Monday, July 30, 2007

Gospel Coalition Media

Recently Josh Malone and I attended the first Gospel Coalition Conference at Trinity Seminary. The Gospel Coalition is the start of an association of churches (maybe better stated a movement of churches) intent upon making the Gospel of Jesus Christ central. If you are interested hearing a bit about this movement you can download these videos posted recently by the "reformissionary". You can also go to the coalition site and click on media.

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Tim Keller

What do you see yourself doing in The Gospel Coalition? | m4v
What is the state of the pulpit in America today?| m4v
How does preaching affect how christians see culture?| m4v
What do you tell pastors about their family life? | m4
What ways can people learn from your teachings | m4v

Don Carson & Tim Keller

What started The Gospel Coalition? | m4v
What makes The Gospel Coalition different? | m4v
Assessing The Gospel Coalition | m4v
How were the leaders of The Gospel Coalition gathered?| m4v
What is the future of The Gospel Coalition? | m4v
What threats and challenges face The Gospel Coalition? | m4v
What causes fragmentation in evangelicalism today? | m4v

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Tim Hughes Worship Leader Tips

Tim Hughes the guy who wrote "Here I Am to Worship" had a few worship leader tips on his blog recently. There are a few good nuggets within. Below is a little segment on the importance of dynamics.

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We need to embrace musical dynamics

There can be a danger in our sung worship that we sing songs in the same way, same tempo and same musical arrangement. Pretty quickly it becomes very boring and people disengage. Let’s encourage each other to be creative and thoughtful in our song arrangements. It’s great to have the band rock out for a while, but after a number of songs there’s a danger that it can become over-bearing. Songs with just an acoustic guitar or just the piano - even just acapello. Let’s have songs that are loud and fast, songs that are powerful and emotive mixed with songs that are tender and quiet.

By working on the dynamics of the band we can keep things much fresher and more interesting. Constantly ask yourself - what is the song communicating lyrically and then ask yourself, does the music communicate a similar message. By really thinking through the musical dynamics it keeps us from doing the same old, same old.

(HT: Vitamin Z)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Gospel Centered Family Mission

This week at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis was truly revolutionary for me in many ways. One of the things I learned was what Dr. Douglass called the Johnathan Edwards principle where the indicatives empower the imperatives. I won't explain the principle right now but will say that the concept, as well as the focus on our union with Christ, convicted both Carrie and I that it was time to update our families mission and values. I post them welcoming your feedback to help refine them. They are a work in progress. I also hope they can be an encouragement to those of you who have not yet done a family mission and values. Our mission and values have been so helpful to us as we've tried to raise our children to love the Lord.


To embrace our union with Christ and one another for the purpose of glorifying God, growing by His grace, and making the message of the Gospel known to all peoples in both word and action.

  1. Love others more than yourself: A new commandment I give to you… just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34
  2. Be humble and teachable: I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:1-2
  3. Always look for ways to serve one another: For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13
  4. Respect and honor authority: Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Romans 13:1
  5. Encourage one another: Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” Romans 15:2-3
  6. Work hard, be on time, and do all things well: Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24
  7. Be grateful no matter the circumstance: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
  8. Be honest: Put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Ephesians 4:24-25
  9. Keep your mind, body, and spirit pure: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
  10. Resolve conflicts peacefully: Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:1-2
  11. Trust in God: Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Shortest Concert Ever

The band "White Stripe" performed a pre-concert show of one note. C# to be exact. Here's the article explaining it all. Thoroughly unusual, but interesting.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Luther on Our Union with Christ

Here's another quote from my Spiritual Formation course that is in true Martin Luther style. His sharp language is intended to powerfully contrast our sinfulness and the unbelievable reality that Christ took our sin on himself and, just as shocking, that he put upon us all good things and His holiness. This is known as the "double imputation" and has huge implications for how we live as Christians. More on that later...
“Christ, the rich, noble, and holy bridegroom, takes in marriage this poor contemptible and sinful little prostitute, takes away all her evil, and bestows all His goodness upon her! This means that what Christ possesses belongs to the believing soul, and what the soul possesses belongs to Christ. Thus Christ possesses all good things and holiness; these now belong to the soul. The soul possesses lots of vices and sin; these now belong to Christ.” Martin Luther

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sovereign Grace Music

Some of you at Parkview and on this blog remember my former "plug" for Sovereign Grace's CD "Valley of Vision". That project is one of my favorite worship CDs. It is filled with a bunch of great worship ballads and the killer congregational song "Let Your Kingdom Come". If you don't have it, you should get it. Anyhow, Justin Taylor had a recent post on some new stuff coming from Sovereign Grace Music that I thought I would also pass on. I'll be honest that some of SG's music doesn't really fit my style, however, the "Valley of Vision" project convinced me that it's always worth taking a look at what this gifted ministry is producing. Be sure to check em out.

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From Sovereign Grace Music:
The newest CD from Sovereign Grace Music will be our first father-son project. Titled In a Little While, the CD features twelve songs written and sung by Mark Altrogge and his oldest son, Stephen. It is planned for release in August.

You may already be familiar with some of Mark's songs—"I Stand in Awe," "I'm Forever Grateful," and "In the Presence," to name a few. You may also have heard some of Stephen's songs on recent Sovereign Grace Music projects, such as Worship God Live and Valley of Vision. But you may not know that Mark has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church in Indiana, Pennsylvania, for 25 years. His example of humble service and heartfelt worship inspired his son Stephen to play music and write songs for God's glory. In a Little While reflects Mark and Stephen's considerable talent, but it also represents of years of service in the local church.

The songs on In a Little While range from the upbeat, electric-guitar driven "At the Cross" to "Whatever My God Ordains Is Right," a gentle rendition of a seventeenth-century hymn. You can listen to song samples, and read the lyrics for all twelve songs, at our website.

You can also preview the CD with a free download of the song "All I Really Need." To download this MP3 file, visit our website and follow the instructions in the upper right corner of the page. We hope you enjoy this preview of In a Little While.
They also provide information about their new remix CD:
When we introduced Asleep in a Storm at our recent New Attitude conference, it sold out almost immediately. Our first remix CD, Asleep in a Storm takes well-known Sovereign Grace songs and refashions each one into something new, while keeping the original lyrics and vocals.

We're pleased to announce that this CD is back in stock at our online store for $10.00. If you haven't yet heard it, you can listen to song samples at our website. (For this CD only, a bulk discount is available: 30 or more copies for $8.00 each.)

Plus, you can download a free MP3 of the song "Across the Great Divide" at on our online store. (To download the song, you'll need to log in or follow the easy instructions to create an account.) Upcoming CD from Mark Altrogge and Son—Download a Free Song Now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Zone

This week I'll be throwing up some "highlights" from a class I am taking this summer at Covenant Seminary on Spiritual Formation. Here is Dr. Phillip Douglass' adaption of a quote by Marcus Buckingham regarding "the zone". The point of the quote is to illustrate the importance of us serving in our area of giftedness and how serving within our area of giftedness gives us a deep sense of fulfillment. Clearly the quote shows that most people are not experiencing this in their life and ministry.
The goal is to be engaged in our ministry, which means being so involved in your service to the Lord that you lose track of time and forget about your difficulties. Some call this "the zone” and Gallup research has found that 82% of American workers fail to experience it even once a week. Marcus Buckingham, The One Thing You Need to Know

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Arts Ministry BBQ

Word out to all Parkview Arts Ministry participants.....

You and your families are invited to attend a picnic at Lake McBride on Sunday, July 29, from 4:00 to 7:30 p.m. Please bring a salad, side dish or dessert to share. The rest of the meal and table service will be provided.

Lake McBride offers a variety of recreational opportunities. There is a swimming beach, biking/hiking trails, fishing, paddle boat rentals, playgrounds...or just hang out! We are also asking if anyone has badminton, croquet, bocce ball or volleyball equipment we could use to bring it along. We will send out the name of the shelter we have reserved in a later email.

Please R.S.V.P. (let us know either way!) by July 26 to Kristen Kufeldt or DeDe Parker

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Worship

“If I were to ask you what was the greatest activity in which the people of God could ever engage; if I were to ask you what was the highest ambition that any man or woman created by God could ever have; if I were to ask you what would remain when every other activity in this world has fallen away- what would you say?”

The answer is this: it is to offer to God acceptable worship. This is why God has formed the universe and created human beings. This is why God has sent His Son to redeem a people. This is why God is sanctifying and purifying the Church of Jesus Christ and preparing them for glory. It is in order that He might have a people who will bring Him acceptable worship. And when you focus it down to your own life, this is why God has made you. This is why God has given you a tongue and lips and a voice; this is why God has created every faculty of your being, that it might be engaged in the proper worship of Almighty God.

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (sermon quoted by Eric Alexander)

(HT: Worship Notes)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

What is Your Theological Worldview?

I do apologize for the recent randomness of my posting. My seminary class, 75th Anniversary planning, and numerous other issues have kept me from writing or reading blogs of late. Recently Zach Nielsen and then John Carlson posted their results from taking this theological worldview quiz. I was curious enough to take the quiz myself. Below are the results. I'm not surprised. You can take your quiz here.

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You scored as Reformed Evangelical, You are a Reformed Evangelical. You take the Bible very seriously because it is God's Word. You most likely hold to TULIP and are sceptical about the possibilities of universal atonement or resistible grace. The most important thing the Church can do is make sure people hear how they can go to heaven when they die.

Reformed Evangelical


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan




Neo orthodox






Classical Liberal


Roman Catholic


Modern Liberal


What's your theological worldview?
created with

EFCA Worship Leader Network

The Evangelical Free Church of America just launched a new website for the EFCA worship leaders network. Included with this site is an email list you can subscribe to in order to participate in an email messaging system. It appears the goal of the site is to resource and network worship leaders. It’s too early to tell, but this may be a great resource for those of you out there who lead worship.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Evil, Suffering, and Samuel Barber

Today, while eating breakfast, my oldest daughter asked why God created people if He knew that some would go to hell. Nothing like a little light breakfast conversation! Rather than go right to a study in Romans 9, the Lord gave me an idea.

I told Hannah I would answer her question in a few minutes after having her listen to something. I went to the computer and downloaded Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber and following breakfast, had her sit and listen to the majority of the song. Before she listened I asked her to close her eyes and try to visualize whatever the music made her feel or think about.

Once the song was over, I asked her to describe what she felt while the music played. In short she shared that the opening represented dancing, that the middle sounded like a great battle, and that the end represented peacefulness. At that point I tried to explain the principle behind Romans 9:22-23 in musical terms where consonance or resolution (God’s glory) can only be fully appreciated and understood if presented in contrast to dissonance or tension (wrath, evil, suffering). After my brief explanation Hannah’s questions were satisfied and she went about the rest of her day.

I share this experience because it really impacted me. Good music is an amazing illustration of this great mystery. The suffering and evil (the dissonance) around us accentuates the brightness and beauty (the consonance) of God’s glory. There is no question that music illustrates the powerful means by which God is glorified even in the context of a world subject to sin and condemnation.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Semper Reformanda

Semper Reformanda is an ancient maxim that means always reforming. It was an important term during the reformation when Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis to the door of the Wittenberg church. The theses were an appeal, calling the church to reform its beliefs and practices to that which is consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the scriptures. The idea behind Semper Reformanda is that the church is called to continually reform, submitting itself to the headship of Christ and the teaching of the scriptures.

The reason I wanted to meditate on this term briefly in this post is because the perpetual need for reformation is something resisted both in the life of the individual Christian and in the life of the church. It wasn’t that long ago that I fully realized how wrong I was earlier in life when I believed that there was some arrival point when the “dust would settle” and I would actually feel as though I’d fulfilled my calling and purpose in life and ministry. I have since found that my expectation was completely false. There is always going to be struggle, hardship, humbling, learning, challenges, and change. When I came to accept this reality, I quit looking for “Disneyland” and began trying to understand the immense value of the journey. With this realization my discontent relented and I actually began to see the challenges before me as opportunities to grow in Christ and depend upon Him. Of course, my admission to the need for personal reform is a confession that I have not and will never “arrive” in this lifetime. Despite this I am so thankful to now know that this life’s journey will continually lead me to the deep well of joy realized in my weakness and found God’s supply.

Within the church Semper Reformanda must also be embraced. Too often leaders in the church erect doctrinal and methodological fences that become untouchable and unquestionable. I am not suggesting that there aren’t foundational orthodox beliefs that must be fought for and maintained; however, so much of our resistance to change is often grounded in an unwillingness to be humbled and submit ourselves to the calling to always reform, always adapt, always submit, and always depend. Semper Reformanda!