Singing in worship with the right purpose

A young boy and his mother were on their way home after attending the opera when the boy said, “Mom, that man who did all the singing must think a lot of himself.” “Why would you say something like that?” the mother asked. “Because”, he replied, “Every time the man started to sing, he’d say ‘Me, Me, Me, Meee.'”

We don’t know exactly what songs the first century church had a habit of singing together. We have the book of Psalms, there are sections of scripture that are thought of as recognizable doxologies, and we even have a moment or two when the New Testament scriptures explicitly say certain individuals were singing. But for the most part we don’t have a numbered list of songs (i.e. a modern-day songbook) that identifies what the early church used in worship.

Although we may not be able to “confidently” identify any of the first century church’s songs, we can identify how they were meant to sing … and it wasn’t with the purpose of making it all about, “Me, Me, Me, Meee.”

speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,” (Ephesians 5:19 NKJV)

Nothing about the singing of the early church was meant to be egocentric; it was quite the opposite! The early church’s purpose of singing in worship was to remind one another about the higher purpose of living in God’s calling (which is the context of Ephesians 5:19) and to bring, and give, glory to God within their heart. And if our modern-day purpose falls short of the same standard, then it doesn’t matter what song we’re singing, we’re making it about us and not about what God desires.

#singing, #spiritual-illustration, #worship

He who has ears to hear

You may have heard of the latest great viral debate – is it yanny or laurel?

After hearing it yesterday I told my wife it probably has to do with what a person’s ears can hear over a digital speaker since people can obviously speak either of the words out-loud and we understand each other.

Sure enough, that is what’s going on. Keeping in mind that the quality of the audio device producing the recording has a bearing on what can or will be heard, and frequently the age of one’s ears, the basic premise of the original recording had to do with high and low-frequency recordings. People with ears attuned to high-frequency sounds heard “yanny” and people with ears attuned to low-frequency sounds heard “laurel”.

There is also another level of recorded frequencies that cause some people to hear one thing while some people hear another – the spiritual frequency.

Unlike the yanny or laurel debate, the ability to hear the spiritual frequency of God’s word has nothing to do with our physical ears but rather with our mindset. Our mindset changes and controls what we are capable of hearing. You can call it a point of view driven by resonating sound of spiritual sensitivity.

Correctly hearing God’s word is vital to a right relationship with God (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). Jesus spoke much about this important point. This is why he spoke in parables! To test the ears (hearts) of his hearers (Mark 4:1-12). A test that continues to have more riding on it than “yanny or laurel” to this day.

So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body.” (John 2:18-21 NKJV)

Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying, “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’ ” But not even then did their testimony agree. … And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!”” (Mark 14:57-59; 15:29-30)

#hearing, #hearing-the-words-of-the-lord, #spiritual-illustration

Every Judas is not the same

Hear the name Judas and I’d say the odds of you thinking about the apostate apostle from Iscariot are pretty good.

Despite the fact the name Judas (as well as Jude) is the New Testament translation of the memorable Old Testament name Judah (and that the name actually means, “he shall be praised”), when most people hear the name Judas, a negative connotation is made due to the actions of the aforementioned apostle.

But to subject all Judas’ to a negative mindset simply because of their name would be a big mistake. For one example (amongst several others), there is one Judas people probably rarely, if ever, remember at all, much less in a positive way: Continue reading

#judas, #judging-others, #spiritual-illustration

Some people treat God like … Santa Claus

Forget Christmas in December or even July, and forget including a baby Jesus in the picture – some people treat God like a year-round Santa Claus … and nothing more. Sure, they’ve heard about the whole naughty or nice list and the coal in the stocking, but they focus solely on the gift-giving aspect in relation to their own wants.

With this treatment comes: Continue reading

#nature-of-god, #santa-claus, #some-people-treat-god-like, #spiritual-illustration

Some people treat God like … windshield wipers

It would be nice to say all people looked to God as the comforter who wipes away all tears before the tears even begin to flow, but the reality of the matter is a lot people treat God like bad windshield wipers on a rainy day … you don’t think about them until you need them! And by the time you think of them – it may be too late! Continue reading

#preparation, #some-people-treat-god-like, #spiritual-illustration