Woman at the Well

The Worship Quote of the Week comes from the account of Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman (A. K. A. the woman at the well) found in John 4. If you have time, read the whole story. (John 4:1-26) If not,

(SCENE at Jaob's well, Sychar in Samaria, about the sixth hour)

Jesus: You worship what you do not know. . . Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is a spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

Woman: I know the Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes he will explain everything to us.

Jesus: I who speak to you am he!

What does it mean? Spirit and Truth?

Have a great week. 

Chip Stam

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

The Tax Man

The Worship Quote of the Week comes from one of Jesus' parables and deals with our attitude in prayer. 

He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: "Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: 'Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people--robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.'

"Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, 'God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.'"

Jesus commented, "This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you're going to end up flat on your face, but if you're content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself." 

(from *THE MESSAGE: The New Testament in
Contemporary Language,* by Eugene Peterson, NavPress, 1993)

What would Jesus say about our quickness to criticize others, what I call the "us-and-them" factor?

Have a great week,

Chip Stam

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

Giving Thanks vs. Being Thankful

Have you thought about the difference between "giving thanks" and "being thankful"?

Today's WORSHIP QUOTE OF THE WEEK directs our thoughts to the spiritual attitude of gratitude. The author, Henri Nouwen, writes about the prodigal son's older brother.

Resentment and gratitude cannot coexist, since resentment blocks the perception and experience of life as a gift. My resentment tells me that I don't receive what I deserve. It always manifests itself in envy.

Gratitude, however, goes beyond the "mine" and "thine" and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.

Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart still responds in bitterness. I can choose to speak about goodness and beauty, even when my inner eye still looks for someone to accuse or something to call ugly. I can choose to listen to the voices of forgiveness and to look at the faces that smile, even while I still hear words of revenge and see grimaces of hatred.

There is always the choice between resentment and gratitude because God has appeared in my darkness, urged me to come home, and declared in a voice filled with affection: "You are with me always, and all I have is yours."


-Henri J. M. Nouwen, from THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON: A STORY OF HOMECOMING, Image Books/Doubleday, 1994.

[Dear Lord, thank you again for your steady and lavish (prodigal) love. Protect me from a spirit of resentment, and nurture in me a deep sense of gratitude for all that is mine because of my relationship with you. Amen!]

Have a great week,
Chip Stam

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

Life of God-Worship

Here's another WORSHIP QUOTE from the Sermon on the Mount, this time from chapter 6 of Matthew's gospel.

First, how good is your memory?

". . . for where your treasure is, there ____________ ."

Here's the way this section reads in THE MESSAGE. Notice the heading that Eugene Peterson puts on these verses.

"Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or - worse! - stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it is safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!

You can't worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you'll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can't worship God and Money both.

If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life that the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds."

- Matthew 6:19-24 from THE MESSAGE: The New Testament in Contemporary English, by Eugene H. Peterson, NavPress, 1993.

Have a great week of God-worship,

Chip Stam

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

Tozer, Worship, and Work

"It was A. W. Tozer who reminded us that we are here to be worshipers first
and workers only second. We take a convert and immediately make a worker out
of that person. God never meant it to be so. God meant that a convert should
learn to be a worshiper, and after that he or she can learn to be a worker.
The work done by a worshiper will have eternity in it."

-from James O. Abrahamson's *Put Your Best Foot Forward: How to Minister from
Your Strength,* Abington Press, 1994 (Chapter 3, "The Reaching-Up
(Worship-Centered Church")

Have you ever been too busy to worship? Is it possible to work so hard for
the Lord, that we are hindered in responding to his love and grace? 

Have a great week,
Chip Stam

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

Lewis on Gratitude and Adoration

Gratitude and AdorationConcerning Prayers of Praise: It seems that it is easy for us (for me at least) to get stuck in prayers of thanksgiving, forgetting the importance of pure adoration of God. This week's quote is from C.S. Lewis' book, LETTERS TO MALCOLM: CHIEFLY ON PRAYER. This one sent me to the dictionary.

Gratitude exclaims, "How good of God to give me this." Adoration says, "What
must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations
are like this!" One's mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun.

And courtesy of Mr. Webster, we have:
Coruscation, n. A glittering or flashing; a quick vibration of light;
intellectual brilliancy. 

Have a great day, 

Chip Stam

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

Psalm 139 and Worship

The Worship Quote of the Week comes from the Psalter. I've chosen some verses
from Psalm 139 as rendered in contemporary English by Eugene Peterson in THE
MESSAGE: PSALMS, (NavPress 1994).

For me, THE MESSAGE often shakes me out
of my rut of reading the scriptures as if they were merely academic or
medicinal, and helps me realize that they are God's revelation of himself to
his people. [I like the King Jimmy also.]

Psalm 139 (A David Psalm)

Yahweh, investigate my life;
get all the facts first hand.
I'm an open book to you;
even from a distance you know what I'm thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I'm never out of your sight.
You know everything I'm going to say before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you're there, then up ahead and you're there, too --
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful --
I can't take it all in!

Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight? . . . .

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother's womb.
I thank you, High God--you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration--what a creation! . . . . 

Your thoughts--how rare, how beautiful!
God, I'll never comprehend them!
I couldn't even beging to count them--
any more than I could count the sands of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!

[Here's the part that is usually omitted in pubic readings of scripture.]
And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!
And you murderers--out of here!--
all the men and women who belittle you, God,
infatuated with cheep god-imitations.
See how I hate those who hate you, Yahweh,
see how I loathe all this godless arrogance;
I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred.
Your enemies are my enemies!

Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I'm about;
See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong--
then guide me on the road to eternal life.

What are some of your responses to this Psalms? Comment below and let me know.

To stay updated on what's going on around the Institute for Biblical Worship, sign up below.

Name *

Wesley's "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing"

"O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing"Did you know that Charles Wesley's hymn "O for a thousand tongues to Sing"
originally had 17 verses and was entitled "Glory to God, and Praise and
Love"? (The tune we use was written about one hundred years later)

Here are a few of the verses:
1. Glory to God, and praise and love
be ever, ever given,
by saints below and saints above,
the church in earth and heaven.

Verses 2-6 were about his conversion.

7. O for a thousand . . .
8. My gracious master . . .
9. Jesus, the name . . .
10. He breaks the power . . .
11. He speaks, and listening . . .
12. Hear him, ye deaf . . .

verses 13-17 deal with the fact that God's grace is sufficient to redeem even
the worst of sinners (Charles Wesley, like the apostle Paul, considered
himself the worst). You can hum along if you like. Be considerate of others
in the workplace.

13. Look unto him, ye nations, own
your God, ye fallen race!
Look, and be saved through faith alone,
be justified by grace!

14. See all your sins on Jesus laid;
the Lamb of God was slain,
his soul was once an offering made
for every soul of man.

15. Harlots and publicans and thieves,
his holy triumph join!
Saved is the sinner that believes
for crimes as great as mine.

16. Murderers and all ye hellish crew,
ye sons of lust and pride,
believe the Savior died for you;
for me the Savior died.

17. With me, your chief, you then shall know,
shall feel your sins forgiven;
anticipate your heaven below
and own that love is heaven.

I'm not really sure what the last two lines mean? Any ideas?
Remember that God's forgiveness is what allows us to come to him in worship and
prayer. Be careful if you're feeling that others need his forgiveness more
than you do. "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it!"

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

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.

To find out more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quotes of the Week, click below.

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.

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