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Views from the [Drum] Throne

Great observation from the drummer on our worship team. Great points and well written.

The Crabtrees

Music moves us.  It’s the universal language.  Think of your favorite band, your favorite song, or your favorite style of music.  Have you ever sang along or even danced to it?  Of course you have.  Just thinking about Luciano Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma gives me chills.  Now, tie the familiarity and emotion instilled by music with the joyous truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Amazing, right?  Any believer in the gospel should have an extremely difficult time containing any type of response to such a combination.

However…

In my time as a praise & worship band instrumentalist, it happens all the time.  Out of all the concerts, orchestras, bands, ensembles, and arrangements I’ve been a part of there is always a connection between instrumentalists and the crowd… except for church congregations.  Many folks are at least singing but the majority are mumbling or look as though they’re obligated to be there.  If…

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If Your Worship Isn’t Exciting, It’s My Fault

Well…apparently, it’s my responsibility to make sure our worship services are exciting.  If the tenor of the service is flat, monotonous, or boring, then I haven’t done a good job.  I suppose I must be a cheerleader for Jesus, and shout performance commands to the audience.

Yep, the audience.  Because, if our worship service doesn’t resemble a Rolling Stones concert, then it just ain’t getting it done.  The music, the lights, the subwoofer, a bit of smoke, the house lights down…these are ways to generate excitement, and they’re all to be used to manipulate a feeling of excitement.

And, here I am, thinking that the response of redeemed sinners is what worship is all about.  Silly me.  I should have known that manipulating emotions in worship to present the facade that we’re happy being Christians is what is required of me.  Go figure.

Bob Kauflin writes an excellent response to someone who has been asked to make the worship at his church “more exciting.”  In “How Exciting Should Our Sunday Meetings Be?”, Kauflin gives scriptural direction to what our worship gatherings should be.  He says,

Our greatest need when we gather is not simply to feel excited, but to encounter God: to engage with the certainty of his sovereignty, the reality of his authority, the comfort of his mercy in Christ, and the promise of his grace. We need to be strengthened for the battles against the world, our flesh, and the devil that will confront us the moment we wake up Monday morning, if not before. Mere emotional excitement, however it might be produced, won’t be sufficient. We need God’s Word clearly expounded, God’s gospel clearly presented, and God’s presence clearly experienced…Our efforts to make our meetings exciting can actually end up obscuring what our congregations need the most.

I agree with Kauflin.  I encourage you to read the entire article, because Kauflin states that our gatherings on Sunday should be exciting.  That excitement should be a natural response to what God has done through Jesus Christ.  Don’t rely on me to create the joy of your salvation.  Look to your own heart, your own soul, and your own mind for the response to the One who saved you.

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Blessed Assurance

In our worship gathering this morning, we’ll sing the popular hymn “Blessed Assurance.”

In 1873, Phoebe Knapp played a tune on the piano in her sitting room and asked her friend what she thought of it.  The friend, Frances J. Crosby, responded, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.”

Fanny_CrosbyFanny Crosby, the writer of an estimated 8,000 gospel-song texts, began writing hymn texts in the early 1850’s and continued until her death in 1915.  Although she was blind from infancy, she lived an active life and was a member of St. John’s Methodist Episcopal Church in New York City.

Gospel-song texts were simple and were mostly used in evangelistic services.  They were emotional songs and would often repeat a phrase over and over.  The aim was to tell the story “simply, as to a child.”

“Blessed Assurance” falls into the gospel-song category because of its simplicity.  It speaks of our assurance of salvation in Christ, our submission to his will, and the longing for his coming again.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight!
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest!
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

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A New New Testament

203 Hebrew 228In his blog post, A New New Testament: Are You Serious?, Daniel Wallace, professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, gives insight the recent council that met to add books to the current New Testament canon.  It’s a fascinating read and one that gives insight to both the early church and contemporary religious thought and influence.

I encourage you to read Wallace’s post for several reasons:

1.     It gives insight to the legitimacy of early church councils as they worked to create the canon of New Testament scriptures.

2.     It gives us appreciation – a respect and awe – of God’s sovereign plan in revealing His Word to us.

3.    It will highlight the agenda of people who want to counter the message of the New Testament with the message of their own agenda.

4.     It will help us understand how we have our Bible, and appreciate those who desire it was to be true to the teachings of Christ and his apostles.

5.     It will make you wonder what kind of person feels worthy to choose texts to add to God’s Word.

Wallace concludes by stating,

In short, the New New Testament is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The council that put these books forth is a farce. It has nothing to do with the councils of old, yet implicitly seeks to claim authority on the basis of concocted semblance. The books were selected by those who, though certainly having a right to scholarly examination of the Christian faith, are not at all qualified to make any pronouncements on canon. That belongs to the church, the true church.

 

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I Am Yours (Take My Life)

Today, we’ll sing an old hymn whose words will be reiterated by a new chorus.  It’s a really a prayer that we’ll sing together where we submit – and commit – all that we are to God.

The hymn is “Take My Life, and Let It Be”, written in 1874 by Frances Havergal.  The chorus is contemporary, written in 2007 by Michael Neale.

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated Lord to Thee
Take my moments and my days
Let them flow in ceaseless praise
Let them flow in ceaseless praise

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee
Swift and beautiful for Thee

I am Yours set apart for You
I am Yours hungry for Your truth
Take my life You are all I live for
I am Yours

Take my voice and let me sing
Always only for my King
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee
Filled with messages from Thee

Take my will and make it Thine
It shall be no longer mine
Take my heart it is Thine own
It shall be Thy royal throne
It shall be Thy royal throne

I Am Yours
Michael Neale
(c) 2007 Integrity’s Praise! Music/BMI

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The Way

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 ESV

Dead in transgressions and sins
Without God, without hope in this world
Then the glorious light
Of Your gospel broke in
The Father stood up from His throne
Opened His arms as He called out my name
Grace irresistible drew me
Opened my eyes to see

You are the way
You are the truth
You are the life, Jesus
The only way
The only truth
You are my life, Jesus

You are the source of new life
The giver of every good thing
Withholding nothing
You lavish Your kindness on me
You emptied Yourself, became poor
Humbled and poured out to death
Now highly exalted above all
Your name alone can save

Words and music by Pat Sczebel
© 2004 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)

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Does Your Church Have a Say?

If your church has a say, and, by that, I mean if your church votes on decisions, then you can thank Richard Fitz and the members of his church.

In June, 1567, Richard Fitz and several members of his congregation were arrested for illegal religious activity.  They met in the Plumber’s Hall in London to hold a wedding and were promptly arrested and thrown in jail.  There they remained until they were executed.

To read a full account of this story, click here.


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