Friday, February 28, 2014

Received for Review


Page CXVI. Lent to Maundy Thursday. Boulder: SoundCloud/Page CXVI, 2014. mp3 audio download. Available March 4.  (H)

A video with behind the scenes footage in the studio to "This Blessed Day" from the album:


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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Received for Review



Luther, Martin. Translated by Holger Sonntag. Edited and arranged by Paul Strawn. What is Marriage, Really? From Two Marriage Sermons On Hebrews 13:4 and Ephesians 5:22-33. Minneapolis: Lutheran Press, 2013. 116 Pages. Paper. $.6.00. (LHP)

Overdorf, Daniel. One Year to Better Preaching: 52 Exercises to Hone Your Skills. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2013. 319 Pages. Paper. $17.99. (P)

Hellerman, Joseph H. Embracing Shared Ministry: Power and Status in the Early Church and Why It Matters Today. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2013. 313 Pages. Paper. $17.99. (LHP)

Bansemer, Richard F. Prayers of the People: Petitionary Prayers Guided by the Texts for the Day. Delhi, NY: American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, 2014. 197 Pages. Paper. $11.00. (L)


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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

FW: I'm Giving Away My Albums for Two Weeks!


Reviews of these albums are coming soon…


Feed: Zac Hicks Blog
Posted on: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 1:56 PM
Author: Zac Hicks
Subject: I'm Giving Away My Albums for Two Weeks!



My humble contribution to the worship song world, thus far, has been two LP's and a bunch of singles, pretty much all of which have been retuned hymns. I'm giving them away for free on NoiseTrade for two weeks. I'd encourage you to share the love and spread the news far and wide. The reason for this is to pre-celebrate the release of my newest project, an EP of 6 songs that have all been a part of my amazing first-year journey at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (this month marks exactly one year!). The album is called His Be the Victor's Name. I think it's my strongest work yet.

But in the meantime, enjoy the two full-length albums that have my blood and tear stains all over them. 

The Glad Sound (2009) was my first attempt at a hymns record. It was a studio recording done in a mainstream pop-rock style. I learned how to make a record through the process. I love the songs on this record, and I learned a ton about recording, songwriting, and production in the process. This album contains the first hymn I ever re-tuned and one that is probably my most sung in the world (according to CCLI)—a communion hymn called "Bread of the World in Mercy Broken."

Without Our Aid (2011) was my attempt to meld the live "arena worship" sound that was (and still is) popular (think of Hillsong and Passion) with great theology, drenched in the gospel and hymnody. It was my experiment in seeing how old hymns could interface with new waves of worship music. Without Our Aid has a big rock sound, with hints of ambient indie rock and disco. I wouldn't describe it as "artsy," but I stand behind its artistry.  I know what went into it, and I know what its influences are.

So, GO GET THEM.  And go tell everyone, please!

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Monday, February 10, 2014

FW: Can't we all just worship like Lutherans?




Feed: Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals
Posted on: Monday, February 10, 2014 8:59 AM
Author: (Gary)
Subject: Can't we all just worship like Lutherans?


Copied from Pastor Matt Richard's blog, PM Notes:

Uniformity In Worship Practices Is A Blessing

By: A.L. Barry

As we look ahead toward the year 2000 and beyond, there is one more important question we need to ask ourselves. It is this: "What is the value of uniformity in worship practices across our Synod?" In a way, this is perhaps one of the most burning issues our church faces. There are two extremes to be avoided in answering that question. The one extreme would be the view that every congregation should simply do whatever it wishes, however it wishes, without any regard for the other congregations of our fellowship. The opposite extreme would be the view that everyone in the Synod must do precisely  the same thing every Sunday, with the same words,  the same songs, the same liturgy, on the same page, from the same order of service, without any deviation, variety or change. I believe that neither of these extremes is acceptable.


There are  those in our Synod who propose that every congregation  in the Synod should simply do its own thing. They  base this argument on the principle of "adiaphora."  In our Lutheran Church, the notion of "adiaphora" came up during a time when the Catholic rulers of  portions of Germany attempted to force Lutherans to do certain things in their worship services, claiming that these things were part of the very Gospel itself.  For instance, the Lutherans were told, "You must wear a certain kind of liturgical vestment or else you do not have a true worship service." The Lutherans responded, "If you tell us we must do this, then we cannot do it, for the Gospel does not depend on it." Adiaphora refers to things neither commanded nor forbidden  by God.


I would like to suggest to you that we have gone a bit wrong with the principle of adiaphora recently in our Synod. The principle of adiaphora has become more than a  rejection of what is being legalistically imposed on us in place of the pure Gospel. Instead, it has been turned into a license to do whatever pleases  anyone, anywhere and anytime, without due regard for the benefit of the church and the edification of the people of our Synod. It is quite clear that none of our Lutheran fathers anticipated a day when liturgical  anarchy and near chaos would be viewed as helpful  for the church. The concern has always been, and must  always be, on what best serves the need for good order in our church, so that the Gospel can have "free course and be preached to the joy and edifying of Christ's holy people."


Martin Chemnitz, one of the most important early theologians of our Lutheran Church, had this to say about why uniformity in worship practices is important:  brings all sorts of benefits that in ceremonies, as much as possible, a uniformity be maintained, and that such ceremonies serve to maintain unity in doctrine, and the common, simple, weak consciences be all the less troubled, rather strengthened, it is therefore viewed as good, that as much as possible a uniformity  in ceremonies with neighboring reformation churches be effected and maintained. (Preus, The Second Martin  [1994], p. 21-22).


Our Synod has always been concerned that uniformity in liturgical practices be maintained, for the good of the church. For without uniformity in practice, as I have mentioned earlier, how long will it be before we find ourselves no longer united in doctrine?


Keep in mind that our first synodical founders knew all too well how dangerous a thing it was to impose ceremonies legalistically on the church. They fled Germany to come to the United States in part because the government tried to force a non-Lutheran liturgy on them. There is no way anyone can accuse our founding fathers of being liturgical legalists. They knew all too well what happens in that sort of situation. With that in mind, listen to our Synod's first president, Dr. C.F.W. Walther, as he describes the strength of our Lutheran worship practices, and the benefit of being united in these practices:


We refuse to be guided by those who are offended by our church customs. We adhere to them all the more firmly when someone wants to cause us to have a guilty conscience on account of them. . . . It is truly distressing that many of our fellow Christians find the difference between Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism in outward things. It is a pity and dreadful cowardice when a person sacrifices the good ancient church customs to please the deluded American denominations just so they won't accuse us of being Roman Catholic! Indeed! Am I to be afraid of a Methodist, who perverts the saving Word, or be ashamed in the matter of my good cause, and not rather rejoice that they can tell by our ceremonies that I do not belong to them? We are not insisting that there be uniformity in perception or feeling or taste among all believing Christians-neither dare anyone demand that all be minded as he.


Nevertheless, it remains true that the Lutheran liturgy distinguishes Lutheran worship from the worship of other churches to such an extent that the houses of worship of the latter look like lecture halls in which the hearers are merely addressed or instructed, while our churches are in truth houses of prayer in which Christians serve the great God publicly before the world. . . . Someone may ask, "What would be the use of uniformity of ceremonies? We answer, "What is the use of a flag on the battlefield? Even though a soldier cannot defeat the enemy with it, he nevertheless sees by the flag where he belongs. We ought not to refuse to walk in the footsteps of our fathers." (Walther, Essays for the Church [1992], I:194).


Dr. Walther would want us to realize that in this country, precisely because we are surrounded by so many other churches, it is more important than ever that our Lutheran congregations strive for the greatest uniformity in practice as possible.


This is  an important truth for us to keep in mind as our congregations  consider changes in their worship services. Further, we would not be wise to suggest that one can never use another format for singing a portion of the liturgy  or that one must never deviate one bit from, for instance, p. 15 of The Lutheran Hymnal. But the point remains, that uniformity in worship practices is a great blessing for the Lutheran church and certainly for our Synod. We need to consider how great a blessing uniformity in practice is as we evaluate the wisdom of every parish simply "doing its own thing" in its worship services. 



A Presentation to the Real Life Worship Conference

Sponsored by the LCMS Commission on Worship

Denver, Colorado

February 1998


Lutheran Worship: 2000 and Beyond

Seven Theses on Worship 

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Received for Review


Wayne, Israel. Questions God Asks: Unlocking the Wisdom of Eternity. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press, 2014. 144 Pages. $11.99. (LHP)

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FW: Confessions of a One Year Lectionary Convert


We've made the switch for 2014, too…


Feed: Cyberbrethren Lutheran Blog Feed
Posted on: Friday, January 31, 2014 1:08 PM
Author: Paul T. McCain
Subject: Confessions of a One Year Lectionary Convert



Rev. Mark Surgburg has an excellent blog post explaining why he switched from using the three year lectionary to using the the one year lectionary. It's the best thing I've ever read on this subject and avoids some of the romanticized reasons for using the one year lectionary. My use of the one year lectionary when I was a parish pastor was purely selfish and pragmatic. I enjoyed being able quickly to check out how the Early Church Fathers and Martin Luther and other faithful, orthodox Lutherans preached on the texts I would have to preach on. Mark Surburg provides even better reasons in his post. Oh, and of course, you can add one more excellent reason to use the one year lectionary, Concordia Publishing House now offers a full line of full color bulletins to support the One Year Lectionary, using traditional art.  We also offer a complete set of downloadable bulletin inserts that support the one year lectionary.

I'd like to hear from pastors who have decided to use the one year lectionary as to why they are using it, and I'd like to hear from pastors who have decided to use it.

Let's have your confessions!

Here's a little taste:

If you had told me ten years ago that I would be using the one year lectionary today, I would have said that you were crazy.  I had experienced the one year lectionary as a boy.  However, in 1982 my home congregation purchased Lutheran Worship and began using the three year lectionary that came out with the new hymnal.  I was twelve years old, and from that moment all the way through my training at the seminary I was in congregations that used the three year lectionary.  From the age when I was old enough to know anything about the existence of a lectionary, the three year lectionary was the only one I experienced. 

Read the rest here.

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