Do you sing the Psalms? I’ll admit, I have very little experience or knowledge in this area. But I do want to grow in my knowledge and, hopefully, practice of singing the Psalms. After all, Psalms are, by definition, songs. They were meant to be sung. Many of the Psalms are preceded by instructions to the musicians who would lead the people in singing the song (psalm). For example, these words precede Psalm 55 (MEV):
For the Music Director. With stringed instruments. A Contemplative Maskil of David.
Perhaps you are aware that many churches in the past only sung Psalms in their worship service. Churches that started using hymns in worship were considered by the traditionalists as liberal and radical! It seems that today the pendulum has swung to the other extreme, because now it is rare to go to any church that sings a single Psalm in an entire calendar year!
I believe we need to find some balance. After all, we are commanded to sing Psalms:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3.16, MEV)
Speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. (Ephesians 5.19, MEV)
So where find resources to help you sing the Psalms? Here are some websites that might be of service to you on this topic:
The Psalms Project – Gifted musicians, including some well-known Christian artists, combine to set the Psalms to contemporary worship.
Contemporary Psalms – Blogger Christine Longhurst has set up an index of contemporary worships songs inspired by the Psalms. Some of the links are broken/out of date.
Prayerbook – Artist Brian Moss is seeking to write tunes for all the Psalms. Looks like he has two CDs out so far, covering Psalms 1-30.
If you want to go for a more traditional approach, there is always the Scottish Metrical Psalmbook (commonly known as the 1650 Scottish Psalter). These metrical psalms are the books of Psalms, rewritten to be easily set to song. Here is the always popular Psalm 23 in metrical form:
1. The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want;
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.
2. My soul He doth restore again,
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
E’en for His own Name’s sake.
3. Yea, though I walk through death’s dark vale,
Yet will I fear no ill,
For Thou art with me, and Thy rod
And staff me comfort still.
4. A table Thou hast furnished me
In presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.
5. Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me,
And in God’s house forevermore
My dwelling place shall be.
Here are a couple of youtube videos of Psalm 23 in this form:
If you are interested in owning the 1650 Scottish Psalter, the Trinitarian Bible Society has copies available for as little as $5.50. They also offer it as an appendix to the Windsor Text Bible. I own this version (TBS Windsor w/ Metrical Psalms). If you want a cheaper copy, they have the hardback edition for only $20.
Finally, I found thepsalmssung.org, a blog that offers mp3 musical renditions of several of the psalms. It’s worth a browse, at minimum.
When preaching on idols a couple of Sundays ago, I made reference to my friend Darrin Patrick’s differentiation between surface idols and source idols. The following is taken from Patrick’s book Church Planter, pages 164-167. Patrick acknowledges his indebtedness in this area to thinkers like Tim Keller, Dick Kaufman, Dick Keyes, and Jack Miller.
The IDOL of COMFORT
(Privacy, lack of stress, freedom)
Price we will pay- Reduced productivity
Greatest nightmare- Stress, demands
Others often feel- Hurt
Problem emotion – Boredom
The IDOL of APPROVAL
(Affirmation, love, relationships)
Price we will pay- Less independence
Greatest Nightmare- Rejection
Others often feel- Smothered
Problem emotion- Cowardice
The IDOL of CONTROL
(Self -discipline, certainty, standards)
Price we will pay- Loneliness; spontaneity
Greatest nightmare- Uncertainty
Others often feel- Condemned
Problem emotion- Worry
The IDOL of POWER
(Success, winning, influence)
Price we will pay- Burdened; responsibility
Greatest Nightmare- Humiliation
Others often feel- Used
Problem emotion- Anger
I don’t recall when I first heard of Voddie Baucham but we did have the privilege of seeing him live at the Desiring God National Conference in Minneapolis back in 2006. During that same timeframe I called him and talked with him about twenty-five minutes. He was gracious and I recall our conversation went very well. What I cannot recall is why I called him in the first place!
I started reading his first book, The Ever-Loving Truth, but did not finish it, which is nothing new in my world. This book, Family-Driven Faith, which I purchased through the Amazon Kindle Store and read over three devices (my iPad, my iPhone, and my wife’s Kindle Fire), was more engaging to me because of my interest in the subject matter. Two areas of interest drove me to read this book: (1) how to do a better job as the spiritual leader of my home and (2) how to more effectively lead our church to equip parents in discipling their children. Family-Driven Faith is the only book I have ever read that that I can recall addresses these two issues, and Baucham does so boldly and directly.
Rory Noland could pass for a retired race jockey; he is probably 135 lbs. dripping wet. A soft-spoken and unassuming personality, Rory is also one of greatest minds on worship in America today. Through attending Harvest University, I’ve had the privilege of sitting under Rory in several sessions over the last few years and have gleaned much about leading God’s people in corporate worship. So, almost needless to say, my expectations were pretty high when I picked up his latest book on the subject. He did not disappoint. Especially insightful was the section on training your congregation to pursue “heroic deference” when it comes to worship styles and preferences. Good stuff. I also got a copy for Ryan and he has been working his way through it as well; I look forward to our discussions.
We did this song this morning and I love it!
“With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the LORD;
And in the midst of many I will praise Him.”
– Psalm 107.30