Archive | November, 2011

The Piano in Contemporary Worship, Part 1

Last summer at WorshipGod11 I taught a pre-conference seminar for intermediate level pianists to help them develop their skills while playing with or without a band. In recent years I’ve taught more on the theology of congregational singing than the practical aspects. But I still enjoy teaching on the practicals. So here’s a video of the first installment, with notes included below. General Principles Excellence. Excellence in all dimension of worship expression, including music, must not simply be defined by cultural standards of sophistication, but by the ability of the expression to strengthen, deepen, and develop faith. – …

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Generous King

The last song written for our most recent album, The Gathering: Live from WorshipGod11, was Generous King. We needed a song of gratefulness for all God’s good gifts in view of the fact that  our sins are forgiven and we’ve been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. We had a song that was close, but wasn’t quite what we were looking for. So Pat Sczebel and his son, Joel, put their heads (guitars?) together and came up with an exuberant song of gratefulness that reflects the heart of those who live under the reign of gracious King Jesus. It’s instructive and sobering that God sums up the reasons for our rebellion in these words: “For although …

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The Gathering: Live from WorshipGod11 is Here

In his outstanding book, Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice, Bryan Chapell writes, “Liturgy tells a story. We tell the gospel by the way we worship.” That thought influenced the song choices and order for our latest album, The Gathering: Live from WorshipGod11, 15 songs that tell the story of the gospel and our appropriate response to it. In Scripture and history, God’s glory and grace have informed and shaped the way we relate to him. We’re awed by his greatness but attracted by his mercy. We’re undone by his holiness but drawn by his forgiveness. It’s a pattern that’s reflected in Isaiah’s encounter with God …

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Pastoring Through Song – Notes from Sydney

Here’s another message I shared in Australia at the one day TWIST Pastor’s Conference. I first gave this message in 2004 and called it “Corporate Worship as Pastoral Care.” The talk developed out of a realization that we can often be unaware of how God wants to use the lyrics of songs and how they’re led to care for people’s souls. We’re doing more than simply singing songs together when we gather, hoping for some “worshipful” or “anointed” moment to happen. The Holy Spirit is at work to encourage, impart faith, convict, and comfort as we “teach and admonish one another” through song. Here’s a brief outline of my message. You can download …

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Worshiping God Mind, Soul, and Body

When I was in Australia recently, I was asked to give a message three times called “Let the People be Glad: Worshiping God Mind, Soul, and Body.” It’s a topic that’s not only relevant to Australians but to Christians anywhere. I made it clear that while “worship” is a word that refers to our relationship to God in all of life, I was going to speak primarily about singing songs of praise when we gather. Throughout Israel’s history, God intended there to be a connection between the faithfulness, authenticity, and passion of their gatherings and the way they lived their daily lives. What the Israelites did when they met at the tabernacle or temple …

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