I wanted to pass along a very important and timely sermon from Matt Chandler on a subject that you might not expect, singing. If you have been to a Christian worship service at all you know that singing is nearly always a part of our time together. But why? Why do we sing? Better question, why have we as Christians made gathering together and singing a priority for 2000+ years?
I’ve heard varying opinions about singing in church. Some love it and wish we’d do more of it. Some don’t like it and could do without it. Some leave a worship service and say they did or did not like that church’s particular singing style or they say that they loved the songs because they remind them of their grandparents or of when they were a kid. There’s certainly nothing wrong with having a personal preference of singing style or experiencing a bit of nostalgia when we sing, but there’s more to our singing than those things. What is the goal of singing together? Why do we do it? What does God desire from us and for us in our singing?
I strongly encourage you to listen to this sermon. I believe it will change the way you view singing with your church family and help you grow in your relationship with God. The message is very appropriately titled, The Power of Song. Check it out at the link below:
The Power of Song
The past Sunday, at the end of our worship service I made reference to the book Life Together, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It’s hard to overstate the value of this book’s teaching on the subject of Christian Community. Here’s a couple of powerful quotes and a link to order the book online.
“Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin.”“The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.”
“The Christian…must bear the burden of a brother. He must suffer and endure the brother. It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother and not merely an object to be manipulated. The burden of men was so heavy for God Himself that He had to endure the Cross. God verily bore the burden of men in the body of Jesus Christ. But He bore them as a mother carries her child, as a shepherd enfolds the lost lamb that has been found. God took men upon Himself and they weighted Him to the ground, but God remained with them and they with God. In bearing with men God maintained fellowship with them. It was the law of Christ that was fulfilled in the Cross. And Christians must share in this law.”
This pic was a slide from our sermon this am at Grace Bible. I used this pic bc I like the way it looked and it makes a good background for white lettering. But one of our church members noticed something more significant. The picture happened to go perfect with today’s sermon. The trees in the pic are Redwoods. Interesting fact about Redwoods, they’re one of the tallest trees, growing 300+ ft in height, but they have a shallow root system, only 5-6ft. So their roots are shallow, but they spread out really far, up to 100 ft from the trunk. Redwoods thrive in thick groves, where their roots intertwine and even fuse together. Their dependence on one another gives them the strength they need to withstand the forces of nature, like high winds, storms and floods. So, Redwoods don’t survive alone…ever. They need community. They grow close and join one another, to provide each other with strength, nourishment and support. Sound familiar? It’s a picture of what God calls us to in Galatians 6:2 — “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” We were never meant to navigate life alone. We’re never more like than when we’re taking on the burdens of others for the glory of God.
“Everyone is going through something that we can’t see.”
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2
This am in our Men’s Bible Study we talked about our need to share the hard things going on in our lives with others. We also talked about the fact that we are not very good at it, especially us men. The first thing God said was “not good” was for us to be alone. And God commanded over 35 responsibilities we have to “one another” in the New Testament. God is serious about his people leaning on each other. Truth is, we can’t take away the pain others are feeling, but we can spread out the weight of it. I was thinking about all of this, then I read the following post from NBA star Kevin Love. Thought it was worth sharing. Might encourage someone to share, or someone to be there and listen:
February marked 10 yrs of ministry at Grace Bible Fellowship. Time flies when you’re having fun! Our church family has been so gracious and so patient and God has been so faithful.
I look forward to many more years here, making disciples of Jesus Christ, preaching the Word, loving people, and seeing the Spirit move. My heart is that in the coming years, we become even more gospel-centered, build even more relationships, and have even more fun. A million dreams is all it’s gonna take 😊
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… -Jesus, Matthew 28:19
…we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. -Apostle Paul, 1 Thessalonians 2:8
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. -Jesus, John 10:10
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. -David, Psalm 16:11
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” 1 Corinthians 2:9
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. Psalm 119:37
…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8
Billy Graham went home to be with the Lord today at the age of 99.
In 2002 my wife Casey and I had the opportunity to hear Billy Graham speak at Texas Stadium. We were not there with a particlular church, or with a group, it was just us two—young, married, and relatively new to being on fire for Jesus. The event that night was free, so as you can imagine, the stadium was completely full. There was even a large number of people outside of the stadium, not able to come in. But the event staff had set up screens and audio outside so that everyone who came could see and hear. At one point during the evening Pastor Graham graciously recognized and thanked all of the people who are outside. When he did, those outside of Texas Stadium began to roar with cheers and applause so loud it could easily be heard by those of sitting on the inside. It was really cool to hear their enthusiasm. And of course, Pastor Graham preached the Word, and droves of people responded by making professions of faith in Christ. It was all very moving, to say the least. I remember Billy Graham seemed so down to earth, he put all the focus on Jesus, and he simply presented The Gospel. Those are all things I still deeply admire and aspire to do myself.
As we left the event that night, I remember being so excited to see what God was doing. I felt like I’d just watched my faith family grow in numbers and in depth. Casey and I stopped at one of the merchandise tents that were set up outside selling resources. I bought a paperback handbook, that served as a topical reference manual for helping people deal with different struggles. Each topic had some insight for that specific struggle and Bible verses to point people too. I felt like I was holding pure gold. At the time I didn’t know that I would or even could be in vocational ministry. But I did know that I desperately wanted to help people see that Jesus is the answer to our struggles. I still want to do that!
That night was a special night for Casey and I. Pastor Graham encouraged our faith, gave us an awesome example, and better equipped us to help others. I’m just one of countless number of people he blessed!
Thank you, Pastor Graham, for your faithfulness in fulfilling your call, and blessing so many, including me.
🎶Just as I am, without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me, And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!🎶