Category Archives: Essentials Blue

Reflections and conversations based on the essentials blue 09 worship theology course

Essentials Blue Vineyard 09 Creative Project

“For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt.

Below are the lyrics to a song I wrote about creation.  I was struck powerfully by the realization, during this course, that  far too few songs address God’s wondrous beauty and creativity.  What I have here is an attempt to craft something that the gathered community can sing together in a worshipful response to the fact that we have an inheritance in that creativity and beauty.

We are creators and the created.  We both enjoy his creations and jump into the divine dance of creativity.  God as creator has long been one of Christianity’s most well worn descriptors for our Lord.  Mankind’s longing for and recognition of beauty is universally recognized – in both spiritual and secular circles.  So songs that declare that God is the owner and originator of beauty and creativity are bound to stir interest in believers and non-believers in getting to know him.

I do not have a chord charts available or a recording as I am merely a drummer and barely able to put words to a page (cue the laughter).  However, I intend to work with my co-laborers in worship and music to put something together with this for our community.  Since I am already starting the next course, I thought I should get this up even without a recording.

Creator God

Verse:

You are light, you are life

You are beauty glorified

All creation testifies

To the splendor of your eyes

Chorus:

Come all you creatures and sing to our Maker

Jump in the river that flows with his laughter

Dance in the pleasure of the Son and our Father

Shout he is good (and) his love lasts forever

Bridge:

You are the water walker

A tree top stalker

All you made is under your feet

You are the lighting wielder

Broken heart healer

Alleluia to the King of Kings

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A quote about the Bible from N.T. Wright

“…to be a Christian while not letting the Bible do all the things it’s capable of, through you and in you, is like trying to play the piano with your fingers tied together.” [1]

We must ask ourselves, “What else should I be allowing the Bible to do through me?”

[1] N.T. Wright, Simply Christian (Harper One, New York) 174.

The effect of soaking in theology for worship leaders (essentials blue 09 – week 4)

“For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt.

Long have I appreciated the Worship leaders and pastors who not only get up in front of folks and emote, but have the ability to construct foundation theological experiences that lead people into accurate understandings of the saving work of Christ, the activity of the Holy Spirit, and the love of the Father.

For this reason, I am loving the mental and theological crunches that Dan and the Institute is asking us, (a group gifted in emotional expression) to go through.   In his Week 4 Video summation Dan described his hope that our soaking in these truths about God and the outworking of his kingdom would flow over into our writing, our songs, our literature our preaching, our relationships, and our approach to Christianity.  I can already see it happening in me and the others in my church that are walking with me through this course.

In my sermons, I have a renewed focus on inviting the heavenly and earthly spheres to interlock and creating “thin” places where our citizenship in the heavenly kingdom can be more fully tasted.  In my prayers, I feel more authority and confidence as I freely embrace the members of the Trinity as a collective and as separate entities.  I have been given language to more creatively and vividly express the activity of the kingdom and the purpose of God throughout the ages.

Indeed, becuase of this course, I already feel a renewed hope that I am playing an important role in God’s kingdom.  I am a reconciliar, a SalvificStoryTeller, an ImageBearer, and a SubCreator.  I am not divine, but I there is something of a pilot light of divinity that lights my furnace and keeps me hot for God and the kingdom.  Oh God that you would turn up the thermostat in my personal life, in my pastoring, and in my worship leading!

A Christian Worldview (Essentials Blue 09)

“For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt.

God is the original personality and the ever-extant community. God is infinite creativity expressed in Trinitarian divinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are a whirling dervish of expressed adoration, mutual satisfaction and creative action. Their fingers have fondled the stars and forged the deep valleys of the seas. Their divine dance has spoken into existence all that exists; the breath of his words gives it all life and holds it all together.

God’s very essence is love. For this reason he spoke into existence all that is known, all that is mystery and all that is man. As the crown of his creation, he created humans to join in, and expand the worship circle pulsating out from the divine community. The chief purpose of man is as a conduit for reflecting the glory of God throughout the earth and for presenting before God a display of how his divinity is expressed and acknowledged in all the created order.

It was his boundless love that led him, in spite of his foreknowledge of their pending rejection, to place vestiges of his very image in man. The result was that his most cherished creation could choose to remain forever in his circle of love or allow the seeds of self-infatuation to sprout a life of separation. It was the pleasure of God to love and receive love from image-bearers who were aware they could do otherwise. In one succulent swallow, men choose the latter and destined all of human history to a fruitless search for self-actualization.

God, however, did not abandon his creation connection. Faced with the reality of man’s chosen isolation, he began working within a new paradigm of God-man interaction based on the echoes (1) of his presence that no human can fully suppress. Moving back and forth between heaven and earth God made himself known to the heart of man through the beauty of creation, the longing for relationship, the desire for spirituality, and the hunger for justice. His interaction in history crescendoed in his revelation to Abraham and his decedents and climaxed in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus.

His wandering flock found a way back into the circle of the eternal heavenly community by embracing Jesus’ death and resurrection as their own.

In Jesus, God jumpstarted the kingdom he had established to share with humans so long ago. Those who re-establish relationship with God through Jesus begin to share in the resources of the concurrent heavenly realm. The effect of this ever-increasing intersection of the now (the decaying kingdom of man) and the not-yet (the everlasting kingdom of God) is a world indelibly and progressively marked by beauty, relationships, spirituality and justice.

At the end of this age, God will put an end to the painful products of man’s posture of independence. With Jesus established as King, every knee will bow and all of creation will rejoice. He will complete his “re-creation” of the world and place his reborn man, as his creation caretakers and image bearers (2) for all time.

(1) N.T. Wright, Simply Christian
(San Francisco: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2006), 1-40.

(2) Dan Wilt, Essentials in Worship Theology: The Nature of Humans
(New Brunswick, Canada: St. Stephen’s University, 2008)

What is human? (essentials blue 09)

“For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt.

We are a spark, a mere flash of carbon and cognizance in the blazing fire of God’s story

Yet, deep within us, at our very core is a trace of the flames of Trinity

Alone, our presence brings a faint glow of hope to darkened caverns

Firebrands of heaven unite your light and watch the enemies scatter!

The communion of saints enter the divine dance

The communion of saints enter the divine dance

The language of the interlocking ages (e*b Fall 09 week 3)

“For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt.

For the past several months I have been preaching through Philippians on Sunday mornings.  It seems that in each section I delve into, Paul is calling people to look heavenward, set their sights on the future, and be motivated by the breaking through of the coming eschaton into our current experience.

So the language N.T. Wright (1) has been employing to refer to heaven, or the co-existing kingdom of God has been helpful in explaining what it is that Paul is so fired up about.   It is not some distant death dependent dwelling place of God for which Paul is pursuing his “prize.”  No, he is seeking the “power of the resurrection” right there in his time and space.  He is vividly aware that he and his Philippian cohorts have already been made “citizens” of heaven and that the benefits of that citizenship should follow them around wherever they go.

At the same time he is extremely motivated by the knowledge that at the end of the age, all the glimpses he gets of the new creation will replaced with scenic overlooks.

His other focus is that of living a cruciform lifestyle that includes an embracing of suffering and focus on Chirst in his life and death.   But right now what is more intriguing to me is how the language of Wright’s book gives us a kind of scaffolding of images with which to understand the reality of the “already” kingdom – or the creation that is “already” being made new.

(1) N.T. Wright, Simply Christian (San Francisco: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2006), 55-140

Week 2: A lot to cover in a little time (essentials blue)

“For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt.

Wow.  This week was lot of info to process.  I was laughing when Dan Wilt was mentioning how very cursory our treatment of these themes was.  I am sure he is right, but I still find it to be hard to separate out all the pieces to process.

I really like Wright’s second section (1)  What sticks out to me most is that he is presenting new language for kingdom concepts that have been hard to explain.  It feels like he is helping me to have a solid foundation so that other problematic areas now don’t seem as difficult to navigate.

What I need to navigate now is bed, though!  More to come.

(1) N.T. Wright, Simply Christian

(San Francisco: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2006), 55-140