Musicians and Singers

Musicians and Singers 8.28.15

Regarding yesterday’s post on “Worship” and that music and singing are not the definition of worship, someone has asked, “If we don’t call it a “worship team”, what do we call it? Do we define the Bible, or does it define us?

We can call it exactly what the Scriptures call it: musicians and singers, for that is what they are.

It came to pass when the priests came out of the Most Holy Place … and the Levites who were the singers, all those of Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, stood at the east end of the altar, clothed in white linen, having cymbals, stringed instruments, and harps, and with them one hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets – indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heart in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying:

“For He is good, for His mercy endures forever,”

that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God (2 Chronicles 5:11-14).

Musicians (the heading of Psalm 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 31, 36, 39, 40, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 75, 76, 77, 80, 81, 84, 85, 88, 109, 139, 140); and singers (1 Chronicles 6:33; 9:33, 15:16, 19, 22; 2 Chronicles 5:12, 13; 9:11; 20:21; 23:13; 29:28; 35:15; Ezra 2:41, 70; 7:7, 24; 10:24; Nehemiah 7:1, 41, 73; 10:28, 39; 11:22, 23; 12:28, 29, 42, 45, 46, 46, 13:5, 16; Psalm 68:25; 87:7;  Ezekiel 40:44).

These people praised and thanked the Lord, but the Bible doesn’t call music and singing “worship.”

The Parable of Mark Colgate

being useful

Mark Colgate had been on the job for about 5 months. He’d heard that most of his predecessors remained for only about 6 months before they were tossed away. He was worried.

Each day seemed to be the same for him. He felt like he was useful in life only a few minutes each day, but mostly his existence was a waste of time and material. He looked at others around him being used and he longed to do more … to be more … to be fully useful.

He spent his many quiet hours thinking of all the greater things he could – or should – be doing. “I know I do my best, but I want to be more useful. I feel like I’m a big waste of time. I could do so much more, but it feels like I don’t do anything important. I know I was created for a great purpose, but I do so little. I long to do so much more!

Mark knew he was made for a purpose and it had to be more than what his existence represented at the moment.

One evening, after he’d finished his day, Mark was struck by an idea he’d never considered. While busy only once that day, for less than a minute, perhaps he had fulfilled his purpose. Maybe he was being and doing all that he was meant to be and do.

Then came a second thought: what if his existence wasn’t about how much time he put in but in how he was being used? What if he was like a tool finding value not in ability or time, but in simply being used in the craftsman’s hand – and he was being used! Could he be fulfilling his purpose and not know it? Was his discontented desire to be more and do more actually a misunderstanding of his purpose in the world?

Mark had always wanted to be more and do more, but now he was sure that he was being used just as his maker intended. What he was doing in the world was more significant that he ever dreamed. He’d been made for this very thing in life. He was being used. He was fulfilling his purpose just being himself.

That night as the light went out and he was placed back in the holder next to the bathroom sink, the blue toothbrush with soft bristles who called himself “Mark”, offered a little prayer. “Father God, thank You for making me as You did. You didn’t make me to a hair dryer, a bath towel, or a bar of soap, but You made me according to Your good will and Your special purpose in the world. You’ve used me today to accomplish more than I realized. Thank You for making me as I am and using me each day for Your glory.”

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going (Ecclesiastes 9:10). And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men (Colossians 3:23).

Worship

Worship 10.1.15

Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” (Genesis 22:5).

Words have meanings, and meanings have consequences.

One of the popular church phrases that I hate is “worship team.” Not only does this term re-define worship in an un-Biblical way, but consider it’s consequence. It means that music and singing are “worship”; they are spiritual. So what does that make the preaching of God’s Word and prayer? The Bible and prayer become un-spiritual (or less spiritual than music) and therefore of lesser value than music.

Significantly, in Genesis 22, the word worship is used for the first time in the Bible. When Abraham went up to Mount Moriah to worship, did he plan to play his guitar and sing songs for 45 minutes? No. Worship was in offering his only-begotten son as a sacrifice to God in obedience. Worship was Abraham’s attitude and actions declaring that God was greater than Abraham, his son, his life, his desires, God’s promises of an heir, and everything else. Worship was the expression of Abraham’s obedience of a surrendered heart to the command of the Almighty God.

Today’s ‘worship’ is self-centered. It’s about tunes that we enjoy. It’s expressing what we get from God. It’s about attracting a crowd to entertain or enthuse. It’s flashing lights, loud music, and standing on one’s feet with hands in the air. It’s the center of Sunday morning. It’s about us.

The Bible calls God’s people to Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness (1 Chronicles 16:29; Psalm 29:2; 96:9). Holiness is the idea that God is so much greater than anything else that He is separated from everything else.

How better to worship the great and awesome God of the Bible than by preaching and hearing Him speak to us in His Word, and then obediently serving Him from a surrendered heart?

A Strong Arm

right arm

Walking through the village of Kangundo, Kenya, I was stopped by a nicely dressed man about my age. As he felt my biceps he exclaimed, “OH! Look at how strong you are! You have very large muscles.” He then walked me to a local vendor selling watermelon and insisted on purchasing a slice for me because of my strength.

I humbly accepted his offer as people standing around took note of my upper arms.

The Bible speaks of God’s strong arm. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders (Deuteronomy 26:8).

His right arm delivered a group of slaves numbering in the millions out from under the control of the mightiest nation on the face of the earth at that time. His strong arm humiliated the armies and the pharaoh of Egypt.

If the strength of a near 50-year old man could gain the attention of Kenyans, how much more should the strong arm of Jesus wow the people of the world!

** Help build a Bible College in Kenya. Click here for details: Click HERE

*** Watch the video made from our ministry trip to Kenya in June: Click HERE

A Slew of Signs and Plenty of Prophets

Signs and Prophets

Christendom is ripe with modern-day signs, wonders, prophets and apostles. It’s like Springtime and they’re a popin’ up all over the place. Today, if there aren’t miracles and words from prophets in a church, it’s condemned as dead.

Jesus said something interesting in His description of this age before it comes to . an end:

False christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand (Matthew 24:24-25).

He said that a spiritual movement of falsehood would arise in the last days. It would be so powerful that it would even deceive God’s chosen people … if that were possible. In other words, these things will be a powerful deluding influence, but God’s people won’t accept the prophets, signs and wonders. Where do the signs and wonders come from? Jesus said they come from false christs and prophets and to accept these as truth is to be deceived.

If the Bible is God’s Word settled in Heaven …

and it is sufficient to make you wise for salvation (2 Timothy 3:15) …

and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness so that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17) …

there is absolutely no reason for prophets, signs, or wonders today – except to deceive.

A Stronghold in the Day of Trouble

Walls of Ancient Nineveh

City gate and walls of ancient Nineveh

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him (Nahum 1:7).

God’s judgment is real and powerful. No one and no thing is outside of His control. To His people, God is both good and a stronghold, a place of safe refuge from all danger and God’s own wrath.

In the days of the prophet Nahum, the walls of the ancient city of Nineveh were thought a barrier of safety, creating a stronghold from every enemy; but those walls were not a stronghold from God.

He alone is good (Luke 18:19) and as a good God, He works all things together for good toward His own people (Romans 8:28). Many people call themselves by His name, but it must be remembered that not all who call themselves by His name have been called by Him.  He knows those who trust in Him. We are unable to perfectly identify and distinguish the redeemed from the poser, but God knows the heart and what He has done within it.

The solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:19).

Let Us Reason Together

Reason together

Come now, let us reason together … (Isaiah 1:18).

I spent many hours in Kenya teaching the book of Romans in the Berean School of Ministry and Bible Institute. In one class session, I asked a question based on the text we were reading. One of the men began to answer by saying, “I think.” I stopped him mid-sentence.

When discussing Biblical and spiritual matters, it must never be “I think” but “the Bible says.” God’s Word is our sole authority for faith and practice, not our thoughts, ideas, speculations, revelations, or feelings. He has never asked for, nor needed our opinion. Our reasonings hold no value in spiritual matters nor to the infinite mind of God.

  • Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has taught Him? (Isaiah 40:14)
  • “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways” says the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)
  • Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (1 Corinthians 1:20)

When God said to Israel, Come now, let us reason together, He wasn’t inviting men to share their ideas on redemption, the divine relationship, or truth. Truth is not determined by a consensus of the majority of minds or the strength of human argument. Truth is determined by the God who is Truth incarnate (John 1:17; 14:6). God directs man to reason from the Scriptures – to understand truth – from God’s own spoken words.

** Help build a Bible College in Kenya. Click here for details: Click HERE

*** Watch the video made from our ministry trip to Kenya in June: Click HERE

First Church of the Hypocrite

hypocrite

Sunday morning grumbling had become a bad habit Jack didn’t feel like breaking. He was on his way to church again. Instead of referring to it as the Hyerdale Family Church, he called it the “Hypocrite Family Church.”

Each week it was the same old thing. Talk of being a family, loving God, serving each other … blah, blah, blah. It was all fake. They were all phony. He knew fake and phony, he’d been a successful salesman for the past twenty years. “They” would shake Jack’s hand but once he turned his back he could feel the daggers. His mind raced a thousand miles an hour and didn’t notice the stop sign he ran just as his blood pressure spiked.

He was done. “Those people” were as loving and kind as a pack of wolves on a rabbit. He was going to find a church where people really loved each other.

Jack parked his car, picked up his Bible, and put on his “happy face” as he slammed the car door. In the car parked next to him, Jack noticed a familiar face. The man’s head was in his hands and faint sobs could be heard through the window. Jack stood a moment, then gently tapped on the window so as to not startle the man.

“I was on my way into church and noticed that you don’t look so well. Is there anything I can do?” Jack asked, his “happy face” still firmly plastered in place.

The man took a few minutes describing his financial situation. It was bad. Bad enough he’d soon lose his house with the wife he’d already lost. He’d been sleeping in his car the past few days and didn’t know what to do next.

As the man spoke, Jack unconsciously rubbed his hand against his right rear pocket where he kept his wallet.

When the man stopped talking, Jack explained that God loved him … and he did too. He’d pray for the man and asked if he was going into church. The man looked at his watch, apologized for taking Jack’s time, and said he needed to go find something to eat. Jack shook his hand and said he’d see him next week.

It’s not enough to say you love a brother when you can do something to show it.

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:16-18).

Jesus Loved You

Love gave

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37).

Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us (Ephesians 5:2).

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25).

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace (2 Thessalonians 2:16).

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood … (Revelation 1:5).

Did you notice three important facts in each of these verses:

(1) Christ loved “us”, the Church.

(2) Love is revealed by the surrender of self. Love isn’t displayed through a word or a lustful glance. Love is the giving of oneself for the one loved.

(3) Christ loved. You will be hard pressed to find a verse that says, “God loves you” or “Jesus loves you.” The references are past tense – that Jesus “loved” you. He cannot love you any more than He did on the day He gave His life on the cross for you. His love does not grow nor ever lessen. His love remains the same as does He.

** Help build a Bible College in Kenya. Click here for details: Click HERE

*** Watch the video made from our ministry trip to Kenya in June: Click HERE

Goats Don’t Evolve into Sheep

Sheep and Goats

I don’t live on a farm. Nor am I a goatherd or shepherd. But I know the difference between a sheep and a goat.

No matter what we may think, goats never turn into sheep and sheep never become goats. Each animal is born one or the other.

No goat ever wakes up on a Tuesday morning and by the exercise of free-will chooses to become a sheep. No amount of preaching the virtues of being a sheep can ever change the mind or DNA of the goat.

Neither can a sheep lose his sheepness and become a goat.

If you believe in a world of Darwinian evolution, then you believe that one creature can become another by chance, like a monkey becoming a man. In the religious world, some people join with the evolutionists and say that a goat can become a sheep by mere choice, or that the sheep can fall into goatdom.

Neither form of evolution is Biblical. Neither view is true.

You do not believe because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand (John 10:26-28).

** Help build a Bible College in Kenya. Click here for details: Click HERE

*** Watch the video made from our ministry trip to Kenya in June: Click HERE