Worship Through Music

I love music. All of it. I'm amazed by the idea that from our earliest days on Earth, we have found ways to put random sounds together into what becomes a beautiful melody. It's such a clear example of the fact that God created us and created the universe with order and purpose. Because in a random universe, the combination of plucking a cord attached to a piece of wood and hitting a dried animal skin with a stick would never form the amazing sounds that we hear with a simple guitar and drum.

Many people get very confused when it comes to worshipping through music. Almost every church in America and around the world today incorporates music into their weekly service time. One of the first things that people do when searching for a church is to find out what style of music they play. Some churches hold the view that certain instruments are unholy, or that some styles should not be allowed. Also some churches have no discernment or talent when it comes to music and thus can hinder people's worship of God.

The reason that we create music is because God instilled in our hearts the need to express ourselves in worship of him. All music is worship music. At it's root, any song, tune, or lyric was not put together without a purpose. For those who know Jesus, we use music to worship God; to pray, thank, connect with, and praise him. For those who don't know Jesus, they use music to worship their idols of love, relationships, sex, money, drugs, whatever. But no matter what, the talent, skill, and creativity to create that music is a gift from God. 
The Bible is filled with verses on singing and praising God, but my personal favorite is Psalm 33:1-3. "Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts." This verse gives us a few guidelines for how to approach music when played for the worship of God.

1. It Should Be Joyful
Whether your church is a traditional organ and choir style, or if you're a rock and roll band for Jesus, any time that we lift up our voices to God, it should be full of joy. Some people love the old hymns for their deep lyrics and Biblical truths, but would rather it not be played on an organ like we're at a funeral. So one thing that I love is when a musician will take an old hymn and rework it with modern style. Here are a few awesome examples of this:
Leon Young

When we realize that the true point of singing in church is to thank and praise God for what he has done for us, the style that it's done in is pretty secondary. The truth of the gospel is that Christ died for our sins. That's why we sing!

2. It Should Be Good
If you're going to invite people to come to your church and tell them that not only can their life be changed by Jesus, but that they can enter into a fellowship community with this church and commit to being a part of it, then you sure as heck had better not throw a couple of unpracticed kids up on stage with instruments and tell them to lead us in worship. The people who play on stage at your church are representing Jesus. They need to prepare for that responsibility and be skilled enough to not be an embarrassment. 

3. It's All About Jesus
Look at the first line of the verse above "Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!" Not only is that telling us where our joy comes from, but it also says that this praise is to be sung by the righteous. Now we know that none of us is righteous of our own work but, as it says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, we inherit the righteousness of God through the work of Jesus. The only reason that we are able to have joy about which to sing is because of Jesus. That's why the best worship music will always have Jesus at it's core and keep coming back to him.

So this week, our church is preparing a celebration. It's called ONEnight, and it's a time where our whole church body will gather together, share a meal, and worship God through amazing musical performance. This is biblical. This is an image of the celebration that we will have when Jesus returns. I love the imagery of Revelation 19 where it says:
"Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

The reason I like this passage so much is because it's more than a pretty thought, it's a command. Not just to sing and shout, but to play instruments, to be skillful, and to be loud. If we are called to love God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind, how can we offer anything but our best when it comes to musical worship.http://www.shec.net/connect/events/item/511-onenight.html


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