When Your Church Can’t Meet: The Value of Liturgy

When Your Church Can't Be Together, It Can Be Together In Its LiturgyLiturgy is the form of worship that a church walks through when it assembles.

“Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a communal response to and participation in the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance.” source

In our church, our liturgy takes the form of Call to Worship, Confession of Sin (or Lament), Remembering the Gospel, Thanksgiving and Prayer, Offering, Scripture Reading, Sermon, and Benediction (Blessing and Sending). These elements include both songs and responsive readings, as well as times of silent meditation.

A benefit of a liturgical form is that when your church has to assemble in small groups or cannot assemble at all, the people know what to do. When your people cannot be together as a whole, they can be together in their liturgy.

If your church can’t assemble this Sunday, and you need a worship service in your home, our church posts our entire liturgy with song videos on our blog. Search the “Service Previews.” Then go to Sermons page to hear the message for that Sunday.

Need more songs to sing? Visit my worship song page or Hymnicity.

Fear and Sparrows — A Song for Days of Uncertainty

Fear and Sparrows — Luke 12:4–7“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

— Luke 12:4–7

Continue reading “Fear and Sparrows — A Song for Days of Uncertainty”

“They Are All Gone!” — A Song on Forgiveness Inspired by Charles Spurgeon

A few weeks ago, a friend sent me this paragraph from Charles Spurgeon’s sermon “Forgiveness Made Easy:”

All our transgressions are swept away at once, carried off as by a flood, and so completely removed from us that no guilty trace of them remains They are all gone!

O ye believers, think of this, for the all is no little thing: sins against a holy God, sins against his loving Son, sins against gospel as well as against law, sins against man as well as against God, sins of the body as well as sins of the mind, sins as numerous as the sands on the sea shore, and as great as the sea itself: all, all are removed from us as far as the east is from the west. All this evil was rolled into one great mass, and laid upon Jesus, and having borne it all he has made an end of it for ever.

When the Lord forgave us he forgave us the whole debt. He did not take the bill and say, “I strike out this item and that,” but the pen went through it all;—PAID. It was a receipt in full of all demands, Jesus took the handwriting which was against us and nailed it to his cross, to show before the entire universe that its power to condemn us had ceased for ever. We have in him a full forgiveness.

She suggested that there might be a corporate reading for our worship service in there. As I read it, song lyrics naturally emerged. Within a few minutes, I had the first draft of a song, which I sent off to David Ward. Continue reading ““They Are All Gone!” — A Song on Forgiveness Inspired by Charles Spurgeon”

Updates: The Gospel Coalition, Front Porch with the Fitzes, and New Songs

A few updates for the month. I’ve had the joy of being a guest writer at The Gospel Coalition, a guest on the Front Porch with the Fitzes podcast, and posting a few of my favorite song collaborations with David Ward. More information below. Continue reading “Updates: The Gospel Coalition, Front Porch with the Fitzes, and New Songs”

The Waves, the Caves, and the King of Grace

A New Song — Wave Upon Wave

Listen to this week’s new song—Wave Upon Wave.

The Story Behind the Song

Jenny and I leaned against the gazebo railing watching the moonlit waves roll in on the Jamaican beach. We were celebrating fifteen years of marriage. Our conversations covered the joys and sorrows, blessings and difficulties we’d encountered, been surprised by, and moved through in that decade and a half. We talked about our hopes for the future, the ways in which we hoped to grow and change.

Just out from the gazebo stood a solitary pillar of stone, around which the waves broke. I wondered about how long it had stood there. Had it always been alone? Or had it once been part of a shelf of rock, now eroded and gone?

I knew that over a thousand years of waves crashing against it, the pillar had been—and was still being—shaped and changed. Nevertheless, to the human eye—especially to the eye of a one-week visitor—the pillar seemed the same each day. Continue reading “The Waves, the Caves, and the King of Grace”