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Behind The Song Free Music

Behind The Song: Your Difficult Decision

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Your Difficult Decision was the last of the pro-life songs I wrote last year. Having set myself a goal of writing four during the school summer holidays I found myself having to squeeze writing time in between leading rock band workshops. The song started in a deserted school playground, taking an acoustic guitar out during lunch hours.

The initial premise was that choosing to have an abortion is often spoken of as having to make a difficult decision with the implication being that because it is so heart-rending it is above criticism. But with every decision there is the possibility of making the wrong choice. But that idea fell by the wayside, as did the original angle for the whole project, which was to write from the point of view of the unborn. Your Difficult Decision ended up being ‘narrated’ by an impartial observer. Sometimes a song has it’s own idea of what it wants to be and you can bang you head against the brick wall or just let it get it’s own way.

The whole thing was a struggle to write and record. I finished recording it just before midnight on my final day but had to go back a redo it from scratch later anyway.

I really had my doubts about the degree of moral neutrality in the lyrics. It’s not child centred at all and there is nothing in the song that even hints that abortion is killing a person until the final lines “It’s your decision…Baby don’t get a say, but you can ask her someday if she thinks you made the right decision.” Even the ‘two people’ in the bridge whose fate is being decided could be misconstrued as being the mother and father, when they are actually the mother and child.

Writing songs like these can seem like an attempt to be holier than thou. I have nothing to be proud of. God has given me, against all odds, a stable family life with four kids and a wife who is far better than I deserve. But as a young man I would have made the man in this song look like a saint. I wouldn’t have promised my support “whatever you decide” while secretly crossing my fingers that my partner would choose an abortion. I would have actively campaigned for it and threatened my complete lack of support if the pregnancy went full term. I wanted the freedom to live in a totally self centred way, without having to consider the needs of anyone else and abortion was for me the final get out of jail free card. God showed me incredible mercy in not giving me the opportunity to add this sin to my many others.

I pray God would use this song to help somebody make the right decision.

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  Other Free songs by Matt Blick

Related Posts: Five reasons for writing pro-life songs
Behind the song: First Black President

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A Blog's Life

News & Links: Brenton’s New Album, Pedals, Piper & Tweet

Brenton Brown has retooled his great album Because Of Your Love, ditched a few tracks, added some, rerecorded one and hey presto! we have Adoration. Highly recommended. As a worship leader I’d happily buy an album if it had ONE usable song on it. We’ve introduced THREE new songs from this album at Grace Church (plus one ‘oldie’ that we already did). That’s almost unheard of.

What happens when a Christian gets too many effects pedals? watch the frightening results

I’m enjoying the ramblings of Fake John Piper but real John Piper can be just as crazy taken out of context. The Responsible Puppet has collected some classics here and here. For example… 

  • They got a law about ferrets. I told that to my wife and she said ‘I don’t even know what a ferret is!’
  • This is the doctrine of salvation by grace apart from Vegetables. 
  • I have always sat in the pews among you while we worship, except for the first ten years when I sat up here in my big throne like a king over his minions.
  • You can’t believe how many people have been saved off napkins. Napkin evangelism is very fruitful.
  • That’s what it’s going to be like in heaven. Skin and bouncing balls and lions and lambs lying down together. Dogs. No cats! Well, I guess the lion’s a cat.
  • Do you want to go home right now and watch TV? Don’t say it out loud if you do! You will be so embarrassed. Because I will say bad things about you. 

Finally some minor milestones. Last week this blog got it’s 5000 visit. Amazing!
Today I got my 100th visit on The Blog After 909 (my Beatles songwriting blog). I’ve managed to dig out 19 top songwriting tips so far. Check it out if you haven’t already. It’s so little and cute.
My song More Than I Could Say hit 50 downloads.
And I’ve finally relented and you can now follow me (or get me to follow you) on Twitter.
As if we haven’t all got enough to do already…

totally Unrelated Posts: Your Difficult Decision preview

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Free Music

The Sho Must Go On

Sho Baraka is one of the best Christian rappers out there. Not only has he got the same strong doctrinal underpinning to his rapping shared by all his Reach Records stablemates, he’s a heavy hitter like Tedashii and he tops off the brew with a sense of humour. Here’s a few recommendations for you to check out.

First up you want to get Sho’s FREE mix tape Barakology. The flavour varies from the out and out silliness of the Serious Rapper Skit and the Intro to the epic track Glorious.

Sho recorded a great interview for christianmanifesto.com which you can download here.

Sho’s Prodigy-influenced track Chaos is one of the standout songs on DJ Official’s Entermission album. I’ll be reviewing the album and giving away a free copy soon, but if you can’t wait here’s where you can download the track, the album or buy the CD.

Lastly Sho has a new album Lion And Liars out soon. Don’t let the freaky artwork put you off ( if you aren’t the lions doesn’t that make you the liar Sho?).

Related Posts: Tedashii: Identity Crisis review
Lecrae Don’t Waste Your Life video (starring Sho Baraka)

[If you’re subscribed to this blog via email, you will have to click on the post’s title to watch any video content (the link will take you my site).

Categories
Songwriting

Five Reasons For Writing Pro-Life Songs

If you’ve picked up a pro-life emphasis on this blog over the last few weeks you’re right. Last summer I set myself a goal of writing 4 pro-life songs from the point of view of the unborn. The songs ended up in a kind of bottleneck as I worked through the pastoral implications with others but now my songs and I are ready to face the world, hence the temporary take over of this blog. Next Monday we’ll be back to normal with a post entitled “Does the Holy Spirit thrive on chaos?” but today I want to explain what influenced me as a praise & worship songwriter to tackle this issue, by looking at 5 quotes that have shaped my thinking.

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

Fake Martin Luther (Quoted in Parker T. Williamson, Standing Firm: Reclaiming Christian Faith in Times of Controversy p. 5)

Nobody knows who said this, but it wasn’t Luther. However the point is good. The amount of children killed by abortion is far greater than any example ethnic cleansing, war or famine. The death toll for the US alone is well over 50 million children since 1973. That is equivalent to a 9/11 every 6 days. Not everyone can be actively engaged in political campaigning, but surely all can speak out? I am a songwriter. Should I write songs about everything else and not this?

Let me write the songs of a nation – I don’t care who writes its laws.

Fake Andrew Fletcher (An Account of a Conversation)

Actually what Scottish politician Fletcher said was “I knew a very wise man so much of Sir Christopher’s sentiment, that he believed if a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation” and his point was he didn’t agree with the view. I think to some extent he was wrong. Songs and art can change hearts, changed hearts can change public opinion, public opinion can change laws.

The person who frames the terms of a debate almost always wins that debate.

David Kupelian (The Marketing of Evil)

Tim Challies pointed out this reoccurring phrase of Kupelian’s . Using abortion as an example he says

“The right to abortion was not fought over the right of a mother to kill her child…The child has been left out of the equation altogether. Instead, the debate always has been and seemingly always will be over a woman’s right to choose. It was never presented an issue of life or death, but an issue of choice. And who, in a free and democratic culture, could deny a person the right of free choice? The debate was over and won before it began”.

These songs are an attempt to re-frame the debate. I wanted to present the unborn in these songs not as foetus’s, extensions of a womans body or ‘potential human beings’ but real people with their own hopes, fears and desires.

Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
So that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD

Psalm 102:18

It’s my greatest hope that one day I might meet a worshipper of God who is alive because their mother or father heard one of these songs.

Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:8-9

It seems that no voice has been silenced more effectively than that of the unborn. Even among their champions the emphasis is often on changing legislation, religious ethics or preventing post abortion trauma. I am in no way criticising these aims, or even saying they are being over emphasised. Only that there is an almost completely unexplored perspective. Speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves rather than just speaking about them. And so, rather than ministering to people who have been through an abortion, I’m trying to serve those who have been, or are in danger of being, aborted.

I know it’s unusual and somewhat unorthodox, and if the songs themselves suck it’s all a lot of fuss over nothing. But…if you think it’s a worthwhile aim please leave a comment and say so. Download the songs (the links are below)they’re all free, and if you like them leave a comment. I’m not looking for you to stroke my ego – your recommendation may encourage someone else to listen.

Lastly please give the songs away. Some of the content is pretty strong and you will have use your own sensitivity and faith in knowing when to share a song and with who. Don’t forget those who have not had an abortion but would “if they ‘needed’ one”. And don’t forget pro-choice guys too.

First Black President
mp3     Chord Sheet     Read Lyrics      Behind The Song

One Three Nine
mp3     Chord Sheet     Read Lyrics     Behind the song

Salt Water
mp3     Chord Sheet     Read Lyrics     Behind The Song

Your Difficult Decision
mp3      Chord Sheet       Lyrics       Behind the Song

Categories
Free Music Song Vault

Your Difficult Decision

Your Difficult Decision is the second of 4 songs I’ll be posting through Feb and Mar with a Pro-life theme.

This song tries to capture the sad reality that the decision to abort a baby is often made with little (if any) support or input from the father of the child while, at the same time, still affirming that the decision being made is about a person’s life.

When you look into his eyes you know he’s frightened
Still he’s trying hard to say what’s right
‘Cos he knows deep down a man should be supportive
So he says “I’ll be there for you, whatever you decide”

But he’s hoping all you want him to be there for
Is a lift home from the clinic when you’re through
You didn’t think that you’d be carrying a baby
And you know you don’t have the strength to carry two

It’s up to you – it’s your decision…

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Related Posts: Behind the song: First Black President

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Uncategorized

Your Difficult Decision – Preview

Here’s the lyrics for the second of my neverborn songs. Download the free mp3 here.

Your Difficult Decision

When you look into his eyes you know he’s frightened
Still he’s trying hard to say what’s right
‘Cos he knows deep down a man should be supportive
So he says “I’ll be there for you, whatever you decide”

But he’s hoping all you want him to be there for
Is a lift home from the clinic when you’re through
You didn’t think that you’d be carrying a baby
And you know you don’t have the strength to carry two

Every woman’s got to make it on her own
Every woman’s got to take it on her own
They can sympathise, empathise
Blur the truth and rationalise it but
Every woman’s got to make it on her own.

It’s up to you – it’s your decision
It’s up to you – it’s a difficult decision
They say time will heal
Who knows how you’ll feel
One year on from your difficult decision?

When you see your friends and tell ’em all the bad news.
They give you pity and concern but no advice
Everyone holds up their hands as though they’re frightened
Of being held accountable when you decide.

Every woman’s got to make it on her own
Every woman’s got to take it on her own
So they sympathise, empathise
Blur the truth and rationalise it, you know
Every woman’s got to make it on her own.

It’s up to you – it’s your decision
It’s up to you – it’s a difficult decision
They’ll applaud you today
But when you crumble they’ll just turn and say
“You gotta live with your decision.”

Sometimes there’s nothing riding
On what you decide
And sometimes it’s life and death.
Right now there’s a choice to be made
About two people’s fate
But only one gets to choose…

It’s up to you – it’s your decision
It’s up to you – it’s your decision
It’s up to you – such a difficult decision
Baby don’t get a say
But you can ask her some day
If she thinks you made the right decision.

(c) Matt Blick 2010 Neverbornsongs.com

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Behind the song post

Related Posts: Behind the song:First Black President

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Uncategorized

Wednesday News: A New Home For Grace Church

My home Church, Grace Church Nottingham, has been on something of a whirlwind journey recently. For the last few years we’ve been looking to lease a building as a more permanent alternative to rented rooms at the Notts County Football Ground that we are beginning to outgrow. On Sept 29th last year our venue team took at a look the former Labour Exchange right in the center of Nottingham. It was wonderful, but far too big (and almost certainly too expensive to lease).

Now a mere 4 months later Grace Church owns the building!

There isn’t time or space to list all the marvelous ways that God has helped us through this season but here are a few…

As a Church we only had 3 weeks to raise a deposit. We had 1 week to offically announce an offering and then take it up. Things moved so fast that the information pack the church intended to produce never got made and a national postal strike mean the offering plans had to be rethought even as they were being announced.

And yet by the grace of God we raised £267,000 in a single offering! 
 Our church has about 200 members, around half of them students. This is nothing short of miraculous.

We beat 3 other commercial bidders.
We not only were granted ‘change of use’ planning permission on first attempt (very rare) but obtained it 2 weeks early. This is unheard of!
God went ahead of us in adding to us church members with experience in architecture, finance, project management and urban planning to serve on a venue team. These people have been such a blessing to us. We thank God for them.

In a few weeks we will have our last meeting at the Notts County Football Ground and begin a new chapter in the history of our church.

God is amazing, and a master of the unexpected.

Related Posts: Behind The Song: No Other God

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Worship Leading

12 Ways To Increase Congregation Participation (Pt. 4)

For the last few weeks I’ve been looking at what worship leaders can do to encourage more Spiritual gifts from the congregation. You can read the previous posts here (part one, part two, part three.

Here’s the final instalment.

Constantly tell people what you think of them. 

 

It’s a scary thing to step out and pray, sing a spiritual song or prophesy in front of a room full of people. People can spend half the meeting psyching themselves up and the other half  second guessing and trying to weigh whether they heard from God or not. So it’s great to have a leader or someone from the team say “thanks for stepping out”.

Get used to giving people permission publicly and in casual conversation by just reassuring them it was ok, it was in the flow and pointing out what was specifically helpful or timely. Make this your default response, so that when you need to bring correction people are used to being encouraged. Too often the first feedback any person gets about their spiritual contribution is when they screw up. At the very least you could say thanks for taking part.

Next you need to be prepared to encourage gifted people to go to the next level. One lady used to bring wonderful prophetic songs but they used to burst out of her with ever increasing speed and pitch. Building on a history of general affirmation and support I was able to encourage her to build to a crescendo rather than start from one.

Finally you will need to bite the bullet occasionally and bring correction. Most people will need to be told at some point, “good but too long” or “good, but wrong time in the meeting” or “you have a gift and need to step out more” and that can all be mixed in with the general encouragement. Others, who repeatedly get wacky, go way beyond their gifting, or start preaching or leading worship need intentional correction.

Perhaps I’ll do another post sometime on dealing with the bad contributions, but for the sake of the congregation, as lovingly as you can let them know they screwed up.

Remember: the PA was made for the Church not the Church for the PA

 

In other words arrange all the technical & practical stuff to serve your values not the other way round. A few examples.

Do you use lyric projection software? Where does the operator sit/stand? At the back of the hall, near the PA desk? At Grace Church, they stand next to the keyboard player just behind, and to one side of the worship leader. Why? When we’re talking about spontaneous songs it makes no sense to have the two most important people miles away from each other. The AV guy needs to be within earshot of the leader. That’s vision driving practicalities. There are only 2 reasons for doing things differently.

  • Your connecting leads aren’t long enough.
  • Your AV guy is really ugly/eccentric. That’s why you put him/her back there so they couldn’t scare anyone.

 Not very compelling.

Here’s something else we’ve done.

Acoustically speaking our venue sucks. Literally. It sucks up all the sound and makes it disappear. If someone prays four rows back from you, you can’t hear diddly. So we bought some PZMs (mics used for conferencing/police interview rooms etc) and stuck ‘em on the ceiling. The PA team fades up the relevant one when some starts praying. Sure we’ve had to replace damaged roof tiles, thread XLR cables through the roof cavity and leave them there permanently and occasionally minister to a freaked out member when what looks like a large beetle dropped on their head. But now anyone can pray out from where they are without having to use the dreaded prophecy mic and risk ‘the walk of shame’.

Revisit all your practical details. You are sure to be doing a whole bunch of stuff for no better reason than “everyone else does it.” Is it serving your vision?

  • Do you even need a full band?
  • Is your band as close to the congregation as you can reasonably get them (thanks to Toni for raising this)
  • Have you got clear sight lines with the band, PA operator and AV operator?
  • Can the elder/meeting leader get to you while you’re leading if he has to?

Make it your main focus for the next 3 or 4 year

 

It takes a long time to change the culture of a church. If you are not currently experiencing this kind of worship it will take a lot of time and trainwrecks to transition. There is not only a pain threshold, but a boredom one to get through. Envisioning, encouraging and equipping and then doing all of the above again and again is what Terry Virgo refers to as “the agony & the ecstasy”. Honestly examine what your goals are. If you want to increase in ‘excellence’ as a worship team this is going to take you in the exact opposite direction, at least for a while. But hopefully you will achieve excellence in obeying what the New Testament says about corporate worship. That’s gotta be worth it.

Any questions? Leave me a comment.

If you’ve enjoyed this series why not tweeting it/linking to it.
How bout writing a response post – what did I miss or what did you disagree with?

Links to this post
The blog of the Ancient Mariner

Related Posts: 12 Way to Increase congregation participation (part one, part two, part three.

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Behind The Song Songwriting

Behind The Song: First Black President

This song had it’s roots in a pro-life song called ‘Neverborn’ which I tried to write but ended up scrapping maybe 4 or 5 years ago. All that remained was the title (which I’m using as the name for this project) and a desire to one day write a song reflecting my concern for the plight of the unborn.

Fast forward a few years. Feeling increasingly convicted to try again I set myself a goal of writing 4 songs from the point of view of the unborn over the 6 week school summer holiday – just to see if such a thing was even possible.

First Black President was an idea I had floating around for a while. I was so struck by the irony of Barak Obama’s extreme pro-choice position when groups like Planned Parenthood are actively targeting Black majority areas and engaging in what some campaigners are calling a black genocide.

But this song is not about Barak Obama. It’s about the millions of children (of whatever ethnicity) who never got the chance that he did to do anything with their lives.

 The opening lines were inspired by a testimony I read of a man who’s partner had had an abortion years before. He remembered very little but when asked how old his child would have been if it had not aborted was shocked to find he knew the answer without a second’s thought. It was only then he realised how much guilt and sorrow he had buried in his heart. I was also thinking about an article that talked about historical figures who would have been prime candidates for abortion today beacuse of their parental situations. While many such articles are grossly incorrect the point is still valid – who knows what a difference one small life might mean?
The song was written in a week. Early every morning I would run to my church’s offices, arriving usually before anyone else, wash, write for a couple of hours, then run home again. Then at the weekend I demoed the song at home.
 
In the lyrics I wanted to capture the amazing and the mundane. A child who doesn’t grow up to be the President still has the right to life. I was inspired to write a song in ‘swingtime’ by listening to Chris Spring‘s songs Skinny Water and Pilot Song. The old time signature bars in the chorus are either 5/4 or 6/4 depending on whether you’re hearing it as a very slow song with a fast melody or more upbeat. I hear it slow. I expected to rewrite the music as I was worried that the chorus was too complicated and the verse was too simple. But they grew on me. Anyway, I had other songs to get on with.

While playing the song I often segued into singing The Bourgeois Blues by Leadbelly. I was really interested by the juxtaposition of Leadbelly’s account of institutional racism in Washington , D.C. with the modern reality of a Black President in the White House. I would have like to sample the song but didn’t have the time or technology to do it, so what you hear is my pathetic approximation.

My favourite line is “covered in glory ‘cos I gave my life” as it was an unintentional double meaning (an American soldier’s coffin is often draped in ‘Old Glory’ – the American flag).

Related Posts: New song: First Black President
Best books and films of 2009

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Worship Leading

12 Way To Increase Congregation Participation (Pt. 3)

What can worship teams and worship leaders those do to encourage more Spiritual gifts from the congregation in their worship times? How can they help and not hinder? For the last few weeks I’ve been sharing some of the lessons learnt in the first 7 years of Grace Church. The topics already covered

  • Realise that some churches are too big for the congregation to contribute. It’s just that your church isn’t one of them.
  • Rehearse for every Sunday not just next Sunday.
  • Turn the volume down.
  • Chop your worship leader into little pieces.
  • Practice spontaneous contributions over and over again.
  • Pick the best songs and sing them a lot.
  • Brace yourself for the trainwreck. 

Read the other posts here – part one, part two, part four

Time for a few more…

Plan to fail.

Planning plays a major role in the outcome of a Sunday. Generally we get what we plan for. So it’s somewhat futile to pursue the spontaneous inspiration of the Spirit in our meetings if we plan those meetings down to the last second. If your Church’s worship time generally last 3o minutes and you pick thirty minutes worth of songs you will not get any spontaneous contributions from the congregation. Why? Because they will have to actively derail your train just to get a word in and the vast majority of your folks are just too nice to try such a dastardly stunt.

What’s the answer? Plan to fail if no one contributes. Make it public knowledge that you have only planned 10 minutes of singing for your 30 minutes slot. (Or 15 or 20 or whatever your pain threshold/level of faith is). If no one from the congregation takes part they can expect a combination of a long embarrassing silences and the band winging a bunch of hastily chosen songs. So now when people pray out, prophesy, start a song –they won’t see themselves as part of the problem but part of the solution. Throws a whole different light on contributing – yes?

Lower your standards.

We all would like to lead meetings filled with high quality offerings, every prayer passionate & eloquent, every prophecy profound, every song beautifully pitched and the whole thing flowing together like a symphony of praise. But no Church and no Christian starts out that way and if we ever want to taste such feasts of worship we have to be content with more humble fare as well.

Spiritual gifts, like any other, get better with practice, if not in content or inspiration at least in confidence and delivery. And the only place to practice for most people is in the public meeting. So remember “the Father is seeking Worshippers” not great times of worship and he thought Haggai’s “I am with You declares the LORD” was profound enough prophecy to make the Bible shortlist. So be more Godly and lower your standards.

Thank people for interrupting you.

 Let people know the rules. If you are seeking contributions from the congregation during the worship set you have to tell them that it’s OK to butt in. You have to tell them often and in a number of creative ways. One of the best ways to give people permission to interrupt you is to thank those who do face to face, immediately after the meeting.

Here are some other ways:

Explain at the start that people are allowed to join in & without overloading them with info you might like to give instructions on how things are to be done (members only? From the pews? Wrestle an Elder for the mic?). No jargon. Imagine the congregation is autistic – they are very intelligent but have no understanding of abstract concepts.

Give prizes for good contributions. I used to hand out stickers that said “The worship team likes me” to people who started songs in the right key. Because the band would then pick up the song instantly and everyone would regard us with awe saying “You are truly Worship Ninjas” That’s gotta be worth a lousy sticker.

If people really screw it up laugh it off. Everyone should know that the only heinous crimes against worship are serious heresy and serial showoffs. If someone started that song so out of key that you had to stop and minister inner-healing to the keyboard player before continuing say afterwards “hey thanks! we’ve been practicing how to transpose smoothly into the right key and you gave us a training opportunity right here on a Sunday.”

Tune in next Monday for the final instalment.

What’s worked for you in encouraging more contributions. What’s the biggest challenges you face at the moment?

Related Posts: 12 ways to increase congregation particpation part one,
part two
part four