Category Archives: Quotes

Developing churches with a healthy climate of worship

Book Review: Worship Essentials: Growing a Healthy Worship Ministry without Starting a War! by Mike Harland

How do you change the climate of worship in a church? How do you get beyond the debate over music styles—old versus new, hymns versus praise songs, piano and organ versus guitar and drums? The conviction of Dove Award-winning worship leader and author Mike Harland is that we need to get below the surface issues and address the fundamental issues of worship and ministry.

If the spiritual leaders of a church want to foster a community that reflects the biblical marks of an authentic worship culture, they will have to go beneath the externals and get to the heart of the matter—first, in themselves—and then in the church as a whole.

We have to get to the essentials of worship.

The author identifies four key values of worship—tell the story, make true disciples, engage the body, and aspire with purpose. The book is then divided into four parts where he explains what he means.

Tell the Story. “Churches with healthy worship cultures start right there—with a clear vision of Jesus and songs that teach about him and admonish the church with his Word.” “Healthy worship ministries give testimony to the stories of God’s grace at work in his people, and to the story of grace revealed in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.”

Make true disciples. “Healthy worship cultures understand the role music has in discipleship and orchestrate their ministry to fulfill that mission.” “Leaders are wise to identify just what they are aiming for as they execute their strategy. If they are aiming at music balance—whether through multiple services of varying styles or a blended approach in the same service—they may or may not be contributing to the overall mission of the church, even if they’re hitting the target they’ve set for themselves.”

Engage the body. “Healthy congregational worship ministries place a high value on congregational engagement. When they evaluate the impact of this work, they consider the active involvement of the people in the worship gathering to be one of the key metrics to consider.”

Aspire with purpose. Churches need leaders who “aspire for excellence, but with purpose, and every decision they make is intended to move the body of believers toward the realization of that purpose. Most of all, they aspire for the worship in their church to be focused on much more important things than music styles and song choices.”

I appreciated the book because it focuses on the big picture. It is not about songs, styles, pacing, staging, or any of the other issues we tend to get consumed over. Instead, the book gets back to the foundation of what we do and why we do it. The book is well written, thought provoking, and encouraging.

Disclosure: I received this book free from B&H Publishing through the B&H/Lifeway Bloggers program The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

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Posted by on January 21, 2019 in Books, Church, Quotes, Worship


The blessing of adversity

Book Review: The Luckiest Man: How a Seventeen-Year Battle with ALS Led Me to Intimacy with God, by John R. Paine with Seth Haines

Are God’s blessings limited to the pleasurable? Does God only bless us with experiences that lead to prosperity? Might God’s blessings also include adversity? Can God bless someone with a disease, loss, failure, or tragedy?

John Paine would argue for the latter. He can testify firsthand how God used the disease of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease—to draw him into a deeper and more abiding relationship with Jesus Christ.

The book tells the story of growing up in east Texas. John was a scrawny kid with poor eyesight and a learning disability. His father was difficult to please. This motivated John to push himself and to excel in order to win approval. He drove him to be in CONTROL of every part of his life—business, marriage, family, church. It all came crashing down in his mid-40’s when he was diagnosed with ALS.

And yet, John discovered that as God stripped away his pride and control, he replaced it with a deeper, richer, and more intimate relationship with Christ. As he now nears the end of his life, he states that he would not trade his intimacy with Christ for better health.

I’ve been asked what I’d do to be rid of this disease. I’m not sure how to answer that question, but let me say it this way: if I could hold Margaret (his wife) one more time, if I could bounce my grandchildren on my lap or hug my children, if I could put in a full day at the office, if I could be a captain of industry, if I could lead thousands into professions of faith, if I could be the pillar of the church—if I could do it all but had to trade this rhythm of intimacy with God born from ALS? The choice is easy. I would keep this disease. I’d take this pain, this slow suffocation. I’d drink this cup all over again. I wouldn’t trade this intimacy for anything. What was meant for my torture has been used for my salvation. I’m thankful for that.

The book is well written and very encouraging. While it doesn’t lead to a happily-ever-after ending, it does provide an example of a man who discovered that when he lost everything but his faith in God, he discovered that God was enough. The book will cause you to reexamine your own life and perspective of who God is. Well worth the read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Posted by on January 14, 2019 in Books, Health, Personal growth, Quotes


The greatest danger in life

“The greatest danger in your life is not that you will lose your job or your health, or even your friends and family, but that you might lose your faith.”

Dr. Kenneth O. Gangel

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Posted by on January 12, 2019 in Faith, Quotes


Creative ways to invite someone to church

Want to invite someone to church this week? Looking for new ideas on how to break the ice and speak about your church to a friend?

Diana Davis has written a helpful blog post entitled, “52 Ideas for Inviting Someone to Church This Year.” She begins by saying,

The simple act of inviting friends and acquaintances to your church can impact eternity.

A study by LifeWay Research found about two-thirds of churchgoers made it a point to invite someone to church in the last six months, but nearly a third said they hadn’t extended an invitation to anyone.

As God puts people in your life pathway, will you intentionally invite them?

You can do this! Here are 52 ideas to help you get started. Some are for individuals; others can be adapted for your small group or the entire church.

1. Order business-card-size invitations for church members to use. A few times per year, give a small bundle of cards to each church member. Encourage them to carry the cards, ready to invite someone to church. Keep extra cards available at the church.

2. When you grab lunch at a drive-through restaurant, give the person who takes your order a printed invitation to church.

3. Make a new commitment to invite people every week. Make a checklist of people you often encounter: grocery clerk, boss, teacher, physical therapist, friend, yard guy, nail tech, relative, hair stylist, food server, dentist, mail carrier, employee, neighbor, etc.

4. Walk your dog. Jog. Stroll. You’ll meet lots of people you can invite to your church.

5. Your personal social media (Facebook, etc.) offers a great way to invite people. Post a photo, tell a story about how church impacts your life, link to the church website, or say “Join us Sunday at 10!” You never know who’s reading.

Click on the link to read the rest of her suggestions.

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Posted by on January 3, 2019 in Church, Evangelism, Quotes


How are you using your life?

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Posted by on December 29, 2018 in Quotes, Tim Challies


Be mastered by the Word of God


Where do you turn?

“When belief in God becomes difficult, the tendency is to turn away from Him; but in heaven’s name to what?”

G. K. Chesterton

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Posted by on December 11, 2018 in Quotes