Archive | November, 2006

President Bush at the WorshipGod06 Conference

Last August at the WorshipGod06 conference, I wanted to welcome Irish singer/songwriters Keith and Kristyn Getty to the conference in a special way. If you didn’t know, Keith and Kristyn write theologically rich, musically appealing contemporary hymns for the church, and are good friends. So, I got in touch with John Morgan, a guitarist in the Sovereign Grace church in Orlando and also a professional George W. Bush impersonator. I asked if he would introduce the Getty’s at the conference and he was kind enough to say yes. This video was taken the night he welcomed them. He did such a good job that I received a letter from one attendee …

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Sin and Temptation

Worship is about gladly giving God the glory he alone deserves and is worthy of. God is the only being in the universe whose glory is intrinsic. All other glory is derived and second-hand. God is absolutely committed to his glory above all else, especially through those his Son has redeemed. I found that out the hard way in 1994. I had helped start a church in Charlotte, NC in 1991, and was serving along with the senior pastor, Brent Detwiler, in various capacities. Things were going well in the church, but not in my soul. In January of that year I experienced what is often called a “nervous breakdown.” It began at a friend’s house, where …

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Ryan Ferguson Recites Hebrews 9 and 10

This video captures one of the highlights of the WorshipGod06 Conference hosted by Sovereign Grace Ministries this past August. Ryan Ferguson shared a memorized dramatic presentation of Hebrews 9 and 10 from the ESV Bible.  The power of God’s Word came through in a fresh, compelling way. Ryan, a member of  North Hills Community Church in Greenville, South Carolina, has actually memorized the entire book of Hebrews. However, we only asked him to share two chapters with us at the conference. As my family celebrates Thanksgiving tomorrow along with most Americans, we are going to express gratefulness to God for the innumerable …

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What About Candles in Worship?

Someone wrote me to ask a question about the use of candles in congregational worship. As we are approaching a time of year when many congregations use candles, this is a timely question. Often, however, the way we ask a question can significantly affect the answer we arrive at. I am starting to see candles used more and more in the services. Now, I know that the Bible never says not to use them, however, my concern comes in with how the world views the use of candles today…The only use of candles in the world today is for mystical and new age experiences. What is the church communicating when we turn off the lights and light candles sitting …

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Worship Leaders – The Christian Musician Summit Reflections

This past weekend I had the privilege of joining 3000 or so folks at the Christian Musician Summit – Improving Skill, Inspiring Talent, held at Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, Washington, near Seattle. My good friend Pat Sczebel, joined me from Vancouver, BC, where he serves as a pastor in Crossway Community Church. I marveled again at how diverse the body of Christ is. Ages ranged from 15 to 75, and I talked to people from every kind of denomination, meeting format, church size, and musical preference. Over two days people could attend 9 of 170 seminars that were offered, three main sessions, and two evening concerts. It was a massive …

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Where are the Songs of Lament?

West asked this question in the comments section of a previous post: I was wondering what your thoughts were on how to, if at all, include lamenting in our present context. Should we grow in this area of worship? Does it mean that there is an “over-realized eschatology” in our worship if we don’t? A tendency to lean too heavily on the “not yet” instead of the “now” of our faith and Christian experience?…How do we (if we should at all) join the saints of old, and sit in the ashes as a congregation to weep before God? His question included a reference to an interview with Michael Card, where he refers to lament as the “lost language of worship.” Scripture …

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What Ted Haggard Has Taught Me About Sin

No doubt you’ve been following the recent events concerning Ted Haggard. After being publicly accused of engaging in illegal drug use and sexual immorality for three years, and acknowledging at least part of it to be true, he was dismissed as pastor of 14,000 member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, the church he founded twenty-one years ago. He also resigned as head of the National Association of Evangelicals, said to represent some 30 million Christians. If you haven’t seen it, his statement of confession, read to his church this past Sunday, can be found here. Over the past few days, I’ve kept up on the news, read a number of comments …

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Monday Devotions – On Sabbatical

Last week, while on a three day retreat with my care group, we talked about my priorities. It was everyone’s perspective that I needed to cut back to two days a week on this blog, to spend more time finishing my book for Crossway, due Jan. 1. I agreed. It made sense to stop doing Monday Devotions for a while, as I have to do it on my day off, and there are so many other books already available that can stimulate our hearts towards knowing God better. Let me recommend one here.Seeing with New Eyes by David Powlison is a collection of articles he’s written over the past number of years. Every chapter is filled with insight, biblical truth, and relevant …

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What Books to Read?

At the WorshipGod06 conference, and a number of times since then, I’ve been asked to recommend a basic reading list for worship pastors and musicians. While no book can replace the study of God’s Word itself, other books can help us grasp biblical truths more clearly so that we return to Scripture with renewed vigor and faith. Here are a few books that I think are helpful, although I know many more could be added. This is just to get you started. I’ve listed them by category, starting with books that are smaller and more introductory in nature, and ending with books that are a more challenging (but very fruitful!) read. By the way, I wouldn’t …

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