Sing Unto the Lord

Music is special
October 31, 2007, 8:56 pm
Filed under: Thinking Music

I love music. All kinds. Music is profound. It is just organized sounds that can shape our feelings and even have been proven to shape and assist in healing our physical bodies. It can be so tremendously complex that you could lose yourself within it’s theories and mathematical formulae or you can skim the surface with a three chord pop song. Music is it’s deepest and most profound when it is created to give weight or shine light on it’s ultimate creator, God. Luther called music the ‘handmaiden of theology’. Lots of people can become lost in music and totally miss the creator of sound himself who all music is created to point to. Instead we worship the creation and become idolaters. What a waste of such a precious resource. It’s like going to the Taj Mahal and just looking at the lawns instead of walking down them to the monument.
Love music. I do. But love God who made it for you to shape and enjoy for his glory.
(Picture is of the score to the Mario Bros music)

CCEC Nitechurch site
October 29, 2007, 2:27 am
Filed under: Everything else

The art fart team have been busy! Check out our brand new Nitechurch web site. It’s got a page devoted to music. Hopefully we can eventually post live recordings on there. Until then it will have some articles, cd reviews, vids plus a security enabled site for our music team to get chord charts. It’s all rocking.

crazy font
October 24, 2007, 7:08 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

sorry about the crazy font on that last post. It’s because I don’t edit in HTML cos I’ve never learned.

Three marks of a biblical music ministry: Joy
October 19, 2007, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Thinking Music

I was reading through Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s website last week and came across something interesting in the worship and music section. They said that ‘artistic expression is such an important part of everyday life that God wants us to engage in it with joy, originality and with intellect.’

I thought it could be useful to do a quick summary of all three and what they may look like in a church context.
Psalm 67:4 says this:
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples justly
and guide the nations of the earth.’
Joy and singing are inextricably linked in the Bible. They are seen together all over the place. Check these verses if you have the time: Gen 31:27, 1Sam 18:6, 1Chr 15:16, 1Chr 16:23, Neh 12:27, Job 38:37, Psa 5:11, Psa 27:26, Psa 28:27, Psa 33:1, Psa 33:3, Psa 43:4, Psa 65:13, Psa 71:23, Psa 81:1, Psa 89:12, Psa 90:14, Psa 92:4, Psa 95:1, Psa 96:12, Psa 98:4, Psa 98:8, Psa 100:2, Psa 107:22, Psa 126:2, Psa 126:5-6, Psa 132:9, Psa 132:16, Psa 137:3, Psa 145:7, Psa 149:5, Isa 12:6, Isa 16:10, Isa 35:10, Isa 42:11, Isa 44:23, Isa 49:13, Isa 51:3, Isa 51:11, Isa 52:9, Isa 54:1, Isa 55:12, Isa 65:14, Jer 31:7.
Now that you are 50…
Joy is an inner thing. It is both compulsive and can be learned. We feel inexpressible joy towards God for so many reasons. I feel joy when I remember God’s goodness in creation, in election, in saving, in mercy, in grace, in love, in restoring, in justifying, in atoning, in sanctifying and in promising an eternal home where we can know him face to face. He himself brings us joy because He is good.

Singing is an overflowing or an outpouring of that inner joy. You feel joy so you sing. Like how when you feel happy you smile. In the Bible the two are connected because one reflects externally an inner reality.

Would you describe your music ministry as joyful? When you sing do you seem to be singing from a heart overflowing with thankfulness or do you seem to be going through the motions? Often our music can look like it’s just something we have to do before the sermon while the seats are still being filled. If joy and singing are linked, then it should seem as if we cannot help but sing. You should be just giving words and a tune to the joy pouring out of the restored hearts within your church. Perhaps if you are leading singing you should ensure that you look joyful. Not because you have to be cheesy, but because it will encourage the people watching you to be reminded of their own joy. Before church remind yourself of the incredible things that have been done for you by Jesus. Think on each song and the truth that it promotes. Be naturally joyful and sing your heart out.

(Who can name the band at the top of this post?)

Best church drama ever
October 19, 2007, 2:17 am
Filed under: Everything else

Church drama is often cheesy. This video brought tears to my eyes and I don’t tear up very often at all. There are some things I would change about the drama but it’s pretty awesome. Watch till the end.

Paul Baloche continued
October 17, 2007, 9:51 pm
Filed under: General Music

If you still are unaware of who Paul Baloche is Christian Music Today did an interview with him that you can read here. Again, his new album, ‘Our God Saves’ sounds like it’s going to be awesome! You can hear soundclips from it here.

Art and the Artist
October 16, 2007, 9:59 pm
Filed under: Thinking Music

I was browsing the interwebs when I came across Sojourn Community Church in Lousieville, Kentucky. They are an Acts 29 church that are seeking to reach their culture with the gospel. One intiative that they have is called ‘The 930’. It’s an art studio/music venue that they sponsor because they believe that they have a mandate to support the arts.
I was thinking… what is the role of visual art within Christianity. I dig art. It’s one of my things. I can definately see a push within some Christian circles to ‘take back the arts.’
Three great reasons I can see for doing this are:
1. God is creator, we are creatures who use creation creatively. It is part of or nature to shape creation. Adam did it through gardening, Beethoven did it with music, why not do it with art?
2. Christians have always been at the forefront of art and music until recent times. Our faith has always reflected itself in creativity.
3. Art and media are cultural indicators. It is important that Christians maintain influence in these areas so as to be light in a world of darkness.
All this said – sometimes as we pursue art, we can find ourselves worshipping beauty rather than worshipping God. For eg, we cannot bear to meet somewhere unless it pleases us aesthetically, or we go home from church up or down based on the cool power point slides rather than God’s word, or we give up coming under the word altogether and start just spending time listening or participating in music and creating art. The experience of art making and art participation is powerful because it stirs our emotions. We can begin trusting this experience to fuel us rather than trusting God and his word where he meets us.
Harold Best has spoken of this in one of his lectures at SBTS. He says that art while beautiful can never replace words for expression of the gospel. God uses words to meet his people and they will mainly come to an understanding of him through words (by the power of his Spirit). The spoken or written word has never been surpassed as a communicative form because it is stable, reliable, unchanging, and has much less abiguity than a piece of music or a painting.
All of that being said, Best argues that artifacts should be part of the christian life, not as a way of explaining the gospel, but as offerings of worship to the creator God. I draw a picture as an expression of the creativity God has given me, and people can see his creative nature through my work. He gets glory from art. Artifacts are offerings, not tracts.
Therein lies the balance. Don’t worship art, worship God. Trust his word to communicate and use your gifts to praise. Keep being arty for God’s glory.
Picture above is called ‘redemption’ from the exhibition ‘How Quickly comes the Night’ showing at The 930.