WorshipGod11 Audio Messages

WorshipGod11 Conference - Audio Messages

I thought I would post links to the audio messages (free download) from the WorshipGod11 conference that Aubrey and I attended this year. These messages were/are really good and I would highly recommend them to anyone.

Gathering to Behold

2 Corinthians 3:18

Ray Ortlund is lead pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He holds a Ph.D. from The University of Aberdeen, Scotland. In addition to a number of essays and articles, he has published five books. He participated in The New Living Translation and the English Standard Version of the Bible, and wrote the notes to the book of Isaiah in the ESV Study Bible. Ray is the President of Renewal Ministries, a Regional Director in The Acts29 Network, and serves on the council of The Gospel Coalition.

Gathering to Rehearse (the Gospel)

Isaiah 6:1-8

Bryan Chapell is President of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Professor of Practical Theology. His insightful Bible teaching can be heard daily via the internet on Living Christ Today. He is the author of many articles and numerous books, including Christ-Centered Preaching and Christ-Centered Worship. Bryan and his wife, Kathleen, have four children and live in Memphis, Tennessee.

Gathering to Hear

1 Timothy 4:11-16

Thabiti Anyabwile is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. He has written numerous books, including The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors and What Is a Healthy Church Member? He also shares his musings and perspectives at his blog, Pure Church. Thabiti and his wife Kristie have three children.

Gathering to Edify

1 Corinthians 14:1-33, Ephesians 4:15-16

Bob Kauflin is the director of worship development for Sovereign Grace Ministries. Bob was a writer and arranger for the group GLAD from 1976 to 2006, and is one of the worship leaders at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He blogs at worshipmatters.com, and his book, Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God, was released in 2008 by Crossway. He and his wife, Julie, have six children and ten grandchildren.

Gathering to Commission

1 Peter 2:9

Craig Cabaniss is the senior pastor of Grace Church in Frisco, Texas, near Dallas. His winsome and biblical preaching has been a favorite of WorshipGod conferences in past years. He and his wife, Ginger, have four children.

NOTE: The bios above came from the materials we received at the WorshipGod11 conference and the message titles link to a page on the Sovereign Grace Ministries website where you can download and/or listen to the sermons.

Pursuing Excellence

Excellence

My wife and I recently had the privilege of attending WorshipGod11, a praise & worship conference hosted by Sovereign Grace. It was a great time of worshiping God among 2000 or so other people who were all (mostly) involved in music. So as you can image the praise & worship music was excellent! There were also many practical application sessions that taught various topics like vocal technique, team organization, song selection and even some techie topics like sound equipment and stage volume. The amount of good, solid teaching was overwhelming and Bob Kauflin said during the last session of the conference to NOT take everything home and try to implement it all at once. We are however going to begin trying some of the things we learned. Not just because they are cool or neat, but because we are called in scripture to excellence.

Called to Excellence

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Colossians 3:15-17

So in whatever we do, including leading music on Sunday morning, we should do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. Does that really call us to excellence though? For me it does. If you understand who Jesus is, who God is, the one who created everything by His very word [Genesis 1:1], the one by whom all things are held together [Colossians 1:17] then it should change your perspective about just who you are worshiping. This isn’t the president of the United States we are singing to, this is the God of the universe! We should present the very best that we can possibly muster to honor this awesome being.

In addition to the magnitude of who we are worshiping, we should also remember what He has done. The NIV translation of the bible has headings over certain sections. Above the Colossians section quoted above is the label, “Living as Those Made Alive in Christ.” We have been made alive! We were dead in our sins and Christ died [John 3:16] and was raised from the dead [Romans 8:11] so that we could live, all because He loves us. This awesome, magnificent, holy God is also a personal God who loves you. We should offer our very best to Him because of His great love for us and the gratitude that should generate in our hearts.

So What Is Excellence?

“Excellence is the process of becoming better than I once was. I’m not to become better than someone else or even like someone else. Excelling is simply, and radically, the process of improving over yesterday…”
Harold Best
Dean – Wheaton College Conservatory of Music

I like Harold Best’s description here because it boils excellence down to a journey, not a finish line. Excellence is not being the best guitarist in your church. It is not that you can sing for the opera or a pop album or play the piano like Vladimir Horowitz. It may include all or some of those things, but probably not. When we start comparing our skills and talents to those of other people we begin to judge. It may be ourselves that we are judging or the other people, but in either case it can lead to non-edifying thoughts and behaviors. If we are going to compare ourselves to anyone it should be to Christ. In that scenario the only outcome is to realize how vast the difference is, how great is the grace extended to us and to start moving down the road to being more Christ-like.

Wait a minute, Christ played the guitar!? I don’t have an actual scriptural reference to confirm or deny that, but I’m sure if the devil did go down to Georgia and challenge Jesus to a music duel there would be no contest. I think the point I’m trying to make is that whether it is in playing or singing skillfully, knowing the word of God, loving others as ourselves, being generous or being thankful – whatever the case – we should always be moving towards becoming better than we once were.

2011 New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! It is once again that time; time to make resolutions, promises and goals that we’ll never keep. I’m sure all of the health clubs out there love January because of the most likely number one resolution made: lose weight. I considered skipping this year, but I’ve been doing this for several years now and have actually made good progress towards goals that I wanted to keep. So here I am once again, making my list. Without further ado.

1. Die

Yes, you read it right. My number one resolution this year is die, but not in the natural, mortality sense. I hope to work this year on dying to my self (not myself but my “self”).

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?
Luke 9:23 – 25

That was Jesus speaking… you know God incarnate, the creator of the universe and everything in it. What does that mean, “take up their cross daily”? The cross was the means of carrying out Jesus’ death sentence. So we must kill ourselves every day? In Romans it says:

…count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11

So what does it mean to “count yourselves dead to sin”? I’m positive that I don’t have the complete picture. I do know that I love God and want to be in His perfect will, so I will be striving to live this out in my life. How? By attempting to put myself aside. By considering others higher than myself. By serving the needs of my wife, my children, my family, my friends, my church. We humans are extremely self-serving creatures. God knows that this is destructive in our lives and He asks us to lay it aside so that He can give us life more abundantly.

2. Practice My Talents

…more specifically, the piano. God has given us all talents and we should be striving for excellence in those talents, whether that means serving people, encouraging people, administering, cleaning or playing the piano. I have realized that I play the piano every Sunday (almost) and have gotten somewhat lax (ok, completely lax) in my practice. I don’t take regular time to fine tune the talent that I use to praise and worship my God and King. I am resolving to fix that this year and make it a regular habit of practicing my instrument.

3. Marathon #2!

Yes, I completed my very first marathon this past year (November 14, 2010). That is the health/fitness goal that I am most proud of. This year I would like to repeat the feat. However, my new goal for this year will be to complete the marathon and NOT collapse at the end resulting in an E.R. visit. Of course that means I need to get back on my feet and start training again, but I’ve had some physical setbacks via my right foot being injured.

4. Get Rid of the Gut

I seriously thought last year that training for and completing a marathon (26.2 miles) would result in this stupid gut or spare tire disappearing from my midsection. Seriously! I was woefully mistaken, however, and the gut remains. So while last year I quietly included this into the “running a marathon” goal, it gets its very own resolution this year. This also means that I will need to specifically target my midsection with exercise that is not just running. Look out six pack abs, here I come!

5. Pay Off Debt

This will continue to be a resolution until it is all gone. I absolutely hate being in debt to other people and count myself as a slave to creditors, without financial freedom, until such time as I pay that last bill and shed the shackles of debt. We have done well this past year, but I plan on attacking debt with a vengeance this year. It needs to get gone!

So there you have it, my 2011 New Year’s Resolutions. Do you have any resolutions this year?