Mixing It Up

The glory of the gospel is to unite peoples of every language and culture under the lordship of Christ (Eph. 2:11-22; 4:3-6,13; Rev. 7:9-17). So we should not be content with divisions created by different musical tastes and traditions. As we grow to maturity in Christ we should be looking for ways to express the unity that is God’s goal for us: in gospel action, in the exchange of ministries and gifts, in combined services and in the sharing of musical resources and experiences.

—David G. Peterson, Encountering God Together: Leading Worship Services That Honor God, Minister to His People, and Build His Church, 143

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Essence

The inner essence of worship is experiencing Christ as a more satisfying treasure than anything death can take or life can give. (Philippians 1:20-23)”

—John Piper, Sing! Conference 2018

Wise Words

The following is a short list of themes that emerged out of classroom discussions of everything from the economics of church construction to what instructions to give a local parish flower committee. They are little theological vignettes, usually in the form of prescriptive statements about how we might best approach liturgy:    

o “We don’t worship to make God love us, but because God loves us. Nothing in worship should imply otherwise.”

o “Remarkably, God welcomes the entire range of human experience in our prayer. Honest prayer and balanced worship involve confession, thanksgiving, praise, and lament.”

o “We don’t sing in order for God to be present, but because God already is present. Nothing in worship should imply otherwise.”

o “Praise affirms and adores God. By implication, it denies false gods and idols. It protests gods our culture erects in place of God. Good liturgy should show both the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ implied in our praise.”

o “What we remember and what we anticipate define our identity. Good worship forms us in Christian identity by active recall of the past and active anticipation of the future. Good worship doesn’t dismiss the past as irrelevant or the future as too vague to anticipate.”

o “When we show up for worship, we don’t create the song of praise. We join in to a continuous song of praise that includes the music-like praise of animals and oceans, and believers from every time and space. Good liturgy helps us see that expansive vision.”

John D. Witvliet, “Teaching Worship as a Christian Practice,” in For Life Abundant: Practical Theology, Theological Education, and Christian Ministry, 139

Worship in Romans (34)

“Do not be conformed by this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” Romans 12:2

His actual grammar here is rather striking, isn’t it? Here is a statement, “be transformed by the renewal of your minds,” in the present tense, in the imperative mood—it’s something to do—and yet it’s in the passive voice. And here he brings us to one of the marvels of grace that enables us rightly to worship God: that we are engaged and involved in the life of sanctification; and yet the life of sanctification is a process by which we are giving ourselves over to be sanctified.

—Sinclair Ferguson, “True Spirituality, True Worship” (audio message 9/17/2004)

Worship in Romans (33)

[Romans 12:1]

Take me, body and soul, and make me the instrument of Your glory in the world. Let the renewal You are working from within show on the outside. This is my spiritual worship. To show the world that You are my all-satisfying treasure. . . .

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16) All of life is the outshining of what you truly value and cherish and treasure. Therefore all of life is worship. Either of God, or of something else.

—John Piper, “All of Life as Worship” (Romans 12:1-2), sermon 11/30/97