Tag Archive | music

What I Seek In A Church

I’m seeking a few things in a church that are musts.  Call me picky but I believe these are very important things.

Sinners – People who know that they are sinners, saved by grace, through nothing they did, it’s God’s gift, Christ’s work.  They are not holier than thou, looking down their nose with the “at least I never…” attitudes.  I am not seeking perfection in others, I’m seeking a body of believers that knows they fall short of the mark but know that because our Heavenly Father sees us through the blood of Christ, we are perfect.  Folks that don’t judge you, but grab you and give you a hand up back on the path, help brush you off, and wrap around you in love and support.

Bible – a church that teaches from it.  USES their bibles, applies the lessons right here where the rubber is meeting the road, but that the congregation members actually show up with their bible in hand and use it during services.  And that lessons are not based on a verse taken out of context but passages as a whole and some inductive study (associated passages) pulled together.  One verse sermons don’t cut it, I can prove Adam and Eve were blind if we are going to use a verse out of context (their eyes were opened blah blah blah).  I want to be with a congregation that can sit down, pull out their bibles and find those passages and discuss, apply, encourage and teach from God’s Word.  It’s fine to put it up on a screen for those that forgot, or don’t yet own a bible, but I don’t want to be where that is the only source of God’s Word being used by those listening is the words up on the screen and not in their laps.

Music – it can make or break worship.  I am all about music being joyful (make a joyful noise unto the Lord), rather than feeling I am sitting in a funeral.  Which, for my own way down the road, please make sure the music is upbeat! CELEBRATE my life don’t mourn it.  I love contemporary worship music, but I also love the hymns.  There is a lot of biblical truth in the hymns of old and they should not be forgotten but used each week along with more upbeat worship songs.

I have NO problem with a coffee bar or donut shop in the church building.  I love to see fellowship encouraged!  People actually sitting down talking and interacting with one another.  But I also want to see that the focus of that time together is a collective worship of the Lord, a time to be taught.

I don’t think I am asking too much.

This says it ALL as far as the music is concerned.

Music, Messages and Tossing The Baby Out With The Bath Water

I recently saw a song/video from Youtube on a friend’s Facebook.  The song was one of many that of late have ministered to my heart.  My heart, the one that has come crawling out of the sin swamp and back up onto a road that is uphill, steep, and full of obstacles that often seem insurmountable.  My heart that was drawn back over several months not only by the gently shared faith of a man I dearly love, but also through music being played long before Thanksgiving on a local Christian station, Christmas music.  Many a Scroogy type whined about it but my boss played the station at work and a number of the  songs  like “Breath of Heaven” kept eating at me.  I had wanted to go back to a church a number of times in the past years but never could convince the ex to go.  I should have gone alone.

Music finally was the key that turned the lock of my heart and I returned to my former church and been SO thankful.  And in this time I’ve been listening daily the K-Love radio and a number of  CDs  I had collected (Oh so thankful I didn’t toss those out during the dark valley years), and a CD my friend, Jane, gave me  my first Sunday back in church.  Music and the message in many of the songs have been ministering to my heart and soul a great deal.

The friend had  someone that responded  with an article about the band that sings the song, and their  warped theology.  In fact it takes issue with a large  number of  contemporary Christian music artists of late.  I will be the first to admit that yes, many do NOT walk a very straight path and many  flat out  make me question their salvation.  Until I remember where I just came  from recently myself.  My walk was very real, my heart very much the Lord’s years ago, the fruit, I believe, was there.  However I allowed seeds of sin to take  root in me and little by little those sins were  cultivated into lush wrongs  and the Lord let  go and let me have  my way.  My way was very far from Him.   I am thankful  that  the consequences of  my sin, though quite the prices to have to pay for rebellion,  were not far worse.   Would my faith and that which I share be less a blessing to someone in need because of where I have walked in darkness while professing to be a believer?

Many of the artists in the article were favorites of mine.  One, Amy Grant, sings the song I mentioned, ‘Breath Of Heaven’.  There  are lines of that song that are SO good they make a great prayer  from the heart.  She herself may be a lousy example of walking with Christ, but does that  diminish the message in the song? I think not!  The David Crowder band, despite whatever maybe wrong with them, have some very good songs out there being played that are ministering to believers, in spite of the  sinners singing them!  In fact, EVERY christian is a  sinner, and has areas of  sin in their life, but that doesn’t mean that the message of the gospel they share is wrong because they have areas of sin to deal  with.

What of the many hymns that, my understanding, were once bar tunes that the words were changed too.  Does that make the hymn useless that is packed with truth because the tune originated as a beer bash melody??? Of course not!  And oh what  of the hidden sins, and maybe not so hidden,  of those that wrote the words  to the hymns we now cherish?  If it is discovered that  Thomas Chisholm was a terrible sinner would we rip “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” from  our hymnals? Let us hope not, the song is written from scripture and very powerful.  Certainly we would not condone the sinner but we wouldn’t remove the music/message over it  I  hope.

If we tossed all the music/songs because the writer is a sinner, the book of Psalms would  be pretty small.  David was guilty of coveting his neighbor’s  wife, adultery, and murder all while being a man after God’s own heart. Even Paul admitted to be a sinner at times!

Romans 7:15-21 (New American Standard Bible)

15For what I am doing, (A)I do not understand; for I am not practicing (B)what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.

16But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with (C)the Law, confessing that the Law is good.

17So now, (D)no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my (E)flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

19For (F)the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.

20But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, (G)I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

21I find then (H)the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.

Just because the artist may have a wrong walk, the music and the message in the music can still be worth sharing as you just never know who it will touch and how it will  minister.  Don’t  toss  the baby out with the bath water!