There is no Gospel without the Cross.

Without the forgiveness of sins, there is no salvation.

These were some of the thoughts in my head and my heart as I put together the set-list for this last weekend at Compass Bible Church.

Recent Chapter 1 Partners Meetings fed these thoughts. Not only does this chapter explain what the clear fruits of justification will look like, it reminds us what justification is all about: sinful people being forgiven and made right before a holy God because of the work of Jesus Christ.

There are not truths to be remembered on occasion – they must be celebrated and sung about regularly. While I would hope that hardly a weekend at CBC goes by without singing about our great salvation, this last weekend we chose to focus specifically on the cross and the sacrifice Christ made for his people there.

This was our set-list:

The Glories of Calvary – F
The Father’s Love – G
Jesus, Thank You – G
–Announcements–
The Wonderful Cross – D-E
The One We Have Pierced -E
–Sermon–
Our God – G

As Pastor Mike spoke about prayer and participation in the fourth installment of our recent “Compass Non-Negotiables” series, he reminded us of these words from the great missionary William Carey:

“Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”

This quote and that sermon set up for some great songs in our worship set this last weekend. We introduces a new song called “God is Able” – a great anthem of confidence and expectation. While the song is biblical and beautiful, it does beg a question: What is God able to do? We wanted to tie this answer specifically to the mission of the church, so we opened with “Let Your Kingdom Come.” At CBC, we want to obey Christ’s command to seek his kingdom first, and we must believe that God is able to accomplish the purposes of his kingdom. We closed our set (and this sermon series) out with the song, “O Church Arise.” This beautiful modern hymn sounds forth a strong call for highly committed participants!

Here is the complete set-list from this weekend:

Let Your Kingdom Come” by Bob Kauflin (Enfield Arrangement – G)
God is Able” by Ben Fielding and Reuben Morgan (Hillsong Live Arrangement – B)
Hosanna (Praise is Rising)” by Paul Baloche and Brenton Brown
–Announcements/Offering—
Your Name” by Paul Baloche and Glenn Packiam (Wickham Arrangement – G)
O Church Arise” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend (We used this arrangement/key)

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
-Ephesians 3:20-21

Men’s Conference Setlist

September 14, 2011

Here are the setlists from last weekend’s “All-In” Men’s Conference at Compass Bible Church.

Friday Night

Awesome is the Lord Most High (Passion– G)
Our God (Passion – G)
Lead On Oh King Eternal – (Enfield – D)
From the Inside Out – (Hillsong United – A)
Hallelujah to My King (Baloche – E)

Saturday Morning 1

Holy is the Lord – (Passion – G)
Chosen Generation (Passion – G)
O Church Arise (Getty – D)
Take My Life (Passion – C)
Lead On O King Eternal

Saturday Morning 2

All the Earth – (Brewster – E)
O Worship the King (Passion – E)
Give us Clean Hands – E
Maranatha – (E) (This is an original song. Hopefully we will have a recording soon.)

“Lead On Oh King Eternal” was a new song for our group and in a way our “theme song” for the weekend. The Bible clearly calls men to be leaders, but we cannot effectively carry out this God-given task unless we are following his lead. The song beautifully employs military language to remind the singer that the Christian life is a battle and requires courage and trust in the Lord. I am excited to do this song again and prayerful that the lyrics of this old hymn (excellently redone by Enfield!) describe the people in our church.

(For the weekend service, we played the following songs from the conference: “Awesome is the Lord Most High”, “Holy is the Lord”, “O Church Arise”, “Lead On Oh King Eternal”, and “O Worship the King”.)

Compass Bible Church is a happening place. We keep a pretty full ministry schedule all throughout the year. The closest thing we get to a lull around here is mid-to-late August. And yes, if you just looked at your calendar you realized those days are over.

Last week I was busy preparing for the fall kick-off of ministries at CBC. It felt like the days were flying by. Even on days when I had time it still seemed like there were too many things I needed/wanted to do. In short, the constraints of time felt like a pretty hefty ball-and-chain last week.

All this busyness made me thankful that I serve a God that is not finite like me. I am limited by a lifespan, but God is eternal. The more and more I thought about this, the more I realized that these were crucial truths for us to be singing as a church. Therefore, this was our weekend set (the letter in parentheses at the end of each song is the key in which we sang the song):

Everlasting God” by Brenton Brown/Ken Riley (A)
Blessed Be Your Name” by Matt and Beth Redman (A)
10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman/Jonas Myrin (E)
–Announcements/Offering–
Rock of Ages” by Augustus M. Toplady/Thomas Hastings (somewhat like the Chris Rice arrangement) (G)
Your Love Oh Lord” by Brad Avery/David Carr/Mac Powell/Mark Lee/Tai Anderson (G)

Our closing song was more tied to the sermon than the rest of the set. We did a simple version of “Blessed Assurance” by Fanny Crosby.

I started the service with Psalm 90:1-2, and I’ll end this blog with them as well:

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

It was great to be back leading worship at Compass Bible Church after a trip to the East Coast! I was pretty fired up to apply some things I had learned at the Worship God Conference right out of the gate.

Here was the set (with links to the iTunes music store):

All Because of Jesus” by Steve Fee (Andy Frank Arrangement)
Salvation is Here” by Joel Houston (Lincoln Brewster Arrangment)
Always” by Jason Ingram, Kristian Stanfill (Passion Arrangement)
–Announcements/Offering—
How Great Thou Art” by S.K. Hine (Paul Baloche Arrangement)
Cannons” by Phil Wickham

Bryan Chappell preached an outstanding message at the conference from Isaiah 6. Any message from this text rightfully emphasizes the holiness of God, and Chappell masterfully showed us how God’s glory leads us to grace. Isaiah sees God’s glory and realizes his need for God’s mercy. He cries out, “Woe is me! I am destroyed!” Then we see the beautiful picture of God atoning for the prophet’s sin and preparing him for ministry. A true understanding of God’s holiness leads to a great appreciation for God’s grace.

This concept clearly comes out in the last two songs we sang. Consider these lines:

“I’m so unworthy, but still You love me
Forever my heart will sing of how great You are”
-“Cannons”

“And when I think that God His Son not sparing
Send him to die, I scarce can take it in”
-“How Great Thou Art”

I tried to emphasize this verse by repeating it at the end of the song and commenting on God’s holiness and mercy before we sang it again.

“Then sings my soul
My Savior God to Thee
How great Thou Art”

A Night to Remember

August 13, 2011

Who goes to a conference in a Maryland suburb of Washington D.C. without going into the city?

Not this nerd!

Last night after the evening session at Worship God Conference, my wingman Taylor and I jumped into our rental car and made a beeline to downtown D.C. We have no specific plans and only one simple goal – get a picture in front of the White House.

Because it was fairly late on a weeknight, the bustle of the Beltway had died down. We easily parked on Constitution Ave right between the White House and the Washington Monument. In only a few minutes we had accomplished our one goal. Memories of my past interest in pursuing politics filled my mind as we walked around the building. (Side note – it is pretty ridiculous that I think more of the fictional characters from The West Wing than any real political figures. I get excited when I see a gate because I think I have seen Josh Lyman walk out of it before.)

As we moved on and walked around the National Mall, I was struck how everything else we saw was built in order to remember something. We walked past the towering figure of the Washington Monument, which commemorates our first President. Heading West we passed the World War II Memorial on our way to the Lincoln Memorial which sits right next to the Vietnam Memorial.

All these memorials served their purpose last night because they caused me to remember some important things. The freedoms and privileges I enjoy in America the Present were secured in America the Past. Countless soldiers have given their lives to make this nation what it is. Presidents like Washington and Lincoln did not lead from a safe ivory tower, they made hard (but good) decisions even in the face of danger and opposition. I am foolish to enjoy the present without remembering the past.

The same is true of the church and even worship. Yesterday morning, a professor for Sovereign Grace’s Pastor’s College shared the story of Guido de Bres. Author of the Belgian Confession, de Bres was eventually captured and hung for his Protestant faith. The truths I get to sing out were protected and proclaimed by countless men and women who were willing to give their lives for it. As Bob Kauflin summed up, “What we sing about is a matter of life and death.”

I cannot walk around Washington D.C. without remembering all the sacrifice that has gone into making this nation great. I should not be able to pick songs for a weekend without remembering all the sacrifice that went into defending these holy truths.

Last night really was a night to remember.

Sore Throat Thoughts

June 27, 2011

110621 Sickness and Sovereignty

Maybe you can relate to this:

One night last week I was having an intense dream. (In this one I was being chased by a landshark…no, I’m not making this up.) I woke up in a bit of a frenzy, took a couple deep breaths, and swallowed. That’s when it hit me – I’m getting a sore throat.

Instantly my mind began to reel. I hate being sick. Is this really a sore throat? How long is this going to last? Is this going to develop into some kind of full-blown sickness? Last time I got a sore throat, I was sick for two weeks! Why have I been sick so much this year? I can’t get sick right now; I have too much to do! I need health to do ministry well – doesn’t God know that!?!?

It was at this point in the thought process that began to be alarmed at myself. While I tried to couch my worry and indignation in the righteous motives of ministry, I ended up acting like I had a better understanding of my needs than God did. In that moment in the middle of the night, I was not acting like God was my perfect heavenly Father who knows and provides for all my needs.

Thankfully, the sore throat quickly went away in the morning. I think it was just a reaction to having my throat scoped the day before. But maybe, just maybe, it was a sovereign reminder that God knows exactly what I need, and even if he seems to throw a wrench in my plans, he is still lovingly sovereign.

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 4:19 ESV)

Shock and awe. It seems to be a popular strategy for starting wars (see “Gulf War II”) or getting dates (see “Hitch”) but not so much for the Christian’s pursuit of personal holiness. Rather than to be shocked by the sinfulness of sin and in awe of the purity of Christ, many Christians opt for complacency and comfort.

Ezra did not buy this lax approach. He stuck with shock and awe. Check out his response to the sin of the people of Israel: “As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled.” (Ezra 9:4) He goes on to pray, “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.” (Ezra 9:6)

In addition to his clear grasp of the seriousness of Israel’s iniquity, Ezra goes so far as to include himself in the situation with the first person pronouns. American evangelicals are often quick to be shocked when some state approves same-sex marriage or when Lady Gaga releases a new single yet so slow to be disgusted by the sin in their own lives.

We should be appalled by sin – it is rebellion against the King of the Universe. We should be amazed at the cost required for our redemption – the precious blood of Christ. In fact, these emotions should build up a hunger for holiness. We should thirst for righteousness. This weekend at Compass Bible Church, we sang a couple songs that expressed these desires.

“Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity”
-“Hosanna” by Brooke Fraser

“Give us clean hands
Give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another”
-“Give Us Clean Hands” by Charlie Hall

Let’s be shocked over our sin. Let’s be in awe of both God’s justice and love. And let’s long for holiness.

Two main thoughts remain with me after reading this chapter. I will tie them to a couple of quotes.

“Such is the way in which expression is often given to the modern hostility to ‘doctrine.’ But is it really doctrine as such that is objected to, and not rather one particular doctrine in the interests of another? Undoubtedly, in many forms of liberalism it is the latter alternative which fits the case. There are doctrines of modern liberalism, just as tenaciously and intolerantly upheld as any doctrines that find a place in the historic creeds.”

To shun doctrine altogether is not an option. Everyone lives their life on the basis of some system of thought. The crucial question is whether or not that worldview has any legitimacy or factual basis. The question is not, “Doctrine or no doctrine?” It must be, “Good doctrine or bad doctrine.”

Good doctrine will have a basis in fact, and Machen spends much of the chapter demonstrating how the religion of early Christianity (and even of Christ!) was clearly tied to fact and history.

“But if any one fact is clear, on the basis of this evidence, it is that the Christian movement at its inception was not just a way of life in the modern sense, but a way of life founded upon a message. It was based, not upon mere feeling, not upon a mere program of work, but upon an account of facts. In other words it was based upon doctrine.”

These words and thoughts are just as true today as when Machen wrote them!

Why Not Go LARGE!?

February 21, 2011

You know those moments. Like the one where you ask for a medium order of fries at Chick-fil-A before realizing how much you love those delicious Waffle Potato Fries and asking yourself, “Why not go LARGE!?”

Last week, I had a similar – but much more serious – experience along those lines.

My brother Bobby and I went out to Redlands to lead chapel at Arrowhead Christian Academy where our Uncle Scott teaches. I lead the music (and was surprised by how much the students actually sang) and then settled down in the back of the room to listen to Bobby preach. I found myself offering up some standard prayers that God would be with Bobby and use this message for some kind of spiritual good when suddenly it hit me, “Why not go LARGE?”

I remember times at Revival X and Revival: Winter Edition where I am in the back of the room listening to Bobby preach and praying AMBITIOUS things. Praying – actually it was more like begging – that God would save students. Praying the God would use the students there in mighty ways for his kingdom.

Why is it that prayers like this get kept for “special” occasions and “big” events? The answer ends up laying with a lack of ambitious faith or spiritual zeal.

If we are supposed to “pray without ceasing,” then let’s go LARGE! Why settle for small, weak prayers when we serve a big, powerful God.

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