Blow the Shophar! It’s a New Year!

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screenshot-2016-12-27-11-29-09Are you thinking about making any New Year’s resolutions? You know what folk wisdom says about that: “New Year’s resolutions go in one year and out the other.” We all know that most of the leaves we turn over in January have already started to fall by the end of the month. Therefore, let’s turn to the Word of God for instruction. Let’s see what Scripture declares about the concept of New Year. Does God’s written revelation provide any basis for Christians to celebrate the arrival of a New Year? According to Leviticus 23:23–25 and Numbers 29:1–6, the Lord commanded Israel to observe the Feast of Trumpets—also known as the New Year.… Continue reading

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Reprise: Worship as a Believer? or Belieber?*

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*This was originally published in September 2013

urlWorship… those seven simple letters can conjure up so much meaning, emotion and passion. We worship anything and anyone these days. Last week, close to 27 million viewers tuned into the opening game of the 2013-14 NFL season between the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens, while a Harlequin Romance novel entitled The Hero, by Robyn Carr rose to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. In June of this year, Justin Bieber passed a monumental 40 million twitter followers (as of Jan. 29 2015, that number has now skyrocketed to 59.8M), but was upstaged by Kim Kardashian as the most searched person on the internet so far in 2013.… Continue reading

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Build a GREAT music ministry

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resizedimage600269-Music-MinistryThis past Sunday we had a wonderful time of worship together at our little church in Bakersfield. Both morning and evening services were beautiful and I couldn’t help but express thanks to God as I drove home. I kept thinking how fortunate I was that God allowed me to be part of this church, but I also kept thinking how amazing it is that we are even allowed to worship the Lord. When you think about it, we have no right to come before a Holy God to offer our thanks. Who are we? He doesn’t need our feeble attempts at praise.… Continue reading

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Guarding the Deposit of Hymnody

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This weekend is the 498th anniversary of Martin Luther’s infamous act of nailing the 95 theses to the Wittenberg Door. Rather than celebrating Halloween, many Christians will recognize Reformation Day this Oct. 31. On Sunday, Protestants around the globe will commemorate the rather simple but bold act of a solitary man, taking a stand against the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church. Many congregations will sing the “Battle Hymn of the Reformation”, Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott; or as English speakers know it, A mighty fortress is our God.

bored-churchRecently, I had a visitor to our church comment, “You guys sing a lot of hymns, you need to get with the program because young people don’t like that stuff.”… Continue reading

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Preaching to the Choir

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add_toon_info-1.phpI grew up singing in choirs. To be honest, there’s only been a handful of the years of my life where I have not either led a choir or been in one. It began when I was a cute little kid who sang in the children’s choir at church. I could barely match pitch and definitely couldn’t stand still for very long. I’m thankful for the long-suffering ladies who led our band of little ragamuffins. Through elementary, Jr. High, High School and College, my years were all filled with school choirs, community choirs and church choirs. Choirs have helped me tour much of the world, and worship with many congregations.… Continue reading

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