Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Purpose Driven Life - Chapter 12

A Purpose Driven Life Chapter 12 - Friend of God II

Chapter Overview: You are only as close to God as you choose to be.  "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you"
Rick makes a number of main points in this chapter:
  1. You must choose to be honest with God
  2. You must choose to obey God in faith
  3. You must choose to value what God values
  4. You must desire friendship with God more than anything else

2011 (40 years old)

I can be honest with God.  However, there's a point where your gripe gets in the way of moving forward with God. For example, my issue with the next point.  I can't 'choose' to obey God in faith because how do I know what He is saying?  My argument is this:  I believe He can make Himself heard (He is speaking to me).  However, I don't have a lot of faith in my ability to correctly discern what He is saying.  Was this You, God, or was it that?  Which one was You?  Perhaps I over analyze it.  It's a real struggle.  And because it is and continues to be, I use it as a cop-out.

2016 (45 years old)

I'm as close to God as I want to be. God uses everything... EVERYTHING for our good. Sometimes we blame him for our circumstances.  He wants us to be honest with him, even when we feel hurt.  Pain is God's megaphone. Like the church in Ephesus, if your motivation for doing things for God is duty, then you've missed it completely. You're just going through the motions and you're missing God. What are some practical choices I can make today in order to grow closer to God?  Perhaps ask myself this question in every situation and circumstance I find myself in today, remembering that God always has my best interest at heart and that he likes honesty and obedience. Outward results don't matter - that's not what God is interested in or looking at.

Can I be truly honest with God?  He likes that.  Woman with closed eyes looking up


For background on what these 'Purpose Driven Life' posts are about, click this link.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Day Worship Changed for Me - Early 1990

Early Spring, 1990.   The day worship changed for me.

Before March. Unfortunately, I didn't write an actual journal entry about this event at the time.  I was 'busy.'  I had an assignment to read I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, and I & II Chronicles, and I had a friend who had given me a cassette tape of 'new' worship music to check out.  I thought 'why not kill two birds with one stone and do both at the same time?'  I did exactly that on my top bunk in my dorm room at college late at night, with no expectation of anything.

The worship music I was listening to turned out to be the first Maranatha Praise Band album.  It was quite a bit better than I was expecting.  Songs like 'Jesus, Mighty God' and 'Lord I Life Your Name on High' played as I read, and I was actually enjoying myself.  Things changed when I got to II Samuel 6:14 where David is bringing the Ark of the Lord into Jerusalem and dancing before the Lord 'with all his might.'  The song that was playing on the cassette when I read that was 'The Lord Reigns.'  At the end of the song the band sings 'Bless the Name of the Lord' repeatedly while the band continues to build and I had this picture in my mind of David dancing before the Lord with all his might, kicking up dust, sweating like crazy, out of breath.

I paused and wondered, 'What would it be like to worship God like that?'
Dancer dancing with all his might
I stopped reading and re-round the song (I didn't have a CD player).  I listened to the song again and read that passage again and asked myself the question:  'What would it be like to worship God, to dance before Him, with all my might??'

Worship changed for me that day.  God opened my eyes to see a different perspective of what worship was.  Before that, it was songs that we sang in church before a sermon.  Some were fast, some were slow, and most of them talked about God.  After that evening of reading, I slowly began to realize that worship is so much more than that.  Its a connection between God and myself.  It me recognizing who God is, and my place in His scheme of things.  Its wonder, exuberance - so much more than just singing about God.  Its getting my mind and my heart... and my strength involved.

I rarely get to that place of worship where David was.  I'm not really sure I've even been in that zone that David was in.  But I want to be one day.  I want my love and exuberance for God be stronger than my fear of what people will think.  And worship God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.


Monday, February 26, 2018

A Purpose Driven Life - Chapter 11

A Purpose Driven Life Chapter 11 - Friend of God

Chapter Overview: Rick began writing about the prospect of being a friend of God, and who did that in the bible (Moses, Abraham, Enoch, David and more).  He gave two pointers on how to cultivate friendship with God. 
  1. Practice His presence - talk to Him all the time, like in a conversation. The example he used and quoted was from the book Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.  
  2. Meditating on God's word. The examples he used here were two scriptures - one for Job and one for David.
God wants to be my friend.  Young woman praying

2011 (40 years old)

I remember reading that book by Brother Lawrence back during DTS and really enjoying it.  I did (and to some degree still do) try and have a running conversation with God.  I think the key with this exercise is faith. How do you know that you and God are actually becoming better friends?  I actually might have an answer to that, given my experience. I was thinking yesterday about my whole 'trial' with trusting God and how I really worked on that problem to see that there are on fact different levels/lessons that God wants to walk is through in trusting and surrender to Him. Perspective is key with this. Things aren't always going to be rosy. It's when trials and struggles come that God (and we ourselves) can see if we're making advances in our relationship with Him. This is a scary fact for me. It's so comfortable, easy, and safe to maintain the status quo.

2016 (45 years old)

God wants to be my best friend. What can I do to remind myself about God and think about him... To think and talk with him through the day?  Consciously look for reminders of God and his love and care and thank him for it. Like orange tinted sunrise rainbows. The chapter mentions Brother Lawrence.  Rick said 'if you know how to worry, you know how to meditate'. You just need to focus different.  Also 'breath prayers' - one liners that you can breath out. Brother Lawrence said its not in the length of your prayers but in their sincerity and consistency. He mentions Acts 17:26-27... He made the earth hospitable with plenty of time and space so we could seek after God and not just grope around in the dark.  I liked the line 'if you worry you know how to meditate - you just need to focus on something else.


For background on what these 'Purpose Driven Life' posts are about, click this link.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Worship Piano/Keyboard Workshop

Worship Piano/Keyboard Workshop


Playing keys in a worship service - keep it simple!
 
What is the keyboard's 'place' in the context of worship music?  “For the body is not made up of one part, but of many...  But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be”  I Corinthians 12:14,18
-       Is the worship in your church mostly guitar led, or keyboard led?  If its guitar led, pick little ditties or play passing notes here and there to fill things in.
-       When there is free worship or sharing, be sensitive to providing a quiet background wash – simple chords with no recognizable melody.  Change chords slowly, with precision.
-       Watch your posture.   Try not to stand with your hand on your hip.  Try not to make faces when you make a mistake if you can help it

Less is more  “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:15
-       Let notes sing their allotted time. Think of the notes as voices. Don't be concerned about trying to play too much. 
-       Rest, stillness, peace - 23rd Psalm.  How can we help people hear God (especially if He's talking with a still small voice)?

Be Prepared
-       I like to have 3 different ideas of how to play each song.  
-       A full band keyboard part (minimal – find motifs to fill in ‘blank’ areas)
-       An ensemble keyboard part (fuller keys, but not super busy)
-       Keys alone – you’re covering all the instrumental parts
-       (chords & rhythm)
-       upper RH plays melody
Additionally here's some questions you can ask yourself:
-       Are you prepared to switch keys?
-       Do you know which patches you want to use?
-       How will you manage dynamics/intensity changes?
-       Which arrangement of the song are you playing?  Do you know your part for that arrangement?
      -       Try to learn the obvious keyboard parts or the arrangement by ear or by YouTube

Technical Prep (scales, chording, arpeggios)
-       Helps with accuracy
-       Simple scales
-       Alternate exaggerated short/long notes, strengthen fingers
-       Solid and broken chords
-       Alternate broken chord patterns
-       Alternate short/long notes
-       Arpeggios
-       Regular triads 1,3,5,1

Keep your playing as simple as you can.
-       Octaves - great in RH (right hand) for exaggerating a melodic line
-       Motifs
-       Dynamics
-       Rhythm
-       Tension with passing notes – accentuate them by stressing them louder and longer
-       Repeat single notes - surprisingly effective!

How to play simply to almost any song
I've been playing keys in church for over 3 decades and tried lots of different ways to sound good.  Surprisingly, one can actually sound quite good by playing 2 notes in the Right Hand (RH) that never move, and follow the chords of the song with a single bass note (or octaves) in the Left Hand (LH).  The two notes in the Right Hand that don't have to move are the I and the V (or a simple 5th interval in the key your playing.  Line them up in the charts below.  Sometimes the RH can change to use the 4th interval instead of the 5th.

Doodle notes (or passing notes) can be played in the spaces.  Experiment with different patters with them: octaves, hitting them twice in a row, different intensities, etc.  They can be super effective as well.  I have charts for most of the common keys that songs are played in below.

Key of C
                                  I                II                III                 IV                V                VI               VII
Song Sheet Chord
C
Dm
C/E
F
G
Am
G/B
RH
G
F
G
G
G
G
G
C
C
D or C
C
D
C
D
LH
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
Doodle notes
B,C,D,G
E,F,G,C
B,C,D,G
E,F,G,C
B,C,D,G
B,C,D,G
B,C,D,G

Key of D
                                  I                II                III                 IV                V                VI               VII
Song Sheet Chord
D
Em
D/F#
G
A
Bm
A/C#
RH
A
G
A
A
A
A
A
D
D
E or D
D
E
D
E
LH
D
E
F#
G
A
B
C#
Doodle notes
C#,D,E,A
F#,G,A D
C#,D,E,A
F#,G,A,D
C#,D,E,A
C#,D,E,A
C#,D,E,A

Key of E
                               I                  II                III                  IV                 V                VI                VII
Song Sheet Chord
E
F#m
E/G#
A
B
C#m
B/D#
RH
B
A
B
B
B
B
B
E
E
F# or E
E
F#
E
F#
LH
E
F#
G#
A
B
C#
D#
Doodle notes
D#,E,F#,B
G#,A,B,E
D#,E,F#,B
G#,A,B,E
D#,E,F#,B
D#,E,F#,B
D#,E,F#,B

Key of G
           
Song Sheet Chord
G
Am
G/B
C
D
Em
D/F#
RH
D
C
D
D
D
D
D
G
G
G or A
G
A
G
A
LH
G
A
B
C
D
E
F#
Doodle notes
F#,G,A,D
B,C,D,G
F#,G,A,D
B,C,D,G
F#,G,A,D
F#,G,A,D
F#,G,A,D

Key of A
                                   I                II                III                 IV                V                VI               VII
Song Sheet Chord
A
Bm
A/C#
D
E
F#m
B/G#
RH
E
D
E
E
E
E
E
A
A
B or A
A
B
A
B
LH
A
B
C#
D
E
F#
G#
Doodle notes
G#,A,B,E
C#,D,E,A
G#,A,B,E
C#,D,E,A
G#,A,B,E
G#,A,B,E
G#,A,B,E

Key of Bb
                                    I                II                III                 IV                V                VI               VII
Song Sheet Chord
Bb
Cm
Bb/D
Eb
F
Gm
F/A
RH
F
Eb
F
F
F
F
F
Bb
Bb
C or Bb
Bb
C
Bb
C
LH
Bb
C
D
Eb
F
G
A
Doodle notes
A,Bb,C,F
D,Eb,F, Bb
A,Bb,C,F
D,Eb,F, Bb
A,Bb,C,F
A,Bb,C,F
A,Bb,C,F

Key of F
                                I                  II                III                  IV                 V                VI                VII
Song Sheet Chord
F
Gm
F/A
Bb
C
Dm
C/E
RH
C
Bb
C
C
C
C
C
F
F
G or F
F
G
F
G
LH
F
G
A
Bb
C
D
E
Doodle notes
E,F,G,C
A,Bb,C,F
E,F,G,C
A,Bb,C,F
E,F,G,C
E,F,G,C
E,F,G,C

Key of Eb
           
Song Sheet Chord
Eb
Fm
Eb/G
Ab
Bb
Cm
Bb/D
RH
Bb
Ab
Bb
Bb
Bb
Bb
Bb
Eb
Eb
Eb or F
Eb
F
Eb
F
LH
Eb
F
G
Ab
Bb
C
D
Doodle notes
D,Eb,F,
Bb
G,Ab,Bb,
Eb
D,Eb,F,
Bb
G,Ab,Bb,
Eb
D,Eb,F,
Bb
D,Eb,F,
Bb
D,Eb,F,
Bb


Songs where Rhythm is important:
-       You Are Good (Israel Houghton)   Key of E
o   Shots are important in this song
o   Syncopated Rhythm between LH and RH in chorus
-       Forever (MWS)  Key of E
o   Certain chords held in verses, certain chords follow vocals
o   Syncopated Rhythm between LH and RH in chorus
-       Everlasting God  Key of G
o   Bridge – syncopated bass in LH with RH keeping straight beat playing 5th's
-       How Great is Our God (Chris Tomlin – live version)  Key of E
o   Simply keyboard rhythm with RH - super powerful


Songs with a strong Key melody (that you should know):
-       No Longer Slaves    Key of D
o   Really important to get the instrumental correct (as that is what people ‘generally’ expect to hear)
o   Use octave key?
-       Our God is Greater (Chris Tomlin)  Key of G
o   Piano with strings layered – again, people are listening for this riff
-       I Will Exalt    Key of D
o   Intro & instrumentals – good learn.
-       Great Are You Lord (Bridge)   Key of E
o   The bridge – keys carry it to begin and can really build intensity
o   Solid low piano notes can really add ‘umph’!
-       This is Amazing Grace   Key of D
o   Intro instrumental and chorus – people will be listening for this
-       At Your Name   Key of E
o   Intro


Songs with space (where you can add your own doodles/motifs):
-       Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone    Key of E
o   The fantastic scale down in the chorus (listen for counter melodies)
o   Octaves
-       Jesus We Love You     Key of G
o   Passing notes/chords with a rhythm can take this song to another level
o   Special chords and riffs
o   How do I play this on the grand piano?
o   Bridge is key in this song (getting the chords correct)
-       How He Loves (He is jealous for me…)    Key of E
o   The passing note riffs
o   Octave builds
-       Come As You are    Key of C or A
o   Intro – good to learn
o   Lots of space in the chorus – great place for tasteful motifs
-       All Who are Thirsty     Key of E
o   Passing notes in verses
o   Octave scale ups in chorus where there’s space

Fast songs – good for an organ patch
-       Happy Day    Key of D
-       The Happy Song     Key of D
-       You Are Good (Bethel)    Key of G
-       Let God Arise     Key of E
-       General tips for playing with an organ patch:
o   If there is a manual vibrato, USE IT!!  J  It will make your organ sound great!
o   Play higher on the keyboard than you normally would.
o   NEVER use you left hand to play keys on the organ patch
o   NEVER use the pedal on the patch
o   Slide up and down the keys!

Songs with Passing Chords
-       The Stand     Key of G or A
o   In the pre-chorus ‘What can I say…’
-       This is Amazing Grace     Key of D
o   The 70’s version
-       Jesus, We Love You  Key of G
o   The whole song

Other songs
-       Praises     Key of G
o   Falling scale passing notes
o   Lots of space in chorus for adding motifs and riffs
-       I am a Friend of God    Key of A
o   Either use organ patch with a bigger band, or
o   Piano with a smaller band, and tear it up
-       Good Good Father     Key of E
o   Dynamics are important
o   3 note riff in chorus (Chris Tomlin’s version) that sounds great and is quite simple – Just have to master the rhythm.
-       Hosanna (Praise is rising….)    Key of G

-       Agnus Dei (MWS)       Key of A
      I Will Boast (Hillsong)    Key of B

  Simple Chord Charts to Practice
   - I Will Exalt
   - Amazing Love
   - Praises
   - Great Are You Lord


         PDF Version of these notes

Click here for a Spotify playlist of the songs above
Note that the keyboard may NOT be the predominant instrument in many of the songs.  The playlist is for reference.  I'll give examples of what I do for many of the songs in the session.


Fractured Femur!

For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in his dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a roc...