Friday, July 20, 2018

Sacred Music Should be Intense Music—part 1

Sacred Music Should be Intense Music—part 1

                Some Christian musicians may object to the philosophical concept

of “intense” musicing unto God. The word intense, when connected

to musicing, means very deeply concentrated or fervently earnest.

There is a definite philosophical school of thought that, since

sacred musicing is not about the performer, all sacred musicing must

be reserved and detached or semi-detached from the Christian musician.

It is true that the just shall live by faith rather than by sight,

feeling, joy or any other emotion, since all of them are ephemeral.

(See Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38.)

It seems almost impossible to have a real relationship with Jesus

Christ that never produces any emotions or to music unto the blessed

Trinity without some emotion. One of the major factors of effective

musicing of sacred music is the believability of genuine heart-felt

musical expressions that exude from a holy heart-life.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Philosophical Justifications for “Doing”

Philosophical Justifications for “Doing”

            A Christian musician often musics in a certain manner simply
because of personal musical and spiritual instincts or because of musical 
traditions established by others. However, musicing by accident can be 
risky policy. A worship leader and a music educator must be able to
articulate reasons for performance and teaching choices. It is better for
one not to teach others than to teach them in a willy-nilly manner because
the *onus probandi falls on the one who attempts to teach (Matthew 18:6,
Mark 9:42, Luke 17:2.  
            Although the Bible gives us principles of musicing unto God, it
does not cover every aspect of music that concerns the twenty-first
century Christian musician. So, every performer, music director, and
music educator must, in the fear of God, interpret and apply principles
taught in Scripture. Furthermore, performers, directors, worship leaders,
and music educators must also come to philosophical conclusions
about aspects of music that do not appear to be covered by Scripture.
With this in mind, I have covered several aspects of music which are
vital to a Christian’s musicing in the twenty-first century. The NIV
translates Isaiah 28:10 as, “For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule,
a little here, a little there.” The translation above makes sense in the
context of understanding how we music. We “do” over and over
again until we are conditioned to do what we do musically. As a result,
we develop musical tastes—likes and dislikes— from what we listen
to and perform.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Shaping Children’s Music Philosophy-part 2

Shaping Children’s Music Philosophy-part 2

            Parents have the responsibility to set limits concerning both the secular and sacred music that their children purchase, perform and listen to in and out of the home.  However, an overbearing parental approach that makes all the decisions all the time for children thwarts a child’s ability to make wise choices of sacred and secular music.  The ultimate musical wish of parents for children should be that as adults the next generation will make wise choices of both sacred and secular music.  In order for this to happen, our children must be catechized, educated, mentored and prepared to accept the role of adulthood.  If they develop a Christocentric music philosophy, it will largely be the result of parental guidance that was also Christ-centered and Bible based.

            Next to the Christian home in influence is the Christian school.  Music education must be a preferred claim on our Christian school budgets.  The fine arts always cost.  In the history of the Christian schools, Christian liberal arts and Bible colleges they have not completely paid for themselves.  Many times music is included in Christian school and college curriculums for public relations efforts, student recruitment and money raising purposes only.  

Thought for the Day

When parents set limits and provide music education, lessons, and quality music performance experiences for their children, they do not spend their children’s pre-teen and teen years putting out “musical fires”.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Shaping Children’s Music Philosophy-part 1

Shaping Children’s Music Philosophy-part 1

            Where should the process of shaping children’s music philosophy begin?  First, start by providing good quality music in your home.  If parents provide many good choices of both secular and sacred music in their home, children will develop enriched musical tastes at an early age.  Second, parents should get involved by taking their children to music concerts and discussing what went on at those concerts including the performers, and the styles of music performed.  Third, parents should get their children involved in music lessons at an early age.  Positive involvement in music making is a very valuable influence in a child’s development of likes and dislikes in music.  The more musical knowledge and music skill a young person acquires, the more equipped he or she will be to make educated, mature decisions about music.

            The nitty-gritty of making musical choices will many times be difficult for teenagers.  They will explore and they push the limits set by the home, church, and the Christian school.  The lines of communication between parents and teenagers must be kept open.  There must be no name-calling, no unwarranted accusations, no anger, and no rancor in parent-teenager musical discussions.  Parents should remember that if a young person’s musical choices do not involve extreme musical styles that are associated with anti-Christ living and if the music is clean morally, teenagers have a right to likes and dislikes in music.  Just because a parent does not like a particular style of music is not sufficient reason to deny a child or teenager access to that music.  I want to make it very clear that I am not referring to rock music or popular music that is of an offensive nature.

Scripture for the Day

Isaiah 28:10, “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” It isn’t the great big musical experiences in music that matter most but the continuous consistent every day music training that matters most.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Present Yourself Willingly

Present Yourself Willingly

2Chronicles 17:16, “And next him was Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself unto the LORD; and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valor.”

            I was reading through the 2n chronicles the other morning and the sixteenth verse stood out to me.  Amasiah willingly offered himself unto the LORD.  I have seen Christian musicians who are serving God faithfully as ministers of music or Christian school music teachers, but although they are ministering faithfully, they seem to always to be “kicking and screaming” about their human condition.  They have failed to do what the ancient Israelite did—they have not given themselves willingly!

            It is one thing to give yourself to God but it is another to follow the admonition of St. Paul in Romans 12:1 when he wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”  It is far better to willingly present oneself than to do it “kicking and screaming”. 

Prayer for the Day

I want to thank You lord for ever seeing fit to us me as a music minister and teacher.  I am asking You to forgive me for the times that I have complained about my human condition.  Help me to not only serve You but to also serve you willingly Help me to say like Isaiah, ”here am I, send me”.  I can never pay my debt of gratitude to You Lord for what You have done for me!  Thank You dear and precious Lord.  Amen.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Non-believers Do Not Teach Faith-based—part 2

Non-believers Do Not Teach Faith-based—part 2   

 We cannot trust public education to produce Christ-centered musicians who have a Christocentric music philosophy.  Christians never should have trusted the world to formulate music philosophy for Christian young people.  It has always been the responsibility of Christians to train their own. Although many Christian parents have ignored it, the world has never been a friend of grace.  Could you imagine the ancient Hebrews calling in the Philistines to train their Levite sons?  The 20th century church did just that--they called in the worldly musicians who outwardly profaned the name of Christ to train church musicians.  The result was generation after generation of Christian musicians filled with Philistine philosophy. 

One thing for sure, public education will not directly teach the next generation of church musicians wrong things about God because they are not allowed to teach God in their music knowledge.  Although federal law in the United States has mandated that public education can no longer retain God in our educational knowledge, the fact that they will not directly teach false concepts of God does not indicate that no “God-education” will take place in public schools and universities.  By eliminating God as the Creator and Lord of music education, public education relays strong false messages about the nature and value of music to our young people.  Public education can no longer recognize God in the development of a philosophical basis for music education.  As a matter of fact, teaching God as the basis of all philosophical thought is forbidden.  The only safe path in public education is to omit the authority of God in any philosophical discussion of music.  In public education, no sacred music concerts are legal and the sacred classics may only be taught or performed as music literature.  It is often mandated that there be no Christmas or Easter concerts or any concerts that use sacred music for any religious purposes.  The only time that it is totally legal to mention God in the music classroom is when the music instructor stubs his toe on the desk leg. 

Quotes for the Day

Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 Romans 6:16, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”

1Peter 2:5, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ..”

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Non-believers Do Not Teach Faith-based—part 1

Non-believers Do Not Teach Faith-based—part 1

Christian musicians often question the necessity of developing a series of systematic beliefs concerning the nature and value of the whole of music.  Furthermore, they often seem to believe that those values set forth by major public colleges and universities are adequate for Christian musicians.  After all, aren’t the elements of music the same for Christians and non-Christians?  The philosophy of a musician who does not bring his entire musical endeavor under the Lordship of Christ should never be trusted. Not only can you trust a communist to be a communist, you can also trust an unregenerate musician to be worldly in his or her philosophical basis.  Remember, direction determines destiny!

Any musician who believes the end of all human endeavors is the gratification of self will ultimately come to different philosophical conclusions than a musician whose life is sold out to Christ.  For the committed Christian, music begins and ends with God.  To the humanist, music begins and ends with self.  The musician who has submitted his or her music to the Lordship of Christ believes that all church music is sung and played to glorify God since God owns music.  Conversely, the secular humanists (and the religious humanists) believe that music belongs to man’s true humanness since all music is about self-actualization.  This type of thinker owns his or her music.  

Thought for the Day

Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

Friday, July 13, 2018

Gospel Songs under Fire—part 7

Gospel Songs under Fire—part 7

                 Those who believe that the scripturally accurate gospel songs  cannot relate to moderns, post-moderns, post-postmoderns, young people and seekers are testifying that they do not believe that the good news of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is still relevant and “quick and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12). Nor do they believe as Psalm 100:5 declares, “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”  Also, those who believe that the demands of Scripture that are accurately taught in gospel songs are too offensive and too confrontational for the un-churched seeker are confessing that they are ashamed of the many truths taught in the Bible that are so succinctly presented in gospel music.

      One of the reasons that the New Testament church thrived spiritually was that, like St. Paul (Romans 1:16), they were not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The twenty-first century church should think long and hard about following a music praxis that denies the use of the gospel presented through well written, scripturally accurate gospel songs.  

Thought for the Day

At the end of this short series of posts on gospel music, I would like to remind all Christian musicians that the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news.  God is alive and he is working with His people.  We do not have a “New Age” who is far, far away but rather, our god is alive and working on our behalf.   Hebrews 4:15, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Gospel Songs under Fire—part 6

Gospel Songs under Fire—part 6  
 Those who believe that all public “worship”, “worship events” or whatever it is now politically correct to call the gatherings of Christians and seekers on Sunday morning, are for the exclusive purpose of singing praise sequences need to take a serious look at what the Bible teaches in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 about the public musicing of Christians who gather to gather to sing unto God and those who attend these services.  Also, they need to study the many Scriptures in Old Testament lyric poetry that are literally saturated with personal references to God’s forgiveness, help and sustenance. The reality of personal testimony expressed by a born again Christian singing testimony songs is far from outdated. 
 One of the most needed elements of heart felt worship is the current reality of God’s daily working in the worshiper’s life.  Public worship should be Trinitarian; it should be saturated with praise and adoration to Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but it should more inclusive of the reality and personal references to God’s current work in the life of those who love and serve Him.   
Thought for the Day  
My dear friend Rev. Larry Smith has written that all public corporate worship should be individual, orderly, complete and, of course Trinitarian.  Christian musicians must remember that if individuals do hot worship on a personal level, there will be no corporate worship.  One of the best ways to get individuals to worship is to have them remember what God has done, and is currently doing in their lives as individuals.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Gospel Songs under Fire—part 5

Gospel Songs under Fire—part 5

       If you will remember, Ephesians 5:19 mentions, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms (psalmos-5568) and hymns (humnos-5215) and spiritual (pneumatikos-4152) songs  (ode -5603), singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord:”  Although we do not know with certainty what the pneumatikos oide were like, I like to think that they may have been somewhat like our gospel songs.  Also, note that verse nineteen also reminds those who make melody that our musicing unto the Lord should be done in the presence of others. 

Therefore, the Christian’s musicing takes on a multi-directional communication that includes musicing unto God and musicing to others at the same time.  For this reason the gospel song enables the singer to praise God and tell others about His goodness and saving power at the same time.  Colossians 3:16 also reminds Christian musicians to, ”Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”   

Thought for the Day

I believe that the effectual fervent musicing of a righteous man or woman availeth much in public worship.  Your worship is incapable of being either effectual or fervent if you do not participate in congregational singing.