Worship Pastor / Composer Travis L. Boyd and his wife, Cynthia, provide inspiration and resources for the worship community and all believers through sharing the blessings of worship, faith, family, ministry, music, love, & life. We also share information about Worship Sounds Music, which can be found on our Worship Sounds website at worshipsounds.com ~ Downloadable Choral Anthems * Solos * Orchestrations * Worship Songs * Accompaniment Trax

Archive for February, 2012

WORSHIP in the New Testament

“And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” Matthew 26:30

We know from Romans 12:1 & 2 that worship involves more than just the corporate gathering of God’s people.  Giving glory to God through the way the we live all of life should be the motivation for all we do as believers (lifestyle worship).  We also know that, according to Hebrews 10:25, God has set a priority on meeting together regularly.  Certainly, though we are to worship God intentionally every day as we seek to glorify Him in all that we say and do, corporate worship remains very important.  So, what can we glean from various scriptures regarding what took place in the earliest days of the church; and how do these truths apply to us today as individual worshippers and as members of a corporate body who meet together to worship?

There are five major areas of worship mentioned in the New Testament.  I will list the implications of each of these areas for church families as a whole (corporate worship) and for individuals who are part of a worship leadership team.

Prayer

PRAYER IN THE NEW TESTMENT CHURCH – Acts 4:23-31—The church was literally fighting for its existence in the early days.  They were constantly threatened with terrible punishment or even death because they were believers.  This fervent prayer expresses their desire for God to show Himself strong in the midst of difficult times.  The New Testament Christians, however, also were aware of the greatness of God.  Therefore, they would submit themselves to Him in humble and fervent prayer.

PRAYER IN THE CHURCH TODAY-  Prayer was first and foremost in the life of the New Testament church, and our communion with God must be a top priority in the life of our church today.  It must become the priority of our individual lives and the times that we spend together.  We are just as desperate for God to do a work as the New Testament church was.    

THE WORSHIP TEAM IN PRAYER – We must commit ourselves to regular, fervent prayer.  Our rehearsals must become permeated with prayer.  We must realize that the time we spend practicing music is secondary to our need for prayer.  God can do amazing things through us if we will commit to a faithful prayer life. 

Preaching

PREACHING IN THE NEW TESTAMENT – Acts 20:7-12 – The Apostle Paul was evidently both a very effective evangelist (Acts 14:1) as well as one who traveled about to various churches teaching them from the Word of God.  This remarkable passage makes note of the length of his message for the church at Troas on this particular occasion.  Peter was also well-known for his sermon on the day of Pentecost, and there must have been countless others who proclaimed the word of God through preaching.

PREACHING IN THE CHURCH TODAY – There are plenty of comments and opinions about what constitutes good preaching and what some consider to be not as good.  However, our only measuring stick must be the Word of God.  Is the Word being handled accurately by the preacher?  Are the truths explained in an understandable way, and is there a practical application being made to modern day life?  We must remember that our focus should be on what is being taught rather than focusing on the one who is doing the teaching.  Until we mature enough as believers to do this, there will always be people who think that sermons are boring and irrelevant, not interesting, not funny enough, and always too long.  God help us to fall in love with His Word!

PREACHING AND THE WORSHP TEAM – We must lift up our preachers in prayer faithfully.  As worship leaders, we are responsible for focusing our attention on the scripture texts as well as the explanations and applications associated with them.  Instead of talking about superficial things, such as what is being worn or not being worn, how effective the sermon delivery may have been, or the length of the sermon, we must talk about what we learned from God’s Word and what kind of an impact it will make on us in the days to follow.

Praise

PRAISE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH — (Acts 2:46) – The church made praising God a regular part of their corporate worship gatherings.  An interesting thing to note is that the Bible does not specifically say that when the believers praised God that they were always singing.  There are times when singing is specifically mentioned, such as Acts 16:25 (Paul and Silas in prison), but spoken praise is mentioned in the book of Revelation 4:10-11.  In Ephesians 5:19-20, singing is specifically mentioned; and in chapter 5 of Revelation, there are specific references to singing “a new song” (Rev. 5: 9-10) and singing loudly (Rev. 5:12-13)

PRAISE IN THE CHURCH TODAY –While our lives must reflect praise to God at all times (Sunday through Saturday), there is something unique, powerful, and mystical about God’s people joining together in corporate praise.  Whether it’s two believers singing hymns and praying in a Philippian jail cell, or 15,000 gathered in a mega-church, God inhabits the praises of His people.  We must explore ways to praise God as a church, and we must be willing to concede that “our way” is not the only way that is valid.

PRAISE AND THE WORSHIP TEAM — We must understand our role as leaders of worship for the church.  We are truly servants who should seek to serve God and the people of this church by our worship leadership.  We must allow God to challenge us and change us into what He wants us to be.  We must be willing to listen to new things, try new things, sharpen our skills, put in the time it takes to lead with excellence, and find out how we can best serve our church as worship leaders.

Offerings

OFFERINGS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH – It is interesting that financial offerings in the New Testament are generally spoken of in a very practical way.  (I Corinthians 16:1-3)   Aside from several Old Testament references, mainly in the book of Hebrews, the word offering is most closely associated with the life of the believer.  (Hebrews 13: 15-16, I Peter 2:5)

OFFERINGS IN THE CHURCH TODAY – We must not shy away from the practical nature of financial offerings.  God has determined that His people are going to finance His work.  We have to come to an understanding of our responsibility as believers to give regularly and generously.

OFFERINGS AND THE WORSHIP TEAM — It is criticially important that we offer to God all that we are and all that we have in order to be fully surrendered to Him.  That’s the only way that our lives will be open to his leadership.  In addition, it is hypocritical to think that we can be considered leaders in the church without being faithful in the area of financial stewardship.  Ask God to give you the faith to give as He intends for you to give.

Encouragement

ENCOURAGEMENT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH – An important part of any corporate worship experience in the New Testament was the practice of believers encouraging (exhorting) one another through both spoken word and through the use of music.  The epistles of the New Testament were written forms of encouragement that were read in the various congregations.  While there are other worship acts mentioned in the New Testament, such as fellowship, prophecy, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, lifting up holy hands, these really fall under the five major categories mentioned above.

ENCOURAGEMENT IN THE CHURCH TODAY—God knows that we need encouragement to live the Christian life abundantly.  We need encouragement from every angle.  We need to have sin in our lives pointed out regularly by God’s Word.  We need to celebrate victories in the lives of our fellow believers.  We need to cry with those who are hurting.  We need to be willing to take a chance to help a brother or sister in financial need.  We need to know that we are not in this thing alone.

ENCOURAGEMENT AND THE WORSHIP TEAM – As worship leadership team members, we have one of the most visible and influential platforms for encouraging the church!  Every anthem we sing or play, every image we put on the screen, every setting on the sound board should enable the encouragement of the church family.  We must strive to be outstanding encouragers in every way.  We must ask ourselves this before we open our mouths to share something with another church member:   “Will what I am about to say be encouraging or discouraging to the body of Christ?  Is this going to build up or tear down?”  Encouragement is contagious!

Each worship team member should make our leadership role in each of these areas of worship a matter of prayer and seek to consistently improve every area of servant leadership.  As you begin spiritual preparation for this week’s worship service, keep in mind the following thoughts:
*  True worship takes place when we realize the greatness of God and seek to glorify Him through our lives.
*  A regular gathering of the saints is necessary for our spiritual health!  Let’s be regular attenders!!
*  Every day of our life is an opportunity to live in such a way as to show our gratefulness for all of God’s blessings.
Remember, it’s not about the worship leaders.  It’s not about the preacher.  It’s not about the congregation.  It’s all about the incredible God we serve!

Post written by Travis L. Boyd as encouragement for worship leadership teams, first appearing as a devotional for our own worship team and as prayer reminders on our church’s worship team website.

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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Song Story: “Amazing Grace! Eternal Life!”

“Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!”   Music and lyrics by Travis L. Boyd

“Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!”  is a choral anthem and modern hymn, published by the Lorenz Corporation, that shares the full message of the gospel.  The publishers’ description of the anthem states, “This memorable theme steadily builds throughout, forming a powerful statement of praise.”

(NOTE:  Scroll down just below the John 3:16 needlework picture to the “Publisher’s Information Page” heading for a link to the anthem, orchestration, & accomp. trax on the Lorenz website.)

The anthem was inspired by the most beloved scripture verse and the favorite hymn for so many Christians.   Travis wrote this song using as his inspiration John 3:16 and the message of the hymn, “Amazing Grace.”   This is the story of how “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!”  came to be written.

In 2002, Travis stated that he wanted to write an anthem in honor of and dedicated to my Dad, who was valiantly fighting cancer (first diagnosed in December of 1999).   Travis asked my Mom to find out what Dad’s favorite scripture verse and favorite hymn were, and to try to do so without arousing any suspicion.  When Mom asked at first, Dad wanted to claim the entire book of John as his favorite scripture passage; but Mom was able to get him to name his favorite verse from the book, John 3:16.  Mom called back to let us know his favorite scripture and also that his favorite hymn was “Amazing Grace.”  Travis began the writing process, and he was blessed with a beautiful melody and a text that powerfully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.  As soon as the song was complete, Travis immediately began arranging the song for SATB Choir.

When “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!” was finished, my family began making plans to surprise Dad with the song.  The son of some long time family friends was being married in Tulsa in early 2003.  Since that was near our home, Travis and I invited everyone in our family who could come for the wedding to stay with us while in the area.  While all were at our house, we would make the surprise happen.  My sister, Linda, and brother, Rich, were both able to come, flying in from Washington State.  Though Dad had endured two cancer-related surgeries by this point in his treatment and was still dealing with ongoing chemo and radiation, he was able to do some light travel.  He and Mom drove the 3 and a half hours to our home.  While we were together, we celebrated Dad’s birthday, which was very close to the date of the wedding.  After the festivities, we surprised Dad with “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!”   Travis and Mom shared the story of the way they’d been able to learn Dad’s favorites and use them as inspiration.  Then, all of us who were there helped to share the song with Dad for the first time.   Our daughter, Meredith, sang Soprano with me.   Mom and Linda sang alto.  Rich and Travis handled the men’s parts while Travis accompanied on piano.   It was an all-family production, and Dad seemed to be blown away.   Travis told him that he would contact the Choir Director at Mom and Dad’s church to see if the premiere of the anthem could take place at their home church with their own church choir.

The date of the anthem premiere at Mom and Dad’s church (pictured here) was in November of 2003.  Dad had a few months of feeling really good over the Spring and Summer of 2003, and on into the early Fall.  He even felt well enough to drive all the way to South Carolina to visit relatives for almost a month, play a lot of golf, and drive back to Oklahoma.  However, by October, the chemo that had been well tolerated had stopped working.  The next regimen he was placed on seemed to immediately sap his strength, and it later became apparent that his heart had been damaged.  By the time Travis and I and our two boys drove down for the premiere week-end, Dad had already lost both his hair (which had grown back w/ the former chemo med) and his strength.  He was pale and not feeling very well, but he did make it to church that Sunday morning.  The church had chosen to use the occasion of the anthem premiere to say ‘thank you’ to my Dad for his years of faithful service as a Sunday School teacher and in many other capacities.  Dad was rather embarrassed about this.  He felt that there were many others in the church who had served just as faithfully.  My Mom and Travis and I sang in the choir.  My sister, Linda, was able to come, and she sat with Dad, as did our son, Jared, age 10, who had just lost his other Grandpa in May of that same year.  Dozens of Dad’s friends and colleagues were there, as well as his church family.  Everyone present that morning heard the gospel message clearly presented as “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!” was sung by a choir for the first time.   The song is much more than a tribute to one man.  It is a testimony of God’s saving grace demonstrated in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Travis had submitted “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!” to one of his publishers, and he got word that it had been accepted for publication by the Lorenz Corporation in the Spring of 2004.  My dad was very pleased to know that.  The anthem went to press bearing a first page inscription in honor of my Dad.  Travis had also been asked by Lorenz to write a full orchestration for the anthem, as he had done for  “God is Faithful”  previously.   So, when “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life” was published as an SATB anthem, Travis’ full orchestration for it was published as well.  Both are still available from Lorenz Music.  (See info below)

Dad passed away in the Fall of 2004, less than a year after the anthem premiere at his church.  The lyrics to “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!”  were read by Dad and Mom’s Pastor at his memorial service.  Singing was never Dad’s thing (though he could whistle beautifully).  He left the singing to other members of the family, though he did his best in the congregation at his church.  He always had an appreciation for music and for the power of words.   We hope that his heart was touched by this gift of his favorite expressions of spiritual truth, combined with new words and music.   Our hearts were touched and challenged by his life and by his brave battle with cancer.   And, far beyond anything that we could ask or think, we pray that the message of “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!” will continue to touch the hearts of people around the world.

NOTE:  “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life” was on the Lorenz best-sellers list after it was released, and it continues to be a well-loved anthem for choirs all over the world (translated into 3 languages that we know of).  There are Youtube and Vimeo videos that we have discovered of choirs singing the anthem in English, Mandarin, Korean, and Italian.  See additional information below.

Here is the audio from my Sound Cloud set of Pulisher’s Demo Recordings of the Lorenz Studio Demo of “Amazing Grace! Eternal Life!”   See the publisher’s info page link below for ordereing the music.

LYRICS  FOR  “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!”

There is a love sent down to man,
A rugged cross, a spotless lamb,
A life laid down, a sacrifice.
Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!

Here's the first page of "Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!", published by the Monarch division of the Lorenz Corporation.

Here’s the first page of “Amazing Grace! Eternal Life!”, published by the Lorenz Corporation (Monarch Division).  The inscription at the top reads, “Dedicated to Dr. Harold McCoy White, in celebration of 38 years of faithful service as a layman of The First United Methodist Church, Weatherford, Oklahoma.

There is a hope beyond the grave,
With love so deep and pow’r to save.
Rising above all earthly strife,
Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!

There is a peace that all can know.
It calms the heart and heals the soul.
“Come unto Me!,” the Savior cries!
Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!

(bridge – a paraphrase of John 3:16 – 17)
God so loved the world that He gave His Son,
For us to believe in Him.
For the Son was not sent to condemn the world,
But to save us from our sin.

There is a home prepared for all
Who on the name of Jesus call.
A place of rest, a throne on high!
Amazing grace!  Eternal life!

(repeat last 2 phrases)
Amazing Grace!

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lorenz_logoPUBLISHER’S INFORMATION PAGEHere is a link to the Lorenz Music product page for “Amazing Grace! Eternal Life!”, where you can hear the entire studio demonstration recording of the anthem with the complete orchestration.  Click on the music note icon to hear the recording or on the Adobe icon to view sample pages.
Information is also provided about the related products available for the anthem, including the orchestration and an accompaniment/performance CD.  http://www.lorenz.com/product.aspxid=10_3228M

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TRANSLATED INTO MANDARIN LANGUAGE:
“Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!”  has been translated into Mandarin Chinese and included in a book for Chinese choirs.  It has been posted on Youtube by choirs from several churches singing in Mandarin.
The youtube videos are a little hard to find because as soon as you type in “Amazing Grace,”  hundreds of versions of that song come up first, but here’s one of our favorite videos of the anthem in the Chinese language, sung by the choir at the Mandarin Baptist Church of Los Angeles, California:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYnchYmXVoI)

Here are the lyrics to “Amazing Grace! Eternal Life!”  in Chinese characters:

奇異恩典!永恆生命!Amazing Grace! Eternal Life!

有一大愛降臨世上,古舊十架,純潔羔羊。為人捨命犧牲奉獻, 奇異恩典!永恆生命! 有一盼望超越墳墓,深厚至愛全能救主,勝過一切塵世爭競。 奇異恩典!永恆生命! 有一平安人皆可知,靜人心神,治人靈魂。「來就近我」救主邀請。 奇異恩典!永恆生命! 上帝愛世人,賜下祂愛子,好讓我們信靠祂, 神差愛子降世不是要定人罪,是為救我離罪愆。 有一天家為眾而備,靠主聖名天家可歸,安歇美地,寶座天庭。 奇異恩典!永恆生命! 安歇美地,寶座天庭,寶座天庭。奇異恩典!永恆生命! 奇異恩典!
Here’s a link to our playlist of 9 videos of Choirs singing “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!” in Chinese:  http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMJind8w21aQfYQbS6eVWPVXgyZGBuNqV

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TRANSLATED  INTO  KOREAN:
“Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!’ has also been translated into Korean.  Numerous Korean churches have posted videos of their choirs singing this anthem on YouTube. The video below is of the Choir and Orchestra from New York Presbyterian Church.

See our playlist of over 20 choirs around the world, singing “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!’ in Korean (church locations include South Korea, the United States, and New Zealand) at this link: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMJind8w21aQ2kRrM5f9bcc80ZUpOAvlc

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TRANSLATED  INTO  ITALIAN:
 In the video below, the Coro Tre Ponti (Three Bridges Choir), directed by Rino Adam, is singing “Amazing Grace! Eternal Life!” in Italian at the Festa di San Giorgio (@ Terdobbate, Italy, April 21st, 2013).  This is the only video we’ve found of “Amazing Grace! Eternal Life!” in Italian.  We are not sure whether other choirs have access to this translation, “Sorprendente Grazia!  Eterno Vita!”

The Coro Tre Ponti is based in Arona, Italy.  Their facebook page can be found at:  https://www.facebook.com/#!/CoroTrePonti?fref=ts

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The Singing Churchmen of Oklahoma, Singing Churchwomen of Oklahoma, and Oklahoma Baptist Symphony share worship anthems, including "Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life") at the "Foundations" worship concert, directed by Dr. Bill Green.

The Singing Churchmen of Oklahoma, The Singing Churchwomen of Oklahoma, and Oklahoma Baptist Symphony share worship anthems, including “Amazing Grace! Eternal Life”) at the “Foundations” worship concert, directed by Dr. Bill Green.  Over 700 musicians filled the platform, the staircases leading to the balcony on both sides of the platform, and the first section of pews on both sides of the platform.  What a glorious night of praise!

“FOUNDATIONS”  CD and DVD RECORDINGS:  “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!” was chosen as part of the concert repertoire for the ‘Foundations’ concert presented by The Singing Churchmen of Oklahoma, The Singing Churchwomen of Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Baptist Symphony, directed by Dr. Bill Green,  in May, 2005.  The entire concert was recorded on both a CD and a DVD called “Foundations.”  Our post about the blessings of worshipping together all through the day of rehearsals and the evening’s concert at this event is called, “The Blessings of Worshipping Together.”  There is a photo of the event included in the post as well.  Here is the link to that post:
https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/blessings-through-worshipping-together/

Here is a link to the audio recording of the previously mentioned BGCO groups singing, “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!” during the “Foundations” worship concert.
https://soundcloud.com/#travis-l-boyd/amazing-grace-eternal-life-bgco?in=travis-l-boyd/sets/recordings-of-my-anthems-by

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TITLE SONG ON RECORDING BY TOURING GROUP:  “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!”  has also been recorded by The Farrells, a ministry of the Tom Farrell Evangelistic Foundation, as the title song on one of their CDs.
One website that offers this CD can be found at  http://www.mbbcbookstore.com/SPD/amazing-grace–eternal-life—9015751555667820287.jsp

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“Amazing Grace! Eternal Life!”  was included in the repertoire for the Atlanta Choral Guild’s May, 2012, concert.  The program was titled “Georgia:  The Past Meets the Present.”  There is a blog post about this event @ https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/blessings-through-community/

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EPILOGUE

My mother and several of her friends were able to attend the “Foundations” concert and hear the song that was first inspired by my Dad’s favorites as it was being sung and played by over 700 musicians.  The ladies loved the entire worship concert, and especially “Amazing Grace! Eternal Life!”   My Dad would have enjoyed that evening as well, but he probably would still have cherished the initial family performance of the anthem and the premiere at the church where he and Mom had attended and served for decades even more.

Happy 80th Birthday, Dad!

I wrote this to honor the Lord and in your memory.

Love, Cindy

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Post written by Cynthia A. Boyd, February 1st, 2012

In honor and in memory of Dr. H. M. White, longtime professor of Organic Chemistry at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, founder of the SWOSU Summer Science Academy, graduate of Clemson University (Bachelors, Masters, and PhD), Army veteran and Reservist (served in the United States and in Germany), crossword puzzle pro, community volunteer, golfer, Sunday School teacher, active layman, Founding Board Member of Weatherford YMCA, Rotarian, Paul Harris Fellow, Weatherford Golf Course Board member, a faithful son and husband, father, brother, uncle, great uncle, cousin, nephew, Grandaddy, and friend.

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Do you know Jesus? 

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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WOULD   YOU  LIKE  TO  READ  MORE  POSTS  LIKE  THIS  ONE?

Link to our  “Song Stories”  category to see all of the song story posts:  https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/category/song-stories/

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