The Gathering

by Rick Pidcock

During our last year in Denver, CO, we were members of Sovereign Grace Church, which is part of a family of churches known as “Sovereign Grace Ministries.”  While we were a part of SGM, I was very excited to be able to get an up close experience of some of the planning stages that went into the most recent live worship recording, “The Gathering.”  I’d like to share a little bit about what went into this project, as well as a few thoughts on the project as a whole.



Hebrews 6: A Warning & Hope For The Christian School Movement

by Rick Pidcock

In May of 2000, I walked out the center aisle of a small Baptist Church with twelve other classmates for my high school graduation.  And at the time, I found myself feeling torn.  On one hand, I was very excited to be finished with school, and to begin the next phase of life.  But my excitement was mixed with fear.  My fear was not the fear of major life choices such as where to go to college, who to date, what career to pursue, or where to live.  My fear, rather, was in the potential spiritual disaster that would lie ahead for my Christian school friends.

As life has developed since that event, I’d like to share some thoughts on the Christian School movement (CSM) in light of Hebrews 6:4-12.  Though this passage was not originally intended for today’s CSM, it can be applied in order to give us a much clearer understanding of what is going on with graduates of Christian Schools.

Before I begin in Hebrews, I would like first to give one of the most fundamental foundations of the Christian life.  Namely, that what God begins, He completes. (more…)

Gathering To Hear the Word–Thabiti Anyabwile

by Rick Pidcock

The theme that continually seemed to be cropping up throughout the corporate worship, general sessions, and workshops, was the centrality of the Word of God in worship.  So on Thursday evening, Thabiti Anyabwile spoke on the theme of gathering to Hear the Word.

Thabiti is a Baptist pastor from the Cayman Islands.  He has written The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors,  and What Is a Healthy Church Member?  He also blogs at Pure Church.

Thabiti began by saying that God’s Word gives light and hope to the church as electricity gives power to street lights.  So he posed the question, “Does God’s Word buzz as a power plant through our services into the hopes of our people?”

His text was 1 Timothy 4:11-16.

“Command and teach these things. 12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (more…)

Gathering To Rehearse the Gospel–Bryan Chapell

by Rick Pidcock

Thursday morning’s general session was led by Dr. Bryan Chapell, President of Covenant Seminary, and author of the books Christ-centered Preaching, and Christ-centered Worship.

The topic for his session was “Gathering to Rehearse the Gospel.”  He began by saying that when the gospel is honored, God’s people are united.

Dr. Chapell’s text was taken from Isaiah 6:1-8, which says,

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” (more…)

Beholding the Glory of God–Ray Ortland

by Rick Pidcock

Tonight was a great session for me personally.  We began with about 50 minutes of very rich worship, which I will share some thoughts on toward the bottom of this article.  Then Bob Kauflin got up and gave away a bunch of free stuff, which led to what seems to be the traditional Mark Altrogge announcement experience.  And then Ray Ortland Jr. got up to preach on “Beholding the Glory of God.”

His main text was 2 Corinthians 3:18, which says,

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

Ray detailed how the old covenant, though glorious, was limited in its glory compared to the new covenant in Christ.  The Old Covenant could not give us the freedom to face our glorious God despite our failures, lack of knowledge, inexperience, etc.  But the New Covenant, bought for us by Christ, gives us a new vision and freedom to behold the glory of God in Christ, despite our insufficiencies. (more…)

Worship God ’11–Pre Conference

by Rick Pidcock

I’m excited and thankful for the opportunity that our church has provided for us to attend Sovereign Grace Ministries’ Worship God ’11 conference this year.  So I’m looking forward to the opportunity to share some of our experiences with you.

One of Sovereign Grace Ministries‘ (SGM) greatest strengths is its intentionality in equipping the saints in local churches to do the work of the ministry.  Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”

SGM not only provides this equipping through the local church and through regional networking meetings, but they also provide opportunities on a national level through conferences that are available to people both inside and outside of SGM.

I am attending this year’s Worship God conference with two other young men from our church.  Todd Santee has been getting some good experience lately as one of our worship leaders.  And John Alderton is one of our keyboard players.  I’m confident that this conference will play a very influential role in preparing them for lives of serving the local church.  And I’m looking forward to how this conference will continue to shape me as well.

Our mornings and evenings will be filled with general sessions that will include worship and preaching on a theology of worship.  And then the afternoons will be filled with workshops that are meant to equip us on a practical level.

The ride from Baltimore to Gaithersburg was already an enjoyable and profitable experience.  We listened to some worship songs, and discussed ideas related to lyrical content, singability for congregations, musical transitions, and a modern use of hymns.

We’re currently listening through the demo mp3’s for the songs that we will be singing for the new live worship album called The Gathering, that will be recorded on Friday evening.  The Gathering is going to be a live worship album set to the thematic order of worship found in Bryan Chapell’s book Christ-centered Worship.

We’ll be heading over to Covenant Life Church in another hour and a half to check-in and get started with the first general session.

Continuationism & The Sufficiency of Scripture

by Rick Pidcock

Perhaps the biggest struggle that I had in my journey into continuationism had to do with the implications of ongoing prophecy for the sufficiency of Scripture.  If ongoing revelation occurs, then how can we boldly proclaim that the Word of God is sufficient to make us “equipped for every good work”?  If ongoing revelation occurs, then how can we confidently trust that the canon is closed?  If God gives revelation today, then wouldn’t that revelation be on par with Scripture?  If not, then is God giving fallible revelation?  And if God currently gives fallible revelation, then how can we know that the Bible wasn’t a fallible revelation as well?

The potential for serious theological error that an acceptance of continuationism opens up is profound.  So it is not something that we should tread into lightly.   It is something that must be treated with utmost exegetical care.  And it is something that can only be understood if we consider the differences between OT Prophecy and NT Prophecy, as well as different types of revelation.  Though the potential for serious error and abuse is great, we cannot totally dismiss the gift of prophecy based on our fears, if it is something that is taught in Scripture.