No Other Name

1-hillsongVarious Artists
Hillsong Worship

(Universal)
Hillsong.com

No Other Name, Hillsong’s latest annual worship release lifts high the name of Jesus. It draws from numerous team writers (Jonas Myrin, Joel Houston, Ben Fielding, Matt Crocker, Sam Knock, Brooke Ligertwood, Scott Ligertwood, Marty Sampson, Hannah Hobbs, Dean Ussher, Jarrad Rogers) and features an array of lead worshipers (Reuben Morgan, Ben Fielding, Annie Garrat, Jad Gillies, David Ware, Jay Cook, Joel Houston, Matt Crocker, Taya Smith, Hannah Hobbs and Marty Sampson, among others).

The album’s opening track “This I Believe (The Creed),” announces a commitment to Scripture and the gospel as the name of Jesus is proclaimed with clarity and power. Not only has the Church been gifted with a Creed for our times, but No Other Name delivers a resplendent and ascendant “Our Father,” as well. “Depths” has the retro feel and gentle, yet powerful beauty of a classic Vineyard song, as does “Calvary.” The intimate prayerful “Thank You Jesus” echoes the flavor and passion of Bethel/Jesus Culture. It is interesting to see the cross-pollination of worship movements. No Other Name echoes the Church’s worship around the world and is an invaluable resource for churches because of its adaptability to different settings, tempos and styles, but most of all because of its biblical and historical resonance. Scriptural themes are richly developed and interwoven, as heard on songs such as “All Things New” and “Mountain.” In the former, God’s renewal of us personally now and in creation as time unfolds is linked to the faith based on God’s Word rather than what is seen, while “Mountain,” explores Christ the rock, the stone the builders rejected, the foundation—his love a mountain—and our relationship to him as living stones.

What is especially delightful about this Jesus-centric release is the array of ways our savior is described and worshiped in his earthly incarnation and heavenly reign and ministry. And with songs such as “This I Believe (The Creed)” and “Our Father,” it keeps it Trinitarian.

The gentle and dreamy ascent to powerful proclamation on “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)” sung by Taya Smith—who fronted “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” on Zion—reimagines and appropriates pieces of the classic hymn into an all new setting that connects God’s transforming grace with our great need.

All these pieces
Broken and scattered
In mercy gathered
Mended and whole
Empty handed
But not forsaken
I’ve been set free

Lyrics to the title track are inspired and inspiring, but multiple changes in tempo, lack of strong melodic hook, and arrangement may somewhat dampen its impact congregationally. All in all, grateful thanks to Hillsong for their openness to Spirit-led experimentation in the present, and ability to successfully implement the past—and for raising the bar on themselves and others lyrically, scripturally, musically, and conceptually.

Sounds Like: A blend of prominent worship movement music past/present (and future) with mainstream pop/rock intonations: Hillsong (of course), Passion, Vineyard, Bethel/Jesus Culture. Fresh, dimensional, theme development and production, sensitive arrangement of synthy sweeps, pads/piano/modern guitar/bass/drums/loops etc. Even bigger, bolder, more percussive and anthemic songs have an element of graceful beauty and rest.

Most Singable: “Thank You Lord,” “Calvary” “
Strongest Biblical Content (all songs saturated with Scripture) “Our Father” (Mt 6:9-11; Lk 11:1-4)
The Whole Package: “This I Believe (The Creed)” “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)”

Resources available: 5 Disc complete Worship Kit, or individual resources including CD, Digital sheet music, digital mp3 trax, Digital instrumental parts, and paper music book @ hillsong.com, plus YouTube videos, lyrics and chords at various sites, plus a deluxe edition of the album with remixes and additional tracks.

Andrea Hunter
5 Stars

Worship: Beginning at the Beginning

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By Kristen Gilles

Worship begins with God. He takes all the initiative in seeking worshipers to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4).  He invites and draws us by His Spirit to participate in the glory-sharing of the Trinity.  And He’s made a way for us to come boldly before His throne through the spotless blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God slain before the foundations of the world to take away the sins of the whole world. So worship begins with God and is made possible by God.

But sometimes we struggle with the notion that it’s all about us, or at least that we initiate worship and, if we sing loud enough and well enough, God will notice. Maybe we even think He’ll love us more and give us more good gifts if we worship Him well.

But thank God that we are accepted by Him on the basis of His righteousness, accredited to us in Christ’s perfect humanity. Worship is not us finding a way to God.  Worship is God drawing us to Himself, to share in the glorious relationship He has with Himself in the Trinity.

God doesn’t need us to worship Him.  God doesn’t need us to do anything for Him.  That’s not why we were created.  The Triune God is entirely satisfied in the loving relationship He has within Himself.  Out of His own fullness, out of the abundance of His continuous outpouring of love and worship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God was pleased to create us, to reveal Himself to us and draw us into this perfect fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.In the mysterious, beautiful glory-sharing of the Trinity (each member continuously and equally ascribing worth to the other members), God’s glorification and worship is complete.  And now we, by the gracious favor of God, have been created to participate in this worship and to share unbroken fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  He chose to share His glory with us!

Worship, then, is a response gifted to us by our Father. Matt Redman described it like this in his song “Gifted Response”:

This is a gifted response,
Father, we cannot come to you by our own merit;

We will come in the name of Your Son,
As He glorifies You, and in the power of Your Spirit

Worship begins with God who invites us — by the power of His Spirit — to participate. And He makes a way for us to do that through Jesus, our Faithful High Priest who ever lives to intercede for us and lead us in worship before the Father.

Think about this and ask yourself how it should impact the worship of your gathered church:

  • How should we enter into our times of corporate worship?
  • What should our people understand about worship beginning with God, and how can we help them understand it?
  • How should we call them to respond to God’s invitation?
  • What methods can we employ to increase our corporate awareness of God’s Triune nature and His work in our worship of Him from beginning to end?
  • What songs can we sing that will help us remember that worship begins with God and is made possible by Him?
  • How can incorporating Scriptures and prayers help us understand God’s work in worship?
  • What Scriptures might be helpful in this regard?


Kristen Gilles is a deacon at Louisville’s Sojourn Community Church. Her new CD Parker’s Mercy Brigade is a story of faith, lament, comfort, healing and worship following the stillbirth of her son. Kristen blogs about worship with her husband, Sojourn’s Bobby Gilles, at mysonginthenight.com.

Leading Worship For Small Groups 

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By Rick Muchow

Over the years I have led worship for many small groups. I love it!  Almost every small group I have led worship for has been grateful for the music as if they had a deep hunger to worship together in their intimate setting.  One thing I have found in common with vibrant Small Groups is that they worship together.  These groups find a way to sit together during most weekend worship services, attend Nights Of Worship, talk about worship, include worship in their group time and more. However many groups, sadly, have yet to discover or incorporate this missing jewel.

The two most significant barriers to having meaningful worship in the small group are musical leadership and the misconception that worship is synonymous with music.  Biblical Worship is, of coarse, more than music and is not synonymous with it (see Romans 12). The essence of worship is faith not the soundtrack!  Biblical Worship is Faith Expressed!  There are many ways to worship God without music.  However, one of the most common, most beautiful, most effective ways to express faith corporately involves music. 

Music is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.
Martin Luther

Here are some practical tips for leading worship with music in the small group gathering. 

1. CALM FEARS
If public speaking is the number one fear of most adults then public singing was overlooked in the survey!   Most people like to sing but prefer to vocalize privately or in a setting where their individual voice will not be noticed.  Getting people to sing in a small group can be a challenge. An affable worship leader encourages participation by intentionally gaining the group’s trust.

Being friendly, relaxed and likable will help calm fears about the “singing” part of the worship time. 

Worship leaders should avoid making direct eye contact with the group members while singing words directed to God.  Staring in general makes people nervous but during singing it can be particularly weird.  Picture singing the words “I love you, Lord” while staring directly at someone just five feet away from you.  Direct eye contact is important when you are speaking to the group but will feel awkward to others while singing in a small setting.  

Simple Rule:  be caring without staring

2. CHOOSE FRIENDLY
Use songs that are group friendly: familiar, well liked and in sing-able keys.  Singing gets better with confidence.  Confidence grows with familiarity. Avoid using songs that are unfamiliar, hard to learn and difficult tosing.  Another way to be friendly is to put the song in the right key.  Most groups stop singing when the key is too high.  This is because many people have to sing louder when they sing higher.  Some can’t reach the high notes and most people become self-conscious if they hear their voices above the rest and will stop singing.  Simple Rule: Use familiar songs and friendly keys.

3. CONTROL VOLUME
People follow voices! Be careful not to drown out the voices with your guitar or other accompaniment.  There’s a difference between louder and energy.

Simple rule: Sing brighter and strum lighter.  Your guitar can be louder than you realize.  

4. CONTEXTUALIZE SONGS
Participation will increase when the group relates to the song.  The worship leader can share interesting facts about the song: what the song means to them personally, it’s scriptural reference or how it relates to the group study.

Simple Rule: Plan your speaking and be brief.

5. CONNECT GROUP
The goal of group singing is connection: connection with God and each other.  Music is a language that speaks directly to the soul.  The worship leader’s job is to make the introduction and then stay out of the way.

Simple Rule: Focus on connecting not performing.  

6. COME PREPARED 
Know your music and sing from the overflow.  The bible says, “If we are leaders we should do our best.” (Rom 12:8) The Worship Leader should know their music and words well enough that their leading is easy for the group to follow.  Effective worship leaders are more than just skilled troubadours. The Worship Leader must have an authentic relationship with the Father, faithfully living a life of worship.

Simple Rule: Leading worship with music requires Spiritual and Musical preparation. 

7.  CONTINUE PRAYING
Think of singing to God as a form of prayer.  Don’t just play your songs. Pray them. People respond to sincere prayers especially in an intimate group setting.  Be aware of those you are leading while staying focused on the conversation with God while singing.  Approach worship leading as more of a prayer time than “Special Music” or a mini concert.

Simple Rule: Pray and Play. 

Rick Muchow was Saddleback’s Founding Worship Pastor and served with Pastor Rick Warren for 25 years. He has helped train over 150,000 church leaders. Rick continues to equip and encourage local church worship teams, Pastors and Worship leaders around the world. Please visit www.rickmuchow.com for more worship resources from Rick.

Contact Rick at Info@encouragingmusic.com

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook: @rickmuchow

Introducing 3 New Rush of Fools Songs

rush of fools

The recent Rush of Fools release, Carry Us Now, is their most congregational offering to date. Yesterday at NWLC 14 Kansas, Rush of Fools taught a couple of new songs that had the entire congregation praising God with a powerful new song. They shared a few of them with us, and we are happy to pass them along to you.

Message from Wes Willis from NWLC:


“Lay Me Down”

“Nailed to the Cross”

“Take Me Over”

Don’t Play The Comparison Game

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By Brendan Prout

Q. How many guitarists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. Five.  … One to screw in the light bulb, and four to watch him and say, “I could do that better.”

As this old joke goes, comparing ourselves to others is often a part of being a musician – but if we’re not careful, we can tread into dangerous ground of unseemly pride.

When I first started playing guitar, I wanted to be able to do everything my guitar hero at the time was doing. I couldn’t afford the same gear, but I bought gear that would let me approximate his sound and style as closely as possible. Later, as I found my own feet and matured as a guitarist (don’t laugh at the use of ‘mature’ and ‘guitarist’ in the same sentence!), I became less concerned about mimicking others or comparing myself to others, and more concerned about being able to do what I needed to do in the context of my own band, my own writing, my own church.

And yet, today we see and hear all around us the comparison game going on. We hear folks putting others down because of style, perception of poorly executed musicianship, or simply because their delivery of a song was different than the original recording or performance. That’s definitely off base from where we ought to be. There’s plenty of room for appropriate musical and technical critique – in fact, it’s necessary, in order to hone our craft as musicians – but there’s a line that gets crossed when we start to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. This puts us in direct violation of God’s command to us in Romans 12:3, and it can lead nowhere good.

The temptation is to try to make your church be that other church, to make your band be that other band, and that may be fighting the wrong fight. There’s nothing wrong with insisting on excellence in musicianship, or establishing a particular style of music that fits the corporate expression of your body. Where we get off kilter is when we try to make our church body fit the mold of a unique work that God has done elsewhere, without seeking first what His unique vision for your church body is. It may sound simplistic, but we need to recognize that God will be uniquely working in our local church, and that it will look different from that church down the street or across the country.

When you make that other church the measuring stick, you often are using an inappropriate benchmark. That can call on either side of the pride equation: “our church is better than that church,” or “our church is not as good as that other church.” Both are different expressions of inappropriate levels of pride. Let your church be your church, and let God be as uniquely creative with your church as He is with others.

Within your church, however, there is still some comparison stuff going on that can be detrimental, and it all falls soundly around that poor exercise of inappropriate pride. It can manifest itself in an individual saying something along the lines of, “I don’t get why so-and-so gets to play so much, when I’m a much better musician.” Ring-ring! Cluephone. It’s for you. And the answer probably has to do with your swollen ego making you a poor choice to serve.

If you ever find yourself saying to others, “our worship team is the best one at the church” or “when we led worship, it was the best our church has had in years,” then can be sure you are 100% in prideful sin. It may be factually true, but you have absolutely no business expressing that thought. It does not serve to build up or encourage others, and only makes you look bad, tarnishing your reputation in the eyes of others, which will make you less effective as a leader.

If you find yourself wanting to form a worship band around yourself for the purpose of ‘showing up’ the other bands, you are in sin. The Lord will never bless that effort.

The Lord hates the one who causes division or dissension in His church (Proverbs 6:19). Pay close attention here: He doesn’t just hate the sin, He hates the one who stirs dissension. He makes it personal, because you’re making it personal in causing problems in His Bride. He defends His Bride and treats her with honor, and being part of the Bride yourself, you need to be aware of that and be especially careful about your heart’s motives.

Don’t cause division. Don’t compare yourself with others, or others to you. You are never the benchmark. Period.

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5). Ever notice God repeats in His Word the things that are important for us to learn about him and how He works? This warning is in Scripture three times. Pay heed. You have the ability to choose the path of humility, or another road that leads to destruction. Choose wisely.
Brendan Prout is a pastor at Community Bible Church in San Diego, CA, where he oversees worship and outreach. He has served in worship ministry leadership for over 20 years and focuses on training and raising others to do the work of ministry they are called to.