Archive for May, 2008

15
May
08

Praising a Long Time

The history of Praise and Worship in the Bible is a fun and interesting adventure.  Music has a tendancy to be a bit controversial topic within the church these days.  The best case scenerio is one where us Jesus-followers would advance past personal opinion and onto the purpose of the church which is to praise God, leaving issues of style and culture as unnecessary dividing lines.  To that point, if I sing “Jesus, how sweet the name” and I do it with a pipe organ, or an a cappella group, or a choir, or with drums and electric guitars, does it really matter?  I think not, what matters most is the heart with which we praise.  Nevertheless when subjects like this kick around in my mind I find myself wondering what God thinks of this.  How can we honor Him?  The components we use for His glory in Praise and Worship are namely 1) Instrumental and 2) Vocal.  (Additionally we have a) soul and b) spirit but we’ll save that discussion for another day.)  One teaching I’ve done many times and still adhere to this exegesis, is that if God sings over us (Zephaniah 3:17) he must have a) created song b) love song.  Therefore anything, any music, that deviates from the purpose to glorify God is an abberation of its original intent.  That thinking excludes a lot of music in the world, but I believe it to be true.

One encouragement to those of us who are called to praise God and lead others in the same, is just how long this has been going on.  We often highlight David’s court as an example of praise in the highest order. Yet a quick look into Genesis reveals that this has been going on a really long time.

In Genesis 4:17-22 we have a listing of some of Cain’s descendants.  Check out verse 21 where we are introduced to Jubal.  “…He was the father of all those who play the harp and flute.” (NKJV) Wow.  This enables us to pinpoint the use of instruments in praise and worship to as early as the 7th generation from Adam.  I don’t know about you but that gets me really excited!  (Being a guitar player, knowing that stringed instruments existed as early as the 7th generation gets me extra stoked.)  I’ll also point out that the number 7 represents perfection in Kingdom accounting.

Secondly, a few verses later there is an amazing statement.  In verse 26 we read “That’s when men and women began praying and worshipping in the name of GOD.” (The Message)  By reading further and adding up the age when Adam fathered Seth, and then Seth fathered Enosh, we can estimate something just over 235 years from the creation of man to when humans began corporate worship of GOD.

A little over 200 years from the dawn of creation and people congregated in worship.  Only seven generations passed and musical instruments were used in worship.  This leaves no doubt in my heart that music is God invented, God inspired, and God purposed.  Does this encourage anyone else out there?  Let me know!

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12
May
08

The Complainer

So I was thinking about the general nature of the complainer this week.  We had a guest speaker at church since our Sr. Pastor is in Israel (“lucky!”) and he asked the congregation in each of our 3 services “be honest, how many of you have not prayed for your pastors, any of them, even one time in the last 2 weeks?”  Most people raised their hands.  I’ll give them this, they are an honest congregation (I absolutely love this church).  He said, “so you never pray for your pastors, but when something gets said from the pulpit you don’t like or the music is not quite right you are so quick to send off an email to them and complain.”  Wow.  Being a pastor I was one part edified and another part squirming a bit.  If you are in public ministry you’ve heard it.  The complaints: too loud, I couldn’t worship, where are the hymns?, it’s obvious this is about you and not about God.  Yes I’ve heard a lot of it.  In fact, I myself am a complainer.  I complain about all sorts of things that make my life difficult, or anything that pulls me out of my comfort zone.  Just this morning my wife said, “you ought to squeeze in a bike ride, the weather is nice.”  I got up put on bike shorts and jersey, socks and shoes, and then asked “what’s the temperature?”  It was a little cold for the clothes I was wearing.  I complained because I had to change my clothes.  I did end up on a bike ride and am very happy I went.  She was right, the weather was beautiful this morning.  And I did find myself praising God for His creation which I often do when I go biking.  But I just HAD to complain at some point didn’t I?  But it seems that when people uncork on a pastor in the church, it’s quite vile.  Why do these complainers feel the need to spread so much venom (yes, venom) when they complain (actually said to me in church: “how dare you assume to know what I need to worship God”)?  Congregational church is about giving back to God (see 1 Peter 2:9); declaring His praises.  That’s the primary purpose of the church.  But some people arrive with a consumer mentality and are just flat out furious when it doesn’t conform to whatever standard they have imposed on “church.”  With the American church body rife with complainers are we really acting as His disciples and “lov[ing] one another” as Christ commanded (John 13:34)?  What do you think?   

10
May
08

Backstage Pass Interview

A few months ago I was interviewed by Fletch Whipp who runs Rockstazusa.com.  We chattted about gear and the future of music, etc.  This site caters to the unsaved so he interviewed me as a way to present another viewpoint on Christianity to his many students and contacts in the music business.  Fletch is an amazing guitarist and member of our church worship team, and a more amazing friend and Spirit-filled Christian.  You can check out the interview for yourself here

02
May
08

National Day of Prayer

Yesterday was the National Day of Prayer.  This special event was different than some others I have been involved with.  This year was a joy to coordinate and the tangible results were all good.  At Mountain Springs we had a noon event and then at night I led worship at a city-wide event.  All day long at church we had various groups meeting and praying.  This year seemed special.  It seemed that there was more unity among God’s people.  During both events I led at, I sensed true spiritual unity and thus, power in the prayers.  Maybe it takes a season of losing ground in order to spur people into action.  Colorado Springs is one of the most unchurched cities of its size in the country.  15 years ago something like 29% of the people in this town went to church.  Now the stat I heard is 18%.  That means in our mission field, we’re losing.  We’re not proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel loud or often enough.  But yesterday I saw believers from all over the city gathering in faith, praying; offering supplications of repentance for what we, the church, has or has not done for the Lord.  It was inspiring to me. 

There was also a time of prayer for pastors.  People came over to Dina and I and prayed for us.  That was fantatsic.  Unexpected that it ministered to me so much.

Three worship pastors from somoe of the largest churches in town (that would include us) led worship.  We sang songs before our Senior Pastors came up to pray.  No agenda, no ego, no one-upsmanship, just joy in serving each other and the Lord.  It was great to be a part of that kind of unity and connectivity.

Footnote: I read a sad article from someone complaining that the National Day of Prayer was lame because of how it excluded people.  Like Buddists and Muslims.  And also that since Shirley Dobson created it, it must exclude anyone who is not a right wing evangelical.  Funny that in an effort to be inclusive, people ultimately become exclusive themselves.  If we changed the National Day of Prayer to include all belief systems and faiths, wouldn’t that then ultimately exclude the people that gravitate towards it as a rallying point for their worldview and faith?  If buddists wanted their own National Day of Prayer in America don’t you think they would be asking for it? 




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