Christian music is more important than ever to me. I especially like praise and worship music, however, I have a very broad definition of P & W. It encourages me. It lifts me above my circumstances by causing me to focus on God and His work. Unlike a lot of people who enjoy music as 'background noise', I don't.... generally speaking. This tiny flaw in my personality is a constant irritant to my best buddy and long-suffering honey, Joe. Often he will have music playing in the background and I usually turn it down. It makes it hard for me to focus on the task that I am doing even if that task is talking with my friends or family. If the music is low enough for me to concentrate it's usually too low for Joe's liking. He puts up with me though since he pledged for better or for worse. When I listen to music especially Christian music I like to focus on it...to listen to the words, to worship along. Because of this I most enjoy music with really good lyrics. Although I enjoy all kinds of music, I tend to listen to my Christian favorites over and over in order to be built up in the Spirit. Being on the mission field, one of the things I miss is keeping up with the new Christian music that flows in a steady stream in the States. There is always something new on the Christian music stations there. Joe and I have talked recently about listening to satellite broadcasts in order to stay current. (I'd like to interrupt this blog to put out a plea to all my friends: It is my desire to keep with current trends in all areas. I don't want to be stuck in 2007. So, when I come back to the States for visits and for home assignment, please tell me how out of style my choice of dressing and hairstyle is... if indeed it is. Go shopping with me. Help me! I'm begging you. I don't wanna be a missionary that still wears the clothes, has the hair, uses the technology, uses the illustrations, and sings the songs of days gone by. So there you have it. I have given you permission to speak into my life and help me out. God is unchanging. He's the same yesterday, today and forever. But methods of sharing Who He is change constantly. I want a platform to speak from. I desire to keep as current as I can in order to appeal to those who need to hear of Him. I want to be all things to all people so that by all possible means some might be saved. I need to know and understand those means for the sake of the gospel that I might share its blessings...and of course I'd rather not look like a dork, either. :>) ) Okay now on to the point of this blog....and you thought I didn't have a point. You thought I was just rambling in English because I can. You thought I was using my word dump of my native tongue since I can't do it here. Anyway, music encourages me more than ever and I thought I'd share some of my favs and maybe some of them will encourage you too.
I love anything by the Newsboys but especially the albums Adoration, Devotion and Go. It seems that the Newsboys must be tracking my life (yeah, like they don't have anything better to do...just a bit of an egocentric statement, huh?) because it seems like they write and sing just what I need at the time. When Adoration and Devotion both came out I was longing to find music that just praised God. When Go came out we were headed to the mission field. I also like them because the lead singer and starter of the band is a pastor's son. I have a tender place in my heart for pastor's sons and I love to see those who are living for our Lord.
Next, I like Caedmon's Call. I especially like their album Share the Well that came out of their missions trip to India. (Do yourself a favor and at least listen to the songs "Jesus is All I Need", "Share the Well" and see if you're not convicted.) This band again was started by pastor's kids...brothers and sister. How cool is that? And they're from Texas to boot. No wonder I like them. I also like their albums In the Company of Angels: A Call to Worship and In the Company of Angels II: The World will Sing. You can't go wrong with Caedmon's Call.
The 'old school' part of me loves Michael Card. His lyrics are hard to beat. My favorite Christmas album ever is The Promise. Poiema is excellent as well.
Now on to Jars of Clay's Redemption Songs. Remixes of some oldies but goodies that makes them new and fresh and helps me focus on the words.
I also like the album Rescue: Live Worship by Newsong. You gotta love guys who've been around for a while and still churn out great stuff. This stuff really ministers to me. A couple of weeks ago I had to miss church, this album was my praise and worship for the day. I dare you to listen to "Arise My Love" without lifting your hands in praise (even if you don't generally do that).
Casting Crowns album Casting Crowns is awesome as well as is their album Lifesong.
Third Day's Offering has been on my list ever since I first heard it and I think it will be there for some time to come.
A Collision and B Collision by the David Crowder Band have some good songs on them.
Phillips, Craig and Dean is another of my favorite groups. Check out their Ultimate Collection. They are all three pastors as well. Joe doesn't think that's right....to be able to preach and sing too.
Of course I can't forget Chris Tomlin. Check out his albums Arriving and See the Morning. Where does this guy keep getting this good stuff? It must be from our Lord. :>)
Of course my favorite song writer of all time is Jake Holman (my son). Honestly he's written some pretty cool stuff since we've been here. He has really deep lyrics. Look for his work in the future.
Let me give you a small piece of advice: find some person or group whose music ministers to you and GO TO THEIR CONCERTS. Right now I can't go to any concerts, but you can bet that I'm saving money now so that when we are back in the States I can see some of the guys/gals in person. Not because I worship the ones that sing the songs but because I worship the God that they sing about and their songs cause me to think on Him.
You might notice that one thing that many of these songs/albums have in common is a burden for the lost in the world. It is a prayer of mine and Joe's that because of our ministry at least 100 people will go into the harvest to be a part of the work God is doing by drawing every tribe, tongue and nation to Himself. It's an awesome work and I'm so thrilled to have a part in it. We've been praying to the Lord of the Harvest to send forth workers into His harvest. It's ready. Are you? Why don't you spend some time thinking about the possibility of serving our Lord cross-culturally to the uttermost parts of the earth. More on this at another time.
In the meantime, check out some of this music that has inspired me in my walk with the Lord and see if it encourages you too. There are lots more great groups and albums that I didn't list. If you have one you'd like to tell me about, I'd be happy to give it a listen.