Category Archives: Articles on Worship

Thanksgiving: The Primary Worship Response

Thanksgiving: The Primary Worship Response

In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln established an annual national holiday of Thanksgiving to be observed on the last Thursday in November. Most of us look forward to this holiday, a day on which we eat good food, enjoy time with family and friends, and perhaps watch some football. And we will probably set aside at… Continue Reading

A Song of Corporate Worship

A Song of Corporate Worship

This entry is part of 3 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week in our discussion of Psalm 130 for today, we saw that this is one of seven of the penitential psalms, psalms that express repentance from sin and a call to God for mercy. Yet this is not simply an expression of individual repentance; this psalm is meant to be used in the context… Continue Reading

A Song of Penitence

A Song of Penitence

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Psalm 130 is one of seven psalms that church tradition has labeled the “penitential psalms” (6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143), another way of saying “songs of repentance.” This penitential psalm includes all of the necessary elements of heartfelt confession to the Lord. The psalm has four stanzas, each progressively expressing true repentance. In… Continue Reading

Should We Sing Repentance?

Should We Sing Repentance?

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

First John 1:9 commands us as Christians to regularly confess our sins to God as part of our progressive sanctification: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Here is a simple, clear statement of our need for repentance. We should… Continue Reading

The People’s Work: A Reformation Recovery

The People’s Work: A Reformation Recovery

This year we celebrate the 500 year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, a theological movement that restored many biblical doctrines and emphases that had been lost or confused during the Middle Ages. Men like John Huss, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, Martin Bucer, John Calvin, Thomas Cranmer, and others recovered doctrines like justification by faith alone… Continue Reading

Drawing Near to God as the Essence of Worship

Drawing Near to God as the Essence of Worship

In order to grasp the essence of Christian worship, we must start in the beginning. Creation provides the foundation for understanding not only the nature of God and mankind but also the substance of their relationship in worship. God, the sovereign Initiator, publicly revealed himself through what he made. The creation itself displays his nature… Continue Reading

Sincerity and Profanity

Sincerity and Profanity

This entry is part 20 of 26 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Many pastors and Christian leaders believe they are purifying Christianity and worship when they remove any kind of formality from corporate worship. Formal dress, an exalted tone in prayer, or reverent music are eschewed for a more casual and informal approach. They appear to believe that retaining forms that are not immediately recognizable or penetrable… Continue Reading

But we never talk like that in real life!

But we never talk like that in real life!

It appears today that “authenticity” has become the most important virtue. In one sense this is good. Hypocrisy is a vice condemned by Scripture (Mathew 23:27). I often think about this with regard to my children. Never would I want them to watch me act one way in public with others and think to themselves,… Continue Reading

Pastors – Become Literate in Christian Culture

Pastors – Become Literate in Christian Culture

When the topic of music and worship comes up, a favorite slap-down argument against thoughtful discrimination of music is that pastors need not study music to be faithful pastors. It is beside the point to say that pastors need not become art critics. If their vocation is that of shepherding the flock, it is manifestly… Continue Reading

Looking through Psalm 137, Stanza 3: Worship that Trusts in God

Looking through Psalm 137, Stanza 3: Worship that Trusts in God

This entry is part of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

It is time to complete our discussion of Psalm 137 by looking through stanza 3, verses 7–9: Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!” O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with… Continue Reading

Looking through Psalm 137, Stanza 2: Worship that is Pleasing to God

Looking through Psalm 137, Stanza 2: Worship that is Pleasing to God

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We have considered our experience as God’s people in exile through stanza 1 of Psalm 137; now look at stanza 2, verses 5–6: If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do… Continue Reading

Looking through Psalm 137, Stanza 1: Worship in a Pagan Culture

Looking through Psalm 137, Stanza 1: Worship in a Pagan Culture

This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In our study of Psalm 137 over the past several weeks, we have looked at the historical context of the psalm, the analogical relationships between the psalm and the present status of Christians, and what this psalm does aesthetically. We have seen that as pilgrims and exiles in this present world, Christians today have much to… Continue Reading

A People in Exile

A People in Exile

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I presented the historical context for Psalm 137, a context of the people of God living in exile among a pagan people. Now once again, understanding this immediate context may cause us to wonder, how in the world could this psalm be relevant for Christians today? Certainly we do not live under such depressing… Continue Reading

A Worship Catechism (15)

A Worship Catechism (15)

This entry is part 15 of 15 in the series A Worship Catechism You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

97. What is our ultimate hope? Our ultimate hope is to see God’s glory in His realized presence (Rev 21:2-3, 22:4; Joh 17:21-26), where we will behold His beauty forever (Ps 27:4, 23:6). 98. How will we commune with God in His realized presence? We will behold Him without the curse of corrupt bodies and partially… Continue Reading

The Historical Context of Psalm 137

The Historical Context of Psalm 137

This entry is part 2 of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I began a series looking at Psalm 137. I am going to do two things with the psalm; first, I will look at the psalm, and then I would like to look through the psalm and allow it to speak to us today. So let us begin by looking at Psalm 137. The psalm… Continue Reading

A Worship Catechism (14)

A Worship Catechism (14)

This entry is part 14 of 15 in the series A Worship Catechism You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

91. What are the disciplines of perpetual worship? The disciplines of perpetual worship are gratitude, discernment, fasting , and stewardship, which seek to behold, reflect, and magnify God’s glory in His works of creation, redemption and providence. 92. What does the discipline of gratitude entail? Gratitude is receiving all that is good and lawful in… Continue Reading

God’s People in Exile

God’s People in Exile

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 On the willows there we hung up our lyres. 3 For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” 4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song… Continue Reading

A Worship Catechism (13)

A Worship Catechism (13)

This entry is part 13 of 15 in the series A Worship Catechism You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

84. What are the disciplines of public worship? The disciplines of public worship are recognition, service, discipleship, and corporate worship, which seek to behold, reflect and magnify God’s glory in the society of others. 85. What does the discipline of recognition entail? Recognition is repeatedly submitting to the biblical view of our neighbor as a… Continue Reading

A Worship Catechism (12)

A Worship Catechism (12)

This entry is part 12 of 15 in the series A Worship Catechism You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

76. What disciplines will nurture faith and maintain abiding in God’s presence? We must embrace disciplines of private worship, public worship, and perpetual worship. 77. What are the disciplines of private worship? The disciplines of private worship are meditation, private prayer, and memorization, which seek to behold reflect and magnify God’s glory in solitude (Mt… Continue Reading

A Worship Catechism (11)

A Worship Catechism (11)

This entry is part 11 of 15 in the series A Worship Catechism You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

67. How is faith nurtured? Faith is nurtured through the grace-enabled practice of the spiritual disciplines (2 Pet 1:5-7). 68. What is spiritual discipline? Spiritual discipline is imposing order upon disorder to nurture communion with God (2 Tim 3:3-6). 69. What is the first purpose of the spiritual disciplines? The first purpose of the spiritual… Continue Reading