Preaching Through Ephesians

We are past the 2/3 mark of the book of Ephesians. The text is rich and helpful. The men who have been doing the teaching are from a variety of ages and stages of life, but the commonality of Scripture have taken part in a unique project, the teaching of the letter from the Apostle Paul to the churches in the first century known as Ephesians.

Here is the reading of the text from Ephesians 1 – 4 from each of the men. Be encouraged.

Gather with us on Sunday evenings from the remaining two chapters.

Lord’s Day Evening Preaching/Teaching

For the past sixteen weeks several men of Eastside have been doing the Lord’s Day evening teaching. Tonight, Bradley Kinch will pick up from where Silas Thompson left off, Ephesians 5:15-21.

Gather with us tonight at 6:30 p.m at 204 Eastland Drive North in Twin Falls, Idaho or online right here at approx. 6:30 p.m. mountain time.

Book Review of Doxology and Theology (PT. 3)

SteveBradLast night (4/19/16) I met up with John Martinez, Steve McMullin and Bradley Kinch again to process through and think about the whole of the worship gathering of the Lord’s people and what is required of those who lead out in the gathering. We gathered at one of my favorite places in town, Chick-fil-A, to enjoy the fellowship of brothers and discuss the important duty we have to God in leading His people to worship Him.

The next chapter we reviewed was the Qualification of a Worship Leader.

Matt Boswell, presented a respectful view that those who lead out in the worship gathering are required to meet a biblical standard first. The music skill is important and should be increased, but criteria number one is, what does the Bible say about the qualifications of those leading.

I like that Boswell does not label worship as only music. It is a duty of the pastor to lead, or disciple, the Lord’s people in what is to be said, sung, done in relationship to worshiping God. God informs us in how to do this and He is fair to establish standards of those who will lead.

His examination came from classic Text of Scripture of what the apostle Paul has to say to Timothy, Titus and what Peter has to say. The Bible does inform the church on who is to lead out. The church has a duty to obey the Lord.

After reading this chapter and the Scripture qualifications we all agree that it is an amazing work of God’s grace that there is anyone able and qualified to lead His people in worship. It is indeed a work of grace for His glory.

Who should Lead?

First, the leader should be a man. This does not mean that women can not assist and participate, but it is clear that God has established men to lead His people. We were all in agreement on Boswell’s first point. This may be considered unfair by some and may even put some churches in danger of being disobedient.

Once this starting point was settled he began short observations of the classic text. The leader of worship should be…

  • Male
  • Above reproach
  • A One-Woman Man
  • Sober-Minded
  • Self Controlled
  • Disciplined
  • Respectable
  • Mature
  • Hospitable
  • Able to Teach
  • Sober
  • Gentle Peacemaker
  • Humble
  • Not a Lover of Money
  • A Leader in His home

We took the time to discuss all of these and spent time to talk about how they fit each of us and again, reminded that God does have a right to establish standards for those who lead His people. Each one of these qualifications leave a leader nearly crushed by the many reasons why we don’t meat the standard.

This internal war of the mind of the worship leader (pastor/elder) may be best described in the words of the late Charles Spurgeon

“You are not mature if you have a high esteem of yourself. He who boasts in himself is but a babe in Christ, if indeed he be in Christ at all. Young Christians may think much of themselves. Growing Christians think themselves nothing. Mature Christians know that they are less than nothing. The more holy we are, the more we mourn our infirmities, and the humbler is our estimate of ourselves.”

The discussion of the book was a blessing, the spicy chicken sandwich and waffle fries were delicious, but the time eye ball to eye ball with brothers talking about God was the winner of the night.

A few quotes from “Qualification of a Worship Leader”

“Since the primary role of the worship leader is a teaching role, it seems he ought to be qualified as an elder. In light of this, throughout this chapter and most of the book, the pronoun “he” will be employed through the lens of a complementarian view of men and women. Complementarians believe that men and women are both created equally in the image of God. They have the same value and the same purpose – to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. At the same time, they are also created distinctly male and female.”

“The worship leader’s marriage should be exemplary and worthy of imitation.”

“Being emotionally driven is not a personality type, but an immaturity and should be repented of and fought. Pastors should be driven by the Truth.”

“The worship of God is not to be entered into flippantly or unadvisedly.”

“Above all these commands, the chief end is that our churches would be led by men who would bring great joy, not only to their congregation, but to the community. The qualifications for ministry outlined above are not meant to be heavy-laden and burdensome, but a reflection of the holiness God demands in the context of worship. The worship leader must be holy.”

Book Review of Doxology and Theology (pt. 2

Last night (4/12/16) was the first gathering and discussion we (John, Steve, Bradley and myself) had on Boswell’s book, Doxology and Theology.

It was our original plan to meet at a local coffee house and have the discussion with a cup of coffee (hot chocolate for me). But the coffee house we went to closes at 7pm so we took our hot drinks to the church house and discussed the chapter there. It was a great discussion and a good start to what appears to be a beneficial book to read.

Chapter 1, Doxology, Theology, and the Mission of God by Matt Boswell

I couldn’t agree more with Boswell on the statement he makes that “Theology is not intended for the elite, but for all of God’s people.” All of God’s people are not only able to know God but are invited and arguably commanded to know God ourselves. I make this argument to Eastside Baptist often that they are theologians.

We spent a good bit of time talking about how music in our worship service is an influential component of the gathering. It is critical in telling the story of what we (the gathered church) believes about God. Often the idea is hammered in chapter on that what we practice in our journey with the Lord is shaped by what we believe about God and the only safe place to know about God is from the aid of Scripture. Our music must be shaped from what the Bible teaches not on what music we like.

The chief end of theology is doxology (p. 12). All churches have a formula that dictates the way we praise God (that is what doxology is.) If this formula is not driven by biblical theology then we are in danger of idolatry. This is Boswell’s argument that it is “vital for worship leaders to have a robust and growing theology” and that “apart from the revelation of God, worship [of God] does not exist.” Something happens, worship of something happens, but worship of God can not happen unless it is in light of the revelation of who God is.

Chapter one was examined in the framework of Psalm 96. Boswell identifies five marks of the worship of the church from this passage, related to 1 Chronicles 16,

It was good to hear John, Steve, and Bradley express their thoughts on these five marks. They are not only friends, they are careful with their words.

1. the worship of the church is God-centered

The men I’m reading this book with understand that this is a must. If it is not God-centered then we are making worship about ourselves. We agree with the author that God-centered worship requires that all songs must be biblical. God centered worship involves a people who “sing to the Lord” (Psalm 96). The only kind of singing that glorifies God when the Lord’s people are gathered together for worship are songs that glorify God and are theologically driven from the Bible. The singing is “not meant to be entertainment or a distraction from God.” (p. 8)

Boswell makes a strong argument that worship leaders (all who are leading the gathered people during a worship service) are actively making disciples of those present. I wish I had had this truth present on my thinking years ago. The song leader is not mindlessly selecting songs (he may be) but he is actually teaching or making disciples by the songs he selects. The songs are an expression of the gathered people of what they think and believe about God. WOW! That is very important.

We discussed what the apostle means when he says we are to “sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) and what it means to “sing a new song” (Psalm 96:1). “Our song is a song of salvation. As the people of God we are meant to be continually writing new songs that confess the tenants of our faith in fresh, creative, and meaningful ways. However, tne songs are not an end in themselves. The “new song” we sing is informed by the “old song,” and looks with anticipation toward the new song we will sing in heaven (Rev.5:8-10). (p. 9-10)

New is not new just because it is new, it is new because it is shaped by the bible and maybe because it is unlike our old nature. It is not the gather people declaring new things never said about God. It is saying things about God that God has told us and unlike any idea of God we could ever come up with independent from the influence of Scripture by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

2. the worship of the church is biblically formed

“Worship leaders ought to come to lead the people of God with a guitar in one hand, and a Bible in the other, and know how to use each weapon well. We are a people formed by the word of God, and it is His Word that calls us to worship.” (p. 10)

We all laughed at this because we all play guitar. From expert to not so expert. From the skill of Steve all the way to the other end of myself. But a truer statement for us tonight could not be more profound. If all is done in the worship of God is with a music instrument and no theology then what is being done is no more than what is done on any night of the week in any other place in town. the Bible must form our worship if what is going to take place is worship of God.

3. the worship of the church is gospel-wrought

A way to God is impossible without theology. Idolatry is always on the verge of derailing the Lord’s people. The gospel is at stake! The songs that are sung by the Lord’s people is the sound of redemption, it is the sound of salvation.

We were all in agreement with Boswell that “it is vital for worship leaders to have a robust and growing theology. Apart from the revelation of God, worship does not exist.” (p. 13)

The music of the Lord’s people gathered together must be “infused with Scripture” – “gospel soaked” (p. 13) if it is to be powerful.

There is a songs that many churches sing, ours included, that need a phrase or two changed to tighten up the theology. We did not talk about this last night, but my reflection on it this afternoon has reminded me of  a song with the phrase “you ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart.” I get what this phrase is saying but it is weak theology. It is more informed by emotion than theology. This phrase give the authority of Christ being alive based upon my feeling that He is alive in my heart so that’s all that is needed. This fails the theology test in my opinion. I have friends of other faiths (Mormon in particular) who will say they know their Jesus or the God they worship is real because they feel it in their souls. Who’s emotional authority is superior? To the Bible, Christian, to the Bible. For me, all that needs to happen is tighten up the theology of the song and it clears up the authority. “You ask me how I know He lives, the Bible tells me so.”

4. the worship of the church is congregational

“We have to be more intentional about making worship congregational.” (p. 17)

“We don’t gather on Sundays to see pageantry performed. We gather to worship as a people who have been redeemed by the power of the cross. The primary function of the church singing is the church singing together.” (p.17)

I was encouraged by this and thankful for the understanding that the men who lead in this part of the gathering on a weekly basis agree. This has been a change that has been made at Eastside over the past several years. Rarely is a solo, “special” music, the norm of our gatherings. There are times a solo is done, but it is so rare that it can actually be called “special”. A special occasion or seasonal event may better serve the congregation with a solo, but not the norm and can’t be considered “congregational”.

Congregational singing is a spectacular element of the weekly gathering. It is of such a nature that it requires it be theological first. It is the moment when the congregation is saying the same thing about God at the same time. I enjoy the sound of the redeemed singing theologically sound declarations.

5. the worship of the church is missional

I’ll refrain from my opinion about the word missional. It is used many times without much clarification of what it means. I do think Boswell did a good job giving clarification that “our goal with all of this is that God would be glorified in the worship of every nation, tribe, and tongue. While worship is God-centered, it is also declarative.” (p. 18)

My conclusion of chapter one is summed up on page 21; “Our position before God is secured in what Christ has done for us, not in the ministry we do for Him. The more we allow the truths of the gospel to form our identity, the more apt we will be to serve without fear or the tendency to perform.”

I was encouraged by the things articulated in chapter one and encouraged that there is a mutual desire of those that lead in this duty at Eastside agree that God shapes this gathering and not us. These men understand that the power to attract people to God is not our duty; it is our duty to obey God who has revealed Himself to us through the Holy Bible. God has the authority to direct us in how to properly worship Him.

May the Lord be glorified and His people pleased to worship Him as he instructs us to do so.

Blog Reading List

I thought I would introduce you to some blogs that I like to frequent. Not because they are followed by the masses (yet). Not because they are written by well know authors, artist, designers or publishers (yet).

But because I know them personally.

Leaving the old Man to Die

Two blogs that I highly recommend to you. Brad and Aly Kinch are a sweet young couple in our church. They have an ongoing desire to be a reflection of the sanctifying work of  their Redeemer. Recently Brad and Aly have been working out their journey together in their young life. A matter surfaced that is more common than some are willing to admit. It’s a moral issue, but it’s more than a moral issue; It’s a spiritual issue.

Read their thoughts, heed their words and rejoice in the grace of God

Bradley Kinch – Leaving the Old Man to Die
Aly Kinch – Alyson Kinch Blog

Sermon at Eastside Baptist Church in Twin Falls, Idaho, March 16, 2014
1 Corinthians 7:1-11


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