Frame on Transcendence & Immanence

A biblically balanced view of worship must take into account both God's transcendence and his immanence, his exaltation and his nearness, his majestic holiness and his unmeasurable love. This balance is not always easy to maintain. Churches that focus on divine transcendence are in danger of making God appear distant, aloof, unfriendly, unloving, devoid of grace. Churches that focus on God's immanence sometimes lose sight of his majesty and purity, his hatred of sin, and the consequent seriousness of any divine-human encounter. To maintain this balance, we must go back again and again to the Scriptures themselves so that we may please God in worship rather than merely acting on our own intuitions.

- John M. Frame, CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP MUSIC: A BIBLICAL DEFENCE, P&R Publishing Co., 1997, page 14.


One doesn't have to read very far in the Psalms to discover a prayer language that refers to both the transcendence and immanence of God. Give it a try. See what you can find there.

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Bonhoeffer on Temptation and Sin

The heart of man is revealed in temptation. Man knows his sin, which without temptation he could never have known; for in temptation man knows on what he has set his heart. The coming to light of sin is the work of the accuser, who thereby thinks to have won the victory. But it is sin which is become manifest which can be known, and therefore forgiven. Thus the manifestation of sin belongs to the salvation plan of God with man, and Satan must serve this plan.

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), from TEMPTATION, MacMillan.

For more on Bonhoeffer, click here.

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Lewis on Praise

"The most obvious fact about praise whether of God or anything strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honour. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless (sometimes even if) shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it. The world rings with praise lovers praising [each other], readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game, praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars.

I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious, minds praise most, while the cranks, misfits and malcontents praise least. . . . Except where intolerably adverse circumstances interfere, praise almost seems to be inner health made audible.. . . I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: 'Isn't she lovely? Wasn't it glorious? Don't you think that magnificent?' The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about."

Chip's Thoughts:

Does your personal praise of God adequately reflect how much he means to you? Is your praise of him equal to your praise of the many comforts and delights he has offered? If you were to write a personal psalm of praise, what would it
be like?

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Augustine on 'What Do I Love When I Love My God?'

What Do I Love When I Love My God? Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE dates from the fifth century. It is from the quill of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo in Northern Africa, and explores a believer’s love for God. Augustine asks, “What is it that I love when I love my God?” [Note: Please be sure to see the AUGUSTINE JAZZ BONUS at the bottom of this message. Did he say, “Augustine Jazz Bonus”? Yes, I did. Please take a look.]

What is it then that I love when I love you? Not bodily beauty, and not temporal glory, not the clear shining light, lovely as it is to our eyes, not the sweet melodies of many-moded songs, not the soft smell of flowers and ointments and perfumes, not manna and honey, not limbs made for the body’s embrace, not these do I love when I love my God.

Yet I do love a certain light, a certain voice, a certain odor, a certain food, a certain embrace when I love my God: a light, a voice, an odor, a food, an embrace for the man within me, where his light, which no embrace can contain, floods into my soul; where he utters words that time does not speed away; where he sends forth an aroma that no wind can scatter; where he provides food that no eating can lessen; where he so clings that satiety does not sunder us. This is what I love when I love my God.

—Augustine of Hippo (354-430) from THE CONFESSIONS OF ST. AUGUSTINE, Book 10, Chapter 6, translated by John K. Ryan. Garden City, New York: Image Books, 1960, pp. 233-34. Here is the chapter at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library:


AUGUSTINE JAZZ BONUS: Recently, I was introduced to the music of a wonderful jazz group from Minneapolis—the Jason Harms Quintet. One of the tunes on their new CD is, you guessed it, “What Do I Love? (When I Love My God).” This entire song is available for you to hear at I hope you will take a moment to listen to this and some other samples from this terrific CD. Enjoy!

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Stott on a Biblical Definition of Worship

In today's Worship Quote, John Stott sends us back to the basics.

This is worship. It is to seek to give to God the glory which is due to his name. Indeed, the best biblical definition of worship I know is to "glory in his holy name" (Psalm 105:3), that is, to revel in the unique wonder of who he is and has revealed himself to be. If worship is right because God is worthy of it, it is also the best of all antidotes to our own self-centredness, the most effective way to "disinfect us of egotism," as one writer put it long ago. In true worship we turn the searchlight of our mind and heart upon God and temporarily forget about our troublesome and usually intrusive selves. We marvel at the beauties and intricacies of God's creation. We "survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died."

We are taken up with God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus taught us to do this in the Lord's Prayer, whose first three sentences focus not on our needs but on his glory, on the honouring of his name, the spread of his kingdom and the doing of his will.  Because we are normally so turned in on ourselves, we will not find this easy.  But we have to persevere, since nothing is more right or more important.

- John R. W. Stott, Christian Basics, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969), 119.

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Dawn on Worship for Postmodern Times

Today's Worship Quote is from the recent book by theologian Marva Dawn.

The postmodern world that surrounds us yearns for stability, morality, security, fidelity, faith, hope, and love. These deep needs can only be met through the One who meets our deepest needs for Truth. Let us make sure that the worship services we plan and conduct present that Truth in all its clarity and beauty and goodness.

- Marva J. Dawn, A Royal “Waste” of Time: The Splendor of Worshiping God and Being Church for the World, Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999, 69.


The author says that she wants to purge our language of the phrase "going to church." We need to remind ourselves and our world that church is not somewhere we go; rather, something we are!

So, be the church!

Have a great week!

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Chrysostom on a Comprehended God

There is always more to discover about God. There is always more to understand about his character and actions that can help us to worship him as we should; but today's Worship Quote speaks to me about the mystery of God, the unknown aspects of our Creator and Redeemer.

A comprehended god is no god.

- St. John Chrysostom (345?-407)


St. John Chrysostom was one of the early Church Fathers. Born in Antioch, his name comes from the Greek, "golden-mouthed," on account of his eloquence. He spent six years as a monk in the mountains, but returned in 381 to Antioch, where he was ordained, and gained a reputation as the greatest orator of the Church. In 398 he was made Archbishop of Constantinople, where he carried out many reforms, but his reproof of vices moved the Empress Eudoxia (ruled 395-404) to have him deposed and banished (403). His body was brought to Constantinople and reburied with honour in 438.

This short bio was originally from

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Fee on Spirit-Inspired Singing

Today's Worship Quote is about the Holy Spirit's involvement in the worship life of the Church. Gordon Fee, a professor at Regent College in Vancouver, B. C., explains the passages from Paul's letters about "psalms and hymns and Spiritual songs" (Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5).

Where the Spirit of God is, there is also singing. The early church was characterized by its singing; so also in every generation where there is renewal by the Spirit a new hymnody breaks forth. If most such songs do not have staying power, some of them do, and these become the treasure-trove of our ongoing teaching and admonishing of one another, as well as of our constantly turning to God the Father and God the Son and offering praise by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

- Gordon D. Fee, Paul, The Spirit, and the People of God, Hendrickson Publishers, 1996.

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Short on Worship for Nominal Christians

Today's Worship Quote is a reminder that we are often tempted to worship the trappings of Christianity, rather than the person of Jesus Christ.

The nominal Christian, then, will see Jesus as a name, a representative, a symbol, a personification, a prototype, a figure, a model, an exemplar for something else. The nominal Christian pays homage to something about Jesus, rather than worshipping the man himself. For this reason, nominal Christians will extol the moral teachings of Jesus, the faith of Jesus, the personality of Jesus, the compassion of Jesus, the world view of Jesus, the self-understanding of Jesus, etc. None of these worships Jesus as the Christ, but only something about him, something peripheral to the actual flesh-and-blood man. This is why when the almighty God came into the world in Jesus, he came as the lowest of the low, as weakness itself, as a complete and utter nothing, in order that men would be forced into the crucial decision about him alone and would not be able to worship anything about him.

- Robert L. Short, The Parables of Peanuts, Harper and Row, 1968.


Lord Jesus Christ, show us yourself. Help us to worship you in spirit and in truth. Amen.

Have a great week!

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Swenson on God Time

Do you have time in your life for God? Is there enough quiet to hear the voice of the Almighty? Today's Worship Quote offers a challenge to our hectic, clock-watching, often Godless schedules.

Because He is not temporally pushy about His agenda, God is too easy to forget. He just waits... and waits. What does He think of "efficient" prayers? What happened to the "Be still and know that I am God" times? Societies that have the accelerator to the floor are doomed to become God-less. Speed does not yield devotion... The clock and Christ are not close friends. Imagine what God thinks of us now that we are so locked into schedules that we have locked ourselves out of the Sermon on the Mount - it is hardly possible to walk a second mile today without offending one's pocket calendar. We jump at the alarm of a Seiko but sleep through the call of the Almighty.

- Richard M. Swenson, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, NavPress, 1992, 154.

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