February 3, 2019

Lord, speak to me that I may speak In living echoes of Thy tone; As Thou has sought, so let me seek Thine erring children lost and lone. O lead me, Lord, that I may lead The wandering and the wavering feet; O feed me, Lord, that I may feed Thy hungering ones with manna sweet. O strengthen me, that while I stand Firm on the rock, and strong in Thee, I may stretch out a loving hand To wrestlers… Read more

February 1, 2019

“Much Protestant worship consists of a desperate attempt to make it look as if something significant is transpiring. Christians come to services wanting to sense the presence of God and expecting the clergy and musicians whom they employ to produce “worship experiences” that make faith seem alive. Sincere intentions are seldom sufficient to guarantee success, and they leave as they came – hungry and vaguely burdened with guilt.” – A. Daniel Frankforter, Stones for Bread Read more

January 31, 2019

Last week’s post on masturbatory worship certainly received the response I was anticipating. Many of you said it hit the mark, and that the term “masturbatory,” while perhaps shocking for some, was unavoidably appropriate. Others took my point, but suggested that I try to not be so “vulgar,” “crude,” or “offensive.” Which is interesting, since the word in and of itself is none of those things, and my post did not delve into discussion of a sexual nature. Yet other… Read more

January 30, 2019

I’m not exactly sure who first thought it would be a good idea to line a sanctuary floor with carpet. I’m even less sure of their reasoning. Perhaps it was to make the environment warmer and more comfortable. Some probably installed carpet to cut down ambient noise from footsteps and dropped items. Or maybe it was the same person who thought churches should look more like converted Wal-Marts than a sacred space. Whatever they were trying to accomplish, let me… Read more

January 27, 2019

Yep. I’m with you. Not very long ago, I was one of you. Sitting in the pew stadium-style seating, trying to pass the time in the darkness, wondering how many more times they can sing this same, inane refrains. Counting the the times the spotlight-loving, mic-hogging, hot shot pastor says the word “just” in each prayer. “Why does every sermon end with the same cliches?” “Why does he take so long to say basically nothing?” “Why must he talk about… Read more

January 27, 2019

O for a thousand tongues to sing My great Redeemer’s praise, The glories of my God and king, The triumphs of His grace! My gracious master and my God, Assist me to proclaim, To spread through all the earth abroad The honors of Thy name. Jesus! the name that charms our fears, That bids our sorrows cease; ’Tis music in the sinner’s ears, ’Tis life, and health, and peace. He breaks the power of canceled sin, He sets the prisoner… Read more

January 25, 2019

“If music is to fulfill its intended purpose in worship, it has to be understood as an important medium through which the various components of worship retell the Christian story. If singing fails to communicate the church’s metanarrative or to reinforce the church’s basic identity as the covenant people of God, then worship has fallen short of being a ‘divine office.’ The real reason we worship is that we are a people shaped by the Christian story. If this is… Read more

January 23, 2019

Contemporary megachurch-style worship is a self-worshiping, self-referential, nearly auto-erotic pursuit. Many times, I’ve chosen to use the word “masturbatory” to describe it, and it’s made a lot of people unhappy. Likewise, I will be heartily rebuked by many for what I write here. I will be told I’m being gross, prurient, inappropriate, pagan, degenerate. People will unlike my Facebook page. I will get lots and lots of emails. Pastors, ministers, and youth directors will be righteously indignant. For many, even… Read more

January 14, 2019

A guest post by Les Lamkin Why Liturgy? In my previous guest articles for Ponder Anew, I have maintained that worship is formative, not expressive. God does not need our worship, but desires that we worship Him for our own benefit, rather than for his. The benefit we derive from worship is the formation of Christlikeness in our lives, both individually and corporately as the Body of Christ. “Whatever, Les,” you are probably thinking. “How does reciting a bunch of… Read more

January 9, 2019

Most of the time when I talk about church music it’s tied into its function in liturgy. In my mind the most tragic aspect of contemporary worship isn’t simply that the music is popular in nature, but that those worship settings ignore the historic liturgical pattern of corporate worship. A rock concert, even when followed by the best of sermons, is not worship. It is simply a mainstream entertainment product hijacked for a jesusy bait and switch. It requires nothing… Read more

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