Archive | July, 2010

New Matthew Smith CD – Watch the Rising Day

Recently I’ve been listening to Matthew Smith’s new CD Watch the Rising Day. Matthew has been contributing to the contemporary hymn-based music of Indelible Grace for years, but has also produced a few of his own albums. He asked me to preview his new CD which I was more than happy to do. Like Indelible Grace, all the songs on Watch the Rising Day are drawn from hymn texts, although not ones you’d necessarily be familiar with. As I’ve read through a few words-only hymnals I’ve been amazed at the wealth that still remains to be explored in old hymn lyrics. Matthew is seeking to mine those treasures and modernize the settings. LYRICS Drawing …

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Ryan Ferguson Recites Psalm 25

As a follow up to what I posted on Monday, here’s an example of focusing on the content without ignoring the container. This is a video from the WorshipGod08 conference, where Ryan Ferguson is reciting Psalm 25, using the English Standard Version (ESV) translation.  It’s about 4 minutes and very moving. If you want to see more, you can watch Ryan’s interpretations of  Psalm 145, Psalm 22, and Hebrews 9 and 10. If you’re interested, you can contact Ryan at ryanf@nhcconline.com. What would happen if we always heard/read/thought about Scripture with this kind of emotion and thoughtfulness? …

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Discerning The Difference Between Containers and Content

A few months ago I had the privilege of speaking to a few classes at Southern Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. During a Q&A, someone asked me what things we can do to keep our meetings from becoming dull, rote, and routine. Although there are probably a number of ways to answer that question, what came to my mind was the difference between containers and content in our meetings. “Container” describes what’s going on during a particular portion of the meeting. In a more formal church the containers might be listed out in a bulletin and include things like Call to Worship, Prayer of Confession, Assurance of Pardon, Worship in Song, …

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I’m Giving (I Gave) Away 100 Albums

UPDATE: We’ve now reached our goal of 100 requests for a free copy of Alli en la Cruz. Thanks for helping us get the word out to our Spanish brothers and sisters! I’m excited to announce the newest release from Sovereign Grace Music: Allí en la Cruz. Translated, that means There at the Cross. I’m so excited that I want to give 100 of them away (details below). In 2002 we produced our first Spanish CD, Sea la Gloria solo a Ti, twelve Sovereign Grace songs translated from the English versions. We were happy we could produce something to serve our Spanish churches, but as you might guess, the songs sounded like what they were – translations. …

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Two Songs for Suffering Saints

Our church is in the middle of a series on 1 Peter and we’ve been talking a lot about suffering. Peter starts off by telling us that we will be grieved by various kind of trials, “so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:7). For the Christian, trials are never purposeless, random, or wasted. God is using them to work out his perfect plans and to conform us to the image of his Son. How do we know this? Because he has promised in his Word that “for those who love God all things …

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When Should a Worship Song Be Retired?

I was talking with a pastor the other day about one of his worship leaders who has a hard time leaving old songs behind (as in “Shine, Jesus, Shine”). Apparently there are a few songs from the 80s that the worship leader still finds quite moving. Unfortunately, the pastor and many young members of the congregation don’t share his enthusiasm. Our conversation led me to think of a few questions that might be asked in this situation: Is it wrong to retire old songs? If so, how do you know the right time? Do we even need to be singing new songs? What makes a song “old?” Once a song is retired, should we ever bring it back? Here are a …

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Training the Next Generation to Hope in God, Not Us

At last year’s WorshipGod conference, I gave a message on The Future of Worship, based on the opening verses to Psalm 78. I’m increasingly aware of is how important it is to pass on the right things from generation to the next, and this message was an attempt to address that topic. Here’s a 3:45 video clip from that message where I’m focusing on Ps. 78:7: “so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” I talk about how important it is to make sure those who are following us are putting their hope in God and the gospel – not us, our musical preferences, our technology, or our efforts. What …

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What We Do in Secret

I’m in the sixth day of using Prof. Grant Horner’s Bible reading plan and thoroughly enjoying it. It involves reading from 10 different sections of the Bible each day, using bookmarks to keep your place. Each time I read I come away with a greater appreciation for God’s sovereignty over history and am already starting to see the benefits of Scripture commenting on Scripture. This morning one of my readings was Matthew 6. Three times these words caught my attention: And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Mt. 6:4, 5, 18) Jesus used that phrase when he was speaking about giving, praying, and fasting. It made me think more …

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Resolved Music and Enfield (and a free song)

Last weekend I attended the Resolved conference, led by Rick Holland from Grace Community Church. The conference is based on the Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards, and this year’s theme was Jesus. In eleven sessions, we got a fire-hydrant dose of why the person and work of Jesus Christ is so glorious and life-changing. This was my second Resolved conference. My good friend CJ Mahaney has spoken at all six, but I’ve gone the past two years to give away Sovereign Grace Music song sampler CDS to the 3000+ attendees. Being in Palm Springs hasn’t been bad either. The music for the conference is provided by Enfield, led by John Martin. John has …

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