Archive | May, 2006

Monday Devotions – Rest For Your Soul

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30) I recently meditated on these words of Jesus in my morning devotions. They are good news for any of us who ever feel stressed, stretched, anxious, weighed down, nervous, overtaxed, overloaded, or whatever word we use to describe ourselves when we don’t think we can handle life. I think that’s all of us. After thanking His Father that he has hidden the truths of the kingdom from “the …

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How Do We Grow in Physical Expressiveness in Worship? Pt. 4

This is my last post (for now) on the topic of bodily expression in corporate worship. Let me say again that in issues regarding our faith, physical expressiveness in corporate worship is an important but secondary issue. I have no problem worshiping God with a church that may be more enthusiastic or reserved than I’m used to, as long as they are proclaiming the same Gospel and glorying in the same Savior. However, our culture tends to separate head and heart, doctrine and devotion. Some congregations sing profoundly biblical lyrics with no visible effect (which doesn’t always mean they aren’t affected). Other churches are enthusiastically …

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How Do We Grow in Physical Expressiveness in Worship? Pt. 3

I’ve been talking about how to help a church grow in physical expression that draws attention to the greatness of God’s glory in Christ. After teaching on the appropriateness of that expression in worshipping God and the importance of the heart, I’d move on to: 3. Address the different reasons people might be reserved in their expression and teach on preferring others. Some Christians are simply unaware of what the Bible teaches about physical responses to God. They don’t know that Scripture is filled with examples of exuberant, passionate worship (Psalm 150; Neh. 8:6; Rev. 5:11-14). Perhaps they’ve grown up in a church environment …

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How Do We Grow in Physical Expressiveness in Worship? Pt. 2

Last Friday I started to answer this question from a pastor: “Exactly how, and how much should we encourage our people to follow the numerous commands throughout Scripture of bodily expression (as a natural outpouring of the heart)?” I began by saying we must teach our people that physical expression is appropriate in biblical worship. We aren’t disembodied spirits. God intends that we use our whole beings to bring him praise (Ps. 16:9). But how and how much? We don’t simply tell people to “sing like they mean it,” or “jump higher for Jesus,” although in my early zeal to see God honored I crossed that line a few times. Commanding …

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Monday Devotions – Passion and the Truth

Christians are to be passionate about the truth, especially the Gospel. However, sometimes, our feelings can race ahead of our reason and obscure the portion of truth we’re trying to communicate. When I was in college, I was profoundly affected by being baptized in water. I was so affected that I tried to persuade everyone I talked to that they needed to be baptized as well. I’d disrupt campus Christian meetings with obnoxious questions about why baptism wasn’t being emphasized. I tried to convince my Christian friends that they were living a sub-Christian life if they hadn’t been baptized, and ended up baptizing about 6 people over …

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How Do We Grow in Physical Expressiveness in Worship? Pt. 1

After the Together for the Gospel conference, I received a lengthy e-mail from a worship pastor in attendance who shared a current dilemma his pastoral team is facing. They have been “wrestling with how to best be obedient to Scripture in our corporate worship through song.” His church contains people who are “naturally NOT very expressive AT ALL” during that time. So he asks: “Exactly how, and how much should we encourage our people to follow the numerous commands throughout Scripture of bodily expression (as a natural outpouring of the heart)? First, I want to thank this pastor and his team for their humility in seeking to wrestle …

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Pursuing God’s Active Presence

In 1971, the great 20th century preacher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, brought these remarks to an annual Minister’s conference: “We must not be content until we have had some manifestation of the activity of God. We must concentrate on this. This is my plea, that we concentrate on this, because it is the great message of the Bible, so substantiated by the lessons of history. That is obviously today the only thing that gives us any hope as we face the future. And God seems to be saying that to us. ‘Prove Me now. Try Me. Risk your everything on Me. Be fools for My sake. Cast yourselves utterly upon this belief.’ Let us put it like this: Do we really …

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Giveaway #2 is Now Officially Over

I’ve appreciated all of you who put your search engine to work and found out the answers to the Giveaway #2 contest related to GLAD trivia. We’ve found our twenty winners. There were even some actual GLAD fans among them, although a few people were honest enough to say they had never heard of GLAD until this contest… Anyway, for those who didn’t have time to look for the answers, here they are: 1. What two colleges did the four original members of GLAD attend? West Chester State College (back in the early 70′s) and Temple University 2. What GLAD song mentions Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia? Take a Stand. The song tells the story …

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Monday Devotions – Kids, Kings, and Creeping Things

Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps,     fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds! Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children! Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted;     his majesty is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints,     for the people of Israel who are …

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How Do We Move Away From “Worshiptainment”?

This question came from a gentleman who works at a Christian school. Every Friday a 4-5 piece band has been leading the 6th through 12th graders in a time of “praise and worship.” However, most of the students aren’t Christians. The leadership is changing so he wrote in: “This year the students have really got into creating motions akin to “Christian line dancing” in a very “worshiptainment” atmosphere. I don’t like it but have been powerless to change it. There has been a lot of disagreement over the years as to the proper focus of our Friday service. Do we try to have a worship focus or, because so many of our students are lost, do …

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The Giveaway is Now Officially Over

Thanks to all of you who e-mailed me to review the Worship God Live CD. We’ve now received 50 responses. I particularly enjoyed the honesty (manipulation?) of this note:"If I’m not too late to qualify for the CD giveaway, here’s my entry. I failed to check your blog yesterday and I missed this offer. I am sure tens of thousands of requests have poured in, but what a better way to model grace than to include some one underserving like me! Plus, my blog is a hit with a couple of folks around west Tennessee."Hey, if you’re not checking my blog every day, I have no sympathy for you. You should know that a day without my blog is like a …

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Where Have All the Glad Fans Gone?

Okay, okay. Maybe I set the bar too high. We gave away 50 Worship God Live CD’s to pastors and worship leaders who would review them on their blog by June 15. But for those who didn’t fit into that category, I offered to send a CD to the first 20 people who could correctly answer questions about GLAD, my former group. To my knowledge, only one person has gotten a perfect score from Worship God Live Giveaway #2. Congratulations to Jean from Delaware. You are one of the three GLAD fans who read this blog. As for the rest of you, it’s obvious that my original perceptions were accurate. Only my family would know these answers. So here are the …

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“Worship God Live” Giveaway #2

For those of you who missed out on a free CD because you’re not a pastor or a music pastor or you don’t write your own blog…I wanted to make another give-away offer. This week I was honored to receive the King of the Week award from blogger extraordinaire Tim Challies. Thankfully, I guess that means I can stop submitting my name for consideration. Anyway, Tim mentioned that I’m probably best known for my involvement with Sovereign Grace music. In a comment, Brendt pointed out that Tim neglected to mention my former associations with the Christian group GLAD. I wasn’t personally offended, because I don’t expect anyone but …

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“Worship God Live” Giveaway

Last year Sovereign Grace Ministries took two nights in February to record a live project entitled, Worship God Live. I was privileged to be one of two leaders on the CD, along with my good friend, Pat Sczebel, who is a pastor at the Sovereign Grace church in Vancouver, B.C. We were attempting to accomplish a number of goals through the project. First, we wanted to capture some of the spontaneity and passion of a typical live context. This CD isn’t so much a presentation as an invitation to listeners to exalt the Lord together with us. We were able to include a number of unplanned moments that add to the dynamic quality of the recording. We …

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Monday Devotions – The Nevers of the Gospel

After 33 years of being a Christian, I’m learning that many of my godly acts and thoughts are accompanied by a corresponding danger of imbalance or deception. That means that when I’m pursuing obedience in one way, I may also be pursuing idolatry in another. Because I’m tempted to rest in my own righteousness before God, even after conversion, I consistently look for ways to restrict God’s commands, commend my own performance, or trade one virtue for another. I’ve found this prayer from The Valley of Vision particularly helpful in helping me to discern my self-atoning tendencies. I’ve divided it into three categories: Using …

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