What a great day today!  After making a morning Starbucks run, I met up with some friends to attend the morning session.  Our worship gathering together was led by Joe Stigora, from a Sovereign Grace church in West Chester, PA.  It was great once again.  I haven’t written yet on any of the band set-ups yet, so I’ll mention the make up for this one.  Joe led on electric guitar; there were two violinists, one acoustice guitar, bass player, drummer, another electric, and get this…a guy mixing and on turn-tables.  There were also two other singers accompanying him.  It sounded really good all together.

Next, David Powlison spoke on enduring trials with the psalmist and how it refers to corporate worship.  David wanted to draw and examine how to make the connection between the psalm and our life experiences.  He drew our attention to the progression of the psalm.  He mentioned 4 goals he wanted us to keep to when reading the Psalms.

1) stay in tuene to the experiential modulations and progressions in the Psalms.

2) look for differences and variety in the Psalms and ask why are they there.

3) hear the invitation to identify with experience in life of the psalmist; there is usually a “raw” honest emotion expressed in light of redemptive aspects.

4) grabbing hold of this progression in the psalm should lead to a new song and a “spilling out” to share with someone else.

To illustrate these goals, he examined four parts in Psalm 28 and how it moved from the “minor key” (lament) to “major key” (praise).

Lastly, he gave advice to worship leaders based on his address. 1) remember the minor key in songs. 2) remember slow tempos as it allows time to think and process. 3) keep in mind a place for silence. 4) remember the darker tonal qualities of instruments to use for minor key songs. 5) pertaining to writing, tap into how human experience progresses like Psalm 28.

David Powlison is a gifted man and I was truly blessed by his addres and commentary on the Psalms.  After the morning session, I had a box lunch that they provided out in the outside tents with some friends.  Next, I went to the first seminar of the afternoon.  It was titled Planning for Sunday and it was led by Jim Donahue and Joe Stigora.  It was excellent and I picked up a lot of good practical helpful tips.  The next seminar I went to in a way that complemented the previous one was Spontanaity in Corporate Worship led by Craig Cabaniss and Pat Schzebel.  That was really helpful especially in how I can incorporate that more in the Sunday morning services that I lead.  Also, might I add, they have given us these big notebook binders with all types of conference info.  The nice thing is that it includes all the outlines for all the seminars.  So if you can’t attend one you at least have all the outline notes.

After resting up at the hotel and eating dinner at Chevy’s Mexican restaurant, I went on to the evening session.  It was a little different for this one as Bob Kauflin led the worship experientially in praising God with the psalmist.  He wanted us to be aware how the psalmists worship incorporated body, mind, life’s trials, and the eagerness for God’s glory to spread over the earth.  We sang through songs pertaining to each.  As a special gift, we heard from David Powlison again speaking on what do we do we the imprecatory Psalms (i.e. the ones that call judgment and wrath on his enemies, etc.)  David had some helpful advice.  First, he wanted us to make sure that we look at the Psalm as ourselves who are “inside” of the problem of evil, not “outside”.  We are guilty too.  He also mentioned 6 things to pay attention to in the context of the Psalm: 1) God has promised to destory evil, 2) ask, “Who are the people that the imprecation is called upon?” the wickedness and evil of the people are really a picture of who Satan is. 3) ask, “Who is praying?” the victim, or innocent that is pictured really depicts the face of Christ, the man of sorrows.  4) Psalmist usually realizes that tension exists because he is also part of the problem of evil 5) bigger than the trial faced is the fact that you are called to hate evil and love your enemies 6) this quality of hating evil and loving your enemies is the character trait found within Jesus, the one we are to be conformed to His image.

How does this affect the way we worship?  David answers, recognize evil and call for God’s justice and mercy to be shown to the wicked.  In a sense we’re asking Christ to come.  We want His kingdom to come and for all evil to be gone.  He says, “the wrath of God is not only something to be afraid of, but to also find hope in.”  One day evil will exist no more.  Amen… stay tuned for the final day tomorrow…