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Our First Worship Matters Intensive

This past week I led my first Worship Matters Intensive in Louisville, KY, and the thought I came away with was, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” Twenty guys, primarily from Sovereign Grace churches, came together from Wednesday night through Sunday lunch to be equipped to lead congregational worship more effectively. It was a pretty diverse group, ranging in age from 19 to 54, and coming from Australia, the Bahamas, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, New England, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Kentucky. Only two were full time pastors. The rest served as volunteers. We met for twelve 90 minute sessions, …

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Prepare Him Room Album Tour

“Tour” might be overstating it a bit, but I’m excited that we’re taking Prepare Him Room on the road for three nights in December. Some of the original vocalists and instrumentalists will be joining with local musicians for an event that will combine Scripture, prayer, and the songs from our Christmas CD, Prepare Him Room. Here are the dates: Dec. 10, Thursday, Cornerstone Church, Knoxville, TN, 7:30PM Dec. 16, Wednesday, Crossway Church, Lancaster, PA, 7PM Dec. 17, Thursday, Covenant Fellowship, Glen Mills, PA, 7:30PM We haven’t done anything like this before, but are excited about the opportunity to share these songs in a live setting. We’ll …

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What Pastors Wish Their Worship Leaders Knew

This past week I had the privilege of participating in the Cutting it Straight conference in Jacksonville, led by H.B. Charles, Jr. and hosted by Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church. H.B. started this conference, now in its second year, specifically to influence African American pastors to preach expositionally. I was invited to be part of the worship track. H.B., along with his music pastor, Joe Pace, hopes to see more black churches singing songs that are theologically rich and gospel-centered. Not gospel like “black gospel,” but gospel like “Jesus bore our sins on the cross to purchase our forgiveness” gospel. While our cultural …

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The Gathering: Coming to Knoxville this Weekend

In 2011, Sovereign Grace Music recorded The Gathering, a collection of 15 songs that walk through the flow of the gospel and our response to it. Among others, the album included Greater Than We Can Imagine, Shine Into Our Night, Show Us Christ, and All I Have is Christ. The idea for the project had its origins in Bryan Chapell’s excellent book, Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice. Chapell makes the case from Scripture, history, and our personal need that, “Corporate worship is nothing more, and nothing less, than a re-presentation of the gospel in the presence of God and his people for his glory and their good.” While …

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The Gathering: Coming to New Orleans Next Weekend

In 2011, Sovereign Grace Music recorded The Gathering, a collection of 15 songs that walk through the flow of the gospel and our response to it. Among others, the album included Greater Than We Can Imagine, Shine Into Our Night, Show Us Christ, and All I Have is Christ. The idea for the project had its origins in Bryan Chapell’s excellent book, Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice. Chapell makes the case from Scripture, history, and our personal need that, “Corporate worship is nothing more, and nothing less, than a re-presentation of the gospel in the presence of God and his people for his glory and their good.” While …

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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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Songwriting Camp with Steve and Vikki Cook (and me)

Writing songs for congregational worship is a craft. While God has been known to use mediocre songs to accomplish his purposes, he doesn’t want mediocrity to be our goal. He intends that writers work hard to produce congregational songs that enable the word of Christ to dwell in people richly (Col. 3:16). That’s why I’m excited to be participating with Steve and Vikki Cook in a 2½ day songwriting camp, July 13-15, in Santa Ana, CA. It’s sponsored by Eric Turbedsky of  Sovereign Grace Church of Orange County, and will be held at Calvary Church, Santa Ana, CA. The camp will consist of classroom instruction, workshops, group exercises, …

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One Day Gathering Event in Indianapolis

On Saturday, Dec. 7, I’m heading to The Chapel in Indianapolis, IN for The Gathering Midwest. The event will take place from 1-9 PM and I’ll be bringing a group of musicians primarily from my home church in Louisville, KY for a day of singing, teaching, food, and fellowship. We’ll start at 1 PM with corporate worship and a message called Gathering Around the Gospel. In the afternoon you’ll have the opportunity to attend two breakout sessions, designed to equip leaders, bands, and songwriters. After dinner, which will be provided, we’ll spend the evening celebrating the gospel in word and song. The idea for The Gathering comes from an album …

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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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Grace Has Come Preview Event in Louisville

We’ve been having a blast getting ready for WorshipGod East: Called to Be Faithful, which officially starts next Thursday morning, Aug. 1. I say “officially” because we have pre-conference intensives for drummers, keyboardists, guitar players, and choir members the day before. Online registration is closed, but you’ll be able to get passes for the whole conference, a day, or a session at the door. I’m happy to report that we just added another event and it’s free. On July 31, Wednesday night, 8 PM, at Highview Baptist East Campus, my son, Devon, will be leading a band that will be playing most of the songs from our new album, Grace Has Come: …

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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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From the Archives: Why Theology Matters to Musicians

This post is based on a message I gave at the Christian Musician Summit in 2008. When Christian musicians get together, we tend to assume we all have our theology down and we can focus on honing our chops, discovering new gear, and improving our techniques and methodologies. Or maybe we think that theology isn’t that important. Whatever the reason, I wanted to make clear that even at the Christian Musician Summit, theology matters. Theology is literally the “study of God,” particularly as he has revealed himself in Scripture. It includes not only studying the Bible, but understanding how the different parts of the Bible fit together. Christian …

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Jesus and the Songs We Sing, Pt. 2

Yesterday, I shared bullet points from the first part of a message I recently gave at the Doxology and Theology Conference and the Christian Musicians Summit. I was seeking to highlight the centrality of Jesus in congregational singing. My first point was that Jesus is the leader of our songs. Here’s points 2 and 3. 2. Jesus is the content of our songs. Col. 3:16 says we are to, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Col. 3:16) That word of Christ is the word about Christ – who he is and …

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Jesus and the Songs We Sing, Pt. 1

The past few weeks I had the privilege of speaking at the Doxology and Theology conference in Frisco, TX, and the Christian Musicians Summit in Seattle, WA. One of the breakouts I did at D&T was called The Worship Leader and Christ. I shaved about 40 minutes off that message, renamed it “Jesus and Our Songs,” and gave it again at CMS. Here’s a summary of what I shared. Christians worship a triune God – Father, Son, and Spirit. All three person are equally God and equally worthy of worship. That’s one of the many things that distinguish us from Buddhists, Muslims, and Mormons. But the three persons of the Trinity possess unique roles …

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The Gathering is Coming to Southern California Jan. 28

This past August we recorded The Gathering: Live from WorshipGod11. It’s a collection of 15 songs that progressively tell the story of the gospel and our response to it. From my perspective, it’s one of the best albums we’ve done to date, both in terms of song content and creative musicianship. I’m happy to announce that we’ll be doing it all over again (at least singing the songs) in Orange County, CA on Saturday, January 28. A few of my good friends from California (Ryan and Jonathan Baird, and Eric Turbedsky, pastor of Sovereign Grace Church Orange County) emailed me about putting together an event that combined teaching in the afternoon …

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