Blog Posts on Life of Worship

Destroying the Sacred-Secular Divide

David Mathis
Destroying the Sacred-Secular Divide

Dancing. Sports. Caffeine. Rock and roll. Food and drink. The college campus is a kind of microcosm of the flashpoints we face “in the real world,” just with the volume turned way up. And lots of video games.

For over a decade, this has been the everyday life and ministry context for Matt Reagan, Campus Outreach director at the University of Minnesota and elder at Bethlehem Baptist Church. Into such potentially contrasting environments, he has sought to bring an old, old... Continue Reading

John Newton Understood Winter

Jonathan Parnell
John Newton Understood Winter

It doesn't get above freezing, it's dark by 5PM, and snow is everywhere. Hello, Winter in Upper Midwest America. You are cold and long.

But however cold and long, the best way to bear Winter is to shovel up every bit of metaphor possible. God does give us four seasons for a reason. And life is not always Spring.

In the flavor of Christian Hedonism, and aware of what seasons are for, John Newton penned the hymn, "None upon Earth I Desire Beside Thee."

Newton gets it. May we get... Continue Reading

Let Wonder Lead You to Worship (Don’t Let the Devil Dumb You)

Jon Bloom

How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep!
The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this” (Psalm 92:5–6).

The devil does not want you to wonder. Wonder is deadly to the domain of darkness because of its dangerous tendency to lead to worship.

So the devil is going to do his level best to keep you stupid — stupid in the sense of being sense-less. If he can’t damn you, he will try to dumb you. You must resist him (1... Continue Reading

When Mere Life Is Interesting Enough

Jonathan Parnell
When Mere Life Is Interesting Enough

G. K. Chesterton:

When we are very young children we don't need fairy tales: we only need tales. Mere life is interesting enough.

A child of seven is excited by being told that Tommy opened a door and saw a dragon. But a child of three is exicted by being told that Tommy opened a door.

Boys like romantic tales; but babies like realistic tales — because they find them romantic. . . . This proves that even nursery tales only echo an almost pre-natal leap of interest and... Continue Reading

Interview with Bob Kauflin on the Theology and Practice of Worship

Jonathan Parnell

Bob Kauflin, author of Worship Matters (Crossway, 2008), recently joined us for an interview on the theology and practice of worship:

Time markers:

01:04 — How did you come to Christ and become a worship leader?

04:21 — Tell us about how God brought you through a battle with hopelessness.

07:59 — How should we think about worship as an event and as all of life?

11:35 — What does it mean for worship leaders to be clear and specific?

14:30 — What... Continue Reading

Helping You Sing “Hallelujah” with True Exuberance

John Piper
Helping You Sing “Hallelujah” with True Exuberance

The English word “hallelujah” is a transliteration of two Hebrew words, "hallelu" and "jah". The first word, "hallelu", is the second person imperative of “praise.” The second word, "jah," is the short form of "Jahweh" (or "Yahweh").

So when we say, “Hallelujah!” we are exhorting others (people and angels) to join us in praising Yahweh.

What gives a punch to my singing, “Hallelujah,” is that Jah (= Yahweh) is not a generic word for God, but the personal name... Continue Reading

How Do We Know If We Love Christ?

Josh Etter
How Do We Know If We Love Christ?

J. C. Ryle writes:

  1. If we love a person, we like to think about him. We do not need to be reminded of him. We do not forget his name or his appearance or his character or his opinions or his tastes or his position or his occupation... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!
  2. If we love a person, we like to hear about him. We find a pleasure in listening to those who speak of him. We feel an interest in any report which others make of him... Well, it is just... Continue Reading

What Will It Mean to Live for Christ This Week?

Josh Etter
What Will It Mean to Live for Christ This Week?

Pastor John from December 28, 1981:

“For me to live is Christ!”But very specifically that must mean: “For me to live is Christ’s mission.”“As the Father has sent me,” Jesus said, “so send I you.”

In 1982 my life must be Christ, and that means, “Christ for others.” If I am not Christ for others, I am not Christ at all. If I can really say, “It is not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me,” then I must live for others. There is only one kind of Christ who lives,... Continue Reading

Why Love for God Is Not a Vague Feeling

Jonathan Parnell
Why Love for God Is Not a Vague Feeling

St. Augustine prays:

My love of you, O Lord, is not some vague feeling: it is positive and certain. Your word struck into my heart and from that moment I loved you. Besides this, all about me, heaven and earth and all that they contain proclaim that I should love you, and their message never ceases to sound in the ears of all mankind, so that there is no excuse for any not to love you. But, more than all this, you will show pity on those whom you pity; you will show... Continue Reading

The Inner Essence of Worship

Josh Etter
The Inner Essence of Worship

Pastor John from 2008:

The essential, vital, indispensable, defining heart of worship is the experience of being satisfied with God. This satisfaction in God magnifies God in the heart. This explains why the apostle Paul makes so little distinction between worship as a congregational service and worship as a pattern of daily life. They have the same root – a passion for treasuring God as infinitely valuable. The impulse for singing a hymn and the impulse for visiting a prisoner... Continue Reading