(Special thanks to Paul Adams Photo for the oustanding photography!) Our annual Maundy Thursday Family Service at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Denver is probably one of the more unique times of worship that I’ve ever been a part of. It is an interactive, multi-sensory, truly intergenerational experience. We started doing it in this format four or five years ago, and it’s quickly become a tradition. Several years ago, God convicted our staff and leadership about our lack of attention to … Read More
When the Holy Spirit Breaks Open the Worship Service (Or, the Surprise of Super Bowl Sunday at Cherry Creek)
Quite at the last minute yesterday, I felt nothing less than a strong compulsion from the Holy Spirit to urge our congregation to do something in worship quite foreign to us. Many moons ago, I posted on physical expressiveness in worship with what I’ve found to be a very compelling argument.
Why Architecture Matters: Our Quest to Unify Organ and Drums for the Sake of the Gospel
Philosopher and liturgical theologian, Nicholas Wolterstorff, recently reminded listeners at the “Liturgy, Music, and Space” Conference hosted by Bifrost Arts this past spring that the architecture around and in your worship space makes theological statements whether you like it or not. For instance, a tall, raised platform at the front the sanctuary with the Communion table positioned in the very back can make the theological statement that the Lord’s Table is so holy that its access must be limited and guarded. Or, think of a worship space in which the seating is arranged in a circle or semicircle around the leaders in worship in the middle. This can make a statement about the unity of the people of God in worship and the tearing down of sharp divisions between the congregation and the worship leaders. Or, think about the warehouse with a huge stage and lighting structure. It says, “we’re here to perform for you…sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.” Architecture tells the story of your theology of and priorities in worship. I want to share with you how we’ve chosen to let some recent changes to our sanctuary’s architecture inform our theology of worship.
FREE Pre-Release Song from Our New Album – Get it Now!
FREE PRE-RELEASE SONG
FROM WITHOUT OUR AID (9/13/11)
Hello, Readership. In an effort to drum up support for our new album, Without Our Aid, we’re asking you to pass this link along to anyone and everyone you know (tweet it, FB it, email it). We’re giving away one of our best songs on the album, “Hail, Thou Once Despised Jesus,” absolutely free…we just ask that you tell others about it.
“Hail” is probably the best all-in-one representation of the musical, philosophical, and theological aim of the Without Our Aid. It has a live feel, energetic rhythm, great drumming, layered electrics, modern worship-styled vocal melodies, and unbeatable lyrics (I can brag, because I didn’t write them).
GO GET THE SONG HERE (this link will only be available until Tuesday, September 13, so get it while you can!).
Song Reflection: “Angels from the Realms of Glory”
In preparation for the release of our album, Without Our Aid, on September 13, 2011, we’ve begun a series of posts reflecting on the hymns incorporated into the project. For those who worship in more liturgically-oriented contexts, you’re probably familiar with the fact that the Christian “new year” doesn’t line up with our calendar’s new year. Our new year happens a month earlier than January 1, when we begin the season of Advent. Advent is a season of hope, fostering … Read More
Song Reflection: “All People That on Earth Do Dwell”
In preparation for the release of our album, Without Our Aid, on September 13, 2011, we’re beginning a series of posts reflecting on the hymns incorporated into the project. Many do not realize that the Protestant Reformation was just as much about worship as it was about doctrine. In fact, reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin would have seen little division between the former and the latter. Luther championed three emphases in particular, which all serve the goal of … Read More
A Pastoral Letter to a Concerned Parishioner on the Sacred-Secular Distinction
(true name/identity concealed) Thanks, Kevin, I appreciate your response and dialogue. So many times, people keep their struggles to themselves, or (worse) complain without a good “theological dialogue” with a pastor or leader. I appreciate that you feel the freedom to bring thoughts to me, and I take them well, because I trust you, your heart, and your thoughts. God bless you! If I have to sum up some of the difference between your position and mine (and at this … Read More
O Lord,Give me Your love for my wife.Give me Your love for my children.Give me Your love for Your Church.Give me Your love for the lost.All founded upon Your love for me.Amen.
The Higher the Liturgy, the Lower the Preaching
It is fascinating that a book published in 1971 has so much relevance to very current trends in church worship right now. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Preaching and Preachers (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971) was aimed at British churches (and, secondarily, US churches) who were discounting the importance of preaching in the life of the church. Lloyd-Jones makes several observations which are nearly graph-able in their correspondence. One such observation is noticing the correlation between the greater emphasis on formal liturgy and … Read More
Hillsong vs. Getty: A Contrast in Melody-Writing
Circulating through many of my favorite worship blogs is the distillation of Keith Getty’s presentation on songwriting at the National Worship Leaders Conference. It is getting widespread press for good reason—Getty’s insights are golden. With particular regards to melody-writing, Getty had to say: “To write strong melodies remember that folk melody has to be passed on orally (aurally). I try to write songs that can be sung with no written music. I imitate Irish folk melody, with a great deal … Read More