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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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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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In the Land of the Down Under

This coming week I have the privilege for the first time of ministering in Australia. It’s a trip I’ve been working on for about 3 years, waiting for the right time. This seems to be it. Philip Percival, of EMU Music was the first one to contact me about coming to the TWIST conference, an annual event for church leaders, song leaders, and musicians. This year the date is Saturday, Oct. 8, from 10 AM – 3 PM. Trevor Hodge and Garage Hymnal will also be participating. Looking forward to spending time with both of them. I’ll also be speaking/leading at a TWIST event in Brisbane on Wednesday night. Thursday afternoon I’ll be speaking at an event …

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Song Lists from New Word Alive 2011

I shared my thoughts on New Word Alive in a previous post. I led at two meetings each night, one at 6:30, the second at 8:30. We sang 1 or 2 songs as people were filing in 2-3 songs at the start of the meeting, 2-3 songs before the message, then 1-2 songs after the message. Around Tuesday I began to realize that the two meetings needed a slightly different approach as the later meeting was primarily college students. So where I list two songs it represents the different meetings. Here’s what it looked like (I’ve provided links for the PD and Sovereign Grace songs): Sunday Promised Land – Nathan and Lou Fellingham & Busbee By Faith …

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Reflections on New Word Alive 2011

If you follow Worship Matters with any kind of regularity you may have noticed a dearth of posts over the past few weeks. Most of April was taken up by the New Word Alive conference (Apr. 10-15) in Pwllheli, North Wales, followed by 13 days with my best friend, Julie, celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary four months early. We spent a week in Italy and 5 days in England, flying out the day before the royal wedding. For some reason we weren’t invited. I wanted to take this post to share a few thoughts on New Word Alive. Over 5000 (families and college students) gathered for a week of biblical teaching, worship in song, seminars, and fellowship. …

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“Plant!” Church Planting Conference

In 1991 I had the privilege of participating in a church plant in Charlotte, NC. It was a thrilling, humbling, faith-stretching, unpredictable adventure that I think every leader should go through at least once. That’s why I’m excited about the Sovereign Grace Ministries Plant! Conference, taking place next month. I have the joy of leading the songs we’ll be singing. Here’s the relevant info: PLANT! | March 24-26, 2011 Location | Covenant Fellowship Church, Glen Mills, PA Cost | $99 (day & session passes available) Who Should Go | Church planters, pastors, pastors who desire to see their church plant churches, members of churches …

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Spontaneous Song for Those Facing Impossible Situations

During the Christmas season, many people find themselves in the midst of impossibly difficult circumstances. They find out the hard way that pain and sorrow are no respecters of holidays. For these individuals, Christmas becomes the most terrible time of the year. Recently I ran across an insightful and hopeful post by Matt Redmond called “Christmas is for Those Who Hate it Most.” He writes, “We have it sunk deep into our collective cultural consciousness that Christmas is for the happy people. You know, those with idyllic family situations enjoyed around stocking-strewn hearth dreams.” Matt then goes on to remind us that Jesus came for those …

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Curt “Voice” Allen Raps the Heidelberg Catechism

At Next 2010, CJ Mahaney challenged Curt “Voice” Allen to come up with a rap based on Kevin DeYoung’s book,  The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism. A few months later, Curt met the challenge and wrote a song, which he performed at the Sovereign Grace Pastor’s Conference. I continue to marvel at the ability of rappers to capture so much content in so little time. I didn’t grow up on the Heidelberg Catechism, but greatly appreciated Kevin DeYoung’s book, which contains the full Catechism and his comments on it.  The catechism is filled with clear thoughts about vital topics including God, salvation, …

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Song List from the Sovereign Grace Pastors Conference

A couple weeks ago I had the privilege of leading the worship in song at the Sovereign Grace Ministries Pastors Conference. It was a wonderfully full schedule, which resulted in us singing primarily at the night sessions. On Wednesday night it was a joy to lead with my son, Devon, and the Na Band. On the last night, we were led by  Tom Fluharty, a member of Sovereign Grace Church in Minneapolis, MN, and a brilliant illustrator. Here’s what we sang: Tuesday PM We Sing (Sczebel/Sczebel/Twining) – from Sons & Daughters How Great is Your Faithfulness (Redman/Myrin) – from We Shall Not Be Shaken Psalm 62 (My Soul Finds Rest in God Alone) …

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Reflections on Crowder’s Fantastical Church Music Conference

Well, I’m back from one of the more unusual conferences I’ve had the privilege of speaking at, Crowder’s Fantastical Church Music Conference, held in Waco, TX, hosted by the ever gracious and witty David Crowder. The schedule was non-stop, with speakers/presenters including Francis Chan, Rob Bell, Louie Giglio, David Dark, Matt Redman, and a few others. I participated in a main session panel and also led a workshop, “The Functional Limits of Creativity: How Innovative Can We Be with the Gospel?” (I’ll share the notes from that in a separate post). The conference featured a diverse group of bands and musicians who both presented their own music …

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Resolved Music and Enfield (and a free song)

Last weekend I attended the Resolved conference, led by Rick Holland from Grace Community Church. The conference is based on the Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards, and this year’s theme was Jesus. In eleven sessions, we got a fire-hydrant dose of why the person and work of Jesus Christ is so glorious and life-changing. This was my second Resolved conference. My good friend CJ Mahaney has spoken at all six, but I’ve gone the past two years to give away Sovereign Grace Music song sampler CDS to the 3000+ attendees. Being in Palm Springs hasn’t been bad either. The music for the conference is provided by Enfield, led by John Martin. John has …

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Are You a UK Church Planter?

This summer, July 8-10, Sovereign Grace Ministries will be holding our first UK church planting conference. My good friend Pete Greasley are hosting the conference at Christchurch in Newport, Wales this coming July 8-10. Also speaking is another good friend, Dave Harvey, who leads international expansion and church planting for Sovereign Grace Ministries. The conference is called [CO]MISSION UK, and its purpose is t to equip church planters as well as other men that feel called to ministry, and stir ambition for how God could be glorified through their lives.

 If you’re a church planter in the UK, or if you hope to plant a church …

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Adopting for Life Conference

Last year Sovereign Grace released an album called Sons & Daughters. It contained 12 songs that reflected on and celebrated the mystery of our adoption in Christ. As 1 John 3:1 tells us, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” When the organizers of the Adopting for Life Conference (Louisville, KY, February 26-27, 2010) called us, we thought the attendees would appreciate the album in a unique way. So we’ll be giving away 50 copies of Sons & Daughters at the conference. Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary …

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Songlist from the CCEF Conference

When I agreed to lead worship at the CCEF conference last week, I have to admit I was a little intimidated by the theme of the conference: Sex Matters. As it turns out, the teachings provided a wonderful opportunity to celebrate God’s grace in the gospel. I was reminded once again that there’s no part of our lives that the gospel doesn’t address, whether it’s reminding us of God’s holiness, assuring us that our forgiveness through Christ is complete, freeing us from our shame, or changing our hearts to find our greatest pleasure in God himself. I really enjoyed playing with the other musicians, who came from four different churches. Not …

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