Keeping the Christmas Eve Service in Christmas

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a handful of conversations and heard a number of my friends express sentiments that reveal an ironic situation, namely, that many Christians are finding it more difficult than ever to remain focused on Christ during the Christmas season.  Amid frantic last-minute shopping trips, home decorations, meal preparations, family gatherings, and holiday parties, the Christ can become almost entirely eclipsed by all of our Christmas activity.  I’ve lost count of the number of times this year alone, that I have heard other Christians express their desire to remain focused on Christ this Christmas.  This is obviously a good desire, but how do we do it?  In this brief post I want to suggest one simple way to help keep yourself and your family (if you have one) focused on Christ this Christmas:  Attend your local church’s Christmas Eve worship service.… Continue reading

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Getting Better at Giving Thanks – A Sermon on Psalm 100

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Happy Thanksgiving, faithful PS23 reader!  In my post today, I simply want to point you to a sermon that I preached last Sunday entitled “Getting Better at Giving Thanks,” based on Psalm 100, the psalm that God himself calls “A Psalm for Giving Thanks.”  I pray that it might be a blessing to you this Thanksgiving week.

1Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!  2Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! 3Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

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I Don’t Sing!

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“I’m not a singer”

“Nobody wants to hear my tone-deaf voice”

“I’ve heard cats fighting that sound better than me when I sing.”

“Children turn around and stare at me in church if I open my mouth.”

In my years of music ministry I’ve heard every excuse in the book as to why someone should not sing. Frankly, it’s often the excuses made that make me cringe, not the voices. As George Sweeting once said, “Excuses only satisfy the one who gives it”.

I don’t believe it honors God to infer that the very thing He created you to do, He messed up. Continue reading

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Stop Listening to Worship Music

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Before you think this is going to be a diatribe against Contemporary Christian Music and radio, sorry to disappoint, you’re reading the wrong blog.

Attend a biblically-solid Christian conference and many things will encourage you. Powerful preaching, rich fellowship and robust congregational singing. At different events such as T4G, Shepherds’ Conference, Sing!, Ekklesia, or my own church’s Steadfast Conference, what often strikes people is not the caliber of musicianship, but the glorious sound of voices exuberantly working together to drown out the musicians. Some events have full orchestras and bands, while others simply have a piano.Continue reading

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Putting Words in Your Mouth

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A few months ago I visited a wonderful church in America’s heartland. I had been asked to assist their music ministry and consult on what it means to have a Pastor over Worship. It was encouraging to share in what was going on at their church and I was sharpened by their great questions. Of course, coming from hot and dry California, it was especially rejuvenating to be surrounded by endless fields and beautiful, big blue skies, but there was joy greater in serving and worshipping with this Church, even though I had only known them for a few days. While I came to serve them, they encouraged my soul and reminded me of the sweet fellowship we have in our bonds of Christ.Continue reading

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