Category Archives: music

I Agree With “Clint Eastwood”

Sure, I don’t mind tackling controversial topics every now and then.

And when it comes to worship music, I’m a little more willing than normal to dive into the controversial pond.

Why?

Because Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus:

“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them … For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…” (2 Timothy 4:3a; 1 Timothy 4:16a)
“[Hold] fast the faithful word as [you] hath been taught, that [you] may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” (Titus 1:9)
“[Speak] thou the things which become sound doctrine:” (Titus 2:1)

And Jude wrote:

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”  (Jude 1:3)

Therefore, I couldn’t help but laugh and say “AMEN!” when I watched the video below.

Folks, I love music of all kinds, but when it comes to worship music – the kind we sing in the “congregation” – the words should be weighty with meaning and do more than make us feel good; they should contain sound doctrine and be able to exhort and convince.

So, I think I can say that I agree with “Clint Eastwood” on this, but I especially like the way he says it.

Yet, I’ll try to avoid telling our Music Director, “Go ahead, punk, play Oceans.”

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Filed under music, worship

Baby, It’s Still Cold Outside

Just a quick thought….

A lot of push back has bubbled up this year from those who are tired of the easily-offended expressing their outrage. Now that the #metoo crowd has angrily entered the political correctness battleground, the whining and complaining has reached a new level of chalk-board-scraping irritation.

That being said, we shouldn’t let the snowflakes of the world callous us to the truth. A snowman may say it’s comfortable in 0-degree weather, but it’s still freezing.

Those who are always looking for something about which to be critical can find racism, bigotry, misogyny, and any number of phobias wherever they search. They are as equally quick to dismiss the mores of past generations as they are to view situations from the past through their own distorted lenses. So, they have no problem with criticizing Charlie Brown for being a racist and Rudolph’s unsupportive social structure for contributing to mental abuse.

But when it comes to how a man should treat a woman, especially from a holy, God-fearing, gentlemanly perspective, it’s never OK to talk her into doing something that might besmirch her reputation, dishonor her parents, or leave her with feelings of guilt or regret. What’s more, there’s nothing loving about a man trying to sweet talk a reluctant female into satisfying his own selfish sexual desires.

And from a Christian perspective, it’s unwise to flippantly toss around a song that glorifies sexual indiscretion, seduction, and using another person against his or her best wishes to fulfill an illicit sexual impulse.

And if that means you need to reevaluate what you listen to the rest of the year, not just during Christmas when “It’s Cold Outside,” then so be it.

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Filed under abuse, Christmas, current events, General Observations, music, Weather

The Master Is Still Playing

An Old Post

Today, a stranger payed me $80 for a 1/4 size violin. It was the one my youngest daughter tried to play when she was just a tiny crumb cruncher. It was sad to see it go, even though it wasn’t being used.

As I was looking for a post to republish (because I didn’t feel like I had the energy or inspiration to write anything new), I came across something I wrote back in November of 2013…

It was about a violin.

Without going into detail, several years ago a question was posed to me, one that has an unfortunate habit of resurfacing:

“Tell me one thing I do well!” 

Someone close to me asked that question. Have you heard one like it before? Have you ever asked it about yourself?

Well, the words were not the same, but recently I’ve experienced some discouragement, some feelings of worthlessness. Maybe it was more than coincidence that a man who didn’t feel like writing found an old post about a violin.

Maybe it’s more than coincidence you’re reading this right now.

Now, let us join the edited old post already in progress…

The Violin

But as I lay in bed remembering those words, the image of a musical instrument, a violin, came to mind. Then I thought of my guitar and other instruments; each one capable of making beautiful, worshipful music, but only in the hands of one with talent enough to play.

I remembered those words spoken by another and applied them to the violin. The violin asked, “Tell me, name one thing I do well?” All I could think to reply was, “Nothing.” What can a violin do on it’s own but rest in a case, sit on a shelf, or gather dust in a closet? In the hands of one with no skill, with other things to do, and with no love for music, the violin could even become a wearisome burden over time.

In the wrong hands the violin is “worthless.” It has no value, no worth, no ability, no projection, no tone, and no song on it’s own. Alone, it really can’t do anything.

The Master

Then, right on cue, another thought exploded in my brain: What are we but instruments in the Master’s hands?

We have no ability on our own. The violin never plays itself. The only way a musical instrument can ring out notes of joyous praise is when it is given life by the energy of the Musician.

But some may say, “I’m not a violin, a guitar, or anything like that.” Maybe so, but in the hands of a skilled musician even a trash can can bring an audience to its feet.

You may not feel like you’re valuable. You may feel worthless. But don’t believe the lie of the Enemy! Your value is not determined by what you can do, or what you look like, or by what others think, but by how much the Master was willing to pay.

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” – 1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV

Dear friend, don’t let your inadequacies, your mistakes, or your disabilities make you feel worthless. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, thought you were worth dying for, and willingly shed His blood to purchase your soul.

In your own strength you may be incapable of anything but being a burden on others. But in the hands of the Master, your life can be an instrument of praise in the concert of the ages.

Don’t give up! The Master is still playing … and the audience may be ready to applaud.  

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Filed under Depression, music, self-worth, worship, writing

Memorial Day Sermon (2018)

For those of you who may be interested, I’m attaching a link to a sermon I delivered this morning (Sunday, May 27) in honor of Memorial Day.

Some of you may get triggered by the sight of American Flags, but don’t worry – this is not an uber-nationalistic, overly-patriotic, American-Christianity-like sermon. So chill.

However, this sermon is one about being a faithful soldier in the army of God (not the jihadi kind). Therefore, if military references offend you, consider this a “trigger warning.”

However, I would like to point out that at the beginning of the recording you will hear me play my guitar and sing an original song I wrote about 11 years ago in honor of a fallen soldier from our neighborhood.  It’s called “No Greater Love.”

Then, towards the end of the sermon, I’d like for you to take special note of the “Battle Cry” I read. All of us should be able to stand and recite it.

Click On the Picture to Listen

May God bless and keep you this holiday weekend.

God bless those who serve and the families who wait for them.

To all those who’ve fought for our freedom, we salute you.

To those who have fallen, we will remember.

 

 

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Filed under America, Christianity, music, Preaching

Pick-n-Grin Commercial

Below is a video I just made. I made it in order to invite people over to the front porch of our parsonage (the place where the pastor of a church lives – that’s me).

I’d love for it to become a reoccurring event.

So, if you are in the Chattanooga, TN area next Friday, June 1st, come on by  – and bring your geetar

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The Mother’s Day Song: A Tradition Lives

Learn It, Love It

Honestly, I’ve written some fairly decent songs over the years, but one of my favorites (at least in the month of May) is “The Mother’s Day Song.”

Therefore, I want you to listen to this song again. Seriously. It’s a tradition.

Learn it, love it, and then share it with your own mother or mother-like substitute. You could, I suppose, sing it to yourself while imagining Carly Simon somewhere near saying, “I bet you think this song is about you.” And you wouldn’t be vain, either! You’re a mother! You deserve it!

(Note: If you did not catch the humor in the above Carly Simon reference, you’re probably too young to be a mother…or you didn’t click on the above link, duh!)

Read Them, Love Them

Now, it’s not because I’m being lazy, it just that last year’s post was a pretty good one, so why try to top it this year? I’ll just give you a link and you can read what I wrote for Mother’s Day last year on this blog. (As a bonus, scroll through the comments and you’ll get to see me play and sing it live.)

“If I Were a Mother”

However, if you haven’t read what I wrote about my mother and grandmothers on ProverbialThought.com, check out this link.

“Honoring Mothers”

My mother is still with us, but my grandmother (her mother) is now in a nursing home and rarely knows who I am. I have to admit, it’s hard to watch her in that condition.

Then, just yesterday, I found out that my mother has stage 3 kidney disease (as if she didn’t already have enough wrong with her). Point is, appreciate what you have while you have them.

My mother (Marie) and grandmother (Lorene Cagle – now age 96) last year.

So, happy Mother’s Day, everyone! Sing the song!

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Filed under music, Parenting, Relationships and Family

OH! What a Savior!

The video I have attached was recorded 2 years ago this month while I was still pastor at Riverside Baptist Church. Katie’s voice is even better, now, after 2 more years at Bryan College pursuing her Music Ed degree (she just finished her senior year, btw, and is now in her 5th and final year). Oh, if you haven’t yet seen it, here is a link to Katie’s blog, Shutter Elf.

All I can say is that I love this song. Jesus means more to me now than ever.

Oh, what a Savior is mine!

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