A decade ago, after years of asking the question, “What does it mean for the gospel to form and shape Christians in worship?”, I was introduced to the deep work of Thomas Cranmer in answering this question in his time and place. People might mistakenly believe that the first versions of the Book of Common Prayer—products of his architecture—are merely translations of earlier Christian liturgies from Latin to English. They aren’t. They’re a transposition. If you pay close attention, comparing … Read More
The Worship Pastor Audiobook is Here!
Since the release date, I’ve talked to many worship leaders out there who tell me they’ve wanted to check out The Worship Pastor but that they do most of their “reading” through audiobooks. Makes sense to me! We’ve all got different learning styles and modes of comprehension. A few years ago, I asked my publisher if we could make The Worship Pastor into an audiobook, and their kind reply was basically, “Hey, great idea. Let’s see how the book does before we take that … Read More
The Big Idea of Lent: Jesus Did What I Couldn’t Do (Repost)
The call to fasting and repentance is as ancient as the prophets. Just read Joel 2. There’s nothing like a good fast to, like a defibrillator, shock the unbeating heart of our spirit out of its flatline. However, of monumental, make-or-break importance is to recognize that the season of Lent is far more about Jesus and far less about us. If we fast, we fast to remember the fasting of Jesus in the wilderness, in order to, in a tangible way, … Read More
Abandoning “Surrender” Language in Worship Songs
*NOTE: This post was written in 2014, but it no longer appears on the site to which it was originally published, so I’ve republished it here. Second Great Awakening Spirituality The idea of “surrender” is prominent in evangelical spirituality. Especially after the Second Great Awakening, it became a leading metaphor to summarize the conversion experience. Preachers would urge the unconverted to “give up and surrender to Jesus.” One of the songs that continues to get airplay as an “old hymn” … Read More
Jamming with Jenson: Thoughts from an Under-Appreciated Theologian
At least in my worship circles, I don’t hear a lot of people talking about Robert Jenson, senior Lutheran theologian with a particular talent for writing which is both concise and evocative. But too many of my friends keep bringing him up to me, and I could no longer avoid setting his work aside for other books in my queue. And so I have come across a marvelous chapter on worship in a forgotten yet prescient book of his from … Read More
The Lineup at this Year’s National Worship Leader Conferences
So I’m pretty thrilled to see this year’s lineup at the NWLC regional conferences happening this year in Virginia (coming up fast!) and Kansas City. For instance, Lester Ruth, who (along with Swee Hong Lim) just published a NECESSARY brief history of contemporary worship will be speaking. Lester is a scholar with a pastor’s heart and a churchman’s spirit. I trust and believe in this guy. And, though I don’t know her personally, I would especially want to hear what … Read More
The Big Idea of Lent: Jesus Did What I Couldn’t Do
The call to fasting and repentance is as ancient as the prophets. Just read Joel 2. There’s nothing like a good fast to, like a defibrillator, shock the unbeating heart of our spirit out of its flatline. However, of monumental, make-or-break importance is to recognize that the season of Lent is far more about Jesus and far less about us. If we fast, we fast to remember the fasting of Jesus in the wilderness, to, in a tangible way, “be … Read More
On Worship’s Boundaries
Just yesterday, Reformed Worship put up a post of mine on worship’s boundaries. Next year is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the pastors, thinkers, and theologians who ministered in the wake of Luther’s posting of the 95 theses. One real “aha” moment of my reading of Luther for doctoral work came in the idea that Luther’s articulation of simul iustus et peccator (simultaneously justified and sinful) isn’t merely a statement about the … Read More
New Album Coming in a Few Short Months!
God is always giving us a new song to sing. We’ve been writing and dreaming about this next handful of songs for the church for quite a while. In fact, a lot of the hardship that Coral Ridge has gone through over the last year has threatened to forestall if not shut down this project. But we, being both stubborn and confident in our Warrior-King Jesus’s power midst the fiery darts of the enemy, have pressed forward. And we want … Read More
Join Me in January!
I’d love to invite you to two different opportunities to connect and grow in worship leading and songwriting. I’ll be collaborating with some great institutions to do some important teaching and reflection on our craft, and I’d love for you to join me! The first will be an opportunity for a more intimate gathering, and the second will be one of the best mega-worship conferences on earth. Writing Songs for Today’s Church Trinity School for Ministry (Ambridge, PA) | January … Read More