Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Principles for worship at HBC #4

3. God’s Word informs, directs and permeates all we do.

We will be careful to engage God (worship him) only in ways he has prescribed in his Word and only by means he has provided. This means that the content of God's Word should be woven through all we do in worship and will be the ground of all our appeal to authority. Hence the content of our singing, praying, preaching and all else we do should always conform to the truth of Scripture. We therefore shun ambiguity in our songs and speech. Our words must be clear and doctrinally sound.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

A sermon you should hear

"Worshiping Together" from Mike Bullmore, pastor at Crossway Community Church (Bristol, WI). Psalm 34:3, Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! He covers what genuinely unites us in worship (rather than the tyranny of personal musical taste). Excellent applications. I've found it to be really helpful.  Read More......

Hymn from John Piper

God's Purpose Stands
By John Piper

The following hymn was written by John Piper to sing at Bethlehem Baptist Church on December 15, 2002. This was sung in connection with Pastor John's exposition of Romans 9:6-13. To the tune of "My Hope Is Built" ("The Solid Rock")

See the hymn
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Setlist for January 25, 2009

This was a day when little of what was planned happened, and the unexpected showed up. And the Lord met us through it! Aside from preaching the Word, I know of no other way to serve the Lord's people that so humbles us while bringing such joy.

Morning Worship
This was "Friend Sunday," where we shorten the service a bit, and really work at simple presentation. The musical theme was "Abundant Mercy." Sean Melvin preached from Romans 3:9-24, calling it "Bad News, Good News."

Psalm 96
(tune: lyons)
    A modern setting from David Preston (@Jubilate Hymns). Get the Praise! hymnal (from the UK). It's pricey, but full of good stuff. If you don't need the music, then get the words-only edition.

Ps 100/doxology

    We sing the psalm (tune: old 100th -- imagine that!), interspersed with Thomas Ken's doxology ("Praise God from whom..." to a tune I don't really know, a 6/8 thing that was here long before I was)
How high and how wide
    from Mark Altrogge, sovereign grace
Your mercy, my God
    the Sandra McCracken tune; we update the language a bit
Lord, I lift your name on high
    good way to close the set!

B/4 sermon:
Rock of Ages

    the wonderful tune from James Ward

Evening Worship
Pastor Joe continued his preaching through John 17. v.11: "And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one." (esv) Music theme: On God's preserving grace.

Wonderful Grace of Jesus

    Remember this one? Good hymn, if dated (but fun) music to sing. We used the hymnal.

God's purpose stands

    John Piper's hymn on the believer's security in the sovereign paths of God's grace (tune: solid rock). I may post this hymn later.
A debtor to mercy alone
    Toplady's hymn, but we use the tune: Contrast (cf. "how tedious and tasteless the hours")
Have you not known
    Watts setting from Isa 40, updated language (tune: dundee)
Lamb of God (Twila Paris)

B/4 sermon:
Gospel song / Depth of mercy / Gospel song

    from Bob Kauflin & sovereign grace

This post is a part of Sunday Setlists hosted by FredMcKinnon.com
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Principles for worship at HBC #3

2. We expect the awesome and gracious presence of God.

We do not just direct ourselves toward him. We earnestly seek his drawing near according to the promise of James 4:8. We believe that in worship God draws near to us in power, and makes himself known and felt for our good and for the salvation of unbelievers in the midst.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Peace to my anonymous friends...

To my dear anonymous correspondents,
Thanks for your kind words. I do understand the freedom of being able to discuss deeply-felt issues like music worship w/o making an awkward situation of it. If I can help you, or if I am only able to clarify issues, or to whatever extent we can "sharpen iron" and build each other up, then I will be thankful.
I can accept your desire to remain nameless....

To help me interact better with you, what if, at the least, you give yourself some kind of moniker, a pseudonym for this venue? Such a thing has a long pedigree in the history of correspondence. When writing, sign your comments as coming from "Earnest," or "Friend #3," or "Brother J" or something like that. I think it will allow us to actually think things through together. 
If this makes sense to do so, I welcome your interaction, as brother to brother.
For Jesus' sake, 

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Principles for worship at HBC #2

1. We focus on the triune God.

We put a high priority on God-centeredness in all our meetings. We aim ultimately to enter the Father=s presence, through Christ, by faith, in conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit in such a way that the Lord is glorified in our affections.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Principles for worship at HBC #1

I'll blog over many days on this one. It comes from a document I drew up in August 2006 with the elders of our church, trying to enunciate those Biblical principles that direct the music ministry of our church. Let's begin.

What is worship?

This list of marks that describe public worship at Heritage Baptist Church reflect the work of other churches and our own in seeking to live out together the fundamental principle of John 4:23-24,
The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. These convictions, deeper than issues of style and form, inform every part of our corporate worship. As one of our pastors, Ted Christman, writes

Worship is both a purposeful and reflexive response of the soul and body of a person who has savingly experienced the grace of God, and is increasingly seeing the glory of God. The worshiper is spontaneously compelled from his very heart to render back to God love, praise, adoration, honor, glory, gratitude, submission, obedience and service. Included in this soul and body reflex is an insatiable longing to know him better and better, to become more and more like him, and never to be satisfied until we are with him in his immediate, glorious presence.

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Looking for a tune!

The hymn I reference on the top of the blog, Cowper's (say it, "Coo-per") hymn, "Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings." Anyone know of a good tune for it? I'd like something a bit more current than the standard 7676D tune "Bentley." There is also the Indelible Grace setting which I'll end up using if nothing else comes along. Ideas?

BTW: It is #48 in the Olney Hymns, Book III, in a section called "Comfort." Newton entitled it Joy and peace in believing. I've noted the Scripture allusions below in the text.

Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, who rises with healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.

In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue
The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may. (Matt 6:34)

It can bring with it nothing but He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing will clothe His people, too;
Beneath the spreading heavens, no creature but is fed;
And He Who feeds the ravens will give His children bread.

Though vine nor fig tree neither their wonted fruit should bear, (Hab 3:17-18)
Though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice,
For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.

-- William Cowper, 1779

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Setlist for January 18, 2009

Morning Worship
PT continued preaching through James: 5:13-16a, on prayer. We wrapped the musical theme, Scripture and prayer around God as the Everlasting One. We can trust him alone....

Opening Song
Psalm 90 (Our God our help / tune: st. anne)  C
Psalm 136 (Give to our God immortal praise / tune: duke street)  C/D
Everlasting God   A
Be unto your name   Bb/C
Amazing Grace--my chains are gone   D
B/4 sermon
Christ of all my hopes the ground (tune: hendon)   Eb/E

The evening was full of unusual events -- commissioning a church planter, electing 4 more deacons, etc. So to get done in a timely manner, we truncated the singing. Only 2 hymns, only piano accomp., and we used a hymnal. Felt so 20th century -- guess we have the liberty of going retro!

Glorious things of thee D
How sweet and awful C/Db/D

This post is a part of Sunday Setlists hosted by FredMcKinnon.com
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Looking for interaction here

This response recently came to a posted setlist:

anonymous said...
A Reformed Baptist who once attended HBC asks,

"What happened to your church? You used to sing from the Trinity Hymnal and now it looks like you sing mostly contemporary stuff?

Dear Anonymous,
We grew.

I really didn't mean to sound snarky...

... but I thought a brief response better. I mean no ill will toward "anonymous," but I have no sympathy for anonymous responders. Plus, I've tried to explain our fundamental principles (still quite intact), and have said quite a bit, actually, on this blog (e.g., look here). He/she could have interacted with any of it, but has not. I encourage you, Mr./Ms. Anonymous, btw, to respond to anything I've written. Have the courtesy, however, to use your name!

I'm posting something here just a bit longer b/c I want to interact with reformed baptists who are actually serious about thinking through our worship.

Being a "reformed baptist" does not equate to an "only blue Trinity hymnal" position. It reminds me of the old "KJV only" debates. We confused faithfulness to Christ and his Word with holding to a venerable, but outdated, translation. "If the KJV was good enough for the apostle Paul..." You get the idea. Thankfully we've outgrown that mindset.

Some of us, at least, became RBs out of a fundamentalist, dispensational church background. It would be a mistake to call our services "worship." They were public (and sincere) gatherings, sermons were preached and songs were sung, but never did we have the sense of "God is here. Right now." Not much engagement with the living God. It was sometimes little more than sanctified entertainment. (Ouch!) Well, it was.

When I came to embrace the 1689 LBC, I found in RB churches an awe-struck vision of the glory of God. When we came to worship, we came expecting to meet with Almighty God, through Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit. "Worship services" became intense encounters with the living God.

I also embraced the blue Trinity hymnal. It is no mistake to say that RB worship, the Regulative Principle, a Sabbatarian view of the Lord's Day, the 1689 LBC, serious preaching, and the blue Trinity Hymnal all came in one package. But long before I began using what my anonymous correspondent calls "contemporary stuff," I would add hymns to our public worship. (That was back in Warminster, PA.) We also used a psalter. So even then we were never exclusively "blue Trinity," though our music style certainly flowed in the same current.

For the record:

-- I still think highly of the Trinity hymnal, though I prefer the red one (now you know I've strayed!)

-- Almost 40% of our singing comes from hymns in the Trinity hymnal (though I'll add stanzas back in that were left out, I'll update the language when possible, and use new tunes when available).

-- We also incorporate other older hymns not found in the blue Trinity. I post some of them on this blog. And we also now sing at least one psalm setting each Lord's Day. So when you add up our "hymn singing" (excluding all that "contemporary stuff"), it's about 50%.

-- The music chosen for each service reflects the preaching and themes for that service. So the mix is different each time. Judge us, then, by the hymns and songs over several Sundays.

-- We embrace a contemporary music style as much as I am able to. That is, when we sing "How firm a foundation," it's gonna groove.

I've explained this elsewhere and will, again gladly, if need be.

-- I want my grandchildren (if ever I have any!) to love Newton and Watts, Toplady and Cowper, Kent and Bonar. It is, however, a grave mistake, in my judgment, to think we can continue to sing venerable hymns without updating the tunes and language whenever possible. Those who refuse will find themselves increasingly marginalized and ineffective in our culture.

-- Let's think like missionaries in our own town. What kind of music do people listen to? Now take a look at your own setlist for tomorrow and ask this question: Will anything in the music touch people emotionally? Will people connect?

I should say more. But I'm done for now. Feel free to interact.

Because of Mercy,


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More useful information

Also from CCLI -- from a survey in February the 'top ten' list of worship songs -- then some observations on what these songs have in common. Helpful stuff. Check it out here. Read More......

Check this out

CCLI's annual church survey of music. Might be useful to you. Find it here. Read More......

Monday, January 12, 2009

Communion Hymn

We sang this last week, but it's worth mentioning. Find the music here at GettyMusic.

Behold the Lamb
Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away, slain for us and we remember the promise made that all who come in faith find forgiveness at the cross; So we share in this bread of life and we drink of his sacrifice as a sign of our bonds of peace around the table of the King

The body of our Savior Jesus Christ torn for you—eat and remember his wounds that heal, his death that brings us life, cursed of God to make us one; So we share in this bread of life and we drink of his sacrifice as a sign of our bonds of love around the table of the King

The blood that cleanses ev'ry stain of sin, shed for you--drink and remember. He drained death's cup that all may enter in to receive the life of God; So we share in this bread of life and we drink of his sacrifice as a sign of our bonds of grace around the table of the King

And so with thankfulness and faith we rise to respond and to remember our call to follow in the steps of Christ as his body here on earth; Till the day that he comes again ending death, ending sin and shame, one in Him-love and peace will reign around the table of the King

Author: Keith Getty | Kristyn Getty | Stuart Townend
Copyright: ©2007 Thankyou Music / CCLI: 5003372

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Setlist for January 11, 2009

In Morning Worship Pastor Ted continued his exposition in James, 5:12, on being people of integrity. Our theme then opened up God as the Trustworthy One. In uncertain times, there is One who must be our only refuge....

Opening Song:
Psalm 146 / C-Db
How firm a foundation / Eb-F
Your grace is enough / Eb
Great is thy faithfulness / C-D
In Christ alone / D
B/4 the sermon:
Speak O Lord / Bb

Evening Worship Pastor Rich preached on the sanctity of life and the Bible case against abortion. His preaching was redemptive. Our theme explored the greatness of God our Creator and Father.

Opening Song:
All creatures of our God and King / C
I opened with Q.26 from the Heidelberg Catechism.
What do you believe when you say: "I believe in God the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth?"
I believe that the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who out of nothing created heaven and earth and everything in them, who still upholds and rules them by his eternal counsel and providence, is my God and Father because of Christ his Son. I trust him so much that I do not doubt he will provide whatever I need for body and soul, and he will also turn to my good whatever adversity he sends me in this life of sorrow. He is able to do this because he is almighty God. He desires to do this because he is a faithful Father.

Because we believe / C
God of creation / D (tune: slane, "be thou my vision")
Margaret Clarkson
Praise my soul (Ps 103) / C (tune: lauda anima)
Psalm 139 / Eb-E (tune: dim ond jesu, "Here is love")
B/4 the sermon:
The wonderful cross / C

This post is a part of the carnival at Sunday Setlists hosted by FredMcKinnon.com

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Old hymn well worth learning

from Joseph Kent, 1803. He had Psalm 139:17 at the top of it, "How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!" See Gadsby, #732. I've updated the language.

1. Indulgent God, how kind
are all your ways to me,
whose dark benighted mind
'gainst you was enmity;
yet now, subdued by sovereign grace,
my spirit longs for your embrace!

2. How precious are your thoughts,
which o'er my heart have rolled!
They swell beyond my faults.
and captivate my soul;
how great their sum, how high they rise,
can ne'er be known beneath the skies.

3. Preserved in Jesus when
my feet made haste to hell;
and there should I have gone.
but you do all things well;
your love was great, your mercy free,
which from the pit delivered me.

4. A monument of grace,
a sinner saved by blood;
the streams of love I trace
up to the fountain, God;
and in his wondrous mercy see,
eternal thoughts of love to me.

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Setlist for January 4, 2009

Morning Worship
PT preached a "state of the church" message. The music/worship theme revolved around Psalm 145, telling out the greatness of God. The congregation read from Ps 145 after each song until we had it finished. Then 3 men prayed, adding further reasons for praising God in this coming year. As last week, I again borrowed some structural ideas from Seedsower Music

Opening song:
O for a thousand tongues
Great is the Lord (Michael W. Smith)
Blessed be your name (Redman)
How great thou art
  the men leading us in prayer
The Lord (Ps 23) (sovereign grace)
B/4 sermon
Mercies anew (sovereign grace)

Evening Worship
This was our monthly Lord's Table observance. Pastor Joe preached from Heb 10 the fact of and our deliverance from "falling into the hands of an angry God." It was really good.
Opening Song:
Before the throne of God above
Always forgiven (sovereign grace)
  PJ requested this for these lines, 
"Anger and wrath, sure condemnation, should be my portion, my just reward; Never have seen it, never will know it, your loving-kindness enfolds my life."
Indulgent God
  This is an old hymn by Joseph Kent (1803) that we sing to the tune St. John (also called Calkin). The very title almost seems excessive, "indulgent God," until we understand author's attempt to describe the majestic splendor of God's grace, Christ's sin, and our monstrous sin guilt. I'll post the hymn later. 
Behold the Lamb (Getty)
At the Table: (something new -- handed out half sheets with the words on them)
Here, O my Lord (Bonar's classic)
Here is love (the Welsh "love song")

Sorry I'm not more verbal -- still wrestling some kind of virus.
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