Last On: Feb 29, 2012 - 2:41 AM
October 2, 2007
by Luke Chi
Praise songs have always made the presence of God clear to me. As I was growing up, I enjoyed singing praise songs during worship the best during Sunday Service because God had full command of my heart. Some of my old time favorite songs are "Isn't He, Make My Life A Prayer to You, and Listen to Our Hearts." I never get tired of singing praise songs. In the days of my youth, I attended a small Chinese Church in an English speaking fellowship in Queens, New York. There were only about fifty of us worshipping. Every week I attended fellowship on Fridays and Sunday service. God always showed up. I believe He heard our hearts and our sincere desire to be in His presence.
More than Just
Worship. When I was younger, I found many opportunities to visit other churches. With the little allowance money I had, I traveled to those events to see what God was doing in other places. I had a good time and felt a part of His big plan. In many of these events, I often asked the worship leader for their sheet music. Why would I go out of my way for their songs?
A Songwriter's Heart. I know now that God created me with the heart of a songwriter. This is where He has directed my time, energy and interest. God saw my love for worship songs and plant a seed of creativity. I did not discover until later.
The Development Stage. I believe God teaches us differently; however, we all get our inspiration from one place. That place is Jesus. My relationship with Him is the essential element in the development of my songwriting skills. Without personal worship and devotion, it would be impossible to write songs. In the early stage that is what God is looking for. He did not care how much I offered to Him. More or less, He was looking for what He could get out of me.
Growing and Learning. Much of songwriting comes from our time spent with Him. However, where we grow learn to write can be an avenue of many things. I would like to give some helpful ideas and tools to help us become mature writers.
Growing. As I visited other places, I ended up with new tunes to take home. I have always enjoyed singing new somgs to God. Even now, I still collect them. I know that praise songs have always been a great way to help me see how to write music. Over time the songs that had been sung in church were infused in me and gave me a better sense music should be written.
Learning. There are many ways to learn how to write. The way I learned was by spending time learning how others wrote their music. In high school, I was in the jazz band. I remember that I would come to class very early to give out sheet music for all the players. When my classmates began walking into class, many were listening to recordings. I questioned them as to what they were listening to and the answer was always jazz. They listened to jazz in order to improve their musicianship. I never really knew what God had been doing that in my life until later. At home I would play the songs that I had collected and used that as personal worship time.
Don't Stop Now! Over years I started to look closely at the sheet music, I owned. I discovered the need to pay some attention to Christian music. During that time, a Gospel Crusade was held in New York. I had just graduated from high school with no job and no college plans. So with some pocket money I had, I began helping out the Crusade. We spent our mornings evangelizing and attending services at night. There I met some prolific Christian artists such as 4Him, T.D. Jakes and Carmen.
During the Crusade, I remember a Christian Brother discussing his views on pop music. At that time, I did not take sides. I grew up surrounded by my mother's taste in music, including classical rock and the VH1 top ten lists. It gave me all that I needed to enjoy in life. Not long after the Crusade, I bought my first Christian CD, Jars of Clay. Soon my pop collection became obsolete. I never stopped growing and learning. If we want to be great at what we do, we must never stop seeking the truth. It is the truth, which gives us our ability to be the best.
Your Time Spent with God. During my time in Bible School, I lived in West Medford, NJ. There I learned the fundamental tools for ministry. All that training prepared me for what I would face later in life. Unbeknownst to me, God had his own plan for me. Some of my spiritual girts would discover and I began to write music. During the little free time I had, I would pick up my guitar and play praise songs. I never stopped doing what I loved the most. Just coming to Him and giving Him my all. The time that I spent with God became the time He showed me how to write.
There He delivered my first song. That displayed His sign of His call in my life. Moments like that seem like forever. With all our busyness and life trails, it is not easy to take breaks. But God knows that in our hearts we long to see Him.
When He Writes Your Songs. I know that He wrote all of my songs. Once I tried to write a song without Him. I picked out some Bible verses and tried to figure out the formula of music writing. Well, you know the story, it never worked out. The only way to write is just being at His feet. As He fills your mind and heart with a new song, He reaches to you and to the audience. Only then will you know songwriting is perfect.
Hearing the Melody and His Words. Many will ask where the melody and the lyrics come from. I always respond "just listen and be." What I mean is we must have our ears open and let all things be still. We wait before God as He shows us Himself. Nothing can be better then just listening, waiting on the Lord for His source of supply. The way I achieve this is by playing a chord up and down, being focused until He begins to speak to my heart. Then I will speak of what He just told me and write it down. The melody comes smoothly when the words are being spoken from the heart. There are days when you will not hear anything from Him. When this happens to me I sing and play praise songs. Sometimes He will also just give you half of a song. However, do not stress over it. You do not need to com- plete the song. Just wait on Him and He will give you the song in His best timing.
Putting it All Together. When it comes to putting down God's words, it can be pretty messy. I never write with lined paper. I always have a sheet of eight by eleven blank copy paper on which to write down words and music. When I used lined paper I never wrote on the lines because I find them to constrict the spontaneity of the process.
Atfer you get together, all the words and music bear in mind that there needs to be some form of order in your songs. Most of my songs have three or four parts in them. For a three part song there are usually two verses and a chorus. For a song with four parts, there are two verses, a chorus and bridge. The songwriting process between you and God does not end right after you write down the song. There is more work to be done, but He will continue to guide you through the process. We will start to put the song together. Always remember that the song is like a short story. It has a beginning middle and an ending. Each part of song needs to flow smoothly to the next part, in order to give it beauty and voice that speak on one color. This gives the song a sense of unity.
The Common Rules. There are some rules to songwriting that we need to give some attention to. I have learned to use them over the years. They definitely have improved the way I write. Did you remember when the last time you looked at a transparency and noticed that the first line of the song is same as the title or that the first line of chorus is the chorus is the as the title? There is a reason for that. The title speaks of what your whole song is about. It gives meaning to your song and life to the words. It is important that we remember to give the title its place. These days this convention does not always hold true due to the growing number of new waves of Christian msuic. My personal opinion is that the more concise your songs title is, the easier it will be for people to remember your song. This is not to say that your songs all need to have a oneword title. It is a matter of personal preference that you will have as a songwriter.
I am now going to move into an area of personal view of some of my core principles of what a song needs to possess. The first rule is a song should be relatively simple and not too long. This way the audience will able to catch on without being overwhelmed. It prevents the audience from struggling to learn a complex song, therefore creating a freedom for people to enter in worship easily.
Lyrics must cause us to experience intimacy with God. As I grew, not all of the songs I sang caused me to feel God's touch, but a few stood out. Those are the ones that draw me more closely to Him, like "Draw Me Close" by Kell Carpenter. This song speaks of our desire to be clsoe to God. The chorus gives it even more power. A love song has a way for us to be drawn to Him and Him to us.
All of our songs should be to the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit. I believe if a song is not to one of the above, then it is not a good song to use in a service. What we sing needs to be credited from our source; that God rules over our lives. I hope you may adapt some of these principles to your writing time with God.
Background Check. Over time, I learned that the songs need to be checked. It is essential to do a good check on the "biblical and theological correctness and see if it holds a balance between the word and spirit." So how do we do that?
Get Help! At this point because of my limited understanding of biblical and theological truth, it is best to get help. First, we need to see if there is truth in your song. Second is to get feed back on what others may think of your songs. My friend works at Calvary Baptist Church as Music Director. Ronnie Oliver has extended his help of biblical truth and music background in my pursuit of songwriting excellence. He not only looks at it to see if is biblically and theologically correct. He also looks at the music to see if it holds that balance between the word and spirit. The best method is to have a friend to encourage you to go on, finding someone will be a lot of help.
Continue to Pursue His Call in You. There are days when you wonder why you even write music. All things can seem to be dim at that time. But you must never lose heart. For He has called you out of darkness and into His wonderful light. He has commissioned us for a ministry of music. Let us live the best that we can every day and to rely on his faithfulness to continue to move forward and if you need to stop writing, then stop. Take one step a time and do not let the day be wasted.
Just be Patient. Do you hate waiting? I feel the same frustration sometimes, as I wonder what may happen next. Over time I have learned to be patient. Just trusting that God knows what he is doing. I think during those days God was training me to be in ministry, before jumping into something I do not know how to do. Therefore, I will let Him do what He thinks is the best at that time. Slowly He begins to lead me into other areas. Nevertheless, it will happen at the right time and that is not mark out of our own will; He is the one who makes our days ahead.
Resouurces Can Help! Earlier, I spoke about needing to pay more attention to Christian music. I will recommend that you listen to the style of music, which you are writing. Go out and purchase the best recordings. What you listen to is what you are going to put into your song. For me, it is Vineyard Music. Over the years I learned and watched how much they care about providing quality church music. Sometimes we can get good music just by asking, as I did when I had little money. People were kniid to me. They are so many ways to obtain resources to build your music writing. All it takes is your willingness to reach and network.
A Closing thought. Above all I spoke of, just being a worshiper is all what the Father is looking for. "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." John 4:23-24. In your time of writing, remember where each of us came from. Simply just, worship Him.
CHRISTIANITY...supersittion, a source of DIVISION, a collection of nice (but untrue) MYTHS, an OPIATE for the masses, organized HYPOCRISY, old-fashioned MORALITY, a crutch for the WEAK or a lifeline from GOD.
Someone who says: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." is either CRAZY...or GOD.
Discuss this and other subjects about Christianity at the ALPHA course.
Thank you for stopping by today, and take a look at my page. Feel free looking around. If you have any questions or comments. You can just write me. I may not be available to reply them. Please know that I do read them, your thought and idea means a lot to me.
I Wish You Happy Everyday of Your Life!
English Name: Luke Chi
Chinese Name : Chi Shen Tien
Native Place: Shandong & Shanghai
Date of Birth: September 6 1978
Place of Birth: California, Mountain View
Shoe Size: 8
Chinese Zodiac: Year of the Horse
Languages Spoken: Mandarin & English
Education: Bayside High School (Music)
Instruments: Flute, Sax, and Guitar
Majoring Subjects: Worship
Actor/Actress: Tom Hanks, Jet Li, Robin Williams and Meg Ryan
Clothing: Gap, Banana Republic and Brooklyn Industries
Drink: Taro Milk Tea with Tapioca Pearls & Jasmine Tea
Food: Chinese Dishes, Dim Sum, Dumplings, New York Pizza, Chicken, Fish, Noodle, and Swiss Cheese
Movie: Drama & Chinese Soap Opera
Music: Worship, Classical, Jazz and Rock
Season: Spring & Winter
Sport: Basketball, Tennis and Table Pool
In a world of chaos and distress it's good to hear a voice that calms us with the words of the Lord. There is a peaceful sound standing true to intimate worship. Luke delivers it. His voice will turn your heart still, and put you in a place wanting to be closer to the creator. Although he is a one piece band, he gives this community a new look. Our first Chinese man is stepping up to bring diversity in the industry. He is now looking for a label to be sign. Luke Chi helps us turn our hearts to worship the Living God.
Luke was born in Mountain View, CA, in the fall of 1978. When he was two years old, he and his mother Linda moved to Queens, NY, to live in a community consisting mostly of Russian Jews. Due to extended family travels between Taiwan and the States, he missed many opportunities for developing good friendships.
In junior high school, Luke was selected for band class and began to study the trumpet. His teacher, Mr. Marshal, later requested that he change his seating position and take on baritone horn to help blend the band. Luke remained with the baritone until graduation. While Luke was studying, his mother invited him to attend Christian Testimony Church. There, Luke participated in worship service and learned to sing today's classic praise and worship.
During the summer of '92, Luke attended a church conference and came to know Christ as Lord and Savior. Soon after, Luke decided to audition for New York's Salute to Music Program, and upon his acceptance as a flutist he was informed that his concert would be held at Carnegie Hall. That year he was named to the Chancellor's Roll of Honor for bringing honor and distinction to the school between '94 and '95.
Soon following, Luke auditioned for New York's most prestigious music high school and was accepted into Bayside H.S., under the direction of Mr. Stuart Rubin. In his first year, Luke played both flute and baritone horn in the band's highest level. He made a request to his director to study classical music with Mrs. Marsha Patelson, owner of Joseph Patelson Music House. The music department agreed, so long as Luke continued to play baritone in his remaining years of concert band. Luke also took up orchestra as a fourth flutist.
His music director, Mr. Rubin, invited Justin DiCioccio to give a two-week crash course in jazz. Luke took that opportunity to study jazz, and after practicing his new tenor sax during summer break, he participated in jazz band. During that first year, he and his classmates were invited by VEBA to perform with Herbie Hancock, celebrating New York's young talent in Oct '97.
During his senior year, Luke was actively involved in churches around the tri-state area and in NYC, and studied church music while completing his training. After graduation, Luke was invited to Rodney Howard Brown Gospel Course, then led to attend Master's Commission Bible School, NJ, during the fall of '99. There, after receiving prayer from two youth workers from S. Southampton, U.K. (as part of Sublime Ministry), he was inspired to use his gift of music.
For the next two and half years, Luke worked with Sam Ash Music Store, in Manhattan's woodwind and brass-wind department. There, he was introduced to Lew Tabackin, who helped Luke gain deeper experience in jazz field.
Today, Luke writes with diverse influences from classical, jazz, and church music. He serves as a freelance songwriter in contemporary christian music, aiming to be one of CCM's top developing artists, and continues to distribute digital music around the world. His music is not limited to one category, and he always ushers in new depth to the room of creativity.
Now on standby. Please tune in soon.
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