Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

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Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family and Church by Keith and Kristyn Getty. B&H Books. 176 pages. 2017
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This excellent book written by respected modern hymn-writers Keith and Kristyn Getty is a gift to the church. It can be read individually or as a group. The authors include helpful suggestions on how churches can use the book. The book includes helpful discussion questions at the end of each chapter that readers will benefit from, whether the book is read individually or as a group. The book is intended to be practical, which it is, though not prescriptive.

The authors have five urgent goals for the book:
1 – To help pastors, musicians and congregations have a clear vision and understanding of why we sing.
2 – To help each of us realize the importance of what we sing and how those song choices affect our personal lives.
3 – To help us raise our families with an appetite for congregational singing and training in it.
4 – To help our churches become energized and more focused in their congregational singing.
5 – To help fire us to mission as we witness to others through the songs we sing.

The authors write that Martin Luther reinvigorated singing. Singing was the heart of the Reformation. They tell us that we were born to sing, and that we need to learn how to love to sing. Christian singing starts with the heart. It is prayer. Congregational singing is the ultimate choir. We should sing because we love God. We are commanded to sing, so we must do it, primarily with other believers.
The book looks at what we should sing and how we should sing. The Gospel compels us to sing. Worship comes as a response to revelation. We were created, commanded and compelled to sing. The songs we sing on Sunday become the soundtrack for our week.
We need good songs stored up in our hearts. We need to grow our appetite for good congregational singing. Sing to yourself throughout the week what you sang in church on Sunday.
Sing with your family. We need to make singing Bible-truths second nature for our children. Singing the Gospel prepares and changes hearts. Be a parent that sings with joy. Take singing in our homes seriously as an investment in our children.
Stand together as a firm foundation by singing with the local church, your family. The authors write of reaching the Millennial generation through creativity, communication and community. They tell us that all healthy churches are singing churches. Singing together is always a witness. A radical witness to a world that rejects God. It can be a powerful testimony. Being vague in the music we sing is not “seeker-friendly”. Half-hearted singing damages our witness. We need to sing the Gospel as part of the way you share the Gospel. A good question they ask is what would our church music communicate about the Gospel to visiting non-believers?

The book includes four “Bonus Tracks” or chapters specifically for those with a role in the music sung in our churches. Those chapters are:
Track 1 – for pastors and elders. Good congregational signing begins with the pastoral leadership.
Track 2 – Worship and song leader. Christ is our ultimate worship leader.
Track 3 – Musicians, choir and production
Track 4 – Songwriters and creatives

The authors read the audiobook version, the main part of the book primarily Kristyn, and the “Bonus Tracks” by Keith.  This is a quick-read, and highly recommended.
Registration is now open for the Sing! 2018 conference, September 10-12 in Nashville, Tennessee.

  • The Five R.C. Sproul Books That Had the Biggest Impact on Me. Keith Mathison writes “ Sproul’s books have had an incredible impact on tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Christians. Many of his books have had a lasting impact on me. When I reflect on which books had the most lasting impact on me personally, five in particular stand out.”
  • How to be Tech-Wise: Growing in Wisdom that Guides Our Actions. Luke Bobo reviews Andy Crouch’s book The Tech-Wise Family. He writes “This book will enable you to grow in wisdom, the type of understanding, Crouch says, “that guides action.” People should read this book so we, God’s people, can break from unhealthy habits and addictions and rightly put technology is its proper place.”
  • 8 Upcoming Books That I’m Excited About. Too many books, too little time. Here are 8 upcoming books, and a brief description of them, that I’m looking forward to.

BOOK CLUB – Won’t you read along with us?

 The Prayer That Turns the World Upside Down: The Lord’s Prayer as a Manifesto for Revolution by Albert Mohler. 224 pages. 2018

In this new book, step by step, phrase by phrase, Dr. Mohler explains what the words in The Lord’s Prayer mean and how we are to pray them. This week we look at Chapter 1: The Lord’s Prayer: An Overview:

  • Like anything of great value, prayer takes great effort, tremendous care, and Spirit-filled discipline.
  • The Lord’s Prayer must be seen not only as a model of what prayer is, but also as a model of what prayer is not.
  • Praying forces us to articulate our doctrines, convictions, and theological assumptions. These aspects of our Christian life come to a unique focus in prayer because when we speak to God we are explicitly revealing who we believe he is, who we believe we are, what his disposition toward us is, and why he has that disposition.
  • What we believe about God is revealed most truly not in what we say about him but in how we approach him—in prayer or in worship.
  • Prayer discloses much about us. It discloses our assumptions and convictions. It discloses our view of God and of ourselves. It discloses our priorities and our assumptions about God’s priorities. It discloses our doctrines of God, man, sin, redemption, the world, and a host of other theological matters. If we really want to know what a person believes, we should listen to them pray.
  • Along with affirming what prayer is—communion with God—we should note what prayer is not. First, prayer is not a matter of creative self-expression.
  • Second, prayer is not an act of therapy.
  • Third, prayer is not an act of manipulation or persuasion. We are not simply trying to find the right formula or secret code to force God to answer our prayer as we want it to be answered. Nor are we trying to persuade or bargain with God as if he were one of his creations. Prayer is not persuasion. Prayer is about God’s will being done—not our own.
  • We must bring our needs before God humbly, willing to submit to his perfect plan.
  • Fourth, prayer is not a news report to the Creator. God knows everything perfectly.
  • Finally, prayer is not an act of bargaining.
  • Prayer does not change God; it changes us.
  • It is our opportunity to commune with the Creator and Redeemer who loves us.
  • The Lord’s Prayer in the Sermon on the Mount is part of Christ’s vision for life in the inaugurated kingdom of heaven.
  • The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer for disciples to pray. Jesus specifically designed it to be used by the people of God and to enrich our prayers.
  • The first and most urgent warning Jesus gives is a warning against a piety that is public and ostentatious—a piety that is completely vapid and false.
  • The prayer God seeks is the prayer of the humble and contrite heart.

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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 38 years and a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Before retiring I served as a manager at a Fortune 50 company; I'm a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and 2 Corinthians 5:21 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

2 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

  1. Thanks for this valuable information, Bill. I graduated from Southern Seminary and had the distinct privilige of listening to Keith and Kristyn Getty perform in our chapel. May the Lord bless you!

    • Thanks so much, Chad. We love Albert Mohler and his ministry at Southern Seminary. Hopefully you’ll be able to go to the Getty’s Music Conference in Nashville. We’re looking forward to that.

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