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Posts from — September 2011

Tips for Family Worship

Every so often at my church, we have an all-family service where the kids join the adult service. Usually this is on major holidays (Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.), but we have a few others scattered throughout the year. I know it’s sometimes a challenge for parents with small children, though I have to say the kids are generally pretty well behaved and they’ve improved at sitting still since we first started doing this a couple years ago.

Last week, one of the children’s ministry committee members asked me to make an insert for our weekly bulletin that would help prepare parents prepare for our next all-family service. I thought the tips were worth sharing; if you’d like a copy of the insert, it’s linked at the bottom of the post.

Tips for Helping Your Child Worship at Church

  • Take your child to the restroom before service.
  • Arrive early enough to find a good place to sit.
  • Pray with your child, asking God to help both of you listen, learn about, and worship God.
  • Help your child find the Scripture reference for the sermon in his/her Bible. Explain that these are words from God and that the pastor is going to be teaching us about them today!
  • Ask your child to listen for key words.
  • Listen for details from the sermon that you can ask your child about afterward, and then talk about them on the way home. Encourage your child to think of a question to ask you.
  • Help children follow along in the Bible or hymnal. Use your finger under the text.

How do we worship God in church?

  • We worship God by singing praises to Him. The words we sing speak of how wonderful God is and what He has done for us. Singing helps us show our faith and joy in God.
  • We worship God by praying to Him. Sometimes our prayer is a silent one, in our hearts, each one alone. Other times, we pray silently while the pastor is praying aloud to God. Sometimes we pray aloud together.
  • We worship God by giving to Him when we give money at church. God uses the money to help other people learn about Him. God says that when we give, we should give with glad hearts because we love Him.
  • We worship God by listening to what He says. God speaks to us when the pastor reads the Bible and when he explains the Bible to us. God is pleased when we listen to His word and take it into our hearts.
  • We worship God by being quiet. When we are quiet we can think about God, how wonderful He is, and how good He is. This helps our hearts and minds get ready to worship God because we are thinking about Him, and not other things.

Download the insert

(Tips slightly adapted from First Evangelical Presbyterian Church)

September 30, 2011   No Comments

For National Coffee Day

In honor of National Coffee Day, I point you towards the handy Perfect Pour Coffee Poster by Plaid. It’s been around for over a year now, but I’m partial to it as it was the first piece of wall art I put up in my place. 🙂

Additionally, you could refresh yourself with some John Piper coffee!

See the poster details on Plaid

(Top Image, Bottom image)

September 29, 2011   No Comments

Modern hymns from Page CXVI

Regular readers of this blog know my appreciation for modern hymns — both completely new ones and old ones re-arranged to make timeless truths accessible to this generation. Page CXVI is a modern hymn project that does both these things very well.

In preparation for their fourth album release on October 4th, Page CXVI is releasing a new track on their blog every Tuesday. I particularly love this beautiful arrangement of Amazing Grace, which inventively combines the new and familiar:

Also check out their giveaway of several free tracks from earlier albums.

Visit the Page CXVI website and blog and be encouraged!


September 27, 2011   No Comments

Jeremy Begbie: Theology through the Arts

I appreciated watching pianist and theologian Jeremy Begbie use musical examples from Rachmaninov, Chopin, Bach, Beethoven, and Schumann to illustrate theological and leadership concepts.

Begbie specializes in the interplay between theology and the arts. For an introduction to his work and thought, check out this excellent interview where he discusses music in worship, how to think about music theologically, music and technology, advice to young Christian musicians, and more:

Additionally, Begbie has authored a number of books on music and theology:

September 26, 2011   No Comments

Worship: Two Important Things

“If a person has a right opinion about God, the person can form a correct opinion about God’s attributes and thus can praise or glorify God correctly.

Now let’s go back to the word worth. This good Anglo-Saxon word might have been used to express the essence of “glory” in the English language had the French word gloire predominated. Glory was the Norman word, and the Normans were the new nobility. So we speak of “glorifying God” rather than “worth-ifying him,” though the idea of assigning worth to God remains in our
word “worship.” The ideas are the same. To glorify God is to acknowledge his worth-ship, which is what praising him also means. So, philologically speaking, the glory of God, the worship of God, and the praise of God are indistinguishable.

This means that the first and most important thing to be said about true worship is that it is to honor God. If what we call worship is not God-centered and God-honoring, it is not worship.

Yet worship also has a bearing on the worshiper. It changes the person. This is the second most important thing to be said about worship. No one ever truly comes to know, honor, praise, or glorify God without being changed in the process.”

-James Montgomery Boice, What Ever Happened to the Gospel of Grace?


September 25, 2011   No Comments

Music from a Dry Cleaner

If only doing laundry were always this fun.

Diego Stocco is a sound designer / composer whose talents have been featured on everything from Contagion to Sherlock Holmes to The Tudors. Check out more of his work on this Take 5 digital arts interview or another of his “music from anything” projects such as Music from a Tree.

September 24, 2011   No Comments

Partifi: Create Parts from Scores

Musicians, take note: Anyone who has had to create a part from a score knows it’s a time-consuming pain. Who knows — maybe in a few years we’ll all be accessing and reading our music via the iPad.

But in the meantime, check out Partifi. This free web-based tool automatically creates parts from musical scores. Partifi supports importing from IMSLP, or you can upload your own PDF . I’ve already saved hours and avoided paper cuts with this tool; and with Christmas coming up soon I’m sure I’ll be returning often!

Visit Partifi.

September 23, 2011   No Comments

C.S. Lewis: What Happened on the Way to the Zoo

According to George Sayer’s biography Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis, C.S. Lewis’ conversion to Christianity happened 80 years ago today (September 22, 1931) during a motorcycle trip on the way to the zoo.

This video clip dramatizes sections of Lewis’ autobiography Surprised by Joy that describe the long process of his conversion, including the impact of J.R.R. Tolkien, G.K. Chesterton, and an atheist:

For more on C.S. Lewis’ life, see John Piper’s biographical talk, Lessons from an Inconsolable Soul, and the documentary, C.S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia.

Update: The above clip is from the PBS special “The Question of God: Sigmund Freud & C.S. Lewis.” (Thanks, Prof. Salzman!)

September 22, 2011   2 Comments

Composer Dopplegangers

This composer-celebrity wall of fame done by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra is tons of fun. I hadn’t seen any of these besides the Shostakovish-Harry Potter one, which you’ve got to admit is uncanny:

Another favorite:

Check out the entire wall of fame.

September 21, 2011   2 Comments

A few new worship resources

A few new worship resources that have come my way in the past couple of days are well worth checking out. (For more resources, see this post.)

My Song in the Night

A new website from Bobby and Kristen Gilles (of Sojourn Music) that focuses on songwriting and church communications.

Highlights so far:

Visit My Song in the Night.

Avoiding Convenience: A Word to Hymn Writers

An article from Fernando Ortega that, while aimed at songwriters, offers wisdom for anyone wanting to think more deeply about the words we sing on Sundays. An excerpt:

There are so many Biblical scenes to choose from that would make for beautiful songs: the transfiguration of Christ, the feeding of the five thousand, the woman at the well, the stoning of Stephen, water baptism, washing of the disciple’s feet, the betrayal of Judas. If just a few good modern hymn writers tackled some of these subjects, the anguish that untold thousands of music ministers suffer weekly could be greatly diminished.

Also includes a beautiful recording of the hymn Come Down, O Love Divine. Read the entire article.

Two Articles via Getty Music

  • Reprint of an old, but still timely, article from composer JAC Redford that calls for a Christian renaissance in the arts. An excerpt:

    “Where are the creative men and women – the writers, the artists, the filmmakers – who will capture the imagination of our confused world in the name of Christ? Where are those who will expose by their work the vanities and contradictions of our age, and affirm with all the skill they can muster that only in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge?”

    . . . On first reading these words, my reaction was simply: “Where do I sign up? Lord, let me be one of those artists!” These thoughts have since risen to a torrent of ideas with their source in a long held and deeply felt vocation in music. I’m grateful for this opportunity to put some of them into print . . . What we need is a fresh work of God, a “new song,” radical revival from the roots up and the inside out. And I believe we also need a Christian renaissance in the arts to drive God’s truth home to the hungry heart of secular man.

    Read the entire article.

  • Isaac Watts: The Reformer You Know by Heart but Not by Name, by Mike Cosper. A few thoughts on why Watts should matter to worship leaders and many others today. An excerpt:

    This is one of the most interesting facts about Watts; he was the consummate pastoral artist. He found the English Psalms written by his contemporaries to be wanting for their lack of beauty. He wrote many times about the power of poetry to stir emotions, and it serves as a reminder that worship should not only be concerned with truth. It should also be beautiful. The Psalms themselves are magnificent poems. New Testament hymns like Colossians 1 and Philippians 2 are beautiful and poetic, and the work of the pastor should include wrestling with language that illumines the beauty of the gospel and the glory of Jesus. But we can also see that beauty is a servant of truth—it is put to use for the sake of illuminating and illustrating the truth, not for its own sake.

    Read the entire article.


September 20, 2011   3 Comments