Free eBooks and Music

Free books

Who likes free stuff?  I do!  Here are some free ebooks and a free song that David C Cook is advertising today:

He is Risen by Paul Baloche (song)

The Pastor’s Kid by Barnabas Piper

Be Complete: Colossians by Warren Wiersbe

Seeing Through the Fog by Ed Dobson

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Worship Matters Reading Schedule

Here is the Worship Matters (by Bob Kauflin) reading schedule for all you Oasis music worship team members, worship team “understudies”, and anyone else who is interested.

Fall Quarter

October 28th: Chapters 1-3
November 4th: Chapters 4-5
November 11th:  Chapters 6-7
November 18th: Chapters 8-10
November 25th: No Practice
December 2nd: Chapters 11-13

Winter Break: Finish Reading Part Two (Chapters 14-17)

Winter Quarter

January 6th: Chapters 14-17
January 13th: Chapters 18-19
January 20th: Chapters 20-22
January 27th: Chapters 23-25
February 3rd: Chapters 26-27
February 10th: Chapters 28-29
February 17th: Chapters 30-32

Worship Team Relationships (2)

The chapter on having right relationships within the worship team itself in Worship Matters focuses on the care for one another beyond making good music together.

So often we get caught in the routine of serving that we neglect the relationships within the team we serve.  I know I can be guilty of this at times.  For me, it is easier to “get down to business” and then get out of there so I can do more business.  As a balancing word, we do need to make sure we get “business” done efficiently and effectively, but we should also make sure that we maintain the care for one another and the relationships as well.

A couple other areas that stood out to me were the points on evaluating & encouraging your team.  I would like to take a more active role in doing that not only for the music team but for all those in service.  This way we can continue to improve and build each other up.

Chapter 30 – Your Team is laid out in the following manner:

  • Establishing Your Team – Different Roles, Team Standards, Level of Commitment
  • Encouraging Your Team
  • Equipping Your Team – Theological Growth, Musical Growth, Rehearsals
  • Evaluating Your Team – Musical Presentation, Character, Gifting
  • Enjoying Your Team

Here are a few quotes that stood out to me in the chapter:

“As a leader, you provide oversight for the team not only musically but spiritually…you don’t have to be on staff to care for people’s souls.  It just means your concerns extend beyond making good music.  When it comes to your team members, you’re just as sensitive to the state of their hearts as you are to the precision of the notes they’re playing” (p 230).

“In the New Testament, those who lead are held to a stricter standard for character (1 Timothy 3:2-12; Titus 1:5-9; James 3:1)…[musicians] presence in front of the congregation…implies that their life is worthy of emulation – not flawless, but demonstrating the fruit of the gospel.  When that’s not true, the church gets the message that worship is more about music than the way we live…Worship is not a gig.  It’s an overflow of a life devoted to the glory of Jesus Christ” (p 230).

“Consistent evaluation, given graciously and clearly, pops the bubble of self-exaltation and self-pity” (p 237).

“Being an artist is no justification for sin.  If I care about my team, I’ll hold them accountable to pursue godly character and will help them grow…Their godly attitude is more important to me than their great musicianship” (p 238).

Worship Team Dynamics

I have listened to a couple audio messages by Bob Kauflin from the Sovereign Grace Worship Team Training Resources website.  The messages are from the Practical Foundations for Worship series.  They are: “Leading and Feeding Your Team” and “Heart Attitudes for the Worship Team”.

Leading and Feeding Your Team

This message is directed primarily at those who are taking the lead within the music team.  It deals with relationships between the leader and the team, team members and one another, the worship leader and the pastor, the bringing on of new members, discipline within the team, rehearsal practices, and more.

I recommend that those who are taking the lead in a worship team listen to this message.  It wouldn’t be bad if others in the team listen to the message as well.

Heart Attitudes for the Worship Team

This message is very well put together and I highly recommend it for all those in the area of music ministry.  It’s principles also stretch to people involved in other areas of church service.   Bob examines the proper heart attitudes needed to properly and biblicaly serve, especially in a public area of ministry.

It is a good way to check with the Lord about our own heart condition and attitude – confessing & repenting where short.  I highly recommend those in ministry listen to this message.

Healthy Worship Tensions (2)

Chapters 21 & 22 in Worship Matters were quick reads that on the surface seemed to apply more to those who worry about the “theory” of how worship should be handled.  In particular, “internal and external” and “vertical and horizontal” worship.  Though they seemed more theoretical, the chapters did offer some tips or thoughts that could be worked with by a worship team and pastor to help the congregation enter into a higher degree of biblical worship.

Chapter 21: Internal & External

This chapter largely dealt with the bodily expression, or lack thereof, within the church while worshipping the Lord.  There were four areas that the author hit when describing why people may not be that expressive in singing and some tips for those areas.  The tips could be helpful for leaders to take into consideration in order to help the congregation.  I especially like the last paragraph I have quoted as it is a constant reminder to me and others in leadership about leading by example.

“While heart worship is most important, what we do with our bodies isn’t irrelevant or unimportant…Biblical praise is normally expressed, spoken, and observable.  That’s why David says, “My heart is steadfast, O God!  I will sing and make melody with all my being!” (Psalm 108:1)  That’s why the Psalms are filled with exhortations not only to proclaim god’s greatness but to express his greatness with our bodies…Here are four guidelines to consider as you lead your church in this area” (pp 169-170).

1. Direct People’s Attention to God and the Gospel

“Our bodies naturally respond to what affects our souls…God-honoring expressiveness in corporate worship begins with clearly seeing the One we worship.  When we grasp the majesty of God, the mercy of the Savior, and the meaning of our salvation, we’ll be more inclined to respond with physical expressions of worship” (p 170).

2. Teach About the Appropriateness and Limitations of Physical Expression

“Some Christians are simply unaware that physical responsiveness to God in worship is encouraged and modeled throughout Scripture.  Various physical actions can bring God glory, including clapping, singing, bowing, kneeling, lifting hands, shouting, playing instruments, dancing, and standing in awe (Psalms 47:1; Exodus 12:27; Psalm 95:6; 134:2; 33:1; 150:3-4; 33:8).  These expressions don’t all have to be evidenced every time we gather” (p 171).

3. Address Hindrances to Physical Expression in Worship

“If your church is generally unexpressive in worship, there could be a number of reasons that you or your pastor could address.  Some restrict their responses to God because they’re afraid of what others might think…Some godly Christians have too narrow a view of what constitutes an appropriate response to God…Another hold back on outward expressiveness because of a thoughtful concern for others.  They don’t want to do anything that will distract people from focusing on the glory of Christ.  That leads to a final point” (p 172).

4. Teach Consideration of Others

“Expressiveness has its limitations.  Our highest priority when we gather with the church is not our own personal expressiveness but the privilege of serving others (1 Corinthians 14:12; 13:1-8).  Individuals should be following your example and direction in the area of expressiveness, not breaking into lout shouting and enthusiastic dancing just because they feel like it…At the same time, more reserved members shouldn’t assume that expressive individuals are hypocritical, seeking attention, or rude.  They might want to consider what they can learn from the unhindered and sincere expressiveness that they see” (p 172).

“People in your church will learn the most from what is modeled by you and the other leaders.  Churches rarely rise above the level of their leaders in expressiveness and genuine engagement.  That’s the way God designed the church” (p 173).

Chapter 22: Vertical & Horizontal

I found this chapter to be a good reminder the church and the Christian life is not “all about me” or “all about me and God” but about God, others, and me.

“Why do we need to be reminded that worship begins and ends with God, is about God, and is for God?  Isn’t it obvious?  Apparently not.  Most of the time when we think about worship, we start with what we do.  Our intentions are noble…[but] we assume that acceptable worship ultimately depends on our efforts, sincerity, or gifts.  It doesn’t.  It never will” (p 176).

Worship is God’s gift of grace to us before it’s our offering to God.  We simply benefit from the perfect offering of the Son to the Father through the power of the Spirit (Ephesians 2:18).  Worship is our humble, constant, appropriate, glad response to God’s self-revelation and his enabling invitation” (p 177).

“One of the primary ways we worship God is through proclaiming his glories, perfections, and works.  But another equally significant way we worship God is through building one another up through encouragement and blessing.  Different activities, but eh same end…The New Testament Christians gathered in large part to strengthen each other for the purpose of glorifying God in their daily lives [Hebrews 10:24-25]…Everything in our time together has [the] same purpose: “building up.”  Even our songs of praise are a way we minister to each other for God’s glory.  That’ evident from Ephesians 5:19, where Paul says we’re to be “addressing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs,” while at the same time “singing and making melody to the Lord.”” (p 178).

Healthy Worship Tension Teaser

I’ve started section three of Worship Matters called Healthy Tensions.  This first chapter is called “Guiding Principles”.  I found it to be a teaser for another nine chapters.  It also lays out our need to not get stuck on “our way” of doing things but also not to go to an anarchy approach of “any way is a good way” of doing things mentality.  This last statement will be explained more in the following excerpts and my listing of the nine healthy tensions that will be examined in the book & possibly in my future blogs.

“As the number of Sovereign Grace churches increased, we had to ask some questions: Are we doing what we do on Sundays because it’s biblical, or is it just our preference or simply what we’ve always done?  Is there a scriptural or normal order of service that churches should follow?” (p 153)

“Why is it so difficult to figure out what God wants us to do when we get together?  I can think of a few reasons.

First, although every generation and church is responsible to weigh its practices and traditions against the unchanging authority of God’s Word, God hasn’t been quite as specific in this area as some of us would prefer.  The Bible doesn’t give an order of service in this area as some of us would prefer…

Second, we tend to read the Bible through the grid of our own practices and preferences…Whether a tradition is three hundred, thirty, or three years old, the danger is the same.  We start with Scripture but eventually invest ultimate authority in our own traditions and views.

Third, some Christians think God hasn’t said anything about how we should worship him.  I call this the Whatever Principle.  It says that we can worship God any way we want.  The emphasis is on our own ideas and personal expression.  The problem with this line of thinking is that God has given us a number of examples and commands in Scripture that clearly communicate what he wants us to do when the church meets.  We’re to pray…Pastors are to preach and explaining God’s Word…We’re to sing praises to God…God hasn’t told us everything, but he certainly hasn’t been silent on the subject” (pp 154-155).

“With deep respect for those who’ve gone before us, in our church we attempt to follow three principles for ordering our services: 1. Do what God clearly commands. 2. Don’t do what God clearly forbids. 3. Use scriptural wisdom for everything else.

We’ll always be learning, always, improving, always seeking to learn from others how we can more effectively magnify the greatness of God in Jesus Christ when we gather” (p 155).

“There are several aspects of worship that we view, or at least practice, differently.  Rather than just endlessly discussing disagreements, we try to learn what the other might have that we don’t.  We’re trying to embrace what I call the healthy tensions of worship…My goal in examining these tensions is not so much to become balanced as it is to understand, pursue, and enjoy all the ways God has enabled us to worship him…Allen Ross says: ‘There is no reason for individual churches to change everything they have been doing; but there is every reason for all congregations to evaluate everything they are doing to see how they can do it better.'” (pp 156-157).

Ok, now for a sneak peek of the upcoming nine tensions to be discussed in the book and for me to consider blogging about:

  1. Transcendent and Immanent
  2. Head and Hearth
  3. Internal and External
  4. Vertical and Horizontal
  5. Planned and Spontaneous
  6. Rooted and Relevant
  7. Skilled and Authentic
  8. For the Church and for Unbelievers
  9. Event and Everyday