Quote for the Day

Christianity asserts that every individual human being is going to live for ever, and this must be either true or false.  Now there are a good many things which would not be worth bothering about if I were going to live only seventy years, but which I had better bother about very seriously if I am going to live forever.  Perhaps my bad temper or my jealousy are gradually getting worse–so gradually that the increase in seventy years will not be very noticeable.  But it might be absolute hell in a million years: in fact, if Christianity is true, Hell is the precisely correct technical term for what it would be.  And immortality makes this other difference, which, by the by, has a connection with the difference between totalitarianism and democracy.  If individuals live only seventy years, then a state, or a nation, or a civilisation, which may last for a thousand years, is more important than an individual.  But if Christianity is true, then the individual is not only more important but incomparably more important, for he is everlasting and the life of a state or a civilisation, compared with his, is only a moment.

from: C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity: A Revised and Amplified Edition, with a New Introduction, of the Three Books, Broadcast Talks, Christian Behaviour, and Beyond Personality. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001, 74-75.


Psalm 21 Devotional

Psalm 20 and 21 come as a unit, and I thought it would be beneficial if we just looked at some of the contrasts between the two psalms so that we can learn more of the amazing blessing of coming before the Lord in prayer

Both psalms concern King David, and are setup so that the people of Israel pray them concerning the king.

Psalm 20 seems to take place in the midst of a war, asking that God would deliver the king, that they would win the battle

V1 “May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble”

V2 “May He send you help from the sanctuary”

They express their hope in God’s help looking to the return of the king

V5 “We will sing for joy over your victory”

V6 “I know that the Lord saves His anointed”

But in psalm 21 the war is over, the king has returned and the people offer thanksgiving to the Lord and affirm their hope in God along with the king

In psalm 20 they prayed that God would give the king his heart’s desire (v4), and in Psalm 21 they praise God because He granted the king the desire of his heart (v2).  They asked that God would preserve their king from death, and He did.

God met the king with blessings of good things.

Psalm 21 is full of rejoicing, full of thanksgiving and hope – why?

Because of psalm 20

Requests were made of God, and God answered.

If there had been no prayer before entering the war, the joy of seeing God answer His people would not be experienced.

So let us come before God – the God who hears and answers His people’s prayers – let us come before Him placing our full trust in His power, so that in the future we might experience the joy of seeing His mighty power at work in our midst, so that we too can join in exalting the Lord, singing and praising His power.

Psalm 21 Translation

1 For the music director.  A psalm of David.

2  O Yahweh, in your protection the king rejoices
In Your salvation how greatly he rejoices

3 You have given him his heart’s longing

And you have not withheld the desire of his lips

4 For you have met him with blessings of good things

You have placed a crown of pure gold on his head

5 He asked for life from You; You gave it to him

Length of days forever and ever

6 His glory is great through your salvation

Majesty and splendor You place on him

7 For you grant him lasting blessings

You make him glad in the joy of Your presence

8 For the king trusts in Yahweh

And through the covenant love of the Most High he will not be made to falter

9 Your hand finds all your enemies

Your right hand finds those who hate You

10 You make them as a fiery furnace in the time of your anger

Yahweh will swallow them and fire consume them in His anger

11 You will destroy their offspring from the earth

Their descendents from mankind

12 Though they intend to do you harm

They devise an evil plan

They will not succeed

13 For you make them retreat when you load your bowstring to shoot at them

14 Be exulted, Yahweh, in your strength

We will sing and praise Your power

Review of Bob Kauflin’s Worship Matters


Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin

I was given a copy of Bob Kauflin’s Worship Matters and was really impressed with his material.  Kauflin wrote the book specifically for worship leaders that they might be more effective and more skillfully lead worship at their church (p. 17) and I really think he succeeds in this goal. While I don’t agree with everything (especially in regard to his view of miraculous gifts in everyday life), it is a really good resource for those who are looking to dial in their understanding both practically and doctrinally of the place of singing in our worship of the Lord.

Kauflin’s discussion on skill begins a little shaky, but as the book progresses it really firms up and he has a lot of good input.  He beings citing some Old Testament passages in regard to skill without explaining some of the problems of making direct application to “playing skillfully on the strings” to our day, on the other side of the cross (p. 34).  He later amends this oversight (p. 52) making it clear that we should not just copy Old Testament temple worship.  But in this section on skill he makes it very clear that “skill doesn’t make worship more acceptable before God” (p. 35), which I think is a key statement, especially in the media and entertainment driven society that we live in today.  It is not about always sounding perfect or having the best guitarist on your team, in fact placing too much emphasis on skill can have some ugly fruit (p. 36), but we must balance skill as a tool to help others worship the Lord in song (it can be distracting if everyone is out of key!).  The principle here is “serve one another” (1 Pet. 4:10).  “Nothing against skill, practice, complexity, nuance, musicianship, or sincerity, but only the finished work of Christ makes our offerings of worship acceptable in God’s eyes.  What a relief!” (p. 75). Continue reading →