Breaking Chains

Wow it’s been a great week.  I’ve been busy ministering to lots of people this week.  Revivalists in London, those seeking God for healing in Ashburnham with The Beauty from Ashes team and I made and sold some jewellery this … Continue reading

The Song Within Your Heart

What is the song in your heart?

So, you are a believer, you know Jesus as your personal Saviour (rescuer, somebody who rescues somebody or something from harm or danger. Your redeemer, liberator). I wonder if that is the song in your heart. Are there victorious, uplifting words knocking about it your head or are there defeating, death words running through your thoughts?

A few years ago, I felt really challenged by the Lord. He told me to leave the Church I was in and move to a Church where nobody knew my name or recognised me. I did it; admittedly I ignored the Lord on the subject for a few months and then cried for a few months before making the bold move. I knew it was going to be tough because the Lord had told me it would be. He was right.

During this time I really related to a song by One Republic called Stop and Stare. I was so out of my comfort zone, I’d given up everything to follow God to a place where I felt scared of what the future held but had a burning desire to go deeper and further and grow in the call on my life to lead God’s people in worship and the song with in my heart was ‘stop and stare, I think I’m moving but I go nowhere’. These words were not giving me the strength and courage I needed to hold onto Jesus and move into the next phase of my life.

One day as I was parking the car outside my house I was singing ‘I think I’m moving but I go nowhere’ and I felt the Holy Spirit say to me ‘stop singing that’. I felt the Holy Spirit say ‘you are moving, you are going somewhere’ so I stopped singing the song. The lyrics of this song were feeding my unbelief about things working out for the future. What I needed to hear were words that fed my faith and anchored me to God so I started listening to an old Hillsongs track (lyrics below) in my car the words from this song gave me strength and Jesus’ perspective on my situation. Things did work out, I did move on I am still going somewhere.

All The Power You Need – Hillsongs

My God can never fail,
He’s been proved time and again
Trust Him and see
He’s got all the power you need

He’s never early, never late
It takes courage, it takes faith
Trust Him and see
He’s got all the power you need

What are you listening to? Is it feeding your faith and empowering you or is it bringing you down? If it is bringing you down stop listening to it and find something that is full of the Holy Spirit and let it get into your heart and mind and take you from strength to strength.

Writing A Song 1 – Inspiration

anju-ebanks-june-2010I think the starting point for writing a song varies hugely depending on your personal strengths and preferences. Musicians will probably come up with chords and melodies first, while lyricists will come up with words first.

My personal approach swings between the two, sometimes I have a great chord structure and the melody sings itself,  sometimes I know what I want to sing about and the musical part takes a bit more time.  I can find inspiration from aswirls-2_21 drum beat or a bass line and sometimes I am inspired by someone tinkering on the electric guitar.

I’m currently writing a new song, in the next few weeks I’ll share my song writing  journey with you.

Vocal problems

anju-at-premier_3If you have a sore throat and need to sing through it there are a few things you can do.  Firstly if you can rest your voice you should, you don’t want to damage it.  If you feel that you can sing through or you have a few days to get your vocal chords fit and healthy I would steam 3 times a day for a couple of minutes.  My vocal coach says that steam is the only thing that gets down into the chords and it can help the healing process.

Another thing that I do when I feel that a cold is coming is use saline nasal drops. The drops wash out the back of the nose where the cold virus incubates.  As soon as you or some one around you starts sneezing use the drops until the sneezing stops.  I managed to avoid colds for the whole of last winter by doing this.  Although I’ve just had a virus that I couldn’t shake.  It works most of the time.    swirls-2_21

Know your material 2

I like your comments, it raises for me the whole question of preparation for worship.  In most churches the time spent in worship, is actually similar to, if not longer than the time given to the teaching.  We probably expect our teachers to have spent time in preparation, both in prayer and at their desks.  Given the importance we place on worship, is it unreasonable to expect those who lead worship to be giving any less time to their particular calling?  Of course, every worship leader wants to reserve the right to flow into spontaneity, but I wonder if it is actually the hard work of preparation and the skills that we learn and practice that actually release a whole new breadth of expressive abilities that can be drawn upon in the times of spontaneity.

John Ryeland, Director, The Christian Healing Mission

Know your material

I’ve experienced many worship times when the worship leader starts a song and my heart leaps because I have some connection with the song we are about to sing.  So I join the worship leader on the journey he or she has invited me on.  As we continue the journey I sometimes find that I have to pull out of the journey because the melody is not the melody that I have been taught or learnt.

So today I’m asking how important is it for us as worship leaders to learn the songs that we are using well?  Is it ok to to kind of know where the song is going and jump in or should we spend a bit more time learning the material so that when we lead we lead with the best of our ability?

I think that we should take time to learn a song/melody thoroughly before we start to use it at church.  I know we can be very keen as creatives to release a song because it has annointing on it or because we love the song so much, but how much more anointed would it be if we actually could relax into knowing we have spent quality time learning the song.  Musicians in the secular music field would never stand before a group of people and sing/play a song that they kind of know, they have spent hours upon hours on the song in order to deliver it well.  I think that we in the worship field should take a leaf out of their book.  Not that we become obsessed with performance, just that we raise the game so that we skillfully lead worship.

As we do this we do a few things that help worship move along. Firstly we teach songs to our congregations correctly.  When members of our churches visit other churches,  festivals or are lead by other worship leaders they will be equipped to enter into the worship journey.  We ourselves will be more relaxed and confident as we lead and because we are at ease the congregation will be too.

Practical ways to get the song into your head.

  1. Get a copy of it and listen to it on your ipod, in the car in the kitchen on the train/bus.
  2. Have it playing in the background  when you are at home.
  3. Listen to it on the internet if you can’t afford a copy, make sure it’s the right version and not somebody’s else’s version/expression of the song.
  4. Rehearse rehearse rehearse all the best musicians do.

Conference with The Christian Healing Mission

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I worked with an amazing band for this conference. I had prepped for the conference weeks in advance and had sent out intial set lists along with my thoughts about arrangements etc. By doing this I gave the band lots of time to listen to their parts and do their own preparation, which they did.

Once I had chord charts I sent them out too. We only had one rehearsal, we had twenty songs to run, so it could have been quite a pressured time.

The band had all done their homework, they had listened to the songs and taken note of the things I had communicated to them. They were aware of their parts even with songs that they had never played and because of their professionalism the rehearsal was very productive. There were no points at which we had to stop to work out parts etc we generally top and tailed the songs and worked on links.

Finally, I had made sure that I had a set of chord charts for every song for the rehearsal, this makes everyones life easier, as everyone can make notes on their copies and we all have a general structure for each song.

The conference was a complete success, everybody loved the band.

    1. Prepare well in advance (you can modify set lists as you go)
    2. Decide on keys
    3. List reference songs for the band to listen to
    4. Make notes next to each song on the list
    3. Have final set lists and charts for every member of the band for the rehearsal