Monday, January 23, 2017

CHURCH MUSIC CREDO

CHURCH MUSIC CREDO
I believe that the more than 600 references to music in the Bible are given by inspiration of God and are profitable doctrine for reproof, correction, and instruction today.  I believe that the Bible provides us with timeless, relevant, usable, practical and spiritual guidance in the 21st century.  I believe that the only completely safe teacher of church music philosophy is the Holy Spirit who is capable and willing to guide us into all truth concerning music ministry in this century. 
I believe that there are absolutes concerning music ministry.  I believe in profundity, appropriateness and standards of correctness in church music.  I believe that CHURCH MUSIC MATTERS and that CHURCH MUSIC MATTERS to God.  I believe that although there is room for taste in church music ministry, it is not all a matter of personal taste.  I believe God created music and that He thought it into being.  I believe that since God thinks about music it behooves us to study his Word to ascertain what He thinks about music.  I believe that good causes in music may be served.

Thought for the Day
As you begin 2017, I suggest that you develop a music credo and that you write it down and refine it as the year progresses.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Nothing matters as much as God matters


Nothing matters as much as God matters


Today is Sunday so we are going to take a break from "Understanding Music's meaning".  We will discuss more about it tomorrow.  Today is the Lord's Day so I want to praise him for life!  Psalm 73:26 states, “My flesh and my heart faileth: but god is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."   I have lived long enough for my flesh and my heart to fail.  A few years ago I was placed in a heart procedure room and actually watched the doctor work on my heart.  Therefore, I have no trouble saying "... there is none upon the earth that I desire beside thee (Psalm 73:25b)."
       God has truly become the strength of my heart.  I will tell you that as I lay there in Christ Hospital that day, nothing mattered but God.  Nothing that I owned or thought I owned mattered! Christian musician learn to lean hard on the Savior.  Your health may have already failed or may be near to failure.  Take courage because God has promised to be your portion (vs. 26).  It is God and God alone that you must have in this world and in the world to come.
       As the psalmist said in verse 28, "It is good for me to draw near to God."  Be sure that you can say "I have put my trust in the Lord God."  As George Duffield stated in his gospel hymn "Stand up for Jesus", "the arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own".
       God has promised in this psalm that he would be your portion for ever.  You may ma not have much of this world's wealth, but you have God as your portion.  The wealth of this world will fade away, but the heavenly inheritance will last for ever.  You can take your heavenly treasure with you to the glory world.

                           Prayer for the day-Nothing matters but God 
Lord thank you that when my heart and flesh fails—Jesus never fails.  Thank you for promising me that you will always be my portion.  Help me to trust you when the arm of flesh fails me.  Help me to reach out and receive your precious promises that are always sure and steadfast.  These things I pray in your strong and mighty name.  Amen.




Saturday, January 21, 2017

Finding Truth in Music Christian Education Part 4


Finding Truth in Music Christian Education Part 4 

       We must not take off ourbiblical worldview glasses” in the area of music. It is not a neutral, ineffective, autonomous area, but on the contrary, it greatly affects our lives and we must surrender our musical tastes to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  There is a reason we must guard what we listen to.   K. Marie Stolba put it well when she said, “Music was peculiar among the arts in that it alone had the ability to influence character.”  (Stolba, K.M., The Development of Western Music, 1998 P. 13)

When we are making wise musical choices, we are able to enjoy the beauty of music as it infiltrates our lives. “The result of aesthetic experiences is a richer and more meaningful life…The antonym of ‘aesthetic’…can best be thought of as ‘anesthetic’- nothingness, no life, no feeling, no humanness.” (Abeles, Hoffer, Klotman, Foundations of Music Education, 1994 p. 63)  How much should we thank our heavenly Father for giving us so many aesthetics that our lives may be full and enriched! And how important it is that we honor that privilege and take advantage of what He has given us courts with Praise. (Ibid., Webber, 1997 p.78)  

Thought for the Day  

Ms. Wolf is correct in purporting that we all make musical judgments through our “worldview glasses”.  Unfortunately, many Christian musicians do not look at music through “biblical worldview glasses”.  As a matter of fact post-postmodern Christians consider a musician who does to be a religious extremist.  GLW










Friday, January 20, 2017

Finding Truth in Music Christian Education Part 3


Finding Truth in Music Christian Education Part 3



       A musician’s philosophy is not established to make other people happy, but to set guidelines for living a Christ centered, God honoring life.  Christ must have preeminence in our lives; He must have lordship over all of our choices and decisions, including music.  Francis Schaeffer says, “There is nothing autonomous- nothing apart from the lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Scriptures. God made the whole man is interested in the whole man, and the result is a unity.” (Schaeffer, Francis, Escape from Reason 1968 p. 29)

            Part of submitting to His lordship is considering what God thinks about music.  God loves beautiful things, and we bring to Him our best offerings and abilities, but we do not perform art for the glorification of art itself. Webber says that the arts are “vehicles for communication. The arts are not venerated or worshipped. Rather they are used to communicate truth about God.” (Webber, R, E. Enter his Courts with Praise, 1997, p. 78) 

Thought for the Day

The part of music philosophy that deals with the beautiful has well supported, for centuries, that beauty in the art of music does matter.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Finding Truth in Music Christian Education Part 2


Finding Truth in Music Christian Education Part 2                                 

       The first step in developing a music philosophy is to go to the Word of God.  We cannot find wisdom and discernment in ourselves or in the world around us.  It must come from our Heavenly Father first and foremost.  I Corinthians 2:12-16 says, “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

        “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.  The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (NIV)  Even as we discover truth and discern wisdom, our finite minds cannot cover everything. “No philosophy can be comprehensive in the omnipotent sense of providing the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” says Garen Wolf.  “A philosophy can never say all there is to say about something. However, a philosophy can and should explain what something is all about.” (Wolf, Garen, Church Music Matters, 2005 p. 18)  Not everyone will have exactly the same lines of demarcation, but we all must filter our philosophies through the gridlines of the Bible.





Thought for the Day



It seem odd to me to me that Christian’s who base their music philosophy on Scripture are often considered by other Christian musicians to be extremists and overzealous “proof-texters”. I have found that most often the people who have a well thought out written music philosophy are careful not to take Scripture out of context in order to twist into supporting their philosophical beliefs.   GLW


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Finding Truth in Music Christian Education Part 1


Finding Truth in Music Christian Education Part 1

       This philosophical excerpt is presented here as a part of our series of articles on music education philosophy presented by selected Christian musicians in various countries. This philosophical excerpt is taken by permission from the monograph                                    Finding Truth in a World of Musical Deception by Rachelle Wolf.  She holds a BA degree in Christian music ed. with a performance emphasis in applied violin from God’s Bible College.  She is currently a candidate for an MM degree in violin performance at Miami University at Oxford Ohio.  While studying at Miami University, she holds a graduate assistantship and teaches violin privately, and is active in her church.  (The thoughts for the day are mine.)                                 

       What is music? Does it have value in the life of a Christian?  What does God think about music?  Are there specific kinds of music that are appropriate for a Christian musician?  Is there a place for secular music?  It doesn’t take long to find answers to these questions, many answers. It is not in finding answers that we have difficulty; ask anyone you meet.  Every musician has a music philosophy, regardless of how well it is developed.  The real challenge comes in wading through the stream of answers and philosophies to find the gold nuggets of truth.   

Thought for the Day

Christian musicians often consider the appropriateness of what they say because it will affect their Christian witness, but at the same time do not seem to realize that what they music will also affect Christian witness. GLW


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Utilizing Great Music in Worship—part 7


Utilizing Great Music in Worship—part 7

      I have often told my college classes and have stated in my writings that the fine arts are not the door to the kingdom of God, but they are wonderful concomitants of quality musical worship.  Let me be very clear that as Romans 1:25 explains, we should never worship created things ( ktisis 2937 which includes music) but always the creator of music ( ktizo 2936 i.e. God).

 A steady diet of sacred classics should not be forced upon a congregation with little understanding of music, but it will not harm them to be introduced to some great sacred classics once in a while. It will also give those of us that have spent a life time studying and performing great music an opportunity to worship with music at a much deeper level of import.

Thought for the Day

This blog series is divided into seven parts (not by any particular design).  Seven is the number of perfection.  Perfection, or as nearly perfect as our offerings are capable of being, is the responsibility and should be the design of every minister of music.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Utilizing Great Music   in Worship—part 6 


Utilizing Great Music   in Worship—part 6 

       There is another reason that we should include the sacred classics as a part of our balanced musical ministry.  There are many people who attend public worship who are musically aware.  Accomplished musicians are often offended or at least disappointed by the shallow and shoddy nature of trite and mundane religious music.  I contend that a church full of educated people who understand and appreciate great sacred music deserve to hear quality musical offerings at least part of the time.

        Many church musicians wonder why astute accomplished musicians are often not involved in church music programs.  I believe the main reason is that so many church music ministries do not include any high quality artistic musical offerings.  A worshiper who has sung a part in a quality choir in junior high, high school, and college is offended when a church choir sings only overly simple two part, or worse yet, unison choral music.  Ministers of music need to understand the importance of having some musical “meat” on the worship table as well as the diet of musical “frosting” that is so prevalent in many fundamental Christian churches at present.

Thought for the Day

Christian musicians have a difficult task when they plan worship music for a congregation with diverse musical tastes.  The task is even more complicated when a Christian musician desires to present the best musical sacrifices unto God.  However, he or she is still responsible to keep this varied repertoire appropriate and high quality.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Utilizing Great Music in Worship—part 5


Utilizing Great Music in Worship—part 5 

             I believe that many times a minister of music’s actions subtly testifies to the fact that these musicians believe that God does not need to be worshiped with the best musical offerings we are able to present.  When we present all of our musical offerings with inferior musical genres, we are testifying to the fact that we believe that it does not matter if we present our heavenly Father a musical three-legged lamb.  Remember that, in the sacrificial system, God required a lamb of the matrix which was without defect or blemish of any kind (Leviticus 1:3, Numbers 28:19 etc.).

       I am well aware that there are many people who do not have an awareness or appreciation for the sacred classics.  I also understand that appreciating the great sacred music works is an acquired skill.  If a local congregation does not understand or enjoy great works of music then they will not be ministered to by hearing and performing these compositions.  It is unfortunate that many people are impoverished musically by not having an understanding of great sacred music.  As I stated earlier, great music enables one to have a greater understanding of the deep profoundness of the lessons to be learned in the Bible.

Thought for the Day

Although I do not believe that an artistic approach to worship is the “main thing”, I am strongly aware that worship music is an art form.  Therefore, I must always be aware of what kinds of musical art forms are appropriate as proper and appropriate representation of the moral nature of God.