Tag Archive | worship

Selecting Music For Worship (Part 2): Know Theology

by Ken Puls

How well do you know the music your church sings in worship? Can you think, for example, of a song that teaches that sin corrupts and deceives the heart? Or a song that unfolds the work of the Trinity in our salvation? If you were to measure the depth of doctrine and the breadth of truth in your church’s music for worship, what would you find?

In my last post we began considering ways that worship leaders can best prepare for the task of selecting music for worship. My first encouragement was know the Word. The first and best way to prepare for the task is to be regularly and diligently in God’s Word.

But second, and closely tied to the first, those who lead music in the church must know theology. Music is tied to theology—our songs instruct us. Music gives us voice to rehearse and remember the truth. It helps us rightly respond and rejoice in the truth.

Except for the preaching of the Word, no other ministry in the church has such a profound impact on shaping our understanding of truth than music. The music we sing helps us declare what is true about God, ourselves, and the world around us. And it embeds that truth in our thinking and in our lives. Paul makes the connection between music and truth in Colossians 3:16. He instructs us:

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16, ESV).

We want to sing and celebrate what is true. We want our music to support and undergird the teaching and preaching ministry of the church. For this to happen we must be wise and discerning in what we choose to sing. We must know the truth and be able to recognize lyrics that are rich in truth, lyrics that are light on truth, and lyrics that stray from the truth.

So commit yourself to study theology. Read sound, theological books. Learn to think theologically about your church’s music. Peruse and evaluate the lyrics of music you are using or considering for use in worship. Along with looking for quotes, allusions, and connections to specific Scripture references in each song, ask yourself: What theological truths does this song teach?

One of the methods I have used to help me think theologically about music is to compile a Theological Index of Church Music. I started the index twenty years ago as a project for one of my PhD seminars in seminary. I created both an outline of theological topics and a list of song titles (psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs) that we were singing at the church where I was leading worship. Then I created the index by working through the lyrics of each song, line by line, listing the song title under each entry in the outline that was stated or affirmed in the song. The resulting index provided a valuable resource, not just for selecting songs by theological topic, but for evaluating the scope and content of our church’s music.

You can find the Theological Outline here along with a list of some of the books I used to compile the outline.

I have resisted  (for now) posting my full Theological Index of Church Music. I recognize that each church will have its own compilation of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that it knows and sings well. I have also discovered that much of the benefit in having the list is the time spent creating it—thinking through lyrics and evaluating strengths and weaknesses.

Here, however, are a few entries from my opening questions:

Songs that teach that sin corrupts and deceives the heart

  • All I Have Is Christ (Jordan Kauflin – Sovereign Grace Music)
  • And Can It Be (Charles Wesley / Thomas Campbell – PD)
  • No, Not Despairingly, Come I to Thee (Horatius Bonar – PD)

Songs that unfold the work of the Trinity in our salvation

  • Heavenly Father, Beautiful Son (by Mark Altrogge – Sovereign Grace Music)
  • Come Praise and Glorify (by Bob Kauflin / Tim Chester – Sovereign Grace Music)
  • Wonderful, Merciful Savior (by Dawn Rodgers and Eric Wyse – Word Music)

Preparing for Gathered Worship: Pray for the Power of the Spirit

by Ken Puls

As we prepare to join with God’s people and come into God’s presence in gathered worship, one of the first things we should do is pray. True worship is not something we can accomplish in our own strength and skill. Though we may plan well and prepare well and perform well, we cannot worship well without the life-giving work of God’s Spirit. We need to commit our time and our efforts to God and ask that He might manifest His power among us—helping us to hear and understand and rightly apply His Word—helping us to sing and pray from our hearts and not just with our lips. We want to meet with God; we want His Word to change us. We don’t want to just mark time and go through the motions of worship. Without the work of God’s Spirit in our midst, all our efforts are in vain. Without His power opening hearts and minds and lives, our plans and our activities will have no life.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17–18 we are told to “pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” One of the things that we must certainly commit to prayer is our time together in worship as the church.

So what do we pray as we look forward to times of corporate worship?

We want to pray that God will meet with us—that He will accomplish His purposes among us. We want to pray for the preaching of the Word—that it will go out in power, accompanied by the Holy Spirit. We want to pray for receptive hearts and minds—so that we will hear and understand and embrace the truth—so that God’s Word will enter our lives and discern the thoughts and intents of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12).

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:14

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Without the work of God’s Spirit we would have no understanding of spiritual things. We needed the Spirit to open our eyes when God first rescued us from sin, gave us understanding of His Word, and brought us to bow before Christ in worship and praise. And we continue to need the Spirit, day by day, as we arise and seek to live a life of worship in Christ. Every time we pray, every time we read and try to understand the Bible, every time we share our faith with those in need of Christ, we need the power and grace only He can provide.

We are a people utterly dependent upon God—His grace and His mercy and His power.
And so we must be a people devoted to prayer.

Especially when we come to worship, desiring to fix our thoughts and focus our attention and engage our affections—intentionally, together—in pursuit of Christ in worship, we must prepare by committing our efforts to prayer.



lawrence-floewrs-more-lyricsAlbum: More
Verse 1
All the worshipers in me wants to be free
From the cares of life that seems to weighing me down
all the worshipers in me needs consistency
to lift my hands and u give praise when no ones around
Verse 2
All the worshipers in me wants to break free
from the intellectual mentality
but i wen i should be up, I’m sitting in my seat
should be lifting up my hands and giving you praise and glory
lord, i should be giving u more
I should be giving u moreChorus:
I wanna give my best to you
i wanna do what you asked me to do
i wanna go wherever you say
just say the word and i’ll obey
i wanna live a life that’s real
i wanna serve you lord for real
coz you deserve all this and more
so i give u more
i give u more
MorrreeYou deserving of more (repeat several times)
I GIVE YOU MORE (repeat several times)I surrender all, I surrender all,
all to thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
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