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)
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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?

How big is your God?

Scenery - Mountains 03 Seriously…how big is your God? Do you think of a God that is sovereign over all your current struggles?

We tend to forget…or at least I do.  I get a very narrow view, kinda like putting on the blinders. I focus solely on the problems, and not God.

In preparation for leading worship on Sunday, the Lord led me again to Bob Kauflin’s Worship Matters where he encourages us to consider the greatness of God, and as leaders, part of our job is to remind people:

Every time we lead people in singing God’s praise, we stand before people who just like us, tend to forget who God is and why he’s so worthy of worship. We’re called to clearly and specifically remind them what God has shown us about himself

Bob goes on to say:

What size does God appear to be when our mind is preoccupied with all the cares, worries, and concerns of life? Very small.

At the risk of sounding corny, we need to remember that God is “bigger” than our current, momentary challenges. (See I didn’t say “problems”, did I?!) Therefore, only He is the one that is truly able to help us see the right perspective. My reading in Isaiah 55:8-9 this week was a sufficiently sweet reminder:

8For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
9(A) For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

In this perspective, God reminds us that He is more powerful, more mighty, more faithful, more sovereign, more just and fair, more loving, liberating – than anything we can dream up ourselves to “fix” whatever issue we have.

Isaiah 63:1 sums it up nicely:

he who is splendid in his apparel,
marching in the greatness of his strength?
“It is I, speaking in righteousness,
mighty to save.”

God, evidenced thru the perfect work of Christ on the cross, is really the only one who is mighty enough to truly save us — and that includes giving proper perspective on our “light and momentary troubles” (2 Cor 4:17)

-M

PS. Yes, God is bigger than the BOOGIE MAN