Published in 1998 by Vineyard Music, the small booklet “All About Worship: Insights and Perspectives on Worship” is a treasure trove of worship related information. The seventeen articles included in the booklet are written by fifteen passionate worships whose heart burns with the desire to share their love of God with others.
The articles themselves cover a wide range of information – from the theology of worship to practical steps in setting up a band to evangelizing the community through public worship.
- “The Life-Changing Power of Worship” by John Wimber
- “Worship: Out Highest Priority” by Rich Nathan
- “Humility, the Key to Serving in Worship” by Terry Butler
- “Putting God First” by Brian T. Anderson
- “Calling Women to Lead Worship” by Andy Park
- “Purity (A Woman’s Perspective)” by Cindy Rethmeier
- “Maintaining Purity While Working With The Opposite Sex (A Man’s Perspective)” by Andy Park
- “The Call to Worship the Father” by Brian Doerksen
- “What is Full-Time Worship Ministry?” By John Barnett
- “Performance: An Attitude of the Heart” by Danny Daniels
- “Worship Evangelism” by Mark McCoy
- “Worship Leaders from a Pastor’s Perspective” by Lloyd Rankin
- “Leaning to Lead Worship: A Beginners Guide” by Brent Helming
- “Leading Worship in a Small Group” by Brent Helming
- “Leading Worship in a Smaller Church” by Larry Myers
- “Ministry Time Worship: A Practical Point of View” by Scott Underwood
- “Serving Through Sound” by Marianne Kleine
As you can see from the above titles, having such a wide range of worship topics, it is hard to summarize this booklet in general… as such, I am going to leave you all with some selected quotes that I found particularly compelling:
Continue reading All About Worship
“Sitting around the living room having coffee and cold drinks with Christian friends, the conversation turned to a favorite topic: church bashing. Almost all criticism of church – “All I do is look at the back of other people’s heads”; “The music is out of date”; “The preaching is boring”; The pastors are selfish and manipulative”; “The staff is clueless or hypocritical” – assume that church means what happens on Sunday morning. Think about it: when have you ever heard criticisms of how the dispersed church practices its faith – expect when there is a major moral scandal of a famous Christian? It seems to me that 98 percent of church criticism has to do with one hour of the weekend.
“What if we could shift from seeing church as doing our weekend duty to seeing the historic elements of church as spiritual practices – as a springboard for a way, an order, a practice or a structure for spiritual life?”
So begins the introduction for the newest book I’m reading, “Giving Church Another Chance: Finding New Meaning in Spiritual Practices” by Todd Hunter.
Wow, such a powerful statement – that that should remind us that the hour or two when folks get together on Sunday morning is NOT the end all. Todd describes it this way in chapter one,
“Most every human activity has meetings associated with it. Corporate marketing teams meets, sports team meet, surgical teams meet, teachers meet – but none of them confuse the meetings with the real task. Meetings exist to facilitate the actual work.
“…Like most human endeavors, the church has meetings associated with it. Unfortunately, while most people do not confuse meeting with their work (the game or show), churchgoers often do.”
We need to “rethink the purpose of the meetings” – we need to change the reason we meet together as a corporate body. Instead of coming together to GET something OUT of the meetings, I believe we should come together for two main purposes:
Continue reading Confusing the Meetings with the Real Task
A lot of our preaching and teaching focuses on how to get saved – or, if you prefer different words, about the rescuing hand of Jesus who has come to deliver us from sin and death.
When we do talk about life in the Kingdom of God it is usually with the goal of getting something through applying biblical principles that are suppose to produce certain results. Or, in some streams, we talk about maintaining a ‘holy’ life full of rules designed to keep us from being polluted by the sins of the world.
It seems that very little time is given to walking with Jesus and doing what He is doing.
In his book “Christianity Beyond Belief” Todd Hunter seeks to teach us how to walk with Jesus beyond our time of rescue. It is a book that looks at the gospel of Jesus, the role of the church and our own lives with new eyes – trying to see what life would be like if we knew that we would be living tomorrow.
In one of his best quotes, Todd describes the life of a Christian accordingly:
“The Christian life is life in the kingdom, living as ambassadors of the kingdom. It is being the cooperate friends of Jesus, living in creative goodness for the sake of others through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Followers of Jesus are both friends with Jesus and ambassadors of Jesus, joining with Him to tell the world about Him through His power.
Continue reading “Christianity Beyond Belief” by Todd Hunter
The teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are full of radical and controversial concepts. Yet none of them are as controversial and unpracticed as His words to love your neighbor as yourself.
Volumes have been written throughout the course of history detailing who is and is not one’s neighbor. Or to use different words, who do I need to be nice too? And who can I hate and belittle as an enemy and still make it into heaven?
We want to know – we want to have firm rules that help peg people into nice little boxes. Boxes of friends, co-workers, family, folks-to-be-nice-too, jerks, those-who-I-wish-was-dead, and so-on-and-so-on.
Yet across this us-versus-them desire runs the clear words of Jesus:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” –Matthew 5:43-48
Clear words….we are to love and bless both those who love us and those who hate us; those who do us good and those who harm us; those who like us and those who do not.
It is this heart – the heart to love and bless people – that motivated Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis to set out on a journey across the Middle East to meet with “some unique and influential personalities who most in the United States, including the government, think of as enemies who belong on Most Wanted list.”
Continue reading “Tea With Hezbollah” by Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis
A few years ago I was sitting in a class room when the visiting professor threw out a challenge – the winner of which would receive a free book. Having a bad case of bibliophilism, I took up the challenge and ultimately won it – after chasing the professor out to his car where he was getting ready to leave (I told you, I have a very, very bad case of bibliophilism!).
The book he gave me that day in the parking lot ended up (along with some other factors) changing the way I talk, the way I view others, and basically shifted both my life and Emily’s life. This book was Carl Medearis’ first book, “Muslims, Christians, and Jesus.”
It is no wonder then that I snatched up Carl’s newest book within a week of it being published.
I was not disappointed.
“Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism” is a phenomenal book that calls Christians back to their first love, Jesus of Nazareth. It is a call back to the person of Jesus rather than the idea/beliefs of Christianity or the doctrines of the Church.
Here an example: What is the Gospel?
Seriously, stop for a moment and answer the question, “what is the Gospel?”
Continue reading Speaking of Jesus by Carl Medearis
I have long been a fan of Tri Robinson’s books – partly because I know Tri personally, and partly because I believe in what he is writing about.
This time is no different.
“Rooted in Good Soil” is an easy-to-read book full of personal stories built around the Parable of the Sower and the theme of cultivating and sustaining authentic discipleship. Only, instead of writing an exegesis of the text, Tri looks at the Parable of the Sower through the eyes of a farmer – as you can see by his chaper titles:
- Finding the Secret of the Harvest: The Condition of the Soil
- Cultivated and Broken: Repentance
- The Compost of Our Lives: Growing through the Pain
- The Planted Seed: God’s Hidden Work
- Soil, Sun, and Rain: God’s Hidden Work
- Photosynthesis: Transformed to Serve
- Symbiotic Relationships: Becoming Part of an Authentic Community
- The Trill of the Harvest: Bearing Fruit
The best part about this book for me was getting to know Tri a little better. I had heard some of the stories at one point or the other over the last eight years (I’ve even lived through some of them) – but it was quite interesting to see how God fitted them all together to shape Tri and his wife, Nancy.
All in all, it was a wonderfully refreshing look at an old parable. 🙂
Written out of the pain and the horror of the South African apartheid, this book was one of the hardest and most challenging books I have ever read.
As I sit here are write, it is hard to really put into words the depth into which the message of this book went.
I think the best thing to do is to share with two paragraphs from Venter’s book that shows the heart behind it:
“I want to mention a phrase that I learnt in the boiling pot of Soweto [the black township outside of Johannesburg] in the mid-1980s. It struck deep into my consciousness and has been part of the formation of my life. It was “doing theology.” We did not study theology, we did theology by engaging in the struggle for justice. Many pastors and academics were challenged by young black people to stop their theoretical theologizing and eloquent sermonizing about justice and reconciliation. They were challenged to get out of their ivory towers and protected places, and come down to the place of pain and struggle and “do theology” in the streets with the poor and oppressed. Doing theology in this way, and debating the contextual theological issues, was my bread and butter in the 1980s and early 1990s.
In Joweto [a place of reconciliation started by Venter within Soweto], doing theology meant that you got your hands dirty, that you learnt (authentic ) theology by coming to know God as you engaged in the praxis of identification with the poor and oppressed. In so doing, you did God’s praxis: in Jesus God stripped himself of power and glory, humbled himself by coming down from heaven to earth, to identify with human pain and suffering, and to seek and save that which was lost. There was a favorite quote of the contextual-doing-theologians that I mixed with in Soweto: “For as much as you did it to these, the least of my brethren, you did it to me” (Matt 25:40).”
Over the past year God has been doing His best to teach me to trust His hand in guiding my heart and emotions. First in October at the Vineyard Missions Leaders Meeting, then in February at the Society of Vineyard Scholars conference – and finally this month at the Vineyard National Conference (I may have to stop going to these meetings as God keeps tweaking me at them…). 😛
It was no surprise then that I snatched up Rick Evans and Jessica Fischer’s book GodSpeak: How to Hear God’s Voice Without Getting Weird as soon as I saw it.
And I’m glad I did!
Rick (the primary author) is the pastor of a Vineyard Church in Cleveland, Ohio, while Jessica is the church worship leader and a freelance editor for Moody Publishing. Together they crafted an easy to read, power packed book on hearing God’s voice within the community of believers.
As you can probably tell from the book title, there are a lot of followers of Jesus who are afraid to hear directly from God because they think they will make them weird. And by weird, I mean destructive weird – the kind of weird you DON”T want to be!
This is unfortunate as one of the main motifs of the Bible is the call for the people of God to hear His voice:
“But Moses replied, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!’” – Numbers 11:29
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” – Jesus, John 10:27
“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” – Paul, 1 Corinthians 14:1
Continue reading “GodSpeak” by Rick Evans and Jessica Fischer
The book title says it all: “Power Evangelism”
In a landmark book, John Wimber and Kevin Springer craft a wondering argument in the purpose of the gifts of the Spirit. Namely, signs and wonders are to seen in marketplaces (i.e. outside the church building) so that people will come to know Jesus.
To do this, the authors (the principles and theology are mainly from John Wimber; Kevin Springer was the writer who put everything down on paper) spilt the book into seven parts::
- The Kingdom Has Come (ch 1-5) – An outline of Kingdom Theology stating that the dymantic rule and reign of God has entered the present time through the person of Jesus.
- The Power Encounter (ch 6-9) – Humanity is in the middle of a war between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. There is no ‘safe zone’; we are all in the battle.
- Power Evangelism (ch 10-13) – Wimber’s personal story on how God taught him how to evangelize using the gifts of the Spirit.
- The Divine Appointment (ch 14-17) – God is already working in people’s lives before we arrive on the scene. We need to be aware of this and join with what God is doing.
- Signs and Wonders and Worldviews (ch 18-22) – A challenge to the western modernity worldview that denies the supernatural.
- The Works of Jesus (ch 23-27) – A look at Jesus’ life and ministry with special focus to Jesus’ power of demons, disease, nature and death.
- Signs and Wonders in the Church (ch 28-31) – Miracles did not stop with the death and resurrection of Jesus, the book of Acts and history itself testify to the fact that God continues to use miracles to bring people to Himself.
This is the second time that I have read this book – and it was still just as good. I love how Wimber takes what is usually reserved for the church gathering and uses it in the streets.
Yet, it is tough…Personally, I find that it is easier to pray for the sick in a church meeting then at work – mostly because I’m nervous about what people will say (that and lawsuits). Sigh. 😕
God please grant me the boldness and the wisdom to obey You in every area and place.
I wasn’t sure what I would find when I opened the cover of Fred Collom’s book “The Dumb Gringo.” It could be a book of funny stories highlighting the differences between the US and Latin cultures.
Or it could be Fred’s personal story of 25-plus years of church planting in Mexico.
What it turned out to be was a serious book about the fit-falls of cross culture ministry as well as a commentary on the changing winds in international ministry.
The first half the book is a brief look at the history of modern missions’ strategy. Fred, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, addresses some of the assumption new missionaries bring to the foreign mission field. Assumptions like assuming that the Apostle Paul’s evangelism strategy is the ONLY way to ministry to people because it is the “one” in the Bible… or assumptions based upon books written by scholars who had NO practical on-the-ground missionary experience. Continue reading The Dumb Gringo by Fred Collom