Thinking Out Loud

March 13, 2012

Thoughts on Church Life (3) – Worship

Filed under: Church, worship — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:47 am

When I looked to my right, there was Brett.

He looked angry. The worship leader had chosen a classic hymn, “A Shelter in the Time of Storm.” Brett doesn’t care for the hymns. Even though he’s the standby guitarist for three of the four worship teams, when a hymn comes along he doesn’t sing. Even the revamped versions of “When I Survey” and “Amazing Grace” don’t work for him. He just stands there with his lips pursed together.

When I looked to my left, there was Daniel.

He looked distressed. We’d moved on to a different song now, introducing the new modern worship Chris Tomlin song, “White Flag.”  Daniel is a retired school teacher. He gave up his NASB for a more modern translation, but he’s not giving in an inch when it comes to all the new songs we’ve been learning lately. So he stands stone-faced, silent, with his lips pursed together.

When I looked up, there was God.

I think he delights in the worship of this church, because I think beyond the songs, beyond the way the guy at the back mixes the band and the singers, beyond the misspellings in the projected lyrics; this is a congregation that really wants to give back to Him something in worship. And I think he appreciates that those in leadership do their best to find vehicles that allow people of different generations to express the heart overflow of their love for Him.

But He would really like to see everyone joining in.

He’s looking for a people who will corporately join in the song.

Who want to join in the song.

Who will raise the white flag of surrender to Him and extol His sovereignty as “a rock in a weary land, a shelter in the time of storm.”

He wants you to join in the song.

June 18, 2011

Music Review: Love Divine – The Hymns of Charles Wesley

Worship leaders looking for the lyrical depth of Stuart Townend or Robin Mark or Sovereign Grace Music need look no further than the great hymn texts of Charles Wesley; but how do we bring these lyrics into the 21st century? 

The answer lies in this collection of thirteen songs. Love Divine: The Hymns of Charles Wesley (Kingsway North America) keeps or follows the original lyrics — a few with the addition of the proverbial bridges so popular today — but adds new melodies, modern chords and current arrangements performed by a number of names you’ll recognize — Brenton Brown, Tim Hughes, Chris Quilala (Jesus Culture), Leigh Nash (Sixpence), Kim Walker — and a number that will be new to you.  The first cut, “I Know That My Redeemer Lives,” with Tim Hughes is somewhat dominated by its bridge, but most of the rest of the songs stay closer to the hymn lyrics.

With words so familiar, it’s hard to assess the new arrangements without allowing them to grow on you over time. While there are no “conspicuous” cuts among the thirteen — with a balance of faster and slower songs — worship leaders will probably gravitate to lyrics already familiar which they want to employ in weekend worship services.  Otherwise, my only “review” comment would be to say that the musicians have managed to capture the sound of today’s modern worship and apply it to these classic texts.

It’s truly a best of both worlds.

August 25, 2010

Wednesday Link List

I was scrolling back through previous link lists, and I do miss the more creative titles.  I’d forgotten about “(B)link and You’ll Miss It.”   That was gold.   I’m available for copywriting your next brochure, and for children’s birthday parties.

  • Our upper and lower cartoons this week are from a source I only recently discovered.   Steve Wall is a Canadian living in British Columbia and his comic series is titled Trees of the Field.
  • Continuing our Canadian theme, this week CNN’s belief blog picked up on a self-published book by Calgary pastor of New Hope Church, John Van Sloten with the creative title The Day Metallica Came to Church. Also tracked down more information on his church website.
  • One more item of Canadian interest:  This week — nearly four months later — Christianity Today picked up on the Christians Horizons case involving lifestyle requirements for employees.   [You can read my version here,  as well as my original 2008 report.]
  • Take the scenes from the family-friendly movie Mary Poppins and re-edit them so it looks like a horror film.   Then, take the faux-movie-trailer and use it as an analogy for how some people re-edit Christianity to suit their purposes.   Check out this article by Dan Kimball.    [HT: Scott Shirley]
  • There’s much talk these days about “earning the right to be heard,” and needing to get to know someone before you can “speak into their life.”  But Dan Phillips contends that if he meets someone who is not a follower of Christ, there are fifteen things he already knows about them.
  • Here’s a t-shirt design (at right) I found on a tumblr blog, Churchy Design.   The shirt, of course, is called King of Kings.
  • OK.  I know some of you want to dig into something a little lengthier.  Here’s a piece from Catholic World Report on the implications of the current shortage of organs for organ transplantation.   It involves biomedical ethics, including our definition of death.
  • In another longer piece, Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk traces the life journey of the pioneer of the blended worship concept aka Ancient-Future worship, Robert Webber.
  • For most readers of this blog, the phrase “Prodigal God” refers to a book by Tim Keller.   But it’s also the name of a musical by Brian Doerksen featuring guests including Ron Kenoly and Colin Janz.   Find out more about the double-CD releasing October 12th, and enjoy listening to a preview of five songs.
  • A Sunday School teacher walks into a Christian bookstore looking to buy some novelty items like pencils or stickers for her young class.   But the clerk suggests that’s not what they need.
  • Theology professor Roger Olsen says that for his students — not to mention other theologians — the issue of Biblical inerrancy is as much a stumbling block as anything else.  He prefers to use a different word that’s close, but better suited.
  • Darrin Patrick calls them “bans.”  Neither boys nor men.   They play a lot of video games and watch a lot of pornography.   Their need to learn how to be men is, in his terms, a cultural crisis.   Read more at Resurgence.   [HT: Dwight Wagner]
  • Darryl Dash provides a pastor’s perspective on visiting other churches while on sabbatical.   Only this time they embedded themselves as a family in a single church-home-away-from-home.
  • Darryl also had a link in his weekly Saturday list this week to Justin Taylor’s piece which is an “interview” with the Apostle Paul to try to bring a different form to Paul’s discussion of the law in Romans 7.
  • Simon Sweetman takes the proverbial discussion of “Christian” music as a genre to the streets with a blog post at the award-winning New Zealand news site,
  • Here’s that other comic from Trees of the Field (click on either image to link) …That’s it for this week; today marks only 4 months to Christmas, so I’m off to do my shopping!

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