Category Archives: worship

“You Are My Delight”: A Project to Support Shelters For Battered Women

“You Are My Delight,” an original song co-written and recorded by my friend Bob Mader and myself, is now available for purchase on iTunes.  Bob and I are going to donate 1/2 of everything we make on this song to support two women’s shelters, one here in my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, and the other in the town where Bob lives (and where I also used to live), Lenoir City, Tennessee.  More information on these shelters is given below.

The Story Behind the Song

artwork for "You Are My Delight" by Amy Given

artwork for “You Are My Delight” by Amy Given

On a Sunday morning in 2006, some women from Iva’s Place, a shelter for battered women in Lenoir City, Tennessee, came to speak at Bob’s church (Two Rivers Evangelical Free Church).  The church was supporting the shelter, and these ladies had been invited to come and share the stories of what they had been through, as well as how God had worked in their lives.

As Bob listened to their testimonies, he was moved by all they’d experienced and began to ask himself, “What message would God want to give to these women?”  Right there in church, the following words came to Bob:

You are My delight, you are My great joy;
You’re the apple of My eye, the one that I came for;
Extravagantly cherished, made perfect in My sight–
You are My beloved, you are My delight.

“You Are My Delight” (c) copyright 2007 Bob Mader & Morgan Trotter

Bob says that although the chorus came to him immediately that’s all it was. He never could come up with any verses to finish out the song.

Fast-forward a year or so to the summer of 2007.  Bob and I met at a retreat for Christian songwriters held in Townsend, Tennessee.  On the Saturday of the retreat our afternoon assignment was to collaborate with one of the other songwriters and try to create a song.  Since Bob and I were the only two people there from Knoxville (where I lived at the time), we decided to pair up and see what we could come up with.

I grabbed some pages of unfinished songs I’d brought with me to the retreat (we knew ahead of time this would be one of our assignments), and began to look through them.  One stood out to me that I’d entitled “Long Before.”  With this unfinished song, my situation was just the opposite of Bob’s–my song had some verses but no chorus to tie everything together.

I showed this piece of a song to Bob and sang the melody I had come up with for it.  After hearing it, Bob looked through the song fragments he’d brought to the retreat and pulled out his chorus “You Are My Delight” and played it for me.

As he played that chorus, I think we both got the sense that my verses might fit well with his chorus.  When we sang them together it worked, so we honed the verses a bit, turning one of them into a bridge, in order to make the song flow together seamlessly.  After an hour or so’s work, we were done and had a finished song.  Here is the complete lyric we finally wound up with:

Long before you loved Me, I was pursuing you;
Long before you knew Me, I had my eye on you.
Long before you cared whether I was around,
I was planning for the day you’d let yourself be found…

Long before you knew the desires of your heart,
You were lost and afraid, all alone there in the dark;
Till I called your name, and whispered “It’s alright…
I will hold you near all through the night….”

Chorus:
(For) you are My delight, you are My great joy,
The apple of My eye, the one that I came for;
Extravagantly cherished, made perfect in My sight….
You are My beloved, you are My delight.

Bridge:
Long before you heard about My Son,
He was dying so we could be one;
Long before you were born anew,
My Spirit was drawing you…!

Chorus:
(For) you are My delight, you are My great joy,
The apple of My eye, the one that I came for;
Extravagantly cherished, made perfect in My sight….
You are My beloved, you are My delight.

“You Are My Delight
words and music by Bob Mader and Morgan Trotter
© 2007 Bob Mader and Morgan Trotter

“You Are My Delight” is God singing His love and care over the victims of domestic violence. Indeed, it is God singing His love over all of us.  You can hear this song as a word from God to you about His love for you personally as well.

The Long And Winding Road to Today

After the retreat, Bob and I went home and each recorded our own versions of the song.  If you buy the full EP for “You Are My Delight” you can hear both of these early versions, which are just a little different, but which both capture the song’s heart and message.

Over the next several years, Bob and I played the song individually at various places, and always got a good response.  Bob’s recording of it even became a Top 50 song on Soundclick.com, where he posted it.  But playing the song occasionally for friends or churches was about all we did with it.

Then in 2011 a mutual friend of ours learned the story of how the song’s chorus was inspired when Bob heard the ladies from the women’s shelter speak, and suggested Bob and I record the song together and sell it to raise funds for Iva’s Place, donating half of what we make from it to the shelter.  So during the summer of 2011 over several sessions we made a recording of the song which featured both my guitar and Bob’s mandolin, as well as each of us taking turns on lead vocals and singing harmonies.

Meanwhile, our friend Amy Given, a very gifted artist, was kind enough to offer to do the artwork for the song.  Amy created the beautiful artwork you see above.

The release of the song was delayed, though, because my mother was sick and in the fall of 2011 I moved back to Huntsville to help her and my dad.  Mom died in December 2011, and for the next year or so I was preoccupied with that, finding a job, helping my father, etc.

Earlier this year, though, my thoughts began to drift back to our recording of “You Are My Delight” and our plans to release it as a fundraiser for the women’s shelter.  Within just a few days after I had begun thinking about the song again I got an email from Bob saying he felt it was time to move forward with the song as well.  Rather providential timing!!  Since I had moved to Huntsville by that time, we decided to include the women’s shelter here as well so that my North Alabama friends might also feel inclined to participate.

So we got to work on the project again. There have been a lot of delays and some procrastination along the way, but at long last, the Official Release Date of “You Are My Delight” is finally here!!

How You Can Help

Bob and I put together an EP that includes 4 different versions of the song: The Official Version that Bob and I recorded together, Bob’s original demo version, my demo version, and an alternate mix of Bob and me playing the song together.  You can buy one or all of these versions, but 1/2 of what Bob and I make on each purchase will go to the two women’s shelters detailed below.  So the more versions you buy, the more money goes to the shelters.

So here’s how you can help:

1) Purchase one or more versions of “You Are My Delight,” or the entire EP. One half of what we make on each purchase will go to support Iva’s Place in Lenoir City, Tennessee and Hope Place in Huntsville, Alabama, (see below for more info on these shelters).  A preview of the song is located at the bottom of this blog post if you want to hear what it sounds like.

To download “You Are My Delight” on iTunes, click here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/you-are-my-delight/id723004498?i=723004720

To download “You Are My Delight” in mp3 form go to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/You-Are-My-Delight-EP/dp/B00FQU9E9W/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1381461244&sr=8-6&keywords=bob+mader

NOTE: If you want to donate more money with your purchase, you can download the song through my Reverb Nation store.  On Reverb Nation we are allowed to charge more money per song, so more money goes to the shelters as well.  To download “You Are My Delight” on Reverb Nation follow this link and look for the song under “Singles”: http://www.reverbnation.com/store/store/artist_377501?item_type=music

2) Tell all your friends about “You Are My Delight.”  Here are some possible ways to do that:

a) “Like” our Facebook page and share it with your friends. https://www.facebook.com/YouAreMyDelight2013

b) Share this blog post on your Facebook page, Twitter, or by email

c) Share the info with your church

d) Ask your friends to tell their friends about “You Are My Delight.”

3) Listen to the song and hear its message for you personally. For the message of “You Are My Delight” is not just for victims of domestic violence. It is God singing His love over each of us.

4) Ask God to bless this fundraising effort, and pray for the women in these shelters, and for victims of domestic violence everywhere.

5) Support your local women’s shelter.

About The Women’s Shelters

1/2 of what Bob and I make on every download of “You Are My Delight” will go to support Iva’s Place in Lenoir City, Tennessee, and Hope Place in Huntsville, Alabama.  That means 1/4 of what we make on each download will go to each shelter.  Click on the links below to learn more about these shelters:

Iva’s Place

Hope Place

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments below, or on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/YouAreMyDelight2013

The White House has declared October 2013 Domestic Violence Awareness month.  We hope that in some small way this project can help bring hope to victims of domestic violence.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Here’s a preview of “You Are My Delight”:

All content on this blog including this post (c) copyright 2006-2013 C. Morgan Trotter except where otherwise noted.

Thoughts on Today’s Praise and Worship Music

Ten to fifteen years ago, the main criticisms of contemporary praise and worship music were that the words didn’t have much substance, they were too sentimental, and they were more about “me” than God.  For the most part this isn’t true of today’s worship songs.  While some choruses like that still exist, many of today’s worship songs have better lyrics that clearly speak about God’s work in Christ through his cross and resurrection.  In my opinion, modern praise and worship has “grown up” a great deal in portraying the basic truths of the Christian faith and a personal relationship with God.

I love contemporary praise music.  I love listening to it, I love singing it and playing it, and I love worshiping to it.  And I’m glad the words have grown more substantial.  Yet I still see a problem with today’s worship songs.

The issue is that today’s praise music isn’t very singable for the average person, and it doesn’t translate well for the typical worship band in the average church.

Today’s popular praise songs are developed mostly in mega-churches, the largest churches in the land.  Most of these congregations have several thousand people in attendance every Sunday.  As a result, they have almost limitless resources.  They can attract the best musicians, the most talented singers, the most seasoned songwriters.

Today’s worship songs are created for large audiences, making the morning worship time in these churches a lot like a rock concert.  This means today’s worship songs are really written more to be observed and consumed, than to be participated in.  They’re created to be heard more than sung. The primary question behind the songs seems to be: How will this be received by the thousands watching in church Sunday morning?  How’s it going to sound on on someone’s iPod?  How will it come across on youtube?  The first concern doesn’t seem to be “How easy is this going to be to sing?” or “How playable will this be for a worship team?”

The musical keys of today’s worship songs often tend to be in the stratosphere – a high tenor or soprano might be able to hit the notes, but everyone else will have to sing in their lower range, or else the song may not be in some people’s range at all.  And in fact, the latest thing for worship songs is to start them off in the low part of the singer’s range, and then at the climax of the song, the singer takes it up an octave for the sake of emphasis.

An example of this would be in the popular worship song “How He Loves” written by John Mark MacMillan and popularized by David Crowder.  In the second verse the singer suddenly goes up an octave on the words “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets / When I think about the way… / He loves us, oh how He loves us….”  You know what I’m talking about.  How many of you can make that vocal leap?

This is the kind of thing that mostly only trained and gifted singers can pull off.  I like to think I have a pretty decent voice, but my range barely extends beyond an octave.  So in order to pull off that trick, I have to make sure the song is pitched in just the right key, or else it’s out of my range.  Some singers may not be able to do this at all, and the person sitting in the seats may not even want to try.

And we wonder why people aren’t getting into the singing on our songs….

Likewise, the music on worship songs today is getting increasingly complex.  This makes it more interesting and fun to listen to, and probably more fun and challenging for talented musicians to play.  But for the rest of us mere mortals it may be beyond our level of ‘skilz.’

I really love a lot of the music coming out of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri (IHOP-KC or just IHOP for short).  Their songs contain some very cool instrumental riffs and some really interesting rhythm parts.  Which make them awesome to listen to.  But a good bit of it is beyond the skill level of your average worship band.  And IHOP does a lot of those low-to-high vocal gymnastics I talked about earlier, too.  So unless your church has a cadre of unusually talented musicians and singers, good luck replicating their sound on Sunday mornings.  (Although I do have to say the worship band at the little church I attend actually does a pretty amazing job on some of their songs…!)

But I think the important question in all this is: What’s happening to worship?

On the one hand, I think the current situation may be enhancing people’s private worship.  With today’s technology you can have the absolute coolest worship music ever created at your fingertips any time of the day or night.  You can download it onto your iPod, slip in the earbuds, and wander off for an hour of intimate personal worship time with God.  That’s one of the nice benefits of the present scenario.

But what about corporate worship?  What’s happening there?  Personally, I feel corporate worship may be suffering in the current model.  When songs aren’t singable, then people quit singing.  They lose the desire to participate.  They just stand passively or sit with their arms folded in their seats, watching.  They become spectators.

But worship is not a spectator sport.  It’s participatory.  Corporate worship is meant to be corporate – not just a few people singing up on a stage.  It’s said the word “liturgy” (another word for worship) means “the work of the people.”  If those on the stage and close to the front of the auditorium are the only ones really participating, then something is wrong, something is lost.  (I’ll resist the urge to get on my soapbox about my issues with using the word “auditorium” to describe a place of worship, since that might be a topic for another post. Lol.)  In that case, corporate worship is no longer corporate.

The word “corporate” comes from the Latin word “corpus,” meaning “body.”  The church is the body of Christ.  Corporate worship is the work of the whole body of Christ, participating together, not just a few leaders or especially spiritual people.  Not just those on the platform or at the front.  So if some people are not participating, then the body actually suffers from the lack.  Our worship suffers.

But also, are we getting to the point where worship music has to sound cool in order to be appealing to worshipers?  If so, what does that say about us?  Is worship really about us, or about God?  It’s not supposed to be about us.

Worship music has never sounded better.  It’s never been more appealing and listenable.  But if today’s worship songs are only to be heard in a large auditorium or played on our iPods, then I think we’re missing something – something vital.  The word “vital” refers to life – vitality.  What are we losing in this performance model of worship?