Tag Archives: Worship

Today’s Poem

…I will tell of all your wonders. Psalm 9:1b

My days pass swiftly. They are filled with joy and sadness, confidence and worry, victory and defeat. But each day, each moment, is purposeful, never meaningless, and worthy of consideration.

Dear Reader, grant me that each day is poem-worthy, a gift from God and deserving of our attention. And then, pray to the Giver of days for the right words and the imagination to express the wonders of everyday life.

by Terrie van Baarsel

Each day begets a poem:
An open window
A raised eyebrow
The fellowship of the saints.

Each moment speaks its cadence,
Lives its own existence
And then,
Travels inescapably to legends past.
Meekly, sometimes wearily,
But surely nonetheless.

Now, recite to me the poem, young ones!
Where will the flight of fancy
Carry you today?
What far-off lands
And winged remembrances
Ascend on strange dilemmas and delights?
Will barren diversions
Or concerns of the hour
Quash the timid play of words?

Or will the day’s poem emerge
A limerick or a dirge?
A sonnet or free verse?
Listen closely!

When shadows grow long
And dreams come whispering.
There hang the words
Warm, like sun ripened plums.

Pick them.


Together For Preaching

St. Peter Preaching 06.jpg

St. Peter Preaching 06.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SERMON NOTES–Pastor Mike Berry
December 9, 2012–Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

The following notes were taken from a sermon that was part of our CFBC Winter Seminar: Together for the Gospel.


Preaching is the pinnacle of worship.

-preaching is a positive thing (the word “preach” often has a negative connotation)
-preaching is a heralding of Scripture, lifting up of God and the Gospel

We need to hear God’s Word preached, together.
-This is an irreducibly complex proposition. You cannot remove any part of it and still have it be true.
-This is a need, not an option.

1. We need God.
-We have been made to have a relationship with God.
-Ps. 42:1-2 (like the Psalmist, my soul pants for God, my soul thirsts for God).

2. We need God’s Word.
-If it were not for God revealing Himself to us through His Word, we would be lost.
-He reveals Himself in love through His Word.
-John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

3. We need to hear God’s Word.
-Hear=Listen with the attitude that it will impact our wills.
-Rom. 10:17, So faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

4. We need to hear God’s Word preached.
-Not just by ordained ministers.
-The preaching of God’s Word is sacramental, a means of Grace.
-Rom. 1:15-16, for I am not ashamed of the Gospel…
-The preaching of the Gospel is even for saved people.
-Eph. 4:11; 2:20
-If the Gospel is being preached, we are to be thankful.
-1 Tim. 5:17-18
-Preaching is not just something that happens after worship. Preaching is worship.

5. We need to hear God’s Word preached together.
-Something special happens when God’s people gather together.
-In the New Testament, we are the temple of God and He is pleased to manifest His presence when God’s people gather to hear the preached Word.
-Acts 2:41-44
-The body grows together under the preaching of God’s Word.
-The preaching of God’s Word is not mere giving and receiving of information. It is worship.
-If we don’t gather=modern Protestant Monasticism


What if we don’t gather together to hear God’s Word preached?
-We are despising a gift of Jesus.
-We grow at different rates.

How can we take advantage of the preacher?
-Like physical exercise:
Stretch out before the preaching: prepare beforehand.
Exercise yourself during the sermon: active listening, fight to pay attention, understanding this is a spiritual activity.
Warm down after the sermon: process the sermon and talk about the message with others, i.e. Care Group.
Continue the burn: take whatever you learn and work with it.

What if the preacher isn’t Milton Vincent (or your favorite pastor, or well-known preacher, etc.).
-If the Gospel is being faithfully preached, it should not matter.

What if the preacher is wrong?
-Understand that humans have frailties.
-Compare what the preacher says to Scripture.
-Get further clarification/feedback from preacher.
-Talk to your pastor if need be.

“The mature worshiper is easily edified.”

Noisy Joy

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!  Psalm 100:1-2

An early printing of Luther's hymn A Mighty Fo...

An early printing of Luther’s hymn A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God calls all men everywhere to “make a joyful noise.” The LORD is God, and He sovereignly rules over all the nations. The Psalmist here reminds us of what the response to our Gracious King should be. Gladness and singing!

One of the things that being retired has afforded me is more time in the mornings to read my Bible. Recently, I’ve added singing to my devotions. We have a hymnal on our bookshelf and I am methodically working my way through it, singing the hymns that I know. If I am unsure of a particular melody, reading the words aloud is also a blessing. It’s just the Lord and me and the dog. Thankfully, Boomer hasn’t howled in protest at my singing ability , at least not yet!

Here are some excerpts from some of my favorite hymns:

Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
 Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen
 How thy desires e’er have been
 Granted in what He ordaineth?
(from Praise to the Lord, the Almighty)

Not the labors of my hands, Can fulfill thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone; Thou must save and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked come to Thee for dress, Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly, Wash me, Savior, or I die!
(from Rock of Ages)

When I survey the wondrous cross, On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.
See, from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
 Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
(from When I Survey the Wondrous Cross)

And finally,

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art-
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Riches I need not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only be first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my treasure Thou art!
(from Be Thou My Vision)

My “quiet time” is not so quiet anymore.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

A Singing Lesson From Paul

*Sermon Notes, January 15, 2012-Pastor Mike Berry
Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  Colossians 3:16

Paul is a practiced worshiper of God. What can we discern from this text and how it applies to our singing and worship?

1. Why do we sing?
-We sing to enrich ourselves with the Gospel.
-“The word of Christ” here = Gospel.
-A command, let the Gospel dwell in you in a rich way.

2. What do we sing?
-There is a vertical and horizontal aspect to singing.
-We sing to God but also to ourselves and each other.
-We sing songs that teach and admonish.
-Songs that help us learn about God and His Gospel.
-Songs that admonish have a corrective element to them.
-The horizontal aspect of worship is that we build one another up.
-Even if a particular song is not our favorite, we still have the responsibility to sing in order to help a brother or sister for whom the song resonates.
-Give due consideration to the building up of one another while worshiping God.

Songs that teach:
-The early church responded to heresy by using hymns that taught correct doctrine.
-One way to be enriched by the Gospel is to sing right doctrine to myself and others.
Example of songs that teach:
-The words to an early teaching church hymn (taken from 1 Tim 3:16):
          He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
-One of today’s teaching hymns, In Christ Alone:
          In Christ alone, who took on flesh
          Fulness of God in helpless babe.
          This gift of love and righteousness
          Scorned by the ones he came to save.
          Til on that cross as Jesus died
          The wrath of God was satisfied
          For every sin on Him was laid
          Here in the death of Christ I live.

Songs that admonish:
-These are songs that correct our course and the course of others and challenge us to repent.
Example of songs that admonish:
Be Thou My Vision
-The hymn, Mistaken Souls, by Isaac Watts

3. How do we sing?
-We sing to the Lord with the knowledge of His undeserved favor in the front of our minds. Grace!
-We sing with our hearts. Heart=Thinking process.
-Results in a passionate response to God in our singing.
-Christ sung hymns after Passover (Psalm 115-118).
-When we sing, are we aware of the effect our disposition has upon others?
-If God’s undeserved favor is in our minds when we sing, the gratitude in our worship will affect our brothers and sisters around us.

-Consider Wesley’s Directions for Singing (#4):
“Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, then when you sung the songs of Satan.”

Note from Terrie: If you were not in church for this teaching, it would be worth your while to listen to Pastor Mike’s sermon online. There was really a lot more to it than I was able to get across in these notes. Great sermon!

*Running a little behind in my sermon notes. Will try to get Pastor Milton’s sermon from January 22 posted this week, too!

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

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