Tag Archives: Christian music

New Worship Song from Matt Maher

I used to share a song every Wednesday, to go with my weekly devotionals. Worship music (and Bible reading!) are still a big part of life for me. Here’s the new song from Matt Maher, in case you haven’t heard it yet: “Your Love Defends Me.” I love how it reinforces the truth that God is the source of our security. (Download and streaming links are at mattmahermusic.com)


Review: Make Love, Make War, by Brian Doerksen

Make Love, Make War, by Brian DoerksenMake Love, Make War, by Brian Doerksen (David C. Cook, 2009)

The title of this one may be a little intimidating, but look at the subtitle: “NOW is the time to worship.” Songwriter Brian Doerksen challenges Christians to adopt an intentional lifestyle of loving and serving God.

Each chapter begins with one of Brian Doerksen’s songs. Part memoir, part expansion on the themes that sparked the songs, this is an honest reflection on circumstances both joyful and sad. Topics include a Christian’s identity, the importance of gratitude, the Father’s love, hearing God, the importance of controlling our thoughts, and surrender.

If you’ve ever thought contemporary praise music was too upbeat to the point of ignoring the pain in life, you’ll appreciate the author’s perspective. As well as songs declaring God’s praise, he’s not afraid to write worship songs for the hurting. After all, songs of lament hold a valid place in the psalms. Lament, says the author, is different from simply complaining. After laying out the trouble before the Lord, a lament expresses the singer’s choice to trust God even in the hardship.

Favourite lines:

As we worship, our hearts are healed by the faithfulness of God, because that’s who God is. [Kindle location 331]

The names that our parents give us and the labels others slap on us are not as important as who we are in the Father’s eyes. [Kindle location 364]

Sometimes our greatest act of worship is just hanging on to God in the middle of the storms of trouble that threaten to engulf us. [Kindle location 1946]

As a bonus for readers who write music (or who’d like to), each chapter ends with practical songwriting tips.

Brian Doerksen is an award-winning Canadian songwriter and worship leader. For more about the author and his latest projects, visit briandoerksen.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

If You Love Christian Music

I think it was 2008 that I first heard Geoff Moore sing. I went home and forgot his name, his songs… but I remembered this guy who sang like he loved the Lord, so much that he practically glowed with it. When he came back to Halifax with Steven Curtis Chapman in 2011, I didn’t recognize his name. When he started to sing, I knew him.

I loved the songs he sang that night, bought his new album, Saying Grace, and loved it so much that I ordered some of his older material online. Buying a CD when you’ve just experienced a live performance is risky, as a couple of dusty cases in my stack will prove. But his songs fit into my soul at first hearing like they’d been there all along.

If you’ve followed many of my Wednesday devotionals, you’ve noticed I end each one with a YouTube video of a song related to the message. These are often songs I’m especially fond of, and every so often one of those songs is from Geoff Moore.

He’s planning a new album, and he’s funding it through Kickstarter. It’s called New Stories, and this is what he says in summary:

This August, 31 years after making my first album, I will be heading into the studio to make my 15th album. It will be an album of songs that explore the things I love; about the thoughts on my mind, the people in my heart, and the God in whom I believe in.

This project is only open for funding until August 30, so check out the details now while there’s time. If the video clip below doesn’t work, or for more details, head over to the Kickstarter campaign page. [If you’re not familiar with Geoff Moore’s music, he’s offering Saying Grace free at NoiseTrade for a limited time. Listen to the music: “I Believe,” “Loved” and “The Wonder of Kindness” are my favourites. If you love it, support this next album.]

If you’ve never been part of a Kickstarter campaign, it’s painless. It’s kind of like pre-ordering the final product. There are various levels of support, and if the project isn’t fully funded, you don’t lose your money. I’ve picked up a few albums and other products this way.

[Note: if you support this campaign, I gain nothing — except that when it’s fully funded, I’ll get the CD that I pledged for.]

CD Review: Better Questions, by Todd Agnew

Better Questions, by Todd Agnew

Better Questions, by Todd Agnew (2007, Ardent Records)

Todd Agnew is the gifted songwriter who brought us the life-changing “Grace Like Rain” and “My Jesus.” Better Questions came out in 2007. The title of the CD comes from the first track: “I’ve got better questions than I have answers….”

Although I don’t ordinarily do music reviews it got into my head and wouldn’t rest until I talked about it. So here’s my review, formerly posted on my reviews page where it may not have been seen.

Better Questions’ music ranges from the rocky, driving “Least of These” and “War Inside” to the pensive “If You Wanted Me” and “Can I Be With You?” to the playful and catchy “Funny.” “Martyr’s Song,” co-written with novelist Ted Dekker, gives a poignant view of God’s longing to welcome His children into Heaven.

The songs are Agnew’s own, except for “Our Great God” (a duet with Rebecca St. James) , “Can I Be With You?,” and the bonus track “Glorious Day,” which continues his tradition of reprising a public domain hymn in his own unique style.

Todd Agnew sings as everyman/woman, exploring Christians’ struggle to live right and challenging us to see past the labels we put on others into their hearts and needs. His lyrics leave no room for plastic Christianity.

The songs remind me of the group Casting Crowns, who also call Christians to authentic living, although Agnew’s music is heavier. His straightforward lyrics remind me of contemporary Christian music pioneer Keith Green, but they don’t have the harshness I sometimes felt in Keith’s delivery. There’s no judgement here, just an awareness of our common need for grace and a heartfelt “We have His heart, what is keeping us from being His hands?”

Better Questions packs a challenging message, but it’s no sermon set to music. Todd Agnew delivers vibrant music with raw, honest lyrics that could have come from our own souls—or our neighbours’. Like the old man in “A Corner in Memphis,” “he’s telling us our story, or at least his side.” It’s worth a listen.

Todd Agnew’s newest CD, Need, comes out on October 6, 2009. I took advantage of the pre-order special and got an immediate download of his new single, “Joy Unspeakable,” along with a downloadable 5-song acoustic EP. I did it to get the bonus tracks that’ll be available when the CD releases, and I’ve got to say, I’m enjoying the acoustic EP and “Joy Unspeakable.”