…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14

Traditional Hymns or Contemporary Worship Music? What’s the essence of worship?

Veteran gospel songwriter Gloria Gaither addresses this sensitive topic in a balanced, honest and mature manner, drawing from her rich experience.  She also challenges songwriters to refine their craft.

Gloria Gaither and her husband Bill Gaither have written some of the most memorable worship songs.  In this message she also shares the inspiring story behind their classic “Because He Lives”.

With regards to music,
trends and genres come and go.
Every generation’s hip music genre and hit songs,
will someday become nostalgic oldies, retros …. or forgotten,
… like bygone hairstyles and fashion.

Like fashion, ,… there are timeless classics,
with words and melodies that can transcend across genres, generations, and cultures
ministering to the hearts people everywhere,
eg Amazing Grace.

Every year thousands of songs are written and sold,
… how many will be remembered and sung
how many become timeless classics?

Similarly, the thousands of hymns written through the ages,
how many have become timeless classics?

Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will never pass away.
Matthew 24:35 (NIV)

Or paraphrasing,

Hymns and contemporary music will pass away,
but God’s words will never pass away.

God’s Word is the foundation and essence of Christian music lyrics.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom,
teaching and admonishing
one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Colossians 3:16 (NKJV)

Interestingly, psalm, hymns and spiritual songs are used for teaching and admonishing one another, …. with the word of Christ,
i.e. edify, build up the congregation and visitors, bringing forth a greater understanding of who He is, as revealed in His word … exalting His name with grateful heart.

Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs teach and  help us remember the word of Christ,
Songs are also helpful for those who are unable to read the scriptures,  or are oral learners to easily remember God’s Word.
(i.e. those who did not receive an education, young children, etc)

Let’s explore the views of fruitful church leaders in the 16th, 18th and 19th century on contemporary Christian music of their day,

“Let us have a real tune, that is, a melody with some distinct air in it, that one can take hold of,
which people can learn it, which takes hold of them and goes on humming in the mind …
That is the sort of tune to help you, it will preach to you, and bring you believers and converts.

… Music is the soul what wind is to the ship, blowing her onwards in the direction in which she is steered

… Not allowed to sing that tune or this tune?  
Indeed!  Secular music, do you say?  Belongs to the devil, does it?  
Well if it did, I would plunder him of it …
Every note and every strain and every harmony is divine and belongs to us.

… why should the devil have all the best tunes?
William Booth (1829 -1912) , founder Salvation Army

Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) also used simple melodies familiar to ordinary people — Latin or German devotional songs, school songs, children’s songs, folk songs or carols.  
… Not only did Luther recognize the power of music as an aid to devotion, to enhance and to elevate worship, but he was also keenly aware of the need to educate the younger generations into Christian ways.  Music had a part to play here.  Young people, he believed, could be encouraged to turn away from music with bad associations by acquaintance with music of a more wholesome kind. …. This did not necessarily mean that the two musics, sacred and profane, had to be entirely separate (as they were for most of the Roman Church’s history) but that the profane could be made sacred by encouraging new and wholesome associations.  

… Apart from preaching, Charles Wesley’s (1707 – 1788) special gift was to encompass his Christian experience in hymns.  … The Methodist insisted that the music to their hymns should be accessible to all and where possible sung by all.  Gone (or almost gone) were the old metrical psalms, gone also was the involved part singing of some country churches, gone was the separation of choir from congregation.
John Wesley was happy to adapt popular tunes from any source (much to the disapprobation of high churchmen)”

— Source:  Andrew Wilson-Dickson, The Story of Christian Music, Lion Publishing, 2003, pg 139,140,  63, 117.

As can be seen, these leaders used the contemporary & folk  expressions, and popular culture of their day in their songs.  The songs were Biblical and meaningful to the congregations and newcomers.
They also used songs for teaching and admonishing one another, …. with the word of Christ,
and they brought many into the kingdom of God.

(pls note: denominational liturgy and contemporary liturgy for Sunday services is not the subject of this post )

The inspiration is by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

18 … be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
Ephesians 5:18-20 (NKJV)

In an attitude of

singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord
Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father

submitting to one another in the fear of God

Clearly, the focus of worship is our Lord God,
in love and unity,
submitting to one another.

submitting to one another
Being open to accept variety in the body of Christ,
centered on Jesus.

On worship, Jesus also shared about having a reconciliatory attitude,

Matthew 5:23,24 (NIV)
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,24 leave your gift there in front of the altar.

First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. 

As we come together in worship unto the Lord,

19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name,
I am there in the midst of them.”
Matthew 18:19,20 (NKJV)

The Greek word for ‘agree in this verse is symphōneō,
to be harmonious (Strong), …
from which the English word ‘symphony’ is derived from,
A harmonious expression through diversity & variety.

“Christian musicians know of the obligation to make music as agents of God’s grace.
They make music graciously, whatever its kind or style,
as ambassadors of Christ,
showing love, humility, servanthood, meekness, victory, and good example .
. . Music is freely made, by faith, as an act of worship,
in direct response to the overflowing grace of God in Christ Jesus.”

Harold M Best, Music through the Eyes of Faith, Harper Collins Publishers, 1993.

What Paul wrote in Ephesians and Colossians on psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is consistent with Jesus teaching on worship.  Jesus said,

21  … “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.

23 But the hour is coming, and now is,
when the true worshipers will worship the Father
in spirit and truth;
for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
John 4:23-24 (NKJV)

In Spirit and Truth, worship the Father,

i.e. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom
and  be filled with the Spirit

neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem
Worship is not about a place,
or a set of rituals, liturgies in the temples at these locations

 “music” or “style of music, genre”
does not even appear in this verse (John 4:24)

The single focus of our worship is God, the Father.

When the music fades, and all is stripped away,
and I simply come,
I’m coming back to the heart of worship  

…  its all about You, its all about You,

— Matt Redmond

Its not about the “What?” or “How?” or “Which?”

… but the “Who?” in worship.

In Spirit and Truth, worship the Father

Beyond just expressing through song how we feel,

worship exalts who He is,
as revealed to us through His Word,
which leads us to surrendering ourselves to the Lord,
offering our lives to honor Him in our daily life.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:1,2 (NASB)

Loving God and loving one another honors God.

John 13:34, 35 (NIV)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you,
so you must love one another.

35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

By loving one another,
the world will know that we are His disciples.
if you love one another

Loving one another in Jesus unites us.

two of you agree … in My name,
I am there in the midst of them.”

Love for Jesus & love for one another,
serving one another in love,
… that’s why we gather together.

We’re not gathering for a performance or a concert based on musical tastes  (eg rock, r&b, classical, jazz, etc)

Praise/worship is a united expression, response of thanksgiving and love for what Jesus has done, and will do,
… unto the Lord.
Its not a performance concert, or music video … unto man.

Through the ages,  the book of Psalms has brought comfort, encouragement and hope to believers in the midst of storms and doubts, … similarly,  anointed hymns and contemporary worship music also help us express ours hearts to God, and lead our hearts to seek Him and trust His faithfulness.
Although the original melodies and groove of the Psalms has been lost, it is the  lyrical Word that ministers to our hearts by Holy Spirit.

The book of Psalms is also one of the most quoted books in the New Testament, because it points to the Messiah, Christ, … Jesus.
Besides praise and worship, the Psalms were used to teach God’s ways and faithfulness.

The Psalms were also prophetic, … and through singing the Psalms, the common folk, the multitudes received an understanding of  the Messiah, Jesus.  God’s marvelous wisdom :-).
Ultimately the Psalms brings our focus to God, … to the Messiah.

Luke 24:24 (NIV)
He (Jesus) said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you:
Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me
in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Martin Luther called the book of Psalms “eine kleine Biblia” — a small Bible;
in his introduction to the German translation of Pslams.

Imagine ourselves with our brothers and sisters in persecuted countries, … detained without a Bible, … the  Bible scriptures embedded in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, we’ve memorably sung, … will be God’s daily bread to us, … nourishing our thirsty souls and those around us.

In the Psalms, we hear the psalmist express prayers and worship in the full range of emotions and postures.  For example

Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
Psalm 32:11 (ESV)

in reverent quietness, … and in great celebration.

The book Psalms begins in Psalm 1 with God’s word,
and in Psalm 2 with the sovereign majesty of the Lord God Almighty over and above everything, and a prophetic reference to the Messiah, living Redeemer.
And in Psalm 3 — this God cares, He is our personal God who hears, and He answers prayers.

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
Psalm 1:1,2 (NIV)

delight, meditate on the Word of God
day and night,

God’s word reveals who really He is,
inspiring an overflow of thanksgiving,
praise & worship from our hearts
to Him.

Interestingly, the book Psalms ends  in Psalm 150 with a climactic resounding note of praise and worship:

Praise him with trumpet sound;
    praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
    praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
    praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 15:3-6 (ESV)

From the inspiration of the Word and the Lord,
we respond in praise & worship

Let’s look at the last book of the Bible – Revelation:

“Revelation’s portrayal of worship in heaven also contributes to our understanding of the form of Christian worship.  As described in Revelation, heavenly worship takes such forms as verbal declarations (Rev 4:8, 10, 11; 5:9, 10, 12, 13; 7:12; 11:15, 17; 15:3, 4; 19:1, 2, 5, 6),   falling down before the God (Rev 4:10, 5:8, 14;  7:11, 11:16; 19:4),  casting crowns before him (Rev 4:11),  use of incense (Rev 5:8, 8:3,4),  use of musical instruments (Rev 5:8, 14:2, 15:2),   singing (Rev 5:9; 14:3; 15:3),  shouting (Rev 5:12; 7:10; 11:15; 12:10; 19:11),  saying ‘Amen’ (Rev 5:14; 7:12; 19:4; 22:20) and ‘Hallelujah’ (Rev 19:1, 3, 4, 6).
It is worth asking if our church worship times are characterized by these forms.”
Source:  Jon K. Newton, Revelation Reclaimed, Paternoster, 2009, pg 51.


Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom,
teaching and admonishing
one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Colossians 3:16 (NKJV)

18 … be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
Ephesians 5:18-20 (NKJV)

Is the inspiration or response from the soul or spirit?

3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh,
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

4:24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him
must worship in spirit and truth.”
John 3:6, 4:23 (NKJV)

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing even to the division of soul and spirit,
and of joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight,
but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him
to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:12, 13 (NKJV)

the word of God … pierces … the division of   soul  and  spirit,

Soul — inspires a feeling, … technically brilliant, … may be entertaining, ‘feel good’

Spirit & Word— inspires a conviction, … inspires faith, …revived, … a heart change … through the Word of God.
Hearts drawn to the Lord and His Word.
Humility, surrender to the Lord’s will.
Expressions centered on who God is, expressions of His Word.
Ministers the heart, …  gratitude for His grace.

The fruit of worship and ministry before the Lord,
is hearts ready to humbly serve and bless others.

The fruit of worship/prayer  is service;
humble, loving, caring service,

… like the good Samaritan on the road to Jericho,
(not like the priest and Levite after the worship service at the temple).

13 through love serve one another.
14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:13,14 (NASB)

To the church of Ephesus in the book of Revelation, Jesus said,

“But I have this complaint against you.
You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!
Revelation 2:4 (NLT)

Paul wrote:

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
but do not have love,
I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
1 Corinthians 13:1 (NASB)

Expressing our sincere love to the Lord,
or performing to impress others?

Without love, … loving God and others,
we become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal
in God’s ears.

Perhaps its helpful,
when the lyrics and music are in a form/genre that others can relate to (culturally, ethnicly, age-group, era/genre, etc) or are familiar with, or meaningful to them, … and hopefully also blesses those who have yet to come to Christ who are visiting.
Hence, like comfort food, ethnic cuisine,  … let’s vary our musical tastes/genres,
depending on who we are humbly serving.

And whatever you do
in word or deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father
through Him.
Colossians 3:17 (NKJV)

Romans 14:1-3, 17-19 (NIV)
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.

17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Humbly serving others   in love, compassion, peace and mutual edification.

Write and sing unto the Lord to express to Him,
not to impress others.

In the book of Revelation .. there’s  new songs we have yet to hear and sing
… where every tribe, nation, tongue will worship together
Praise God!

… and even in Revelation, they sing the song of Moses (Revelation 15:3),
an “old” song from Exodus.

Romans 15:5,6 (NIV)
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement
give you the same attitude of mind toward each other
that Christ Jesus had,

so that with
one mind and one voice
you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Some questions to consider:

Is lyrical content of song aligned with God’s word?
Who are we humbly serving, ministering through worship?
Can they relate with the genre of music or lyrics?
Is it meaningful to them?

How can we bridge across the culture or generations?  (eg cross-cultural setting)

Is it either hymns or contemporary music
or cutting-edge  music?
Is a blend possible?

When Christians come together, is music such a high priority?  Why?

What then are our priorities when  coming together?

When there’s an electrical power failure, and all the bells & whistles are disabled,
can we still worship God from our heart?

For example, in Acts,

Acts 16:22-26, 29,30 (NIV)
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Paul and Silas,
when the two of them worshiped and prayed in agreement
in Spirit and in Truth,
(in whatever genre of music they used, … there’s no DVD or CD of their worship)
God’s presence was tangibly present touching lives in their midst.

the other prisoners were listening to them.

When we come together in worship and prayer …
is the tangible presence of Jesus present,
are hearts ministered/comforted/encouraged,
… lives set free, restored, bodies healed,
is Jesus revealed to others and visitors?

2 Chronicles 7:1,2 (NIV)
 When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.
The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord
because the glory of the Lord filled it.

Whether its using hymns, contemporary hymns or cutting-edge music,
let’s consider, …. what is the fruit ?

Some further thoughts to consider:

What is worship?
Is worship defined solely as singing and the music?

Are there sacred cows in our liturgy?

Are we open to fellowship and worship with other believers who are different from us?

What unites us?

A previous post,
Serving God daily, quietly
… a worship lifestyle (click here)

Is worship just an hour-plus activity we do every Sunday, once a week?
What about the rest of the week?

At the heart of worship, … beyond the music,
worship is centered on who is  the focus of our hearts,
and our living His word in our daily life,
.. a lifestyle, … humble submission to God.
True worship is living worship.

… “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
    as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV)

The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit.
God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.

Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered.
Psalm 51:17 (HCSB, MSG)

Jesus said, …
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’

You have let go of the commands of God
and are holding on to human traditions.”
Mark 7:6-8 (NIV)


Charles Swindoll:

One of the benefits of music — whatever style we choose — is that it helps cement truth in our brains stronger than memorizing words alone.  We remember words easier with a tune attached.  Hymns bring to mind deep and practical truths, not only for times of worship, but also for times of trial and distress.  I have always loved the old hymns, and I always will … because the truths they express are timeless.

However, let me quickly add that the canon isn’t close on music for worship.  In addition to hymns, each new generation will continue to compose fresh choruses of worship and new songs of praise … and that is as it should be — its biblical!  Those churches who believe we should only have hymns have forgotten the words of David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, who wrote: “I will sing a new song to You, O God; upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You (Ps 144:9; emphasis added).  The prophet Isaiah and the apostle John would later use similar words (see Isa 42:10; Rev 5:9).  The worship of our Creator should stay fresh and creative.

There is everything right about singing new songs.  But we must be certain that the songs we compose and sing express sound doctrine and not man-centered philosophy.  Simply claiming,”The Lord gave me this song”, doesn’t qualify it for public worship (There have been times I had wished the singer would give the song back to the Lord!)  Even Christians in the first century were urged to “test” the words they heard (see 1 John 4:1-6)  Furthermore, a good melody should never override our critical thinking.  Harmony doesn’t supercede heresy.  Lyrics take on significance only when they are filtered through the inerrant text of the Holy Scriptures.  The music can be new … but the truths the music proclaims must not be.  I would also add that earsplitting volume doesn’t prove sincerity, nor  does it replace excellent musicianship.

Some claim that contemporary songs and praise choruses have too much “meaningless repeitition”.  Ever heard that objection?  I have.  But consider the question: does repetition alone disqualify a song as meaningless?  My friend Don Wyrtzen — who composed the music for our Insight for Living radio broadcast — said he is glad that George Fedric Handel didn’t know about the objection to repetition when he wrote the “Hallelujah Chorus”.  Talk about repetition!  But meaningless?  Hardly.  Repetition of truth is never without meaning, if the worshiper is sincere (See Rev, 4:8!)

I’ll say it again:  the essence of worship drives our expression of worship.  Whether it’s a chorus written two weeks ago, or a hymn written two centuries ago, a statement of genuine, biblical worship set to music is always appropriate in the body of Christ.

I find it interesting that only the words of the Psalms wre inspired — and yet they were also set to music, … music that fit their ancient culture.
… The accompanying music wasn’t inspired, and so Paul’s admonition to sing pslams allows for a variety of musical expressions (see Col 3:16)

I’m amazed at how some hymns have melodies that originally had nothing to do with their lyrics.  A number of tunes started out as secular songs — and yet many folks hold the melody itself on par with the inspired Word of God!  Please.  There’s a warning here to remember:  sometimes we can misinterprete tradition for inspiration  When any man-made tradition or expression of worship — old or new is held on equal par with the Scriptures, we have gone too far. When we demand our own tradition — be it one of music, dress or particular translation, you name it — the requirement we insist on results in noting less than legalism.

Source:  Charles Swindoll, The Church Awakening, Faithwords, 2010, pg 123-125,

Here’s a creative example of a variation of a hymn done in different musical genres/styles
(same hymn lyrics)

Cross cultural expressions of worship

Music, like other art forms, literature, art, dance, etc are expressions of the culture of the people and the times they live in
— creative, diverse and colorful.
Around the world, there are also distinct musical instruments and rhythms
with their unique timbre/sound from different parts of the world.

Similarly, a songwriter will express a song in a style they are comfortable in,
and orchestrate it with musical instruments and rhythms of their background or region of the world.
Its both a personal and corporate expression of who they are, or where they come from.

Music is a language of the heart.
Music framed within a familiar ethnic or grassroot expression
strikes a resonating chord with listeners from a similar background,
drawing them to the word of God.

… Love your neighbor as yourself. …
Mark 12:31 (NIV)

“Musical pentecost is not one music pitted against another.  It is a sharing, a commingling, a co-celebration, a co-usage among many tongues.  Artistic pentecost is community.  It unifies.  It brings the bagpipes of Scotland in union with the balalaikas of Russia; it tunes the nose flute of Papau New Guinea to the marimbas of Guatemala and joins the Jesus rap of the inner city to intercourse with the gamelan of Bali.

If we genuinely love ourselves, culturally and ethnically, we will naturally love the ways of others.  To love our own musical ways brings us to the resilence, assurance, and freedom to look lovingly into the musical ways of others and even to be nurtured by them.  This is simply the Golden Rule stated musically:
If and as I truly love my immediate musical world,
I will be able to understand the love of others for their ways.

“Shape-note hymns, cantatas, gamelan ensembles, rock and roll: all are invited to proclaim God’s glory! There is no single musical culture or musical style that can, better than all others, capture and repeat back the fullness of God’s glory.  God does not want to hear only Beethoven, or Ken Medema, or Christian rap, or Cameroonian drums, or Pakistani chant.   God wants to hear the whole world in its countless tongues and amazingly diverse musics making praise after praise.  God accepts not only the offerings of a highly trained choir, but also the song of the arrow maker in Brazil…. God awaits entirely new songs for the first time from a tribe in Cambodia, a Mexican barrio, and a Scottish hamlet”
Harold M Best, Music through the Eyes of Faith, Harper Collins Publishers, 1993.

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!
Psalm 150 3-6 (NIV)

Praise/worship too loud?

Luke 19:37-40 (NKJV)
37 Then, as He (Jesus) was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began
to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice
for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:

‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

40 But He answered and said to them,
“I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Although, Jesus was the least disturbed by the loud rejoice and praise of a repetitive chorus,
others were, … why?

And on the opposite end of the spectrum, … there are times when worship is expressed in silent reverent awe.

Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

Habakkuk 2:20 (NASB)
“But the Lord is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth be silent before Him.”

Revelations 8:1 (NASB)
When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

Just look at the nature the Lord has created all around us,
or the colors of the rainbow,
or herbs and spices,
sweet, salty … sour, bitter, … hot, spicy

God celebrates … variety, diversity, creativity … contrast, … difference.
Why shouldn’t we?

Its like eating out with friends communally (Asian-style)
in a meal where everyone brings along their special dish to share,
we settle at an eatery where we can all eat together,
at a convenient time for everyone,
as we accommodate to one another’s food preferences, diets, taste buds, children menu,
… its the warm company/fellowship and sharing that’s really important.

Win-win relationships, …. family.

2 Corinthians 12:20,21 (NASB)
20 But now there are many members,
but one body.

21 And the eye cannot say to the hand,
“I have no need of you”;
or again the head to the feet,
“I have no need of you.”

Ultimately its our desire to communion with God through praise and worship as a community,
that He is pleased with our sacrifices of praise, worship, thanksgiving, prayer and sacrificial giving from our hearts,
as we gather together.

2 Chronicles 7:1,2 (NKJV)
When Solomon had finished praying,
fire came down from heaven
and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices;
and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.

And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord,
because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house.

And He blesses us in our midst with His glorious presence, anointing and glory.

The essence of worship is the Lord’s presence in our midst.

In conclusion
In the gospels, Jesus taught in parables about the kingdom of God.  Most of His parables did not include the name of God or prayer.  The stories were framed outside the temple/church or religious activities, … but in everyday activities that people do, in everyday language that people can relate with.

Like Jesus’ parables and metaphors He used,
the songs we write, the songs we choose to sing,
should be something that our audience can easily relate with and understand.

Hence, who is the audience we are serving,
and what we hope to achieve through music with God’s help.

1 Corinthians 9:20-23 (NIV)
19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.
20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews;
to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law;

21 to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.

22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak;
I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.

23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

Being prayerful, flexible and adaptable, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to respect and bless the people we are ministering to.

Without receptive, open hearts  … there is no ministry.

Church | Ministry

by 林弟兄, bro Lim
May 29, 2014

Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2016 – All Rights Reserved
Creative Commons License



This entry was posted on May 29, 2014 by in cross-culture, Ministry, Music, Worship/Praise and tagged .

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