Singing Honestly

worship singingIn a round about way, I suppose this could be a follow up on this post here where I asked if professional quality bands were necessary for good worship. Needless to say, the focus was on how we sing, not so much what we sing.

But that naturally leads to question about what we sing. How much do lyrics matter? Well, I’m kind of musing here though I suspect it might come across as nitpicking music. But I noticed some contrasts that really made me take note about what we sing.

As I was driving into work the other day, radio off doing my usual morning drive – thinking, praying, singing, I started to sing this old Hillsong tune that we played quite often back in my Charismatic worship team days

Lord I give you my heart, I give you my soul

I live for you alone

Every breath that I take, every morning I’m awake

Lord, have your way in me

I stopped singing. My first thought was ‘how dishonest’. While I do desire to honor the Lord in all I do, the reality is that I fall short often. I don’t always give my heart and soul nor do I live for God alone. I squeeze in me, more or less. Of course, my goal is to love the Lord with all my heart, mind and strength and love my neighbor as myself. But really, I don’t fully or consistently. Continue reading

God in a Word Box

Consider the Lilies coverI’ve been enjoying this book by T.M Moore on general revelation. I like what he had to say about worship and creation based on Romans 1:18-23. But first a note about revelation and what Paul is addressing in Romans 1. If there is ever a word that I think has been misused and even abused, its revelation. Revelation simply means disclosure and it is up to the one revealing. It is not contingent on our understanding. It comes from God.

In Romans 1:18-20, Paul gives us a glimpse of this revelation

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the foundation of the world. So they are without excuse.

That God has made himself know is clear. It uses no words or pictures, as Moore observes, but demonstrates God himself in what he has made. The problem is not with creation, but with the suppression of truth. And Paul goes on to describe the nature of this suppression in vv 23-32 that results in worship of creation rather than worship of God. Continue reading

Creating a Worship Experience or Affection for Christ?

I came across this quote from one of my older Parchment and Pen posts. The quote was from Jared Moore, SBC Voices, where he wrote on corporate worship experiences. I thought it was worth reproducing here.

You do not want to create worship services that make Christians want to return to your worship services again; instead you want to create worship services that make Christians long to be with Christ.  If your hearers, regardless the age, are not responding to the gospel, but are rather responding to the atmosphere you are creating; then you are making it twice as hard for them to come to Christ.  I beg you, stop trying to create an emotional attachment to an experience invented by crafted services that are meant to induce emotion.  What you are doing is creating a feeling, a “high” in the individual which he or she will try to duplicate throughout the rest of his or her days unless he or she is corrected by the Scriptures.  Thus, you make it twice as hard for them to respond to the gospel for the rest of their lives, because they think that in order to respond to the gospel, they must “feel” a certain way.  They also equate the value of all worship services based on how they feel instead of on whether or not Christ is exalted.  Thus, if there is anything negative in their lives, or any negativity taking place in the church, then they will not be able to create the original feeling that they felt in the past regardless if God is pleased with His worship service or not.  You may be growing crowds, but nostalgia cannot and does not last.  You are dooming all of these individuals for failure eventually.  Bad things eventually happen… and appropriated theology, not feelings, will sustain them through these terrible times.  You are not growing disciples, because services that are designed to induce feelings communicate that the gospel alone has no power to induce such feelings toward God.

Here is a test to see if you are creating nostalgia or gospel-centered saints.  When people respond, ask them why.  Ask them why they responded.  If they point to their feelings instead of to repentance, you need to thoroughly examine them to see if they are responding to the gospel or to the atmosphere.  If they respond because they “felt the need to,” you must question them, making sure they are responding to the gospel.  The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ reconciling sinners to His Father via faith alone, not some arbitrary feeling or emotion.  An atmosphere response is not a gospel-response! What and Who they respond to are essential!  If you are really concerned with God’s glory and the salvation of sinners, then do not try to manipulate! Continue reading