The book of Psalms is the greatest worship handbook ever compiled, the greatest hymnal ever penned, and the greatest collection of exhortations to worship ever assembled. Every worship pastor or worship leader is wise to throw him/herself into the sacred Psalms. The book of Psalms ends this way:
Hallelujah! Praise God in His sanctuary. Praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His powerful acts; praise Him for His abundant greatness. Praise Him with trumpet blast; praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with flute and strings. Praise Him with resounding cymbals; praise Him with clashing cymbals.
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord. Hallelujah! (Psalm 150)
The compliers of the Psalms believed Psalm 150, a challenge to praise God for who He is and what He has done, is the most appropriate ending to all the incredible content discovered in the book. In the text, the word praise is in the imperative tense, which means it is a command. This psalm is one massive and repetitive command to praise the Lord.
Evidently, the psalmist shrugged off the complaints of being too repetitive with the lyrics.
Before giving instructions on how to worship, the instruments to grab, and the posture to assume, the psalmist lays the foundation for why God’s people must praise Him — for His greatness and His powerful acts. Israel was commanded to praise God in response to all God had done for His people: adoption, deliverance from slavery, God’s gracious pursuit despite their sin, His loving protection, etc. In the same way, we are to worship Him because of His great work on our behalf. Through the work of Jesus on our behalf, He adopted us, delivered us from our sin, and pursued us in our unfaithfulness. And He continually and graciously provides for us all that we need.
As church leaders, we sometimes jump to the practice and particulars of worship. We sometimes ask questions about style, sets, technology, and atmosphere without discussing the deeper issues–without remembering the foundation on which all worship must stand. Before we grab the harp, lyre, and tambourine, we must remember His grace. Our doxology (our glory statements) must be built on an accurate and grace-filled theology (our thinking about God).
Because of this, I am really excited about Doxology and Theology. Doxology & Theology is a coalition of worship leaders and thinkers who all believe in the gospel’s preeminent role in governing and shaping Christian worship. The mission of D&T is simple – to promote gospel-centered worship by connecting and equipping worship leaders.
The very first Doxology & Theology worship conference, November 1-3, 2012 , will be held at Providence Church in Frisco, TX. The D&T Conference is specifically geared for worship leaders and worship teams. This initial conference emphasizing “The Word of God in Worship” will be limited to 400 participants, for the sake of building relationships and maximizing everyone’s time together. Over 300 have registered so far, so if you want more information, click here.