Psalm 121 – The Lord is Your Shelter (A psalm for refugees)

ps121A few years ago my church worked through the Psalms of Ascents via a calvin worship grant.  The psalms of ascents are at their heart refugee songs and I’ve been praying them steadily for all of the refugees traveling into eastern europe. Prayers that they would find a home, shelter, and a place with God. Writing from the psalms is difficult. You are trying to capture the intent of the original community, express its christological telos, and give real voice to the daily suffering of the refugee.  I’m not sure how to wrestle that all into a text and in the end I had to find comfort in another Psalm 139:5 “You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.”

demo | chart

1.O Lord, when long has been the night
when eyes plead to the hills
Our help will come at break of day
Your glories to fulfill
O Lord! You are our helper
O God, You are our stay (through every pilgrim way)
O Lord! You are our shelter
through the night and through the day!
2.O Lord, when through the heat of day
our journey carries on
We know that soon you’ll lead us home
to new jerusalem
3.O Jesus when you raised your eyes
You breathed now, “it is done”
You bore the cross and raised us up
to reign beside your throne!
4.O Lord, you are our shepherd here
when far from home we’re cast
A stranger in a foreign land
we need your sweet repast.
5.O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
soon gather all that’s yours
Your presence now renew in part
the whole forevermore
C  D  Em  C
The Lord is your light, the Lord is your life
The Lord is your keeper
The Lord is your guard, in front and behind,
forever near you
Our God will keep your going out and coming in
Our God will hem you in – His love will never end

(c) 2015 Cardiphonia Music

Psalm 146 – A Psalm for seeking justice

Last night at the Gathering (Hope College’s Sunday night student service) Trygve and Dr. Mark Husbands preached on the 4th beatitude. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.”  Mark was sharing specifically in relation to his work with the Emmaus Scholars – a hope college residential program that seeks to help students connect their learning environment with opportunities to live out mercy and justice. He mentioned Psalm 146 as one place to connect our worship and our lives.  Here is a version from our latest compilation by Kaitlyn Ferry, a musician from Knoxville, TN.


Trust not in princes, nor in mortal man
He has not the power to save.
His plans are fleeting all his thoughts perish
as he is laid in his grave

I will sing praises, o my soul, o my soul
I will sing praises, o my soul

Blessed is he whose help is God
maker of heaven and earth
blessed is he who hopes in the Lord
His faithfulness ever endures

He will bring justice to the oppressed
Prisoners he will set free
The Lord watches over widows and the orphans
There is none too low he can’t see

Cardiphonia Compilation – Psalms 135-150


Cardiphonia is excited to release the first in a new series of compilations focusing exclusively on the psalms.  You can find them at a new bandcamp address  We started with the last section of book five – Psalms 135-150.  This section of psalms contains a lot of familiar psalms and phrases and is a great illustration of the many types of psalms (Praise, lament, thanksgiving, etc). From hear we hope to cover the rest of the psalter over the next ten years!  The new collection is two albums and 30+ songs demonstrating a wide variety of approaches to singing the psalms in modern worship. Our hope is that every community might find something that connects musically with their congregation.  One consistent voice I’ve heard is that churches would love to sing the psalms but that it is difficult to find versions that sync with their musical culture. Obviously this particular compilation only scratches the surface of musical options available.

Wherever the Psalter is abandoned, an incomparable treasure vanishes from the Christian Church. With its recovery will come unsuspected power.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Songbook for Both Albums + introduction to the Psalms by Ron Man

Other Psalms resources:

Singing Laments

Seven Reasons to Sing the Psalms

Songs for the Sojourn – a worship grant in the Psalms of Ascents


Bruce Benedict – is the Chaplain of Worship Arts at Hope College and helps organize things at Cardiphonia.
Caroline Cobb – is a musician and songwriter from Palo Alto, CA by way of the great state of Texas.
Christie Chew – is a san francisco songwriter and musician at City Church, Mission Site.
Coastland Commons – is a collection of musicians and artists working in the Seattle, WA area.
Craig Harris – a songwriter and seminary student at Covenant seminary in St. Louis, MO
David Potter – is a songwriter and worship leader at Coram Deo Church.
Gathering Sound Collective – is a group of worship leaders, planners, and artists who are passionate about worship in local congregations.
Greg Scheer – is the worship director at Church of the Servant in Grand Rapids, MI and an associate of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Jeff Bourque – is the Director of Worship at Grace Community Church in Nashville and the genius behind
Jered McKenna – is the music director at Mitchell Road Presbyterian in Greenville, SC
Kaitlyn Ferry – is a songwriter and a member of the Green Carpet players at Redeemer Knoxville.
Kelsey Vaughn – is an RUF intern and member of the Green Carpet players at Redeemer Knoxville.
Kingsborough Hymns – a retuned hymnal project from Park Slop Pres in Brooklyn, NY
Luke Morton – is a pastor and musician at Green Lake Presbyterian church, in Seattle WA.
Music from the Gathering Church – the brainchild and studio chops of Jeff Crawford and crew.
Nathan Partain – is the worship director at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, IN
Rick Jensen – is a founder of the liturgy fellowship and currently leads worship at Trinity Church Oxford, England.
The Alone Instrument – is the music ministry of Columbia Presbyterian Church, Columbia SC spearheaded by Kenny McWilliams.
The Crossing Music – is the music ministry of The Crossing in Columbia, MO
The Gentle Wolves – are members of the worship team at Servants Church in Austin TX – wrangled and produced by Richard Kentopp.
The Welcome Wagon – is the work of Vito and Monique Aiuto.  They pastor Resurrection Pres in Williamsburg, NY and release music through Asthmatic Kitty Records.
Tim Nicholson – is the worship director at Lexington Pres and producer behind Lux Mundi Music.
Trinity Anglican Music – the music ministry of Trinity Anglican Mission in Atlanta, GA produced by Marty Reardon.
Wendell Kimbrough – a songwriter, worship arts director and artist-in-residence at Church of the Apostles in Fairhope, Alabama.
Wes Crawford – Wes Crawford is a noted jazz player and music director at Redeemer Fellowship in Kansas City, MO

Bits and Bobs – Summer 2015

Here is a collection of resources, songs, and albums that I’ve been enjoying this summer.


8 Panel Poster Fold Insert.eps
– Nathan Partain

Nathan is the worship leader at Redeemer Presbyterian Church and one of my favorite songwriters.  He’s just put out a new album that he is calling

There Will Be Rest
– Blake Flatteley

Album of retuned hymns and worship gems from NYC worship leader/songwriter.

Sing to Your Mountain – Rachel Galloway

New album of biblic-poetic musings from Rachel Galloway – daughter of Lenny Smith (aka Danielson Family pater familias).  Super fun kirky indie jams produced by Daniel.  Highly recommended to get outside of your normal “christian” jams.


Two New Songs for communion

Come My Way – Coram Deo Church
mp3 | chords | leadsheet

All Things Are Ready – Matthew Smith and Sandra McCracken
mp3 | leadsheet


Burkhart and Eilers – Theology as Retrieval
A book that looks as the recent resurgence in evangelical theological work that draws substantially from historical resources for contemporary applications.  Zac Hicks, Kevin Twit, Greg Scheer and Glenn Packiam are all significantly mentioned in the chapter on worship.

Nathan Partain – Worship Songs and Resources

8 Panel Poster Fold Insert.eps

Here is your introduction to everything Nathan Partain, the current Worship Director at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, IN.  Nathan is originally from Nashville, TN and grew up steeped in music.  He had a band in High School called Ceasar’s Glass Box that got signed to a major label. That didn’t work out so headed out to Seattle, WA to see what was next. He hung out on Capital Hill for a while and ended up working at Green Lake Presbyterian Church (and writing and recording truly one of my fave albums “People You Meet)”  I met Nathan at Green Lake in 2000 where I was a summer intern.  It was an epic summer and the start of the Liturgy Fellowship  -a round Seattle that summer was Nathan, Rick Jensen, Brian Moss, Luke Morton, and Luke Brodine.  I spent the summer in a crash course on congregational songwriting.  At that point Green Lake was singing almost 80% original songs composed by Nathan and Rick over the previous years.  Here are some of my favorites AND an introduction to Nathan’s most recent album “Jaywalker.”

As you can see I’ve snuck a number of these onto Cardiphonia albums. The rest you can purchase on bandcamp or digitally from Green Lake’s 2003 worship CD.

Ever Will I Praise (original)
mp3 | chart

Oh My God (original)
mp3 | chart

Psalm 136 (original)
mp3 | chords | leadsheet

Come, Holy Spirit, God and Lord (retuned hymn – Pentecost)
mp3 leadsheet | info

The Lord is King (retuned hymn)
mp3 | leadsheet | capo | chordchart |buy

Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven (retuned-Psalm103)
mp3 leadsheet | info

I Am One of Those (Original)
mp3 | chart

Jesus is Mine (retuned hymn)
mp3 | chart

More Love, O Christ (retuned hymn)
mp3 | leadsheet

The Lord is My Joy (retuned hymn)
listen | chart

Light of light, Enlighten Me (retuned hymn for Epiphany)
mp3 | Chords | lead sheet | info

Breathe (O Breath of Life) – Retuned hymn for Holy Saturday
mp3 | chart

I Cry Aloud to God (Psalm 77-Lament) – Nathan Partain
mp3 | chart


Here is Nathan’s latest album which is an eclectic collection of originals, gospel songs, retuned hymns, and other explorations in sacred song.


I Have Found a Hidden Fountain 04:00

It’s God who Saves 04:36

I am One of Those 04:34

In Tenderness He Sought Me 05:05

Love is a Gift 04:20

A Son of God 04:43

Jesus is Mine 03:10

Hold Thou my Hand 04:44

He was Wounded 04:53

God Moves in a Mysterious Way 03:43

Jesus Lives and so shall I 04:13

The Lord is my Joy 05:32

Songs and Psalms of Lament – a resource

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 1.52.05 PMA tragedy strikes and your pastor emails and says we need to set aside some time to lament on Sunday.  You break out your songlist and discover that in fact you have ZERO songs of lament.  There have been cries from many different corners of the church in the past few years that our worship needs to create space for seasons of Lament. Here is a helpful article from John Starke on using lament in your worship. It may not be a practice that is needed every Sunday but our world is too full of sorrow, sin, and tragedy not to devote seasons in your worship to this rich biblical practice.  The Psalms are deeply familiar with a life of lament and so should we – the words of Psalm 22 were words that Jesus choose when on the cross.  Below are a number of songs that traffic in the language and mode of lament.  I’ve included a small list for now where I had both audio and chart files. Here is a helpful list of both communal and personal psalms of lament. Please suggest more songs in the comments below!

Here is a brief guide from John Witvliet on using lament in worship:
A Basic structure of a prayer of lament, mirroring the structure of the Psalms.

  • Our lament begins with invocation, a startling confession that even in times of crisis, we approach a personal and accessible God.
  • Then, our lament freely addresses this personal God through the picturesque gallery of images used in direct address in the psalms.
  • Our prayer continues with bold lament. We bring our most intense theological questions right into the sanctuary.
  • Then our prayer continues with specific petition: heal us, free us, save us.
  • Finally, our prayer ends with expressions of hope, confidence, and trust, however muted they might be by the present situation.



How Long, O Lord (Psalm 13) – City Hymns
mp3 | chart

I Cry Aloud to God (Psalm 77) – Nathan Partain
mp3 | chart

Our Song in the Night (Psalm 77) – Michael Van Patter
mp3 | chart

Restore us, O God (Psalm 80) – Greg Scheer and Naaman Wood
MP3 | Chart-PDF

O Thou that Dwellest in the Heavens (Psalm 123) – Bruce arr.
mp3 | leadsheet (Text – Watts / Tune – AFRICA)

Although We Are Weeping (Psalm 126) – Bifrost Arts Music
mp3 | chart

Out of the Depths (Psalm 130) – City Hymns
mp3 | chart

From Depths of Woe (Psalm 130) – Indelible Grace
mp3 | chart (Zac Hicks version)

To God I Made My Sorrows Known (Psalm 142)  – Bruce Arr.
mp3 | leadsheet (Text – Watts / Tune – POLAND)


Blessed Be Your Name (Redmans)
mp3 | CS | LS

Let Justice Roll – Sojourn Music
mp3 | chart


In the Night (Isaiah 26) – Jason Morrell
mp3 | chart

Jonah’s Song – I Called to God – Patrick Schlabs
mp3 | chart

In Our Distress We Sought the Lord (Isaiah 26) – Katie and Mark Ribera
mp3 | chart

Alas the Lord My Life is Gone (Jonah 2) – Karl Digerness and Brian T. Murphy
mp3 | chart


Liturgical resources for Lament – blog

Songs in the Night – Michael Van Patter

How Long O Lord – Psalms for Advent – Jacob Tilton

Prayerbook Project, Vol 2 – Brian Moss

Rejoicing in Lament – Dr. Todd Billings

Songs for Lent – New York Hymns

List of more songs and resources from the Global Worship blog

Recovering the Lost Practice of Lament – Kristen Gilles

Matt Boswell – Messenger Hymns, Vol.2


I love Matt Boswell. There are few people that I know of that have been so active at the ground level to support and love on Worship Leaders.  Matt is the founder of Doxology and Theology which is an active blog for worship leaders and has just started hosting worship conferences.  He is an author and helped organize THIS BOOK for worship leaders that I contributed too. He is also a pastor and prolific singer-songwriter.

Matt recently released a brand new album of modern hymns and a few retunes with a stellar constellation of co-writers including Matt Papa, Michael Bleeker, and even Stuart Townend!

You can purchase at BANDCAMP or ITUNES

You can read his album notes on the songs HERE



  1. Creation Hymn (Boswell/Papa)
  2. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (Luther/Boswell/Critz)
  3. Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery (Boswell/Bleecker/Papa)
  4. God Omniscient, God All Knowing (Boswell)
  5. Christ the Sure and Steady Anchor (Boswell/Papa)
  6. God the Spirit (Boswell/Stone 1886)
  7. O Church of Christ, Invincible (Boswell/Townend)