Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Understanding Singing in Worship

I'm sure Justin Taylor has already pointed 100 million people at Bob Kauflin's message from the Desiring God 2008 National Conference entitled Words of Wonder: What Happens When We Sing? I am sure I missed out on this message for several months, and I wanted to share this with anyone who hasn't listened in. Kauflin gives us three ways that singing serves the Word:
  • Singing can help us remember words.
  • Singing can help us engage the words emotionally.
  • Singing can help us use words to demonstrate and express our unity.

He says so much more and his message is very helpful. You should listen, and tell me what you think!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Six Questions to Ask when Studying the Bible

I have been enjoying Mark Driscoll's audio and video resources, and I listened to a very helpful message he gave to a group of church planters at the Dwell conference in New York City in 2008. I decided that the content was so helpful that I wanted to take notes:

Six questions to ask when studying the Bible:

1.What does the Bible say? (The Biblical Question)
    • Driscoll and Acts 29 upholds Verbal Plenary Inerrancy - "the very words of Scripture in all of Scripture are without error"
    • Become someone who really enjoys your Bible
    • Make time to fast from internet, cell phones, meetings, radio, television, technology - seek silence and solitude to spend time with the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures - give yourself permission to be alone with God
2. What does the Bible mean? (The Theological Question)
    • Use commentaries, Bible software, books, etc. - check your understanding with reliable sources
3. What is going to make this passage stick? What's the hook? (The Memorable Question)
    • a word, i.e., hesed
    • an emotion, i.e., bitterness from the book of Ruth
    • an image, i.e., the throne from Revelation
    • a doctrine, i.e., providence from Joseph
    • a life study, i.e., Nehemiah
4. Why, or how, is there resistance to this truth? (The Apologetic Question)
    • Start with you, and ask God to convict you of the resistance you have to the truth
    • How do we answer the objections that come up so that people are left without an excuse
      • People will defend themselves, or find some excuse as to why they are the exception to the rule
      • "This was the hallmark of good Puritan preaching"
5. Why does this matter? (The Missional Question)
    • It matters for me, my marriage, my church, my city, etc.
    • The Bible is not just true, it is helpful! It's a better life!
6. How is Jesus the hero? Where's Jesus? (The Jesus Question)
    • The whole Bible is about our God, Jesus Christ. John 5 - if you don't love Jesus, you don't understand the Bible. Luke 22, 24, Jesus taught that the Bible was about him.
    • Prophecies about Jesus, Christophanies, types (2nd Adam, prophet, king, sacrificial system, priests, temple, tabernacle, shepherds, judges), similar ministries (greater Adam, greater Isaac, greater Able, greater Jacob, greater Joseph, greater Moses, greater Job, greater David, greater Jonah, greater Boaz, greater Nehemiah, greater Hoseah), Jesus is seen in the Old Testament in events (exodus, passover, atonement, propitiation, expiation), titles for God (Son of Man, suffering servant, first and the last, light the rock, shepherd, savior, lord of glory)
      • "Don't be excited about church planting or preaching. Be excited about Jesus and then open your mouth!"
      • "My goal is to tell you that the Bible is true and Jesus is everything. . . . That fixes so many problems"
      • "If Jesus isn't the reason that you go to the Scriptures, he will oppose you in everything you do."

I hope this is as helpful for you as it has been for me.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Recommended Reading from Mark Driscoll

I recently began subscribing to The Resurgence, a blog related to Mars Hill Church, and I found Mark Driscoll's series on Great Books to be helpful. Here are some of the topics:
The last post in this series was just a couple days ago (4/21/2009), so hopefully we will see more from Driscoll.

~ Todd

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Choosing a Commentary

Photo by austinevan

Have you ever wondered which commentary would be the best choice for a certain book of the Bible that you are considering teaching or studying? I have been listening to Mark Driscoll's sermon series on 1 & 2 Peter, and he mentioned a helpful resource for doing just that. Bet you can't guess the name. Yep, That was a tough one! So I decided to drop by and check out the site.

As I was typing in the url, I wondered, will it just be a big spreadsheet? How will they organize their site to manage ranking all the various commentaries. Well, you navigate the site by selecting a book of the Bible. Here's how the list of commentaries is ranked:

This site works toward resolving [the] tension [between busy, poor students and the plethora of expensive books] by enabling Bible students at all levels to make good, informed decisions about which commentaries they should purchase and use by providing a constantly updated biblography of commentaries on each book of the Bible and collecting reviews, ratings, and prices of commentaries from a variety of sources.

The most notable sources are the published books by D. A. Carson, Tremper Longman, III, John Glynn, and Jim Rosscup. In addition to these print publications, the web resources of John Piper's Desiring God Ministries, R. C. Sproul's Ligonier Ministries, and the Denver Seminary Journal are in the site. The data from these books and websites have been used with permission from the respective owners and aggregated to provide an average score representing a wider array of biblical scholarship than would be possible with a single book. These books are still extremely valuable and should be consulted directly along side of this website.

Scores and ratings alone cannot determine the best choices for an individual pastor or student, but we hope the combined resources available through this site points them in the right direction.

If you are looking for a commentary, you should definitely consult this site.

~ Todd

Monday, April 06, 2009

Practical Living for Your iPod

Justin Taylor recently linked to some of Paul Tripp's audio recordings on, and I have been listening to a series entitled "Survival Skills for a Fallen World." Seventy mp3 downloads are available on various ways believers can apply God's Word to every day life. Tripp has some excellent insight and these recordings have already been helpful in my own life.

Paul Tripp has written several books, including Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change, Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens, A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger than You, Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy.

Here's a clip of Tripp talking about his book, Whiter Than Snow:

I highly recommend these mp3s and books.

~ Todd

Update: Here's more from Paul Tripp

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Songs of Ordination

At my ordination last Sunday night, we sang two classic hymns, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God and Great Is Thy Faithfulness. These hymns reflected our dependence on God and his faithfulness and grace. I also asked our worship leader, Scott Lee, to sing a song based on Psalm 130, Out of the Depths, written by Bob Kauflin and recorded on the Psalms CD from Sovereign Grace Ministries. Here are the words:

Out of the Depths
Out of the depths, O Lord, I cry to You
When I am tempted to despair
Though I might fail to trust Your promises
You never fail to hear my prayer
And if You judged my sin
I’d never stand again
But I see mercy in Your hands

So more than watchmen for the morning
I will wait for You, my God
When my fears come with no warning
In Your Word I’ll put my trust
When the harvest time is over and I still see no fruit
I will wait, I will wait for You

The secret mysteries belong to You
We only know what You reveal
And all my questions that are unresolved
Don’t change the wisdom of Your will
In every trial and loss
My hope is in the cross
Where Your compassions never fail

The reason I wanted to hear this song at my ordination is because I don't understand why God has called me into his service. I feel much like the prodigal son who returned home as an unworthy servant, yet his father joyfully welcomes him home and restores him to full fellowship. I have many "questions that are unresolved," but this doesn't change the wisdom of God's will.

This song also declares my desire to depend on God and to trust his Word when I doubt and face fears and trials. "When my fears come with no warning, in your Word I'll put my trust." May my ministry be based on the truth of God's Word, and nothing else. By God's grace I will honor him with my life and service. We cannot ever earn his favor, but we can prove our love and gratitude. May God be honored and praised!

~ Todd