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Thinking about Music . . .

4 Oct

I will start by stating that I am not a professional musician and for that reason when writing on a topic such as this one, I will stick to what I know, which has far more to do with theology and proper themes in writing than it does with music composition. I know there are others to competently fill the gaps I cannot. 😊
Last week we had a series of evangelistic meetings involving a lot of music, with wonderful worship. It got me thinking (again) of what the various types of worship music are. I can pick out three, but I am sure there are more.
I have heard a differentiation between praise music, which would glorify God for Who He is, and thanksgiving music, which would glorify God for what He does (mainly for us!). Praise music emphasizes the attributes of God which have always been, before there was man and before any of His attributes were exercised in relation to us.
I would further divide thanksgiving music into music that glorifies God for what He does for us corporately as His church and music that glorifies God for what He does for us individually. Examples of the difference between the two would be that “The Church’s One Foundation” would be a corporate piece of music and “In the Garden” would be an individual piece of music.
At this point, I would state that there is probably not any Biblical reason to prefer one of those three types of music to the other two, but we probably all have a preference. I prefer straight praise music because it is usually huge in its themes (like God is huge!). “Holy, Holy, Holy” is an example of that type of music. So is “O, God our Help in Ages Past” although some of the lines, like the title, lap over into thanksgiving music (basically, it tells how God has *always, since eternity, been a strong Defender, so we who came along much later in history can rely on Him, too!).
My challenge is for us to think of these three types of music–paying attention to what we sing/hear and to how it would be categorized. It is probably good to sample from all three types of music regularly.
If all we ever listen to is thanksgiving music, it might be possible for us to forget that God has always been great, even before there were angels or men to worship Him. He is the self-existent One who chose to create us, but who does not just exist in relation to us and our needs.
If all we ever listen to is music about our individual relationship to God, it might be possible to forget that He has designed us for fellowship, chiefly for being woven into His church, expressed by membership in a local community of believers.
I am glad there is such a rich tradition of worship music in Christianity, which is unique to us and to the Jewish faith, as we learned last week. Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus don’t get together to sing. Yet we who are redeemed by Christ Jesus have so very, very much for which to sing!!!
Acts 20:28 (KJV)
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

Would You Choose Jesus for a Friend?

1 Aug

I wrote this for our church blog today.

Tabernacle for Today


I have recently been reading a series of historical fiction books about the life of Christ. People have different ideas about fiction, but my thought is that anything that we understand to be fiction but which releases our sanctified imagination about how it might have been when our Saviour was on earth is a very good thing.

In this case, the researcher, Brock Thoene, is at the top of his field, and the writer, his wife Bodie, is also at the top of hers.

Each book takes a character in the gospels and fleshes him or her out as that person might have been.

All of the characters have one thing in common.  They pursue Jesus.  Initially, most do it from what could be called a selfish motive—needing healing or a friend or something to believe in other than the diabolical pagan gods.

But eventually each character…

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15 May

I saw the above article reprinted under the title “The Dark Side of Mother’s Day” yesterday and I thought, “What?”

Let me explain . . .

Every holiday has some people who cannot join in the joyful merrymaking, either because they are of the wrong religion, or because they don’t fall into the category of person/family that is being celebrated that particular day (in the present case, families with two dads, for example, but they get to double dip on Father’s Day), or because they have suffered loss and are too sad to join in.

Compassionate people understand that and mourn with those who mourn, as the Bible says.

However, only Mother’s Day leads to a widescale guilting of mothers (like almost everything else in life conspires to do). Every year there is a wide slate of articles and Facebook posts reminding us to reach out to those who cannot celebrate while we are enjoying our day. As though we would not do that without being reminded . . . (mothers nurture–it is what we do! And please do *not* read that to say *only* mothers nurture because that is certainly untrue!).

We don’t try to make fathers feel bad for enjoying Father’s Day, do we? Or Christians for enjoying Christmas? Or Jews for enjoying Chanukah?

So why do we single out one holiday and try to put a damper on it?

I propose we go one of two ways. Either stop singling out Mother’s Day as a day to say “Enjoy yourself but not too much in light of those who are suffering” or else we start caveating *every* holiday with that phrase. What say you?

March Madness and Shame . . .

4 Apr

From my church’s blog yesterday–some thoughts on March Madness and on shame.

Tabernacle for Today

Philippians 3:19, “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.”

As I write this blog post in advance of April, March Madness is still ongoing, down to the last two teams.  By the time you read it, you will know whether North Carolina or Gonzaga prevailed in the final!

I was recently pondering the nature of shame, particularly as I was reading Ed Welch’s “Shame Interrupted.” (I will put the usual statement here that his book does not agree with everything I—and my church—hold to theologically, but it is pretty awesome in its discussion of shame, which I was trying to understand.)  Using some thoughts in the book as a starting point, let me ask a couple of questions.

Would you say that all fifteen of the Sweet Sixteen teams who did *not win the championship should be…

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If You Read Just One Post on This Topic . . .

26 Feb

The Lord He is God

2 Dec


Tabernacle for Today


Psalm 100:  A Psalm of praise.  Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

Serve the Lord with gladness:  come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the LORD he is God:  it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:  be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.


I recently wrote of a period of holy darkness that the LORD allowed into my life.  I did not understand why some heartbreaking things happened and perhaps I never will.

At the time those things happened, a couple of God’s dearest servants reassured me of God’s control of the situation and of me.  They were so very…

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22 Oct

This is probably the best post I have ever read about how to counter slander. I have personally tested the principles in it. They work, and most of all they are godly.

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