Saturday, February 16, 2008

Worship in Song Conference - Two Weeks to Launch!

Well, call us nice guys. We decided to open up about 10 more spots for the Worship in Song Conference. So, if your team was thinking of coming and thinking there was not enough room... email now! Operators are standing by! Send an email with your full name to julian[at]gfcto[dot]com. But please be quick... we really don’t have much more space!

I also got word today that our gift count for registrants should be a little bigger. Some of this will depend on shipping and friendly customs agents, but it looks promising. We love to give stuff away! You can pray it gets here on time.

If you are already registered, please feel free to bring your instrument (no pipe organs please – not enough room) for the workshop time. I am really excited about these workshops. Our goal is to pool resources and humbly learn from one another. Different folks from Grace Fellowship Church will be leading each workshop and serving you by directing the conversation. It underlies one of the major truths of this conference – we don’t know it all! We want to learn from you.

I perused the list of registrants today and see lots of names I know and lots I don’t know – about 50-50 I would guess. That’s great! Another great benefit of times like these is forging new relationships with brothers and sisters in the Gospel.

So, register today if you are coming. And we will see you on March 1st... bright and early!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Free Stuff at the Worship in Song Conference

Free stuff.

Why do we love getting stuff for free? I have watched pastors trample one another to score a free book or chocolate bar. I am not joking. I was in a store last year when a sales clerk got stampeded as he brought out a flat of some toaster ovens or something. Not free, but a loss leader and people went nuts.

Ah well, who doesn’t like free?

Those folks who come to the Worship in Song Conference are going to get some free stuff. Of course, they pay $10 to register, but that hardly covers the cost of what we hope to give them. I won’t spoil all the secrets, but I think it will be fun.

There are officially only THREE spots left for the conference. Since it remains a couple of weeks away, we are going to start a Waiting List for those who register after those three spots fill. If there are any cancellations or we can increase our venue, you will be contacted on a first come, first served basis. And then you can get your free stuff!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

38 Hindrances...

In my class on Worship at Toronto Baptist Seminary, I asked my students to identify five ways they are a hindrance to the Corporate Worship of God. Their lists were very interesting and I assembled a bit of a highlight reel here. I think it is a great question to ask yourself before next Sunday – how do I hinder the worship of God at my church? Here are some of the items my guys came up with...

  1. Not even thinking about how God desires to be worshiped
  2. Sin in my life
  3. Not showing up at all
  4. Being grumpy
  5. Not arriving grateful for the cross
  6. Not praying in advance
  7. Being tired or lazy
  8. Taking pride in my contributions to the service
  9. Distracted by the details and running of the service
  10. Showing up late
  11. Processing other things than what is happening in the service
  12. Worrying about what my kids are doing
  13. Looking for a pen and writing a cheque
  14. Not fixing relational problems with others in the church
  15. Thinking more about the process of worship than the One I am to worship
  16. Roaming mind
  17. Pride in thinking I could do better than what the person up front is doing
  18. Not going to bed early enough on Saturday night
  19. Watching car races [insert your program of choice here] so that a) I am late for services and b) my mind is dwelling on them not the Lord
  20. Not worshiping God through the week
  21. Not paying attention to what I sing or say in worship
  22. Worrying about what I wore
  23. Wanting the service to be perfect and growing discontent with mistakes
  24. Being more excited about friends than God
  25. Timing the pastors prayers
  26. Viewing the singing as a time of entertainment
  27. Trying to get friends to laugh by distracting them in immature ways
  28. Enjoying the melody of a song more than delighting in God
  29. Pride of thinking I could play a certain instrument better
  30. Criticizing every little aspect of the service in my mind
  31. Pride of thinking God must be impressed with the way I am worshiping!
  32. Doing outward things in order to gain others’ attention
  33. Sitting with people I know will lead me to talk and not pay attention
  34. Thinking about the problems of my week rather than on the worship of God
  35. Not confessing sin
  36. Failing to prepare for worship
  37. Over-analyzing songs and sermons so that I never think of Christ
  38. Doing a shoddy job in my contributions to corporate worship

Got any to add?

D.A. Carson on "What is Evangelicalism?" - What is Evangelicalism?

We were delighted that in his recent preaching engagement with the Toronto Spiritual Life Convention, D. A. Carson agreed to also speak at our Sovereign Grace Pastor's Fellowship.
Dr. Carson was very helpful by explaining how different pre-suppositions lead to different conclusions on the nature of evangelicalism. He then went on to explain how he builds his definition - and, then gave it. Whether you call yourself an evangelical or not, this is must listening in order to understand the movement as a whole.
Due to the sensitive nature of some of his answers, the Q. and A. which followed was not recorded. (But, boy, it was good!)
You can download the sermon for free by clicking the link above.