Archive for the 'Worship' Category

Somehow I think Rick Warren is behind this…

SEATTLE – Starbucks is shutting its doors for three hours Tuesday night, the latest drastic step in a companywide bid to improve its sagging fortunes.

The shutdown is one of several big moves spearheaded by Chairman and Chief Executive Howard Schultz, who recently took back the reins of the company amid concerns that it was losing its edge and facing increased competition from the likes of McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Schultz has said the shutdown, which begins at 5:30 p.m. local time, is a way to energize its 135,000 employees and provide some barista re-education in the “art of espresso” at its 7,100 U.S. locations.

Read the rest of the article here.

Who knew the Onion was so prophetic? 

I don’t know what this has to do with anything really, but for the more conspiracy-minded of us out there, I’m sure it does.

I heard there was a direct correlation between latte and frappucino consumption and heretical beliefs.

Bon Appétit!

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Watchkittie secretly participating in worshipWhile I can’t say that it is, stylistically, my cup of tea, I am somewhat familiar with Buckhead Church (one of the three Northpoint Church campuses in Atlanta, under the senior pastorship of Andy Stanley). Buckhead is located in urban Atlanta, and has a demographic similar to that of Mars Hill, Seattle (read – young, energetic, highly artistic, located in a highly unchurched area, etc.).

In November, they had a short series of messages called “Illusions”, which dealt with (Part I) being decieved by our own “goodness”, and (Part II) trying to project a spotless image contrary to your inner nature – including your sin. It was preached by the campus pastor, Jeff Henderson.

Here is a YouTube clip of the opening of the series (which is apparently beyond what is allowed by the gatekeepers of all that is ‘holy’):

YouTube Preview Image

Like I noted, stylistically it would probably not fit in with the worship services in my community, but I know a number of people who attend – or have attended – the Northpoint campus churches, and I praise God that He has raised up communities like these to serve him. Sadly, living, vibrant, God-loving churches are offensive to some folks who will pretty much find anythingno matter how petty – to criticize.

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It seems that a lot of the themes the ODMs and us have been dealing with is our definition of “the flesh”. Ingrid displayed a video of some church teens dancing to “All I Want for Christmas”. While there was no context given for the video (it could have been for a talent show), I can understand why someone could become annoyed with that. Ingrid also doesn’t know if the church was evangelical to begin with. To claim that this is the future of evangelical churches is a stretch, at best.

In addition, the creator of the video later changed the title of the video (it was originally called something like “body worship”) and said “…too many people were having negativity that this isnt a “body worship” and it defiles the name of Jesus. When it was just a dance so i made a mistake on putting the title body worship on there so i changed it.” Ingrid has yet to express her gratitude that the title was changed. I also looked for the “tight jeans” that Ingrid referred to and didn’t see them. The girls were just wearing normal jeans.

So, ok, like I said, I can understand why someone might be annoyed by “All I Want for Christmas” being played in church. I get it. I really do.

But what about movement in worship? is any movement we make in worship “in the flesh” and wrong? This is a video from the same author who did the “All I want for Christmas”. The teens seem to be worshipping God. Like I said in a previous post, I don’t have a Motivation Detector. But it appears to be genuine worship.

The second question I have is this: is any movement we make in enjoyment “of the flesh?” I know this seems like a silly question. But I’m being serious. Let me give you an example.

I watched “Along Came Polly” this past weekend. It was a mediocre film at best so I don’t recommend it. Anyway, one of the scenes featured Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston salsa dancing. It was, in my opinion, a little more like dirty dancing. If that had been my only exposure to salsa dancing, then my first reaction would have been in shock and I would have thought how evil salsa dancing was. How very ODMey of me.

However, I have actually been exposed to real salsa dancing. I’ve been to the “hottest” salsa club in Boston. I’ve taken a month worth of lessons with my fiancée. I can tell you that what happened in “Along Came Polly” doesn’t happen in real life. Sure, you could turn somehow turn salsa into some sort of latino bump and grind. However, I just haven’t seen it in person. Sure, some people dress inappropriately in the club, however, the same percentage of people dress inappropriately in my office workplace.

Furthermore, I am thoroughly “white”. I don’t have an once of rhythm in me. If anyone should be shocked by latino dance, it should be me. But I’m not. And I kind of enjoy salsa dancing. I can also tell you that I’ve never “grinded” or touched inappropriately. So, is salsa dancing ontologically evil? Am I “in the flesh” when I’ve danced salsa?

I honestly think that a lot of it might be what we’ve been exposed to. I imagine Ingrid doesn’t have many people in her church that wear jeans every Sunday. I imagine that many of the ODMs, as they are locked in their basement with their tin foil hats, get their ideas about culture by what they see on television, movies or Youtube. However, that doesn’t necessarily equal reality. The ODMs sometimes point out the worst examples of culture and add in new (unbiblical) rules to basic Christian faith so we avoid not just being of the world, but being in the world.

What do you think? Is anything we enjoy with our bodies wrong? Is it wrong to dance for fun? Is it wrong to enjoy a good meal with friends? Is it wrong to do mixed bathing at the local swimming hole with your bible study group (thanks Joe Martino)? Is it wrong to go to a baseball game with your family? Where do we draw the line?


Ingrid added this:

**Update**The YouTube member who posted this video has since changed the title to “All I Want is You DANCE” instead of “All I Want is You Body Worship” which was the original title. Churches are using the term Body Worship to describe any group of nubile young women who stand up on stage and wriggle to pop music. Body Worship is actually a very accurate term when you think about it. It has nothing remotely to do with the worship of our thrice holy God. We know this because Scripture tell us that those who are in the flesh cannot please God.**

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In this article, linked to at both CRN and Slice, Truth Matters attempts to show how externals are much more important than the message you preach. Lititz Grace Church is doing a series called “McWorship”. It appears to be addressing the modern trend of feel-good, quick and simple worship that takes place in many churches today. They are using the metaphor of fast-food culture to show how many today treat church like a trip to McDonald’s… you’re way, right away. Sounds pretty ODM friendly right?

Guess again. They attacked this church for using a McDonalds set design in their auditorium. Apparently God has a list of approved decor for stage. I also find it funny that this ODM had little to say about the content of the sermons. This church used drama and stage design — they obviously care very little for the Word of God, right? I mean, decorating a church like a fast-food restaurant obviously means that they will be speaking more about a Big Mac than the scriptures, true?

Once again… methods matter much more than the message to these ODMs. Kudos Ingrid, on raising a son that not only has an advanced reading level, but seems to be becoming equally judgemental

update: thought I would add some comments from the commenters

  • If John MacArthur came to church, the pews would be over filled with people wanting to hear the unaduterated Word of Jesus Christ…So, the seeker church chooses the Sandwich over the preacher because they have the false theology that the church is primarily for evangelizing.
  • I’m not speaking of the true church, but the visible, modern day church that has no clue about church history and true worship of the early church, the puritans, and the reformers. Next, we’ll have choirs wearing those red pig tails(Wendy’s). God help us. Lord come quickly.
  • Go to these “churches” for babies milk and 99% false conversions….You need radical change in America.  Glad I’m not in the States.
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I was listening to the Mars Hill Seattle sermon this week and learned a lot about Isaac Watts. Here’s some info:

In this era hymns weren’t sung in English churches. German Lutherans had been singing hymns for over 100 years. Calvinists in France and Switzerland, however, had not. Calvin had wanted his people to sing only the psalms of scripture. English Protestants of Calvinist parentage had adopted the practice of singing only metrical psalms in worship. These metrical arrangements were awkward (”But we remember will the name/Of our Lord God alone”), the mood was ponderous, the tone of the entire service dreary. One day Watts discovered he couldn’t endure any of it a minute longer. Returning from the service one Sunday morning he complained vehemently to his father about the stodgy psalm-singing that put people off worship. “Why don’t you write a hymn suitable congregational singing?”, his father challenged him. Throughout the afternoon Watts did just that, and at evening worship that day the congregation sang hymn #1, “Behold the glories of the Lamb”. Six hundred and ninety-six followed.

Not everyone thanked him. Some of his contemporaries complained that his hymns were “too worldly” for the church. One critic fumed, “Christian congregations have shut out divinely inspired psalms and taken in Watts’s flights of fancy!”. His hymns outraged many people, split congregations (most notably the congregation whose pastor, years earlier, had been John Bunyan, the author of an English classic), and got pastors fired. Still, the multi-talented thinker knew what his preeminent gift was and why he had to employ it.

The Mars Hill audio also talks about his songs being called “whims” instead of hymns.

It’s nice to know that the ODMs were alive and well, even back then. There is nothing new under the sun.

*Update: Here’s the Mars Hill Seattle Video (thanks Brendt)
YouTube Preview Image

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In this article posted at The Expositor, Nathan White of Strange Baptist Fire writes about the evils of Christmas plays in the church. Here are his three basic premises from the piece

  • What can be better for our souls than the preached Word?
  • What can be better for those outside of Christ than the clear proclamation of the gospel through the preached Word?
  • If preaching was completely sufficient to minister and save in scripture, who are we to say that it is now supplemented, at times, by better things? Has market research replaced biblical revelation?

In classic ODM style, he accuses –well, just read this

It certainly must be noted that drama in worship is most often employed by seeker-sensitive, Arminian ministries, in an apparent attempt to evangelize…But it must be emphasized that the preaching of the word, the very proclamation of Jesus Christ, is simply not good enough, according to this logic, to attract a wide audience, and so the Christmas play is employed to bring in those who wouldn’t otherwise darken the door. Christmas plays do not offend, they do not divide households, they are generally warm and fuzzy at a very family-oriented time of year, and so they provide a great impetus for the numbers-driven mindset. (emphasis mine)

He then makes a pretty weighty statement to backup

drama in worship, without a doubt, *is* a violation of scripture…God, through scripture, has left drama completely out of His Word and instruction to His Church, and that for an important reason.

There are so many flaws in this article; I really don’t know where to begin. I am not quite sure how one can say that the reenactment of the word of God is any less powerful than talking about the word of God from the pulpit. We are not talking about a production of The Sound of Music, we are talking about a Christmas pageant. There are so many Christmas shows that often hit you over the head with the scriptures, and are very blatant in their message. I always find it ironic that these pastors complain about arts in the church, but unless they get up and simply read straight from the scriptures and say nothing but the scriptures, they too are using an artistic way to preach the scriptures. They decide how to word ideas and concepts, they choose illustrations, and they craft how we perceive the scriptures every Sunday. It is arrogant to say that only what they are doing is preaching the Word of God, when 75% of the words they give are their own.

Do we labels something as bad or heretical if it does not offend or divide households? That notion is completely asinine, but is all too common among the ODMs. If it brings people together to enjoy the story of Christmas, then it must be wrong. If no one leaves the place offended, someone messed up. And, to argue that something is inappropriate for worship simply because it is not mentioned in the scriptures is not exactly the best logic. Most hymns would be out of the question if we are going to go down that route. But, did Jesus not tell stories as a means to communicate biblical truth? It seems to me that story-telling is one of the most important elements in theatre arts.

As an actor, it is strange to hear someone say that I cannot worship God with the talents he has given me. I have been using theatre arts as a means to present the truth for years. Many of my friends have come to Christ through shows that we have produced that speak clearly the word of God. I am always puzzled as to why the church today is do hesitant when it comes to the arts. It is ok for a man to give a 45 minute monologue about the scriptures, but to present it in theatrical form or paint it is simply out of the question. We live in a world where a television show is worth a million words, a painting is worth a thousand, and words are only worth pennies. Maybe it is time we rethink how present the Word (please note that nowhere did I say rethink the Word itself).

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Peter Dupre, worship pastor at my church (Grace Chapel in Lexington, MA), spoke at our young adults service. Here is his talk.

One of his most interesting points was that people complain about not having enough hymns, but no one ever complains about, for example, not singing enough classic Christian Creole songs.

You can also subscribe to my church’s young adult podcast here.

Photo by magbug

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CRN had linked to a post at Extreme Theology on how to disciple people. The first requirement, according to Chris Rosebrough, is the following

A Tenacious Devotion to the Teaching of the Apostles (God’s Word Proclaimed in Song and Sermon) Under A Trained Pastor – 2 Tim 4:1-2, 2 Tim 2:2

So, this would mean that laymen cannot disciple people. Women cannot disciple people. And, only those who are pastors can lead people in worship music. A pretty interesting requirement for disciple-making. So, then I thought I would check out the scriptures he used to back this statement. They are as follows

1(A) I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,(B) who is to judge the living and the dead, and by(C) his appearing and his kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;(D) reprove, rebuke, and(E) exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

2and(A) what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses(B) entrust to faithful men(C) who will be able to teach others also.

Is there anything there that would suggest Trained Pastors are the only ones who can teach others the word of God, or lead in songs that proclaim God’s word? I couldn’t see anything. The only requirement was to have faithful men who would be able to teach others.

I spent the day with Leonard Sweet yesterday. He said that one of the greatest contributions that the reformation gave us was the priesthood of the believer. Unfortunately, many of those who often protect the solas, reformers and the reformation more tham the scriptures have forgotten this. That we are called to disciple one another. We are not called to have high and exalted holy men that do discipleship to us. WE are a royal priesthood, called to make disciples.

Also, I am tired of these watchdoggies only looking at some aspects of purpose-driven/seeker/emerging churches. You see, the traditional form of discipleship was to sit in a room, and have a man dump a bunch of information on you. We have seen over and over that this doesn’t work. I have tons of friends who can quote scripture, give you theology and speak the christian lingo, but would hardly be considered followers of Christ. Today, discipleship is done in relationship with people. It is done in conversations at Starbucks or walks in the parks. it is done in the informal small groups in homes, or after-work dinner meetings. It is not a program that can be scheduled… but is being done like it was in the New Testament. Discipleship really has little to do with how much you know about the scriptures (although they are incredibly key), but about the transformation that CHRIST is making in your life. Sometimes I think we replace the authentic work of Christ in people in relationship with us for well-educated bible studies and sermons. Not that the latter is bad, but we don’t believe the former can actually happen.

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Have you ever let your mind wander to take inventory of your past? Not only the facts and events but the overall and sweeping panorama of your life with special emphasis on the spiritual journey that has brought you to where you are today. Now ,some of you had Christian parents who brought you up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, so your perspective has a somewhat lifelong essence to it, but some of us can quickly identify a dramatic place that changed our entire life. And when we mentally rehearse the time of our lives that ended with a beginning, we are sometimes overwhelmed. You see, it often feels like a dream.

Why? Because for many of us our former lives seem so unreal and distant that when we allow our imaginations to visit that time it is as though we are reliving someone else’s life and not our own. David asked the Lord to restore the joy of his salvation and for many of us returning to the day or week that we met Jesus reawakens us to what we sometimes have taken for granted, our own salvation. Getting saved as an adult is an incredible experience when you realize we have decades of dark perspective with which to provide a breathtaking comparison of death to life, darkness to light, lost to found, and the unspeakable event of meeting, understanding, and the unmistakable first embracing of the Lord Jesus. The weeks surrounding my conversion are to this day something out of a fairytale novel and even as I write these words I am drawn to emotion.

Even though I was taken to church as child, and even though I went through three years of catechism and was made a member of the church, I was completely lost and without the slightest hint of a desire for God. On some level it is good and cleansing to remember who I was, without hope and unknowingly in the grips of the evil One, because it refreshes within me a grateful rekindling of amazement that should accompany my salvation. After years of studying the Word and learning about Christ, it can easily be reduced to a perfunctory journey without the new life fragrance that perfumed my early years of conversion.

And when we discuss things about Christ, and doctrinal issues, and the different streams of Christianity it can get so factual and algebraic that we can lose the fullness of the emotional experience of God’s wonderful presence in our lives. Oh yes, I said emotion. Many, many times I have wept both in private and openly just in worship and praise before the Lord of my existence. My exhortation to us all is never, never lose the presence of Christ among all the stuff. The blog banter, the unpleasantness, the doctrinal badminton, the personality conflicts, and all the other whirling verbosity that can sometimes sap your attention and thereby keep you from Him Who is all in all.

Jesus…our life.

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The latest heresy at the Christian ?esearch Network is a new music book from Lifeway entitled The Praise and Worship Fake Book. The book is designed for those musicians who wish to worship God thru music, but are not as skilled as others. Some of the modern worship music created today can be a bit complex for the inexperienced player, so this book simplifies the chords and music structure so that these musicians are able to play some of their favorite songs of worship on their own. The description says “by improvising with the chord symbols, musicians can “fake” their own arrangements of songs.”

What was C?N’s response to this book?

Ever wonder why the P&W teams show words on the jumbo-tron but no music? Well, they wouldn’t be able to “improvise” (aka “fake”) their way through and we certainly wouldn’t want to impinge on their artistic expression or human potentiality.

Huh? Most churches don’t show music on their screens because they are there to display the words for people to sing along. The average Joe-Shmo doesn’t know how to read sheet music any how. And apparently improvising thru a song is somehow wrong. on top of that, this book is probably not going to be used by the seasoned and skilled musicians that lead music in churches all over the world.

Now, I will give him the benefit of a doubt that he was not suggesting these musicians are fake in their worship to God, but just faking the difficult chord structures. This means the whole article is about how inexperienced musicians do not play as skilled as others… a bit rediculous if you ask me.  In general, I think this author was once again attempting to take a jab at the modern church movement, but once again couldn’t find anything. I guess if you can’t beat ‘em, make fun of their less skilled musicians, right?

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