On The Road Again…headed to Kentucky #wge13

SBTS-WGE13-Ruel.001

Besides a bad Willie Nelson song going thru my head, we are actually leaving for Louisville, KY late tonight.  (Personal note:  I probably know every word to that song, I went thru a brief Country Music period in the 6th grade and have since repented and received Biblical counseling. Healing has begun.)

We will be first visiting the campus of Southern Seminary and then attending the WorshipGod East 2013 conference put on by the fine folks of Sovereign Grace Music.  For years, we have found SGM’s music helpful in teaching, encouraging, and building up our church body.  This will be my 3rd WG conference, and they always do a great job.  I’m looking forward to great times of teaching, worship like none other, and general refreshment and whacky hi-jinks that will surely go on when we get away.

Several members of our church worship team are attending as well, and as an online/hybrid MDiv student, I’m excited to be on campus for the first time and meet a few professors that I’ve enjoyed in virtual class.

Are you going?  Shoot me a line or a tweet.

I will try to continue my tradition of posting daily summaries to this blog, so stay tuned!

WorshipGod 11 – the last day…

Well the last day has arrived.  What a great conference this has been!

This morning Bob Kauflin lead us in worship – that is always a joy.  Here is the set he did – again thanks to Bob’s blog WorshipMatters.com for listing:

Saturday AM – Bob Kauflin and band
Come Praise and Glorify
Generous King
When You Move
O Great God (Bob Kauflin)
Behold our God

I LOVE the song “Behold Our God”  – in fact I am introducing it to our church this Sunday, unless Hurricane Irene interrupts that plan.  It is I think the conference favorite…what great lyrics that exalt our Lord and a very singable and catch melody as well.

Craig Cabaniss
spoke at this last general session.  His message was titled “Gathering to Commission.” Sovereign Grace has posted the audio for the message here.

Here are a few bullet points that stuck out to me:

  • Our services are the intersection of gathering and mission
  • Church gathers to praise and build up but then scatters on mission
  • Gathering should be missionally potent
  • God is present at these gatherings for many reasons – to save, etc.
  • 1 Peter 2:4-12
    • Who we are:
      • Chosen race
      • Royal priesthood – we are all priests – Heb 13:15 – we continually offer sacrifices up to God
      • Holy nation
      • People for his own passion
      • Proclaiming the excellence of him who called you – v11-12
        • Word for proclaim is used only 1 time in all Greek NT – meaning to declare/tell/count
        • used in Psalm 79 in the Septuagint
        • Proclaim the excellencies like you would proclaim the greatness of your new favorite restaurant coming to town!
        • Ps 96/105 – Come and see!
        • Proclaim the gospel
    • We gather for God
      • to declare his praises before those who may be in darkness – what what we sing matters
      • How we arrive, how we participate declaring his worth responding as one touched by mercy – they should leave knowing we believe in Jesus!
    • We are all gathering to commission – there is mission going on!
      • We gather and go – lather, rinse, repeat
      • Come and see – go and tell!
      • People of God gather in the presence of God to proclaim the excellencies of God
      • Ensure the gospel is on display and clear

This was a GREAT conference, I can’t wait until 2013.  If you don’t know much about Sovereign Grace, I urge you to check them out:

WG11 – Day 3 (Part 1)

[Day 3 of the Sovereign Grace WorshipGod11 Conference at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD.]

At this conference we get a schedule in our lovely binders and this morning we were lead in musical worship by the band Sojourn.  Wow.  WOW.  These guys were so good, so original, so tasty, so full of energy.  There were a couple moments where I was like completely head-banging to a wicked folk-infused, southern, funk groove so fat I could eat off of it.  (That is worship…thank you God for your good gifts!)

Here was their set (Thanks to Bob from his blog)

Before the Throne of God Above (Vikki Cook/Charitie Lees Bancroft)
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Traditional)
Death Has Lost Its Sting (Isaac Watts/Dennison)
All I Have is Christ (Jordan Kauflin)
In the Shadow of the Glorious Cross (Brooks Ritter/Rebecca Elliot)
Rock of Ages (Traditional)
Absent From Flesh (Isaac Watts/Jamie Barnes)

Then, as if that wasn’t enough – Bob Kauflin spoke – on “Gathering to Edify.” (Note Sovereign Grace posted the message here).

Bob started off by reminding us that the word “worship” is a transitive verb – it requires and object.  We need to worship something – in this case we need to worship God.  (Hence the name of the conference!)   We wouldn’t say “Let’s go throw” – throw what?  A ball? It requires an object and the object of our worship must be God himself.

When we gather together it is about God and us = we edify the church by magnifying Christ and that brings glory to God.  Expect God will do this when we gather! (if we magnify Christ…)

  1. When we gather, we edify each other
    • Were you edified in church today?  Look at 1 Cor 14 – how many times do you see ‘build up?’
    • Seek personal edification by edifying others – greeting, singing, praying, etc.
    • Love – loving others
      • Are we seeking glory for our selves?
      • Physical expression builds up (NOTE:  I agree!  As worship leaders how encouraging to see our body worshiping with physical expression and passionate singing.  How discouraging to see people refusing to sing and glaring back…)
    • Intelligibility
      • Do we speak Christianese at church?
      • Do we help newcomers understand what we do?
      • (Bob then went to the piano for an example – he played “Amazing Grace” and asked us to sing, but he played such a strange version of it, the melody was completely obscured, no one sang.  Point taken.)
      • Be clear
      • Provide for planned and spontaneous moments
      • Are we leading to receive or to give?  Am I distracted by what I see?
      • Countenance – does our face reflect deep inner joy?
      • Do we open our eyes and make eye contact with the body when we lead worship?  (“Open the Eyes of My Face, Lord)
      • The most important sound is the congregation singing – let them sing out!  Give them some familiar songs/arrangements, give them breaks with the full band and just let it be piano or guitar, let them sing a capella!
  2. God edifies his church
    • Not individual experiences
    • This strengthens the spiritual mortar between the living stones
    • Eph 4:15-16 – grow up in every way…
      • Grow up into Jesus
      • Built up from the whole body
    • Don’t leave people with the “Do more, work harder!” – leave them with the grace of God in Jesus
    • Keep the Gospel FIRST, Paul did in his letters!
    • Remember, strengthening comes from Christ
    • Gospelize each other – Col 2:6-7
      • Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
        (Colossians 2:6-7 ESV)

WG11 – Thursday (Day 2) – Part 2

So yeah…Day 2 Part 2.  Let’s just say that it just keeps getting better and better.   I like the way this conference is organized – on Thurs and Fri there are general sessions in the morning and evening and seminars in between.

As I mentioned, we have a pretty large group of us here from our church.  Our new Sr. Pastor, Ryan Boys and his wife Lindsay.  Our Executive Pastor, Andy and his wife Laurie and including myself – all three of the Sunday morning worship leaders and their wives.  For WorshipGod13 I’m shooting to bring even MORE!

Here is  a pic of our 2 Pastors – Ryan and Andy and well…me…”the music guy.”  (See if you can see anything unusual in the background…)

Tonight was simply amazing.  I was so excited when I heard that Enfield was going to be there…I was completely psyched.  They rocked.  I mean these guys were just awesome.  The passion, the Christ centered-ness, the rich theological focus, the drummer to end all drummers…I mean, just WOW. What a blessing.  I had the honor of sharing a cup of Joe with our new Sr. Pastor Ryan Boys and John Martin from Enfield and it was a joy.  A true heart for service in the church with Christ preeminent.   Bob K did some pre-conference interviews with the band that he posted on his blog.  He talked with Ryan Foglesong and David Zimmer  and he also spoke with John Martin.

Bob K was great to post the set on his blog:

Glorious and Mighty (Todd Twining/Joel Sczebel/Bob Kauflin)
Jesus Shall Reign (Traditional, additional lyrics and music Ryan Foglesong)
Come Ye Sinners (Traditional)
And Can It Be (Traditional)
The Power of the Cross (Keith Getty/Stuart Townend)
Jesus Thank You (Pat Sczebel)
Eternal Praise (Ryan Foglesong)

How Firm a Foundation (Traditional)

Tonight we get to hear from one of my favorite teachers – Thabiti Anyabwile – who has the awful job of suffering for Jesus at the First Baptist Church in Grand Cayman.  Some guys just have it rough.  Thabiti is also a regular blogger on the Gospel Coalition blogsite.  One of the things that is such a blessing is the brotherhood in Christ that these men share.  Thabiti shared that Ray Ortlund Jr (I think it was Ray) asked him “How is your soul?” – a great question from the heart of a pastor – one that I have taken to asking as well. Great stuff.

[NOTE: Sovereign Grace posted the audio of the message here]

Thabiti took us thru 1 Tim 4 and 5 when he listed out the various ministry types – private ministry (1 Tim 4:7-10); public ministry (1 Tim 4:11-16) and personal ministry (1 Tim 5).  He camped on the second one – public ministry.

He walked us thru verses 11-16 –

  • v11 – Command and teach these things – be centered on the word of God – it is our authority in the church
  • v12 – Set an example – everything we do up front teaches, don’t let anyone look down on you for your youth, the importance of everything we do being in line with the Word.  (Titus 2:7-8)
    • “Too many men are ministers before they are Christians” (Baxter)
    • “Way to stop them from looking down on you is to have them look up at you”
  • v13 – Saturate the meeting with the Word – read/exhort/teach; don’t neglect the relationship between the Word and the music (Col 3:16)
    • Push the word of Christ deeper into their hearts – be very intentional in reading and tying in with music – center them on the Word
  • v14 – Do not neglect the gifts we have been given – use them responsibly in service to the body
  • v15 – Practice these things – practice = progress; the test of grace – what do we do when…
  • v16 – The word is means of our perspective –
    • Don’t pull down with the left hand what the right hand builds up.  (Spurgeon?)
    • Live it – in and out of the pulpit
    • Only a persevering faith is a strong faith

What a great night!  What will be in store for us tomorrow?

WorshipGod11 – Day 2 – Part 1

Day 2 recap of the Sovereign Grace Music WorshipGod11 Conference held at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD.

Well, as my wife’s status said this morning — what a better way to spend a Thursday morning than praising God with 1,000+ of your good friends?  Man, she ain’t kidding.

Sovereign Grace does so many things well, one of them is put on conferences and they sure do a great job with the WorshipGod conferences.  It has all the elements of a perfect conference for me – great teaching, informative and relevant break-out sessions, hilarity from Mark Altrogge, total servant humility from Bob Kauflin, amazing musicians and worship, superior crowd flow control…and hey….a free lunch to boot.  Not to mention the weather is like post-card perfect here in Gaithersburg today.  Thank you God for your blessings!

We started out the morning session by catching the last few minutes of sound check.  I’m always encouraged when I see the “pros” run rehearsals the same way we “lay folks” do — just running the songs down, working on where this comes in and how many times we’ll repeat that…we were lead in worship by Rich Gunderlock and the Bairds.  I was familiar with the Bairds, but not Mr. Gunderlock…well he did a great job.  Really focused our attention on Christ – and synched the worship up perfectly with where Bryan Chappell was teaching – I love how we sang 2 songs after the teaching as a response to the Word – not to mention they were “Before the Throne of God Above” and “All I Have is Christ”  !

Here was their set:

Alive (Steve & Vikki Cook)
Isaiah 53 (Jonathan & Ryan Baird)
The Solid Rock (Traditional)
May Your Power Rest on Me (Joel Gerdis/Neil Robins)
Completely Done (Jonathan Baird/Ryan Baird/Rich Gunderlock)
Behold our God

 

Bryan Chappell, president of Covenant Theological Seminary,  and author of great books like Christ Centered Worship, spoke to us this morning…I haven’t heard him speak before, though I have read his worhsip book and loved it.

[NOTE: Sovereign Grace posted the audio here]

Dr. Chappell walked us thru Isaiah 6. Here are some quick bullets from my notes.

  • JS Bach example of let the message shape the music – God’s redemptive story in the gospel reflected in his use of major / minor key changes, etc.
  • The message shapes the worship – the gospel
  • God is leading Isaiah to understand the glory of God in Is 6
  • The marks of the great glory
    • Sovereign revelation of who God is – on the throne
      • Our lives seem undone but God reigns
    • High and lifted up: God is untouched by the taint of the world – holy
      • So holy – even the angels can’t endure – they cover their eyes/feet
      • Repeated 3x = words cannot contain his holiness
    • Woe is me: I am lost – the effects of glory on a person
      • “I can’t join that song – I’m not worthy of that” – Isaiah – ‘for I am a man of unclean lips’
      • Worship that prioritizes the glory of God leads people to humility
      • Deut 5:22 / 2 Chron 7:1-3
      • Glory revealed led to humility by necessity
      • Rom 11:33-12:3 / Rev 4:8
      • If we do not see our sin for the horror that it is we don’t see God’s glory for the greatness of what it is
    • Then the seraphim flew to him:  the message of the entire bible – that the infinite would be come intimate – holiness has been transferred. He touched his mouth.  With a coal from the altar – the fire from the altar goes out when Christ the Lamb is slain
      • We can now sing – the coal has touched our lips and made us pure
      • We can now serve (v8) –
  • Conclusion: God’s glory leads us to his Grace leads us to Mission – You see his glory (Mt. Sinai), you have his grace, now go live it.
    • You shall be careful therefore to do as the LORD your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
      (Deuteronomy 5:32 ESV)
    • …if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
      (2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV)
    • Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
      (Romans 12:2 ESV)
    • It is what a believing heart longs to do – glory in God!

I then attended 2 excellent seminars – one by Sheri Gould on taking your worship team vocals to the next level, and the other by Craig Cabiniss on Worshiping God When Your World is Shaking.  Both excellent…I highly recommend getting the audio from Craig’s.  Sheri’s will be posted on her site I believe.

Now to go get some dinner before tonight’s session!

M

WorshipGod11 – The Gathering – Day 1

 

It’s finally here!  WorshipGod11  is the bi-annual conference put on by Sovereign Grace Ministries held at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD.  About 2,000 worship leaders/pastors/musicians gather for 3 1/2 days of worship, preaching, teaching, fellowship, and fun.

Our first day was great, I have the joy of attending with my wife this year and also 5 other couples from our church, including our new Sr. Pastor and his wife!  What a blessing.

We gathered for an amazing time of worship, singing many songs from the newest SG album – “Risen.”  Singing songs of praise to our heavenly father at these conferences is like nothing else to me.  The passion, energy and Holy Spirit are heavy in the air.

Then, Ray Ortland, Jr. spoke — I’ve only read snippets of quotes from him previously, so I was looking forward to hearing him speak.

He spoke on 2 Cor 3:1-18, primarily on v18.    And broke apart each phrase in v18.

  • We all gather – we gather to behold the glory of God.  No where is this more clear than in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  If there are things in our service that don’t fit in and point to Jesus, they need to come out! We get to do this week by week, where the works righteousness that we have built up during the week gets broken down.
  • Being transformed – sin has gone deep we need constant immersion in the gospel.  Are we being transformed? We should plainly see that something happened to us when Christ gave us new life – we should see the change. This change is really the early stirrings of the new heaven and the new Earth that we get to see and participate in now.  Ortlund gave a great quote from Edwards here:
    • ‘Such a work is, in its nature and kind, the most glorious of any work of God whatsoever,’ Edwards protests.  ‘It is the work of redemption (the great end of all the other works of God, and of which the work of creation was but a shadow). It is the work of new creation, which is infinitely more glorious than the old. I am bold to say that the work of God in the conversion of one soul… is a more glorious work than the creation of the whole material universe.’
  • Into the same image – we participate in this work – with God at our church, week by week.
  • It comes from the Lord – it is his work, not ours.  There is no “sanctify one another” found in scripture.
    • “I’m an idiot, my future is bright, and anyone can get in on this” – his church’s mantra.
  • Ortlund listed three conditions of God’s work on his terms:
    • Are we turning to the Lord, or are we just going to church?
    • Are we removing the veils or hiding behind them?
    • Is he being displayed as glorious or are we?
  • The ministry of the Gospel is a supernatural event – comes thru us but not OF us.
  • Our souls have senses – Eph 1:18 – open the EYES of my heart…
  • We cannot present God like he is able to be fully known, present the gospel as trivialized – it’s like dipping a spoon in the ocean and then saying “this is the ocean!”
  • We may have to suspend the horizontal connection (NFL, what’s for lunch) to connect vertically
  • Don’t just connect with one another – connect with Christ
  • Are we worshiping community or Christ?
  • Do people actually meet God when they are at church?  or just go to meet with each other?