When a song wells up inside of you…well, I thought you would like to hear it too.
Be at peace dear church, God is sovereign.
When a song wells up inside of you…well, I thought you would like to hear it too.
Be at peace dear church, God is sovereign.
I feel I can truly relate to Keith Green in this song. I feel cold, dry and hardened.
I wonder…if there’s anyone else in this world like me right now.
It seems this virus has slowed everything down to a snail’s pace, and now I have nothing but time on my hands.
I don’t have anymore work. All our contracts have cancelled on us. My wife teaches piano via the internet, and has some students still. But other than that, we are home and not sure how to spend our time.
Our children homeschool so they are still finishing their studies. I do have some work in the workshop to do so that keeps me from going ‘cabin-fever’ crazy, but I have noticed something strange. I am finding that since a lot of the distractions are gone, my thoughts have been drawn to my spiritual life. Or lack thereof anyway.
Anyone else feel the same drawing to things spiritual lately? Anyone else feel deep down that this time of quarantine and social distancing is actually a blessing where God can finally get through because the phone’s not busy?
Our finances will undoubtedly suffer through this trial, but since God is on control of every penny that flows through our life, He is well able to deal with this. We wear masks, wash our hands continually, and keep a safe distance from those around us, yet, all it takes is one lapse from one of us, and bang, we are infected. But yet God is controlling every cell and atom of everything in this world, so He’s also in control of that.
What do I have to worry about? Really…nothing. So my thoughts coast again toward my relationship with my Lord Jesus. This is a glorious time to really get back to that place where me and Jesus were inseparable. Where I yearned to be with Him and learned so much at His feet. Instead I find myself in the kitchen busy and burdened with much.
This period of trial for the human race will end one day. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Most of us have nothing better to do anyway. Shouldn’t God get our best instead of our leftovers? Give Him your attention and humbly submit yourself to His will. Curl up at His feet and give Him the time He deserves.
In a day and age where music is everywhere, it should be important to those of us who are true believers to know what is and what is not worship. Sadly, many churches use music as a means to entertain their congregations before we have to get to that “sermon part” again.
In fact, I would posit that if churches were to announce that they are only going to pray and have a time of preaching/teaching that many congregations would disappear.
However, there are a few who believe that music is actually worship and that each in attendance is worshiping from the heart when they sing praises to God.
In this message from January 2016, Pastor John MacArthur addresses this topic faithfully from Ephesians 5 as his text.
Here is the opening excerpt from a recent article by Dan Cogan:
I have been what many would call a “worship leader” for close to two decades. When I first became involved in “worship ministry” in an Assemblies of God youth group we sang such songs as The Name of the Lord Is a Strong Tower, As the Deer, Lord I Lift Your Name on High, and others of the era of the 1980s and 90s. Ours was considered a stylistically progressive church since we used almost exclusively contemporary songs.
This meant that if I were to visit a “traditional” church, not only would I be unfamiliar with the hymns, I would also likely cringe when they sang them and in my heart ridicule them (the people rather than the songs) as being old-fashioned.
It was during these formative years in my experience as a worship leader that I began to introduce even more contemporary songs to our youth group. It was then that I discovered artists like Delirious, Darrel Evans, Matt Redman, and Vineyard Music with their songs Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble, Trading My Sorrows, Heart of Worship, and Hungry.
As a young musician who desired to honor Christ, I found these songs to be particularly compelling. I felt different when we sang them. The way Nirvana gave voice to the angst of Generation X, bands like Delirious were giving voice to a generation of young Christians who didn’t feel they could relate to the songs of their parents and grandparents.
Over the years when I would occasionally hear a hymn, the language was always strikingly foreign, with Ebenezers and bulwarks, diadems and fetters. Which only served to confirm my bias that hymns were simply out-of-date. They had served their purpose. They had run their course.
Continue reading the entire article here at DanCogan.com.
As we prepare for times of worship through the weekend, may our focus be solely on our King of Kings, He who alone is our Majesty. If you are attending somewhere that Christ and Him crucified is not where the attention of each person is directed, then you are in the wrong place.
Sir William Henry Wills, in a letter to Dean Lefroy, published in the [London] Times in June, 1898, says ‘Toplady was one day overtaken by a thunderstorm in Burrington Coombe, on the edge of my property, Blagdon, a rocky glen running up into the heart of the Mendip range, and there, taking shelter between two massive piers of our native limestone rock, he penned the hymn,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.
There is a precipitous crag of limestone a hundred feet high, and right down its centre is the deep recess in which Toplady sheltered.’ – Telford, p. 257
This hymn was sung at the funeral of Prime Minister William Gladstone in Westminster Abbey, London, England. Prince Albert (Queen Victoria’s husband) of Britain asked it be sung to him as he lay dying. In Hymns That Have Helped, W. T. Stead stated:
…when the London went down in the Bay of Biscay, January 11, 1866, the last thing which the last man who left the ship heard as the boat pushed off from the doomed vessel was the voices of the passengers singing “Rock of Ages.”
In another story:
A missionary complained of the slow progress made in India in converting the natives on account of explaining the teachings of Christianity so that the ignorant people could understand them. Some of the most beautiful passages in the Bible, for instance are destroyed by translation. He attempted to have [Rock of Ages] translated into the native dialect, so that the natives might appreciate its beauty. The work was entrusted to a young Hindu Bible student who had the reputation of being something of a poet. The next day he brought his translation for approval, and his rendering, as translated back into English, read like this: ‘Very old stone, split for my benefit, Let me absent myself under one of your fragments.’ – Jones
The hymn was also reportedly sung at the funeral of American President Benjamin Harrison because it was his favorite hymn, and the only one he ever tried to sing.
This is a very interesting video worth watching in regards to worship. Too many churches have gone down this path of being relevant and producing worship that is mind-numbing. In a recent ministry, it was more important to have more songs than doctrine or preaching. The preferred timing of the service is that the preaching should be no longer than the 20 minutes of “worship” drivel that some preferred. This is not true worship. Further, if it appeals to your feet or your emotions before it speaks to the renewing of your mind, it is not honoring to God and has no place in worship.
Listen to this song, free, here. Then buy lots of his work.
Against the God who rules the sky
I fought with hand uplifted high
Despised the mention of His grace
Much too proud to seek a hiding place
Wrapped in shadows of the night
Fond of darkness more than light
Blind, I ran the sinful race
I felt no need for a hiding place
But then the eternal council ran
“Almighty love, arrest this man!”
I felt the arrows of distress
And found I had no shield, no hiding place
Holy justice stood in view
To Sinai’s fiery mount I flew
But justice cried with frowning face
“This mountain is no hiding place”
But then a heavenly voice I heard
And mercy for my soul appeared
She led me on with gentle pace
To Jesus as my hiding place
Should seven storms of vengeance roll
And shake this earth from pole to pole
No thunderbolt shall daunt my face
While Jesus is my hiding place
While Jesus is my hiding place
On Him almighty vengeance fell
Which would have sunk this world to Hell
He bore it for a sinful race
To make Himself our hiding place
While many will discuss whether Christians should even participate in Christmas celebrations (which is discussion worth having) one thing thing we all agree upon is that almost 2,000 years ago Christ took on human flesh and was born into this world. The Incarnation is truly one of the greatest miracles of God. Divinity took on humanity, He became like us. But He did not do this for a parlor trick, or because He was bored. Christ became man so that He could die for us. God took on flesh so that He could be executed in our place, to pay the price for our sins. Then He rose three days later, proving His power of death and giving a promise of eternal life to those who would repent and trust in Him.
As we consider the season of Christmas, and whether we should or should not celebrate it, let us dwell on the miracle of the Incarnation. Let us be in awe of His death and resurrection. And let us share with everyone, “It’s about the cross.”
Dear Praise Band,
Postscript to “An Open Letter to Praise Bands”
This post is not to throw stones but to point out to all of us how dangerous our unexamined thoughts are. We see this in casual ways when we infer what wasn’t written or implied – such as when we read Bible passages that are very familiar. Another way is when we defend a position – in politics or religion, related to style of worship or doctrinal distinctives. What follows is an example of a blogger for whom I have much respect has written a post to make the point that we each should “draw the line” on what music is good and proper – ostensibly in worship.
This post is NOT a forum to debate whether “Christian rap” or “Christian hip-hop” is good; the reason for this post is to examine the subtle tendency we have to use faulty logic (making sweeping arguments without discriminating actual facts) and misapplication of Scripture (based on unexamined presuppositions).
In this post http://5ptsalt.com/2012/05/16/christian-rap-is-a-lost-cause/ the author condemns a form of music by saying it “uses the ways, lusts, pride, dress and manner of the world.” And he gives no example of “Christian rap” that fulfills this charge. Nor does he acknowledge that nearly every generation of Christians makes a similar charge at what’s new in music – as Spurgeon did with organs in churches. Handel used grand orchestras to portray his message of God’s glory and people today still love some of his music without loving his Lord. Was Handel as guilty as the un-named “Christian rappers”?
In his follow-up post, http://5ptsalt.com/2012/05/17/qa-where-do-you-draw-the-line-in-music/ he conflates rap and hip-hop, condemning both as wanting to redeem the culture. He has a quote attesting to this under LeCrea’s picture – but does not tell us who spoke those words. It appears to be the author of the post, as those exact words appear later in the post. In making this claim of what the goal of “Christian hip-hop” is, he fails to provide one shred of evidence in support. LeCrea does not make any statement, in the video linked to, that the culture should or can be redeemed. The quote from Tripp says that “many today believe the hip hop culture is unredeemable” and how he hopes to REACH that culture with the gospel. He does not claim to want to redeem the culture – he wants to invade the hip-hop culture with truth.
The author slams several people as supporters of “Christian hip-hop” and, therefore, advocates of the unbiblical mission of redeeming the culture; naming Mark Dever and Thabiti Anyabwile in this regard. But in the video of Thabiti Anyabwile that is linked to, he DOES NOT say that culture can or should be redeemed, by hip-hop of anything else. He said that music (in this case, hip-hop) that carries reformed biblical truth can pierce the culture and form worldviews. There is no evidence that Thabiti or Dever support cultural redemption in either post.
Making these allegations without providing evidence and while misapplying what documentation is provided is wrong headed. Truth is important. Those who push for cultural redemption or cultural reformation should be properly exposed – with clear and convincing evidence rather than unsupported allegations. But we who claim Christ must be truthful and honest in our examination of the facts and allegations. I fail to find anything of substance in these posts, only mere allegations and a refusal to answer questions about sources and basis for judgment.
It is my prayer that the author of those posts repent and honestly report departures from biblical truths without resorting to half-baked arguments based on misquotes or neglect of the facts. It is my prayer that you and I likewise investigate the cause we do not know, as did wise Job (Job 29:16). We should think the best of brothers and sisters in Christ and be slow to throw allegations at people. Discuss the issues, use facts and sound logic. May God have mercy on all of us – for we each fall short in myriad ways each day.
I use “worship leader” in the vernacular sense of the guy who leads the music. Of course, musical worship is only a smidgen of the worship that happens on Sunday. It’s one candle arrayed alongside the worship of preaching, fellowship, serving, giving, and parking far away so that the elderly can park closer.
But when people talk about liking “the worship” they generally mean “the band.” One congregant who should avoid this is the worship leader. Here are four tips for the leader of a worship band…
Continue reading here.
Two years ago I published a post about a CCM entertainer’s comments that he gave to a Roman Catholic organization in which the entertainer, David Crowder, admitted:
“Much of the Catholic traditions and writings have been influential in my formation of faith and to be quite contradictory of what was stated earlier, I’ve found much inspiration there.”
Of course, my pointing this out went over like a lead balloon with many professing Christians. Daring to bring to light (or even make mention of) the biblically antithetical theology, leanings, and/or admitted influences of any of their beloved entertainers will always incur the wrath of the American evangelical. (That same post also spoke of David Crowder’s ties to contemplatives too, but for some reason that has never been much of a point of contention with Crowder’s defenders.)
I received numerous responses of defense for Crowder from tons of professing Christians telling me how stupid I was for pointing out Crowder’s obvious Roman Catholic leanings. In the estimation of his defenders, I was just jumping to conclusions, making mountains out of mole hills, and seeing things that were simply not there.
But was I?
(I still wonder how Crowder defenders would have reacted if he had said “Much of the Mormon traditions and writings have been influential in my formation of faith . . .“.)
Apparently I have to venture outside the whitewashed, happy, clappy realm of Americanized Christianity to find someone else who can add 2 plus 2 and come up with 4.
Marc, a Roman Catholic who blogs at Bad Catholic, is one of those out there who also read Crowder’s interview and saw the same handwriting on the wall. On his latest post praising David Crowder, Marc writes what’s so obvious as the noon-day sun to him (and me) but seems to escape the comprehension of so many professing Christians:
“So, remember that time I invited David Crowder to become Catholic? Yeah, that might have been redundant. . . . I’m happy as can be, and praying for Mr. Crowder, hoping he comes into full communion soon, though it seems his heart is already there.”
Although Marc and I will disagree on many (many) things regarding theology, we can at least both agree on what we’re seeing coming from the “evangelical” entertainer, David Crowder.
Marc also wrote an open letter (an open invitation) to David Crowder to invite hm to finally “enter into full communion with the Holy Catholic Church.”
Because of Crowder’s most recent album, Marc has said that he finds himself “in one of the most incredible moments of my music-loving, Christ-worshipping, Roman Catholic existence” and that “To the Christian, this is awesome. To the Catholic, well, this is freaking fantastic.”
Here is an excerpt from Marc’s article regarding Crowder’s latest album, an album that has at least one Roman Catholic all abuzz:
“So when your album started with a man walking into a Church, and the voice of a priest saying ‘Grant them eternal rest, Lord, and let perpetual light shine on them…’ (in Latin!) I fairly well freaked out. That prayer is not merely a memory of the dead, it is a prayer for the dead, that they might be granted to enter into Heaven.”
Here is Marc’s invitation to “evangelical” entertainer, David Crowder:
“Though I’m sure you’ve been invited before — and if not, I take this opportunity to apologize for it — I’d like to invite you to enter into full communion with the Holy Catholic Church. You’ve been in my prayers and the prayers of my friends for some time now. We heard when you said that many ‘of the Catholic traditions and writings have been influential in [your] formation of faith,’ and about your love for St. Francis when you granted LifeTeen an interview, and we got pretty pumped.”
So, I guess I wasn’t alone with what I concluded in that interview David Crowder gave to LifeTeen; even Marc and some of his Roman Catholic friends understood it and have not only been praying for Crowder, but were “pretty pumped” by what Crowder said. It’s the cultural Christians who have their fingers in their ears and their eyes slammed shut refusing to examine whether or not the CCM emperor is wearing clothes.
I also find it ironic that the very first comment Marc received on his open invitation to David Crowder came from a Roman Catholic who claims to have actually worked with David Crowder and his band, and knows them on a personal level. This commenter scolded Marc, informing him that he’s not giving David Crowder enough credit for his Romainst leanings:
“I’m a Catholic who’s worked with the Crowder band up until their recent retirement. I was standing there when they walked off stage for the last time in Atlanta two weeks ago, and I know all the guys on a personal level. . . . [Y]ou have absolutely no idea what Dave does or does not know about the Catholic faith. Without that knowledge, I’m finding it hard to understand why you chose to write a manifesto about our faith as if you were telling him things he doesn’t already know. It sounds to me you’ve made an awful lot of assumptions here. Dave has a very healthy knowledge of the Catholic faith. He knows much more than you and others are giving him credit for. When the idea of this album came up, Dave sought out Catholic musician Matt Maher and asked for his input and in depth perspective regarding the Catholic funeral liturgy.”
I’ll conclude with a short video posted on Marc’s blog of David Crowder talking about his latest album, “Give Us Rest or (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]),” a video in which the first commenter on Marc’s post wrote:
“Did David Crowder, the renowned Protestant musician, just use the words ‘Liturgy’ ‘Latin’ ‘Mass’ and ‘Eucharist’ in that video??! I’m failing to see how this could lead anywhere other than into the welcoming arms of Holy Mother Church.”
Yesterday in church we sang some contemporary “worship” songs at the opening of service and closed with a traditional hymn. Our church often mixes the old and the new, the trite and the meaty. I want to show you the difference for what passes as “worship” songs today, compared to what used to be standard fare. I will give them in the order we sang them, and I want you to read the lyrics with a discerning eye.
Read the entire article here.
Of the many Christian artists in the world, there are some that actually understand their calling:
By the 2005 release of his third CD “White Flag,” based on his study and teaching of the Beatitudes, Shaun was questioning what his calling really was. He knew he was made for more than just entertaining audiences, and he was getting uneasy about his family’s comfortable lifestyle.
And because of that conviction, he does not charge admission for any of his performances (unlike some who charge up to $30 for a show). Recently he posted an article on his blog about a survey conducted among college chaplains that points out what we’ve been saying all along–that much of what is called “Christian” music these days is nothing more than sugar-coated pop-tunes filled with “Jesus is my boyfriend” platitudes [all emphases mine].
According to some college chaplains at this conference I’m at this week, long term exposure to Christian music may have unsavory side-effects.
They feel like they’re fighting bad theology and unbiblical perceptions created by the music business. Their students grew up listening to K-LOVE in the minivan on the way to school with mom. They grew up in “event-driven” churches singing songs from “stars” who also came to town to play concerts.
Did the industry change the church/students or did the church/students change the industry? Either way, these guys don’t think all change has been good.
Worship songs, these chaplains say, might be too important to college students. Singers are marketed (and sometimes, apparently, behaving like) nothing but saved rock stars. And don’t even get these chaplains started on lyrics!
These guys also say college students think involvement in a “worship gathering” is optional too – students can text or talk or sing or pray…whatever they want…like a concert. “This is what happens when communion with God becomes commercial,” one said.
“Why would I bring an artist to my campus for chapel and further propagate Christian celebrity and worship as concert?” another asked.
These guys are suspicious, at best, of the Christian music business and its artists. They say we don’t think enough about what we write and sing and how it will affect people exposed to it for years and years.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
I blush today to think about the religious fodder that is now being handed out to children. There was a day when they sat around as the fire crackled in the hearth and listened to a serious but kindly old grandfather read Pilgrim’s Progress, and the young Canadian and the young American grew up knowing all about Mr. Facing-Both-Ways and all the rest of that gang. And now we read cheap junk that ought to be shoveled out and gotten rid of.
I have an old Methodist hymnal that rolled off the press 111 years ago and I found forty-nine hymns on the attributes of God in it. I have heard it said that we shouldn’t sing hymns with so much theology because people’s minds are different now. We think differently now. Did you know that those Methodist hymns were sung mostly by uneducated people? They were farmers and sheep herders and cattle ranchers, coal miners and blacksmiths, carpenters and cotton pickers—plain people all over this continent. They sang those songs. There are over 1,100 hymns in that hymnbook of mine and there isn’t a cheap one in the whole bunch.
Our fathers sang “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” and we sing junk.
I bet you didn’t know that, huh? That all those songs they sang about drinking and sex and partying and all other kinds of debauchery were actually declaring the gospel? Well, that’s because you weren’t blessed with the same kind of discernment as Perry Noble of NewSpring church!
Why, if you had simply listened to their lyrics, you would know that Bret Michaels & Co were very faithful in declaring the whole counsel of God! After all, if they weren’t faithful to God’s word, do you really think that Perry Noble would let the “praise” band at NewSpring play their hit song “Nothin’ But A Good Time?”
Oh, yeah, you’re right.
He would……AND HE DID.
You’ll have to go to A Little Leaven to see the video; it won’t embed on WordPress. Of course, it’s just as well.
WOW!! If I had only known that all that time that I thought I was rocking out to Poison because they were singing about the same desires I had–sexual gratification, drunkenness and revelry–they were actually trying to lead me to Jesus!
Just more proof that Perry Noble doesn’t care about preaching the word of God, and that he’s more comfortable joining the filth of the world to the things of God, and creating a worship of his own making, and not according to the ways of God.
Well, if you said zombies, you hit the nail on the head (sadly).
For those of you who would have never guessed zombies, and have no idea what zombies have to do with Christianity, then you evidently missed the Cornerstone Christian music festival and you’ll have to check out the article I’ve linked to below to understand what in the world I’m talking about.
We at DefCon have taken a beating time and time again whenever the subject of music comes up when we dare to question the type (and utter idolization) of music that has infiltrated the church and captivated this generation of professing Christians.
Perhaps what took place at the Cornerstone Christian music festival is simply one of those inevitable conclusions some of us have been sounding the warning about. Whatever it is, it should cause us to step back and re-evaluate what we allow to entertain us.
You will be utterly shocked at the report (and accompanying videos) of what this person experienced at a music festival operating under the guise of “Christian.” It seems that nowadays, we–and not God and His Word–define what “Christian” is (and anyone who dares question it best be ready for a fight).
If this music festival is what a generation of youth groups and contemporary Christian rock music has brought us to, I shudder to think of what American Christianity will look like in another ten years.
Brace yourself: Here’s A Reader’s Experience at the Cornerstone Festival from Apprising Ministries.
Lest some are persuaded to believe that the writer of the Apprising Ministries article (and this DefCon post) are casting aspersions and making judgments on the music festival based on a one-sided view, I offer for your consideration the following videos produced by the Cornerstone festival which should provide a better, all-around, perspective:
Adventures with Allan (2009)
Adventures with Allan (2010)
As we’ve reported on numerous occasions in the past, the rot that is underlying in the Contemporary Christian Music industry seems to keep oozing to the surface as time marches on. We’ve seen numerous examples of this and it appears that there’s no end in sight for the skeletons falling out of the closet of this “Christian” music industry.
The latest news to reverberate through today’s “positive and encouraging” Christian music world is that there is yet another Christian musician who has chosen their sin over their Savior. According to this news article, CCM recording artist Jennifer Knapp has now “come out of the closet” as a “gay Christian.”
Jennifer Knapp doesn’t consider herself to be a crusader for the gay community and she still considers herself to be a Christian, a gay Christian [Emphasis theirs]. Her new album will be a little more mainstream and she hopes her fans, Christian and non-Christian alike, will give it and her a chance.
I encourage everyone not to ridicule Ms. Knapp like some will do, or coddle and affirm her in her sin like many will do, but sincerely pray for her to be convicted of her sin and turn to the only One who can truly make her a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are all great sinners in need of a greater Savior and the fact is, if we claim to have fellowship with the Savior but walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth (1 John 1:6).
And in spite of this and many similar stories of CCM artists who have embraced their sins in contradiction to holy writ, the drumbeat continues as thousands of professing Christians will continue to thrive on intoxicating doses of Contemporary Christian Music, thrust themselves deeper into idolatrous frenzies at CCM concerts, and continue to garner most of their theology from music lyrics.
I ask, how many more Christian musical artists, icon, idols have to come forth announcing their decision to embrace and practice their love of sin before evangelicals begin taking a serious look at what they entertain themselves with?
I read a great quote from a commenter a few years ago on another blog that is so apropos:
“When I got saved I threw away all my secular music. When I really got saved I threw away all my Christian music.”