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7 in 7, Day One: What This Beggar Needs

For those of you who don’t know, 7in7 is a great time of songwriting started, I believe, by Aaron Ivey, a friend and worship leader at my church, Austin Stone Community Church (which has a live worship record coming out December 6, quick plug). Anyway, the goal is to write 7 songs in 7 days. You have to start and finish a song every day. You can’t start from something you already have, no lyrics, no guitar parts. So it’s an exercise. One we do together. This year over 300 writers are a part of 7in7. And I’m behind already. I mean, I’ve written songs each day but I haven’t had time to post, so here is number one.

This song came from a couple of places. One is some conversations we’ve been having about worship at church. We’ve been talking about how some songs are very relational and some songs are very theological. So we talked about wanting to have both kinds of songs in a service. But as I thought about it, I wanted to start to write songs that were both. Either a verse that was relational and a chorus that was more declaring who God is, or vice versa. So that’s been on the back burner for a few weeks. Secondly, I’ve been reading “George MacDonald” by C.S. Lewis, which is a compilation of MacDonald thoughts on theology. It’s really an incredible book. I came across his confession, “I am poor, blind, wretched, miserable and naked.” Immediately, I thought, “This is day one song.” So here it is.

What This Beggar Needs

I am poor and blind and wretched
Miserable and naked
And I need… I need You
I am choking on the shame that makes me
Long to run away
But I know I need… I need You

‘Cause You’re the Fountain that fills my emptiness
Your Light in this darkness shines
You’re the Comfort in my loneliness
What this beggar needs, Your wealth supplies

I am wrestling with conviction
Probably running from correction
But I need… I need You
I am losing all the battles
No matter what side I am on
I know I need You

‘Cause You’re the Fountain that fills my emptiness
Your Light in this darkness shines
You’re the Comfort in my loneliness
What this beggar needs, Your wealth supplies

I come in filthy rags
Not because they’re beautiful
They’re just all I have
I want to bring You more
An offering for this poor, needy one
But it’s all Yours anyway

You’re the Fountain that fills my emptiness
Your Light in this darkness shines
You’re the Comfort in my loneliness
What this beggar needs, Your wealth supplies

You can take a listen here:

http://soundcloud.com/agnewsdei/what-this-beggar-needs

Thanks,

Todd

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By The Church For The Church, A Post For Worship Leaders

Hey friends. I have three stories and a question for you. I am wanting to start writing, co-writing, pushing others to write songs that the church needs. I am looking and asking what those songs are. If you are a worship leader, then please respond. If you are a worshipper and have a good idea, I’d love to hear it. In addition, please pass this post on to the worship leaders at your church or others you respect.

Here are the stories…

1) It was Wednesday. I received the order of service and found we were doing communion. As I tried to put together a worship set, I realized we don’t really have communion songs anymore. That led to the creation of You Are Good, one of the songs we now do at church and is on the new record.

2) I was talking to my pastor one day about why The Stand still has such an impact every time we play it. I hypothesized that we don’t have many songs of declaring commitment anymore. In fact, for an invitation, I’m much more likely to go back and pull out a hymn.

3) I was talking to a friend, a great worship leader a few years ago about Christmas songs. He talked about how we have songs about Christmas, but we don’t have many corporate worship songs for that occasion. We just end up singing Christmas songs corporately.

So my question to you is “What songs does the church need?” I’m not asking what you care about or what’s impacting you. Because I believe you will write those songs anyway. I believe our generation is doing a great job declaring the majesty of the Lord. I’m asking you what songs will help the Church worship. What topics are we missing? Giving? Sacrifice? I don’t know the answer. That’s why I’m asking. And I’m really excited about what the answers may lead to.

Thanks.

Todd

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7in7 Day Six

Well, I’ve hit the wall. Creatively that is. I hope you guys are doing better. But actually considering that fact, today went pretty well. I spent a few hours with Chris Collins today. I think we’re both pretty fried from 7in7, but it is always good to be with him. We came up with a great guitar part to write a song over. I think we are both kind of spent lyrically. It tried to be about Jesus healing the blind man at the pool of Bethesda. I kind of thought we might be writing about Paul. Needless to say, it needs some work. But the guitar stuff is awesome.

I spent the rest of the day in worship mode. I finished most of the lyric to “Satisfy”. I really like it. It’s a very strong worship tune for me personally. And Chris and I started on one based on an old Fannie Crosby lyric:

All crowns be on His sacred head
All worlds be at His feet
All scepters in His mighty hand
All tongues His praise repeat

Powerful stuff. Tonight I added some verses from the raising of Lazarus and the resurrection of Jesus. Good day.

I might try to get something done tomorrow, but it’s my wife’s birthday. And I’ve written seven songs already. So we’ll see how the day goes.

Todd

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7 in 7, Day 5

Yesterday was a finishing day. I was finetuning lyrics, trying to come up with bridges, and getting some of this stuff down and recorded. I came up with a possible chorus to the Satisfy song. Actually I think I came up with two choruses. But then I noticed that one of them was actually O My Heart which was Aaron Ivey’s song from day two. oops. I finished most of the verse lyric for that as well. I also started some other worship ideas. One is pretty standard topically, pretty funky musically. It’s called Hallelujah. It starts like this:

My tears will be one day washed away
By the hand that was pierced by nails for my shame
Hallelujah

We’ll see how it turns out. Looking forward to writing with Chris Collins this afternoon.

Todd

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7in7, Day Four

Well, yesterday was my first unsuccessful day. Of songwriting that is. It was my first day home so, I spent it with my wife, my kids, and my church. Church was incredible yesterday morning. We talked about the sin that we go to such great lengths to hide, but that God is actively working to expose our sin. He knows that it is best for us to live in the light. We were in Genesis 20, such as strange story of Abraham pretending Sarah is his sister, and preserving his life while losing his wife. Sorry for the rhyme there.

Anyway, great day with the family. But as we moved into bookreading time, which is right before the kids’ bedtime, I started falling asleep in my chair. The exhaustion from the past few days was sinking in. After the kids were in bed, my lovely wife stepped in as my caretaker and said no late night work, it was time for bed. So I didn’t get to finish what I had started that morning.

But I got some more lyrics done on the Villain song (as it’s already come to be known in my brain). And I got started on a new worship song about being satisfied in Christ. Looking forward to trying to finish that today.

Todd

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7in7

Well, here we go. Most of you have never heard of 7in7 and that’s completely understandable. It is a week for songwriters, many of us friends from here in Austin, where everyone writes one song a day for seven days. So, that’s 7 songs in 7 days. 7in7. Today is day one. I’m really looking forward to it. I don’t do a lot of writing on a schedule, so this is going to be a different experience for me. I plan on posting pieces of what I’m working on throughout the week, so stay tuned. You can keep up with some of what is going on through Twitter using the hash tag #7in7. And if there are any songwriters out there, you’re welcome to jump into the journey with us. I’m looking forward to hearing new songs from Aaron Ivey, Miranda Dodson, Chris Collins, and even Chris Martin! (I didn’t even know Coldplay’s singer was from Denver. Okay, so maybe it’s a different Chris Martin, but we can pretend.)

So I’d appreciate your prayers over the next week. Well, I always appreciate your prayers, but over the next week, you can pray specifically for this. We’re about to start work on the next record, so some of these songs could even end up there. Either way, it’s definitely going to be a challenge. I’m looking forward to it. Stay tuned.

Todd

P.S. If anyone has any great song ideas, you can let me know. Just don’t tell the other guys!

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