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This morning over breakfast, my wife and I had a discussion about music, specifically, music used in worship. It brought to mind a Christian Bookseller’s convention I attended years ago in Anaheim, California…
My boss at the time was the owner of a retail Christian bookstore, as well as a publisher and wholesale distributor of Christian books. We were excited about escaping the routine of retail, and enjoying a week in California. I was excited to be seeing California for the first time.
Beginning the first day of the convention, my excitement waned somewhat, tempered by an ugly reality, as we shared a bus ride to the convention center with a Christian band, who were scheduled to perform.
After listening to the loud, overly candid, conceit-based conversations of the band members, I had to conclude either I had misunderstood what it took to be a Christian, or these band members were in masquerade. As they continued to converse about the “business” of Christian music, and their fame and fortune compared to other Christian bands, including a sprinkling of well-timed four letter words, their self importance began to sicken both my boss and myself. By the end of the week I was firmly in possession of a complete, and disappointing understanding of Jesus’ teaching of the wheat and the tares. I had seen the lesson all too close and personal for a full five days! My honeymoon with “Christianity” was over by the end of the week, but it took me years to get over the resulting cynicism.
All worship music is not equal. Much of what passes for such today is not even close to being worship music. Most of it comprises professional levels of technical skill, combined with a certain stage-presence of the performers, and need not have anything to do with real worship. Millions of dollars are spent supporting these spiritually poor, but well paid people, as they lead us in music – into ourselves.
The entire external expression of Christianity, whether it be in preaching, teaching, praise and worship or whatever else, must lead the hearers toward a personal communion with the Person of Jesus Christ. All else is a fake and a sham, and destined for fire. True worship-centered music serves to lead our human spirits into a spiritual linkage with God’s Spirit. If the music employed only serves to elevate our spirits by titillating our emotions, we are only succeeding in worshiping ourselves, while mistaking the experience for true worship. How indicative of the rising, secular church. I don’t care how technically perfect the music or the performances, I’m finding less and less patience to put up with phony stuff called worship. All true worship music is God-centered, and demonstrates in one way or another, that all this is about HIM, not us.
One thing the Church desperately needs these days is a healthy dose of Godly discernment. The phony (secular) church, rising up in our faces at this time, has no need for it because it is one of the first things they sacrificed on the altar of themselves.
I would encourage all Christians to pay a few moments of attention to the music that is pushed at them in the guise of “worship music”. Do the words proclaim the awesomeness of the one, Almighty God, or do they fail this litmus test by proclaiming in one way or another, the creation, rather than the Creator? It’s not at all difficult to see the difference, once we know there is one.
A word of caution here…I’ve known several instances of people leaving their worship teams and churches because they “No longer felt the Spirit.” Emotions are only icing on the cake, and are highly overrated by babies. Determine to worship God with all your heart and tell your body and soul to do so. In the name of Jesus, you can command it.
Sometimes different airplanes require different lengths of runways, but all can fly if the pilots will it to be so. You may be overloaded with the cares of this world, and you may have to leave the baggage on the curb in order to fly. That is one of the benefits of true worship.
God alone is worthy of our worship – whether we “feel” it or not.
John Miltenberger is a Christian blogger, visit John on his site: The Trip So Far
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