Friday, April 28, 2017

Brunch with Jesus—part 4


Brunch with Jesus—part 4

            The disciples who came to Christ’s brunch received the bread of life, but that wasn’t all that happened.  Many musicians believe that brunch with Jesus is about feasting and the musician’s leading others in musical praise responses to Christ.  That is certainly part of what should happen, but it is only a part of what happens.  After the filling portion of their experience of having brunch with Jesus, He got down to business with them.  John 21:15 explains, “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.”  Notice that Jesus first told Simon Peter to feed His lambs. The Greek word translated feed in the AV is bosko (1006) which connotes the act of feeding the lambs.

             Next, “He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”  The Greek word translated feed in the AV is poimaino (4165) which has more meaning than the mere act of feeding and means to tend or care for the adult sheep as a shepherd.  The shepherd’s responsibilities included many things like leading, correcting, protecting and much more.  Finally, “He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed (bosko 1006) my sheep.”   

Thought for the Day

It is much easier for a musician to go about the task of feeding Christ’s lambs and Sheep with music than it is for him or her to love them enough to care for their needs by pastoring them.   

Song for the Day—Make Me a Servant by Kelly Willard   

Prayer for the Day   

My precious Lord I want to do your will when I music.  If I know my heart I want my musicing to feed your little lambs and also your mature sheep.  I am sobered by the fact that you said to Peter that a test of loving you was feeding and caring for your lambs and sheep. I am asking you to give me the wisdom to discern Your will for musicing that will be acceptable in your sight.  This I am asking in Your wise and wonderful name.  Amen

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Brunch with Jesus—part 3


Brunch with Jesus—part 3

            The disciples came prepared to Christ’s brunch.  Although they had fished all night without any success, they were able to come with 150 fish because: 1) they were in the place where they could catch fish, 2) they were honest with Jesus when He asked them, ‘Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.”, and 3) they obeyed Jesus when He said, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.”  If a Christian musician desires to come to Jesus’ brunch with a fresh filling, then he or she must attend to the means of grace, be honest with Jesus, and take His advice. The disciples were in a place where they could catch fish.  Serving Jesus requires fishing, not merely singing about fishing.

            Burnout is a common occurrence for musicians who have given and given and given until it seems that there is simply nothing more to give because our nets are empty.  Sometimes ministering musicians feel very much like the disciples who had toiled and toiled throughout the night hours.  However, this malady was curable for the disciple and it is also curable for us.  Like the disciples, we must be faithful to the task at hand.  Jesus is able to help those who stay in their little ships and keep fishing when it seems that the fish will never bite.  Sitting on the bank near the sea of ministry whining about the fact that the fish will not come into our net does not cure burnout and does not enable us to do the thing that will prove to Jesus that we love him.   

Thought for the Day

This week remember that Jesus is saying as He did in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  Some musicians try to bring a musical offering of praise and adoration to Christ’s brunch without keeping His commandments.    

Song for the Day  I Gave My Life for Thee by Francis Havergal   

Prayer for the Day

Dear precious Lord I am asking you to forgive me for whining about how hard I have worked for You.  If I even have to work 24-7 that will be a “present far too small”.  Wh  en I think for just a moment what you have done for me and what you do for me every day, I am ashamed of my attitude. Please help me to fight burnout like a tiger.  Also Lord, I confess that many times I try to music to You and for You in my own strength.  Please help me to come to your brunch and be fed and renew my vows to You.  This I humbly ask You.  Amen. 


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Brunch with Jesus—part 2


Brunch with Jesus—part 2
            Yesterday we considered some of the benefits of the bread and fish provided in Jesus’ brunch. Those who wish to have brunch with Jesus sometimes believe that the content of our worship musicing should be all praise. Although praise music is very important to worship it is not the complete content of having brunch with Jesus   When we take a careful look at the content of Jesus’ brunch, we find that it was not completely about praise. Dining with Jesus was about receiving but it was also about a call to action. 
            First, Jesus gave them the invitation to come to Him.  Jesus gave them a call to worship which connotes coming close to Him.  Jesus didn’t hand out fish sandwiches to them on the boat.  Having brunch with Him required coming into His presence.  Only when they came close to Him, were they able to dine with Him.  Jesus did not say to them, here is some food now go and eat by yourselves.  We can only receive the sustaining benefit of the Bread of life and the sustenance of mature meat when we dine in his presence.
            Second, Jesus did not only demand that they come into his presence, He also required them to bring something to His brunch.  In John 21:10 “Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.”  Jesus expected the disciples to bring something to his brunch because His brunch was a potluck brunch.  Today, each Christian must bring something for the congregation to eat. The disciples had made pre-preparation for their brunch with Jesus.
              It is one thing for Christian musicians to show up and sing and play some praise music, but is another for them to come to Christ’s brunch with a fresh filling.   Remember that John 21:11 records, “Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.” 
Thought for the Day 
If a Christian musician comes to brunch with Jesus spiritually empty and dry, then he or she will not be able to bring an offering of sincere praise to this spiritual feast. 
Song for the Day Jesus Is the entire World to Me by Will L. Thompson  
Prayer for the Day 
 Precious Lord I am sobered when I  remember the many times that I have almost let Satan convince me that I am so “wrung out like a rag” that there is no more any way that I will have anything to give to Your lambs and sheep.  At those times I am aware that my net has been on the wrong side of my little boat.  Lord I am asking you once again to help me to fish on the right side.  Lord help me this day to hear Your voice and obey Your voice so that I may have something to bring to your brunch.  Help me to trust You to help me to experience a fresh filling in my empty net.  These petitions I am presenting to Your powerful name.  Amen.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Brunch with Jesus—part 1


Brunch with Jesus—part 1

            John 21:9 explains what the disciples saw when they came to the shore after fishing all night   “As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.”  Joh 21:12 gives the account of Jesus’ invitation to them to have brunch with Him.  “Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.”  
            John 21:13 gives the wonderful account of the disciples having a potluck brunch with Jesus.   “Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.”  Many Christian musicians like to refer to Sunday morning worship as a worship feast with Jesus.  Do you desire to have Sunday brunch with Jesus?  Do you desire that your musicing to be a time of receiving spiritual food for your soul and the souls of the congregation?

            In John 6:35by and 6:48 Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.”  From this declaration made by Jesus we can understand the significance of Jesus offering his disciples bread at this brunch.  Notice that brunch with Jesus provides bread that sustains spiritual life.  It also provides fish.  Unlike the fledgling milk fed Christians mentioned in 1Corinthians 3:2, “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” The disciples were given meat.  Brunch with Jesus provides meat that will sustain maturing Christians.  

Thought for the Day

Many Christian musicians say that they desire to have bunch with Jesus, but they do not understand that Jesus gets down to business with those who dine with him.  If you have brunch with Jesus, you will be fed by Him, but you will also come face to face with the call to Christian service.  Do you still want to brunch with Him? 

Song for the Day Come and Dine by Charles B. Widmeyer 

Prayer for the Day

I want to thank You Lord that you desire to have fellowship with people like me.  Thank you for having your great table spread with spiritual food for my soul.  Please help me to have the good sense to come to your table and to partake of the spiritual bread and fish that you have prepared for me.  If I know my heart, I really desire to partake of Your table.  Please feed my soul as I give you an offering of praise.  This I am asking in your in your wonderful and sufficient name.  Amen

Monday, April 24, 2017

The History of Music Education—part 8


The History of Music Education—part 8

            Although the deciphering of the te’amim above and below the OT text shows much evidence of ancient Israel’s music being aesthetic, there is no evidence in the Bible that Israel derived aesthetic pleasure from their sacred musicing.  However, when one views the musical embellishments found in the te’amim found above the Hebrew and Aramaic texts of the OT it is not far-fetched to hypothesize that, in the midst of their sacred and secular musicing, these ancient musicians could have  receive aesthetic pleasure.  Furthermore, we do not have any direct evidence that music education in ancient Israel included the concept of aesthetics or aesthetic pleasure at least as we understand it today.

            Psalm 100:2 explains partially how the ancient Hebrews viewed sacred music philosophically when it says, “Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.”  To them, music was a means to an end and that end was coming before   the presence of YHVH.  Psalm 126:2 explains how they used their musicing to bring honor and praise to God. “Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.”  Isaiah 51:11 elucidates how they were educated to understand the Hebrew concept of what musicing was capable of accomplishing in the life of the redeemed. “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”

Thought for the Day

When we look back at the ancient musical paradigm of the Hebrew musicians we should try to view their joy of sacred musicing as joy of worshiping YHVH rather than joy produced from personal musical achievement.  Sacred music and musicing was about God rather than self.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The History of Music Education—part 7


The History of Music Education—part 7

            Some church musicians and musicologists have a very imperfect understanding of ancient singing, chanting, and cantillation.  They often write about chanting as being a very strange type of vocalization perhaps droned out with little beauty or artistic value.  Some believe that ancient Jewish cantillation had a Far-Eastern Oriental flavor.  Some writers over the last century and a half have purported that it was based on a pentatonic scale while others believe that it was based on a quarter-step system or that it was some synthetic scale system giving it curious strange sound, foreign to the Western ear.  However, recent scholarship has proven these notions to be false.  Scholars now have understanding of the notation of the Old Testament that shows clearly that this intoning was far from strange or ugly musicing produced by screaming at the top of these ancient musician’s lungs.

            Musicologists now know from knowledge or the te’amim that the notated music of Scripture was quaint but beautiful. However, contrary to common belief; musicians in ancient Israel did not consider music to be a humanistic achievement created and owned by their culture to be consumed on their own lusts for entertainment, fame and fortune.  As was mentioned in an earlier post, it was an aid to understanding and as not considered an artistic man made invention produced as “music alone” by a composer seeking fame and notoriety.  In the last and now in this century musicians many times look at music and musicing through the Western music paradigm of an individual’s composition, arrangement, or performance practice.  From what musicologists know of music in ancient Israel, these ancient Israelite musicians did not look at sacred music in this manner.  As was mentioned in the 6th post in this series Alfred Sendrey explained that  these musicians considered music most for its” spiritual, ethical sphere”.

Thought for the Day

Musical paradigm is that window through which a musician views the whole of music.  As one reads what is written in the Bible about music and musicing, a Christian musician needs to guard against the tendency to squeeze music in ancient Israel into a post postmodern paradigm.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

The History of Music Education—part 6


The History of Music Education—part 6                     

            Contrary to the opinions of some misguided twentieth century writers who believed that the Hebrews considered music an art form belonging to man’s true humanness, Alfred Sendrey stated, “In spite of the fact that music among the Hebrews did represent essentially "utilitarian music" (though in a higher sense), it is not wholly expressed by "activity" and "cooperation."  Nor, even though explicitly manifest, are the principles of "enjoyment" and "aesthetic pleasure" the decisive criteria in Jewish music.  The roots of the Jewish musical art go deeper; its ultimate meaning can rather be found in the spiritual, ethical sphere.  In Ancient Israel, music--especially singing--meant:  to serve God, to exalt God with sounds.  Singing, in whatever form, is for the Jew the religious creed expressed in sounds, the palpable affirmation of his close connection with the Eternal, the union in harmonious sounds of the Creator with his creation.”   Music in the Social and Religious Life of Antiquity, Sendrey, p. 167.  Notice that Sendrey who was a world renowned Jewish music Scholar reported that the ancient Hebrews considered music to be God’s i.e. “his creation” not the creation of mankind.

            There was much organized music education that took place in ancient Israel which was centered around the purposes of worship and honoring of YHVH.  This education was utilitarian in its nature because the culture of ancient Israel did not consider music to exist as an art-form but rather 1st, the handmaiden of God’s Word, and 2nd, a means of worshiping YHVH.  Sendrey was correct in his belief that musicians taught the common man to enjoy worshiping God with music.  After the congregational music lesson explained in the first part of chapter eight of Nehemiah, verse 10 explains, “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”   Zephaniah 3:17 states that God allows joy as a part of the musicing process, The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”

Bible Quote for the Day

1Chronicle 25:7, “So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the LORD, even all that were cunning, was two hundred fourscore and eight.”  Note that the chief Levite musicians concentrated their music education efforts on “the songs of the LORD”.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The History of Music Education—part 5


The History of Music Education—part 5
            Although this Scripture passage has been shrouded in esoteric meaning for centuries current scholarship has brought this meaning to the light of clearer understanding.  We understand that the word sekel (7922) her translated the sense means that the intoning the Scripture by use of the te’amim was the ancient method of elucidating the meaning of the Scripture.  Nehemiah 8:7 states, “Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.”  This distinguished list of men which included Levite musicians taught the people i.e. a congregated unit the understanding of the Law of God by, of course, intoning the Scripture.  The word qara (7121) translated caused in this verse has a multitude of meaning in OT Scripture including to “call out”.  So these Levite musicians caused the congregation to call out the Torah by intoning it.
            With this interpretation of teaching in ancient Israel the concept of musicing Scripture adds meaning to what we believe happened in this congregation of Israelites.  We know with great certainty that tis passage of OT Scripture is a record of religious education in this culture and it is not far-fetched to piece together what the function of the ancient Levite musicians was in this account of ancient education.  They were teaching the congregation to music the Torah.
Quote for the Day
“A deep understanding can only be achieved by singing the Torah…and ‘whoever intones the Holy Scriptures in the manner of secular SONG abuses the Torah.’’’ Jewish Music in Its Historical Development, by A.Z. Idelsohn pp.35-36 (quoting B. Sanhedrin, 101a)



            Although this Scripture passage has been shrouded in esoteric meaning for centuries current scholarship has brought this meaning to the light of clearer understanding.  We understand that the word sekel (7922) her translated the sense means that the intoning the Scripture by use of the te’amim was the ancient method of elucidating the meaning of the Scripture.  Nehemiah 8:7 states, “Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.”  This distinguished list of men which included Levite musicians taught the people i.e. a congregated unit the understanding of the Law of God by, of course, intoning the Scripture.  The word qara (7121) translated caused in this verse has a multitude of meaning in OT Scripture including to “call out”.  So these Levite musicians caused the congregation to call out the Torah by intoning it.

            With this interpretation of teaching in ancient Israel the concept of musicing Scripture adds meaning to what we believe happened in this congregation of Israelites.  We know with great certainty that tis passage of OT Scripture is a record of religious education in this culture and it is not far-fetched to piece together what the function of the ancient Levite musicians was in this account of ancient education.  They were teaching the congregation to music the Torah.

Quote for the Day

“A deep understanding can only be achieved by singing the Torah…and ‘whoever intones the Holy Scriptures in the manner of secular SONG abuses the Torah.’’’ Jewish Music in Its Historical Development, by A.Z. Idelsohn pp.35-36 (quoting B. Sanhedrin, 101a)




Thursday, April 20, 2017

The History of Music Education—part 4 


The History of Music Education—part 4 

            1Chronicles 25:7 gives another Bible reference to music education in ancient Israel,” So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed (lamad 3925) in the songs of the LORD, even all that were cunning, was two hundred fourscore and eight.”  The Hebrew word lamad means to instruct or to teach.  There is no doubt about it; the ancient Hebrew culture accepted the responsibility to teach music to their Levite sons.  So, again we are able to put to bed the notion that ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks were the only cultures that were expert in ancient music education. 

            We also know that the reading of God’s Word was always intoned or sung according to the musical notation i.e. the te’amim above and below the Hebrew text.  When we read Nehemiah 8:8 in the light of current knowledge of the te’amim, “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” we understand that this passage of OT Scripture is an example of teaching the people how to music the Scripture “distinctly”.  The Hebrew word parash (6567) that is here translated distinctly means to separate or disperse.

Quote for the Day

Abraham Idelsohn reported that, “The Talmud (B. Megilla, 32a) says that the Bible should be made understood to the hearers in musical, sweet tune.   And he who reads the Pentateuch without tune shows disregard for it and the vital value of its laws.” Jewish Music in Its Historical Development, p.35.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The History of Music Education—part 3


The History of Music Education—part 3

            The reason that I make such a big deal out of who “invented” music is that we have absolutely no reason to believe the notion that the ancient Hebrews considered music a man mad invention.  Furthermore Mark and Dickenson are incorrect in believing that the ancient Hebrews did not believe that music had the power to influence morality or affect behavior.  To the contrary, study: Exodus 32:18; Ecclesiastes 7:5; Job 39:9; Lamentations 3:14, 3:63; Psalm 69:12 and many other verses in the Bible and it will become very apparent that ancient Hebrews who loved and served God  believed that music was a reflection of character and that it influenced behavior of the performer and the listener.

            We have record of Moses being a music educator as early as Deuteronomy 31:19, “Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.”  Those that believe that the ancient musicians concentrated only on personal performance will have to explain this early reference to teaching music not only to performers but also to the common man.

Thought for the Day

The word lamad (3925) which is translated teach in Deuteronomy 31:19 means “to goad” which has connotations of causing someone to become expert.  With this meaning, teaching music was no doubt serious business in ancient Israel.