Christian Hymnody: History and Emotion

One of the great benefits of a Christian hymnal is that it pulls together the very best of Christian hymnody from across centuries, even millennia. Most music doesn’t have much of a shelf life. Just consider pop music (Christian or secular). The vast majority of what you hear today will be completely forgotten in a… Read More ›

The Prayers

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42) One of the primary things we do as a congregation is pray for one another. And it’s not simply one another whom we pray for, but for those around us too. We pray for… Read More ›

The Final Out and the Victory Song

Just like a good come-from-behind baseball game, worship begins in humility, and ends in exaltation. We begin with the humble declaration, “Almighty God, our Maker and Redeemer, we poor sinners confess to you …” It kind of seems like a downer. It’s like the starting pitcher gave up a few runs and got knocked out… Read More ›

How to Pray

Have you ever wondered if you are praying for the right things? What if we are actually praying for things that will hurt us? What if there is something we should be praying for that we don’t know about? What if we or someone we love is missing out on God’s blessings simply because we… Read More ›

This Is My Body; This Is My Blood

The tired, but excited band of friends sat down for the biggest meal of the year. It had been a crazy week. The city was filled with visitors from all over the country, and not a few of them were talking about Jesus. People had been wondering if Jesus might be the Messiah, and now… Read More ›


“Pastor, right before we receive the Lord’s Supper, you always read those instructions about receiving the Sacrament in a worthy manner. Why do you do that? How could we ever be worthy?” This is a great question. I have heard it in various forms, and if a few of you have asked me about it,… Read More ›

I Believe …

“So what does your church believe?” This is a common question when people learn that I am a pastor. Perhaps you have been asked the same thing. Whenever I am asked this question, I have a bad habit of trying to come up with a satisfactory answer on the fly. For some reason, I feel… Read More ›

The Word in Worship

There is perhaps nothing more necessary in Christian worship than the Word of God. As we continue to look at what worship is, and why we do the specific things we do, we need to take a look at the Word of God. Worship (as we talked about at the beginning of this series) is… Read More ›


Last month in this series on worship we considered the confession of sin, which does not consist merely of confessing our sins (if that were the case, it would be little more than self-deprecation), but also the promise of forgiveness in Jesus Christ (also called absolution). This month I want to consider the little song… Read More ›


As we continue to look at worship—what it is and why we do what we do when we gather on Sunday mornings—we now come to the confession of sins. Our corporate confession and absolution (just a fancy word for “forgiveness”) is the briefest snapshot of what worship is all about. It is poor sinners confessing… Read More ›