Friday, July 21, 2006

Blogavacation: Montreal

Next week I am taking a blogavacation, serving alongside my buddy Dwight on the streets of Montreal, telling people about Jesus. I'm pumped about this!!! Knowing Dwight this past year and reading about all that God has done in and through this dude the past few months of his street ministry, I can't wait to be challenged, used, humbled, schooled. To be honest, I've always been leery of street evangelists, second-guessing their ministry because of the assumed lack of discipleship that goes on. But the ministry Dwight is connected with is deeply committed to the local church. Plus, I think my mentality is way too text-book. I long to know the urgency that drives the true evangelist. So pray for me and my friends from WBC. Pray for Dwight and his mentor Tony. Pray for Montreal.

By God's grace and for his glory!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"The separation of worship into preference groups is everyone's fault"

Carl Stam, over at SBTS, offers a weekly email ministry called Worship Quote of the Week. If you don't subscribe at least put this gem in your favorites cause his archives are chock full of great quotes from the giants of the faith, past and present. This week's quote on the foolishness of the "traditional vs. contemporary music" debate.

Traditionalists have much to answer for in their reluctance to understand that tradition does not mean stasis but change. In their reaction against contemporary styles, they fail to understand that what they have gotten used to was once contemporary and often objectionable. Contemporists likewise fail to understand how blunted their tastes are when only "their music" seems to do the trick and when what they are doing has, ever so quickly, frozen itself into a tradition. So we end up with two kinds of shortsightedness, one supposedly old, the other supposedly new, and both wish fulfilling. The separation of worship into preference groups is everyone's fault, in that narrow musical satisfaction has turned out to be more important than style-proof outpouring. I encourage people of all practices to become intently and intensely curious about each other's ways.

The church desperately needs an artistic reformation that accomplishes two things at once: first, it takes music out of the limelight and puts Christ and his Word back into prominence; and second, it strives creatively for a synthesis of new, old and crosscultural styles. A deep understanding of the arts, coupled to the understanding that at best the music of corporate worship is simple, humble and variegated, would bring something about that would make all churches into worshiping and witnessing churches that happen to sing.

—Harold Best, UNCEASING WORSHIP: BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES ON WORSHIP AND THE ARTS. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003, p. 75. ISBN 0-8308-3229-7

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The ESV "To Do" Bible

To all my friends who worked (or still work) at CBD. I'm sure this is gonna be a best seller!

From my friend, Marc at Purgatorio...

On the heels of its successful ESV Journaling Bible, Crossway has announced a Bible for those of us on the go, the ESV “To Do” Bible. Crossway representative Justin Taylor says “I know when I am reading my Bible, things I need to do pop in my head and because I am immersed in the study of God’s Word, I frequently forget them by the time I’m done. Now, thanks to the “To Do” Bible, I can just jot them down as I go and refer to them later. I think this version of the ESV is going to be very popular.”

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

"Don’t teach me how to listen to the Spirit just give me a new law"

With all the buzz about the Southern Baptist resolution on alcohol (no link: just google it!) I thought Derek Webb's song here would be quite appropriate. Plus I've been thinking whether or not I really believe that the Spirit of God is a sufficient guide for a life of holiness.

A New Law
(vs. 1)
don’t teach me about politics and government
just tell me who to vote for

don’t teach me about truth and beauty
just label my music

don’t teach me how to live like a free man
just give me a new law

i don’t wanna know if the answers aren’t easy
so just bring it down from the mountain to me

i want a new law
i want a new law
gimme that new law

(vs. 2)
don’t teach me about moderation and liberty
i prefer a shot of grape juice

don’t teach me about loving my enemies

don’t teach me how to listen to the Spirit
just give me a new law


what’s the use in trading a law you can never keep
for one you can that cannot get you anything
do not be afraid
do not be afraid
do not be afraid

New Law Video
Derek Webb Home

Suggestions for Reading Scipture in Gathered Worship

The reading of God’s Word is one of the most important things Christians do when they worship together. Listen to the Apostle Paul’s encouragement to his friend and young pastor, Timothy: “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching”(1 Timothy 4:13). Below are some thoughts that we use at our church to help readers prepare to read Scripture during our times of corporate worship. Reading God’s Word publicly is as an important ministry as the preaching of God’s Word. It is when we, the people of God, hear from God himself through his Living Word.

1. Examples in Scripture

a. Exodus 24:4-8; Deuteronomy 31:9-13; Joshua 8:30-35; 2 Kings 22:1-20; 23:1-3; 2 Chronicles 34:1-32; Nehemiah 8:1-18; 9:1-3; Jeremiah 36:1-21; Acts 13:13-27; 15:19-21; 2 Corinthians 3:12-15; Colossians 4:15-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:27; Timothy 4:13; Revelation 1:3.

2. Translation

a. Normally, use the translation that is used by the preacher/pastor. (Here at WBC the New American Standard Bible is preferred.)

b. Guest speakers/preachers are also encouraged to also use the same translation normally used at WBC.

c. When different translations are used, the reader ought to tell the congregation which translation is being used.

d. In addition to the NASB, good translations for reading Scripture publicly include the ESV and NIV. Paraphrases such as the Message and interpretative translations such as the NLT ought to be used thoughtfully and sparingly.

3. Script

a. Be sure the Bible you are reading from is easy to read from.

b. Is the text and/or print of the Bible too small, too big?

4. Preparation

a. Read, read, read!

b. Read the text aloud to yourself, your family, your cat or dog!

c. Read the context before the chosen text. Perhaps read the whole chapter that the selected text is found in. This will help you trace the author’s argument.

d. Read several other translations to better understand what the text is really saying.

e. Pray. Ask God to open your heart to his word and his word to your heart.

5. Verbal Cues

a. Before the Scripture reading, prepare the congregation to hear from God, through His living Word. “The authority for [Pastor Mark’s] sermon comes from [Galatians 1:1-6].” or “Please turn in your Bibles to [Book chapter: verse] for this morning’s Scripture reading. Hear what the Spirit of God is saying to the churches…”

After the Scripture reading, remind the congregation that we have just received words of life; we have just encountered the Living God through His living Word. Leader: “This is the Word of God.” People: “Thanks be to God.”

6. Silence

a. After you announce the text to be read, wait until you hear most of the page-rustling stop.

b. Don’t be afraid to endure silence as the congregation turns in their own Bibles to the text that you will read.

7. Gestures

a. Be familiar enough with the Scripture reading that you can look at the congregation while you read. Make eye contact (at least a little).

8. Voice

a. By all means, do not be monotone!

b. Read like we speak. Don’t be mono-paced either.

c. Smile!

d. Put yourself into the text you are reading.

e. Your emotion should match the content and topic of the passage: serious, joyful, encouraging, etc.