STAND 2010 Video online

It’s taken awhile but video for the general sessions of the STAND conference are now available online:

The five sessions are:
Session 1 – Standing Firm on the Sufficiency of Scripture
Session 2 – Standing Firm on the Centrality of the Gospel
Session 3 – Standing Firm: A High View of God in Evangelism
Session 4 – Standing Firm: A High View of God in Worship
Session 5 – Standing Firm: Leading a Disciplined Life

The videos are also available at the STAND 2010 website, and at this site as well.

Our broadband connection should be a bit less tied up now!


John Mayer fans are rather frightening

I found this review of last night’s John Mayer concert in Auckland fascinating mainly because of the quote from the reviewer:

“John Mayer fans are rather frightening. Silence in the foyer, can’t tell if there is a gig on. Walk in to take our seats early – mostly so I could see if the crowd was alive. They were sitting quietly. Waiting. I felt like I was entering a Bible Group meeting. Not far off – just a different god to bow to I guess. A different form of worship.”

Anyone that went that would agree/disagree with that assessment? When does appreciation for a musician or music group morph into worship?



A high view of God in evangelism

(Syndicated from Cheryl’s deviantart journal)
Our church | STAND for the Gospel 2010

At STAND conference 2010 the keynote speaker was Conrad Mbewe, a reformed pastor from Zambia nicknamed “the African Spurgeon.” The sermons for the whole conference are available here and are free to download. These are the notes that I personally took from Session 3 – it may not accurately represent Conrad’s original sermon.

STAND 2010 Session 3: A high view of God in evangelism

Conrad starts with

1. Some wrong motivations for evangelism:

  • Is our motivation numerical? If your primary motivation for evangelism is to bulk up church numbers, without checking for true repentance, you’ll fill up the church with the spiritually dead.
  • Is our motivation to depopulate hell?
  • Claim evangelism effectiveness?

No. The only true motivation for evangelism is: the glory of God. Anything less than that is idolatry.

2. A true motivation: the glory of God

  • In the coming ages, God will have His boast in sinners turned into saints. It is transformed lives that evidence His power and glory, not numbers.
  • What kept Jesus going in the garden of Gethsemane? He looked beyond His own death to see multiplied thousands upon thousands of souls.
  • The work of evangelism and missions is not easy. It may mean many years of barrenness and/or persecution. If your motivations are not right, it may mean repeated deaths of our inner self (leading to depression, discouragement). UNLESS: God gives you an appreciation that your work, however fruitless, is for His glory.

3. An example from the modern age – particularly convicting for dA I felt!

  • In the modern church we seem to forget the highness of God in evangelism and outreach. Evangelism becomes us-centred, statistically-minded, calculative.
  • The great Shepherd seeks the sheep. But self-centred modern churches seem to think that since sheep have 4 legs, any other 4-legged creatures are close enough – goats! camels! Come right into the fold!
  • On the other hand, there is also a tendency, particularly in America, to identify ourselves according to a very narrow denominational definition: “Hi, I’m Calvinistic, pre-millenial, dispensational, … ” (etc). This then extends to evangelism. Pity you if you think of church planting in denominational terms!!
  • Everywhere there is worship of anything other than God: music/film stars, causes and activism, expensive “toys.” Is the church blind? Shouldn’t it grieve us that souls are spending their precious lives on nothing – dust! – that which is here today and gone tomorrow?

4. So what to do?

  • We need gospel-saturated churches, challenging darkness not with our wits or clever ways but Christ’s gospel.
  • Must be clear about the highness of God in evangelism.
  • So what are our motivations?
    • Father, glorify Yourself that You might be known.
    • I know where history is going, and I want to put my building block to the edifice of the church of Jesus.
    • To make my life to Your immortal glory!! Even if it is to be a carpet on which souls wipe their feet as they enter the kingdom.

STAND conference is “Stand for the Gospel.” The one thing Christians can unite on is the gospel; the one thing Christians can claim any righteousness is the gospel; for the gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16). That is that:

  1. We are all sinners and thus necessarily punishable by a holy and just God.
  2. God sent Jesus, a perfectly righteous Man, to suffer the punishment for sin on our behalf.
  3. Through faith in Christ’s atonement and responding in repentance, we can wear the perfect righteousness of Jesus as a free gift of grace, and thus be reconciled to a holy God.


Reflections on leading worship at STAND2010

In my previous post I put up the music set list for STAND 2010, a bible conference we hosted at HBC. This was the first time I had been tasked with organising all the music for an event of this size. I’m certain that God really used it as an opportunity to teach all our musicians, sound and media crew on how to use our gifts to better serve the church.

For what it’s worth, here’s some of the things I learned, put into practice, or noticed this year.

1. We can stand firm on solid, Christ-centered singing. I enjoyed choosing and singing songs that proclaimed the gospel with clarity, and was easy to sing. This meant anything from a rocked up arrangement of “Crown Him With Many Crowns”, to a take on Sovereign Grace’s “Let Your Kingdom Come” complete with brass chorus, to a pared back version of the Getty’s “Behold the Lamb” with violins and a piano.

2. We can stand together with a love of Christ-exalting music, no matter what our church background. From the early days of planning the teams, we had the opportunity to pull in gifted musicians from other churches. With early planning and sufficient practice we benefited and learnt from these musicians and the strengths they brought to the team. It’s also a practical way of demonstrating our unity in the gospel – for example, when three of us, from three different churches, joined together to lead “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” on the close of Saturday night. It was a powerful moment.

3. Hymns aren’t so bad. Some of the most powerful times of worship was when the music was pared down to just a couple of voices leading the congregation in some classic hymns of the faith. On Saturday morning, we used a mens quartet and an organ to supply the hymns we sang with rich, four-part harmony – something not common in many churches today. The only complaint we had was from people that wanted to hear us sing on our own next time!

4. Committed sound crew are integral to the musicians leading well. On the first night, we had a few problems with balancing the sound for the praise band. To their credit the sound crew (led by Jared Ambrose and Craig Starrenburg) worked hard to balance the sounds from the atypically large team and did a great job in fixing the balance problems. This meant that Saturday night’s music was wholly focused on the singing and the words, and the instruments added colour but didn’t “steal the show” as much.

5. No one worship style is sovereign over our Lord Jesus Christ. Through the whole weekend we deliberately chose a variety of music styles. It’s no problem to have personal preferences – I have my own too! But if we’re uniting on the gospel of first importance (1 Cor 15), then deferring to our brothers and sisters on secondary issues like musical preferences becomes easier. It was heartening to see (and hear) conference attendees sing through a range of Christ-centred songs, whatever the style. No one style can fully capture God’s majesty and glory, and I for one am looking forward to hearing what musical genre our refrains of “Holy Holy Holy” will be in Heaven….

As always the more you do something, the more you’ll learn: that’s certainly true when it comes to leading worship. By God’s grace He’ll continue to refine our ministry and work, so it better glorifies Him – and I’m grateful for that!


Psalms, hymns, spiritual songs (STAND2010 set list)

This past week I had the privilege of leading worship in song for the STAND for the Gospel conference hosted at HBC. It was a joy to lead the attendees in worshipping our Lord for His unsurpassed work of redemption, and standing firm in the gospel of our glorious God. Folks came from a variety of denominations and churches across New Zealand (and even Australia), and of course we had Conrad Mbewe from Lusaka Baptist Church in Zambia (who incidentally sings very exuberantly!)

Given that attendees come from varying church backgrounds and musical styles and preferences, it was an interesting challenge in selecting the range of songs we sang. Our music teams over the weekend ranged from a full praise band — complete with a small brass and wind section — to an a cappella mens quartet singing in four-part harmony. All in all the variety of musical styles were united by strong gospel-centred lyrics and truths.

Many of the hymns we sang were public domain, and we introduced a few newer songs by Sovereign Grace Music and the gifted songwriting duo of Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.

Below is the list of the songs and messages. Clicking on a message title will take you to the STAND2010 site where you can download the message – they are highly recommended, whether or not you were at the conference. In particular, Conrad’s sermon on the Sunday morning will not make you view church the same way again!

Crown Him with Many Crowns (Resolved version) – video
Soli Deo Gloria (Sovereign Grace Music) – lyrics
1. Conrad Mbewe – Standing Firm in the Sufficiency of Scripture
Salvation Belongs to our God (Howard/Turner) – lyrics

How Great Thou Art – lyrics
Great is the Gospel – lyrics
And Can It Be? – lyrics
2. Conrad Mbewe – Standing Firm in the Centrality of the Gospel
The Solid Rock – lyrics

O Great God (Sovereign Grace Music) – lyrics
By Faith (Getty/Townend) – lyrics
Let Your Kingdom Come (Sovereign Grace Music) – lyrics
3. Conrad Mbewe – Standing Firm: A High View of God in Evangelism
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (Michael W Smith version) – video

See What a Morning (Getty/Townend) – lyrics
From Everlasting (Brian Doerkson) – video
How Great is our God (Chris Tomlin) – lyrics
The Power of the Cross – lyrics
4. Conrad Mbewe – Standing Firm: A High View of God in Worship
Soli Deo Gloria – lyrics

Great is Thy Faithfulness (Selah version) – video
Be Thou My Vision – lyrics
Refiner’s Fire (Brian Doerkson) – video
5. Conrad Mbewe – Standing Firm: Leading a Disciplined Life
Behold the Lamb/Communion Hymn (Getty/Townend) – lyrics
In Christ Alone (Getty/Townend) – lyrics

I’ll be ducking down for work for a couple of days, but I hope to post on some reflections from the conference soon.