[POST UPDATE: I’ve had a lot of great response to this song and many inquiries into a good recording of it. I have a new CD in the works that should be available late summer of 2010, which includes a studio recording of this song now in progress. For now here is a raw recording of Jay and I introducing the song to the LA Church. There is some teaching at the beginning, so fast forward the first couple minutes if you want.
Rejoice – live recording, being introduced to LA Church]
I wanted to invite you to this year’s worship leader conference entitled “Rejoice”. We hosted one of these conferences a few years back in LA, then it was in DC, and last year Chicago. This year we’ll be in Rhode Island, and we’ll be coming together for worship on Sunday with the New England churches who will be there the same weekend for the New England Conference and 30-year anniversary of the great Boston Church of Christ.
It is an amazing, amazing time being with singers, musician and other people of the arts who are passionate about worshipping God. Being in the audience, I have a hard time singing my part — I’m usually too choked up to emit much sound because it is just so moving hearing the voices all around me (and if I am on stage I have to really try to hold it together).
I wanted to share this year’s theme song, entitled “Rejoice,” and some thoughts that went into writing the music and lyrics for it.*
In what some consider the oldest book in the Bible, God tells Job that the angels and the morning stars sang and shouted together as the cornerstone of earth’s foundation was being laid. From the dawn of time, the instant of God’s creation — the song of praise was there!
When God entered his creation as a human being, the night of his birth, the sky was filled with angels singing “Glory to God, peace on earth.” (I love that the audience was some ordinary hillside shepherds.) The song of praise continued.
And then when Jesus entered Jerusalem the final week of his ministry, on his way to make atonement for all sin for all time, his followers were overcome with the moment, and the song of praise continued…
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
As a singer, and song writer, minister and musician, I love the fact that praise is part of the creation. Creation itself sings praise to God (see Psalm 148). The song of praise to God is very old, and as we join in, we sing along with a mighty throng of those not only on earth but in heaven who sing praises to God even now. As performers, we can sometimes think of ourselves more highly than we ought or desire personal glory — imagining our name in lights or on the lips of screaming fans. But as Christ-followers, we really are nothing but a voice in an enormous choir singing praise to God. As worship leaders we exist to point people to him. And his praise will continue for all eternity. I love this picture of the heavenly realm, revealed to the apostle John:
Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and blessing.”
And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
belong to the one sitting on the throne
and to the Lamb forever and ever.”
Revelation 5:11-13 (NLT)
Here is a video of me sharing some thoughts, and a recording of the new song for you. I pray to see you at the conference, “Rejoice” this summer, August 28-30.
*My friend and fellow minister / worship leader Jay Minor helped to write the bridge section of this song. I love what we’ve come to call the “whoa whoa” part he came up with.
Here is a video of Jay’s ministry, Turning Point LA, introducing the song to their congregation.
Here are the lyrics of the song:
The cornerstone of earth’s beginning
The morning stars and angels singing
In joyful music as the world began
And still the song is ever-flowing
The choir of voices keeps on growing
Eternal praises of the great I AM
I will lift my voice
and join the song
Creation is singing
Sing and shout
Even stones cry out
I must rejoice
For you are my King
Reign over me, O King of glory
All of my heart will sing the story
Of how your grace has saved a wretch like me
How sweet the sound we all are singing
The celebration’s just beginning
We’ll sing your praises for eternity
One day every knee will bow
But I give all to crown you now
One day we’ll see face to face
Till then I will run this race
Click here to get a detailed chart that Jay put together. Here is a simple text chord chart below…
Bb / F/A / gmin / Eb
Bb / Bbsus / Bb / Bbsus
gmin / Eb/G / F / F
cmin / cmin / Bb/D / Bb/D
Ab / Ab / Eb / Eb
F / gmin7 / F/A / Bb
cmin7 / Bb/D / Eb / Eb