musings on worship and christian living


What if the song stops?
August 23, 2008, 1:15 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

There has been a worship “movement” throughout the world in the last decade, a revival of praise if you will.  Concerts have transformed into church services and worship festivals are as common as rock festivals.  Evidence of this hunger for worship is found in the release of worship albums from every major music artist, maybe the result of that artists love for worship… maybe a result of the industries desire to get a cut of the profits this new move is generating.  

Whatever the venue it is apparent that worship through music is still on the rise.  I suppose I am part of that move as a “worship artist”, whatever that means.  But as the world goes worship crazy it just begs the question, what IS worship?  Or rather (like I’ve blogged before), HOW do we worship?

One thing is very apparent.  In the Christian church worship is almost completely synonymous with music.  What comes to mind when you are going to a worship service?  A worship band and music.  A worship concert?  Same thing.  I would wager to say that any and all worship services are focused on music, and most people end the story with worship in that moment.  Now don’t get me wrong, music is an incredible gift from God, able to stir the heart and open doors.  But is that definition incomplete?  

I have been thinking a lot about worship lately, go figure.  But my heart keeps coming back to worship as lifestyle, not music style.  What does it mean to worship with life instead of in a 30 minute music set on a Sunday morning?  Sometimes I think my brain does its best thinking when I’m asleep as I often wake up with very profound thoughts… and true to form I woke up yesterday with a thought in my head:

what if the song stops?

What if tomorrow no more songs could be written?  If we just lost the music, if our ability to sing was taken from our mouths?  What if tomorrow our instruments no longer played and music became just a memory of melody?  What if music could no longer be made… what if the song stopped?

What if?!  Would we still worship?  What would it look like?  Do we live lives of worship already?  Would the transition be an easy and natural one?  Or would we lose the passion of our adoration, would we fight for the words to say in a language we do not know, the language of life as worship?  

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  

Worship is not dedicated to music only… worship is a lifestyle that brings glory to God.  But our compartmentalized lives so often fail to achieve the greatest worship of all.  We put things in their “place” and rarely begin to think about Christian life as a complete overhaul, a complete change from our sinful nature.  

I want to live a life of worship… a life that is not dependent upon a song for me to show my adoration to the God who saves.  More than just that life for me, I ache for the church to discover that passion, that dream.  A life lived to glorify the King.  And I believe that if we could grow communities of Christians who worship God not only in song but in life then we will begin to see the kingdom grow… we will begin to see lives truly change.  

Chorus Excerpt – “If the Song Stops”
(C)2008 Nathan Arnold

If the melodies weren’t lifted from the mouths of congregations
If the songs of praise could no longer be played
Would the voices of redemption still shout loud the name of Jesus
If the song stops would we praise



A trip into the mountains
August 21, 2008, 11:55 pm
Filed under: Life, Updates

I just got back from a camping trip with my family in Wallowa County, OR. The park we were at is in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, and we hiked up Hurricane Creek one of the days. I broke the screen on my camera part way in and so lots of these pictures are just a click and a prayer. It’s some of the most beautiful country in the world and I wanted to share some of the 200 pictures I took with you. (The last picture is my favorite I’ve ever taken. It’s of my dad (in the shorts) and uncle, two very good friends and both amazing men, walking down a foggy trail in the morning.)

It just really drives home Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

I wake up almost every day with a song in my head. Almost all week Vicky Beeching’s song “Great is Your Glory” occupied my waking thoughts (before being unseated by a Big Daddy Weave song) and it was oh so fitting to the glory of what God created for us to enjoy.

May you see God in your every moment this weekend.

~Nathan



Thursday
August 7, 2008, 11:44 pm
Filed under: Updates

Well, we didn’t make the finals in band competition. : (  But we’re still having a great time!  Our friends, The Josh Weaver Band, didn’t make it either, so it was pretty sad.  

On a better note, Joy Williams, Shane and Shane, John Foreman and Sean Watkins all played.  Joy Williams is AMAZING!  But the whole night was way awesome.  

Please pray for us tomorrow as we have an interview with Compassion ministries at 11 am.  We are one of the candidates for Compassion prize, and it’s actually the #1 thing I was hoping and praying for coming in. 

God has blessed us immensely this week.  Thanks for all your prayers!  

~Nathan



The Volume of Heaven
August 7, 2008, 12:40 pm
Filed under: Random Musings

We just got done with a final run through before the band semi-finals here at Estes Park, and the immensity of what is being sung struck me again.  Isn’t it interesting that something you sing all the time, and that is meaningful can in a moment become bigger than it was, have a greater impact than before. 

The song we’re doing is “Heaven’s Shout”, a piece I wrote just after recording the album last year, really to call attention to the amazing holiness of the Lord and to invite us to join with heaven in celebrating him.  If you don’t know it the lyrics are this:

Heaven’s Shout

Listen, quiet now.  
Sounds of wonder shout.
Do you hear the angels sing
Melodies of majesty?

Holy, holy is the Lord
Reigning here o’er all the earth
Breath of everything that’s pure
In our lives be lifted

Listen, quiet now.
Glory here surrounds.
Will you join as heaven sings
Lifting high the King of kings?

Holy, holy is the Lord.
Reigning here o’er all the earth.
Breathe of everything that’s pure
In our lives be lifted

Higher than mountains have yet grown
Louder than oceans caught in storm.
With every breathe this world takes
And all of the moments left we’ll join the song
Will all of heaven shout

Holy, holy is the Lord
Reigning here o’er all the earth
Breath of everything that’s pure
In our lives be lifted.

I love that the first call to action is to quiet oneself, and that the result of quieting ourselves is that we hear a shout.  I think that so often we feel as if heaven is a very quiet place, and that’s why we need to become quiet… so we can hear the whispers.  And most assuredly God did tell Elijah in 2 Kings that he was in the gentle whisper.  But there are also the multitudes that shouted Christ’s arrival and that celebrate his holiness every moment in heaven.  And somehow we are so busy we talking that we miss out on this clamorous celebration.  

As I was singing this song today i was just overcome with the desire to celebrate the holiness of my Creator, for people to tune in to the song of heaven and join along.  I am challenged by John 4:23-24 which says, “But an hour is coming, and NOW Is, when the true worshippers will worship in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers.  God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”   I WANT to be a worshipper, not later, but in the now.  I want to join with heaven in bowing low and casting everything I have before Him on his throne.  I want to enter in to worship and bring as many with me as I can.  

I’ll admit, I’m kind of scattered right now.  I can get so overwhelmed with the thought of worship, and depth and breadth of what it means to live a life of glorifying the king.  Then my mind goes everywhere at once, and even this person who hates preaching wants to preach because I’m simply overwhelmed with a passion and love of glorifying God.  

Do you have the same desire?  The desire to chase the Spirit, to quiet your mouths and your minds so that the clamor of heaven can be heard, and the praises of the King can be joined?  I hope if you do that you take every opportunity to praise, and that if you don’t that you find that love for a King who is so, so worthy. 

Be praying for us over the next few hours as we celebrate the Lord through song, and get judged for it. : )



Wednesday
August 6, 2008, 9:12 am
Filed under: Updates

I feel like I’ve been here a month!  

Yesterday things got a bit hectic.  They moved my Vocal 2 (solo competition) to the opposite side of the park and I had to move briskly to make it there on time.  Then one of the most violent rain storms I’ve ever seen rolled in to escort me to the band competition all the way down the hill.  I was absolutely SOAKED by the time I got down there.  

I think both spots went well.  I was dying by the time I walked up the hill, so I was a little oxygen deprived while I was doing singing my song.  My feet started shaking like crazy… it was hilarious.  I’m sure people watching may have thought I was nervous, not that I was ready to collapse.  Band spot went well too… had a lot of fun.

People continue to think we are somebody special.  We signed someone’s poster yesterday and I have had multiple pictures with folk.  I’m guessing that most people will get home and see the pictures and think… “Who IS this guy?”  lol  

The band that beat us in the battle of the bands, Generation Letter, played last night with Stellar Kart, MercyMe and Vicky Beeching (my favorite, check her out at http://www.myspace.com/vickybeeching).  It was a great concert overall.  This morning followed up with some great acoustic worship lead by Vicky.  I almost ate it walking off the lawn though as the saturated ground slid from beneath my feet… but I made a quick recovery and saved face.  

Also went to a class taught by Vicky Beeching.  She has an amazing heart and writes incredible worship songs.  She has officially moved up on my list of “people I want to buy coffee”.

We’ve been hanging out a bunch with a great band, the Josh Weaver Band whom you should check out.  www.joshweavermusic.com  They won a radio contest and automatically made the semi finals in the band comp and are really cool cats.  We’ll find out tonight if the band or myself will be joining them in the second round.  

Having a blast so far, and having as much fun as I can muster.



Tuesday…
August 5, 2008, 10:43 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

So it’s Tuesday… and it feels like I’ve been here for a week already.  What a packed week!  Nothing huge to update except that they felt bad about the songs not working out and enrolled me in the vocal competition for free.  So today at 1:00 we have a band practice, then at 1:30 I’ll be singing in the solo vocal competition, then at 2:15 we’ll be competing as a band.  So, lots of singing and running around there. 

I feel the elevation a bit today.  It’s not a surprise since we’re about 8000 feet above my normal elevation.  I’ve never consumed so much water in my life.  

Thanks for all your prayers!  I’ll keep you posted on how things go.

~Nathan



A bit of a bummer…
August 4, 2008, 1:10 pm
Filed under: Updates

So I found out today that the 4 songs I submitted for the song contest didn’t get “finalized”.  Apparently the CD’s I sent in didn’t play on their players.  I was so worried about that I tested it on every CD player I had… so it’s kind of a bummer. 

But the day is going great otherwise.  Having fun and learning a lot.  I’ve had a ton of people come up and tell me how much the appreciated us and our songs last night.  It’s really encouraging to hear people that didn’t even know my music be led into worship by it.  Praise God!  

I’ll continue to keep you guys updated on things.  Be praying for us tomorrow at 2:15 mountain time. 

~Nathan