Archive | June, 2006

Physical Expressiveness in Worship, Pt. 5

In response to the series I did on physical expressiveness in corporate worship, I received a follow-up question from the gentleman who originally asked the question. It was pretty extensive, but this was his closing query: Bottom, Bottom, Lowest of Bottom Lines: Am I exegetically, theologically, homiletically accurate when I say, “God COMMANDS us to CLAP our hands!”? Or should it be softened to “God ENCOURAGES us to express our love and worship to Him using our bodies?” And then let people do what they’re comfortable with. Great question. And I want to commend him for seeking to pinpoint as clearly as possible what God tells us in His Word …

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WorshipGod06 Conference Blog

I’ve asked a new question on the WorshipGod06 Conference blog. Whether or not you’re coming to the conference, I’d benefit from knowing your thoughts: One of the seminars I’ll be teaching at the WorshipGod conference is called “Healthy Tensions in Corporate Worship.” I’ll be addressing our tendency to think in a polarized way when it comes to worship. God is either transcendent or immanent. Corporate worship should be either historically rooted or culturally relevant. Worship is either for God or for us, reverent or celebratory, edifying or evangelistic. What tensions have you dealt with in your own church? You might still be in the …

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Songbookcombo

Sovereign Grace Songbook Now Available

For over 20 years, Sovereign Grace has been seeking to write and publish biblically faithful, Christ-exalting, emotionally moving songs to serve our churches in congregational worship. Songs that help us, as John Piper has said, think truly so that we might feel duly. Songs that enable God’s Word and purposes to be planted deeply in our hearts. About 7 years ago, we published our first songbook. I’m happy to let you know that we’ve finally updated that songbook and released a a two-volume set that contains nearly every song we’ve published for the past twenty one years, including Mark Altrogge’s "I Stand in Awe," "Forever Grateful," …

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Sharing the Lord’s Supper

Yesterday morning, I had the privilege of leading the church in celebrating the Lord’s supper. This is a slightly edited version of the thoughts I shared. As a church, sharing communion is a significant event where we gratefully acknowledge together that the death of Christ is full payment for the sins we’ve committed against a holy God. If you’re our guest this morning, we’re so glad that you’ve joined us. Thank you for coming! However, because of the significance of this meal, we’d like you to refrain from participating in communion with us unless you yourself have turned from your sins and trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior. But …

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Worship and Truth

I’m in the middle of a writing retreat, working on a book for Crossway tentatively entitled Worship Matters. Catchy title, I know. Lord willing, it will be published some time in early 2007. I’m working on a chapter related to worship and the Word. One of the quotes I ran across is from a book entitled Worship At The Next Level: Insight From The Contemporary Voices, edited by Tim A. Dearborn and Scott Coil. Chapter 10 is called “New Approaches to Worship” by Mike Riddell, Mark Pierson, Cathy Kirkpatrick. Here’s the quote: Worship preparation is primarily about providing a context rather than a content. The context being an environment …

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Valley of Vision CD

For those of you who might be interested in a foretaste of the Valley of Vision CD we’re releasing in August, you can listen to a few samples and watch a video trailer here. To download the trailer, don’t worry about choosing the format. Just click on the picture frame. Here’s a portion of what I wrote on the website:Someone might ask, "Why produce a CD inspired by the prayers of a bunch of dead guys?" That’s an easy one. Puritans like John Bunyan, Thomas Watson, Richard Baxter, and Isaac Watts knew their hearts, their Bibles, and their God much better than we do. Many of them wrote down their prayers not to be published, but to assess …

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Monday Devotions – Father’s Day

Yesterday morning Americans celebrated Father’s Day, a holiday that was officially established in 1924 by President Coolidge. Like many churches, we took time to honor and celebrate the gift that our fathers are to us, not because our culture dictates it, but because fatherhood is a biblical role that God esteems. Many of us are blessed to have had dads who excelled in giving us encouragement, direction, care, and counsel. They weren’t perfect, of course, but we never doubted their love. Father’s Day is simply one more opportunity to express our gratefulness for the way they’ve laid down their lives to serve us in countless ways. But how …

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Managing Multiple Musicians

Not too long ago I received an e-mail from someone whose music team has grown, resulting in less-gifted musicians still on the team. He asks: Do you set thresholds for talent/ability that must be met in order for people to participate in the leading worship?  What about ‘good people’ who don’t meet your thresholds? As a corollary, how do you manage multiple musicians who ‘pass muster’ wanting to play the same part?  In other words, do you have 4 guitarists every Sunday, or do you rotate your players? Every growing church will eventually face the issue of too many instrumentalists and/or vocalists. Here are a few suggestions and ways we’ve …

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Re-Entering Normal Life…

I thought I’d be able to post this past Monday, but my vacation ended up being a little longer than I expected…I spent the last two days on a golf outing with a group of Sovereign Grace pastors. I’m a less than average golfer, but am seeking to get better because I enjoy doing it with my two sons. In any case, I’m back finishing up work on a Sovereign Grace music project that hopefully should be out in July, in time for the WorshipGod06 conference in August. We asked the Sovereign Grace songwriters to submit songs inspired by the book, The Valley of Vision. There are a number of reasons we’re doing this, which I’ll share more on in …

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WorshipGod06 Conference Blog

Okay, I’m on vacation, but I thought I’d let you know that there is now a blog over at the WorshipGod06 website. I’m hoping to generate some questions, comments, and dialogue for those who will be attending the conference in August. Feel free to stop by. By the way, for those who were wondering, the name WorshipGod06 originated with the realization that most of the time we use the word "worship" with no object. We say, "I’m going to worship," or, "I enjoyed worshipping this morning," or, "I love to worship." Putting the two words together – WorshipGod – is a not-so-subtle way of reminding us that this conference …

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On Vacation

This week I’m with my family, my son’s family, my other son’s family, my daughter’s family, and Eric Simmons’ family at the beach. Yes, that’s a lot of people. And we’re here to rest, read, sing, enjoy fellowship, laugh together, grow in our relationship with God and each other, share meals, and build memories. All for God’s glory. I’ve realized over the years that if I go on a vacation with the intention of serving myself, I’ll come back less refreshed, and have a "sin-fest" along the way. Believe me, I’ve tried it. I’ve also learned that while WE might take vacations, sin and temptation don’t. My surroundings might change for a week, …

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How Should We Celebrate Civil Holidays?

This question came from Greg: I would love to get your thoughts on how you address (or don’t address) civil holidays as you prepare worship services. I’m really thinking of July 4th more than anything else. That tends to be the one that stirs the pot most easily. In brief, since God’s kingdom is not of this world (Jn. 18:36), we don’t feel any obligation to draw attention to, highlight, or celebrate civil holidays as part of our Sunday gatherings. There are a number of reasons. Our country doesn’t set the agenda and priorities for the meetings of the church – God’s Word does. Also, one country’s celebration may confront another country’s …

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Josh_eric

Reflections on the New Attitude Conference

This past weekend I had the privilege of helping to lead the music at the New Attitude conference in Louisville, Kentucky. About 2300 single men and women gathered for four days to exalt God’s name in song, hear biblical teaching on God’s Word and the Gospel, and enjoy rich fellowship in community and family groups. New Attitude was started a number of years ago by Joshua Harris, but is now led by Eric Simmons. Eric and Josh are both in their early 30’s and are seeking to impact younger generations through biblical, humble, Gospel-centered, and wise leadership. The three of us met a couple months ago to talk through what songs we’d …

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