Archive | August, 2006

Vacation Quote #1 – On Reading Books

I’m in Europe right now with my bride of 30 years, seeking to communicate how much I love her for the glory of God. In the mean time, here’s a quote I pray will encourage your soul today. It’s from an article entitled “Advice on Reading,” by the Puritan pastor, Richard Baxter. After commending Scripture as the ultimate book to read, he highlights the benefit of reading godly books. Finally, he offers a few questions to help us make the most of our reading. Every congregation cannot hear the most judicious or powerful preachers: but every single person may read the books of the most powerful and judicious; preachers may be silenced or banished, …

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Celebrating Thirty Years of Marriage

For the next 16 days, I’m taking a break from Worship Matters. I have a number of quotes on worship scheduled to post automatically, but I won’t be doing anything real time. The reason is the woman who’s pictured here. This is a picture of Julie, taken at the recent WorshipGod06 conference. Thirty years ago, on August 28, she agreed to be my lawfully wedded wife for the rest of her days. If you knew me back then, you’d understand what a miracle that was. I’m taking Julie to France, Wales, and England from Aug. 26-Sept. 11 to celebrate 30 years of God’s kindness to us. We’ll be staying for a week in a house in Provence that some kind friends …

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Random Question

Someone wrote in to ask: Do you know of a *good* recorded version of Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress” that someone could buy?  By this I mean it is sung by a large group of people who know why they are singing it, in as neutral a style as possible. I suppose a “neutral style” means one that won’t offend conservative musical tastes, but is still passionate. Since I don’t know of a recording like this, I thought I’d see if anyone else did. Thanks.

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Monday Devotions – Am I Being Stupid?

“Stupid” is a word that we discouraged our children from using as they were growing up. That was because they typically used it when they were fighting with a sibling or responding to a decision they weren’t too happy about. But God doesn’t hesitate to use stupid to describe some of the ways we act. He tells us in Proverbs 12:1: Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. I’ve had fresh opportunity to apply this verse after the WorshipGod06 conference. While the overwhelming majority of the feedback we’ve received has been positive, there are some who were disappointed or strongly disagreed …

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Come Christians Join to Sing

Kevin Harnett is a gifted poet in my home church, who works for NASA during the day. He is a multi-gifted godly man, and a good friend. He has written thoughtful poetry for years, and we’ve set a few of his poems to music for use at Covenant Life. We sang his version of the hymn “Come Christians Join to Sing” the opening night of the WorshipoGod06 conference and heard his poem “Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment” in one of the morning sessions. To read these, or any of his other finely written poems, check out his website.

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How To Benefit From a Conference

Dan left this question in the comments section of a previous post: I have been to quite a few conferences over the years and I always feel encouraged, rejuvenated, alive, etc. while AT those conferences… but then we go back to our churches – and over time, that zeal tends to be overshadowed, once again, by the mundane, the rut, the blahs, of real life/ministry. Any comments or suggestions on what we can all do to deal with that? Are conferences beneficial? They can be. And if we’re going to invest time and money into them, they should be. God can use conferences to alter a person’s life and ministry. They can also be a colossal waste of …

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Worship God 06 Conference Reflections

When we first started planning for the WorshipGod06 conference, “The Glory of His Presence,” we hoped to bring biblical clarity to our understanding of God’s presence. This theme of the conference sought to address two issues. The first was those in the “charismatic” camp who place too much emphasis on the gifts of prophecy, tongues, miracles, and healings. They make the mistake of valuing them over other gifts of the Spirit, trusting them more than Scripture, being more excited about them than God’s Word, or using them for self-promotion. The other issue was Christians, “cessationist” or otherwise, for whom the Holy Spirit …

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WorshipGod06 Conference Messages and Blog

Julie and I went out to dinner last night to celebrate some of the many evidences of grace we experienced at the conference. She has been amazingly gracious, supportive, and helpful to me during this season. One of the things I told her was that it was a joy to meet many of you who read this blog and are faithfully serving your local churches with integrity, passion, biblical faithfulness, humility, and a desire to see the Savior exalted. Thank you for coming to the conference. More importantly, thank you for honoring Jesus Christ with your lives. If you weren’t able to make the WorshipGod06 conference, or if you’d like to listen to the messages …

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Corporate Confession at the Worship God Conference

At the WorshipGod06 Conference on Friday night, we read through a public confession of sin, based on a number of the ten commandments. The purpose was not to “grovel in our sin,” but to heighten our awareness of and gratefulness for what Jesus accomplished at the cross. We followed up this confession with Scriptures and songs that celebrated the full forgiveness provided in the substitutionary sacrifice of the Savior. In essence, we preached the Gospel to ourselves. We excel at justifying, minimizing, psychologizing, and denying sin and its effects. But regardless of how we try to avoid it, we can’t escape the reality that every sin is an act …

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At the Conference

We have been enjoying an abundance of God’s grace at the WorshipGod06 conference these past two days. I’ve met many kind and encouraging folks who have sacrificed finances, time, vacation days, and family relationships to spend these days with us. I trust their investment will be rewarded many times over by our gracious heavenly Father. Tim Challies is doing a great job live-blogging the conference. You can check it out here. I’ll resume normal blogging next week, Lord willing.

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Conference Invitation

If you happen to live in the metro D.C. area, I want to personally (somewhat) invite you to come to any of the sessions of the WorshipGod06 conference, which begins tomorrow. Morning sessions start at 9 AM (Saturday starts at 11 AM) and evening sessions begin at 7 PM. Main session passes will be available at the door for $15 (these passes are for the main sessions only…they do not include seminars or lunch). Day passes are also available for Thursday and Friday for $60 each. These passes include main sessions, seminars, and lunch. Here’s an idea of what will be taking place: Wednesday nightJeff Purswell will be speaking on A People of His …

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Monday (on Tuesday) Devotions – Pleasing God

I attempted to post a Monday Devotions thought yesterday, but never quite got to it. However, I had a great time on my day off doing errands with my two youngest daughters and going out on a date with my wife. I’m currently immersing myself in preparation for the WorshipGod06 conference, which starts tomorrow. In the midst of planning and praying, I have a deep desire that everything that takes place over the next few days bring pleasure to God. The fact that we can please God is a never ending source of amazement to me. Of course, when it comes to justification, nothing we do can please God sufficiently for him to accept us. But as his …

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Mohler

Al Mohler on Worship

Typically, I answer a question on the blog on Fridays. It ain’t happening today. Along with preparing for the conference next week, I’m attending my nephew’s wedding this weekend. But I have a great resource to recommend. Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, has posted three helpful articles on worship. You may think, "What does the president of a Southern Baptist seminary have to say about worship?" Plenty. Dr. Mohler is a brilliant thinker, a lover of God’s Word, an insightful commentator on our culture, and a man who desires to see Jesus Christ exalted in His Church. I’ve had …

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Announcing…

Waiting for a CD project to be released is a little bit like having a baby. I say “a little bit” because I’ve experienced absolutely nothing like labor pains that every mother goes through. However, we have been working on this for about nine months… If you’re a regular reader of Worship Matters, you know how much I appreciate The Valley of Vision. Edited by Arthur Bennet, The Valley of Vision is a collection of prayers and devotions from various Puritans, including John Bunyan, Richard Baxter, and Isaac Watts. We might assume that people who lived three hundred years ago wouldn’t have many relevant things to say to us about what it means …

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Conference Preparation

I’m in the midst of preparing for preaching this coming Sunday at Covenant Life Church. I’ll be speaking on Pursuing God’s Presence, which is also the message I’ll be giving at the WorshipGod06 conference next week. It will be great to have a "dry run" at home before the conference. This is a message that has been on my heart to give for a number of years. I’ve been stirred as I ‘ve realized again how eager God is to reveal Himself to us in evident ways as we meet to worship Him. Our faith isn’t merely academic or mental. We serve a living God who is actively present among His people. Without in any way minimizing how God …

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