Monday, August 24, 2009

Listening for the Glory of God

Sunday Morning, Katie Schrader did a wonderful interpretive sign that led us to think on the freedom that we have in Christ. As I watched Katie sign, I was struck by the wonderful movement and sound of the music and the power of the song's message. After the song was complete, I was ready to continue worshipping in my role of preaching and teaching as I hope that those who heard were ready to worship God through listening to His word read and exposed.

I off-handedly remarked that as we have a “Summer Reading Festival” (with the purpose of reading books to help us love Jesus more), perhaps we should begin a music or listening festival (with the purpose of listening to music hat helps us love Jesus more)!

In Seminary, I came to really appreciate the ministry of Professor Chip Stam. He was both a great teacher and worship leader. I had the good blessing to attend Clifton Baptist Church where he lead our congregation in, what he called, the singing of worship. His teaching helped me to gain a bigger understanding of the practice of worship. In congregational worship, worship is more than the singing. We worship when we read and listen to the reading of Scripture. We worship as lead and listen to prayer. We worship as we give our financial resources. We worship as we spend some moments in quiet meditation. We worship as we greet those around us in love. We worship as we leave the congregational meeting to go out and live faithfully for Christ.

Chip Stam taught me that worship is more than just the singing part of the congregational gathering and we should see each element as such.

Professor Stam also taught me to be thoughtful as I listened to and sang the music during worship. What are the words teaching me about Christ? What biblical texts are the words moving toward for further reflection? Am I experiencing the love or correction or faithfulness or holiness or greatness or etc. or etc. of God as I sing? Is the music helping me to love Christ more?

All the music we listen to causes us to think about something. Jimmy Buffet enjoys leading us to think of drinking a lot. Toby Keith leads us to think about “me, I , #1” or how America is going to kick the tails of terrorists. Snoop Dog leads us to think about illegal activities. Why is this? Songs have a message.

I believe that is why we should consistently listen to music that helps us think biblically about Jesus and encourages us to love him more and live more faithfully.

Here’s a few albums that have helped me do just that recently.

Bob Kauflin, Upward: The Bob Kauflin Hymns Project and Worship God Live

(available at ) Bob is Worship Leader at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD. He was involved in the early Contemporary Christian Music scene with the group Glad. He has a great worship blog, which you can read at The hymns album is older songs with new arrangements and the Live album gives you a feel for worship a Covenant Life Church.

Keith Green, Greatest Hits

Keith sang in the late 70’s, early 80’s. His songs still sound fresh after all these years. His songs are both worshipful and challenging. He has the most interesting voice and is a great piano player. He died in a plane crash in 1982 at the age of 28. My kids love his music!

dcTalk, Jesus Freak

dcTalk was one of the first Christian rap groups. However, this album took the group in a more decidedly “rock” direction. In 2006, a 10th anniversary addition of the album was released.

Sara Groves, Tell Me What You Know

This is one of the most thoughtful albums I have every heard. “When the Saints” and “Song for my Sons” are two of the most powerful songs I have ever heard. She has a real acoustic, folksy sound.

Caedmon’s Call, Overdressed

Again, thoughtful music in a very acoustic/pop sound. There songs never fail to help me worship and think about the Lord.

You can hear examples of these songs on the Internet by either checking them out at the artist websites or at other places.

Just wanted to remind everyone that on this Wednesday, the adults will be participating in GO Outreach. Looking to write a few cards, make some phone calls, but mostly looking for folks willing to GO out and deliver cupcakes to some folks and invite them to church or Sunday School. Look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

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