November 8, 2015

Knoxville, Tennessee

At our services this morning, we shared that God has been preparing us for a new ministry.  Here is a little more of that story.

Over the last couple years, God has placed within us a strong heart to adopt more kids.  Last fall we started the training and preparation.  As we moved forward, we quickly realized our house was going to be too small for more kids.  We sought God's direction for clear guidance on how to move forward.  At that time, we felt led to start looking at ministry positions around the country just to see if He might be preparing us for a new direction.  In May, we decided to take a big step forward by selling our house.  We felt that regardless of whether we stayed in Seattle or moved to a new area, we would need to sell the house anyway.

Since we have greatly enjoyed the ministry at Edgewood and didn't really want to leave, we were very selective in sending out resumes.  We didn't want to go anywhere else unless it was clear leading from the Lord, so we were searching for His direction and trusting in His timing.

In August, I began regularly communicating with Salem Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee.  In September, I flew down for a visit with their staff and personnel committee.  Through those conversations and visits, God has made it very clear that this is where He wants us to serve.  So, in October, Megan and I both went down to Knoxville, met many of the teams from the church, led worship for a Sunday service, and accepted their invitation to become their Worship and Creative Arts Pastor.

While Megan and I both feel a strong peace about this direction, it is still very hard for us to leave friends and ministry at Edgewood.  It is hard to walk away from eight and a half years of building relationships.  We have so many good memories of Edgewood and the Seattle area and it will always remain as a special part of our lives.  We have also gained truly valuable ministry experience that will be put to good use at our new church.

Please join us in praying for Edgewood as this has definitely been a year of transition and now there is one more transition to work through.  We truly believe that God wants to do great things through Edgewood to reach out to the Seattle area.

We also ask that you please continue to pray for us as we transition to a new community and a new ministry.  Our last Sunday at Edgewood will be December 13 (the Christmas program weekend) and then we'll head down to Knoxville shortly after that with the hopes of starting there the first of the New Year.

It is definitely with mixed emotions that we share this news, but we are excited about moving forward with God's plan for our lives.

Salem Pastoral Staff

Tennessee Gifts from the Pastor's Wife, Miss Nova

October 7, 2015

Ch 6 - The Worship Leader and His Heart

Over the last week, my schedule has been fairly full and there has been plenty going on to keep me busy.  Unfortunately, I’ve allowed that to cut into my personal time with God.  On Monday night, I was home and was ready to catch up on my devotional reading…when I realized I left my Bible and book on my desk at church.  This afternoon, in my preparation for tonight’s choir rehearsal, I sat down to review the devotional thought from our Doxology and Theology book.  The topic was very convicting to me this week as an area of needed growth.

Chapter 6 discusses The Worship Leader and His Heart.

Here are a few thoughts from the book:

- The character of your heart (good, bad, and ugly) will shape everything you do in ministry.

- The perilous detriment of sin is that it separates us from God, our source of life.

- What our congregation sees us doing publicly; they are expecting us to do privately as well.

Matthew 6:1 says, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from our Father who is in heaven.”

Worship leaders are always in danger of falling into the pharisaical trap of honoring God with our lips, but keeping our hearts far from Him.  Our mandate is to actually love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength—not to simply make people think we do.

Please pray for me in this area that I can keep my heart more focused on Him all week long.

September 30, 2015

The Worship Leader and the Trinity - and Mission (Ch 4/5)

Chapter 4 – The Worship Leader and the Trinity

We who worship the one true and living God recognize that our worship should take His shape.  That shape includes the Trinity of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

Trinitarian worship, then, at its core, is the worship of the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

True Trinitarian worship is mindful of the unique roles of each of the Persons and at times addresses Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in accordance with those roles.  In our songs, we want lyrics that address and praise the three Persons individually.

Chapter 5 – The Worship Leader and Mission

“Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” – John Piper

God desires to see worshipers from every tribe and every nation.  In places where that’s not happening, we need to be passionate about missions work to reach those people.

Worship is a rhythm of revelation and response.  So in order to encourage people to worship, we must help them see God.  One of the best examples of this in in Isaiah 6.  Isaiah sees the holiness of God and in his response he sees his own sinfulness.  Then Isaiah experiences God’s mercy and his response is complete surrender to God’s mission.

For the sake of the nations and for the sake of God’s glory, put the beauty of God on display!  People will fall in love with Him.  People who are in love do crazy things, like change the world.

When we turn people to “look at Him” they will respond with “Here am I, send me."

I love these thoughts of turning people to God and want to do this even better at Edgewood.  I'd be curious to hear from you about what specific things in a worship service help turn your focus more on God.  Any thoughts?

September 23, 2015

Qualifications of a Worship Leader and the Importance of Scripture (Ch 2-3)

We continue looking through Doxology and Theology tonight to read about qualifications of worship leaders and the importance of Scripture.

The Old Testament is filled with detailed directions on how to worship God.  This is proof that God cares about how we worship.  However, the New Testament makes it clear that He is more concerned with our inner attitude than our outward actions (“in spirit and truth” from John 4).

I love this quote from Matt Boswell and think it is right on...

“Worship begins in the heart, is cultivated in the home, and is displayed in the church.”

We shouldn’t be defined by our stage presence, but our desire to point people to the Lord all week long.  If the worship leader cannot lead his own wife and children well, he should not attempt to lead the bride of Christ.

One of the great joys of being a worship leader is putting God’s truth on the lips of God’s people.  So, worship leaders must be able to correctly handle and communicate the Truth of God.  The church cannot afford to settle for worship leaders who are capable musicians but are incompetent theologians.  We need to be teaching the Bible in our song lyrics.  The worship of those you are leading will be richer if you teach them the riches of the One they’re celebrating.

Even though a variety of people can serve as worship leaders, the oversight should come from a pastor of the church.  A pastor who meets the requirements of an elder in I Timothy 3 by being above reproach, a one-woman man, sober-minded, self-controlled, disciplined, respectable, mature, hospitable, able to teach, sober, peace-maker, humble, not a lover of money, and a leader in his home.

September 16, 2015

Doxology and Theology Study (Ch 1)

Tonight at choir we started a new devotional series and I wanted to share highlights here on this blog as well.  I'm looking forward to walking through the book called Doxology and Theology by Matt Boswell.  He has a lot of great thoughts for worship leaders and I encourage you to read the whole book.

In Chapter 1, he talks about several marks of the worship of the church.  His emphasis is on theology and how we should all strive to better understand the ways and the heart of God.

First, the worship the worship of the church is God-centered.  Our worship should express more of what God has done for us and less of what we will do for Him.

Second, the worship of the church is Biblically formed.  He said that "Worship leaders should come to lead the people of God with a guitar in one hand and a Bible in the other...knowing how to use each weapon well."

The chief end of theology (study of God) is doxology (the praise of God).  The rhythm of worship is revelation and response: our beliefs about God's revelation dictate our response.  In order to respond appropriately, we must be consumed by God's Word.  D.A. Carson put it this way,

"You cannot find excellent corporate worship until you stop trying to find excellent corporate worship and pursue God Himself."

Next, the worship of the church is congregational.  In our lyrics, there should be equally as much "we" as there is "me."  The primary function of the church singing is the church singing together.

Lastly, the worship of the church is missional.  As worship leaders we are to live in the light of the gospel.  What we truly believe about the gospel is evidenced by how concerned or unconcerned we are for those apart from its grip.  Christian worship is build upon, shaped by, and saturated with the Word of God.

It's a great reminder that our position before God is secured in what Christ has done for us, not in the ministry we do for Him.  But as we get to know God better, our best response should be to worship Him in all we do.

August 22, 2015

#7 Our Personal Worship Should Build Anticipation for our Corporate Worship

Throughout this study, we’ve been talking about worshiping God all week long.  However, I want to be clear about something.  I am NOT saying this will replace our Sunday worship time.  In fact, I strongly believe it will enhance our Sunday worship times.

If you scroll back to the archives on this blog (Feb/Mar 2012), you will find the “Why do we sing” study.  That study talks about why we do what we do on Sunday mornings.  But, there is a huge connection between our Sunday worship and our worship the rest of the week.  In fact, it leads us to our last point…


We spend a lot of time preparing for Sunday mornings and doing our best to provide opportunities for our congregation to worship God together.  But, honestly, I cannot lead our congregation into God’s presence.  Only Jesus Christ can do that through His sacrifice on the cross.  And the more we get to know God and the deeper our worship is throughout the week, the more anticipation is going to build to come together to worship God on Sundays.

I want our congregation to be excited about and look forward to coming together each Sunday…not just to see friends or to sing our favorite songs, but to join together to worship the God we’ve been worshiping all week long.

Bob Kauflin, a highly respected worship leader, has written a wonderful book called, “Worship Matters.”  In that book, he said,
“A worshiping community is made up of individuals whose lives are centered on the Savior they worship together each week. A worshiping community expects to encounter God’s presence not only on Sunday morning but every day.  A worshiping community recognizes that passionate times of singing God’s praise flow from and lead to passionate lives lived for the glory of Jesus Christ.”

I pray that our Sunday services inspire our congregation to worship God all week long.  And I believe our worship all week long will inspire us to passionate times of worship on Sundays.  They go hand in hand.

After this message, we closed the service with Matt Redman’s new song, “Unbroken Praise.”  I appreciate his words and challenge to let our deeds outrun our words and our lives outweigh our songs as we lead a worshipful life all week long.

#6 Worship God in Your Home

This next point takes us to Deuteronomy.  But, it is an area I felt strongly led to include with this message.  And that is the point that you should…


In Deuteronomy 5, Moses recaps the Ten Commandments.  Listen to the words in the very next chapter.

Deuteronomy 6:6–7
6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

This passage clearly shows the importance of passing down God’s teachings from one generation to the next.  I think the men of the home could also add the word LEAD in front of this point.  You should “LEAD worship in your home.”  God has placed a huge privilege and responsibility for men to lead their families.

What does that look like?  Well, that could be a whole series of sermons that someone more qualified than me should probably teach.  But if you look back at that passage, there is great encouragement to simply talk about God and His Word at every opportunity that you can.  It says you shall talk when you sit, when you walk, when you lie down and when you rise…that’s pretty much all the time!

This could look very different in different settings.  For us, with a 3 year old and a 4 year old, we talk about God by thanking Him for ice cream and sunshine and swimming pools and doggies and just about everything else we see in a day.  We also attempt reading Bible stories every night with our kids.  This typically consists of Madelyn telling me what she sees in the pictures while Theo is hanging off the side of the bed.  It doesn’t have to be overly formal, but we want our kids to see the importance of regularly being in God’s Word.

And little by little they are picking up more and more from the stories.

I’ve also greatly appreciated the help with this through Awana.  I’m sharing this not as a pastor of the church to promote a program, but as a Dad who has greatly appreciated the help and resources for training our kids.  Madelyn, who started Awana last year as a 3-year old, memorized a Bible verse every single week through Awana.  The Bible stories and lessons are great resources to read with your kids at an age-appropriate level.  Theo is old enough to join this year and we’re looking forward to that starting back up at the end of September.

Matt Boswell, a worship leader from Providence Church in Texas said, “Worship begins in the heart, is cultivated in the home, and is displayed in the church.”

I think that’s so true….worship begins inside our heart and with the renewing of our minds, it’s cultivated at home and all week long, and then we get to publicly worship together at the church on Sundays.