Posts Tagged 'faith'

Be Still

Psalm 46 is undeniably one of the great psalms of the Jewish and Christian faiths. It begins with these words.

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.

Fast forward to verse 10 and you have the psalmist’s memorable words …
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

Many a time … right up to last night, as something quite disturbing was troubling me and I struggled to get to sleep, God’s reassuring words came once again to me. I said them prayerfully over and over: Be still and know that I am God. I sang them … finding myself reworking a short chant-like song I wrote a few years back. Somehow version 1 didn’t have enough “still”; enough “know”.

So here is the new version, Dale providing quite intentionally a subdued background vocal .. .. with a hint of harmony here and there.

Be still
Be still
Be still and know … I am God

words: Psalm 46:10
music: David MacGregor © 2020 Willow Publishing





How beautiful


A long time between drinks.  I’m still around!  Been reflecting on a passage from Romans 10. In it, Paul references Isaiah 52:7:

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion,” Your God reigns!”

And then – as the Focus was crawling along Brisbane’s Western Freeway yesterday morning on my way to a meeting, most of a song based on those great words, they came to me.

So – here I have what is comparatively rare for me – a more-traditional “worship” song.  I used the term “worship song” loosely, for too often people think of “worship song” as solely a song of praise, forgetting that lament, intercession and confession are also part of worship.

Enough, here is is.  These are busy days but I hope to complete the backing and vocal track in the next week or so.  How beautiful has the option of an echo thing happening (men/women OR cantor/congregation OR all/women) in the “How beautiful” lines.  See what you think.



How beautiful    music score

How beautiful
How beautiful
How beautiful the feet of those
Who bring good news
How beautiful
How beautiful
How beautiful the feet of those
who sing “God reigns.”

Jesus, gift your heart
that lives compassion
Give to us your hands
that welcome wide
O, gift to us your voice proclaiming
God has come to save
Gift to us your feet
to bring your praise

How beautiful
How beautiful
How beautiful the feet of those
who bring good news
How beautiful
How beautiful
How beautiful the feet of those
who sing “God reigns.”

 David MacGregor
© 2011 Willow Publishing

soul wellness


Early in February, I blogged in response to the release of an ‘enhanced’ version of “It is well with my soul” by Hillsong Church here in Australia and how on reflection, all was not at all well with my soul, so much so that I found myself unable to sing what is a very special song to me – and countless others for many years.

On Saturday night, I shared a message at a local Emmaus Gathering.  My theme was “Soul Wellness”.  Thought some of you might appreciate reading where things are at with me about 6 weeks on …



We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose … what then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

I’m going to let you just briefly into some of my journey these months.

Like possibly many others of you here, I’ve found these past two months a difficult time – a really difficult time indeed. You see the Brisbane flood not only impacted our own household directly, but it majorly impacted our church community and our local Oxley community.

It’s fair to say I was emotionally and spiritually shaken by all of this.  Not the easiest place or space to be in when you’re the local UC minister and supposed to be ‘strong’ and ‘on top of things’; when you’re almost expected to be that voice of calm and positivity amid the trauma around you.

Well, that’s not the way it worked out for me. Some of you are blog or Facebook friends of mine, so you’ve shared some of this with me.

I heard early in February that Hillsong Church, in order to raise money for flood relief had issued a reworked version of that 19th century American hymn – It is well with my soul.

Now – I reacted to that news somewhat surprisingly.  You see, I love that song, and the Hillsong additional lyrics added to the song.

So no problem there. The problem was, despite me downloading it on iTunes, I found I simply couldn’t sing it.  I just couldn’t.  You see – at the time, things as far as I was concerned, were far from well with my soul.

Continue reading ‘soul wellness’

accordions, community, music & marvellous memories

Michael Hawn

Michael Hawn

I’m sitting in railway station,
Got a ticket for my destination …

Well … sort of; exception that it’s an airport lounge in Canberra. Dale and I have been down here for almost three days at Wesley Music Centre’s & Wesley Uniting’s Celebrating our Faith seminar on word and music in worship. 200 folk from around Australia, and three superb international speakers: Michael Hawn (USA), John Bell (UK/Scotland/Iona Community) and Colin Gibson (New Zealand). One of the best music/worship conferences I’ve been to in a long while!

I particularly appreciated the great teaching, humour, encouragement, challenge and music from Hawn and Bell. They are a great gift to the world church.  Often people are so attracted to the music that John Bell writes, sources and leads (usually in congregational 4-part harmony) that one forgets how excellent a teacher, preacher and storyteller he is.

I had read a  bit of Hawn’s writing over the years – he offers much to the wider church in the area of world.multicultural music and worship.  Did a lot of wonderful justice songs too – a real encouragement and challenge for me. Also a wonderful comedian – as last night’s concert extravaganza proved – Michael doing this wonderful standup comedy act with a piano accordion – all about (very much tongue-in-cheek) accordion evangelism.  He had us all in stitches.  John Bell was behind me- he was cacking himself.

John Bell

John Bell

It was great having several Queenslanders there – including Cliff, Wendy and Eric from my home church.  They all gained much from the weekend. Dale and I were invited (almost 3 years ago) by Gregor Henderson (ex-UCA President) and local UCA minister there, to lead an elective next time around. As already blogged, this was on Contemporary Australian Worship Songs. We were happy with the way our two elective sessions went.  In a church known for its high quality classical and choral music – to kick off an elective session with Reuben Morgan’s “For all you’ve done” was a bit risky. But hey!  If you’re talking Oz worship music, you’ve got to mention Hillsong — a shame you’ve got to filter the wheat from the cahff, though.  We were able to use five of my songs over the weekend:

  • Holy Spirit come
  • Deeper into you
  • Celebrate Emmanuel
  • Sing with joy to God
  • Jesus- healing man

We also played tourist – Friday morning at the National Gallery; this afternoon at old Parliament House.  Yes, I stood on the very place where Gough Whitlam uttered those memorable words at his dismissal back in 1975.

Now we board in about 45 minutes.  Can’t wait to get home. More special music around the corner: next Sunday’s Reformation Sunday services with a special Bach tribute amid our 10 am service; with more than a nod to Calvin too.

Soon … homeward bound.  Cheers


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