselves, we always have something new to sing about. I love that the Bible calls us to sing something new. It calls us to keep moving forward with God as He creates and refines. It calls us out of stagnant places and into the present moment where God is moving.

Well. This is just part one for now. I'll be posting part two soon. 

But I hope this helps you remember and understand why we sing new songs. We don't do it because the band gets bored of playing the same things over and over again. In fact, some of our favorite songs of late are old songs that have been redone (i.e. "Cornerstone" by Hillsong, which is "My Hope is Built" and "Nothing But the Blood" as re-recorded by Andy Cherry). We do it because our God is creative, because God Himself is always moving in new ways, because some people flat out don't like some songs and because the Bible commands us to sing a new song to help us realize where God has brought us from and where He is leading us next.

Here are the songs we've been singing over the past few weeks:
July 14th:
"Savior's Here" by Kari Jobe
"Whom Shall I Fear" by Chris Tomlin
"Never Once" by Matt Redman
"Your Glory/Nothing But the Blood" by All Sons and Daughters
and "Like an Avalanche" by Hillsong

And yesterday, July 21st:
"Reign in Us" by Starfield
"Cornerstone" by Hillsong
"It is Well" by Horatio Spafford, as recorded by Shane & Shane
and "Buried in the Grave" by All Sons and Daughters

There is a great song story about "Buried in the Grave" if you click HERE

I will see of you next week!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

We all have favorites!

Since I'm a few weeks behind, here are the songs from the past few weeks in NewSong! I've included some of my favorite lyrics from one of the songs for each week. I've been listening to some new music and loving what God has to say through it.  I've been so blessed by having Adam (one of our guitar players) sing and lead us in worship lately. I was especially grateful for him this week as I was so sick! The whole band stepped right up and did an incredible adapting to lead us all in worship!!
There is something powerful about music and the Holy Spirit speaks so powerfully through music for me. I hope that as you join in worship with us each week, you have the opportunity to lose yourself in the power of the music to sing and declare the praises of our great God. We have the opportunity each week to sing and cry out to Him as the body of Christ and I hope that these last few weeks have allowed you all to do that!

June 16:

"Lift the Name" by New Life Worship
 "Lay Me Down" by Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman
"Not for a Moment" by Meredith Andrews
"Called Me Higher" by All Sons and Daughters

I could hold on, I could hold onto who I am
And never let You change me from the inside
I could be safe, I could be safe here in Your arms
And never leave home, never let these walls down
But You have called me higher
You have called me deeper

June 23:
"Reign in Us" by Starfield
"Jesus Son of God" by Chris Tomlin
"Called Me Higher" by All Sons and Daughters
"Here's My Heart" by David Crowder

Spirit of the Living God fall fresh again
Come search our hearts and purify our minds
We need Your perfect love, we need Your discipline
We're lost unless You guide us with Your light
Lord Jesus, come lead us
We're desperate for Your touch 

June 30:

"Awakening" by Hillsong/Chris Tomlin
"God is Able" by Hillsong
"Set Free" by Chris Tomlin
"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" by Hillsong

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed
And You won't start now  

July 7:

"Holy Spirit" by Brian and Katie Torwalt
"Lord I Need You" by Matt Maher
"Great Are You Lord" by All Sons and Daughters
"Love is Not a Fight" by Warren Barfield
"Cornerstone" by Hillsong

You give life
You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope
You restore every heart that is broken
And great are You Lord 

I look forward to this week when we can gather again and worship together! I look forward to the Holy Spirit moving in our hearts as we all have lyrics that stick out to us. I look forward to continuing our Me to We: Getting Relationships Right series that Brenda started us off on this week! I look forward to all of it and to seeing all of you, but most of all seeing our God!