Posts Tagged ‘Music’

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Time to share a new song!

I’m not sure if I heard someone first use the phrase or if it just came to me one day. But the idea of “failing forward” has become an important part of how I view my walk with Christ.  This is a balanced approach instead of doing what many Christians do – tend towards extremes.

Some see their love walk with God as a mission, a goal to be attained and an end to be reached. Did my daily bible reading – check. Prayed for at least 15 minutes – check. Didn’t cuss, drink, smoke or have gay sex – check. Now what’s on TV? The problem with task-oriented Christianity is that Christianity, by nature, is not a task. Its a relationship. Spouses who treat their significant others as items on a to-do list have marriage problems. Similarly, Christians who treat their walk with God as a daily objective won’t ever get as close to Him as their hearts desire. Its not what’s He’s asking for and they’ll never be happy because they’ll always fall short of the self-imposed chores they’ve created.

Which brings us to our next extreme: the spiritually lazy. These folks have realized that they will never be able to keep the list of rules needed to be a “good Christian” so they quit. I’ve heard this sometimes referred to as “greasy grace” where someone just does what they want and just assumes the “grace” of God will cover it. Of course what they really are counting on is mercy, not grace, but its an unbiblical mercy. They have learned to not be task oriented (that’s good) but instead they are content with no spiritual growth (that’s bad).

Instead of these two extremes, I believe God is calling us to live a life “failing forward.” With this mentality, the Christian understands that they can never please God with a check list and knows they will make mistakes. However, instead of wallowing in their shortcomings, they choose to embrace the love relationship Jesus provided (thru scriptural grace) and continue moving forward through their shortcomings. This way the objective is not perfection, but movement in the right direction. This is what will bring true growth.

So I wrote a song about it! Music and lyrics are below. It’s just a rough home demo so don’t expect the quality of my EP or anything. I hope it ministers to you!

Failing Forward

//

It’s OK to not be OK

It’s all right to not be all right

Your father knows your frame is dust

So now He’s asking you to trust

//

Jesus sees us

As we are in Him, covered by His blood

Jesus meets us

Right where we are, offering His love

And His grace is our reward

As we run to Him failing forward

//

Don’t count your sins, repent and then forget them

Come on, get back up and don’t lose your momentum

‘Cause God’s not shocked and does not get worried

He already knows you fall short of His glory

//

It’s a process that I’ll never quite complete

But still I seek His holiness in me

And if I fall I’ll crawl until I’m on my feet

Because there’s only one direction toward only One I need:

Forward, failing forward

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Just finished a new song called “Now Is the Time.” This is meant to be a fast praise song/opener for a contemporary worship service. I wanted to write something that captured the essence of making a quality decision to follow Jesus. I wanted a no-turning-back-once-and-for-all-I’ve-made-my-decision song where we could declare together “God, I’m done with doing things my way – it’s all about you from here on out.”

The bridge to this song was written by my good friend Jim Courtney. He got the lines “I lift my hands with purpose…” one Sunday morning when the praise team was in prayer before the service. He just handed me the scribbled lyrics and I immediately knew they’d make a great summarizing bridge to this song which, at that time, was about half-written.

Hope you enjoy. Its just a demo, but I think you can get the idea of the song. VFC’ers, you might wanna go ahead and learn this one. 🙂

Now is the Time

I’m ready to answer the call

I’m ready to give my all

I lay aside the weight of sin

I’m pushing on and pressing in

//

Now is the time, today is the day

I’m getting tired of being in the way

Oh Jesus, It’s all about You now

Now is the time for stepping aside

I’m leaving my independence and pride

Oh Jesus, It’s all about You now.

//

I’m ready to run the race

I’m ready to take my place

I lay aside the weight of sin

I’m pushing on and pressing in

//

I lift my hands with purpose

I raise my voice to sing

The life that I’ve been given

Becomes my offering

© Jamie Nunnally 2011

I recently began recording some original praise and worship songs during the Fall of 2009. Its been a long process because 1) I don’t have a lot of free time and 2) I’m recording each song in quite possibly the most inefficient way possible – by myself,  track by track. Why did I do it track by track? Please refer to point number one.  Anyway, I thought it’d be fun to post these songs as I got them in semi-finished condition and tell the story of how each one came about. I hope you like them.

Back in 2003,  my brother Sam and I sat down to write a few worship songs for our local congregation. Sam sensed that God was dealing with our church about trusting Him and wanted us to write a song where we could, as a unified body, declare our trust in the Lord. I had been playing around with some chords that eventually became the chorus to this song. After a short time of us both sharing, suggesting and editing lyrics, we had “Lord I Trust You.” Over 7 years later this simple song is still in regular rotation at VFC and serves as a reminder that no matter what goes on in our lives, we can trust our God who loves us and is always faithful.

Lord I Trust You

Lord I trust You, I give You my hopes and dreams

Like a child in his daddy’s arms I rely on You for everything

Only You know what I need

//

Lord I Trust You, I do

//

Lord, I trust You, I feed upon Your faithfulness

I’ll do what You say to do ’cause I know You only want the best

I’ll walk in faith and I’ll be blessed

//

© Jamie Nunnally 2010

To say music is a passion of mine would be a gross understatement. Music basically consumes my mind at all times. There is never a point in time when I don’t have a song, a rhythm or melody playing in my head. Never. When I wake up in the middle of the night it’s always loud in my head. You’d think it would get annoying but it doesn’t – I love it. The only time it gets irritating is when I just want to enjoy a song in its simplicity but my brain tries to take it apart layer by layer.

As I’ve studied, performed, written and obsessed over music through the years, I’ve learned that music is a spiritual medium. What do I mean by that? Well, a medium is a means by which a message is carried. Television is a medium that uses our senses of hearing and sight to get a message across to us. In the same way, I believe music is a spiritual medium. Of course, it uses sound to convey its message to our minds, but I believe it is also a gateway to our spirits. When music is heard, our inner being also comprehends and processes the spiritual message found within the music.

No doubt, music can illicit amazing emotional responses. But I’m not talking about emotion. I’m talking about receiving spiritual information. See, I believe music can be a point-in-time contact – a gateway into the spiritual realm. Want a verse? Check out what Elisha says when he is asked to give some kings a prophetic word and begrudgingly obliges in 2 Kings 3:15:

And Elisha said, “As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I have regard for Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would neither look at you nor see you. But now bring me a musician.” And when the musician played, the hand of the LORD came upon him. (ESV)

Elisha clearly did not want to help these kings. But when he decided he would consult God for them anyway, he asked for a musician to play. Only once the musician played did the “hand of the Lord” come on him and he was able to prophesy. Of course, humans can’t prophesy without being empowered by the Holy Spirit and in this case, the Holy Spirit didn’t empower one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament until music was played. When Elisha asked for a musician, he knew that music was a spiritual medium and it would provide access into the spirit world for him.

So what does this mean for us? Well first of all it should hopefully scare the living crap out worship leaders. The job of a worship leader is not to gather their congregation and prepare them to hear from God during the upcoming sermon. That is akin to using the Bible as a doorstop – it’s utilizing music so far below its potential. No, worship in itself can be the very method by which we hear from God. Its a point of spiritual contact and that’s a big deal. This realization of the power of music should also tip Christians off to the fact that worship should be a regular part of your personal interaction with God. If all you do is read a devotion or a few chapters of the Bible when you spend time with God, then you’re missing out. I encourage you to lower the lights, get comfy and worship to one of your favorite worship CDs. Just make sure its the real stuff where you can sense the presence of God when you listen.

In addition, this information should give God-seekers pause that while music is a fun thing, it does carry spiritual messages and we do have to be wise when choosing what information we send to our spirits. Do I think the A chord carries spiritual weight? No. Its just a combination of notes. But music will always bear the spiritual signature of its composer and performer. Ever heard a song done by one Christian artist that seems just OK, yet another Christian artist can do the same song and its like Heaven found its way to earth? Whats the difference? The chords, melody and tempo can be the same but much like an artist signs their painting, so does a composer and performer leave their spiritual mark on their music.

I know there is a whole group of believers out there that think music is not redeemable and has never been commissioned for use by God in the church. They sing acapella and attempt to keep their worship more “holy” by keeping music out of it. I really feel for them. God not only commissioned music all throughout the bible (Psalm 150 is a great place to start), but we also know from scripture that our worship will be accompanied by music in heaven (Revelation 15:2-3). Lets not deny ourselves access to the Father because of the traditions of men.

Thank you, God, for the awesome gift of music – an access point into the supernatural where we can draw closer to You!

not a christian band?

Posted: July 24, 2008 in Music
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m sitting here listening to a live recording of one of the Christian metal bands I used to listen to as a kid called Bloodgood. Their hair was high, their outfits were cheesy but man they could preach. Common song topics were suicide, spiritual warfare, consequences of sin, and lordship. They were very theatrical in their presentation and would often act out the death and resurrection of Jesus at their shows. I’m listening to him preach the word right now and wondering how many heavy bands in Christian hard music today would be willing to do this. At one point in the concert, he gets the whole auditorium totally silent and whispers “God speaks in the quiet place. When you pray you have to go to the quiet place and learn to be silent so you can hear his voice.” How cool is that?!

I hear the “we are Christians in a band, not a Christian band” argument all the time and I understand the reasoning. Its a perfectly normal desire not to be pigeon-holed and labeled. But really, is there a difference? Isn’t Christ infused into every single thing a christian says and does, even if its their job? Could I get away with saying I’m a Christian and youth pastor but not a Christian youth pastor? Or I am a Christian and husband but not a Christian husband? Aren’t those things the same? Don’t I take Christ with me into those activities/jobs/relationships?

I’m not gonna call out and denigrate those bands that choose to keep their faith private even though they come in contact with thousands of unsaved people every year. Thats between them and God. And while I think that there is a time and place for music to just be music without any other purpose, I can’t help but wonder how many more people would be saved right now if there were more ministry bands like Bloodgood around today.

Leading worship can be a stressful thing. Unlike personal worship where there are no goals except for you to capture God’s heart, leading corporate worship is about others capturing His heart. Its an act of service – much like stacking chairs or teaching children. I am giving, not receiving. And it has absolutely nothing to do with me. God proved this once again last Sunday.

See, I have “lost” all my electric guitar players in the last few months. One moved to Thailand, the other took a job in Panama City and the latest felt called back to his old church. Gee thanks, guys. 🙂 Now in my natural mind, this scares the crap out of me because we already don’t have a keyboard player and that means that any instruments that provided texture and depth to the music are gone. I am left as the only one playing an instrument that is musical in nature (sorry bassists, you’re more like percussion). And for this reason, I have broken out my Schecter hybrid guitar so I can play acoustic and electric at the same time. Still adjusting to it but it seems to be going well.

So on top of this, our most excellent drummer felt the need to take a cruise to the Virgin Islands this last week. So our percussionist filled in on drums. Now Scott is by no means a bad drummer but he will be the first to admit that he is rusty on the kit. This is compounded by the fact that he hurt the knee on his kick drumming leg last week. So I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about the upcoming service.

During my prayer time that morning, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said he was going to prove to me that our worship has nothing to do with who was or wasn’t in the lineup. Well, God really moved and we didn’t get to finish the whole set. It was awesome. Spirit songs came forth and a vision for where God is taking the church was birthed in the hearts of the people. People were healed physically and emotionally and hearts were turned back to Him.

Worship is not about me. Its not about my abilities, my instruments, the sound quality, the personnel, or
if we sing the the popular songs on the radio. Its about creating a structure so the congregation can meet with Jesus. As a worship leader, I am a matchmaker who encourages and facilitates the meeting between two lovers. What an amazing thing!