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Why the Music Battle?

Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; speak of all His wonders” (1 Chronicles 16:8-9, nasb).

Recently I had a wonderful time in 1 Chronicles and read again about the priests of the tabernacle and temple who were assigned the responsibility of providing music. Some priests were dedicated just to singing; this was an important responsibility of one aspect of worship.

These singers were priests. They were not new believers or teenagers, but instead were mature leaders (young and old) in the ministry of worship under guidelines of ministry.

I wonder if the fact that mature people are not the ones writing the music and leading the songs of worship may be one reason why we have so many music battles in the local church. In most churches the worship leaders are young people; many are dedicated and godly people, but still young. They have a wonderful responsibility to and in the church, but not in leading public worship.

Older people have spent much time in the Word of God and have had their senses trained to discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). When they hear certain tunes and lyrics, their godly nature grates at the music.  Sometimes they may not even understand why they react to some music!

Another reason for music battles in the church is that often the lyrics are not biblical. The music sounds like that sung in the world, not in the worship of our living God.

Youth music and catchy choruses are not necessarily wrong, but should not be used in a public worship service. People should be lifting their eyes to God in praise with songs that are biblical and tunes which are singable.

Much of the music used in churches today is not singable.  Notice the congregation – who is singing? Many times the older people attempt to set an example for younger people. The older people are trying to sing while the youth are not singing at all. The only people singing are the performers up front as they put on a show instead of leading the congregation, as the tabernacle priest, in praise and worship of God.

Also, why not take the band off the platform and place it on the side? One of our associate churches in the Philippines has a large worship band including drums, guitars, trumpets and other instruments, but the musicians are placed to the side where they cannot be seen. This switch would be beneficial in many churches, especially since most of the band leaders dress like they are going fishing, camping, or on a picnic, instead of to worship God. They should dress neatly to show respect for God and others without looking like they just got out of bed, still wearing pajamas.

“Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him; worship the LORD in holy array… O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting” (1 Chronicles 16:29,34, nasb).

Why Do We Perpetuate Lies and Untruth?

It seem like we in the church have a problem with perpetuating lies and untruths.

For example, I read in major Christian publications and hear from some of the most well respected church leaders, something like the following: “It is wonderful that the church has finally awakened to its responsibility to care for the poor.”

The church has always been at the forefront of caring for the poor and social justice. Of course, there have been lapses in obedience (by some in the church throughout history) to the commands given in scripture to care for the poor, orphans, widows, and the needy (as all commands), but God’s people have always been at the forefront of ministering to the needy with the Gospel and compassionate care.

“And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday.  And the Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail” (Isaiah 58:10- 11, nasb).

Should We Cuss in Church?

 

Christians would answer “No”, in light of the Word of God stating, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29, nasb). All would agree that filthy communication is sinful and not wholesome speech.

However, in performing plays, dramas and musicals in the church and in Christian schools these days, the excuse is used that we should try to be more realistic. So, we throw in a few slang and swear words (gutter language) which is totally inappropriate anywhere, much less in a church.

Recently we attended a Christmas musical fully expecting to participate in the praise of the Savior and His birth, but the musical was completely secular, with the main character swearing several times in the performance.

Even though the musical was well-done, there was nothing of Christ, except for a short five-minute talk tacked on the end.

My wife mentioned, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful at Christmas to simply proclaim Christ in our churches, especially when the world is in such a mess and there is a complete misunderstanding of the message of Christmas. Churches could perform great drama’s sharing the nativity and God’s gift to this earth.”

“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son….” (Galatians 4:4, nasb)

In our churches at Christmas, and throughout the year, we should aim to preach Christ, and if we have drama’s, skits, and sketches, have ones that point to the truth of the message of Christ, not to satisfy our entertainment needs, but to proclaim the glory of salvation in Christ in Him alone and the majesty of God.

Of all the dramas, writings, plays, and sketches in the world available today, aren’t there one or two that proclaims Christ and points to the glory of Christmas that we, in our churches, could present to a lost world in need of “the light of Christ”.

 

I guess another title for this short article could be, “Can We as the Church put Christ back into Christmas?”

Poor Leadership and Policies Cause Poor to Suffer

 

Thousands of children are starving, and millions are suffering throughout the world because of inept governmental leadership.  Many world leaders believe the lie that their position is for their enjoyment and comfort, not realizing that they have been put in leadership not to serve themselves, but to serve others.  Their policies, for their good, are being enacted that cause extreme financial difficulties for their own nation and other nations worldwide.

Even though global warming has proven to be false, millions of dollars were spent by government leaders to attend a conference in Copenhagen to discuss falsehoods.   And what about the fallacies of the misnamed health care bill?  Even the members of the US Senate and House who voted for the recent health bill know it is so bad that they, in order to get it passed, had to threaten, deceive and make many back room deals in order to get it passed. It is so bad they even voted to exempt themselves from it and choose completely different care.

It is called the bill that kills because of abortion and many who will wait ages to obtain health care. If it was such a good bill, why were many senators and members of congress paid off? It is not a bill of compassion, but of corruption and abortion!

Governments continue to enact extreme spending bills and policies which will cause millions to not have to lose their jobs and to suffer much economically.  In the future, therefore, less will be given to Christian and secular NGO organizations who work with, feed, and care for the poor worldwide.

It is a basic law (and a Biblical teaching) that leaders should not spend what they do not have.  Yet governments continue to take money which is not theirs and spend it, putting individuals and nations into extreme debt, affecting millions.

Is this the time that Satan, a liar and deceiver, has been released to encourage leaders to run amuck?  The Bible says, “. . . men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their DEEDS were evil” (John 3:19, nasb).  This sure seems to be the day!

How many times have you been baptized?

One summer while attending Bible School in the late 1960’s, I accepted a three-month summer ministry in a local church in a citrus-growing farm area in Southern, California.  Not knowing anything about ministry, I decided to go from farm to farm to invite people to church and look for opportunities to share the Good News of Christ.

At the very first farm I came to, Don, the owner of the property, came to the door, and I introduced myself as the Summer Intern of the local church.  He immediately became very angry, started swearing and demanded that I leave his property.  As I walked off, I thought “This is crazy.”  I turned around and said “This is very embarrassing.  I am new to ministry, and the very first door I come to inviting you to church, I get cussed at, and asked to leave.  I didn’t do anything.  What’s wrong?”

He calmed down some and explained how he hated the local church because they treated the former pastor (one of his friends) very badly.

As he talked, his anger subsided, and soon we were inside the house, having coffee.  He introduced me to his wife, Lisa, who was bed-ridden dying of cancer.  She was as bitter as he was.  She was angry at the church, and also very bitter because of her illness.  We talked for awhile, and I asked if I could read them some Scripture and pray for her.  Reluctantly they agreed.  I prayed, read from God’s Word and then left.

I returned a few days later and began to make it a daily stop, especially around coffee time.  We continued to read, and Don and Lisa would ask me to read certain portions of Scripture.  After about three weeks, Lisa came to faith in Christ and really began to grow in her faith.  After several weeks of studying the Scripture together, Lisa suddenly announced she wanted to be baptized, not sprinkled, but to “go all the way under.”

I was perplexed.  “Lisa, you can’t get out of bed.  Your skin is very sensitive to the touch and no one can touch you because of the pain.  How can we baptize you?”

She insisted that she wanted to be baptized and her husband wanted to find a way to do it.  Her church was a Community Church and did not have a baptistry, but there was a church about 30 miles away that did have one, so the leaders of the church arranged to use it on a Sunday afternoon. 

Several others had come to faith in Christ and wanted to be baptized.  We had a wonderful service.  When it came to Lisa’s turn, the ambulance drivers picked her up from the stretcher, put her in my arms, and I carried her down into the baptistry holding her as carefully as I could.  Because of her pain, I could not move Lisa around much, so I decided to go under the water with her. 

When I said, “I baptize you in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” both of us went under.

So, I have been baptized two times.  What about you?

Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15, nasb). He commanded us to be baptized to symbolize the death and burial of our old way of life and our resurrection to new life with Christ.

Lisa went to Glory several weeks later in extreme pain, but rejoiced in Christ.  She desired to obey Christ in all things she could think of to bring glory to Him, and her courageous baptism expressed love for the Savior in all that He had done for her! May we follow her excellent example of obedience to the glory of God!

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