Tag Archive | inspiration

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)

The $20 Bill

A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of several hundred people, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?”

Hands started going up.

He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you, but first, let me do this.” He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up.

He then asked, “Who still wants it?”

Still the hands were up in the air.

“Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?”

And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.

He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty.

“Now who still wants it?”

Still the hands went into the air.

“My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.

“Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way.

“We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value in God’s eyes.

“To Him, dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless.”

Psalm 17:8 states that God will keep us, “as the apple of His eye.”

The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we are but by whose we are.

–Author Unknown

Installing Love…(Part One)

love1Tech Support: Yes, how can I help you?

Customer: Well, after much consideration, I’ve decided to install Love. Can you guide me through the process?

Tech Support: Yes. I can help you. Are you ready to proceed?

Customer: Well, I’m not very technical, but I think I’m ready. What do I do first?

Tech Support: The first step is to open your Heart. Have you located your Heart?

Customer: Yes, but there are several other programs running now. Is it okay to install Love while they are running?

Tech Support: What programs are running?

Customer: Let’s see, I have Past Hurt, Low Self-Esteem, Grudge and Resentment running right now.

Tech Support: No problem, Love will gradually erase Past Hurt from your current operating system. It may remain in your permanent memory but it will no longer disrupt other programs. Love will eventually override Low Self-Esteem with a module of its own called High Self-Esteem. However, you have to completely turn off Grudge and Resentment. Those programs prevent Love from being properly installed. Can you turn those off?

Customer: I don’t know how to turn them off. Can you tell me how?

Tech Support: With pleasure. Go to your start menu and invoke Forgiveness. Do this as many times as necessary until Grudge and Resentment have been completely erased.

Even as we celebrate this festive season, lets do away with things that hinders Love and proceed into the next year fully and confident in Love…

THE HOLY ALPHABET

alphabet-light-writingA – Although things are not perfect
B – Because of trial or pain
C – Continue in thanksgiving
D – Do not begin to blame
E – Even when the times are hard
F – Fierce winds are bound to blow
G – God is forever able
H – Hold on to what you know
I – Imagine life without His love
J – Joy would cease to be
K – Keep thanking Him for all the things
L – Love imparts to thee
M – Move out of “Camp Complaining”
N – No weapon that is known
O – On earth can yield the power
P – Praise can do alone
Q – Quit looking at the future
R – Redeem the time at hand
S – Start every day with worship
T – To “thank” is a command
U – Until we see Him coming
V – Victorious in the sky
W – We’ll run the race with gratitude
X – Xalting God most high
Y – Yes, there’ll be good times and yes some will be bad, but
Z – Zion waits in glory where none are ever sad!

(Source: allworship.com)

THE TREE TEST

type-of-people-in-life.

I received a heartwarming mail from a friend and I felt sharing. It’s really true and applies to most of us. Well, we may never have taken notice of it, but I trust, our mentality and the way we live our lives, behavior or interact with people will change after reading this post. I have added some few things to it, have fun and enjoy reading…

I have this tree analogy when I think of people in my life, be it friends, family, acquaintance, course mates, co-workers, whomever …. They are all placed inside what I call “MY TREE TEST”. It goes like this..:

LEAF PEOPLE

Some people come into your life and they are akin to life’s on a tree. You cannot depend nor count on them, because they are weak and only there to give you shade. Like leaves, they are there to take what they need and as soon as it gets cold or a wind blows in your life, they are gone. Most of such people in reality are people who love to be associated with celebrities, want to be friends with popular students, or connected to students from rich homes. They only want to be seen in the spotlight with you when all seems booming and flourishing .You cannot be mad with them, it’s just who they are.

BRANCH PEOPLE

There are some people who come into your life and they are like branches on a tree. They are stronger than leaves, but you have to be careful about them. They will stick around through the most seasons, but if you go through a storm or two in your life, its’ possible that you could lose them. Most times they break away when it’s tough. Although they are stronger than leaves, you have to test them out before you run out there and put all your weight on them. In most cases they are unable to handle too much weight. But again you cannot be mad with them, it’s just who they are.

ROOT PEOPLE

If you can find some people in your life who are like the roots of a tree, then you have found something special. Akin to the root of a tree, they are hard to find because they are not trying to be seen.  Their only job is to hold you up and help you live a strong and healthy life. If you thrive, they are happy. They stay low key and do not let the world know that they are there. And if you go through any awful storm they will hold you up. Their job is to hold you up come what may, nourish , feed and water you. Just as a tree has many limbs and many leaves, there are few roots. Such people are rare to come by. Take a glance to a setup for any events (be it BET Awards, etc); the hard work is done by organizers (root people) before and after the main events,they are hardly seen on the stage for the main events where the leave people want to be showcased.

Look at your own life. How many leaves, branches and root do you have?

What are you in other people’s lives?

THANK GOD FOR THE ROOTS!!

I fall, I rise. I make mistakes, I live, and I learn. I have being hurt, but I’m alive.

I’m human, I am not perfect, but I’m thankful…

(Credit: Tyler Perry)

YOU MEAN MORE TO ME!!!… HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

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Your arms where always open when I needed a warm embrace

Your gentle eyes where stern when I needed a lesson

You feed me when you had nothing left to eat

You guided me and taught me how to walk

Your sweet encouragement has kept me this far

If there is anything I will love to keep forever…..It’s you, MOTHER!!

M… is for the Million things she gave me

O…  but Only that she’s growing old

T…  and the Tears she shed to save me

H…flowed from her Heart of love, care and pure passion

E…  and Her Eyes that stayed all night to keep me asleep

R… experienced Restless sleep just for my sake

MOTHER!!! A word that means the world to me

GOD BLESS YOU BEYOND MEASURE

My LOVE for you goes beyond EXPRESSION…

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO YOU