Tag Archive | gospel song

Selecting Music For Worship (Part 2): Know Theology

by Ken Puls

How well do you know the music your church sings in worship? Can you think, for example, of a song that teaches that sin corrupts and deceives the heart? Or a song that unfolds the work of the Trinity in our salvation? If you were to measure the depth of doctrine and the breadth of truth in your church’s music for worship, what would you find?

In my last post we began considering ways that worship leaders can best prepare for the task of selecting music for worship. My first encouragement was know the Word. The first and best way to prepare for the task is to be regularly and diligently in God’s Word.

But second, and closely tied to the first, those who lead music in the church must know theology. Music is tied to theology—our songs instruct us. Music gives us voice to rehearse and remember the truth. It helps us rightly respond and rejoice in the truth.

Except for the preaching of the Word, no other ministry in the church has such a profound impact on shaping our understanding of truth than music. The music we sing helps us declare what is true about God, ourselves, and the world around us. And it embeds that truth in our thinking and in our lives. Paul makes the connection between music and truth in Colossians 3:16. He instructs us:

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16, ESV).

We want to sing and celebrate what is true. We want our music to support and undergird the teaching and preaching ministry of the church. For this to happen we must be wise and discerning in what we choose to sing. We must know the truth and be able to recognize lyrics that are rich in truth, lyrics that are light on truth, and lyrics that stray from the truth.

So commit yourself to study theology. Read sound, theological books. Learn to think theologically about your church’s music. Peruse and evaluate the lyrics of music you are using or considering for use in worship. Along with looking for quotes, allusions, and connections to specific Scripture references in each song, ask yourself: What theological truths does this song teach?

One of the methods I have used to help me think theologically about music is to compile a Theological Index of Church Music. I started the index twenty years ago as a project for one of my PhD seminars in seminary. I created both an outline of theological topics and a list of song titles (psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs) that we were singing at the church where I was leading worship. Then I created the index by working through the lyrics of each song, line by line, listing the song title under each entry in the outline that was stated or affirmed in the song. The resulting index provided a valuable resource, not just for selecting songs by theological topic, but for evaluating the scope and content of our church’s music.

You can find the Theological Outline here along with a list of some of the books I used to compile the outline.

I have resisted  (for now) posting my full Theological Index of Church Music. I recognize that each church will have its own compilation of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that it knows and sings well. I have also discovered that much of the benefit in having the list is the time spent creating it—thinking through lyrics and evaluating strengths and weaknesses.

Here, however, are a few entries from my opening questions:

Songs that teach that sin corrupts and deceives the heart

  • All I Have Is Christ (Jordan Kauflin – Sovereign Grace Music)
  • And Can It Be (Charles Wesley / Thomas Campbell – PD)
  • No, Not Despairingly, Come I to Thee (Horatius Bonar – PD)

Songs that unfold the work of the Trinity in our salvation

  • Heavenly Father, Beautiful Son (by Mark Altrogge – Sovereign Grace Music)
  • Come Praise and Glorify (by Bob Kauflin / Tim Chester – Sovereign Grace Music)
  • Wonderful, Merciful Savior (by Dawn Rodgers and Eric Wyse – Word Music)
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Why Worrying is a Failure to Grasp the Gospel

Trevin Wax

 

“Don’t be a worry wart!” people say… and those of us prone to anxiety promptly begin worrying about worrying too much.

I know the feeling. I worry too. I’m not the “lie awake at night” kind of person. But I notice that when I have a lot on my plate, I give an inordinate amount of attention to little details. Worry consumes me in a variety of ways: I lose patience quickly, I snap at my wife and kids, or I lose my sense of empathy for others. Worry turns my focus to Me.

For a while, I thought that worry was caused by my failure to seek first the kingdom. If I would only fix my eyes on Jesus more, then I would stop worrying. If I would only think about the kingdom more, then anxiety wouldn’t be an issue.

Certainly, those who are seeking the kingdom above all things are not preoccupied with food, and drink, and clothing (as Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount). And yes, seeking the kingdom first is a good action plan if we find ourselves worrying.

But seeking first the kingdom comes after we have been sought by the King. The root cause of worry is not misplaced priorities. It’s misplaced faith. It’s a failure to grasp the gospel of a God worthy of our trust.

So worry shows up whenever my view of God is diminished and my view of myself gets too big. I worry because my vision of God is skewed. I rest when my vision is fixed.

“Look at the birds of the air!” Jesus said. “God gives them food, even if they don’t work and earn their way.” There’s more to this parallel than a mere animal-to-human comparison about how much more God will care for us. There’s gospel here. God has given undeserved favor to the birds. He blesses them apart from their merits.

God’s grace and mercy is sustaining us too. Everything we have comes from God’s hand. Salvation belongs to the Lord. And the powerful God who saved us is the loving Father who sustains us.

When I reflect on the gospel of a priceless Savior giving his all for undeserving sinners like you and me, then I am assured that our value in the eyes of God does not shift with the economic tides. Our worth is not measured in what we do for God, but what God has done for us.

This is God the Father who sent his only Son to the cross that we deserved.

This is God the Son who willingly took on flesh, lived among us, and died in our place.

This is God the Spirit who prompts our hearts and brings us back into unending fellowship with our Maker.

It is the costly actions of God that give us our value.

In these difficult times, we – the people of God’s kingdom – need to be reminded of our true citizenship and true identity. The uneasiness of worry surfaces in our hearts when we lose sight of the gospel of God’s grace to the undeserving. Failure to grasp the gospel is what causes us to take our eyes off the kingdom and forget who we are in Christ.

United to Christ, we are part of a royal family. Our older Brother is the King of the world.

Thou art coming to a King,
large petitions with thee bring,
For his grace and power are such,
None can ever ask too much.

– John Newton

 

Truly Getting the Gospel

Tim Brister

The Bible is living and active (Heb. 4:12), inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16), and given for the purposes of teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. The Bible is all about God’s story of redemption centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. In the church where I serve, we say the gospel is all about (1) who Jesus is, (2) what Jesus has done, and (3) why that matters.

The gospel is the power of God (Rom. 1:16), and that power is demonstrated not only in our past rescue, reconciliation, and redemption, but also in our present faith, hope, and love. Christians who truly get the gospel discover its power again and again on a daily basis. They get it in all three areas of text, context, and subtext because the gospel changes everything. The “living and active” nature of the Word is doing its effectual work as the Spirit convicts, renews, and reforms our lives in ways that demonstrate the transforming power of Jesus.

Text • Context • Subtext

The text addresses biblical revelation. God reveals Himself through His written Word and in His Son, the Word made flesh. The gospel is the message, the text above all texts, that reveals God’s sovereign purposes in history to unite all things in Christ. Truly getting the gospel means we understand that the gospel is normative and supreme in God’s dealings with us, and we humbly submit to the authority of God’s Word and what it says about us and our need for Him. We are committed to knowing the gospel truly and articulating it clearly because God has spoken on the issue definitively.

The context addresses life orientation. These are matters pertaining to what lies outside of us and how our lives relate to them and orient around them. Context includes our relationships to other people, daily circumstances, seasons of life, spheres of existence, etc. Truly getting the gospel means we recognize that context is the place where the gospel is applied. Living in light of the gospel is learning to work out our new identity in Christ in specific places, in specific situations, and with specific people so that the reign and rule of King Jesus is manifested in His Lordship through the context of our existence.

The subtext addresses heart motivation. If context addresses what lies outside of us, subtext deals with what lies inside of us–our hearts. Subtext matters include motivation for actions, pursuit of pleasure, and aim in personal ambition. Subtext reveals the areas where unbelief remains in the life of a Christian, showing where functional idolatry and other forms of god-replacements are substituted for happiness, joy, peace, and contentment. Subtext is the canvas of our life story, and when we truly get the gospel, we see how the story of the gospel rewrites the story of our lives as we move from unbelief to belief in all matters of the heart.

Failing to Get the Gospel

One of the greatest dangers for Christians today is to be content with getting the gospel merely with biblical revelation (text). In my (Reformed) tribe, a great deal of energy is expended on getting the gospel right here, and rightfully so. The best books available on “what is the gospel message?” are coming from theologically-astute pastors and scholars. Nevertheless, if we fail to get the gospel message from our heads to our hearts and lives, then we are failing to truly get the gospel.

The normative nature of the text should have direct application for the context and personal implication for the subtext of our lives. Maturing gospel-centered Christians are discontent to correctly know the doctrinal aspect of the gospel; they are driven to a life dominated by the gospel. Those who love the gospel will not only find it a message to contend for, but also a message to live by. That means theological conversations are not enough. Bible studies are not enough. Books and commentaries are not enough. Superb head knowledge and theological acumen are not enough.

We simply cannot cut off the gospel’s power from the very places it intends to work – ongoing life-transformation. Those who truly get the gospel are those who confess how little of the gospel they truly get – and how much more they desire to embrace. They know that confessing Jesus is Lord means something in the context of their lives and subtext of their life story, and they want a congruency with what the gospel reveals, what their heart desires, and what their life demonstrates.

Those who truly get the gospel have gotten the most use out of the gospel. They have wrestled with how to apply the gospel to marriage or parenting, to adversity or success, to loneliness or stress-filled days. They are not afraid to deal openly and aggressively with areas of unbelief in their heart–doubts, fears, and all the ways the brokenness of the fall has caused them to look elsewhere to find hope, healing, and happiness. There’s an honesty that is refreshing because the gospel is so gripping. When you get it, it won’t let you get off believing a glossy, artificial, photoshopped version of you, because Jesus did not die for fake sinners who dress in fig leaves. He came for real sinners who have real need for real power from a really risen Savior.

The question I have to keep asking myself is, “What areas of my life in the context (externally) and subtext (internally) that I am cornering off or building a fortress around so that the text of God’s gospel is not actively working? How is this not revealing how I am ashamed of the gospel?” A gospel community presses one another into the context and subtext, as messy as it is, because of the mercy we have found at the cross. A gospel community that truly gets the gospel will celebrate faith and repentance in the ongoing renewal that comes from Spirit who graciously magnifies Christ in our hearts.

I want to be numbered among those who truly get the gospel so that the world may know how glorious Jesus is and how amazing I’ve discovered His grace to be.

 

TASHA COBBS- BREAK EVERY CHAIN LYRICS

tasha-cobbs-break-every-chainALBUM: GRACE

ARTIST: TASHA COBBS

[Verse1]

There is power in the name of Jesus (3x)
to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain. (2x)

[Chorus]


There is power in the name of Jesus(3x)
to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain. (2x)

[Verse 2]

There’s an army rising up.(3x)
To break every chain, break every chain, break every chain.(2x)

[Chorus]


There’s an army rising up.(3x)
To break every chain, break every chain, break every chain.(2x)

[Vamp]


I hear the chains falling.

There is power in the name of Jesus
to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain.

CLICK THE LINK TO LISTEN: (http://www.mp3skull.me/mp3/5/Tasha-Cobbs—Break-Every-Chain–Radio-Mst-With-Fade-Oct-19B–mp3/ZeWaqaC1/)

ISRAEL HOUGHTON & NEW BREED- IT’S NOT OVERS (WHEN GOD IS IN IT) LYRICS

Israel & New Breed - It's Not Over (When God Is In It) Lyrics
[chorus]
Is not over, it’s not finished
it’s not ending, it’s only the beginning
when God is in it,
all things are new, ooh ooh
all things are new, ooh oohI know its darkest just before dawn
this might be the hardest season you’ve experienced
I know it hurts, it won’t be too long
cause your closer than you think you are
closer than you’ve been before
so look to the sky, help is on the way
[repeat chorus]
something is moving, turning around
seasons are changing, everything is different now
here comes the sun, piercing the clouds
your closer than you think you are
closer than you’ve been beforeSo look to the sky, look to the sky
help is on the way, help is on the way
our God is faithful, faithful to say

its not over, its not finished
its not ending, its only the beginning
its not over, its not finished
it not ending, its only the beginning
when God is in it
when God is in it oh oh oh oh ooh ooo
[repeat]
when God is in it there is no limit
when God is in it its not over
when God is in it there is no limit
when God is in it its not over

its not over, is not over

its not over till God say so
so i will count it all joy
he’ll make all things new

its not over till God say so
so i will count it all joy

its not over til God say so
no matter what happens
he’ll make all things new

its not over [repeat]

TAMELA MANN- TAKE ME TO THE KING LYRICS

Tamela-Mann-Take-Me-to-the-King-SingleAlbum: Best Days
[Chorus:]
Take Me To The King I don’t have much to bring
My heart is torn in pieces It’s my offering
Take Me To The King[Verse 1:]
Truth is I’m tired Options are few
I’m trying to pray But where are you?
I’m all churched out Hurt and abused
I can’t fake What’s left to do?Truth is I’m weak No strength to fight
No tears to cry Even if I tried
But still my soul Refuses to die
One touch-will change-my life[ repeat Chorus:]Lay me at the throne Leave me there alone
To gaze upon Your glory And sing to You this song
Please Take Me To The King[Verse 2:]
Truth is it’s time To stop playing these games
We need a word For the people’s painSo Lord speak right now Let it fall like rain
We’re desperate We’re chasing after you[Bridge:]
No rules, no religion I’ve made my decision
To run to You The healer that I need

[repeat Chorus:]

Lay me at the throne Leave me there alone
To gaze upon Your glory And to sing to You this song

Take Me To The

Lord we’re in the way We keep making mistakes
Glory is not for us Its all for You

[repeat Chorus:]

Lay me at the throne Leave me there alone
To gaze upon Your glory And sing to You this song

Take Me To The King [3x]
CLICK TO LISTEN: (http://mp3skull.com/mp3/take_me_to_the_king_tamela_mann.html)

LAWRENCE FLOWERS AND INTERCESSION- MORE LYRICS

lawrence-floewrs-more-lyricsAlbum: More
Verse 1
All the worshipers in me wants to be free
From the cares of life that seems to weighing me down
all the worshipers in me needs consistency
to lift my hands and u give praise when no ones around
Verse 2
All the worshipers in me wants to break free
from the intellectual mentality
but i wen i should be up, I’m sitting in my seat
should be lifting up my hands and giving you praise and glory
lord, i should be giving u more
morrreee
I should be giving u moreChorus:
I wanna give my best to you
i wanna do what you asked me to do
i wanna go wherever you say
just say the word and i’ll obey
i wanna live a life that’s real
i wanna serve you lord for real
coz you deserve all this and more
so i give u more
morrrree
i give u more
MorrreeYou deserving of more (repeat several times)
I GIVE YOU MORE (repeat several times)I surrender all, I surrender all,
all to thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
CLICK TO LISTEN: (http://mp3skull.com/mp3/lawrence_flowers_more.html)