Too great for mere speaking…let’s sing

I found this quote on my
daughter’s Facebook.


"The reality of God and
Christ and Creation and Salvation and Heaven and Hell are too great for mere
speaking they must be sung."
~John Piper


For me there is a little job
security in that statement. There is nothing that says we should only sing of
the things mentioned above; however there is something that adds emotion and
beauty to words when you add melody, harmony, rhythm and dynamics.


Another quote from a religious leader
from years ago is: 


So I will keep doing what I am
doing and in so doing encouraging others to do the same…singing about God,
Christ, Creation, Salvation, the promise of heaven and the reality of hell.

The Order of Worship

It’s Monday and today is the day I try to get a start on planning a future worship service. It all starts with a blank piece of paper (actually computer screen) and with a general thought about what the sermon topic will be for that Sunday.

As I begin to try to fill up the page there are some questions that I ask myself:

  • Is everything based on Scripture?
  • Do the elements chosen communicate and reflect the characteristics of God and the full
    story of salvation through Christ?
  • Do the elements of the service help people recognize God’s presence and therefore connect
    people with God?
  • Is there something familiar to a large group of the congregation in the worship
    – Familiarity would be different for different age groups and
    church backgrounds or absence of a church background.
  • Does everything we do encourage people to participate? – Worship is a verb,
    something to participate in and not to watch.
  • Do the elements of the service enhance or compromise the message? – If there is any indication
    that an element gets in the way of the content then it should not be used.
  • Throughout the worship service, is time and opportunity given for people to…
– voice praise

– voice thanksgiving

– hear God’s Word

– respond to what they hear

– pray to God in a personal and corporate way

The list of questions in not conclusive but it does give me a starting point.  To go along with these questions I also try to vary the list of songs so that we don’t always start with something up-tempo and end with something soft.  But just recently I was on James McDonald’s blog, pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, where he had posted a video of how they choose songs for worship.  It is a different approach but one that deserves some serious consideration.  Here is a link to the blog post.

 The bottom line is that I believe it is my responsibility and great privilege to encourage this congregation to meet God in the conversation of worship.

Worship: delight in God

C.S. Lewis
"The most
valuable thing the Psalms do for me

is to express the same delight in God

David which

                                CS Lewis

Worship This Sunday… “At the end of the day, God sits on His Throne”

this Sunday at ClearView takes a detour from the norm of looking at scriptures
in a continuing series from a particular book. 
Last week we finished our study of Nehemiah and next week we begin our study
of 1 John. The interruption in this pattern i
s a special message related to the
recession.  The key verse for this study
will be
Ecclesiastes 7:14 . “In
the day of prosperity be joyful, but i
n the day of adversity, consider: without
question, God has made the one as well as the other, so that man cannot
discover anything that will come after him.” (You can see a more detailed
explanation of the sermon and where our pastor is headed at this link.)

Here is a
list of songs that will be used in our worship center venue along with the
scripture on which they are based:

Speak O
Lord (Hebrews 4:12)

Better Than
Life (Psalm 63:3)

I Bow Down
(Psalm 95:6)

Blessed Be
Your Name (I Thessalonians 5:18

There is
great hope for those who put their faith in a never-changing God….no matter the
circumstance.  The choir ministry song
for this Sunday makes this statement:  “Some
days turn upside down, troubles gather around, but at the end of the day God
sits on His throne…this is the day that our God in heaven made.”

I want to
be in communication with God everyday, worshiping Him, listening to Him, learning about Him and when I do Sunday's become a great day of celebration.

Worship Planning Today

Each week the worship planning team gets together to plan for the upcoming weeks, series and events. I have to admit that for many years this meeting was about the business of worship music: what songs, how long, what arrangement, and what things do we add to the service this week…all very necessary stuff.

Worship planning today looks much different. One change is that it isn’t just me and one other in the room, now there is a larger staff and we discuss multiple services and venues. The most important change is that we spend a significant amount of our time in study of God’s Word and in prayer. The study can be specific to the up-coming sermons or it can be, as it was today, about passage.

Today’s topic we examined was found in the book of 2 Chronicles Chapters 29-31, centering in on the call to ministry, specifically leading others in worship.

2 Chronicles 29: 11 states: “My dear Levites, do not neglect your duties any longer! The Lord has chosen you to stand in His presence, to minister to Him, and to lead the people in worship and make offerings to Him”

I believe the team I lead has been called to do just that…called to lead.

2 Chronicles 29:15: “These men called together their fellow Levites and they purified themselves. Then they began to purify the Temple of the Lord, just as the king had commanded. They were careful to follow all the Lord’s instructions in their work.”

This is why we spend time in God’s Word and prayer each week; praying for each other, praying for ClearView, praying that as we lead we follow God’s instructions.

2 Chronicles 29:27: “Then Hezekiah ordered that the burnt offering be placed on the altar. As the burnt offering was presented, songs of praise to the Lord were begun, accompanied by the trumpets and other instruments of David, king of Israel.”

Burnt offerings = prayers…they lifted up prayers before they could ever minister. The worship team at ClearView wants to do just that; then when worship leaders, and all other worshipers join together, we celebrate the very presence of God, with joy.

2 Chronicles 31:21
: “In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow the law and the commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful.”

We know that we can never be successful if we do not seek God with our whole heart.
Worship planning is so much better when it is not about the things that fill our worship services but about the One we worship and what we can learn about who we should be from His Word.