Archive for the ‘worship’ category

Page CXVI :: Come Thou Fount

May 29, 2012

One of my favorite worship bands playing my 2 year old’s favorite song . . .

I am bound for the kingdom…won’t you come with me?

The Whole Big Story | Kristen Gilles

April 24, 2012

Sojourn Music has continually delivered unique offerings of gospel rich music, but perhaps none have been more unique than their newest release by singer/songwriter Kristen Gilles and her husband Bobby.  The Whole Big Story is a 4-track album released today that focuses on the whole sweep of redemptive history–Christ’s work from creation to redemption to consummation.  To get a glimpse of the verses that inspired these songs, check out this blogpost by Bobby. Explaining the nature of this album, they write:

Taken together, the songs on The Whole Big Story tell God’s story from creation to the Second Coming and Christ’s reign in the New Earth.

These songs teach that Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t simply akin to throwing himself in front of a bullet for us (as brave and noble as that would be), but rather that He is the Lord of all Creation who willingly died on His own tree, having known and determined to do so before creation’s dawn.

These songs teach a crucial, blessed difference between Old Testament worship and our reality — that we don’t have to wait once a year for an appointed priest to pray and offer sacrifice for our sins, but that we can boldly go before God’s throne all the time. Christ’s sacrifice has “torn the veil.”

These songs show that Jesus cast Satan from the sky, tied him up and crushed his head. Now, the Holy Spirit is sweeping through the earth and Christ is adding to His Church as the demons helplessly roar, knowing how this story will end. Christ will come again, bringing His people back to set up a kingdom wherein “love will cover all the earth, in the kingdom without end.”

I have been listening to these songs all weekend and highly recommend them to you. These tracks can be downloaded for free via Noisetrade or you can get them via bandcampas well for just $2.  For worship leaders and musicians, Bobby and Kristen have also made chord charts, lyrics, and instructional videos for how to play these songs (which I think is pretty awesome). Here’s the direct links:

Thank you Bobby and Kristen for using your gifts and talents to serve the body of Christ and draw us into the whole story of God’s glorious work of redemption through the person and work of Jesus!

The Gospel Alphabet: W is for Worship

March 11, 2012

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V

In his book, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, J.I. Packer has a chapter entitled “The Gospel as of First Importance.”  In that chapter, Packer discusses the pastoral and formational applications of the Gospel.  Many are familiar with the quote from Tim Keller that “the Gospel is not the ABC’s of the Christian life; it is the A through Z of the Christian life.”  Packer writes,

“In that spirit we offer the following ‘Gospel Alphabet’–twenty-six pastoral and formative reasons why the Gospel must retain primacy as the content of Christian education” (108).

This week, we come to the letter “W”.

W is for Worship

We must continually teach and learn the Gospel because there is simply nothing else that evokes worship and adoration as the Gospel does. A quick survey of the hymnody of the church through the past twenty centuries makes this clear. The best hymns–ancient and contemporary–which have shown themselves to have staying power have always been Gospel-obsessed. God is glorified, Christ is exalted, and the cross and Christ’s atoning work are central. The same is true of other key elements of Christian worship–our preaching, our confessions, our prayers, our sacraments. Take away the Gospel and Christian worship simply ceases. The Gospel moves us endlessly to wonder and adore.

God & Sinner Reconcile | Stephen Miller

January 16, 2012

I have never considered myself an expert on all things musical. I mention what I believe to be good music because of what it does for my soul.  With the recovery of the gospel in all its beauty, this movement of God needs gifted men and women to lead us in singing the gospel. Again and again and again.

That’s why I want to tell you about my new friend Stephen Miller and his new album God and Sinner Reconcile. I have had the privilege of listening to his new album which releases Jan. 17th for the past month. Again and again and again. Why? Because of how good it has been for my soul. Stephen has gifted our generation a great resource for gospel exultation in his new album.

Below is a video about the new album. After Jan. 17th, you can download God and Sinner Reconcile on iTunes. You can also get it at Bandcamp. My “prone to wander” heart has been brought back to Jesus song after song.  I hope yours will be too.

Wrong Worship

September 19, 2011

All Our Sin for Your Grace

August 15, 2011

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to preach at Grace Gathered from Luke 7:36-50.  I wanted to show how the grace of God builds a genuinely loving community of forgiven sinners.  Luke’s account of Jesus’ interaction with the “woman of the city” is a truly remarkable testimony of sheer grace.  This morning, I listened to the song below that JT posted on his blog.  It sums up 45 minutes worth of my preaching under 5 minutes.  I am grateful for the opportunity to preach this to myself at the start of the week.

Sojourn Music | The Water and the Blood

April 30, 2011

Get the album. It is excellent.

O Holy Night – Shane and Shane

December 3, 2010

Love the rawness of this video. Hate that it was cut off before the song was finished. Check it.

Only Jesus

November 10, 2010

HT :: Bob Kauflin

The Gospel Song

August 24, 2010

One of our favorite family worship songs is “The Gospel Song.”  I believe it was the first song my 2 year-old son memorized and sang word-for-word.  Tonight was a special treat, thanks to Bob Kauflin who made us aware of an animation that had just come out.  Check it out.

The guy who made that animation has several previous ones that I have found gripping, not the least of which is this one called “The Prodigal.”

Tom Nettles on Experiential Theology

July 5, 2010

Joe Thorn has started an excellent new series on pastor-theologians, and this week, he has interviewed Dr. Tom Nettles.  The journey Joe describes in his love of God and truth is one that I can imagine many have traveled down, and to see him doing a series on combining head, heart, and hands is going to be really helpful.

Nettles says experiential theology, or experimental Calvinism “pursues the purposeful application of every doctrine to some area of life that needs further conformity to Christ’s perfect humanity.”  Nettles commentary is exemplary of light and heat, and here are some excerpts I pulled from the interview:

Without a justification-driven, christocentric foundation all examination results either in self-righteousness or despair, legalism or antinomianism.

A clear and forceful integration of the biblical doctrines of the Trinitarian existence of God, the intrinsic glory of the Godhead, Christ’s infinite condescension, humanity’s fall and consequent just condemnation and punitive corruption, divine sovereignty in election, reconciliation and redemption, calling, resurrection, and eternal occupation—all of these and others constitute the pastoral task from the very beginning of establishing a worshipping congregation.

The biblical responsibility of the pastor consistently to place the believers in the context of this picture is at once both experimental and theological, practical and doctrinal. What we do and how we feel and how we respond to life’s details flows out of who we believe we are in God’s relentless push toward subduing all things to Christ, that in all things he might have the preeminence.

I will be chewing on these words by Nettles this week, and I encourage you to do the same.  Great stuff!

Gospel Workshops – An Idea for Consideration

September 29, 2009

I have argued for several years now that the greatest need for our churches today is the recovery of the gospel.  Some people have concluded that what I mean by that is everyone embracing the doctrines of grace; however, a casual observer of my blog could able to discern that is not the case.  What I mean is understanding the functional centrality of the gospel and its sufficiency in every aspect of the church.

I have become more and more aware of this need when I talk to, for instance, seminary-trained Christian counselors who have never heard or been trained in how to apply the gospel to situations in life involving believers and conflict of any sort or a leadership style that reflects more of corporate one-upmanship rather than the gospel style of decreasing to serve others.  I have grown up in the county-seat First Baptist Church and heard how the gospel of Matthew was a how-to manual to overcome stress, worry, fear, and so on and also been in the seeker-sensitive megachurch where the stories are gripping but the gospel missing.  I have been in the smaller, more rural church where the preacher is excited and earnest as in the tradition of revivalism but the gospel is reduced to a few points and a prayer.  Reflecting and experiencing these realities have served to increase the burden in my heart for the gospel to be preached, lived, and result in truly transformed lives.


Prone to Wander, Lord I Feel It

September 14, 2009

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

These words were written by in 1758 by Robert Robinson, three years after his conversion at the age of 23.  In a drunken stupor at the age of 17, Robinson and his friends attended an evangelistic meeting of George Whitefield where he preached on the wrath of God.  It was his testimony that Whitefield’s message tormented his conscience for three years until he found rest in Jesus Christ.  Shortly thereafter, Robinson embraced the call to ministry in the Calvinist Methodist tradition.


Thoughts on Gospel-Centered Worship

September 10, 2009

Let me begin by saying I am not a “worship leader” in that I do not lead in singing, and the limits of my musical talent is that of beating a drum.  Nevertheless, I want to talk about worship, in particular how the gospel informs and shapes not only the song but also the structure of worship gatherings.  By that I mean of having a gospel-centered liturgy based on the story of the gospel coincided with the ACTS of prayer.

There is a method behind the ordering of worship services where the different elements come into play, such as call to worship, prayer, singing, Scripture reading, sermon, etc.  What I’m interested in is an overarching element of the gospel as a metanarrative to the liturgy of a worship service the same way it is the metanarrative of the Bible.  To put it in a question, could our services more reflect the drama of redemption as depicted in our worship where creation, fall, redemption, and restoration serve as a sort of template for what we do when we gather together?  Can our “method” behind the ordering of worship services be more gospel-centered?


The Jesus Storybook Bible

September 8, 2009

NolanJSBBYesterday was an especially exciting day for the Brister family. No, we didn’t do anything out of the ordinary for Labor Day.  What happened was we finished the Jesus Storybook Bible for the first time.  God has used this little resourced by Sally Lloyd-Jones to turn our times of family worship as the most exciting time of the day for our son.  During this time, Nolan (now 19 months) has a good beginning understanding of the story of redemption where Jesus is the hero who rescues sinners with His never-failing love.

The time it takes to read each story is just right for his age, and together with prayers, singing of hymns, and occasional catechism questions, we enjoy a sweet time of roughly 15 minutes learning about Jesus and worshipping him.  As his father, to know the joy (however superficial) my son has in reading the Bible and singing to Jesus makes me really happy.  In fact, this morning my wife had a doctor’s appointment, so I stayed home to keep the boys.  What did Nolan want to do? He went for his bible, and we began again with reading the introduction and singing “The Gospel Song.”

What was all-the-more encouraging was to hear (on Twitter) several other fathers finished up the JSBB with their children–one of them the same day!  If you have not checked it out already, I encourage you to consider the Jesus Storybook Bible.  Next month, they will be rolling out with an all-new deluxe edition, including an audio narration of the stories.

You can also check out the new website for the Jesus Storybook Bible where you can also download free samples of the audio narration as well as view some of the stories in PDF.  I agree with the exhortation of Tim Keller who said the following:

“I would urge not just families with young children to get this book, but every Christian–from pew warmers, to ministry leaders, seminarians and even theologians! Sally Lloyd-Jones has captured the heart of what it means to find Christ in all the scriptures, and has made clear even to little children that all God’s revelation has been about Jesus from the beginning–a truth not all that commonly recognized even among the very learned.”

With the help of the Jesus Storybook Bible, I am praying that my sons learn of Jesus, and having learned of Him, find Him a great Savior of great sinners and treasure Him as God’s precious gift to us.