Archive | —Worship and Life

Exposing Perfectionism

This semester I met with a group of interns on Friday afternoons (when I was around). Along with developing some musical skills we read selected chapters from Unceasing Worship by Harold Best. If you haven’t read it and you’re a Christian involved in congregational worship or the arts, I’d strongly encourage you to get a copy. At our last meeting someone referenced this quote from chapter 11: “Authentic worship is not perfect worship. It stands in continual need of examination, repentance, increased depth and humility as well as outpouring meekness and humility.” That led to an extended conversation on the topic of perfectionism. Most Christian …

Continue Reading 14

What’s a Young Worship Leader to Do?

Recently, I had the privilege of leading the music at the Conviction to Lead conference, put on by Cornerstone Church of Knoxville. It was a regional men’s conference for the Sovereign Grace Churches in the mid-South. It was a great time of encouragement, equipping, fellowship, and laughter. Topics included The Leader and Conviction, Learning, Vocation, Planning, Parenting, the Home, the Word, and the Church. Messages can be downloaded here. On Friday afternoon I met with about 40 guys for lunch followed by Q&A on topics related to music and worship. One question had to do with what my counsel would be to a worship leader who was just starting …

Continue Reading 17

Desiring God Interview

Last month I had the privilege to lead a few songs at John Piper’s Gravity and Gladness seminar, and participate in a Q&A with Dr. Piper. It was somewhat of a surreal experience sitting next to John answering questions about worship. I first heard the audio of John preaching this series around 2000. As I listened to him again I realized how much his message of both knowing and treasuring the supremacy of God’s glory in Christ has affected my thinking. So grateful for the ways God has used John to magnify the glory of Jesus Christ. After the seminar was over, Jonathan Parnell, content strategist for Desiring God, asked me a few questions …

Continue Reading 8

Behind Closed Doors – Connecting Your Public and Private Worship

WorshipGod11: The Gathering, (Aug. 10-13), is a little under three months away. I’m excited that Bryan Chapell, Ray Ortlund, Jr., Thabiti Anyabwile, Craig Cabaniss, Enfield, Sojourn, Shai Linne, Don Whitney, and a few others will be joining us as we reflect on what kind of story our meetings are telling. One of the 40 seminars we’ll offer will be taught by Joseph Stigora, who serves on the pastoral team at Covenant Fellowship in Glen Mills, PA. His seminar is called “Behind Closed Doors.” It addresses the relationship between our public and private worship. I asked him a few questions about his topic. 1. What do you hope will be filling …

Continue Reading 3

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 …

Continue Reading 9

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 …

Continue Reading 16

How to Build Your Own God

I’ve been reading in Isaiah recently and have been freshly reminded of God’s hatred for idols and his passion for his own glory: Is. 43:11 I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. Is. 44:6    Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Is. 45:21 Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. Idols deceive us. Idols defile us. Idols eventually …

Continue Reading 9

Leading Worship and Biblical Counseling

If you lead worship, you may not think of yourself as a biblical counselor. Maybe that should change. Last month I had the joy of leading the singing at the CCEF conference. While I was there David Powlison asked if we could chat about the relationship between singing congregationally and biblical counseling. There are a number of ways those two activities don’t seem connected. We sing with a group, while biblical counseling usually involves 2-4 people. You don’t normally counsel people with music. You just talk about issues. Counseling is interactive, while in corporate worship the communication is generally from the leader to the congregation. But …

Continue Reading 9

Drabbles from the Depths

I didn’t know what a “drabble” was until just recently. It’s an extremely short work of fiction of exactly 100 words in length. Nicole McLernon, 21 year old daughter of my good friends Mike and Patty McLernon, recently wrote a “super-drabble” – ten drabbles in a row. She based it on some of the lyrics to my song, Out of the Depths, from our Psalms CD. Nicole unpacks what it might mean to “wait on the Lord” when you find out your daughter has cancer. Although her piece is fictional, the situation is all too familiar. I was affected by her portrayal of a struggling heart learning to submit to God’s wisdom and truth revealed in the gospel. This …

Continue Reading 24

Memorizing Great Hymns

Last month my church started memorizing great hymns of the faith. We’ll be memorizing a hymn a month for ten months. Ken Boer, who oversees music at Covenant Life, explains on the church website why we’re doing this: Memorizing hymns is one of the ways we can obey Scripture’s command 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). We’re doing this project because we want to benefit not only from the songs written in our lifetime, but also from hymns that have served the people of God …

Continue Reading 12

Listening to Music for God’s Glory

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking to the parents and youth of my home church on the topic of listening to music for the glory of God. The parent/youth ministry is currently discussing the book, Wordliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World. My message was something of an adaptation of a chapter I wrote for the book, called “God, My Heart, and Music.” I started out by saying God gave us music as a gift to direct our attention to him. In the Bible, music is connected with worship, weddings, funerals, work, play, and war. The basic elements of rhythm, melody, and harmony aren’t inherently evil or sinful. Non-Christians can …

Continue Reading 17

More Quotes from John Flavel on the Excellency of Christ

Yesterday I posted some quotes I found in John Flavel’s book The Fountain of Life, written in 1671.  I regularly try to read old books because it introduces me to the perspective of godly saints who aren’t distracted or influenced by the technology, glitter, and philosophies of our current age.  Of course, they had their own issues to deal with and their own blind spots. But reading them in a different era helps me see more clearly what their blind spots were, as well as expose a few of my own. In any case, here are some more quotes that I found enlightening and helpful. I’ve added some personal thoughts at the end of each one. Security …

Continue Reading 4

The Excellency of Christ: Quotes from John Flavel

Got back yesterday from the Straight Up conference at Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago, IL. I was there with CJ Mahaney, who spoke on “A Divine Perspective” from 1 Cor. 1:1-9. I’ve probably heard that message 5-6 times and never tire of being challenged to notice more of what God is doing in those around me, as Paul did with the Corinthian church. I had the privilege of leading worship and teaching a seminar on The Task of the Worship Leader. It was great meeting some folks who read this blog, and I had the opportunity to reconnect with my friends Andi Rozier, Matt Stowell, and Matthew Westerholm, who came to WorshipGod06 and WorshipGod08. Very …

Continue Reading 5

Why Theology in Songs is Important

I don’t know Terry Stauffer personally, but he attended the Together for the Gospel conference in 2006 and blogged on a hymn we sang there, How Sweet and Aweful is the Place. He’s a pastor in Alberta, Canada. That was all I knew. Until yesterday. Yesterday, someone left a comment on the post where I referenced Terry and passed on some very sad news. Emily Stauffer, Terry’s daughter,  was murdered this past Saturday afternoon while taking a walk. She was 14 years old. Providentially, Terry has been studying the book of Job, and recently wrote a post on the Sovereign Grace CD, Come Weary Saints, a CD we put together for those going through …

Continue Reading 3

WorshipGod08 Seminars Now Available

Over at the Sovereign Grace website, we’ve finally posted 29 WorshipGod08 seminars for you to listen to or download for free. . . . Here’s the list: Band on the Run (Bob Kauflin) Building Bridges: Pastors and Worship Leaders (Bob Kauflin) Caring for Your Sound System (Darryl Wenger) Copyright Law and Church Music: The Eight Keys (Paul Herman) Drumming for Worshipers (Jordan Kauflin) Electric Guitar Workshop (Dave Campbell) Foundations for Bass Players (Don Nalle) Foundations for Keyboardists (Jon Payne) Growing Your Team for the Glory of God (Jon Payne) In-Ear Monitors (Doug Gould) Leading and Caring for …

Continue Reading 12

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes