An Open Letter to Praise Bands

worship_community_copy_260181416I’ve mentioned a few times my appreciation of philosopher-theologian, James K.A. Smith (or Jamie Smith). His book on understanding the positives (yes, the positives!) of postmodernism, Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism, was my introduction to his books. And I’m currently reading his work, Desiring the Kingdom.

I was recently reminded of an article of Smith’s posted 15 months ago entitled, An Open Letter to Praise Bands. This approach – An Open Letter to… – is not uncommon in the blogging world for those wanting to address a particular concern. And, so, Smith offered some reminders to worship teams, praise bands and musicians that might be worth considering as we, the corporate local church, gather together for worship. Continue reading

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Your Love Makes It Worth It All

This week, I was introduced to a song that I had not known before (Thanks, Bekka!).

The song is entitled I Surrender, written by Kim Walker and Jesus Culture. The whole of the song is stirring and powerful, but I especially like one part with these words:

Your love makes it worth it
Your love makes it worth it all
Your love makes it worth it all

It reminds of David’s words in Psalm 63:3:

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

Nothing is quite as moving as knowing the intimate love of our Father! Nothing has revolutionised my life like knowing his love!

You can listen to the song below. Continue reading

What Is the Central Place of Worship?

In our world today, there are a multitude and variety of worship songs coming out left and right. This is not a bad thing necessarily. I love to worship corporately in song and to worship in my own personal time as I listen to or sing songs. I have recently been blessed by Paul Baloche’s newest album, The Same Love. The two songs – The Same Love and We Are Saved – are truly stirring and encouraging.

Not unexpectedly, one of the greatest themes of songs is that of the cross. And it should be! The enthroning and saving act of Christ, continued in his resurrection and ascension, is the most gripping act in history. What a strange, yet good, way for God to become king and provide salvation for humanity!

But one wrong way to focus on the cross (and, yes, there is a wrong way) is to see it as the central place of worship. It is actually not.

What?

Yes, that’s correct. Continue reading

Short Songs, Long Songs, Wordy Songs

One of the things that can get mentioned as a negative against some of the newer congregational worship songs of today is in reference to their length. You know, they are just too short. And, accordingly, these short songs cannot and do not carry much theology within them. Thus, the conclusion is that much of today’s songs are not as good as those of a foregone era. It’s those longer, more wordy songs that are chalked fully of theology and, hence, they are more pleasing to God (or at least more pleasing to those making the assertions).

As one who loves deeper study and engagement with theology, you would think I would agree with such a sentiment. And, at times, I do recognise that some modern songs seem a bit too fluffy, lacking in substance. Yet, overall, I am not sure I appreciate much of the banter against modern day hymns. Continue reading