This was amazing live…and a great point.
Well, I’m up to Ezra in my chronological read of the Bible – the Jewish people, still mostly in exile or scattered, were now under the control of King Cyrus of Persia who overthrew Babylon. Cyrus lets the people go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the temple. The Spirit stirred in the hearts of those to go and rebuild (Ezra 1:5) – about 42,000 of them…included in that lot were the sons of Asaph. Hold on to his name, we’ll get back to him in a second.
The first thing they do is rebuild the altar and offered sacrifices to the Lord (Ezra 3:3) — they consecrated themselves — then they started to rebuild. After they laid the foundation they paused, to worship. (3:10)
10And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments came forward with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the LORD,(A) according to the directions of David king of Israel. 11And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD,
(B) “For he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
The foundation had only been built and they are worshiping! I found this pic on the web, and I’ll bet Asaph IV the worship leader is probably leading them in the 9th chorus of “Forever”! Worship has been restored to Jerusalem! But another thing that jumped out at me is the sons of Asaph were there. At WorshipGod09, the theme was “From Generation to Generation” and Bob K pointed out that we must be intentional in passing on the deeds, mights, wonders, and works of the Lord. The ultimate way God manifested himself in all of this is the Gospel – the Cross of His Son Jesus!
…but back to our friend Asaph. He first appears in 1 Chron 15:19 as a cymbal player – close to 500 years BEFORE the rebuilding effort in Ezra. He was faithful then, he became promoted to chief musician (1 Chron 16:15) and his legacy is still around 500 years later. That’s amazing to me.
Am I doing that?
I’ll admit…I stink at long range planning. I’m a really great short term planner – I can plan a day down to the minute. I’m a mediocre mid range planner – perhaps a few months…sometimes now as I get older I even think a year ahead, but for long range planning – I stink. I need to think more about my children’s future, and (gasp), THEIR children. That’s pretty hard for me when they are 12 and 9 right now, but I’ll bet Asaph was thinking that far ahead and imparting to them the legacy of the works of God.
Are we being intentional in pursuing our children and the younger generation? Not sure about you, but I need to do better…
4“Hear, O Israel:(A) The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a] 5You(B) shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And(C) these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7(D) You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8(E) You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9(F) You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Another great article from CJ Mahaney – from WorshipGod09. I took this right off his blog :
Please, lather, rinse…repeat as necessary!
At the WorshipGod09 conference, my friend Jeff Purswell asked Bob and me the following question:
Many of the songs we sing here, and many of the songs written by people in Sovereign Grace, have the gospel as a key component to them. There are all kinds of themes in Scripture, and there are all kinds of songs in Scripture. Why should we have so many songs about the cross? Why should the cross play such a central role in our singing when there are so many other things we can sing about?
This is an important question. Here was the essence of my answer:
First, since the cross is the storyline of Scripture, it should be the storyline of our corporate worship. The cross is the matter of “first importance” and it should be reflected in our singing on a weekly basis (1 Corinthians 15:3).
Second, we must never leave the impression during corporate worship that we do not need a mediator. There isn’t a moment where I don’t need a mediator. In light of the Father’s holiness and my sinfulness, I cannot approach him directly apart from Christ. It is quite possible for us to sing songs that are accurately extolling the attributes of God. But if the cross is absent, we leave the unintended impression that somehow I can approach the Father apart from a mediator—that I can experience intimacy with God apart from the One who died for my many sins.
Third, cross-centered songs imitate the heavenly model. In Revelation 5:1-14, for example, we catch a glimpse of eternal worship and our heavenly future. Jim Elliff has written, “One is taken aback by the emphasis upon the Cross in Revelation. Heaven does not ‘get over’ the cross, as if there are better things to think about; heaven is not only Christ-centered, but cross-centered, and quite blaring about it.” Amen! Every Sunday should be a heavenly preview as we survey the wondrous cross and as we sing of the Lamb who is worthy of our praise.
Forth, cross-centered songs affect our souls. You’ve heard the Martyn Lloyd-Jones quote about how most of our unhappiness comes from listening to ourselves more than we talk to ourselves. In light of this, corporate worship is a serious gift! Singing in corporate worship is a means of talking to yourself. This provides us an opportunity to stop listening to ourselves, to stop listening to sin, legalism, condemnation, and to begin singing and talking to ourselves. And by the end of corporate worship there is a good chance that we will experience the joy of the gospel. Not very often in our noisy world do we have such an opportunity to talk to ourselves. So what your church is saying in these moments of corporate singing is very important. And what a unique opportunity worship leaders have to transfer the hope of the gospel to people in corporate worship. And to think, you can do this each and every Sunday!
Cross-centered worship songs are vital to the life of the church.
Exhortation and Worship Set from Sun 8/16/09:
Pat Walsh and I had an absolutely amazing time last week at WorshipGod09 which was a conference put on by Sovereign Grace Ministries at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. We had 4 days of amazing teaching, worship, and fellowship with over 1600 other worship leaders from around the country and the world, some as far as Australia!
Sovereign Grace Music produces songs not to sell records, but to feed the body of Christ rich Biblical truths – saturated in the Gospel. Remember we worship for 2 reasons – (1) because God is truly worthy of all glory and honor and we are called to praise him and (2) to remind each other of how great God is, encourage and exhort each other, teach each other thru the singing of truths from God’s word. They have just put out a new CD called “Sons and Daughters” which was went along with the theme of the conference which was “From Generation to Generation” – how do we make sure we are diligent to transfer the truths of God to the coming generation? Specifically as worship leaders – how do pass on thru corporate worship the might, deeds, and wonders of God– focused primarily on the grace and mercy of reconciliation thru the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Words of the songs we sing are so important – even MORE important that the music, or the style of the music. Pat and I learned many new worship songs with amazing words that we are going to be introducing to you – to encourage you, teach you, and bring glory to God.
One of those songs I will introduce to you today is called “The Father’s Love”. Listen to the words of the chorus section: “How wonderful the Father’s love for us. That he would give his only son to rescue us. He has saved us, called us blameless, guides us now and will sustain us, Oh how wonderful the Father’s love”
Col 1:21-23 says this:
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind,doing evil deeds, 22he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven,and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
How wonderful the Father’s love for us, that he would send his only son to RESCUE us..
- Pastor CJ Mahaney reminded us during the conference to never mention the cross without reminding what it means – it means reconciliation. God has reconciled us to Him thru his Son Jesus – the only one who can mediate that reconciliation.
He has saved us, called us blameless
- “…in order to present you holy and blameless, above reproach before him” This is NOT by our own actions, our own worth in and of ourselves, this is only thru Christ and what a complete reconciliation – we are holy and blameless, as Pastor Allan was reminding us ‘justification thru Christ makes us appear to the Father just as if we have never sinned.’ Now while we are here on Earth, we still will sin…so that leads us to the next part
Guides us now and will sustain us
- “if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard” – God will give us the strength and sustain us to live in the power of the Gospel, but we have a responsibility – to continue in the faith – stable and steadfast. 1 Peter says that he gives us everything for life and Godliness thru our knowledge of Him.
Oh how wonderful the Father’s love
- Reflecting on the greatness of this love is cause for rejoicing, isn’t it? Take hope, assurance, and JOY in our reconciliation that Christ has won for us.
So, we are going to teach this new song to you now, let’s all stand. It’s a pretty simple melody – so please listen, as soon as you feel comfortable, please join us in proclaiming these Biblical truths and so by teach and remind each other and bring glory to God our Father who has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the son he loves, thru whom we have redemption – the forgiveness of sins!
- Call: Praise to the Lord (Traditional)
- The Father’s Love (Sovereign Grace from Sons and Daughters)
- Mighty To Save (Hillsong)
- Grace Alone (Scott Wesley Brown, Jeff Nelson)
- The First Place (Matthew Westerholm)
OK, so it’s now Tuesday. I have been trying to finish my last day recap for a few days now…but hey…I was a away for 4 days, I had lots of stuff to do. My pool was GREEN when I got home and don’t even get me started on the state of the litter box.
Day 4. Uncle Bob brings it home.
First of all, I continue to be blown away by the humility of Bob Kauflin. From the very first second he bounded up and introduced himself to me and Pat at the pre-conference seminar to hearing stories of how he did a u-turn and picked up people waiting for buses and drove them to the conference, the man oozes humility. That is one over-arching thing that I will take away from this conference: HUMILITY. As worship leaders it is vital that we be humble servants of the Lord, our people have to be able to see the Lord in us, and they can’t do that if we are blocking the view. Phil 2 makes this very clear how far we should go with being humble:
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Matt Mason, who is a pastor at Lakeview Christian Center in New Orleans lead us in worship on Saturday AM. A few things stuck me about Matt – first of all I went to his seminar on “Worship in the Valley” and it was amazing. To see his humble heart and his love for the Lord Jesus shine thru, despite all our “valleys” and how to worship God thru them. Matt’s father was a pastor, who passed away (after a heart attack while preaching no less) – and living thru Katrina definitely gives Matt the street cred as one who is well acquainted with suffering. BUT, you look at Matt’s face when he is leading worship and it just BEAMS. The word says that ‘those who look to him are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame’ (Ps 34:5) – let’s just say Matt was radiating the joy of the Lord all over the stage. Oh…and he is one of the best piano players I have ever seen – you can definitely hear that New Orleans influence in his playing. Very sweet.
OK, enough preview. Here’s what Matt lead us in:
- We Sing (Sons and Daughters)
- The Fathers Love (Sons and Daughters)
- Greatest of All
- Power of the Cross
- I Will Glory
- His Name is Jesus
Bob Kauflin Wraps Things Up
As humble as Bob is, he naturally bounded on stage without a thought of getting a “proper” introduction. Jeff Purswell quickly took care of that and ordered Bob to sit down, and then gave Bob a fantastic introduction to which 1600 grateful worship leaders rose to their feet to welcome Bob and show appreciation.
Jeff mentioned that he would be looking for certain qualities in a worship leader –
- Character – humble (shocker!) and a life and family full over evidences of grace
- Certain impulses – theologically informed impulses, an appetite for doctrine with discernment
- Heart – to love worshiping God more than leading worship, a heart for people – wanting them to encounter God, and a heart of a pastor – shepherding, caring.
Needless to say, for all who attended and know Bob – he models all of these. An apparent evidence of this is in his family. His whole family was involved in the conference. To seem him onstage with his children – brought tears to my eyes (yet again) thinking of how amazing that must be…perhaps someday.
The Future of Worship
The theme of the conference was “From Generation to Generation” to that end, Bob first focused on “what do we need to keep in mind as we transfer to the next generation?”
Keep in mind the command to pass it on to the coming generation…
Think about a relay race with the passing of the baton – the race is all about the baton – if you run without it, no matter how fast – you lose, the race is in vain.
Likewise, we must run in such a way as to pass the baton to the next generation, or else we lead in vain.
Bob focused on Psalm 78:1-8, and Asaph, who I (regrettably) new little about. Asaph was a Levite at the temple of David – he started as a cymbal player – he was then promoted to chief musician. (1 Chron 16:5) Right there that speaks of being diligent in doing the job that we are assigned well! Moreover, Asaph new what it meant to faithfully pass on the baton – 100 years later with King Jehosophat, 140 years after that with Hezekiah, and even 80 years after that with Josiah – the sons of Asaph were still walking with God, serving as Levites, even until the foundation of temple as laid they were there. Asaph obviously was serious about the command to pass it on.
Psalm 78:4 says:
Are we serious about passing it on? This question also leads us to look at musical styles in worship – are we letting them have more power to divide than the Gospel to unite? Can we truly be united with our whole church body if we can’t even worship in the same room with them b/c of differences in musical style preferences? (OK, ow…stop that’s a little close to home, Bob)
Keep in mind the content – the deeds, might, and wonders of the Lord…
What is the most powerful illustration of this? The GOSPEL. The temptation is to assume the coming generation knows and understands the gospel. DON’T DO THIS. (Personal note: I attended church for 20 years as a child and did not understand the gospel, scary…but true – I’m living proof – DO NOT ASSUME THE GOSPEL!).
Isn’t this just saying the same thing over and over again? NO. The Word says that God’s greatness is unsearchable silly. (Ps 145:3)
Don’t pass on our deeds (or our past Contemporary Christian Music triumphs) to the next generation – pass on the works of the most merciful and most high Creator GOD – as most powerfully illustrated in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ! We cannot exalt the deeds of the Lord and our own deeds at the same time. Any fruit we have is from the grace of the Lord.
Think about the purpose – that they may have hope in God and be obedient to God…
We aren’t looking for external conformity here – we are looking for sincere belief. A good evidence of sincere belief? HUMILITY (man…I feel like this is a ‘theme’ or something? Man…maybe God is trying to tell me something?). Bob won’t even bring someone on a worship team until he can perceive evidences of humility.
Think about the warning…
The text Bob has chosen is very clear here:
So, with that being said – how do we want to be remembered? Bob suggests, and I whole-heartedly agree:
- Intentional in pursuing the next generation – do what we can to display the glories of Christ
Psalm 78:70-72 is a great summary, as the fore-shadowing of the coming of Christ to ultimately shepherd his people:
70He(A) chose David his servant
and took him from the sheepfolds;
71from(B) following the nursing ewes he brought him
to(C) shepherd Jacob his people,
Israel his(D) inheritance.
72With(E) upright heart he shepherded them
and(F) guided them with his skillful hand.
Thru Christ we are all shepherded, reconciled to the Father. That message must be primary in our worship, that is the baton…we need to run intentionally in passing it on to the coming generation, otherwise our race is in vain…and who would we be running that race for anyway?
PS: Didn’t make WorshipGod09? That’s OK – the kind (humble) folks at Sovereign Grace always make the audio available for free!
OK, so I’m going to be aggressive here and post ALL of today. It’s 10:27pm, I’ve had 4 big cookies and 2 bottle of water, I am going to give this my level best.
Before I begin though, I need to say that I have never seen such humility as I have seen modeled in Bob Kauflin, CJ Mahaney, and the rest of the Sovereign Grace folks. After CJ spoke tonight, I went straight to the bookstore and bought his book on Humility as I obviously need some work in that department. Anybody with me?!
Worship was lead this morning by Joseph Stigora, from Covenant Fellowship Church in Philly. I had the chance to thank Joseph after the service and he is another amazing, humble servant – one who I hope to have more contact with in the future.
- He Is Jesus (Stephen Altrogge/You can get it and other tunes from Next 2009 here
- Blessed Be Your Name (Redman)
- The Father’s Love (Sons and Daughters)
- It is Well (Traditional…WOW)
- O the Deep Deep Love (Kauflin)
Shai brought a steaming hot bowl of hip-hop gospel truth to a room full of white worship leaders. I loved every second of it. Sometimes, hip-hop seems to be so much more legit for telling stories and what better story than the gospel itself. He is the real deal, passionate, smart, a powerful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ll be getting some of his tracks very soon.
Mark Altrogge – AKA “Ticket Boy”
Mark made me laugh so hard I forgot to take a picture. Check out his blog for some great insights.
Thabiti brought me into deep conviction with a passionate, intelligent, Biblically based defense of the church itself – reminding us how much God loves his church. Why?
- It is God’s composition — Membership is a uniquely Christian idea. God arranged the members (1 Cor 12:18). The problem is that Christian’s disdain for it…it’s a constant credo that ‘God, you must not know what you are doing.’ Eph 3 says the church is a mystery – it’s God’s manifold wisdom in it’s creation and we should love it.
- We need it — We need it b/c we need to be cared for. Each member cares for every other member. This happens within the local church. It’s a dangerous Christian who has disassociated himself from the church. A great goal is to have a meaningful spiritual conversation with each and every member of your church. Are we showing equal care for each member? Individualism is dangerous, especially for a worship leader. Renounce self-reliance and pride and embrace your need for the church.
- To be equipped – Eph 4:11-16. Speaking the truth in love to grow up to Him who is the head. He gave apostles, teachers, etc to equip. We are built up by another, not ourselves. we need the local church to be mature – we cannot mature independent of the local church! “De-corpulated” cutting off the body from the head (Christ) – has the church done this? are we then decomposing without our head? (For more on this new term, check out Kevin DeYoung’s book Why We Love the Church
- We need fresh supplies of God’s grace — I need thee every hour. 1 Pet 4:10.
- We need God’s love — 1 John 4:19-21. We love b/c he first loved us. A man who doesn’t love his body, doesn’t love God. We need to know how to love others in order to love God. The church is where we learn how to do that, to reject the church is to commit spiritual suicide.
Pat and I went to the Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse for dinner. It was excellent! I took a picture of the moose outside. Don’t ask me why. At least it wasn’t my birthday and they didn’t bring the moose puppet to sing to me.
First, I can’t mention worship without mentioning the choir. There was a 130 voice choir tonight that sang – 130 men and women who attended the conference. If you’ve never heard a 130 voice choir, it’s LOUD — and when they singing loud praises to our Father – it’s enough to give you goose-bumps. THANK YOU to everyone who sang in the choir.
- Praise to the Lord Almighty (Trad)
- Praise the Lord (from Psalms)
- We Sing (from Sons and Daughters what a great tune, choir sounded great)
- Completely Done (Sons and Daughters)
- Before the Throne of God Above
- All I Have is Christ (between this and the song before it, I could barely speak, nevertheless sing Get it from Next 2009 here)
CJ and Bob
This was definitely a high-light for me. I have taken so much inspiration from CJ’s teachings. To see him live was an amazing experience for me. You can see the passion in his eyes, it’s infectious. The mutual respect and humility both men had for each other was inspiring, to say the least. CJ started by thanking Bob for all his work on the conference, which the place erupted with thunderous (well-deserved) applause. Thank you, Bob.
CJ’s words of wisdom to worship leaders were huge, but again, one can definitely take away the need for humility from this.
You must look for the audio to be posted from this, it will be a must-listen, in the meantime, here are some nuggets:
- You cannot mention the cross without reminding what it means. It means reconciliation. If you don’t mention that, it may lead to the cross being a means to an end. It’s not…it is the end.
- Constructive comments should be eagerly pursued and humbly received
- It is more difficult to give a 1-2 minute exhortation than to give a 1 hr sermon.
- Worship must be theologically driven, not musically driven
- Everyone on your worship team should be appropriately engaged in worship – for example – are they all singing? How do their faces look? Those who look to Him are radiant. (Ps. 34:5)
- Are we appropriately engaged in the songs?
- The priority is congregational singing gospel-centered songs with sound doctrine and the congregation should be transformed by it
- What we win people with is what we win them to – win them to the gospel not worship creativity
- Why should worship be cross-centered? The gospel is of first importance (1 Cor 15) and the gospel is the storyline of the Bible. We must never leave the impression in worship that we do not need a mediator – we cannot even approach the Father without one!
I have listened to hours of CJ’s teaching during my marathon daily commute to work, he inspired me to see the glory of God in the face of Christ. To see him live was an honor. I also went right to the bookstore and bought Humility and Living the Gospel Centered Life. I figured he knows a thing or two about that. In the words of Bob himself “If I could listen to his preaching or watch his life, I’d watch his life.”
Ah yes…the evening session!
First let me say thanks to the fine folks at Chipotle Grill for the 6 1/2 lb burrito that I slammed down my gullet just prior to walking in to the auditorium. Things worked out surprisingly well.
Great worship as always tonight…a little on the traditional side, but with songs this rich and the full band playing behind them…with a LIVE string section…it was awesome.
- All Hail the Power of Jesus Name
- What a Savior
- Jesus Paid it All
- By This We Know Love
- Crown Him With Many Crowns
Jeff Purswell spoke tonight. He spoke on Hebrews 10, and the foundation of the theology of worship and why we gather.
19(A) Therefore, brothers,[a] since we have confidence to enter(B) the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20by(C) the new and living way that he opened for us through(D) the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21and since we have(E) a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts(F) sprinkled clean(G) from an evil conscience and our bodies(H) washed with pure water. 23(I) Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for(J) he who promised is faithful. 24And(K) let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25(L) not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and(M) all the more as you see(N) the Day drawing near.
Why Do We Gather?
- To Encounter God – We don’t just hold meetings or sing, we are entering into an eternal worship already in progress with the heavenly beings. Jesus presence is always everywhere, but especially with his people…not just when worship is “kicking” (OK. Ouch…thanks Jeff.) Faith and joy are derived from this scene so don’t get weary in doing good…this then makes meeting with God very real.
- To Respond to God – Drawing near is always preceded by CHRIST’s work on the cross. All worship is a response to God, the gap in our responding is our sin – which is why it can’t happen without Christ – otherwise it’s idolatry. There is nothing more central in worship than the preaching of God’s word – this is the primary way we encounter God.
- Strengthen each other for the glory of God– v. 24 “Stir up on other to love and good works”. we need to serve the edification of the body in worship. Always be asking – did that edify the body?
-In singing we are addressing God
-In preaching (faithfully to the full counsel) God is addressing us.
This is the rhythm and essence of worship. This mindset prevents formalism (lip service), emotionalism (don’t worship worship), and legalism (we cannot do anything to get into God’s presence)
Worship doesn’t take us into God’s presence, the blood of Christ takes us into God’s presence.
Our GOAL: display God thru revealed truth.