of Family Worship
Family Worship and Parenting
The Bible contains everything we need to know about how to live life this side of eternity for God’s glory (2 Peter 1:3) but doesn’t go into specifics for many of the details of our lives. This is the case with our job as parents – God has not given us many specifics about what’s involved in raising children such as what their education in the world is to look like, what standard of living we should seek to give them, what kinds of skills they should learn, or what kind of schedule infants should be on. So when He does give specifics we should take great care to seek to be obedient in these areas. Deuteronomy 6 :4-9 is one of those passages:
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
We’d like to let you in on a project that Eric and I have begun and also make a request for your support of this endeavor. We have begun writing hymns on God’s attributes. Why write hymns on God’s attributes? Aren’t most good hymns about some facet of God’s character? I have been involved in choosing songs for corporate worship for nearly fifteen years and have often had a difficult time finding songs that taught much about a particular attribute of God. Eric recently preached through the attributes of God and for every sermon was on the lookout for hymns that tied into the specific attribute he was preaching on but to little avail. There are many wonderful hymns about God’s character in general, but they normally mention a few different aspects of God and do not explore one in detail. An example of this is the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy.” It teaches that God is holy (the title), merciful, mighty, glorious and worthy of praise (this is inferred by the picture of heavenly worship), everlasting, self-sufficient, loving, and all-powerful. It...
of Family Worship
Before discussing the precedent of family worship we should define what is meant by the term. Family worship is the gathering of a household to turn their attention to encountering and responding to God together. It is the regular practice of believers gathering in the place where they live to read and apply God’s Word, sing His praises, and pray together. It is a practice that is constantly under attack from our suburban lives. We face the unspoken pressure to fill our schedules so that we might measure up to those around us and live productive lives that serve and honor God in various ways. But far too often we buy in to the world’s definition of productivity instead of remembering what Jesus taught Martha in Luke 10.
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations;...
As part of Northbrook's on-going hymn memory project, I taught through Joachim Neander's hymn "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty" this past Sunday, as I exposited Psalm 103.
In this sermon, I made five observations about what David's psalm tells us about the worship of the Lord and how Neander's hymn illustrates those points.
You can find the sermon, along with the others in the series, through the link below:
Praise to the Lord -- Exhorting Ourselves to Adore the Lord
Back in the fall of 2008, our church self-published a little hymnal for our own use. I'd like to share the contents of that hymnal to kick off a series of articles on the importance of family worship. Here is the preface to our little hymnal titled "Hymns for Private and Family Worship" with the general contents (not the lyrics to each song) at the end.
What is a hymn? The Oxford English Dictionary
defines it as a religious song of praise, especially a Christian song in praise of God. In the proper sense of the term, all songs that we sing to or about God should be called hymns. In modern parlance, however, we often use the term hymn
to refer to a strophic song (every verse uses the same tune) with a common rhyming scheme (called meter) normally set to traditional (non-syncopated) tunes. Hymn texts and tunes can either be historic or modern. They typically contain numerous verses (each of which contains several lines) therefore develop theological concepts and devotional thoughts more deeply than other forms of modern praise songs.
Apart from Scripture itself, hymns should be among our most treasured possessions....
I'm going to be listening to and evaluating (whether formally or casually) a lot of songs written for congregational singing soon. To prepare for that I've been keeping some notes about various ways to evaluate songs. It's always a good idea to solicit feedback and think critically about our work and the work of others if it is done in a spirit of love and humility. We want our songs to be the best that they can be, both lyrically and musically. This involves a life-long pursuit of growing in the craft of songwriting.
So here's my list of categories so far with minimal description. These reflect some of my values for congregational singing like the participation of all, theological depth, application to all, etc. I don't believe that every song that we use must excel in all of these areas (except in having Biblical lyrics!), but my hope is that the song diet of my local church as a whole would rate well in all of these categories.
On Monday I'll be attending and leading singing at the 2009 Redeemer Conference for Pastors. The theme of the conference is The Minister's Fainting Fits: Depression and Discouragement in Pastoral Ministry and we are honored to have Ed Welch along with our pastor, R. W. Glenn share with us from God's Word.
So far it looks like we will have a fairly diverse group of pastors or other leaders (like small group leaders), a large percentage who have never attended one of our conferences before. Choosing music for a conference can be tricky. Since the men attending will be from disparate churches I wanted to ensure that they would know a large portion of songs. To do that I chose 40% traditional hymns (texts and tunes). Another 40% are songs that will probably be new to many and have a more classical (less syncopated) tune, either old or new hymn texts. The remaining 20% are more contemporary songs or arrangements of hymns.
My friend and fellow songwriter Eric Schumacher will be joining us. We finished a song titled When Sorrow Comes especially for this conference. The abundance of songs...
I just wanted to let you all know that I replaced the Piano Score for By Grace Alone with a brand new version. It is a slightly more simplified arrangement that is on two staves instead of three and fits on one page. This is one of our most well-known songs and we pray that God will use this song, this arrangement, and most importantly the gospel of God's grace through Jesus Christ in this song, for His glory!
My sermon on Revelation 19, explaining the imagery of "Crown Him with Many Crowns," is now online here.
My teaching through Charitie Lees Bancroft's hymn, "Before the Throne of God Above," is now available here.