Giveaway: Restoration Project


I'm currently preaching a series of sermons using great, old hymns as the illustration for my exposition of a passage of Scripture. So when I see something like Restoration Project's Kickstarter campaign, I want to help. From their campaign...

We're a songwriting and recording collective dedicated to writing new hymns and restoring old, taking old hymn texts and poems and writing new music and melodies for them.

With your help, we can create our next, very special album series together! Remember: Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing funding platform (we need to reach our goal).

The "Firm Foundation" series will be a two-album collection of Sunday School hymns with new arrangements and lyrics. Our fresh approach to these songs will give them greater theological depth and clarity and a modern musical feel. Great care is also being taken to preserve most of the original melodies.

I've been listening to their other albums and I really dig them. This is a project worth supporting. In order to help them get the word out on this Kickstarter campaign, I'm giving away 5 sets of their two albums for downloadRestoration Project and Hail the Cross, Our Only Hope. Even if you don't want the albums, please consider sharing the link that their project might get fully supported. 

And please, consider giving. Become a backer.

Here's how you can win these two albums...

1. Post to Twitter, Facebook, etc this without the arrows -->  Restoration Project is remaking hymns. Get their 2 albums FREE. RT & comment here to enter: http://bit.ly/resproj <--

2. Comment below so I know you did step one. And for fun share your favorite Sunday School hymn.

I'll use random.org to choose five winners at the end of the week. May the odds be ever in your favor!

Giveaway: Stephen Miller Book & Album

All hail

Heyo! It's a super-happy Music Monday here at Reformissionary because I have stuff to give away to some of my readers. 

Stephen Miller (Twitter) is worship leader at The Journey church in St. Louis, where Darrin Patrick is pastor. He has written a new book, Worship Leaders, We Are Not Rock Stars (Kindle) and put out a new worship album, All Hail The King. The album includes new worship songs as well as reworked Hymns like "Crown Him With Many Crowns." I've been listening to the album and enjoying it a lot. His new albums and  previous album, Hymns, is on regular rotation in my house.

I have 5 of the Worship Leaders, We Are Not Rock Stars eBooks (epub, mobi, or PDF) to give away today that each include a free download of the album

Here's how you enter to win a FREE eBook that includes a free download of the album...

1. Tweet (or post to Facebook if you aren't on Twitter, or do both!) without the quote marks: " Get Stephen Miller's new worship album & book FREE. RT & comment at Reformissionary to enter: http://bit.ly/14xLgfb "

2. Comment below (so I can confirm you did step 1) with your real name and real email (kept private) and FOR FUN in your comment let me know a neglected old hymn that you love and wish would get consideration from Stephen or someone else for a future worship album. 

*I'll use random.org to pick the 5 winners tonight, and I'll announce the winners on the blog & send out emails. May the odds be ever in your favor!

Bifrost Arts | Come O Spirit for FREE

The Bifrost Arts conference, The Cry Of The Poor: A Conference About Worship, Community, & Mercy, is coming up in April in Philadelphia. To get your attention (and this should do it) they are giving away their excellent worship album, Come O Spirit. IT ENDS TODAY. Please grab it while you can. I think you'll love it. I do. And consider going to the conference. Early registration discounts end this week!

Sojourn Live | Come Ye Sinners

Our friends at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY who have put out some of the great, new, creative worship music of the last several years now have released Come Ye Sinners, a live album. Along with that, you can get all other Sojourn albums for $5. So it's a good time to fill in what's missing in your Sojourn Music catalog as well as to pick up their new offering.Sojourn live

Giveaway | Stephen Miller: Hymns

Hymns header

WINNERS! We have our five winners.

Jacob Young
Danny Poyner
Matthew Robbins
Joshua Crabb
Richard Campeau

Congrats guys! Email coming soon.

By the way, the total number of songs on my iTunes is 14,045. Closest, I believe, was WhyArtwork.com with 13,856. How's that for a free plug for your website! :)


One of the great joys I get as an audiophile with a blog is the opportunity to get some great albums before they release. Since it's better to give than receive, I especially LOVE the opportunity some artists give me to give away their albums.

Stephen Miller, worship leader at The Journey church in St. Louis, releases his new album, Hymns, Tuesday. But I'm giving away 5 digital downloads today! Yeah, five.

It's already getting regular play in my house. Miller gives accessible music updates to several beloved hymns like "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty," "I Surrender All," "How Deep the Father's Love For Us," and "Be Thou My Vision." He also offers his versions of "Behold the Throne of God Above" and "In Christ Alone." For good measure he adds "Kyrie, Eleison." There are a total of eleven songs. It's a solid offering to the growing list of young artists making good worship music. It's good for my soul and will be a blessing for my church.

Here's how you enter to win a FREE download...

1. Tweet (or post to Facebook if you aren't on Twitter, or do both!) without the quote marks: " Want to download Stephen Miller's album, Hymns, free? RT & comment at Reformissionary to enter: http://bit.ly/T3FNbJ "

2. Comment below (so I can confirm you did step 1) with your real name and real email (kept private) and For Fun guess the exactly number of songs iTunes says I have. It's more than 1 and less than 20,000. 

*I'll use random.org to pick the 3 winners sometime after 5pm, and I'll announce the winners on the blog & send out emails. May the odds be ever in your favor!

The Followers Deserve a Following

The following

My friends Bryan Lilly & Brent Thomas introduced me to The Followers. Brent had helpful thoughts at his blog, so I'll let him do the talking...

Featuring Josh White of Telecast and Eric Earley of Blitzen Trapper and based out of Door of Hope Church in Portland, OR, the band strives to “to create a 70′s infused worship experience” which they call “neo-gospel.” Drawing on a folky, alt. country/blues/soul foundation, the group has created songs that are not only creatively challenging but singable; a balance not easily struck. While there are hints of Telecast and Blitzen Trapper, The Followers have presented an album with a unified, cohesive sound. Being retro without being nostalgic or gimmicky, The Followers intertwined several strands of roots music into something both comfortable and challenging.

There is a theme of experiential relationship with Jesus throughout which is enhanced by the urgency of some of the arrangements. Drawing on the blues and soul traditions, The Followers have created an album in which the music drives home the words. Truth about Jesus isn’t just meant to be understood but experienced. If our music isn’t passionate, why would anyone trust that we really believe the words we sing?

This is an album I’m definitely looking forward to spending more time with.

If the name Josh White rings a bell for my blog readers, it's probably because of this post about Josh and Door of Hope's "Church in the Park" open-air meeting in Portland.

Check out Wounded Healer, and go download it for free or donate a bunch to their work...

Music Monday 4.16.12

Ipod toon



Check out the Tiny Desk Concert from First Aid Kit (album, The Lion's Roar). You won't be sorry. When they harmonize = wow. Also, follow along the lyrics to the second song, "The Lion's Roar." It appears to be their response to & reflection on church, religion, Jesus, Christianity. 

Stephen Miller: God & Sinner Reconcile


I get excited thinking about the direction some are taking with worship music. While there's a glut of stuff out there that all sounds the same to me and that I just can't listen to, there's a new breed of creative, biblical/theological worship guys at solid churches who are changing the game. I want to do what I can to encourage the creation of new, good worship music. Some of the music I've pointed to before includes Sojourn, Bifrost Arts, Aaron Ivey, Joe Day, Page CXVI, and others. Today I want to introduce you to someone who may be new to you.

Stephen Miller, worship leader at The Journey church in St. Louis, has a new worship album out today: God & Sinner Reconcile. I've been enjoying it for a couple of weeks. It's entered the rotation of music for personal worship as well as what we listen to on Sunday morning as a family before gathering with the church. I've also shared it with our worship leaders. I hope many of my readers will check it out and pick it up.

Check out Stephen Miller's websiteFacebook page, and Twitter feed. Then grab a copy of God & Sinner Reconcile. It's only $6.99!

Sojourn | A Child Is Born


I'm a huge Sojourn Music fan because I like their music and the rich content of their songs. More than that, I love their music because I love their focus on the Gospel as a church. They are friends and one of my favorite churches around.

I've given a couple of listens to Sojourn Community Church's new Christmas album, A Child Is Born. My word for this album would be "challenging." It's challenging to your ears as it's anything but a typical Christmas album. It's not even close. Their version of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" is "punk-rock inspired," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" is poppy, as is "Silent Night." Some of the more subdued and lovely moments on the album are from lesser known lyrics retooled. I love the voices that are now very familiar to me: Brooks Ritter, Jamie Barnes, Megan Shaffer & others. They are always a joy to hear again on new projects. The cover design is lovely and simple.

In many ways, this isn't supposed to be an easy album to hear. From Sojourn's website...

There’s a place for joy, a necessary and central place for celebration, but that joy and celebration has it’s most weight when seen in the context of the suffering and longing from which it emerges. So Christmas music at Sojourn has always had a dark edge, a sense of tension and angst, which points us to the darkness of our own hearts that longs for the light of Christ.

For me, A Child Is Born is an odd album. Taking the familiar and making it unfamiliar. Taking songs typically wrapped in seasonal sounds and re-wrapping them in something unseasonal and unusual. It may not be an easy album for you to like, though I've heard from many who are liking it a lot! Sojourn takes some serious risks in genre and style that will shake your Christmas world. But you will have to be the judge if this darker, grittier version of Christmas is something that will be in your rotation year by year. If nothing else, Sojourn for me has earned a listen as they continue to make music in service of the Church that is out of the ordinary.

Buy A Child is Born: Amazon or for $5 at Grouptune

Also check out: Over the Grave | The Water & The Blood

Austin Stone Live

Austin stone live

After attending the first Verge Conference at The Austin Stone, I became a fan of Aaron Ivey (@AaronIvey) and his album, Between the Beauty & Chaos. It's one of the most played worship albums on my iPod and in my house. Then at the recent Together for Adoption Conference in Phoenix I met (several times... inside joke) Jimmy McNeal (@JimmyMcSings), who should have a worship album releasing next year. Loved the times of corporate worship led by Jimmy and the songs he brought.

So when I heard a new Austin Stone Live album was on the way, featuring Aaron & Jimmy, I was excited to hear it. Today I've been streaming the recording of their live concert from last night. It includes some songs from T4A Conference, and I'm really enjoying it. Watch it here. Buy it at iTunes.

Austin City Life: Glow EP

Acl glow

Austin City Life church in, uh, Austin, has a new four song EP out: Glow. Stream it at Bandcamp.  couple of years ago I shared my thoughts on their first EP, One. Vocals are from Miranda Dodson (I really like here album, Change A Thing).

I've only listened through it twice. Two quick notes. I really dig the opener "Beautiful Love." Sounds like they blend some southern flavor to a hint of the vocal dancing of Eisley or Joanna Newsom. It's a lovely track. They close with a tweaked version of "Be Thou My Vision." Miranda dominates here, yet sings it delicately. They add a chorus (or a bridge?) that I believe will add a layer of understanding for those who get a bit lost in the wording of the original hymn. 

Glow is well worth checking out. Share your thoughts below. Would love to hear what you think.

T4A | Songs

Here are all the songs from Friday/Saturday in order. At least that's what worship leader Jimmy McNeal told me. I'm pretty sure he repeated "Let Your Kingdom Come" on Saturday, but since I can't remember exactly where, I'll leave it off. If someone knows, let me know and I'll fix the list. Hope you enjoyed the corporate singing as much as I did.

Jimmy tells me he has an album coming next year. If I learn more, I'll let you know.

Friday Morning

"Your Great Name" - The People's Church
"From the Inside Out" - Hillsong
"You Alone Can Rescue" - Matt Redman
"How Great Thou Art" -hymn (Arron Ivey version)
"Let Your Kingdom Come" - Aaron Ivey

Friday Afternoon/Evening

"You Alone Can Rescue" - Matt Redman
"Hallelujah! What a Savior!" - hymn (Aaron Ivey band version)
"How Marvelous" - hymn

Saturday Morning

"The Wonderful Cross" - Chris Tomlin
"Your Great Name" - Hillsong
"Hallelujah! What a Savior!" - Aaron Ivey version

Saturday Afternoon/Evening

"How Marvelous"
"Hallelujah! What a Savior!" - Aaron Ivey version
"Forever Reign" - Hillsong
"How He Loves" - David Crowder version

T4A | Friday Morning Song Set

I very much enjoyed the song choice this morning, so I asked th worship leader, Jimmy McNeal, for the set list. Here you go...

"Your Great Name" - The People's Church
"From the Inside Out" - Hillsong
"You Alone Can Rescue" - Matt Redman
"How Great Thou Art" -hymn (Arron Ivey version)
"Let Your Kingdom Come" - Aaron Ivey

Bifrost Arts - The Third Record

IsaacIf you aren't a fan of Bifrost Arts (and brainchild, Isaac Wardell), I hope you will remedy that. Come O Spirit! is amazing, and their Christmas album, Salvation is Created, is maybe my favorite Christmas album. I gave it high marks in my review. They are making great, historically based worship music, and I want them to make more! Here's how we all can help them make more through their Kickstarter campaign...

Bifrost Arts has had a very full year!

Between a conference, a new curriculum, lots of new songs, and new liturgical materials, we've barely had time to catch our breaths. We're so encouraged by the ways that God has grown this project of ours into something larger than we could have foreseen four years ago, when we began.

Now, after a two-year hiatus since our last full-length, Bifrost Arts is excited to announce that a new record is fully underway. Our plan is to gather together some of our favorite singers and musicians from past records, as well as a whole host of new talent to converge in the recording studio this winter, to record another full-length record.

For the last two years, we've been writing an compiling new church music, trying it out in our congregations, as well as demoing the new material. The theme of the record is the Lamb of God. Many of the songs are are about death and resurrection, about communion, and about suffering and redemption. Folks who have attended Bifrost Arts events in the last two years will recognize some of them from our hymn-sings.

Please consider giving generously to this project so that we can continue our work of writing, producing, and performing new sacred music for our churches and for our communities.

(You can email bifrostarts@gmail.com with questions about the details of the project, and the recording budget.)

Go support these great artists as they produce more music to bless the church.

Review | Sojourn: The Water & The Blood

SojournI don't know what to say about Sojourn Music. I feel like if I'm too positive then I'm not really reviewing. I feel like I need to find something critical to say, because I'm pretty much head-over-heels for everything they do. Seriously tough for me to do anything but tell everyone about their music because it's all worth having and loving.

That said, Sojourn has a new album of Isaac Watts hymns: The Water and the Blood. Their previous album of Watts' hymns is Over the Grave.

My initial reaction to The Water and the Blood is the feeling that it's missing something. That's what happens when you open your previous album with "Warrior." I looked for that song. There's really nothing close. Where Over the Grave rocked and rolled and in many ways roared, The Water and the Blood seems to go in a different direction. I was concerned.

The Water and the Blood is reserved. It's kinda sad. Has Sojourn lost it's rock? No, I don't think so. And it took some thinking for me to figure out why I was expecting something I wasn't getting.

I think this is a new movement in the story that Sojourn is unfolding. It's the moan. It's the blues. It's not the joyous push of going Over the Grave. In many ways, The Water and the Blood is standing at the edge of the grave and meditating on who God is in view of the grave. It doesn't lack in Gospel, in fact it gives us the Gospel richly. And it's not always brooding, as we find a bit more daylight in songs like "Blest Be the Lamb." But for the most part it speaks to us during difficulty, and the mood makes it clear. It's about death and suffering, and doesn't always give us healing. Sometimes The Water and the Blood helps us to cry out when healing has not yet come. It's seeking the LORD. It's waiting on the LORD. It's trusting in the LORD. While distress is near and pain is felt, those suffering while in the grip of Christ have One listening to our cries.

There are times when I need worship songs like "Warrior," but there are also times I need The Water and the Blood. It's rich food for the aching soul. Listen and receive grace in your time of need, and know that the LORD "spilt His Son's blood in our place." ("From Deep Distress")

I highly recommend The Water and the Blood. Please pick it up. If you move quickly, you can get any of Sojourn's albums for $6. Also, for $15 you can pick up their last three albums. Don't miss some of the best and most creative and most theological worship music I've heard. At this price, you should get it all.