Archive | January, 2008

Evidences of Grace in the Blogosphere

Yesterday, the blogosphere became a better, more Gospel-centered, and funnier place. That’s because my mentor, friend, and hero CJ Mahaney started a blog on the Sovereign Grace website. The by-line is “C.J. Mahaney’s View from the Cheap Seats & Other Stuff.” His co-blogger is Tony Reinke, who not only has his own blog, but has recently been hired by Sovereign Grace to capture and export much of what CJ says and does. Although CJ has authored a number of books, his greatest gifts are in the speaking arena, publicly or privately. Today’s post, “Perceiving God’s Work,” is a great example of what Tony has been assigned to do, and the content …

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New Song — Jesus Died for Me

Glorify is a live recording from Metro Life Church, one of the Sovereign Grace churches in Orlando, FL. I posted on it briefly a while back. The CD has a number of great songs, but I wanted to focus on one we taught our church this past Sunday, Jesus Died for Me. The original lyrics were written by William Hiley Bathburst, but the music and additional words are by Steve and Vikki Cook. The bridge that the Cooks added soars musically and reminds us that we owe everything to the One who redeemed us from the punishment we deserved and reconciled us to God. It’s a beautiful song in a varying time signature, that uses a penny whistle on the turnaround. …

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WorshipGod08 Registration Now Open

Today is the first day of registration for the Sovereign Grace Ministries WorshipGod08 Conference: Rediscovering the Psalms. I’ve never thought so much about a conference this far in advance. Because attendees choose their seminars when they register, it means I had to have the seminars and descriptions worked out for the conference six months in advance. That wouldn’t be such a problem, but we ended up having 45 seminars. My original list had 56, so I cut back quite a bit. I appreciated everyone who suggested seminars on this blog when I was asking for ideas. I went through all the suggestions and came up with what I pray will serve the people …

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Sovereign Grace CDs and Books for Ridiculous Prices — and Free Shipping

So yesterday I’m sitting in my office and I receive an email from Pat Ennis, the executive director of Sovereign Grace Ministries. It’s brief and to the point. He says he wants to reduce the price of our Pursuit of Godliness books and all our CDs to $6 and offer free domestic shipping. For a full month. He also says to come by his office if I want to appeal his plan. So I stop by and find him talking with Tommy Hill, the financial wizard of Sovereign Grace. I appeal that maybe we should consider $7. Nope. Not enough of a reduction in price. In fact, Pat ended up dropping the price of the books another dollar. The bottom line is this. From February …

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It Is Not Death to Die

Yesterday I led a couple songs during the funeral of Mark Walker, a dear friend from a church I used to be a pastor at years ago. It was one of the most joyful memorial services I’ve been to, due largely to the glowing countenance of Marks’ widow, Marie. Everyone who honored Mark also took time to honor Marie for her joy, faithfulness, servant heart, and trust in God. She cared for Mark around the clock for the last two years as he tried to make it through a second liver transplant. Mark’s fight is finally over. He’s rejoicing with his Savior. At the funeral, I had the privilege of singing a song called It Is Not Death to Die. I wrote it a …

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Can Christian Musicians Play Secular Music for God’s Glory?

Steve left a comment on a previous post, asking about the validity of a secular music “ministry,” referencing a comment Phil Keaggy made years ago about the lack of spiritual Christians involved in the secular music field. I received an e-mail recently asking a similar question about the legitimacy of Christian musicians pursuing a career in secular pop music. How should we think about it? Is it always wrong? It is something we should encourage?Here are some thoughts I’ve shared over the years with individuals who were trying to determine God’s will for their lives in this area. The most important question to ask (and sometimes the most …

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Encouraging Spontaneous Singing on Your Team

I received this question from Steve: In the past year or so I’ve been encouraging the vocalists on our Sunday morning worship teams to feel more freedom to sing spontaneously between verses or musical lines. They hear me speaking or singing during a song and a few of them are beginning to grow in freedom. I think it’s generally been a positive contribution to our corporate worship. However, on a few occasions it’s misfired: we’ve spoken/sung over the top of each other, what they contribute wasn’t clear, or it wasn’t musically fitting. And on at least one occasion a vocalist’s contribution had the effect of momentarily blurring …

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Another Reason to Sing About the Cross

I just finished reading Where Wrath and Mercy Meet, edited by David Peterson. It’s taken from a series of messages given at Oak Hill College in the summer of 2000. They were a response to current challenges to the view that Jesus receiving the punishment we deserved at the cross. Otherwise known as the doctrine of penal substitution. Parts of the book were a little too technical for me, but I especially appreciated the last chapter by Paul Weston, and the appendix by Alan Stibbs. Dr. Stibbs’ contribution came from a message he gave 50 years ago on the need to recover the doctrine of justification by faith in preaching. I think his words can …

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What I Never Want to Do in 2008

This morning, as I often do, I read two of the prayers from The Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett. I’ve found these prayers help focus my thoughts on the most important issues in life: the greatness of my sin, the sovereignty of God, the saving work of Christ, the needs of the world, and my eternal destination. The first prayer this morning was “The ‘Nevers’ of the Gospel.” The commitments the author expressed offered a wise perspective as we enter a new year. For my own understanding, I’ve divided the prayer into three sections. I call the first, “Using Truth Rightly.” It has to do with never seeking to know God’s Word in a way that …

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