The Hymns Birthed from Seasons of Controversy and Conflict

Ray Hughes Teaching "The Journey of Worship"

So as I write this, Ray Hughes is teaching a series called “Journey of Worship” at Grace Center in Franklin, TN. I happened to catch session #7 (there will be 12 total).

It was totally, prophetically, inspiringly awesome. If you can attend live, do it. If not, watch the video series here.

I’ve known Ray for a long time, his teachings have profoundly influenced my understanding of worship.

Here’s one takeaway from the night I was there. Regarding Martin Luther and the lives of the psalmists and hymn writers…

You know revolutionaries, and those who carry awakenings, typically walk through seasons of controversy and conflict, until conviction and conversion comes. But until that comes, your life ends up being redefined on many levels.

They were pioneering and birthing something in the spirit realm that was hanging on the balance of how they stood with integrity and character.

The power of the might of the Lord, the One who touched them, and the One they had their encounter with, would hold them up until their conflict and controversy would become songs. And then it would begin to carry a life of it’s own from generation to generation.

When you become a songwriter you are creating something that holds a promise for a future generation.

Ray Hughes, Journey of Worship, Session 7 February 22, 2017

Many of the great hymns of history, written by “revolutionaries who carry awakenings”  were birthed through seasons of controversy and conflict. This was the legacy of pioneers like Martin Luther and Isaac Watts. They paid a heavy price. Today their message still inspires and carries the purposes of God through song.

Can you relate to this? I know I can. Don’t give up singing your new song. God is on the move. Let faith rise up.

“It’s time for a generation to begin to fully trust Him with the sound that they have been given. You see, faith and trust is part of this thing called worship. Faith is the ability to respond to God’s definition of your future.” – Ray Hughes, Journey of Worship, Session 1

Faith is the ability to respond to God’s definition of your future!  

Here’s a link to the video. 

My First 30 Days Reading “The Book of Mysteries”

Shortly before Christmas we mysteriously received a book in the mail from Amazon. Never ordered it. Had no clue how we got it.* We were rather puzzled when we saw the rather large, gold-toned, boldly designed hardcover of 384 antiqued pages, commenting “what is this?”

The back cover copy was bold too.

“Enter a life-changing journey… to uncover the MYSTERIES OF GOD, the SECRETS OF THE AGES, and the HIDDEN KEYS to open the doors of a life of joy, blessing, and the fulfillment of YOUR DESTINY.”

Uh … OK.

The endorsements on the front flap effusively proclaimed “I was absolutely stunned” – Governor Mike Huckabee,  “Possibly the most astonishing book I have ever read” – R.T.Kendall, and “Extraordinary” – Pat Robertson.

I decided I’d wait to check it out when I had more time.

Such was our introduction to “The Book of Mysteries” by Jonathan Cahn. Later over the Christmas holidays I finally opened it up and started reading it.

And now I gotta say … wow, this is really a great book!


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Book Recommendations for Worship Leaders

My Guest Post for Seedbed Worship Design Collective

This article is published by Seedbed Worship Design Collective,

Recently I was asked about book recommendations for worship leaders. There’s a lot out there that are either directly or indirectly helpful to the worship leaders growth and development. Here’s some I’ve read recently worth checking out:

The Worship Pastor: A Call To Ministry For Worship Leaders and Teams by Zac Hicks

Premise: I’ve followed Zac Hicks blog and heard him speak at the  2016 National Worship Leader Convention.  This is a new generation worship thought leader who “gets it.” His comprehensive guidebook is both scholarly and practical, exploring the many roles and responsibilities of worship leaders including: theologian, disciple, worshiper, evangelist, mentor, artist, counselor, musician, servant leader, and producer. Highly recommended.

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New Christmas Worship Music Roundup 2015

Plus Song Recommendations for Worship Planners


The latest print edition of Worship Leader Magazine features nine new Christmas releases for the 2015 season. Nine! Wow that’s a lot of content from some popular worship artists.

In this round-up I’ll share my brief thoughts of each project as a worship leader and service planner. Also I’ll highlight some songs that I would recommend using for corporate worship and why.

[You may also be interested in my articles on “Planning Powerful Worship Sets” and 7 Strategic Guidelines For Choosing New Worship Songs” ]

OK, here we go …  ho, ho, ho … 

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Producing “The Art of Work” With Jeff Goins

about book

My life is crazy right now. We’re in the middle of packing and moving, there’s big projects going on at work, and intense transitions all around. Today, I don’t have a minute to waste.

So why am I taking the time to write a blog post about a new book by my friend Jeff Goins?

Because this book, “The Art of Work”, is that important.

I’ve had the privilege of not only knowing Jeff personally, but also to record and produce all of his books on audio. Jeff is a great thinker and a very successful author, so when he asked me to work with him again on “The Art of Work”, I was of course excited about the project.

During the sessions, there were moments I was cracking up with laughter and others when we had to actually stop recording because yours truly was brought to tears. And I don’t cry easily.

These stories, and the lessons learned, are that good.

Recording Art of Work With Jeff Goins

The Art of Work Audio Book Recording Session With Jeff Goins

The Art of Work: A Proven Path To Discovering What You Were Meant To Do, is all about finding your calling, that thing you were meant to do. Jeff is still a young guy, so wisely, he did a lot of research. This book is full of inspiring stories, as well as his own keen insights, about how you can take your passion and turn into a lifestyle.

I think this book is for you if you you feel like there’s “something more” to life, want to live with more purpose and clarity, and do work that matters.

It’s a perfect guidebook if you’re seeking a new career path, or reinventing yourself, or just need to get clear.

So right now until March 23, there’s book launch going on before the official publication, and I’m happy to be an affiliate and help spread this great message. You can get a copy of the book delivered for almost free, plus you’ll get an additional $250.00 of bonus content (you’ll pay shipping, but it’s only $6.99). BTW, the bonus content is worth it.

After reading and listening to “The Art of Work” many times, I feel it may be one of the most important self-development books since Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change.  That book changed my life.

Maybe The Art of Work could have the same impact for you.

So here’s a link to get your practically free copy and the bonus stuff. Enjoy! And let me know your thoughts.


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10 Reasons The Daily Audio Bible Will Rock Your New Year


I’ve been following the Daily Audio Bible podcast for several years and man, I just love it!

DAB is a daily podcast, also available as an app and in many formats all over the interwebs.  It is just a cool way way to be in the scriptures every day.

I like it because I can listen to it while making my morning coffee, exercising, or doing other things. It helps me get the word of God in first thing and in a quick way.

Here’s some things I love about the DAB that may appeal to you also.

  1. The narration by Brian Hardin is conversational, easy-to-follow and not “over-the-top” dramatic. It feels fresh every day. It’s not something that’s been canned and sitting around for a long time. The Spirit of God is on this reading, it’s anointed.
  2. The chapter introductions and summaries orient the listener in the context of what each particular book is about. This helps make these ancient words feel alive and current.
  3. The background music. I’m not a big fan of music playing underneath voice narration. For the most part I find it distracting. However the DAB music is ambient and basically “stays out of the way”. It’s way better and less cheesy than some music I’ve heard heard on Bible audio recordings.
  4. The consistency. At the end of the year you will have gone through the entire Bible – every book, every word. Each daily reading is divided into Old Testament, New Testament, Psalm and Proverb.
  5. Daily Commentary. At the conclusion of each daily reading, Brian has a commentary and a prayer. These are so deep, authentic and insightful. Many of this remarks are directed to people who have been burned by religion, hurt by the church or otherwise feel alienated from Christianity. He gets it.
  6. Jill Parr. Jill is Brian’s wife and reads occasionally when he is unavailable for some reason. She’s funny because she’s very personal and casual, and doesn’t try to be slick. She’s charming to listen to, especially when struggling to pronounce a difficult biblical name.
  7. The “Announcements”. Everyday Brian reminds people what projects are going on in the DAB world and how to be connected. He constantly encourages the listeners “You don’t have to feel alone again.”
  8. Prayers of the DAB family. At the end of each podcast is a recording of people who have called in with prayer requests and in response to the prayer requests of other people. This is really cool.
    1. When I first started listening to DAB, the prayer section was a little “too much” for me, I didn’t have much time to listen to all that.
    2. But I got to a place where I really started to look forward to praying along with these prayer requests, and even called in a few times myself. What I experienced were answers to prayer that only God could do. If you listen long enough, you’ll notice there is a crew of regular callers. Now I look forward to hearing them.
  9. Read Along with Bible Gateway. You can read the text for each daily reading along with the audio recording. Sometimes I prefer to just read it, or re-read it after listening. You can also get it as a daily e-mail.
  10.  Multiple Translations. Every week the daily scriptures are read from a different translation such as the NIV, NLT, Message, Holmann, or The Message. I’ve found some new Bible translations this way. Very interesting.

Consistent, enjoyable, daily time in the word of God is so essential for our spirits and our souls. I’ve found the DAB to be a wonderful resource for being in the word of God. Check it out, maybe you’ll find it life giving too.

“You don’t have to feel alone again.” – Brian Hardin.

About the Daily Audio Bible Community (from their website)

Daily interaction with the Scriptures is the heart of all we do.  A deep and abiding friendship with Jesus informed by the rich texture of the Bible is the reason the Daily Audio Bible exists.  We believe that it is fundamental to every believer’s healthy spiritual life that we be people seeking the counsel of the Bible every single day, that we be people who walk with God intimately and conversationally and that we live in community with one another.


Do you have a Bible reading plan? What resources do you like? Why?

2013 Year End Review

Wow, 2013 was a year of big transitions!

The most significant story was accepting a full time staff position at HFUMC as Music & Worship Director. That has been the game changer and God is really blessing that ministry assignment. More about that later.

What went well in 2013.

1. Worship Team Workshop, Cleveland Ohio.  I had a wonderful time teaching and leading this weekend training event with an eager group of musicians and singers at the River of Life Church in January. Wonderful friends.

2.  From Easter To Pentecost Devotional Series. For the 50 consecutive days during the Easter season (the 50 day period from Resurrection Sunday to Pentecost Sunday) I wrote a fresh devotional thought with my sunrise photo of that morning,  commenting as the Spirit inspired. The follow up is a new book releasing around Holy Week of 2014, “Resurrection Power.”

3. Inspire Worship Conference – This event was a first rate experience and we had a blast meeting great folks from all over the country. My wife Ivalene taught a Children’s Worship Workshop. I was honored to lead two seminars – “Worshiping Our Huge God in a Small Church” and  “Worship Ministry Blueprint”. 

4. Rock-N-Worship Camp – Salisbury, MD. This was our third summer investing in the teenagers of Maryland’s Eastern Shore in my home town. The impact on kids lives and the feedback from students was again phenomenal.

Rock-n-Worship Camp 2013

Rock-n-Worship Camp 2013

5. UMC Men’s Conference Worship Concert. I had the great honor of leading a “worship concert” billed as Rob Still and Friends. It was an amazing night. The response of thousands of men gathered from all over the nation was off the charts high energy. I had the additional joy of playing with dear friends old and new.

Rob Still & Friends UMC Men's Conference

Rob Still & Friends UMC Men’s Conference

6. Serbia, Romania Missions Trip. Ivalene and I traveled and ministered together, her first time in both Serbia and Romania. She taught Children’s School of Worship at SOZO Festival and we teamed up speaking at churches and the Scoala de Inchinare in Timisoara, Romania. Additionally, we were able to visit Vienna for a few days.

7. Africa Missions Trip. This was my first trip to Africa, something I’ve always wanted to do. We had a very fruitful mission ministering with dental clinics for children. I taught and also appeared on radio, TV and shared at revival services.

8. JOYFUL! Christmas Recording. We began recording tracks for what will be my first new studio project in a long time. I’m excited about this new Christmas record releasing the fall of 2014.

It was a good year with a very unexpected shift in direction. This has been good and a great blessing.

I’m grateful for the support of our friends, family and followers as we continue on this mission of encouraging wholehearted worship worldwide.

I’ll share vision and goals for 2014 in another post. Have a great New Year!


Music Review: Gangai Victor “The New Song”

What an amazing time in history to be a follower of Jesus Christ, pursuing the Great Commission – to go into all the world and make disciples. Through the amazing technology of the world wide web, it’s never been easier for believers from all over the world to discover and build relationships with like minded people.

One connection I’ve been blessed to make recently is with Ganagi Victor, a worship leader, songwriter, blogger (Votive Praise) , and worship ministry trainer from Chennai, India.

Since my recent mission trip to Sri Lanka, I’ve been very interested in what God is doing in that part of the world. So I am delighted to introduce his first solo worship project “The New Song”

He is a thoughtful psalmist with a calm soothing sound. I was initially a little surprised it was in English with a western sound, but his anointing and heart are displayed in this pleasant personal worship soundtrack.

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Top 20 Posts of 2012

top 20 copy

I was pleasantly surprised when reviewing our year-end stats. People are finding the content I hope is “evergreen” and most helpful!

We had blog readers from 144 countries!

In 2012, there were 141 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 304 posts.

The highest ranked articles were in the categories of worship theology and practical advice. Some of the “most popular” were written before 2012.

The 20 posts are ranked according to the most WordPress Stats page views.

Top 20 Blog Posts of 2012

  1. What Is Worship? 3 Organizing Scriptures
  2. Misty Edwards: Worship is A Real Conversation with God
  3. Planning Powerful Worship Sets  – – [Also republished on]
  4. Seven Longings of The Human Heart [Worship & Psychology Prt 4]
  5. Ultimate Guide To The Best New Years Motivational Blog Posts
  6. Be A Voice, Not An Echo
  7. Actions And Attitudes: 10 Hebrew Words for Praise & Worship
  8. Worship & Psychology: Tony Robbins 6 Human Needs [Pt 3]
  9. 12 Super Practical Tips for Worship Leaders Starting Out  – – [Also republished on]
  10. How to Practice the Presence of God with Psalming
  11. Guidelines to Evaluate A Worship Service: Questionnaire (Pt 2)
  12. Practical Theology of Worship: Landing Page
  13. When Are You Too Old To Lead Worship ?
  14. Worship and Psychology [Part 2]
  15. How to Develop a Worship Ministry: 6 Key Concepts
  16. The Best Worship Leading Advice I Ever Received – – [Also republished on]
  17. 3 Biblical Principles for Goal Setting
  18. How Do You Know If You’re Called To Lead Worship?
  19. Why Give Thanks?
  20. The Standard Answer

One of my personal favorites that didn’t have the stats is The Worship Leader As Shepherd, also republished on

Do you have a top blog posts list? Share it here.  Or share a link to the posts by someone else that have been high impact for you.

Stay in the loop! :

Comments? We love comments! Leave yours below.

Video Interview with David Santistevan, Allison Park Worship “Undying Love”

[tentblogger-youtube OMKO_D35EH4]

I’m thrilled to share with you a great new worship CD by Allison Park Worship “Undying Love.”  They are led by uber worship blogger David Santistevan. David is  Creative Arts Pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh, PA.

This is their first project and it’s probably the most sophisticated debut church worship project I’ve ever heard. Take a blend of Mumford & Sons, Gungor, Hillsongs and Jesus Culture – mix in unique, creative arrangements with powerful lyrics and you’ve got “Undying Love”

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