Topic: worship


How to Make Sense of Confusing Bible Passages

What in the world? I was reading Psalm 128 and I thought, Surely this passage is used to promote the prosperity gospel: Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,    who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;    you shall be blessed, and […]


Lord, Teach Us to Pray

It always startles me that the disciples never said to Jesus, “Lord, teach us to preach.” They heard the greatest sermon ever preached by the greatest man that ever lived, the Sermon on the Mount, and yet not one of them ever said, “Lord, teach me to preach.” They never […]


Eight Words for Worshipful Meditation

The voice of the dinner host resounds throughout the dining room and kitchen, “Alright, the food is ready, friends! First, grab your silverware, plates, and napkins here, and then start going along this side of the table to get your food. Don’t forget, drinks are on the far counter—we have […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (May 4, 2018)

The Danger of an Unscraped Knee (Trevin Wax, The Gospel Coalition) Bad weather will always confound the control freak. The upside is that nature’s resistance to bend to our will reminds us of our frailty and points to the sovereignty of the One who scattered the stars. The Fire in His […]


10 Prayers to Pray Before Church

Going to church is not like a trip to the grocery store, visiting a friend, or a Christian task to complete. It is a declaration that worshiping the risen Christ is more important to you than sleeping in, eating brunch, playing sports, or working around the house. It is celebrating […]


Why the Psalms Make Me Worship

“I always compare this Psalm to a lark,” Charles Spurgeon wrote about Psalm 23, “It begins on the ground among the sheep, but it goes up till you may hear its blessed notes echoing among the stars.” What are the Psalms if not blessed notes that sing of a limitless […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (March 23, 2018)

God, Why Won’t You Fulfill Our Desire For Children? (Michael McAfee, The Gospel Coalition) He isn’t good because of the good he does, but because of who he is. As Psalm 107:1 declares, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.” “I Never Made a Sacrifice”: The Call and Question of David Livingstone (John […]


A Sacrifice of Praise

My daughter is almost five (going on 15), and one morning, in between bites of sugary cereal, she sang with one hand in the air and the other cradling her spoon. I asked her what she was doing. “I’m praising God, Mama.” Then, in a huff of overly dramatized exhaustion, […]


Five Ways Exercise Can Become an Idol

Last summer I got a gym membership, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I knew it was good because exercise is good; now I’ve never been stronger or felt better. But in another, more subtle sense, getting a gym membership was dangerous— It exposed obsessive […]


70 Prompts for Adoring God

I worship you, my God, because of who you are: Eternal, immortal, and invisible, you alone are God (Psalm 90:1-2; 1 Timothy 1:17; Isaiah 45:5). You are Spirit (John 4:24). You are living (Joshua 3:10). You are one able to create ex nihilo, or out of nothing (Hebrews 11:3), in […]

fear of the lord

Let the Fear of the Lord Deliver You

The Bible speaks about two different kinds of fear. There is a fear that God commands and a fear that God forbids, a fear that builds you up and a fear that tears you down, a fear to gain and a fear to lose. There is a fear that Christ […]

Why is Godliness with Contentment Great Gain?

Godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:6) Godliness is a God-centered life. It grows, not through the pursuit of a process, but through the presence of a person. Jesus Christ is the mystery of godliness (1 Timothy 3:16). His presence in your life is your hope of becoming […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (December 22, 2017)

How to Share Your Story This Christmas: Counsel from Charles Spurgeon (Tony Reinke, Desiring God) “Go home, young man, and tell the poor sinner’s story; go home, young woman, and open your diary, and give your friends stories of grace. Tell them of the mighty works of God’s hand which he […]

A Lesson from Paul on Transformation

I’ve always enjoyed stories of rapid spiritual transformation, because they remind me that no one is beyond the gracious work of God. The Apostle Paul experienced a dramatic story of radical transformation. He was actively persecuting Christians until Jesus met him on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). Paul’s life […]

10 Ways to Keep Christ the Center of Christmas

While things like gift-giving, cookie-baking (and eating!), and spending time with loved ones can be great and memorable things, Christians should seek to make Christ the focal point of Christmas. It is after all, Christmas! How can we keep our focus on the Savior? Here are 10 ways to keep […]

Five Ways to Celebrate God’s Deliberate Design

Last night, my brother Travis and I flipped through old baby and toddler pictures of ourselves. We laughed at the way the shots reflected our personalities. Travis was constantly moving, destroying, and building. I, on the other hand, was always talking, reading, or imagining. My mom often reminds us what […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (December 1, 2017)

How to Find Joy in Your Work (Jon Bloom, Desiring God) This is why we often resent or even hate work: our sin and the curse make it so hard. So we avoid work, or we turn it into a pragmatic, mercenary enterprise to buy something or to give us […]

God is Worthy of Your “Wow”

There have been a few memorable moments of my life which I’ll call “Wow” moments. I remember the summer before my Junior year of high school working at a camp in northern Minnesota. One clear night I was walking to my cabin and was struck by the millions of shining […]


Screwtape’s Advice on How to Attack a Man’s Faith 

My dear Wormwood, Necessity compelled me to write. I hear that your man suffers from disappointment and unwanted circumstances, and I have only to say this: Take full advantage of your opportunity. Likely, he is weakened in faith because his situation has not afforded him the luxury of resting upon […]


Thankfulness in the Mud Pit

Are you, or is someone you know, in a season of trial this Thanksgiving Day? In times of despair, Scripture is medicine for the soul. God has also gifted the church with worship hymns that are biblically motivated from the hymn writer’s personal experience. Both inspired Scripture and spiritual songs […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (November 10, 2017)

Do You Excuse Your Own Sin? (Don Straka, Desiring God) Instead of owning our sin, we excuse it. Instead of killing sin, we explain it away. Our sins become nothing worse, on our minds, than the kind of errors kids make playing soccer. You Are Not Too Young (Jaquelle Crowe, Revive Our […]

Give Thanks

Give Thanks, For the Lord is Good

Psalm 100:4 says, Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Why are we to enter the gates of the Lord with thanksgiving and his courts with praise?  One reason given in this psalm is, “for the Lord is good” […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (October 6, 2017)

Where Is God in a Mass Shooting? (Russell Moore, Russell Moore) Christians sometimes suppose that our non-Christian friends and neighbors want to hear a detailed explanation, to justify God in light of such horror. The Bible doesn’t give us easy answers. Look Up: Trading Introspection for Awe (Jared Mellinger, Desiring God) Looking […]


Stop and Stare at the Wonder of God

Wondering about the wonder of God is always worthwhile. The first chapter of the book of Genesis provides a succinct beginning for marveling at the Almighty as he intricately weaves something out of nothing. In Genesis 1:1-2, the author writes, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. […]


God Gives Us Himself

Several years ago, I missed my oldest daughter’s birthday. A conference for work overlapped with her big day. My wife made it special for her, and I called to chat. My daughter enjoyed the gifts and food and celebration. But when a loved one is absent, it’s just not the […]

Why Singing Matters

Seven Biblical Reasons Why Singing Matters

Have you ever wondered why God desires for his people to sing? What role should singing play in the life of a Christian? What is it about worshiping through song that is so important to God? You may not know it, but God has already answered these questions in the […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (August 23, 2017)

12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You and What We Can Do About It (David C. Smith, The Village Church) No plan for smartphone use alone will make us worship and desire God over the things of this world. Through prayer, thoughtful reflection and communal accountability, with the help of the Holy […]


15 Marks of a Disciple of Jesus

Christianity is not a club. Jesus does not want cheerleaders or groupies. Following Christ is not about T-shirts, slogans, or hashtags. Jesus calls us to be children of his Father. He calls us to be his disciples. Because Jesus has a unique role in God’s plan of salvation, he is […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (May 25, 2017)

Why Do Churches Wound Their Pastors? (Dan Doriani, The Gospel Coalition) Why does the church freely, cruelly criticize its pastors for falling short of perfection? Why do we forget that Jesus alone is perfect, that Jesus alone redeems? Five things to pray after the Manchester attack (Rachel Jones, The Good Book Company) […]

meet with God

Four Reasons to Meet with God in Secret

“But you, when you pray, go into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:6) Almost everyone has a “special” place where they love to relax, engage in […]

Bible Q&A: Is the Sabbath Day on Saturday or Sunday?

Question: I have recently found through my Father in heaven that Saturday is the day to worship and exalt the Lord, our Savior. But my mom thinks that I’m going to extreme and my dad says that is doesn’t matter when or where you worship. Please help me and my family get […]

good gift

Has a Good Gift Become an Idol? Four Diagnostic Questions

We feel our hearts being tested when something bad happens. But did you know that a good gift will also test your heart? I have heard Augustine credited with pointing out that we are supposed to rejoice in God and his image bearers, and use the things of this world. […]

fear of the Lord

Five Prayers to Grow in the Fear of the Lord

As believers, we know we are to honor and fear the Lord, but our culture doesn’t lend itself to a reverential disposition. Instead, our culture does us the further disservice of not having much appreciation for the truth. To acquire both—reverence and truth—we have to search the Scriptures and combat […]

mary martha

The Gospel for Mary and Martha

Martha gets a bum rap. In Mark 10:38-42, Jesus visits the home of Martha, Mary, and their brother Lazarus. While Martha bustles around preparing food for their guest, Mary sits at Jesus’ feet, listening to him. When Martha complains that she’s doing all the work, Jesus says, “Martha, Martha, you […]

God's knowledge

Four Responses You Should Have to God’s Knowledge of You

The deep desire of the human soul is to be known and loved. As I’ve interacted with students over the years, and as I’ve looked into my heart, I’ve found that the search for “the one” is often propelled by a desire to know and be known in an intimate […]

God will not be used

God Will Not Be Used

Most people know when they are being used. It’s obvious. A friend likes the perks of being around you because you can afford to pay. A family member emotionally manipulates you to get their way. A coworker sticks close because you do the better work. We dislike being used. It […]

Grow in Contentment through Worship

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty or hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who […]


The Purpose, Practice, and Person of Sabbath

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female […]


Worship in the Waiting

I recently made a plan to leave my job. In April of 2015, the Lord deeply stirred in our family’s heart that there was something next for us. Over time, we began to feel and see that this stirring was creating a sense of longing for a senior leadership role […]


Why Discipleship and the Local Church Must Go Together

A friend recently (and innocently) asked me, “Who are you discipling?” In unpacking this question, I came to learn that what he meant was, “Who are you meeting with one-on-one to help them become more like Jesus?” This friend had no agenda other than to get to know me, but […]


The Idol Named Sport

Over the past few weeks, I’ve intentionally tried to find quiet moments to search my heart, asking God to reveal in me ways I can grow and develop as a mother, wife, employee, daughter, friend, and as a child of the Most High God. One particular day, during the mundane […]

hark the herald angels sing

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

On December 18, Charles Wesley celebrates his 308th birthday — in heaven, of course. I wonder if the heavenly choirs will celebrate by singing “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.” If they do, I’m confident the three persons of the Godhead will be delighted. After all, Wesley’s beloved Christmas carol refers […]

Christmas songs

Three Treasured Christmas Songs and Their Stories

Every song has a story.* Christmas songs, in my house, are only heard from the day after Thanksgiving through December. While I write I am listening to an eclectic play list of Christmas selections, ranging from “The Messiah” (in the background right now) to Elvis Presley and everything in between. I’ve sung a number […]

Lessons from Little-Known Women of the Bible: Anna

It’s almost Thanksgiving, a day when we will give thanks around a table overflowing with turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and other goodies. No gifts. No hype. No countdown, unless you’re the one hosting a large crowd for the day, and even that is a joy. It’s a bit distressing to wake up the day after Thanksgiving, with memories […]


A Lifestyle of Thankfulness

Every night after I get into bed, I thank the Lord for three blessings. Sometimes, the items tumble out quickly: a friend’s encouraging letter, an unexpected source of income, a doctor’s favorable report. But after an exhausting day of disappointments, I struggle to name my blessings — even three of […]

Spiritual Growth

Don’t Wish for Spiritual Growth, Work for It

I am a working mother. I am a steady volunteer for my children’s respective schools and my church. I’m a carpool mom for various after-school programs, a wife of 15 years, a daughter of aging parents, and a mother trying to cook healthy homemade meals at least three times a […]

golden calf

If Only It Were a Golden Calf

Sometimes when I read the Old Testament, I scoff at the Israelites and the surrounding nations. I think to myself, “O silly Israelites, God just brought you out of Egypt, and you’re making a golden calf to bow down in worship?” Physical idol worship is one of those things that always makes me […]

love for Christ

Has Your Love for Christ Grown Cold?

Friend, how is your love for Christ today?  Is it warm, vibrant and joyful?  Or has your love for Christ grown cold? If you’ve found that your love for Christ is indeed cold, you need to ask yourself this:  Do you have a rich, robust view of your own sin? […]

10 Praise and Worship Songs You Should Know (and Why You Should Sing Them)

“Worship must be vital and real in the heart, and worship must rest on a true perception of God. There must be spirit and there must be truth.” (Desiring God, p. 81) When it comes to Christian worship, whether singing as a body in church or alone in the car, Jesus gives his people a […]

christmas gifts

Three Great Truths to Behold This Christmas

Do you remember making your Christmas list as a child? Do you remember how, each year, there was one gift that stood above them all? And do you remember how you felt when that “one gift” was unwrapped? I remember screaming at the top of my lungs with my brother, […]

Cyber Monday, Bumper Stickers and Joy to the World

We’ve all seen them: the familiar bumper stickers that say, “Keep Christ in Christmas.” Have you ever stopped to ponder how ironic it is that, during the very season of Christmas, the obvious message of Christ seems to be rapidly squeezed out of our society by mainstream media and other […]

the gospel coalition

Give Thanks for These Seven Scriptures

Would you be more likely to say “God is changing me” or “God has changed me”? Recently, Pastor Colin wrote a new article for The Gospel Coalition, one that can be used as fuel for your Thanksgiving in celebrating the joy-filled holiday. Take some time in solitude this week, meditating […]

gold digger

Are You a Gold Digger?

I recently checked the dictionary for a definition of “gold digger,” and this is what I found in Merriam-Webster: gold digger (noun)  a woman who becomes or tries to become romantically involved with a rich man in order to get money and gifts from him Think about this with me. Picture a […]

theology unlocking the bible resources

On Worship | Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts, the great hymn-writer once said: The Great God values not the service of men, if the heart be not in it: The Lord sees and judges the heart; he has no regard for outward forms of worship, if there be no inward adoration, if no devout affection be […]

when God seems far away

When God Seems Far Away (Book of Esther)

How does a book get in the Bible without it ever mentioning God? Such is the book of Esther, and it is the reason why this account is so incredibly helpful for us today. God’s rescue of his people unfolds in a book in which God is never mentioned. Not […]

fall wallpaper

Worship Songs for the Church: “Give Us Words”

There is a first time for everything. This is especially true of The Orchard Songwriters’ debut worship album, Give Us Words, released today. If you love corporate worship songs grounded in Scriptural truth and centered on the gospel, then you will absolutely want to get your hands on this CD (and warm […]

christian hymns

The 25 Most Popular Christian Hymns

One of the major ways Christians have let the Word of God dwell in us richly throughout history has been through singing hymns in church gatherings. Hymns are beloved because they share the richness of the gospel and the beauty of Jesus Christ in a catchy and memorable way. Hymns and […]

The Six P’s of Effective Prayer

Elijah… prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain. James 5:17 Here are six observations about Elijah’s prayer: Privately pray what God has promised with precision, passion and persistence.1. Private: Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. 1 […]

What Type of Church to Attend | J.C. Ryle

This post is an excerpt from a sermon originally preached by J.C. Ryle titled “Forgiveness.” J.C. Ryle on choosing the right church: “You should seriously consider what kind of a ministry you are in the habit of attending, if you have a choice. You have reason indeed to be careful. […]

What is Worship? Thoughts on Meaning, Style, and Preparing your Heart

The Unlocking the Bible team discuss the real meaning of worship along with thoughts on the style of music and preparing your heart. Is there a right way to worship?  What is Worship and how should you prepare your heart? “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of […]