“Great Are You Lord” – All Sons and Daughters [Music Monday]

My wife got this stuck in my head… and I’m so grateful!

The other day at home she started singing it.  “It’s your breath, in our lungs, so we pour out our praise, pour out our praise…”  It hasn’t left me since, and I can’t think of a better use of my breath!  May you be blessed by this expression of praise, and join in the song yourself.

“This I Believe (The Creed)” – Hillsong Worship [Music Monday]

This song is a treasure-trove of truth.

Throughout the ages, the people of God have collected the foundational truths of Scripture into creeds.  These are consolidated statements of belief that are meant to focus our hearts on the core of our faith.

A couple of Sundays ago I attended a church on the East Coast and they featured this song in their time of corporate worship.  It’s a beautiful musical setting for the Apostles Creed that has quickly become one of my favorites.

Take a few minutes to listen, learn, and enjoy.

Why Some Christmas Songs Make You Cry

Do you ever get extra emotional when you hear certain songs?

A friend of mine commented the other day, “I don’t know why, but Christmas songs always bring tears to my eyes, but they’re happy songs!  Why is that?”

Have you noticed this yourself?  Maybe there’s a particular carol or Christmas pop song that just hits you deeply.  Maybe it’s not a Christmas song at all, but whatever it is, it strikes a chord in your heart and produces a deep response.

I find that the reason this happens is because those are the songs that over time have become tied to a whole host of personal experiences that really matter to us.  Some are good.  Some are bad.  Some are memories of things that have been, while others are hopes and dreams for things to come.  All the while, though, the songs get connected to the feelings and when the music rises, so do the tears from your heart strings…and that’s a good thing.

I hope for you this season isn’t just another routine of shopping and services.  I pray this year is used of God to touch you in a special way, to remind you that the joys of your past were gifts from Him, and even the pains can be redeemed in Christ.

After all, Christmas isn’t just about celebrating His birth.  It’s about remembering that in Christwe can all be born again.


Things For Which I Am Thankful

When was the last time you made a list of all the things you’re thankful for?

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  -1 Thessalonians 5:18

I am thankful for a mother who taught me proper grammar…and lovingly insisted on it.

I am thankful for a father who taught me that the most important thing isn’t just getting the job done, but doing it with character and a good attitude.

I am thankful for brothers who always looked up to me, even when I let them down…and who now are men I look up to in many ways as well.

I am thankful for a godly heritage on both sides of my family, for men and women who served the Lord and taught their children to do the same.

I am thankful for chocolate.

I am thankful for coffee.

I am thankful for the many generous people who continue to give me Starbucks gift cards so that I can continue to feed my habit.

I am thankful for cool breezes on hot summer days and warm covers on cold winter nights.

I am thankful for tears, because they remind me that I am alive.

I am thankful for laughter, because it reminds me why being alive is a good thing.

I am thankful for pain, because it reminds me that this life is but a passing shadow on the way to a glorious eternity in Christ.

I am thankful for pleasure, because it reminds me of His goodness right here and now.

I am thankful for the Bible, for it guides and protects my heart from darkness, and steers me back to light whenever I veer off course.

I am thankful for the Church, for it sustains and supports me through relationships between God’s people, His literal hands and feet on the earth.

I am thankful for the Holy Spirit, who whispers to me which way to go and reminds me who I really am in Christ.

I am thankful for the cross, for it stands as God’s eternal testimony of both His love and faithfulness, and His holiness and justice.

I am thankful for music, the fabric of my soul.

I am thankful for fabric, the covering of my body.

I am thankful for my body, the vehicle I’ve been given to carry out God’s will for my life.

I am thankful for God’s will, because it is always perfect, always right, and always good.

And I am thankful for these fingers that can type thoughts on a page, these thoughts that give words to these feelings, and these feelings of gratitude which themselves are just like everything else for which I am thankful…

Gifts of grace from my Father.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  -James 1:17

How about you?  What are some things YOU are thankful for?


Set list for Adore (10/19/12)

There is NOTHING like praising Jesus as ONE Church.

What a great time we had last Friday at Adore!  Coming together as ONE Church in our city is always a blessing, and more importantly, blesses the heart of God.

Several people asked me about the set list, so I thought it would be fun to post a list of the songs we sang and the people who participated, to show how God is working in so many different people in many different churches in our area.  As always, it’s an honor to partner with such great folks that God is using in powerful ways.

Do you have a story of how God touched you at Adore?  I’d love to rejoice with you and share it with the team!  Post it in the comments below or on the Adore Facebook page and let’s give God glory by the testimonies of His work in our lives.

May you be blessed in Christ as you pursue a life of worship and a heart of praise.
– Phillip

These are the songs we sang, the original artists who sing them, and the people who led them at Adore.

“Rise” – Hillsong [Brian]
“Here For You” – Matt Redman [Travis]
“Cornerstone” – Hillsong [Phillip]
“Sins Are Stones” – John Mark McMillan [Travis]
“Made Me Glad” – Hillsong [Kristen]
“Endless Light” – Hillsong [Brian]


“What Joy (Psalm 146)” – Generation Church [Kristen]
“I Breathe You In God” – Bryan & Katie Torwalt [Kristen]
“Take Heart” – Hillsong United [Phillip]
“10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)” – Matt Redman [Cole]
“Greater Than All” – Hillsong [Travis]

– – – – – – – – – –

Cole Jennette, logistics [Riverside Church]
Sinelli Popowicz, sound [First Assembly of God]
Ryan Gates, lights [Next Level Church]
Rachel Campbell, lyrics [Riverside Church]

// THE BAND (from left to right) //
Tom Eberhardt, Electric Guitar [Next Level Church]
Daniel Schroeder, Keyboard/loops [McGregor Baptist Church]
Brian Keating, Acoustic Guitar [First Assembly of God]
Sam VanDynHoven, Bass [First Assembly West]
Zane Elliott, Drums [First Assembly West/McGregor Baptist]
Travis Boyd, Acoustic Guitar [McGregor Baptist Church]
Jordan Batty, Percussion [First Assembly West]
Jonny Forsythe, Electric Guitar [First Assembly of God]

// THE WORSHIP LEADERS (in order of the set list) //
Brian Keating [First Assembly of God]
Travis Boyd [McGregor Baptist Church]
Phillip Gonzales [Gateway Grace Fellowship/outpostChurch]
Kristen VanDynHoven [First Assembly West]
Cole Jennette [Riverside Church]

Praise Brings Power to Your Daily Life

Do wish you had more power in your walk with God?

Several years ago I served for a time on the praise team of a local college ministry.  One day the leader came in to rehearsal and handed us each a stack of six CDs he’d created with all of the praise and worship songs we were to learn.

That stack changed my life

As I spent the next weeks and months and now years constantly filling my soul with music that lifted up Jesus, I experienced more joy, more peace, more hope, more strength, more power in every area of my life.

There is power in praise!

I don’t know what music you listen to on a regular basis, but I’d encourage you to start making worship music a consistent part of your life.  Whether in the car or at home, out for a jog or sitting at work, when you fill the atmosphere with music that glorifies God, you set the stage for powerful things in your life.  Here’s what Scripture says:

“Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.” (Psalm 22:3)

I don’t know about you, but if God has chosen to “set up shop” and move in the places and people that are praising Him, I want to be in those places and I want to be one of those people!

How about you?

If you’d like to dig in to some great worship music but aren’t sure where to start, here are a few artists and albums that have impacted me in a big way and that feature songs I’ve had the privilege of leading in the various ministries of which I’m a part.  I hope they’re a blessing to you.

NOTE: I recommend checking out a free service called “Spotify” (http://www.spotify.com) that will let you listen to many if not all of these albums for free to see if they are a good fit for you.  You can also purchase albums or individual songs through the iTunes Music Store or at Amazon.com.

Hillsong Live / Hillsong United
(Two groups from Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia)
“Cornerstone” (includes the song “Cornerstone”)
“A Beautiful Exchange” (includes the song “Forever Reign”)

Matt Redman
“10,000 Reasons” (includes “10,000 Reasons” and “Never Once”)

Paul Baloche
“Glorious” (includes “Glorious” and “Today is the Day”)

“A Greater Song” (includes “Hosanna” and “Because of Your Love”)

Bethel Live (Bethel Church in Redding, CA)
“Be Lifted High” (includes “One Thing Remains”, “God I Look to You” and “I Will Exalt”)

FULL DISCLOSURE: The links on each album title are affiliate links for the Amazon.com store and I get a small percentage if you buy anything there, but feel free to get them wherever you find the best deal 🙂

Effective Worship

Some “e-mail updates” I just delete.

Then others, I take time to read because I know there’s something special inside.

“Notes from Terry” is one of the ones I read, because in his role as “Team Strategist” for Music and Worship Ministries office of the Florida Baptist Convention, Terry Williams always has some great stuff to share.

One of my favorite things is “A Word on Worship,” a little section at the end where Terry takes a brief passage from a book or teaching on worship from some of today’s best thinkers and practitioners.

This is one that came through the other day (9/19/12).  May the truths found in these words be truly found in our worship.  Enjoy!

-Pastor Phillip


Elmer Towns from his book PUTTING AN END TO WORSHIP WARS

The effectiveness of worship is not measured by atmosphere, or by how fast the songs are sung, or how deeply we meditate on solitude.  It is not measured by a new Plexiglas pulpit, or using no pulpit at all.  It is not measured by raising hands, by affirming the Apostles’ Creed, or by congregational applause.  It is not measured by responsive readings, or by listening to an expositional sermon based on a proper interpretation of the text.

  • True worship is always measured by the response of the believer’s heart to God.
  • True worship is measured by the transformation of worshipers because they have been in the presence of God.
  • True worship is measured by repentance because worshipers have faced their sins and asked for forgiveness.
  • True worship is measured by new insights about God that deepen their daily walk with God.
  • True worship never allows us to remain the same person we were before we came into the presence of God.


Special thanks to Terry Williams for sharing originally. E-mail: twilliams@flbaptist.org/em>

SONG – Making (All Things New)

I love to write songs.

Ever since I was about eight years old, songwriting has been one of my favorite things to do.  However, I’ve never really played them much for other people.

Now that I’m older, I’m slowly dying to the “don’t let it out until it’s perfect” mindset, and starting to share some of them in the hopes that they will be a blessing to others and not just me.  Last Sunday night I had the chance to do that at Gateway Grace Fellowship’s PraiseFest, and the response was so encouraging!  It wasn’t perfect, but it was authentic, and that’s all God really asks of us as His children.

In that spirit, here’s an acoustic demo of the song, along with a PDF of the chord chart for any who might like to play it themselves.  Enjoy!

– Phillip


*NEW* “Making (All Things New) – Acoustic demo”
[mp3j track=Making-All-Things-New-Acoustic-demo.mp3]

SONG: Be Thou My Vision (piano)

I love to play the piano.

Ever since I can remember, it’s been a source of joy and peace for me to just sit down and play.  I find some of my sweetest times with God are when I’m on the bench, feet working the pedals, fingers dancing on the keys.

I’ve not recorded much solo piano, but some friends needed a version of “Be Thou My Vision” to rehearse with so I recorded one, and thought I’d share it with you.

Hope it’s a blessing.

[mp3t track=”Be-Thou-My-Vision-piano.mp3″ title=” “Be Thou My Vision (piano)”” flip=”yes” bold=”yes”]

DOWNLOAD: Be Thou My Vision (piano) (right-click and choose "save as".)


Let's do this together.