Tag Archives: Worship

My Picks for Wednesday 12-9-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

I hadn’t thought about it this way before, but his suggestions make a lot of sense…

Why White Men Should Preach Noteless Sermons
-Nicholas McDonald
http://scribblepreach.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Contextualization-770x200.jpg“…if you can’t remember your sermon, it’s too dense. It’s too complicated. It’s too geared toward written communication. Memory goes hand-in-hand with simplicity and focus – two essential qualities for oral communication.”

Stephen Colbert shows us how it’s done…

Why Humility Always Trumps Inflammatory Rhetoric
-Jesse Carey
“The need to have an opinion about every political or social issue, or a comeback to every hot-take, requires us to claim to know things we might not actually know. It elevates pride in our personally held position, over the humility to actually think and pray about what God wants.

Some situations require us to take action and seek meaningful change. But that might mean putting aside our own ideas by acknowledging we don’t know all of the answers, but we know who does.

It means sharing our opinion about an issue, but at least being humble enough to admit, “I should have mentioned this before: I don’t know what I’m talking about,” when we don’t actually have all of the answers.”

This is not really all that hard to do, but it does require you and your volunteers to be intentional…

What Are They Remembering?-Danny Franks
“Your guests walked away from your service this weekend with a collection of stories. They are stories they’ll tell once they return to their cubicle, their neighborhood, their dinner table. They are stories of delight and stories of disappointment. They are stories that will cement a positive experience or further erode a negative one.”

I like this concept a lot. It can be really helpful in thinking through how we use technology in worship…

Lightsabers in WorshipJeremy Armstrong
“Here at worship leader we have long highlighted the distinction between “idol” and “icon” as a valuable one. An icon, such as a stained-glass window or a beautiful refrain of a worship song, points attention to God. It is masterfully crafted and intricately designed, but it has a purpose: direct attention and glory to God.

An idol, on the other hand, has no such intentions. The purpose of an idol is to point to anything other than God. Idols usually point to themselves, but sometimes they can be sneaky in sending our attention in a hundred different directions.

So again, ‘How are you going to use a lightsaber in your worship service?’ Will it be an idol or an icon?”

Moving from Star Wars to Star Trek, here’s a great Christmas gift idea. “Energize” your drinks with these transporter coasters…
Star Trek Transporter Pad LED Coasters Additional Image

My Picks for Tuesday 12-8-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Is Donald Trump Right About Closing the Border to Muslims?
-Russell Moore
rsz_1donald_trump_8567813820_2“Donald Trump…suggests that the United States should close the border to all Muslims—including Muslim-Americans traveling abroad. Anyone who cares an iota about religious liberty should denounce this reckless, demagogic rhetoric…

Make no mistake. A government that can shut down mosques simply because they are mosques can shut down Bible studies because they are Bible studies. A government that can close the borders to all Muslims simply on the basis of their religious belief can do the same thing for evangelical Christians. A government that issues ID badges for Muslims simply because they are Muslims can, in the fullness of time, demand the same for Christians because we are Christians.”

The Difference Between An Artist And A Worship Leader
-David Santistevan
the difference between“That’s the difference between an artist building a fanbase and a worship leader serving a community. It’s a different skill set. It’s a different goal.

An artist grows a fanbase. A worship leader grows worshipers.

An artist obsesses over their art. A worship leaders obsesses over the Kingdom.

An artist sings songs. A worship leader groans with desperation for Jesus.

An artist performs. A worship leader invites.”

What True Love Does-Christa Threlfall
thoughts on love + service via BrownSugarToast.com“Sometimes it’s easiest to serve those far from us. Sometimes we can be so concerned about another’s problem while neglecting the problems God has put right under our noses. Sometimes it’s more fulfilling to make a meal for someone else than to bless your husband with a sweet note. To speak a kind word to a stranger rather than breathing life into our children. To advocate for those in another part of the world while ignoring the hurting surrounding us. In our country, state, city, home.

It’s not that you should only serve those who are in your home and then stop. But you should start there.

Having spent 35 years in ministry I can tell you that there are a LOT of misconceptions about pastors. I always sort of took pride in the times that people were surprised to find out that I was minister because I didn’t fit into many of those stereotypes. I suppose it’s for those reasons that I appreciated this article…

10 Random Things to Know about Pastors
-Ron Edmondson
“Here are 10 random things to know about pastors. These are true for me, but I suspect they may be for your pastor too.”

Sorry Ben, this is pretty funny…
Source: Bizarro

A Gift Worth Giving

How’s your Christmas shopping going?

Now, be honest: how many of the gifts you’re giving are just stuff you feel like you are required to give? These “gifts” don’t have any real significance to you OR the recipient. And, if the truth were known, they will likely end up in a land-fill sometime in the foreseeable future.

But there are other gifts, aren’t there? A few of the gifts you have planned are special. These are gifts that you have thought long and hard about. You’ve searched and/or labored to make sure this gift is exactly right. It’s significant. The recipient will likely keep this gift for the rest of her life and every time she sees it or uses it, you will come to mind.

I’d like to tell you about a birthday gift I received a few years ago.

The gift is a desk. It’s a lovely piece of furniture. Here are a couple of pictures of it…



What do you think this desk is worth?

Now there are several things to consider when you try to figure the value of something like this.

One thing would be the raw material. This desk is made from solid cherry wood and fitted with fine hardware.

You would also have to take into consideration the time and labor.

But another factor would be the quality of the craftsmanship involved. I mean, a desk made by me wouldn’t be nearly as valuable as one made by a skilled master craftsman. So the identity of the person who made it affects the value.

Now this is where it gets a little tricky, because if all you’re considering is the skill of the craftsman, that’s one thing. But what if you actually know the person? What if you have a personal relationship with the one who made the thing? How does that affect the value to you?

What if I told you that the person who made my desk was my dad?


Suddenly the value changes, doesn’t it? All of a sudden, the value of this desk, which may be worth a large amount of money to most folks, has increased exponentially to me.

Now, if you look inside the top drawer you’ll find a small brass plate that looks like this…


It says, “Lloyd | Mk. 1:11b | Dad & Mom | 8-15-04.”

Do you know what Mk 1:11 says?

It says: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Now…how much do you think this desk is worth to me?

This Christmas, when we are all very wrapped up (See what I did there?) in gift giving and receiving, I want to take a little time to consider the gifts we give to God.

I want to suggest that the service we offer to God at our church or in our community – whether we preach, teach, sing, greet, bake, rake, shovel, tutor, clean, cook, listen, visit, or any of a hundred other acts of kindness to individuals or involvement in church ministry … whatever you do – do it as an act of love and worship. When you do, the raw material of your time and talents, combined with your skill and personal relationship, makes it a valuable love gift to God.

Like my desk, the value is far more than the simple combination of raw materials because it’s given as a demonstration of love to God who can multiply it until it has eternal significance.

Now that’s a gift worth giving.




My Picks for Monday 11-23-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Possibly the best article I’ve read on the refugee crisis…

Building His Church in a Refugee Crisis-David Crabb
Building His Church in a Refugee Crisis“Do you see the enormity of the possibility here? We have spent years plotting and praying to get missionaries into some of the most difficult places in the world. Now, four million hurting and broken people from at least eighteen unreached people groups are coming to the West. ‘Is it safe?’ sounds like a question a government would ask. And it should ask; a government should seek to protect its people. But Christians ask, ‘What is God up to?'”

On a related note, it might be helpful to remember who some of these refugees really are. “Photojournalist Magnus Wennman traveled around Europe and the Middle East, capturing these children of war as they tried to find some rest in a frightening, uncertain world.” These are some beautiful and moving photos…

Syria’s Lost Children -Magnus Wennman

7 Signs It’s Not Really A Team -Ron Edmondson
power meeting from above“Those are a few clues which tell me it’s really not a team. There are certainly others…You can call it what you want – could be a group, or an association, or even an organization. But it’s not a team…

It should be noted. There are times when we don’t need a team. We need a leader who will stand even if alone and lead people to places they can’t yet see but where they need to go. I have found those times to be rare when I have a healthy team. This post addresses teams – and we need them more often.”

Don’t get bogged down in this one. Just keep reading to the end.
Our God is an awesome God…

Why Fractals Are So Beautiful-Joel Bezaire
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/64988.jpg?w=1600“…when I study the amount of complexity in a fractal—zooming in closer and closer, yet never losing any resolution or altering its appearance in any way—I am reminded that the same painstaking detail went into God’s plan for my life. I break out in praise. And then I want to zoom in a bit more.”

The “human whisperer”?

Dan Piraro



A Hymn of Grateful Praise

For the Beauty of the Earth

For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01552/sky2_1552774i.jpgFor the joy of ear and eye,

for the heart and mind’s delight,
for the mystic harmony,
linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
For the joy of human love,

brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
For thy church, that evermore

lifteth holy hands above,
offering upon every shore
her pure sacrifice of love;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

DSC_0950For thyself, best Gift Divine,
to the world so freely given,
for that great, great love of thine,
peace on earth, and joy in heaven:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

-Folliot S. Pierpoint (1835-1917)


How do you like them apples?

You know what
It is about TV?
You can turn it off,
“Click,” just like that!

You know what
It is about about doors?
You can close them,
“Slam,” just like that!

You know what
It is about people?
You can leave them,
Turn and walk, just like that!

You know what
It is about books?
You can quit them,
Close the covers, just like that!

You know what
It is about God?
You can’t do anything about him,
He’s there, just like that!

How do you like them apples?


Number ninety-two in God Is No Fool by Lois Cheney

(I’ve always loved this little book since I first discovered it while I was in college. Click the image for purchase info.)



Remember when we used to _________?


“Remember when we_______________?”

“Man, that was great.”

“How come we don’t do that anymore?”

Have you ever been part of a conversation like that? I was a worship minister for 30 years. I’ve had that same conversation approximately a billion times. The blank has been filled in by different things at different times over the years but it was the same conversation. Here are a few of the things that have been inserted in the blank:

Had a Sunday night church service.
Did a Living Christmas Tree (Remember those?)
Had a handbell choir.
Used an organ.
Wore choir robes.
Wore ties when we served. (BTW-Research has proven that the first century Christians never wore ties.)
Did Broadway-style Christmas productions.
Sang the old songs.

The blank varied but the insinuation was always the same.

The implication was that what we do now is inferior. We think that the church has lost its former glory. We remember the way things used to be, the important place some of those things had in our lives and in the life of the church, and we have trouble seeing the wonderful things that are being done right now, and the way God is moving in our people and activities right now.

Maybe we need to open our eyes, and hearts, to the possibility that God has something in mind that we can’t imagine.

The Israelites were in captivity for 70 years in Babylon. When they were finally released and allowed to return to their homeland they undertook the huge task of rebuilding the temple. There were some older folks who were alive before the earlier temple was destroyed and they remember what it was like.

Ezra 3:10-13
When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord:

“He is good;
his love toward Israel endures forever.”

And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.

There have been times in my ministry when it seemed like the same thing was happening. There were people who would be moved in powerful ways by the things that God was doing through our church while others could see nothing but things that upset them. The shouts of joy and the sound of weeping were occurring simultaneously. The celebrants couldn’t (or wouldn’t) understand the complainers and the complainers couldn’t (or wouldn’t) see what the celebration was all about.

Maybe we need to open our eyes, and hearts, to the possibility that God has something in mind that we can’t imagine.

God had something BIG in mind for the new temple. Listen to this:

Haggai 2:3,6-9
‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Maybe we need to open our eyes, and hearts, to the possibility that God has something in mind that we can’t imagine.