Today in "Stuff I Like," I want to feature the new worship album from an old friend of mine, Jon Shirley. The title is Heaven Hear Us. I do not claim to be the connoisseur of great musical taste, nor am I an expert on worship music. All I know is what I like, which is fitting that this blog is entitled, "Stuff I Like."
I want to start by recognizing that worship through singing/music is only one of many avenues of worship. I FIRMLY believe that all of life is to be lived as worship to God. For this entry, I am simply acknowledging my grid for what makes a good worship song or album.
1. The song is a sermon. I mean that literally. I envision a particular worship song being sung by a congregation, and the content is so biblical and applicable that it could just as well serve as the sermon for the day. I want to worship with songs that bring content to a worship experience. I have three favorites on this album, Heaven Hear Us, You Are Worthy and It's Your Love.
2. The performance is excellent. Please allow me some grace with the word performance. Even in our worship services, the performance of it matters. Just as good grammar and tone matters to preaching, so does staying on key and making use of melodies and instrumentation to the songs by which we worship. Obviously, God is not keeping tabs on how "good" a song sounds. God looks at the heart. That being said, a worship artist should always bring his or her best to the role of leading worship. I appreciate Jon Shirley's commitment to well written, well performed and professionally recorded music. The commitment to excellence makes a difference in my worship. Frankly, I wouldn't recommend it if it didn't sound good.
3. Singability. There are lots of great songs that could replace the sermon and are done in excellence, but simply are not singable to regular Joes like me. I love it when I can sing a great worship song in my car and catch on to the words and melody fairly quickly. I like being wow'd as much as the next guy, but my expectation of worship albums is to help me worship personally. Shirley's album Heaven Hear Us does this very well.
Thank you, Jon, for your ministry, and I pray many are impacted by these songs for God's glory.
Get your copy of Heaven Hear Us on iTunes. Please follow Jon on Twitter @jonshirley
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