Psalm 96

Marva Dawn’s short yet exceptional book, How Shall We Worship? Biblical Guidelines for the Worship Wars, outlines Psalm 96. This Psalm has much to teach us about what God desires from us in our worship of Him. I encourage you to meditate on this today. The ESV Study Bible gives insight regarding the opening line in its notes on Psalm 33:1-3: “New song (cf. 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isa. 42:10; Rev. 5:9; 14:3) need not imply a freshly composed song; instead it may mean singing this song as a response to a fresh experience of God’s grace” (pp. 977).

96 Oh sing to the LORD a new song;

sing to the LORD, all the earth!

 Sing to the LORD, bless his name;

tell of his salvation from day to day.

 Declare his glory among the nations,

his marvelous works among all the peoples!

 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;

he is to be feared above all gods.

 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,

but the LORD made the heavens.

 Splendor and majesty are before him;

strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,

ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!

 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;

bring an offering, and come into his courts!

 Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;

tremble before him, all the earth!

10  Say among the nations,  “The LORD reigns!

Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;

he will judge the peoples with equity.”

11  Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;

let the sea roar, and all that fills it;.

12  let the field exult, and everything in it!

Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy

13  before the LORD, for he comes,

for he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world in righteousness,

and the peoples in his faithfulness (ESV).


Dawn, Marva J. How Shall We Worship? Biblical Guidelines for the Worship WarsCarol Stream: Tyndale, 2003.

Dennis, Lane T.; and Grudem, Wayne, eds. ESV Study Bible. Wheaton: Crossway Bibles, 2008.


Finding True Self-Worth: Made in the Image of God

Genesis 1:26-28 teaches us that we are made in the image of God. This is the most important feature that distinguishes humans from all other life. As God’s image bearers we are created to reflect his image, reigning over the earth. The theology and practical applications encompassing this doctrine are astoundingly profound. Supernaturally, God’s image is perfected in us through Jesus Christ, as we are transformed from one degree of glory into another (Hebrews 1:3, 2 Corinthians 3:18). Indeed, this is God’s plan for humankind—and believing this secures the formation of our self-worth. PhD candidate Dallas Vandiver teaches that we should see ourselves as, “little kings and queens”—mirrors of God. Embracing this doctrine within the context of Holy Scripture, we can begin to realize our purpose in all of life. I highly recommend listening to Vandiver’s sermon, The Image of God, given at Bethany Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Just follow this link to listen.

Source:  Vandiver, Dallas. “The Image of God.” Bethany Baptist Church, audio file, 39:35. Accessed January 20, 2017. Available from; Internet.

Systematic Theology Professor Teaches, “Why Pastors Should Be Learned in Worship and Music”

The role of the preaching pastor, or senior pastor, is fundamentally joined to the role of the music pastor. Not only does the senior pastor most often have supervisory authority over the music pastor, but the functions of these pastors crucially complement one another in the cultivation of God-centered worship. Last week I pointed to David Toledo’s foundational article for music pastors, “Why Worship Leaders Should Study Theology.” This article was written to work in tandem with today’s focus article—Dr. Kevin Bauder’s (PhD), “Why Pastors Should Be Learned in Worship and Music,” published in Artistic Theologian.

Citing words of Paul regarding profitable instruction from Acts 20:17-35, Dr. Bauder instructs that pastors should teach the entirety of the Christian faith (4). He emphases the greatest commandment, Mark 12:28, as central to the Christian faith and the worship of God (5). Related to worship are affection, imagination, expression, and the biblical commands to produce poetry and music (6-14). In relation to affection (love), Bauder explains that there is a critical difference in attributing to things “instrumental value” versus “absolute value.” To assign something instrumental value means that it serves as a means to an end. To assign something absolute value means we value it as its own end. Things to which we attribute absolute value are things we worship (6-7). God reserves this place for only himself. Bauder teaches,

The Shema states that the Lord alone is God. In other words, in all the universe only one Being exists who deserves to be treated as an end rather than as a means. Only one being can rightly be recognized as a center of value from which all other things derive their values. Only one being is capable of bearing the weight of the human soul in its anxious search for a center of delight, pleasure, and satisfaction. Only one being has the right to tell people who they really are, and he requires them to find their identity in him. Only one being merits unconditioned loyalty and absolute trust. Only one being is worthy of worship, and he is the Lord (7).

If this is true, and it is, then we need to understand, as Augustine taught, that our loves must be ordered rightly. They must be ordered so that our worship is duly expressed unto God (7-11). This means that art forms must be discerned for their place in aiding in the enterprise of worship (11-14). Encompassing the teaching of right belief, right practice, and right affection—Dr. Bauder’s article offers excellent instruction. If you are a pastor I highly recommend this article to you.


Source:    Kevin Bauder, “Why Pastors Should Be Learned in Worship and Music.” Artistic Theologian: Journal of Worship and Ministry Arts 1 (2012): 1-14. Accessed January 12, 2017. Available from Kevin Bauder is Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary.


Theological Study is Essential for Worship Leaders

Today I want to point you to David M. Toledo’s (Ph.D.) foundational article for worship leaders published in Artistic Theologian, “Why Worship Leaders Should Study Theology.” This article enlightens the mind and stirs the heart regarding the incredible importance of the worship leader’s role and the knowledge of theology that it takes to fulfill it. Toledo teaches that the “Scriptures Connect Doxology with Theology.” He demonstrates this critical connection by teaching key passages such as John 4:21-24, Romans 1:18-32, 1 Peter 2:9, and Colossians 3:16 (pp. 18-19). Toledo’s article emphasizes the disciple-shaping function of worship. Toledo explains, “Worship pastors bear the responsibility to foster spiritual formation and maturity in the lives of their congregants (Heb. 13:17)” (p. 20). He asserts,

The goal of doxology is not to receive insight, blessing, or understanding of the Word; rather, it is the total transformation of the person into the image of Christ through the means of private and corporate worship. The true measure of any worship is not the form or outward actions, but the inward transformation “from glory to glory” into the image of Christ (21).

If you are a Pastor of Music, a worship leader by another name, or a Senior Pastor, I recommend this rich and insightful resource to you.


David M. Toledo, “Why Worship Leaders Should Study Theology.” Artistic Theologian: Journal of Worship and Ministry Arts 2 (2013): 17-25. Accessed January 3, 2017. Avaialble from David M. Toledo, PhD, serves as Assistant Professor of Music Ministry and Assistant Dean of the Performance Division in the School of Church Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.