Posts Tagged ‘church’

Attention all Worship Leaders, Musicians and Singers!

Music in Worship by Mark Gungor

Allow me to begin by saying that I am a musician.  I have played music since I was 13 years old.  I have played around the world in Christian bands and worship services for over 30 years.  I was part of one of the first Christian rock bands in the 70’s. I know what it means to play in church services, both traditional and contemporary. I have written and produced music for radio and television for almost 20 years.  I was even the producer of a recording used in the sound track of the hit movie The Bucket List.

So let it be clear: I am not against music or musicians when it comes to the Christian experience.  Quite the contrary; music can be a powerful part of the worship experience.  But, I believe we have some big problems when it comes to music in many churches today.

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“You Say You Want a Revolution?” – the Beatles

We need a revolution.

When I grew up in the 60’s, young people rebelled against materialism and morality.  We said “Enough!!” and fought back against the establishment – an establishment we regarded as corrupt and clueless.  When it came to a war we thought unjust we chanted, “Hell no, we won’t go!!”  When it came to materialism we said, “We don’t want it!!”, and walked about with no shoes and holes in our jeans.  And when it came to traditional morality, we rejected it and gave ourselves to free sex, drugs and rock and roll.  It had an enduring impact on our nation.  And while the rejection of materialism was a positive reminder that there are more important things to life than possessions, the plunge into immorality has been devastating.

Today, four decades later, as I look at the Evangelical Christian Church (now as a pastor, husband, father and grandfather) I can’t help but believe we are in need of another revolution.  This time, however, we need a revolution among Christian young people – those who will go against the narcissistic thinking of their unspiritual Christian parents, a thinking that only leads to selfishness, materialism and a high divorce rate.

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Resolve to be Thankful

Thankful? Haven’t we passed that holiday? I know, Thanksgiving was seven or eight weeks ago…the leftovers have vanished along with the attitude of gratitude that was quickly lost in the flurry of Christmas.  Now, here we are at the start of a new year. The presents have been returned, the wrapping has been recycled, and the tree is tucked away in the basement for another year.

Many people make resolutions beginning January 1st to improve themselves and their lives.  Lots of us make promises to eat less and exercise more, or to pray and read the bible more and watch TV less. All good things…and they would be even better if we could actually stick to them beyond Valentine’s Day! But here is an idea for a resolution: Be thankful.

Let’s start by looking at an example from scripture of what being thankful actually looks like. In Luke 17 we find the account of Jesus healing the ten lepers. As most people are well aware, leprosy was a horrible disease at the time. It was incurable and caused people to be completely separated and isolated from everyone…including their own spouse, family and friends. Therefore, when these ten guys heard this man was healing people, they wanted in on the deal and made their way to see him crying out loudly for Jesus to have mercy upon them.

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Bad Theology = Bad Marriage

There is line of thinking that began in American culture during the hippy movement of the 1960s and has continued to grow in popularity until it proliferated even Christianity.  I’m referring to the concept of “unconditional love”.  Over and over we hear people talking about how we need to love others “unconditionally” and how others should love us “unconditionally”. It also has morphed into the idea that God’s love for us is “unconditional”.  What a bunch of horse manure! Nowhere in the bible does it say that love is to be without conditions…in fact, the phrase “unconditional love” isn’t even in the bible.  (Not to mention that the bible is clearly a list of conditions God has for his people.) Funny how Christians are so quick to make such unbiblical ideas and phrases in to pillars of the faith!

The other phrase that is repeated over and over again until it, too, has become accepted “doctrine” is “God loves you just the way you are.” Wrong!! God loves you in spite of the way you are!

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Jesus Was Not a Hypocrite

Have you noticed that people are extremely caught up in their feelings in today’s culture…even our Christian culture? They think they have to be honest with their feelings. They live by the belief that they have to live by their emotions and verbally vomit their feelings on those around them.  So often they say that they cannot or will not act in any way, shape or form that is contrary to what they feel. For example, if I don’t “feel” in love with my spouse, I can’t possibly stay in my marriage because I’m not being true to what I feel. If I stayed married to a woman that I didn’t have feelings of love for, I would be a hypocrite.

Or how about his one, I can’t act in loving and kind ways toward my spouse because I don’t feel full of loving-kindness. Maybe I feel nothing, or perhaps I feel anger or resentment.  I can’t possibly act like I want to be with her, or tell her I love her if I don’t feel love.  That, too, would make me a hypocrite.  Way too many people think that they must feel the emotions in order for it to be love. They say that without the feelings, it’s not love. Well, I’ve got news for you…based on this kind of stupid thinking and what people say, Jesus didn’t love us and he was a hypocrite.

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