Archive | January, 2007

Free MP3 Worship Song – The Look

Those of you who read Worship Matters through a blog aggregator won’t notice that I’ve finally changed the free song on my side bar. For a limited time (which usually turns out to be a couple months…) you can download a free MP3 of the song, The Look. For years, C.J. Mahaney referred to a John Newton hymn that began with the lines, “In evil long I took delight.” Newton imagines the Savior looking down at him twice from the cross. The first look communicates our guilt and responsibility for the death of Christ. The second look assures us that this sacrifice forever secures our forgiveness before God. The two looks together fill us with a “pleasing …

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Book Review – The Art of Worship

Last week I had the privilege of speaking and leading worship at the Calvin Worship Symposium in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Why I chose to go to Michigan in January is a question I still haven’t answered. On Thursday, I taught an all-day seminar called Musical Arranging for God’s Glory. I shared thoughts not only on ways we can arrange music, but suggested three biblical reasons behind the choices we make: to serve the word of Christ, to serve the context, and to serve the congregation. Hosting me that day was a gentleman named Greg Scheer, whose book, The Art of Worship: A Musician’s Guide to Leading Modern Worship has recently been published …

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Book Update

I recently had a change in my book writing schedule. Some of you know I’ve been working on a book for Crossway since last March or so. The main part of my writing has taken place over the last four months. I had given the manuscript to my wise and discerning friend, C.J. Mahaney, for his thoughts. This is what he said:1. Great content.2. I could use an editor.3. My audience is unclear.Those comments led to some significant praying and discussion. The short version is this: I wrote the wrong book. You might think I would have figured that out earlier, but no one caught it, least of all me. So, I’ve narrowed my focus. I’m heading back into the writing …

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Are We Lying to God When We Sing?

This question was sent in by Larry: Yesterday, I was listening/singing to the song, ‘I Will Glory in my Redeemer’ [by Steve and Vikki Cook]…I was struck especially by these words: I will glory in my Redeemer, My life He bought, my love He owns. I have no longings for another, I’m satisfied in him alone. What is the place of lyrics like these in our songs?…Do you ever struggle with feeling like you are lying to God when you say things like these, even if in your heart you have a desire that they would be true? Is it hypocritical to sing them knowing that they are not a true reflection of your heart? Thanks for a great question, …

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Putting Together a Worship Song List

Last week at the Quest conference for men I had two opportunities to speak to groups of worship leaders from Sovereign Grace churches. The first was a group of about 30 guys who lead on Sunday mornings, the other a larger group of maybe 100 guys who lead in a small group context. One of the questions I addressed in both meetings was the process of choosing a group of songs for a meeting. That process can be one of the more frustrating aspects of leading congregational worship. Here’s a portion of what I shared. We pick the songs we do for various reasons. Maybe a song is in a key we like or our voice sounds good on it. Maybe everyone knows …

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Should I Take Piano Lessons?

I’m currently at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA, with 1600 men for “The Quest: A Journey Through Biblical Masculinity.” It’s a conference being hosted by Sovereign Grace Ministries, but we have a significant number of guests. I have the privilege of leading corporate worship three times along with my good friend Joseph Stigora. I’ve also been asked to teach a seminar on “The Pursuit: A Fresh Look at Courtship for Fathers and Sons.” I’m happy to encourage young men to give more thought to pursuing a woman in a way that pleases God, and challenging dads to serve their sons in the process. One of the highlights for me yesterday was meeting Shai …

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Worshipping God as a Worship Leader & Pastor at 52

The number 52 took on new meaning for me a few days ago. I was aware there are 52 cards in a deck and 52 weeks in a year. As of this past Sunday, there are 52 years in my life. I’m getting old. Growing older has its drawbacks. We’ve seen them first hand as our parents have confronted things like Alzheimer’s, injuries, and debilitating diseases. But I’m certain that God intends us to think of getting older in a positive way. Or else why would he say things like this: “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life” (Prov. 16:31). “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray …

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How Do We Grow in Using Musical Interludes?

This question came in from Dennis: How would pastors and worship leaders best transition a church from merely stopping all our songs when the lyrics end, into the occasional practice of those “musical interlude” worship times that I have seen and heard done at your church and others?…In our present church, if the instruments kept playing after all the lyrics had been sung, the congregation would just stare at us and wonder what we were doing…I see some value in those times and would like to move towards doing so on occasion. Musical interludes are like many aspects of congregational worship – not absolutely necessary to worshipping God in …

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Looking Forward to Heaven

I trust your Christmas season was peaceful and Christ-exalting and that you’re starting the new year filled with fresh faith to embrace God’s promises in Christ. I’ve been trying to finish my book, which was due Jan. 1. Didn’t quite make it. Lord willing, the book, Worship Matters: Priorities in the Pursuit of God,  will be out in August, published by Crossway. At the start of a new year our thoughts inevitably turn to goals we’d like to achieve in the next 12 months. Here’s an unedited section of my book that has to do with goals. It’s from the last chapter, "The Goal of Worship," where I describe ways the worship of heaven …

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