Friday, November 03, 2006

Worship at Bible college

I have never picture myself as a worship/song leader. Right from the outset, I would think of myself primarily as a musician in the music ministry. Pianist? Definitely. Acoustic guitarist? Well maybe. But since entering Bible college, I have been called to lead worship on two occasions. The first time was at a recent spiritual retreat. The second time was during the Christian Spirituality class today.

Having attended children's Sunday school in the 1980s and going through my teens in the 1990s, I do have a certain fondness for many worship songs from that particular period. I remember that as a musician in a charismatic church, I used to have a dislike for hymns. However, I gradually grew to appreciate them over time. Now whenever I attend services where hymns are sung, I would savor the rich and wonderful truths penned by Christian men of old who had a deep reverence for the centrality of the cross, the sovereignty and the grace of God.

This Bible college is rather conservative when it comes to worship. Whenever we have chapel services, the songs are mostly hymns from our college hymnal. If we do incorporate contemporary songs in chapel services, they would be of the slow variety. Personally, I prefer a balanced mix of both fast and slow songs. So when I was asked to lead worship, I wanted to incorporate fast songs. As I do not want to alienate my classmates too much, who come from a wide spectrum of denominations, my criterion for these fast songs is that it must be familiar to my classmates. Needless to say, the songs must also be doctrinally sound.

During the spiritual retreat, I have deliberately chosen worship songs that were popular in the 1980s and the early 1990s. I decided to repeat the same thing today. I avoided songs from Hillsong, which seems to be the rage in churches nowadays. And I do think “Lord I lift Your Name on High” has been done to death everywhere.

All in all, I have chosen eight songs. Children's Sunday school songs like “The Butterfly Song,” “Walking in the light of God,” and “In His Time.” Coincidentally and to my delightful surprise, during the chapel service following the Christian Spirituality class, we sang “With Christ in the vessel,” another Sunday School song.

I have also chose songs like the evergreen “As the Deer,” “How Lovely are Thy Dwelling Places,” and a fast “O Magnify the Lord.” I thought of ending with a fast “My Life is in You” but eventually decided against it during the worship. Of course, the highlight of the worship session would be the amazing hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” which ministered to me, and I believe, and to everyone a lot.
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.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ, my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

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?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.


Blogger Edwin Tay said...

Greetings in Christ Beowulf! I've been reading your blog for quite sometime now and do enjoy it very much. Since you mentioned exams in the previous post, thot I'll drop a note of encouragement. I'm afraid there is no short cut to language studies. Perseverance and constant use are the necessary ingredients for mastering Greek (and Hebrew). Press on and don't give up!

On hymns, why not try some modern ones alongside the classics. Stuart Townend is excellent.

7/11/06 7:03 AM  
Anonymous John said...

Thank for your sharing Beowulf about the worship in bible college.

I’ve gone thru similar experience two days ago and I like to share.

I’m leading my school devotion with teachers from various denominations, mostly from charismatic. I’m the only teachers with a reformed background. On that day, the sermon text was taken from 2King 6:10-17 delivered by a pastor from a reformed church. As unusual I decided to choose some songs related to the text. After much thoughts, I decided to sing portion of Psalms 146 and 103 from Psalter 1912 and 1650, using familiar tunes like “Love Divine”, “Amazing Grace” and “All the way my savior leads me” With soft guitar background, most people participate in the singing. I feel the Spirit is singing together in our midst. I hope the word of God will also retain in our mind and our heart.

Below is one of the three songs we sang on that day.

Tune : Amazing Grace

1 Praise God. The Lord praise, O my soul.
2 I'll praise God while I live;
While I have being to my God
in songs I'll praises give.

3 Trust not in princes, nor man's son,
in whom there is no stay:
4 His breath departs, to's earth he turns;
that day his thoughts decay.

5 O happy is that man and blest,
whom Jacob's God doth aid;
Whose hope upon the Lord doth rest,
and on his God is stay'd:

6 Who made the earth and heavens high,
who made the swelling deep,
And all that is within the same;
who truth doth ever keep:

10 The Lord shall reign for evermore:
thy God, O Sion, he
Reigns to all generations.
Praise to the Lord give ye.

9/11/06 10:38 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

I'm with you on "The Wonderful Cross". That song really says it all.

I've been a worship leader off and on for 10 years.. it's good to hear someone else who gets it every now and then.

Thanks for your blog... though there are some things I'm still sorting out, it's appreciated to read some of your articles.



19/9/07 2:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

16/9/09 6:04 PM  
Anonymous VC said...

Brother, there is one song by Hillsong Kids which is beautiful - "Heaven in my heart". You can hear it on
Hope you like it : )
God bless.

15/11/09 5:03 PM  
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