Redeeming Grace Church Hosts Bob Kauflin This Saturday Night

Bob Kauflin Leading Worship 2

Nashville-area friends: This Saturday night, March 29th, Redeeming Grace Church has the distinct privilege of hosting Bob Kauflin as guest speaker, and you are invited to join us! (Click here for directions and details of when/where we meet). Here’s some info.

Bob will be speaking on “Why We Sing” – a biblical theology of worship and singing. He will then lead us in singing, following the message. We could not be more excited for Saturday night!

An accomplished song-writer, musician, author, and seasoned-pastor, many in the Nashville area are very aware of Bob Kauflin’s unique contribution to the church at large. We have been blessed by his teaching, the songs he has written, the albums he has produced, and the way he has served to equip pastors and worship leaders in the Body of Christ through his blog/writing of Worship Matters.

On a personal level, I am very grateful for the way Bob has specifically served me in imparting wisdom, grace, and hope through countless personal interactions over the years. I am eager to see other people be blessed and encouraged by his ministry as I have been.

We would be honored for you to join us this Saturday night!

I’ll leave you with a brief bio of Bob Kauflin’s background:

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After receiving a piano performance degree from Temple University in 1976, Bob traveled for eight years with the contemporary Christian group GLAD as a songwriter, speaker, and arranger. He continued to write and arrange for the group until 2010, and was a major contributor to The A Capella Project (1988). In the early 90s, he helped to plant what a church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was featured on the Integrity’s Hosanna! CD, Chosen Treasure. In 1997, after 12 years of pastoring, Bob moved to Maryland, where he led corporate worship at Covenant Life Church and became the Director of Sovereign Grace Music. His book, Worship Matters, was published by Crossway in 2008. Through conferences, seminars, and his blog, Worship Matters, he seeks to equip pastors, musicians, and songwriters in the theology and practice of congregational worship. He also oversees the production of Sovereign Grace Music albums.

So, there it is: We hope to see you Saturday night!

When Your Mood Matches The Weather

The buds of the tree frozen in ice

Laura and I woke up early this morning to let our new labradoodle, Tulip, out of her crate and into the cold air to “do her business” in the out-house of our front lawn. A gift for my oldest daughter’s 11th birthday, Tulip has brought a lot of joy to our home.

When I opened the front door this morning, I was somewhat surprised, but not shocked, to be greeted by snow flakes falling in the crisp, cool air. Spring officially began on March 20th, but it still feels like winter in the section of the Northern Hemisphere where I reside.

It’s no wonder that this Spring would tease us by peeking and dashing like a school-age game of hide-and-go-seek. Snow in Spring is fitting following a winter that has been unusually cold.

Sometimes I imagine that it’s all the fascination with the movie Frozen that is delaying the inevitable, and enviable, arrival of warmer weather. And as much as I love the movie, I’m ready to sing, “Let it go!” with a new idea in mind.

Snow, in and of itself, is a beautiful thing, and I’m grateful to live in a place where we typically experience all four seasons. The problem for me (and, as a result, my wife at times) is that often my mood matches the weather. Lately, it has resembled a yo-yo effect of vacillating frequently, and it has not been uncommon to end a day encouraged only to wake up feeling very sad. I wonder if you can relate?

One Thing Never Changes

Over the years, through many changing seasons, I have been greatly served by the writings and sermons of Charles Spurgeon. It seems he had a constitution much like my own, so his writings have served me well. This quote is from Beside Still Waters, and it can be of help to all of us whose moods tend to match this weather we are experiencing:

“I have sometimes envied those good people who are never excited with joy and consequently are seldom or ever depressed. ‘Along the cool, sequestered vale of life they hold the even tenor of their way.’ Happy people! At the same time, when I rise as with eagle’s wings in joyful rapture, I feel right glad to be capable of the blissful excitement. Yet if you soar to the skies, you are apt to drop below sea level. He that can fly, can fall.

If you are so constituted that you rise and fall, if you are a creature who can be excited and then depressed… then you can only be strong by faith… Settle this in your heart. “Whether I am up or down, the Lord Jesus Christ is the same. Whether I sing or sigh, the promise is true and the Promiser is faithful… If you will stand firm in Christ Jesus, even in your weakness you will be made strong” (p. 21).

This morning, as the snow falls and the wind chills in Spring, I am so thankful that the Lord Jesus Christ is the same: yesterday, today, and forever – the same. Our God does not change like shifting shadows or erratic seasons, and His mercies are new every morning, regardless of the weather. We are secure in Him, and that’s a reason for joy in every season!

Trusting God Through Changing Landscapes

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We are sitting in our rented beach condo, enjoying a slow, restful morning before the sun peeks it’s warming presence and invites us outdoors. Pandora is playing an Amos Lee station and the melody of a familiar song has sent me into a reflective state.

I must have listened to the song “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac 50-100 times in the fall of 2012 as I traveled weekly for a 3-month stretch, commuting from Knoxville to Nashville.

A ballad of change, parts of the song so aptly describe the fear and the resolve that I was experiencing as I had made the decision to transition from full-time ministry in Knoxville to starting a new job and serving as a pastor bi-vocationally in Nashville, in order to help plant a new church in the Franklin area.

“Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?”

“Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older too”

That’s exactly how I felt: resolved to push through the fear of change; in a word, I was resolved to “go.”

The realization had set in that I wasn’t getting any younger. My children were getting older, too, and I was absolutely convinced that God was calling me and my family right then to relocate to a new area for the sake of the gospel and to trust Him to make our steps secure.

Pushing Through The Fear, Embracing The Change

Within a matter of months, everything in my life changed. I had a new residence, a new place of employment, a new church to help start, a new circle of friends, a new city to explore, and a new group of people to reach out to.

We moved from eastern time to central time, where the sun sets at 4:30 in the dead of winter and sirens sound in the city to indicate when a tornado could be spinning through.

We had to learn our way around a grocery store again, find a new auto-mechanic (our van has over 175k miles on it), and make first-time visits to a dentist and eye-doctor (I’m thankful that my son’s new baseball coach also happens to be an excellent Optometrist, and one of the guys I see regularly in the line at Starbucks is a local dentist).

The fact is, change is hard. Some change is scary. Some is exciting. But all change brings both life and death, the birth of new things and the loss of others.

No matter how you shake it, new is uncomfortable. Yet, people don’t come to Christ without new conversations. Churches aren’t planted without change (both for the sending and the sent). Growth in any area requires that we stretch ourselves beyond what we are accustomed to normally.

It’s right in the midst of the discomfort that God meets us with His grace.

Psalm 23 reveals to us a God who gently shepherds His people throughout the changing landscapes of life. Sometimes there are “green pastures” and “still waters.” At other times, we find ourselves walking through “the valley of the shadow of death.” Yet, wherever we walk, we have the assurance that “surely goodness and mercy will follow {us} all the days of our lives, and {we} will dwell in the house of The Lord forever.”

If The Lord is calling you to a new normal, keep this encouragement close to your heart:

“Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” – Joshua 1:9

God is with you. By His grace, you can sail through the changing oceans tides and you can handle the seasons of your life. The life that is built on Christ is secure, regardless of the changing landscapes.