When Worship Music Is Neither

Plugging in the amps has unplugged the purpose of musical worship

“Too many of us are going to shows, not church. We savor presentations, not prayers. We are presented with performers, and we are less concerned with seeking the Savior. People are encouraged to love the worship… but how often to love Jesus?”   My wife and I were a little late for church one Sunday... Continue Reading

The Gospel According to Taylor Swift

Here’s the crucial turning point, the good news according to Taylor Swift. “She found herself.”

The end of “Out of the Woods” makes sense to people today. If the highest purpose of life is to discover yourself, then everything – including our relationships – must be reoriented to that view of self-discovery and self-exploration. The dissolution of the relationship is now a good thing if it prompts that crucial moment of... Continue Reading

The 12 Best Christmas Music Videos of 2015

God laughs from His throne as Google and Facebook spread the good news of Jesus birth.

I’m not recommending that these songs replace any of the songs in your favorite psalter hymnal. However, I’m in awe as I reflect on what God did in Bethlehem — when an army of angels interrupted the silent night to announce Christ’s birth to the shepherds. And I’m amazed at what our Heavenly Father continues to do to glorify His... Continue Reading

5 Reasons We Should Sing Passionately & Loudly in Church

Music, for millennia, has been an integral part of corporate worship

“Singing together is a picture here on earth of the hope of heaven where every tribe, tongue and nation will sing to God. Throughout history, God’s people have both discovered and affirmed their solidarity in times of celebration and in times of tragedy through singing.”   Each week, upwards of 100 million people in America... Continue Reading

Perhaps The Best Contemporary Worship Song Ever Written

In a day and age when most traditional churches exclusively sang psalms, Isaac Watts (1647-1748) became a fervent contemporary writer of hymns

Many of his hymns, which are now very traditional, have richly blessed the church. Perhaps none has been so beloved as his famous song written to assist men and women in preparing for the table of the Lord, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” This hymn was based on the doctrine found in Galatians 6:14, “But far be... Continue Reading

Hymns We Should Sing More Often: O Word of God Incarnate

O Word of God Incarnate works well as a prayer of illumination or a prelude to it

I am always looking for good songs that can lead us into the preaching of God’s word, and this hymn does the trick. O Word of God Incarnate works well as a prayer of illumination or a prelude to it. It fits well into Sunday morning liturgy immediately before the sermon because it centers its... Continue Reading

A Songwriting Rant

The fault lies partly with the worship leaders who choose drivel

“Many modern songs are scatty, cloying, fluffy, incoherent, repetitive, flighty, bumbling, empty, careless, shallow, heretical, repetitive, nauseating, anaemic or repetitive. The fact that they nevertheless make their way into our times of corporate worship is not primarily the fault of the songwriters.”   I’m a huge fan of contemporary worship music. I don’t even apologise... Continue Reading

6 Reasons We Shouldn’t Use Hymnals Anymore

...and why I don't find any of those reasons compelling.

“Hymnals are intended to be a collective statement of faith for the denomination or group that adopts it. The theological content of our singing is certainly stronger when we have a primary resource that’s been examined, vetted, and solidified on that basis.”   A year ago yesterday I wrote a post about hymnals. A lot of people read... Continue Reading

Hymns We Should Sing More Often: Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

Unfortunately, for a growing number of churches, there are no hymnals in the pews (or on the chairs), and consequently there is little opportunity to draw from the deep well of Christian hymnody.

“Guide Me, O My Great Jehovah” is Williams’ most famous hymn. It compares the life of the believer with that of the Israelites during their 40 year wilderness wanderings in the “barren land”, and makes illusions to manna (“bread of heaven”), the crystal fountain, the fire and cloudy pillar, the Jordan River, and crossing over... Continue Reading

The Glory of Historic Hymns

Omitting older hymns in our gatherings silences the rich voices of church history

“When I mention historic hymns, maybe you cringe as you recall a “worship war” in your local church. Maybe you’re eager to only sing the old hymns. Or maybe you wonder why it is important at all. My aim is not to renew local church disputes or bolster mere sentimentality, but to commend something else... Continue Reading