Monday, May 21, 2012

New Blog Site

Hey friends, just wanted to let you know that I've changed by blog site to  I just finished my first album, Glad, so I wanted to consolodate my "web presence" (can't believe I just used that prhase).  There's info about Glad, as well as all the contents of this blog (and more content/songs soon to come) at

If you've subscribed to this blog and would like to get an email whenever I post a new song, you'll need to resubscribe to my new blog (pretty simple, it's in a box on the right side of the screen).

Peace & Grace,

Monday, April 9, 2012

Name Above All Names

The humility of God in Christ is one of my favorite themes to meditate on in worship. In my undergrad religious studies (at a liberal arts university), we took a look at Philippians 2:5-11 in the context of discussing the Christian understanding of Christ's divinity. My professor suggested that Paul didn't quite think of Christ as divine, but only that he operated as a sort of second Adam. Where Adam failed (in that he sought equality with God by eating of the forbidden fruit), Jesus succeeded in expressing humility. But by denying that Paul believed in Christ's divinity (a view I clearly disagree with but can't get into at the moment!), my professor's view only went a third of the way in explaining the humility of Christ on display in this passage.

The first step in Christ's humility is already evident in what my professor said: Adam considered equality with God something to be grasped, while Christ did not. This is a beautiful truth, but we must go a step further: Adam was a man who considered equality with God something to be grasped, while Christ was God, and yet emptied himself. Adam sought to grasp at what he could never attain, sought to steal divinity. Christ freely laid aside what was his by right.

But to fully understand Christ's humility, we must go even one more step further. Not only was Christ God who became man, who humbled himself in his incarnation. Even further, he humbled himself by experiencing the greatest humiliation that man could experience in death. He humbled himself unto death, "even death on a cross." While undergoing the excruciating pain of death on the the cross, Jesus was made a public spectacle to be mocked.

One of my pastors is currently working through the book of Philippians, and when he came to this passage he emphasized that while we have here a beautiful discription of Christ's humility, and a corrsponding exhortation to worship him as the Name above all names, the primary purpose for which Paul writes these words is to implore his readers to imitate Christ's humility: "In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God..." This song went through a number of editing phases, and the final addition was the bridge, in response to this point made by my pastor. I wanted to include some words that the church could sing as a declaration that we would choose the way of Christ's humility, that we would choose to make ourselves servants, having his same attitude, and therin finding a true fellowship with our humble savior.

But our humble Savior is now highly exalted. And so we do declare his Name to be above every name, and we look for the day when every knee will bow, "in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Verse 1:
Jesus, You are God among us
C Em
You are God's own radience
C Dsus D
Light of the world
Jesus, how You condescended
C Em
Holy God of heaven
C Dsus D
You are the Lord

Am7 G/B C D
You became nothing, broken to love me
Am7 G/B C
Even to death on a cross
Am7 G/B C D
Tempted as I am, You were obedient
Am7 G/B C
Faithful and true Son of God

Chorus: G D/F# Em C
You are the Name above all names
You are the One Ancient of Days
You are the One my heart will praise
Jesus I love You
At Your Name every knee will bow
All of creation will cry out
You are the One my heart will crown
Jesus I love You

Verse 2:
Jesus, You took on my weakness
Made in human likness
Servant of all
Jesus, risen and victorious
Glory in the highest
You are enthroned

Bridge: G D/F# Em C
Jesus I love You, I want to be like You
Having this attidude, I'm serving beside You
Jesus I love You, I want to be with You
Having the attidude, I'm dying to find You

Monday, April 2, 2012

Yeshua Ha'Mashiach

"Yeshua Ha'Mashiach" is Hebrew for "Jesus Christ".

We just celebrated Palm Sunday, so I thought this would be an appropriate time to post this song. Before entering Jerusalem a final time, knowing that he was approaching his death, Jesus mourned over the city and said:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Luke 13:34-35)

When the Jews waved Palm branches as Jesus rode into the city, it seems most of them were longing for the establishment of an earthly kingdom which would free them from Roman rule. As they shouted "Hosanna" (which means Save!), they were seeking temporal salvation from a temporal kingdom, but Jesus had a different agenda.

As we celebrated Palm Sunday this past weekend, we invited Christ to ride into our hearts, to sit on his rightful throne. We worshipped with the words "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." We sought to align our lives with God's agenda rather than asking him to change his agenda to fit our lives. We declared Christ to be King of kings and our worship was a simple declaration of the salvation (Hosanna!) he has accomplished for us, by which we have been rescued from our spiritual bondage to sin and death.

I decided to include Jesus' Hebrew name in order to acknowledge that the Jews have a crucial role to play in the history of redemption, and their Covenant Lord is longing to redeem them through his Son Jesus. Jesus will not return again to Jerusalem until the Jews swear allegiance to him with the words "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."

D Am7 Em7 G
Yeshua Ha'Mashiach, Jesus Christ our Lord
Yeshua Ha'Mashiach, You are God our saving One
Yeshua Ha'Mashiach, You will reign on David's throne
Yeshua Ha'Mashiach, We await the day You come

D C Em D
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord (x4)

Hosanna, Hosanna
Our Messiah, we sing Hosanna

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

O the Father's Love

One of my pastors is doing a sermon series on God as Father, and it's been a wonderfully rich source of encouragement for our church body. This song is written primarily about the "Parable of the Prodigal Son" (Luke 15:11-32), which my pastor said would be better to title the "Parable of the Loving Father" (because even though there are two sons in the story, the Father is the main character).

A few points especially struck me as we worked our way through the parable:
1) The younger son (the "prodigal") essentially told his father "drop dead" when he asked for his inheritance early.
2) Even when the younger son "came to his senses" and set off to return home, he was rehearsing a speech that, if delivered, would have expressed his desire to be a cared-for servant, but not a close family relative.
3) When the Father runs out to meet him to kiss his face and embrace him, the son isn't even able to finish his rehearsed speech... the grace and love of the Father interrupt him with the giving of the ring and the robe. This was the moment of the son's true repentance: the moment he opened himself to receive the love of the Father.

I also heard a sermon some years ago in which the speaker argued that the older son is the antithesis of what Jesus was in reality. Because the younger son had squandered his inheritance, it was only at the cost of the older son's share that the younger could be re inherited. The older son in the parable is a self-righteous and hard-hearted character, who despised his brother rather than going after him to bring him home. Not only does Jesus go after the "prodigals", but it was at the cost and sacrifice of his own life that we are brought back into the family of God. Our inheritance in God's family is a shared inheritance with the Son of God, and so Jesus is the "firstborn among many brothers and sisters" (Romans 8:29).

In writing this song, I most of all wanted to capture the image of the Father running to embrace his returned son. I want to experience that embrace each day of my life, remembering afresh my need for the Father's inexplicable and extravagant love. "O the Father's love is overwhelming!"

You kissed my face when I was your foe
Father you called me home
I had returned to beg at your feet
Here you embraced me

O the Father's love is overwheling
Covering all my shame
See the Father run, His arms embrace me
Lifting me up in his grace

Riches unheard of squandered in sin
I spent my inheritance
Now at the cost of your innocent Son
You made a way for love

Heaven and earth, when have you heard
When have you seen such a thing
Wonder of wonders, the heart of the Father
You welcome the prodigal in

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Some Good News and Some Bad News, but I'm still "Glad"

Hey friends,

First the good news: I've finally finished my first album!! Well, almost...
It's been a long season, and I felt a real sense joy in the completion of my CD, titled Glad, which I made available to family and friends in December. The CD is descriptive of a period of life in which I witnessed the saving work of the Lord in my life and experienced his power to pick me up "out of deep waters" and to bring me into "a spacious place" (Psalm 18:16-19).

The bad news is that I have just been thrown a curve ball that I wasn't expecting. I have just discovered that in the process of making the album, I unknowingly violated the copyright restrictions for the final track, a cover of the song "He Has Made Me Glad" by Leona Von Brethorst (*see below for more details on my mistake). For this reason I will need to reprint the album and retrieve the old copies.

So for those who have not had a chance to hear this album, this blog post serves as an album-release announcement... It should be ready for purchase hopefully by the end of the month or by mid-February. Shoot me an email at if you're not in the DC area and would like a copy. Otherwise, just grab one out of the trunk of my car some time! I also hope to have the album downloadable on iTunes sometime next month as well.

For those of you who already have a copy of Glad, this blog post serves as a request for help. In short, I will need to retrieve these old copies of the album. Upon reprinting the corrected version of Glad, I will provide you with the new version, for free of course, and would ask you to return the old version and delete any mp3's of the final track, "Glad (2)", that you may have on your computer or other devices.

I very much regret this hassle, but would greatly appreciate your help in my efforts to rectify this situation. I know that I did nothing intentionally malicious in printing the first version of Glad, and so I have a clear conscious in that regard, but now that I have discovered my mistake I need to make it right as best as I can.

Many thanks for your love and support!
Peace & Grace,

*The final track on this album was actually a cover of a well-known worship song called "He Has Made Me Glad" by Leona Von Brethorst (c) 1976 Universal Music - Brentwood Benson Publishing (ASCAP). The track was meant to serve as the concluding bookend to an album which began its first track with the words "Make me glad for as many days as I have known pain and sadness." Given this prayer-like intro, I loved singing "He has made me glad, He has made me glad, I will rejoice for He has made me glad..." as a concluding declaration of praise for what the Lord has accomplished in my life, that my prayers had been answered! So I titled the first track on the album "Glad (1)" and the final track, "Glad (2)", to emphasize my intent to use these tracks as an introduction and conclusion to the album. I also included a musical and vocal part on the tail of "Glad (2)" that consisted of a free-worship expression of praise to the Lord, "You have done great things for me..."

I filed for a license to obtain permission to include this song on my album, but failed to understand the license restrictions properly, making two very unfortunate mistakes. Although I credited the original song, my CD lists the song title as "Glad (2)" rather than "He Has Made Me Glad", and this change of title was not permissible. My second mistake was in recording the final lyrical section in which I added my own words ("You have done great things for me..."), also a violation of the license agreement. For these two reasons I will need to reprint the CD's, removing the final track. I will also be retitling the first track simply "Glad". I'm encouraged by the fact that the new final track (after removing "Glad (2)") is still a joyful expression of praise to the Lord, and can still serve as a fitting conclusion to the album. The new final track will be "Whatever Was to My Profit."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Contented (Psalm 131)

I wanted to write a song, based on Psalm 131, that expressed a simple, contented affection for God. Psalm 131 is a beautiful picture of contentment, like that of a child who has been fed and satisfied, who rests in the arms of his mother without a care.

"I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me..."

There are times to think about lofty things and to search out the mysteries of life and faith, and then there are times to rest in contentment, knowing that God is God and we are not, that God's wisdom surpasses ours, and we can rest in knowing He is with us and He cares for us.

At the end of a day, as I slip off to sleep, I want to know that sort of contentment.

Chords throughout: E B/D# C#m7 A
My eyes are not haughty
My heart is not proud
And all that concerns me
Is loving You now

Here in the quiet
Under your wings
I am contented
Simply to sing

I love you
I want you
I love you
Jesus, I do

Monday, July 11, 2011

Not My Own

This song is about pride. C.S. Lewis made an insightful comment in The Screwtape letters that much of our issues with pride could be resolved by a sober-minded appreciation of the fact that we did not create ourselves. We have nothing to do with the fact that we exist. Every breath we take, every thought we have, is predicated on the initiating grace of God (to create us in the first place) and the sustaining grace of God (to continue our existence each and every moment). There is nothing for me to take pride in that is not first predicated on God's initiating and sustaining grace.

And if I am created, how can I reasonably maintain authority over my own life? The thing created must belong the One who created it. I was made by Him, and for Him.

If it's not enough to realize that I did nothing to accomplish my own existence, it should be even more humbling to realize that I did nothing to accomplish my own salvation. Many object at this point, but this is the Christian Gospel (and what distinguishes the Christian gospel from many, perhaps all, others). To be sure, I accepted the gift of God's grace, but I did nothing to deserve it.

So my creation and my salvation are all of God's grace, and I am left with only one reasonable conclusion, "You are not your own; you were bought at a price...." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Obedience to my Creator is only reasonable, and love for my Savior is only natural!

Verse1 : Am F C G
I did not make myself
You made me, God my King
And I am yours, I am yours
I could not save myself
You saved me, God my King
And I am yours, I am yours

Pre-chorus: F C
You humble all the haughty
Lifter of the heavy heart
Your love and tender mercy
Are the only hope I've got

Chorus: F C G Am7 / F C Gsus G
I am not my own, I was bought at a price
Jesus I am yours now
You will reign alone on the throne of my life
Jesus I am yours forever

Verse2 : Am F C G
Wonderful, fearfully
You made me, God my king
And I am yours, I am yours
By your blood, You redeem
All of me, God my king
And I am yours, I am yours