Hope College Worship – Psalms EP 2017

Last Fall we invited singer-songwriter and anglican artist-in-residence Wendell Kimbrough to perform a concert of his most recent Psalms album as well as lead a songwriting retreat with my worship teams with Hope College.  After a few hard months of edits, arrangements, and pre-production work my students booked one day in Hope’s fancy new recording studio and knocked out all 7 songs in a few takes!!

For most of my students this was the first time they had ever been commissioned to write something explicitly from the psalms – and for some of them the first time they had actually sung the words of the psalms in worship! The album is a mix of congregational, devotional, and small group worship expressions from the Psalms. We hope you find something that blesses you and your worshipping communities.

Album downloads include a songbook with chord charts and leadsheets. Any questions or comments can be directed to worship (at) hope (dot) edu.

Bono and Eugene Peterson on the Psalms

Bono & Eugene Peterson (c) 2016 Fuller Studios

My friend David Taylor along with a host of other folks from Fuller’s new studio project released a video this week that captures the relationship between U2’s Bono and Eugene Peterson over the past 20 years.  The video culminates in a short discussion at the Peterson’s home in Flathead Lake, Montana where Bono sings a bit of Psalm 23 as he recollects his youth in Ireland.   Taylor also produced a page of resources for exploring the psalms that covers a wide range of topics (art, study, devotion, worship, music). Cardiphonia contributed a list of recent attempts to set the psalms to music for congregational worship.


Resource Page

Here is a list of projects related to the psalms that Cardiphonia has sponsored over the past few years.

Songs for the Sojourns (Calvin Worship Grant exploring the Psalms of Ascents)

Hallel Psalms – modern folk arrangements of Psalms 113-118

Psalms 135-150Vol. 1 // Vol 2.  – 32 songs exploring these psalms from a variety of modern pop-folk styles.


Hope College Worship services at Calvin Worship Symposium 2016

Earlier this semester Hope College Worship was busy over at Calvin’s (shhh) Worship Symposium.  We led morning and evening services on Thursday at the CFAC and also backed up Sandra McCracken during her afternoon vespers services.  Below I’ll provide some brief info on the music and liturgy we used.

All Creatures of Our God and King – Traditional, arrangement by Hope College Worship

For the Beauty of the Earth – Traditional arrangement by Aaron Niesquist and A New Liturgy

Confession of Sin (BCP) / Assurance – Psalm 103

Here is Love – traditional, arrangement by Ian Yates & Hope College Worship

By His Wounds – traditional, arrangement by Isaac Wardell & Hope College Worship

Apostles Creed – video for universal design

All Hail Christ – original by Hope College Worship

Vespers with Sandra McCracken
Title: My Soul Finds Rest In God Alone

Opening Prayer – O Gracious Light
O gracious Light, pure brightness of the ever-living Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun, and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing thy praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Thou art worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices, O Son of God, O Giver of life, and to be glorified through all the worlds.
Songs Of Invitation
Trinity Song (unpublished)
My Help, My God – Psalm 42
Prayer for Divine Guidance
Open my lips, O Lord,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence
and take not your holy Spirit from me.
Give me the joy of your saving help again
and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
World without end. Amen.
Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing (B)
Come Light Our Hearts – Rain for Roots
A Collect for Grace
Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for, as
you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength,
so you never forsake those who make their boast of your
mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Psalm Reading – 62-63 excerpts
Song – My Soul Finds Rest (Psalm 62)
Prayer (Read together as musicians continue quietly)
We have sought to find rest in places that only make us weary and empty.  Almighty God, give us your peace and quiet us from within.  We have looked for a place to hide from the storm, from the heat of the day, and from the fear that comes over us at night.  Be our eternal home, our rest, our shelter and our strength. We turn away from tthe shallow springs of self-reliance to drink from your living water that we may be satisfied.  We return again to you, our Father.  Satisfy us again with your abundance, Holy Spirit.  In every age, O LORD, you have been our refuge.
Psalm Reading – Ps 126
Rock of Ages Cleft For Me
(Augustus Montague Toplady/Trad)
Psalm Reading –  Ps 40
Closing Prayer –
Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours
of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and
chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise him all people here below
Praise him above ye heavenly hosts, praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen
 Let us bless the Lord.
 Thanks be to God.



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 Psalms.Bandcamp.com.  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 congregationalsongs.com.
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

Seven Reasons to Sing the Psalms – Douglas Bond

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I’ve been reading through Forgotten Songs: Reclaiming the Psalms for Christian Worship this summer.  It is a collection of far ranging essays from a conference held at Union University a few years back.  Definitely worth picking up.

Douglas Bond in his chapter “Biblical Poetry in a Postbiblical, Postpoetry World” finishes with 7 reasons we need the psalms today.  I commend them to you (in paraphrase) below:

1. The Psalms are the fountain of lives of prayer. We pray poorly and infrequently in large part because we are so unfamiliar with the content and eloquence of the psalms.

2. The Psalms keep in perfect harmony both joy and fear in worship. For example the first stanza of psalm 100 calls us to “make a joyful noise to the Lord,” then goes on to regulate and inform that joy with high, sobering truths about God’s power. It is in relishing both sides of this tension that keeps our worship from many of the follies of either stoic traditionalism or unreflective contemporaneity.

3. The Psalms free us from our slavery to the here and now. Spending time in the psalms, whether in private or public devotions, helps keep us from the folly of the moment, the tyranny of the latest thing, the exhausting work of chasing the newest worship hit. The psalms nurtured the faith and worship of Jesus and we would do good to worship them too.

4. The Psalms marshall our imagination in the service of God. The Psalms are the language of prayer and praise yet most of our days are full of tweets, sound bites, and news clips.  We need a consistent place to go to have our language formed in the concerns of God…so that we can enter into his courts full of the posture and awe due his name. The psalms are this.

5. The Psalms give us theological discernment. The Psalms help us measure what is worthy and what is not. “Psalm poetry is the God-ordained means of keeping every generation enthralled with the surpassing splendor of biblical truth.”

6. Recovering the Psalms in our worship and life will raise the bar for all new worship poetry in every age. Amen. The psalms are an encyclopedia of poetic forms and devices in the service of God.

7. Singing the Psalms unites us with the vast throng of worshippers throughout the ages. The psalms are God-given sung praise that transcends all barriers. Psalm poetry is for all time, the ultimate multicultural poetry for “all people that on earth do dwell.”

Here are a few links from around Cardiphonia for exploring the psalms.

Contemporary Psalms for Worship – some of our favorite retuned and modern psalm versions.

Psalms for All Seasons – excellent new psalter with tons of varieties of sung psalmody

Hallel Psalms

Hallel Psalms cover art

Music resources from across the Pond

Our good friend Rick Jensen of the Liturgy Fellowship has recently moved over to the UK to help with a church and it got me thinking about music resources I’ve run across from England/Scotland/Ireland over the past couple of years.  My wife and I lived in London for a few years and I was thankful for the exposure to all that God is doing there in the realms of music and worship. Besides the obvious ones (Keith and Kristyn Getty, Stuart Townend, Matt Redman, Tim Hughes) below are a bunch more that we’ve enjoyed.

Lots cover art

JG Hymns (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Jonathan Green has been retuning hymns for a long time now and has contributed to a couple of Cardiphonia comps.  You can check out his series of albums over at BandCamp. You can read a great interview with him at Hopeful Realism


Matt Searles (Oak Hill Theological and Wimbledon, UK)
Matt has written and produced a couple of albums exploring the psalms.  They are simple, singable, and worthy checking out at his BandCamp site.  Here is also a nice REVIEW from Bob Kauflin’s Worship Matters site.

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Resound Worship

Resound Worship is a collection of local songwriters connected to the church and under the Jubilate publishing banner. Sam Hargreaves who I met on occasion is one of the leaders of this project. Their site has a terrific collection of contemporary songs for liturgical/contemporary worship.

New Scottish Hymns

A group of songwriters retuning hymns in scotland.  You can learn more about this project HERE. You can listen to a few tracks at Soundcloud. You can also watch a one hour interview NSH facilitated with Kevin Twit.

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The Rend Collective
(Northern Ireland)
I saw these guys from Northern Ireland a few years back at the National Worship Leaders Collective.  They’ve grown in popularity and have some great songs! A blend of Irish folk, mumford and sons, and americana. Check them out at their own site,  worshiptogether.com, etc.

150 Psalms in Five Years #150in5

psalmsScripture. check. Psalms. check. Songwriting. check. Huge project that seems impossible. check.

You never know what’s going to happen when you spend time with Greg Scheer. You might spend the day tracking down the perfect spot for a pint (he loves this place), playing a couple rounds of ping pong, or geeking out over some obscure hymns (he helped found the hymnary.org).

Last month I spent a few hours with Greg over at his regular haunt, Church of the Servant in Grand Rapids, MI.  We chatted about life, ministry, music, and the wonder of project work.  In casual conversation he mentioned that he is going to try and tackle writing music to all 150 psalms.  To be fair he has quite a head start. Afterwards as I was mulling over our conversation and a quote I saw recently (from David Taylor I think) I decided that I need to more seriously consider my commitment to singing through the psalms.  I love that in the early church pastors had to memorize the entire psalter as a condition for ordination (reference?).  The heart of this project will be to encourage worship leaders and songwriters to wrestle with the texts of the psalms.

To that glorious end I’ve decided to start a new long term curation project.  I will work these like the Cardiphonia compilations and release a select number of psalms each year in the summer months when it’s usually a bit quieter around here.  Over the next 5-10 years I hope to provide 5 albums of psalms that cover the five books of the psalter and hopefully provide the church with a wealth of resources for exploring ways to sing the psalms.  Like most of our compilations various songs will fit and speak to a diversity of contexts.  We’ve got to have a #hastag so we will call the project #150in5.  If you tag your songs on soundcloud/twitter and provide a link to a chart then I’ll be able to track it down.  No promise we’ll use your song but it will be out there for all to enjoy!  I’ve already registered psalms.bandcamp.com if you think you can keep a bookmark for that long!

Book V is largely covered in the Hallel Psalms and Psalms of Ascents projects so we’ve got some wriggle room if it takes us a little longer on the first couple.

If you write a song every two weeks then you should be able to cover the entire psalter in five years.  That shouldn’t be too difficult. This IS a long-term project.  And that’s ok.  I think we need to be willing to take our time and think in terms of how churches/organizations often make long term plans.  In 5-10-15-20 year projections. This project will, God willing, only take 5-10 years.  What sort of projects should we be considering that might take us 20 years?


Here are other people and projects working on covering large chunks of the psalms.

Psalms for All Seasons (New Hymnal from the RCA/CRC)

The Psalm Projekt (Dutch Contemporary Composers)

The PrayerBook Project (longterm project from Brian Moss)

The Psalms (Asbury Seminary Project)
– Here’s a bonus PDF to a daily guide to singing the whole psalter starting in Advent.

The Psalms Project Band –

Robbie Seay Band – The Psalms

Matt Searles – Various psalms from british worship leader

Sons of Korah – Australian group

Indelible Grace – link to their psalm settings

You can also find a good list of psalter-hymnals HERE.

Two posts on “Writing Eclectic Psalmody” and “Contemporary Psalmody” from our site.

Church of the Servant New Psalm Contest

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 7.35.23 AMExcited to share that Wendell Kimbrough and I have co-won the Church of the Servants (Grand Rapids, MI) New Psalm Contest for our collaboration on Psalm 113 that was featured on the Hallel Psalms album.  The contest is sponsored by and held in memory of Ben Fackler.

Listen to a performance of this psalm at Church of the Servant from Sunday, Feb 2, 2014.

A huge thanks to COS and Greg Scheer for hosting such a wonderful contest every year.  You can see the past winners HERE. (Our friend Zac Hicks won in 2010 for his version of Psalm 100).

Who is Like the Lord our God? (Psalm 113)
mp3 | chords | leadsheet

Words: Wendell Kimbrough; from Psalm 113, Phil 2, 3;
Music: Bruce Benedict & Wendell Kimbrough.
(c) 2013 Cardiphonia Music

Our Father, He lifts from the ashes
He raises the poor and the lost;
He seats them to dine at his table,
To feast without money or cost.

The lonely he settles in families
The barren, a mother he makes;
O happy the heart of the stranger
Who’s welcomed by this King of Grace.

Who is like the LORD our God,
Whose glory fills the skies,
But humbles himself with the broken to dwell
Who is like our God?

Though equal to God in His glory,
Christ Jesus became like a slave;
He humbled himself in obedience
To Death, and the Cross, and the Grave.

Victorious, he rose to the highest;
In glory, the Savior was raised.
His name above all names exalted;
The heavens and earth sing His praise

O Saints, fix your eyes on the Savior
And count all your righteousness lost
Be found in his love and his favor
And share in his death on the cross

That all of his power in victory,
Imparted to you, may abound
And sharing the suff’rings of Jesus,
You share in his glory and crown

Recorded by Wendell Kimbrough and Ben Hofer

Psalms for the 21st Century


Cardiphonia is prepping this week to release our 6th compilation – this time drawing from the Egyptian Hallel – a unique set of Psalms (113-118) that have long been associated with passover/seder celebrations.  I’m very excited for you all to read the article that Dr. Scott Redd has written on how to include these psalms in your holy week celebrations.

On every flash mob compilation (we only give the artists a month to write and record) we try to provide some fun challenges – this time we invited a number of artists to write their own texts.  Along with Bifrost Arts and others we are trying to take our immersion in old texts as a schooling point from which we can begin to write our own.  And the writers on this one have not disappointed…there are some fantastic poets among us wrestling with how to bring the Psalms to singing life in our churches.

Along with the original texts we have also used old psalter texts from Isaac Watts, Gadsby, Anne Steele, and a few others.

The arrangements vary from a 4-part hymn written by Jess Alldredge at Grace Church Seattle to a blues-rock jam from Redemption Hill in Richmond.   It’s a wonderful and instructive blend of musical styles to singing the psalms congregationally…something that the modern church struggles with.  One of our chief hopes for this compilation is to provide a sampling of ways to sing the psalms like a few others have been working on recently.

If all goes well the album should show up on BandCamp by friday.

Till then you should really listen to John Witvliets talk “Psalms: A Gymnasium for the Soul.”  This idea is taken from the writings of many early church fathers but is a specific quote from Ambrose on the psalms.

In the Book of Psalms there is profit for all, with healing power for our salvation. There is instruction from history, teaching from the law, prediction from prophecy, chastisement from denunciation, persuasion from moral preaching. All who read it may find the cure for their own individual failings. All with eyes to see can discover in it a complete *gymnasium for the soul, a stadium for all the virtues, equipped for every kind of exercise; it is for each to choose the kind he judges best to help him gain the prize. (Commentary an Psalm 1:4,8)

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