Power Filled Worship
Feb21

Power Filled Worship

  An obsession with power fills our world.  Whether it’s through the dominance of a government system, the outrage of a murder in the streets, a catty fight in the school hallways, or gossiping words that malign a person behind their back, all of these pursuits tarnish people and the idea of one thing—power!   In our thirst to comfort ourselves and to make ourselves feel safe, we endlessly search for powerful masters that we...

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Thin Places
Feb16

Thin Places

Recently I read a book on Celtic Christianity called Thin Places: An Evangelical Journey into Celtic Christianity by Tracy Balzer.¹ Balzer asserts that both pre-evangelized and Christian Celts recognized there are times and locations where the line between the physical world and spirit world become “tissue paper thin.” These are places where our soul suddenly feels a contentment and connection to God that is often obscured by the busy...

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God’s Story

According to Robert Webber in a book called Ancient—Future Worship, “Worship does God’s story.”¹ By that, Webber means that worship is a narrative of cosmic proportions, “worship gathers to sing, tell, and enact God’s story of the world from its beginning to its end.”² This means Christian worship leaders and gathered Christian worshippers need to have some familiarity with the basic storyline and plotline of the Bible. The storyline...

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Radical Hospitality and Worship
Feb07

Radical Hospitality and Worship

  I had the privilege recently to read Radical Hospitality, and its implications toward artful living and worship are so very helpful.   I’ve read hundreds of books on hospitality over the course of my track in ministry, and it is a pleasure to see the authors place the accent mark where they do.  They state that real hospitality is not in what we do, but in who we are.  They say that hospitality begins with a person’s identity,...

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Psalm 1
Feb02

Psalm 1

Congrats to the man in stride not with wicked cautions standing on sinful roads or sitting on the mocker’s chair But his pleasure’s fed from the Lord’s law By sunlight, by moonlight he revolves on your spindle, your rod, your standard He towers as a tree rooted by streams blooming in season never to wither leaves evergreen, for all he touches blossoms. Not so the evil! They are as chaff, dust, paint chips Wisped in...

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The Creative Spirit in All of Us
Jan31

The Creative Spirit in All of Us

Henderik Roelof “Hans” Rookmaaker (February 27, 1922–March 13, 1977) was a Dutch Christian scholar, professor, and author who wrote and lectured on art theory, art history, music, philosophy, and religion. In 1948 he met Christian theologian Francis Schaeffer and became a member of L’Abri in Switzerland. Hans wrote a book about the creative spirit called Art Needs No Justification. In reading it, I’ve found that many...

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The Art of Giving a Testimony
Jan26

The Art of Giving a Testimony

  If telling stories is an art, then telling our life story is a trade worthy of being mastered.  The only trouble when it comes to our life story, our “testimony,” is what should we tell?  Should we focus in our passions, our expertise, our experiences, or even our most secret failures and unwanted mistakes?  What is it that receives the accent mark? The Bible’s word for accent mark is glory!  God tends to highlight and place...

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A Picture Is Worth … A Lot Less than You Think
Jan25

A Picture Is Worth … A Lot Less than You Think

A Picture Is Worth… A Lot Less than You Think The most common question I get asked when I talk about worship curating is, “Can you show me some photos of what you do?”   Yes, I can. But the most important part of what I do can’t be photographed. A photo can show you how I answered my questions about what I wanted to achieve with a particular worship event. It can show you the space I used, what I did with the space, and how it...

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Genesis 4:2-16
Jan19

Genesis 4:2-16

Long ago there lived two brothers One kept flocks, the other worked the soil Both brought portions to their maker The younger had fat firstborn, the older spoil. Their Lord smiled upon the younger But grimaced and barely looked at the other’s gift That one, face downcast, soon burned with anger His Lord’s reply was “Do right, master sin.”   Soon the older approached the younger Inviting his brother to join him in his field And as...

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Storied Lives
Jan17

Storied Lives

We are captured by great stories.  They are aesthetic in the sense that they call us into participation with the storyline, the characters, the plot, and the ultimate resolution and beauty of the tale.  Stories are art! Leo Tolstoy’s words come to mind in helping us think through the impact of story: “Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings...

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Curation: The Glue That Holds Worship Together
Jan16

Curation: The Glue That Holds Worship Together

Curation: The Glue That Holds Worship Together   I first coined the term “worship curator” about 20 years ago after participating in a fairly bizarre art installation that consisted of a series of large ponds filled with paint.   I had been putting together weekly community worship events and theme-specific ambient worship spaces, and what I would now describe as “transitional worship” events, for some...

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Raw Creativity
Jan10

Raw Creativity

  “In the beginning God created…” (Gen. 1:1)   What exactly is God’s motivation for creating?  His actions are driven by and ended in love—nothing more, nothing less!  Our actions should follow likewise.  So, what about the method of our creating?  If we truly know and love God, and desire to serve him with all our heart, soul, and mind, how do we take our passion, idea, or desire and turn it into something that can actually be...

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Rejection
Dec22

Rejection

  Every artist faces rejection. For writers it’s usually at the hands of an agent, editor, critique group, beta reader, or terrible Amazon review. To be clear, rejection is not the same as helpful suggestions or critiques (like ways to strengthen underdeveloped characters, plot holes, the dreaded sagging middle, etc). Rejection is a flat out dismissal of a writer’s ideas, work or abilities. Although some writers are able to...

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Singing Lies
Dec16

Singing Lies

Back in September of 2006, I was listening to Jason Upton teach on worship at the Lifelight Music Festival in Sioux Falls. He said something that day that has inspired The Psalms Project concept ever since: “Bono (of U2 fame) once said, ‘I don’t listen to Gospel music because it isn’t honest. That’s why I listen to Nine Inch Nails.’” After clarifying the fact that he didn’t necessarily agree with Bono’s solution to the lack of honesty...

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The Church Year: Redeeming Time and Ordering Worship
Dec08

The Church Year: Redeeming Time and Ordering Worship

    The Advent Season is officially upon us and the marker that begins the historical “Christian year.” The Christian year or church year is a way Christian worship tells God’s story. Over the course of several centuries, the Christian church has ordered worship according to cycles of time by developing a church year or a liturgical calendar. The expression church year refers to the regular sequence of days,...

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The Creative Process
Dec06

The Creative Process

  Every one of us is filled with imagination, creativity, and ingenious ability. We need to recognize this about ourselves because it is foundational to who we are as humans, and, the fact is, everything we do and think is connected to what we believe.  Our theological belief about God and our ontological (big word meaning “being”) belief about who we are comes out in everything we do. Whatever comes out of or goes into our five...

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