Blog

  • When we gather each week, we participate through thick and thin practices. We benefit from both and both play important parts in the liturgy. But given a choice between the two, choose thick.

    As Christ-followers, we worship the Lord through thick and thin. We worship the Lord in good times and bad, with plenty and with little, after victory and after defeat, during storms and while basking in the sun.

  • There is never “one right way” to lead the followers of Jesus in worship. Worship is a three-dimensional activity and needs to be viewed from all sides

  • After a worship service a couple of years ago, a staff person (a delightful Peruvian woman who greets everyone, both first time attendees and dearly loved regulars, with a warm South American hug) was handed a note,

  • While few of us spend much time in the Old Testament book of Leviticus, when we do we discover an exciting truth: our God loves to party. In fact, he prescribed three seasonal festivals of worship and remembrance for his people.

  • It may come as a surprise to some of us that the Holy Spirit does not take a day off. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit works on Tuesday as well as he does on Sunday mornings. Even the Tuesday a week before. Or a month before.

  • Undoubtedly the most profound miracle and mystery about worship is that when Christians gather to worship our Lord, God shows up! He is present within the praises, prayers, and reflections of his people. Paul provides my favorite description of this presence: “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.” (Colossians 3: 16).

  • Wonder

    It has been famously said (a polite way of saying that “it” has been attributed so many people we don’t know who originally said it) that “The world does not lack for wonders, only for a sense of wonder.” Those words danced through my mind last week as I walked out of an evening gathering in downtown Chicago and saw the light from the streetlamps catching thousands of falling snowflakes, turning each one into its own brief moment of shimmering beauty.

  • Revisiting Jean-Jacques von Allmen’s Liturgical Wisdom for Today’s Church

    This post is the concluding part of a three-part article “Three Theological Themes for Worship,” a condensation of a presentation given at the 2018 Symposium on Worship. This series explores Jean-Jacques von Allmen’s most generative insights and considers how they might shape the worship we prepare and lead today.

  • Revisiting Jean-Jacques von Allmen’s Liturgical Wisdom for Today’s Church

    This post is part two of a three-part article “Three Theological Themes for Worship,” a condensation of a presentation given at the 2018 Symposium on Worship. This series explores Jean-Jacques von Allmen’s most generative insights and considers how they might shape the worship we prepare and lead today.

  • Revisiting Jean-Jacques von Allmen’s Liturgical Wisdom for Today’s Church

    This post is part one of a three-part article “Three Theological Themes for Worship,” a condensation of a presentation given at the 2018 Symposium on Worship. This series explores Jean-Jacques von Allmen’s most generative insights and considers how they might shape the worship we prepare and lead today.

  • It doesn’t matter how many beautiful and well put together worship services you’ve crafted. What truly matters is how you’ve chosen to love and care for those whom God has entrusted in your worshipping congregation.

  • Healing Worship

    There’s an old image for the pastoral vocation; it can be claimed by worship leaders too. It is to be a doctor of souls . . . It means in music and spoken word and Eucharistic invitation we offer healing.

  • Without the Holy Spirit’s leadership, without Christ’s mediation, and without the Father’s glorification of himself and all three persons of the Godhead, triune God is not worshiped by his people. As God is the object of Christian worship, his subjective work is carried out in his people.

  • A healthy normal provides repetition and predictability—allowing the meaning-making character of ritual to do its work. The exceptional service, … stretching us, reminding us of God’s ability to work in surprising as well as regular ways.

  • I was struck again with the importance of the Psalms, for every stage of grief can find expressions in this book. . . . I know that at some point in the future the Psalms will also give voice to our acceptance and hope. As a community, that day seems a long way off, but the Psalms are here for us now as we journey through our grief.

    My school will never be the same.

  • The powerful work of the Holy Spirit in our places of worship is so incredibly gracious through and through and often times surprises us with unexpected glimpses of God’s grace to the people God loves so dearly.

  • Hamilton and Jesus

    I’m convinced the Church’s captivating, timeless gospel song plays most memorably in the classic liturgy, offering much-loved lyrics and phrases and its own kind of choreography.

    Nourishing a Love

    My daughter grew up delighting in music. Already as a toddler she loved to sing and dance and twirl. But a defining moment came when we booked tickets to the musical, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.

  • “Worship the Lord with reverence, and rejoice with trembling.” (Psalm 2:11)

    “…the only true and salutary joy is that which arises from resting in the fear and reverence of God.” — John Calvin, commenting on Psalm 2

  • Last month I had the opportunity to take a weeklong World Music Drumming course taught in part by Sowah Mensah.  Sowah’s native country is Ghana, but he has spent many years in the United States teaching and performing traditional West African music and dance. I was reminded of some of the wisdom he shared from his culture when I read an article this week in Christianity Today about EDM (electronic dance music) in the church.

  • Each year, on the second day of class, I give a little speech to my Intro Preaching 101 students. I tell them that I know some of them do not believe that the Holy Spirit has gifted women to preach. In their reading of scripture, women are not authorized to proclaim the Word of God. But, I continue, I am persuaded — and this class will be guided — by the conviction that they’re wrong about this. Not obtuse or ill-intentioned — just wrong.