Archive | February, 2006

What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 15

If you’re just joining us, I’m currently describing what I think is the biblical role of someone who leads the church in congregational worship. We’ve covered this in the first 14 posts: An effective corporate worship leader, aided and led by the Holy Spirit, skillfully combines biblical truth with music to magnify the worth of God and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, thereby motivating the gathered church… Today, I’m going to unpack the next phrase: To join him in proclaiming and cherishing the truth about God. As I mentioned last week, an effective corporate worship leader invites others to join him in what he is already …

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Monday Devotions – Preaching the Gospel to Myself

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Col. 1:21-23) Do you find your life is often an emotional roller coaster? Is your perspective dependent on the trials or blessings your’e currently experiencing? That’s not God’s intention. He wants us to remain "stable and steadfast, …

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A Few Personal Updates

Item #1. I had lunch with my friend Ron Man today. A few years ago, I contacted Ron after reading some articles he’d written on worship. I was encouraged by his love for the Gospel, God’s glory, and the church. Since then, we’ve chatted by e-mail, exchanged resources, and shared fellowship over a few meals. I’ve found out he spends quite a bit of time in Europe, training pastors and seminarians in the theology of worship. He also has a website with many helpful articles that he’s written, and a monthly newsletter that you can subscribe to. I’ll be adding his site, Worship Resources to my Recommended Websites. Item #2. For a number of years …

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What About the Regulative Principle?

Richard wrote in to ask, “How do you understand the regulative principle of Worship, and do you agree with and practice it at your church?” Some of you right now are thinking, “What in the world IS the regulative principle?” The regulative principle is one of a number of ways used to describe how God’s Word governs our corporate worship. It is sometimes simplified to “Only what God has commanded in Scripture is acceptable in public worship.” It distinguishes between “elements” of public worship, which don’t change, and “circumstances,” which do. In contrast, the normative principle states that, “Whatever Scripture …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 14

Yesterday I talked about the issue of motivating the church to worship God. Judging from the comments yesterday, I’d guess that this is an issue for more than a few leaders. Kevin asked, “If you’re leading worship and the people don’t seem motivated to respond in worship, is that your fault?” The simple answer is no. It is every individual’s privilege and responsibility to give glory to God regardless of what they’re going through or who is leading them. But leaders can do things to hinder people praising God or refrain from doing things that could encourage them. But first, we want to be careful how we define a “successful” …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 13

A few weeks back, I proposed this definition for a corporate worship leader: An effective corporate worship leader, aided and led by the Holy Spirit, skillfully combines biblical truth with music to magnify the worth of God and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, thereby motivating the gathered church to join him in proclaiming and cherishing the truth about God and seeking to live all of life for the glory of God. Today I’d like to talk about “motivating the gathered church.” Ideally, as I stand in front of the church to lead them in singing God’s praise, every person is ready to sing with all their might – minds focused, hearts …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 12

I’m at the part of my proposed definition for worship leaders which says their task is to magnify the worth of God and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Certainly there are many aspects of God’s worth and works that we can and should dwell on as we sing His praise. He’s our Creator, our Deliverer, our Father, our Guide, our Shepherd, and Shield. But this side of the cross, we find the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6) and his substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. This is what Paul considered of first importance (1 Cor. 15:1-4), what Peter encouraged us to remember (2 Pet. 1:9), and what is to richly fill our singing …

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Monday Devotions – Do I Love God?

One of my historical heros is the hymn writer Isaac Watts (1674-1748). Two years ago, my oldest daughter, Megan, surprised me with a 1798 copy of a book Watts had written on the priority of loving God from the heart. Like most Puritans, Watts never lacked for words when it came to titles. He called his treatise “Discourses on the Love of God And It’s Influences On All The Passions: With A Discovery of The Right Use and Abuse of Them in Matters of Religion. Also, A Devout Meditation Annexed To Each Discourse.” I read through the book in a few days, and was encouraged by the pastoral, biblical, and clear way he promoted the use of emotion …

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Easter Service – Songs for the Resurrection

JP wrote in to ask, “I enjoyed your blog on ‘What Christmas Songs Do You Use?’ With April fast approaching, could you please post a similar list for Easter?” I polled some of the other guys who serve in some of the Sovereign Grace churches, and this is a tentative list. I’ve left off some of the more obvious ones like “Christ the Lord is Ris’n Today.” I’ve included songs that focus exclusively on the resurrection, as well as those that reference it at some point. Crown Him with Many Crowns Including the verse: Crown Him the Lord of life who triumphed o’er the grave And rose victorious in the strife for those He came to …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 11

Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Rev. 4:11) One of the problems we have in worshipping God is forgetting why He is so WORTHY to be worshipped. When we do, our minds tend to shift into neutral and we end up mouthing words that we’re barely thinking about. Part of magnifying God’s worth is recounting the reasons it’s appropriate to worship Him. One way is to recount what Wayne Grudem calls God’s “summary attributes.” Those include God’s perfection, blessedness, beauty, and glory. We can also speak to each other about …

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Using Cancer to Worship God

I received my weekly “Fresh Words” e-mail from pastor-theologian-author John Piper today. He had surgery for cancer this morning, and appears to be doing well after surgery. Last night, on the eve of his surgery, he wrote down ten ways we can benefit from cancer, if God chooses not to heal us. Here’s a portion: You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God. The design of God in your cancer is not to train you in the rationalistic, human calculation of odds. The world gets comfort from their odds. Not Christians. Some count their chariots (percentages of survival) and some count their horses (side effects …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 10

When someone stands (or sits) in front of a congregation to lead them in worshipping God, what’s their goal? I believe it is this: To magnify the worth of God and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. David invites us in Psalm 34:3: “Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” When people walk into church service, they might be magnifying all sorts of things, from the superficial to the serious – deadlines, unpaid bills, an unkind comment from a friend, a lab test for cancer that came back positive, a “thump-thump” sound the car is making, the championship game this afternoon, a rebellious child, some besetting …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 9

I want to finish up thoughts today on why God wants us to use music at times to praise Him. I’ve mentioned that music, especially singing, helps us to remember and meditate on God’s word, and also enables us to proclaim truth with heartfelt passion. Finally, We sing to reflect God’s glory. How does singing reflect God’s glory? I can think of at least three ways. First, singing glorifies God by expressing the unity Christ died to bring us. Of course, gathering in the same room at one time expresses unity, as does reciting a creed together. Music both intensifies and demonstrates our appreciation of that unity. I’ve been told on …

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Monday Devotions – Where am I Looking?

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. (Ps. 34:4-5) After being married almost 30 years, my wife has developed the ability to know what I’m thinking just by looking at my face. Julie – “What’s bothering you?” Me – “Nothing.” Julie – “No, something’s bothering you. What is it?” Me – “How do you know something’s bothering me?” Julie – “You have that furrowed brow, low eyebrows, ‘something’s bothering me’ face.” She’s right …

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Free Song

I’m taking a break from Q&A Friday to thank you for stopping by worshipmatters.com. A free song is available as a download to the right. It’s from our most recent project, WorshipGod Live. It’s called “Receive the Glory,” and I wrote it for the “Milestone Weekend” (Sept. 18-19, 2004) when my former senior pastor, C.J. Mahaney, turned the leadership of Covenant Life Church over to Josh Harris, our present senior pastor. C.J. had started the church 27 years earlier, and had been eagerly awaiting the day he would hand the leadership of the church over to a younger man. At a time when CJ could have drawn attention to himself and all that he had built, …

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