Archive | September, 2006

Do Men and Women Worship Differently?

Patrick referred me to this article from the Biola University website. It’s entitled, “The Feminization of the Church: Why Its Music, Messages and Ministries Are Driving Men Away.” The article includes references to Why Men Hate Going to Church, by David Murrow, and The Church Impotent, by Leon Podles. Both are sitting on my shelf, as yet unread. Both authors claim that Christianity has become increasingly feminine in its appeal and membership. Podles traces the roots back to the 13th century, when he says women mystics popularized the personal use of “bridal imagery.” In response to the article, Patrick had this question: Do you have …

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The Down Side of Controversy

Some people live for controversy. I’m not one of them. However, I’ve come to realize that controversy has many positive aspects. Foundational doctrines of orthodox Christianity have been fashioned through the fires of opposition and disagreement. We can see the truth more clearly when someone says something that flies in the face of the biblical evidence. The nuances, perimeters, and shape of our faith become more obvious to us when placed against the backdrop of falsehood. Most of all, God’s truth has had opposition from the Garden of Eden. Controversy often arises simply from a desire to make clear what God has actually said. However, not …

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Monday Devotions – Hearing to See the Glory of God

Recently I was browsing through a copy of the Time book, “Eyewitness: 150 Years of Photojournalism.” Within moments I was reliving many of significant events captured through the lens of the camera. I better understood the brutal tragedy of the Civil War, the jubilant celebration of victory at the end of WWII, the aching misery of the poor throughout the world, and the fragility of the human condition. As it’s been said,  “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Do you ever wish the Bible was in pictures? Do you ever wonder what it would be like to watch a video of Moses coming down from Mt. Sinai, Jesus healing a blind man, …

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Are We Forgetting the Cross?

I’ve been getting some great questions by e-mail recently, and am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on them in the coming weeks. This one came from Phil: I recently looked at the lyrics to songs on a 2006 worship song compilation CD. There were 33 songs on the CD.  Of these, only nine mentioned the cross at all, and only five mentioned what the cross actually did (i.e., achieved forgiveness of sins)…Is the trend among contemporary songs to omit the cross, or to mention it briefly, in passing (maybe only one line, a sort of a “tip-of-the-hat” to the cross) healthy? No, that trend is not healthy. I’m actually pleasantly surprised …

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Christmas in September

I know it’s a little early to be thinking about Christmas, but this afternoon I spent some time in Matt Wahl’s office. He’s heads up graphic design for Sovereign Grace Ministries. We were looking at some of his ideas for the cover of our next music project, called “Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man.” It’s intended to be a kind of all-year-round Christmas CD, filled with primarily congregational songs that focus on the miracle of the incarnation. If you’re like me, at the end of every year I look forward to pulling out the songs I’ve known since childhood that reflect on the glories of Savior’s birth and all it …

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Monday Devotions – Keeping the Cross Central

Yesterday morning at our Sunday gathering our senior pastor Josh Harris spoke on 1 Cor. 2:1-5.And I, when I came to you, brothers, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.This passage is one of many that reveals Paul’s commitment to live a cross-centered life. In illustrating …

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Back Home

Julie and I returned from our anniversary trip this past Monday. This is a picture of Uzes, a little town about 45 minutes away from where we stayed in France. We visited it numerous times. God was wonderfully kind to us. We experienced moderate temperatures, sunny skies, and pleasant breezes almost every day. Our love for each other and our gracious God was renewed and deepened. We had opportunity to fellowship with old friends (Pete and Jen Greasley, Stuart and Caroline Townend, Pete and Liz Harwood) and meet new ones at Penge Family Church and the bed and breakfast we stayed at in Adlestrop, England. I’ve been in the process of getting …

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Monday Devotions – It Is Not Death to Die

Recently, a godly wife, mother, and servant in our church, Kathy Bowers, finished the race and went home to be with her Savior. More than 500 people gathered to remember how God had been glorified in her life, and now through her death, after a long bout with cancer. Although death seems to have won at this time, death does not have the last word for those who belong to Jesus Christ. At the beginning of the memorial service, I had the opportunity to sing this song. I adapted it from a poem by George Bethune. It is not death to die, to leave this weary roadAnd join the saints who dwell on high who’ve found their home with GodIt is not death to …

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Vacation Quote #4 – The Difference Between

I’m still away with Julie on our 30th anniversary trip, seeking to bless her for God’s glory. This is another quote from Harold Best, this time from his book, Unceasing Worship. He is helping us to distinguish between music as an act of worship and music as an aid to worship.We make and offer art because we worship; we should not make it to lead us into worship.  We can carry [this concept] into the weekly corporate gathering. Since Christians come to such gatherings as continuous worshipers, it should now be obvious that it is erroneous to assume that the arts, and especially music, are to be depended on to lead us to worship or that …

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Vacation Quote #3 – On Forms in Corporate Worship

This quote comes from Music Through the Eyes of Faith, by Harold Best. It’s the most biblical treatment of using music for the glory of God that I’ve read.The Scriptures include or allude to just about every approach to worship there is: organized, spontaneous, public, private, simple, complex, ornate, or plain. Yet there is no comment anywhere about any one way being preferred over another. Rather, it is the spiritual condition of the worshiper that determines whether or not God is at work. This fact alone countermands the tendency to assume that if we could just find the correct or fashionably relevant system, all will be well and God will come …

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Vacation Quote #2 – Worship in Revelation

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. But here’s a great quote from a great book, Engaging with God, by David Peterson. He is describing how the worship of heaven seen in the book of Revelation should influence the songs we sing now.Singing the praises of God and the Lamb is undoubtedly an important Christian activity. It is a way of affirming fundamental gospel truths together and of acknowledging God’s powerful but gracious rule over nature and history. Together with teaching and various forms of exhortation, it can strengthen Christians to maintain their confidence …

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