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» Sermon: The Absurdity of Worship

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My pastor, R.W. Glenn, preached from Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 this past Sunday. This portion of Ecclesiastes is often quoted to teach on the blessings of worship, housing such well-known quotes as "guard your steps when you go to the house of God" and "let your words be few." To understand this passage properly we must take into account the context of the book - the main character ("the preacher") is having a temper tantrum with God. Qohelet (The Hebrew name translated "preacher" and pronounced Kowheleth) is angry with God for the apparent absurdity he sees in the world and the fact that he can't reconcile this absurdity with God's revealed nature.

The sermon helps us understand why our worship can degrade into barren, short-lived, or extremely sparse interactions with God. Too often, we fall back into relating to God on the basis of fear rather than love, living in anxiety that He will push the "smite" button on His cosmic computer for no apparent reason, even when we've apparently been faithful to appease Him by our worship.

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Download the sermon here

» Recent New Songs at Redeemer

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I thought it might be helpful to list some of the new songs that we've been learning at Redeemer Bible Church since January 1st, 2011. I think that it's a good general guideline to teach no more than one new song every other week, but this list has 12 songs in 12 weeks! This is due to the fact that four of the songs were new texts set to tunes that the people already knew, and one was a very widely known song (Indescribable). That's still 8 new tunes in 12 weeks, and this is due to the fact that our pastor was chomping at the bit to learn some of these songs as soon as possible.


Come People of the Risen King - Keith & Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend, ©2007 Thankyou Music
On the album "Awaken the Dawn" by Keith & Kristyn Getty
We're just learning this song which functions as a fantastic call to worship. There are not a lot of songs that speak so directly to the public gathering of God's people for praise. I think of this song as a modern day Rejoice, the Lord Is King... (continue reading...)

» Worship Values: Worship Must Be Theologically Deep

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[ We've been working on rewriting our mission and also creating a series of "values" about worship that will communicate our vision for what worship should be all about. While those aren't completely finalized, I think it will be helpful to share some thoughts about each value in a series of short posts. ]

What kind of worship do we want to cultivate? Third: Theologically Deep

We have already stated that we believe Christian worship should be Christ centered and biblical. As a reminder, we defined worship as "biblical" when the Bible directs our understanding and practice of worship and also drives our worship as we seek to encounter God in response to understanding Him in Scripture. If worship flows from understanding God, then it follows that the more deeply we understand God's character and works, the more deeply we can experience Him in worship. Just as the writer of Hebrews encourages us move on beyond the "milk" of elementary principles to "solid food," which is for the mature (Hebrews 5:12-14), so we should seek to make every element of our worship, from songs to sermons, characterized by a pursuit of the knowledge... (continue reading...)

» Worship Values: Worship Must Be Biblically Faithful

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[ We've been working on rewriting our mission and also creating a series of "values" about worship that will communicate our vision for what worship should be all about. While those aren't completely finalized, I think it will be helpful to share some thoughts about each value in a series of short posts. ]

What kind of worship do we want to cultivate? Second: Biblically Faithful

In our first value we pointed out that "the aim of worship is the glory of God through the glory of His Son Jesus." How do we ensure that the way in which we respond to God in worship truly honors Him? Who's to say what true worship should look like, both internally and externally? Without an objective standard for how to worship God, we would be left to the opinions of man. While it's true that God reveals Himself to us through the witness of creation and through the ministry of His Spirit directly, His revelation to us through the Bible is the only objective and sure way to know and worship Him rightly. Therefore, the Bible must not only direct our understanding and practice of... (continue reading...)

» Win a free "Merciful to Me" CD

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Eric is sponsoring a drawing for a free copy of Merciful to Me to promote the March Madness event. Check it out here. And spread the word to your friends.

» A Hymn for the People of Japan

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The 8.9 magnitude earthquake and resultant tsunami that hit Japan today brings to mind this hymn, The Fury of the Wind, the Raging of the Sea.

Let's see and hear and be humbled. Let's sing with faith. And, let's pray for the people of Japan, that by such a display of God's glory, they would be stripped of pride, and cast themselves on God's grace in Christ.



(Image source.)

» "There is No Sin" in the Sweet 16

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Thanks to everyone who voted for "There is No Sin that I Have Done" in LifeWay Worship's "March Madness" event. Thanks to your votes, the Reformed Praise song is seeded #2 in their brackets!

Please consider voting for it in their Sweet 16 line-up this week, and help spread the word about Reformed Praise.

» March Madness & Free Download at LifeWay Worship

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LifeWay Worship is offering one free download when you enter your favorite worship song in their March Madness event. The winning song will be offered as a free download for a day.

LifeWay Worship recently began distributing two Reformed Praise titles from the Merciful to Me project, "O Jesus" (Ward/Whitfield) and "There is No Sin That I Have Done" (Schumacher/Ward).

Please help us get the word out about Reformed Praise by visiting LifeWay Worship and nominating these songs.

» Worship Values: Worship Must Be Gospel Centered

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[ We've been working on rewriting our mission and also creating a series of "values" about worship that will communicate our vision for what worship should be all about. While those aren't completely finalized, I think it will be helpful to share some thoughts about each value in a series of short posts. ]

What kind of worship do we want to cultivate? First: Gospel Centered

I know that the term "gospel centered" or "cross centered" is definitely a current buzz-word, but I can think of no clearer way to succinctly communicate this foundational value. I use the word gospel here as a shorthand for the story of God's grace shown to undeserving sinners through the substitutionary death of His Son. The gospel is not simply a story about events, but rather it is a story about who Jesus is and what He has done. So to say that worship is "gospel centered" means that the central aim of Christian worship is to celebrate and cherish Jesus.

Another way to put this is to say that worship is in and for Jesus. It is in Jesus because His... (continue reading...)

» Why We Publish Simple Recordings

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Some of you who regularly visit Reformed Praise and listen to our songs might wonder why many of our songs have such crude recordings, especially compared to other publishing companies or performing artists who write or share worship songs. I thought it would be helpful to offer an apology for why we choose to publish such simple audio tracks for our songs, especially if they sometimes disappoint your sonic pallet.

If you step back and survey all of the worship songs being published or shared today, you'll really only find two publishing models. Even though I run the risk of conjuring up stylistic associations with these terms, I'm going to use the words "contemporary" and "traditional" to describe the two publishing models.

The traditional model has been around for hundreds of years: it relies largely on written music such as piano scores, hymnals, or choral music to share and distribute songs. I have worked with Hope Publishing Company and got to interview them about their business and they assured me that this method of influencing the church and getting songs out is alive and well. Hope still publishes many, many hymnals. For... (continue reading...)


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