Archive | Bob’s Updates

Posts about Bob’s life.

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A Call for Musically Gifted Pastors

In 2008, I suggested in Worship Matters that the title of “worship leader” needed to be defined to be helpful. So I defined it this way: A faithful worship leader magnifies the greatness of God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit by skillfully combining God’s Word with music, thereby motivating the gathered church to proclaim the gospel, to cherish God’s presence, and to live for God’s glory. I still like that definition, but I’m less sure the term “worship leader” is serving us. It’s taken on a life of its own and continues to be associated with stardom, predominance, the spotlight, good looks, hipster-ness, and in some cases, …

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Michael Morrow Reflects on WorshipGod UK

I first met Michael Morrow in Australia. I had heard his song We Belong to the Day and was impressed with his desire to write songs that communicated rich theology in contemporary musical settings. Shortly after we met, Michael moved to the UK, where he’s been ever since. I’m grateful that he’s going to be sharing some of his songs at WorshipGod UK, where we’ll be learning from Michael Reeves, Kevin DeYoung, Tim Chester, Jeff Purswell, and others about Gathering Around the Gospel. Michael took some time to answer a few questions about himself and the conference. What is your history of leading in the church, musically or pastorally? I …

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Reflections on Turning 60

I’ve had more than one conversation with a 20 or 30 something worship leader who was concerned about growing old. Will I have a job? Will people still want me to lead? Will I be out of touch? Last month I turned 60. I guess that puts me in the “old” category, although in my mind I still think I’m 28. I thought it might encourage a younger leader if I shared some of the things I’ve learned in 30 years of ministry that have shaped me, changed me, and given me faith for the future. Consider this a follow-up to the post I wrote five years ago on being a 55 year old worship leader. Five lessons learned 1. Direct your desires. God tells …

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Interview with Matt Searles

I met Matt Searles via email a few years ago after hearing his album, Now and Not Yet, acoustic renditions of various Psalms. It was biblical, singable, and moving. Since then he’s also recorded From the River to the Ends of the Earth, another collection of Psalms, only this time with a full band. I was delighted to meet Matt in person at WorshipGod UK last year, and since then have hosted him in my home in Louisville, KY. He’ll be joining us again for WorshipGod UK, 7th-9th May, in Bath. Matt will be teaching a seminar at the conference entitled Shaped by the Psalms. He graciously took time to answer a few questions for us. 1. …

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What I’ve Been Up To

Not writing this blog, obviously. At some point I hope to start posting regularly again, but right now I wanted to share what’s been going on in the world of Sovereign Grace Music. The Dominican Republic and a New Spanish Album I got back last night from the Dominican Republic where I had the joy of speaking twice this past weekend at the Por Su Causa (For His Cause) conference, “Worship: The Purpose of Redemption.” The conference was sponsored by International Baptist Church (IBI) and a ministry called Integridad y Sabiduría (Integrity and Wisdom), both led by my good friend, Miguel Núñez. Jeff Purswell and Donald Whitney also …

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Redeeming Valentine’s Day – A Story of Grace

Forty two years ago today, I gave a Valentine’s day card to Julie, who is now my wife. It sounds like a fairy tale romance. Two people find each other in high school, get married, and live happily ever after. That’s what happened, but the story didn’t start so well. And once you hear it, you’ll think more of Julie, less of me, and be more amazed by grace. I made the card at home. The front said, “Joy is not in things, but in us…” and on the inside, “And especially in you.” It was a moving sentiment, meant to encourage a girl I thought was a little withdrawn. I was the choir accompanist and senior class president and I figured any …

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Reflections on My Trip to the Philippines

In a previous post I shared the background to my recent trip to the Philippines. Here’s a follow up report. It’s long, I know, but this is the short version! The People Ten people ended up going on the trip. Representing Sovereign Grace Ministries were Steve Cook and myself, along with Jena Baumer, who is serving as an intern. We also brought the five guys in the Norton Hall band: my son Devon, Jonny Barahona, Jared Hoffman, Jacob Bozarth, and Jeff Dyke. It was a great opportunity to partner with the Division of Biblical Worship at Southern Seminary in gospel mission. The team also included Lynn Baird, a Sovereign Grace pastor who has been …

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Going to the Philippines

A couple years ago Cornelius Ebo, a pastor in the Philippines, came with his  family to spend ten months as part of the Sovereign Grace Pastors College. Cornelius, or Nilo, asked if I could come host a music/worship conference in the Philippines. At the time it seemed like a stretch. But as the Lord would have it, I’m heading to the Philippines next week. I’ll be joined by a number of folks including Steve Cook and Norton Hall, a band led by my son , Devon. Jena Baumer, an intern from Cedarville University will also be with us, as will Lynn Baird, his daughter Meghan, and a few others from Sovereign Grace Church of Pasadena. Sovereign …

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Reflections on Rezolution 2013

Last week, I traveled to South Africa for the first time and had the great joy of participating in Rezolution 2013, a series of conferences that took place in Johannesburg, Durban, and Capetown. I was there with 5 other guys from the States, CJ Mahaney, Ligon Duncan, Kevin DeYoung, Mark Dever, and Brad Wheeler. The event was led primarily by Tim Cantrell and Al Schuster from Antioch Church in Midrand, although a number of other pastors and churches were involved as well. I participated in a pastors’ conference in Capetown on Monday and Tuesday, another pastors’ conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday and Thursday, and the Rezolution 2013 conference …

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Moving to Louisville

In a little under two weeks my family and I will be moving to Louisville, KY. After thirty years of being in Gaithersburg, MD, Sovereign Grace Ministries, the family of churches that I serve, is relocating its offices. I’ve been here since 1997, so it’s understandably a bittersweet departure. But I’m filled with faith for what God has planned for the future. The Lord has been kind to us in Gaithersburg. We’ve been able to co-labor with Covenant Life Church to put on conferences of all types (including WorshipGod), host the Sovereign Grace Pastors College, and serve other Sovereign Grace churches in our region. For …

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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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Reflections on My Trip to Australia

The first ten days of October found me in Australia. It was my first time there. Hopefully not my last. I was hosted by Dave and Emma Taylor and their three charming kids, Josh, Amy, and Lydia. Dave pastors Sovereign Grace Church Sydney, now about one year old. It’s a church that evidences love for the Savior, for God’s Word, for each other, and for reaching their community with the gospel. Pure joy to hang out with them. I shared my itinerary in a previous post. Briefly, I spent time at Dave’s church, TWIST (The Word in Song Together) conferences in Brisbane and Sydney, a TWIST pastor’s conference, Moore college, an EMU Music songwriters …

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Interview with John Martin from Enfield

Recently I had the joy of being at the Resolved Conference in Palm Springs, CA, along with about 3500 mostly college students. We heard some great messages from Al Mohler, CJ Mahaney, Rick Holland, John MacArthur, and Steve Lawson. While I was there I took a few minutes to interview John Martin about his band, Enfield, who led the music at Resolved. Enfield is made up of John (piano and vocals), Lisa Martin (John’s wife on vocals), Patrick Anderson (guitars), Ryan Foglesong (bass/arranging/songwriting), David Zimmer (drums/arranging/songwriting), Paul Hoover on guitars, and Wil Pearce on various stringed instruments. They’re all gifted and …

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Lost Emails

It occurred to me a few weeks ago that I wasn’t receiving any emails through this my blog, that is, through the Contact Me tab above. We checked into it and sure enough, all the emails that came through Worship Matters were going into a spam folder. This has been going on since early January. Fortunately, it wasn’t as bad as the last time this happened, when we discovered 600+ emails that hadn’t come through. But we were able to retrieve those emails. Apparently whoever knows about this stuff was able to fix the problem but is unable to retrieve this recent batch. So if you’ve sent me a note in the past two months, I haven’t seen it. If …

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Leading in the Midst of Trials

I’ve been asked more than once how you can lead people in singing God’s praise when you’re going through your own personal trials. This past weekend I had the opportunity to find out first hand. I was out of town last week and on Wednesday morning received a call from my son, Jordan. He and his wife, Tali, have three young boys, and they’re currently living with us as Jordan attends the Sovereign Grace Pastor’s College. “Dad, do you have a few minutes?” he asked. I wasn’t expecting what he said next. “We had to take Jack to the hospital last night. The doctors say he has cancer.” I had one of those moments when the world seems to stop …

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