Archive | —My Travels


Reflections on My Trip to the UK

Recently I had the privilege of traveling to the UK with my good friends CJ Mahaney and Jeff Purswell to participate in “Two Conferences, One Hope.” The first day was an event for pastors, called “Entrusted with the Gospel.” On Friday we offered a “True Worshipers” conference for anyone involved in planning or leading music in the church. This was the fourth time in two and a half years that Sovereign Grace has partnered with Grace Church Bristol and Sovereign Grace UK., both led by Nathan Smith. When we first came in 2014, people warned us that Brits can sometimes be concerned about the motives of Americans who come across the …

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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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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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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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India Update #10 – Final Reflections

I’m back in the States now, and grateful that God returned me safely to my family. They are too. On the flight home, I had time to think about what most impacted me from my time in India. I have so many fond memories, so many moments when I was aware of God’s Spirit at work, so many reasons to be amazed that God allowed me to go on this trip. One of the things I was aware of was how important the local church is to effectively communicating a theology of worship. The fact that these were pastors and not simply musicians wanting to learn more about “worship,” affected what I shared, the way I shared it, and the potential fruit. We weren’t …

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India Update #9 Heading Home

Well, I’m sitting here in a hotel in Mumbai, India, waiting to head home. I was unable to post yesterday, because the Internet café near our hotel was closed for the Hindu holiday, Holi. Yesterday, I finished the final two sessions with these precious pastors from Northern India. I spoke on How Do We Sing to God? We focused on singing with our minds, our hearts, and our bodies. As in Visakhaptnam, we took time to express how Psalm 23 applied to our lives. Three people shared stories of God’s faithfulness, protection, and power. Then one woman, a new Christian, began to describe through tears the recent persecution the believers in her …

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India Update #8

Well, I thought I might make it back to the States without any health issues, but I thought wrong. I suspected last night that something was going on in my stomach, but hoped that God would keep it under control. For His own reasons, He didn’t. I’ll spare you the details, but it wasn’t pretty. I ended up giving a significantly shortened version of one of the sessions, and then took an hour nap. During that time God renewed my strength, and I was able to give the whole last session sitting down. I’m definitely on the mend. I began the morning by sharing that I had an impression that God wanted to minister to those who were married and had families. …

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India Update #7

I’m typing this from Bharuch, India, in the state of Gujurat in the northwest part of India. We arrived yesterday evening, after spending the previous night in Mumbai (Bombay). When we got to Bharuch, we were rushed into a Christian concert, being held in the center of town. Larry and I were recognized as special guests, and I was asked to sing a song. Let’s just say it was a humbling moment, but I trust the Lord encouraged people through it. I’m teaching a three day conference at a “spiritual life center” in Bharuch. The center is made up of various rustic buildings, including some for sleeping, and a meeting room for 150 people. It was started …

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India Update #6

Well, our three day worship conference for Indian pastors and worship leaders connected with Love-N-Care Ministries is over. I’ll warn you – this is a long post. I began by reviewing all we had covered in the previous two days. This was partly so that men would remember it, and partly because pastors were still arriving last night. I then spoke on How Does God Want Us to Sing? My first point was that God wants us to sing with our minds. That means he wants us to understand what we’re singing, remember the words, and come to know God better through our singing. I shared that we aren’t to sing out of routine, duty, or ignorance. God …

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India Update #5

I’m at the end of day 2 of teaching in Visag, India. We’ve continued to have pastors come, and I met one tonight who traveled over 600 miles to be with us. Amazing. There are now about 120 pastors attending, along with about 30 women. Today I addressed the topic of What Do We Sing? However, before we started I shared that I felt God wanted specifically to encourage some of the men there. I shared Psalm 40:17 with them: As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God! I asked if any of the men had been feeling "poor and needy," unaware of God’s care for them. …

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Inida Update #4

It’s 9:30 PM, at the end of my first day of teaching at Love-N-Care Ministries. There are close to 80 pastors who have come from surrounding villages and towns to hear teaching on worship, and to reconnect with one another. Right now I can hear them in the distance, singing praises to God in their native tongue of Telugu. The day seemed to go well. One of the things I asked people to pray for is that I would be able to connect quickly with the men. I felt the Lord answered those prayers, even though only a handful of pastors speak English. I addressed the topics What is Worship? and Why Do We Sing? As I expected, being here is helping me see …

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India Update #3

Well, we’ve arrived in Visakhapatnam, which I’ve learned is Visag (why-zag) for short. The conference starts tomorrow, and Yesupadam, the leader of Love-N-Care is expecting around 200 pastors and worship leaders. Probably a little over half will know English to some degree. Fortunately, someone will be translating what I say into Telugu, the native language. I stopped by a prayer meeting shortly after we arrived and got my first taste of Indian corporate worship with about 25 young men who are in a training school. I had no idea what they were singing but it was loud, it was enthusiastic, and it was accompanied by loud drums. I learned later …

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