Category Archives: music

A Fellow Alum Wins “The Voice”

Congratulations to a fellow Tennessee Temple Crusader, Chris Blue, for winning “The Voice”!

Chris Blue is a worship leader in Knoxville, TN, and attended the school where I received my bachelors and masters degrees, Tennessee Temple University. He was the worship leader there until the school closed in 2015.

Being that I did not attend many chapel services there since I was a commuter and spent most of my time in the seminary, I never got to meet Chris in person. Nevertheless, I wish him well. May God continue to use his talents to bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ.

After all, that’s what being “Distinctively Christian” is all about.

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Filed under Christianity, current events, General Observations, music

My Church

Country Music

I appreciate good music, regardless the genre. However, being from the South I should be one who regularly listens to country music, right?

Wrong.

You see, I like the style of country music (I should, considering I’m from Tennessee), but so much of what is passed off as “country” is nothing more than rock with a banjo or steel guitar. By the way, I don’t like steel guitar.

Also, I’m really big on lyrics, you know. Every song has a message, and these days country music if just as polluted with immorality and sacrilege as anything rock and roll puts out – it’s just that country music does it with a twang and sweet tea.

Is all country music bad? Of course not! But today I heard a couple of songs for the first time – because I don’t listen to country music on a regular basis – that literally made me angry.

“H.O.L.Y.”

The first song I heard come across the radio was by a group called Florida Georgia Line. By the spelling of the title I sorta knew what was coming was not going to be a remake of a famous hymn, and I was right. Actually, it followed the patter so many songs of late have been using: they take religious words and twist them into something with a sexual meaning.

In other words, they do just like what the Enemy has done with sex: Take something holy, beautiful, full of transcendent meaning, and pervert it.

For example, check out the second verse of “H.O.L.Y.”

You made the brightest days from the darkest nights
You’re the river bank where I was baptized
Cleanse all the demons
That were killing my freedom
Let me lay you down, give me to ya
Get you singing babe, hallelujah
We’ll be touching, we’ll be touching heaven

Now read the lyrics to the chorus, and you’ll get the meaning behind the title of the song.

You’re holy, holy, holy, holy
I’m high on loving you, high on loving you
You’re holy, holy, holy, holy
I’m high on loving you, high on loving you

And then here’s my favorite part:

You’re the healing hands where it used to hurt

You’re my saving grace, you’re my kind of church

You’re holy.

“My Church”

Then, just like the two were meant to follow each other, the next song started playing. It was a song by Maren Morris, “My Church.” I mean, why not, right?

Here is the first verse of “My Church”…

I’ve cussed on a Sunday
I’ve cheated and I’ve lied
I’ve fallen down from grace
A few too many times
But I find holy redemption
When I put this car in drive
Roll the windows down and turn up the dial
Now the chorus…
Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church

MY Church

The problem with so many lukewarm Christians is that they actually prefer Maren Morris’ church to an authentic, biblical gathering of believers who desire to worship in spirit and truth. They have been so accustomed to the hypocritical, dead, religious, white-washed sepulchers that churches have become, that they forget what a genuine one has to offer.

If you go to my church, you might hear someone sing the word holy, but it will be about a Holy God who is not mocked.

If you go to my church, you will find out about saving grace, but not the kind that rescues your libido; it’s the kind that’s truly amazing – the unmerited kind that can save your soul from death, hell, and the grave.

If you go to my church, you will find people who have cussed (maybe even on that Sunday), cheated, lied, and fallen, too. The only difference is that they’ve found redemption in the blood of Jesus Christ and have fallen into His hands.

If you go to my church, you may just hear a few hallelujah’s and amen’s, but the Holy Ghost will be real, not just a feeling. And, if you stick around long enough, you might find out what real “revival” is all about.

Yeah, that’s my church.

 

PS, I am preaching on depression this Sunday morning, so I will be saving parts of my outline and notes to use in future posts starting on Monday. I anticipate there will be several posts.

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Filed under Church, music, worship

My Daughter Does Opera

I know I’ve posted a lot, already, but this is my daughter we’re talking about. 

Katie is a Music Education and Biology Education Major at Bryan College. Today she performed a piece while I was at work, so my wife filmed it. 

I downloaded the video and then uploaded it to Youtube so you guys could see it. 

I don’t have the foggiest idea what she is singing, but it’s pretty. 

Enjoy! 

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Filed under music, Relationships and Family, Uncategorized

Philosophy of Bass (guitar, not the fish)

“The bass takes music beyond the mental, transcends melody, and finds its rest in the emotional. There is a big difference between music you simply listen to and music you can actually feel.

Bass notes can literally bring to recollection a real experience and attach it to the lyric of a song, thereby bridging the barrier between cognitive ascent and physical memory. Mid’s and treble tickle the ear, but only bass can rumble the heart.”

– A. Baker (legendary bass philosopher)

 

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Filed under General Observations, music

I’m Not Feeling It, TobyMac

The other day I was listening to the radio and a song by TobyMac (Toby McKeehan) started playing. Since I had nothing better to do as I was driving, I listened.

I was disappointed.

Folks, if you will remember what I wrote in a previous post, I’m not anti-contemporary music…I’m just anti-bad theology. New songs, even those with styles I can’t stand, are fine with me as long as they convey biblical theology, edify the Christian, and bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ. Really, that leaves the Christian music artist with a lot of room to  create.

But it seems to me that Toby Mac really missed the mark with this song. In “Feel It” (released in 2015) TobyMac seems to want to appeal to the modern, post-Christian, millennial culture by basing the whole argument for God’s existence on his personal, subjective feelings.

The chorus of “Feel It” reads:

“Feel It”

[Chorus:]

Oh I feel it in my heart
I feel it in my soul
That’s how I know (oh oh oh ohah)
You take our brokeness
And make us beautiful
Yeah, that’s how I know
That’s how I know (You can’t take that from me)

I’m sorry, brother, but your argument is weak, to say the least.

Contrast the above with the first verse and chorus from another song, “Never Alone” by Barlow Girl:

“Never Alone”

I waited for you today
But you didn’t show
No no no
I needed You today
So where did You go?
You told me to call
Said You’d be there
And though I haven’t seen You
Are You still there?[Chorus:]
I cried out with no reply
And I can’t feel You by my side
So I’ll hold tight to what I know
You’re here and I”m never alone

Do you see the difference? The first finds comfort and reassurance in “feeling,” but the second finds faith secure in “knowing.” There is a difference.

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” – 1 John 5:13

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” – John 17:17

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32

Notice that last verse? What did Jesus say? Did He say, “You shall have a feeling, and the feeling shall set you free”? Don’t think so.

Feelings fluctuate. Feelings lie.

In the tagline of “Feel It” TobyMac repeats,

Everybody talkin’ like they need some proof
But what more do I need than to feel you?

I’ll tell you (and I bet you already know), Toby, you need the Truth, God’s promises, His Word that never changes…

’cause feelings sure do.

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Filed under Apologetics, Faith, music

Don’t Get Angry, It’s Just a Comparison

The following was written in 2012, but still very applicable. But before you get mad at me for what you are about to read, it’s only a comparison, not a dogmatic definition of right or wrong. …But I might be more right than wrong.

In Line

Every Tuesday my wife and girls go to Precept Ministries (Kay Arthur) in Chattanooga for Bible study. On some days I go with them and use the time to study. It’s a nice place to study, believe me. However, I am writing this on a computer at Precept while Kay Arthur is talking to someone a few feet away. She is distracting me.

Then, there are other days when my wife and I leave the girls and sneak out to get a biscuit. Today we had to sit in line forever. For jelly biscuits.

Jelly Biscuit – May I insert just one question at this juncture? Why is it you always have to ask for jelly when you order a jelly biscuit? What is it about “jelly biscuit” that confuses people? If I ordered a plain biscuit, I would not expect jelly. But when I order a jelly biscuit, why don’t they assume I want jelly? Why do I always have to ask for it?! Good Grief!

I Hear a Song

It was while we were sitting in line that I heard a song on Christian radio (J103). The song caught my attention because of the lyrics. May I share with you the words from the chorus?

You make me happy…Uhhh
You make me feel the way I do…
You make me happy, Yeah!
I wish the whole world knew you, too! (and then the song ends with a bunch of “la-la-la’s.”)

I started to laugh. Honestly. Was I supposed to be blessed? Encouraged? Uplifted? Edified? Happy?

I know, I know, I know…I know that there are plenty of great, contemporary songs out there. Chris Tomlin, for one, has more than a few. I love several songs from Building 429, Avalon, and the Newsboys. But seriously, why can’t more of them take the subject matter at hand a little more seriously?

I Hear the Past

Some lines from the past need to be heard more often, especially if the best we can come with today is “uhh” and “yeah.”

  • My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righeousness.
  • A mighty fortress is our God, a bullwark never failing.
  • Alas! and did my Savior bleed, and did my Sovereign die? Would he devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?
  • I will cherish the old rugged cross.
  • Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise: be thou mine inheritance now and always; be thou and thou only first in my heart; High King of Heaven, my treasure thou art.

Dear Christian song writers, you can do better than “uhh’s” and “yeah’s” and “la la la la.”

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Filed under legalism, music, worship

“My Jesus I Love Thee:” Sermon In Song

Song Sermons

One thing I love doing is taking old hymns and turning them into sermon outlines. Frankly, many of the old songs of the church were nothing more than condensed sermons put to music. They were not only meant to give us a means to sing praise to God, but to learn of His character, of his goodness and grace.

Last week I explained to the congregation at the church where I pastor that the songs we sing should be known and understood. I mean, how profitable is it if we stand as a group and sing something that makes no sense? What kind of corporate praise can we offer to our God if we cannot relate to the lyrics? It is so much better when we can all stand and sing from the bottom of our hearts the words of a hymn that means something vital to our soul!

An Outline

The following is an outline which I will be using soon, maybe even this Sunday. The outline is based on the song “My Jesus I Love Thee” by William Featherston (1864).

Please note, Featherston wrote this poem when he was between the ages 11 and 16 (he died age 27, long before the song became well-known). Adoniram Judson Gordon (founder of Gordon College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) added the melody. How many teens do you know these days who could write something like this?

On a different note, how many teens could God use if they would only let Him?

“My Jesus I Love Thee”

  1. My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine; (Jn 21:15-17)
    For Thee all the follies of sin I resign; (2 Tim. 2:19)
    My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou; (Ruth 2:10)
    If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. (The Place of Regeneration)
  2. I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me, (1 John 4:19)
    And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree; (1 Peter 1:18-19)
    I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow; (Mt 27, Mk 15, Jn 19:2)
    If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. (The Place of Realization)
  3. I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death, (Job 13:15)
    And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath; (Job 33:4)
    And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow, (Ps. 116:15)
    If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. (The Place of Resignation)
  4. In mansions of glory and endless delight, (Jn 14:2)
    I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright; (Rev 21:23)
    I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow, (2 Tim 4:8)
    If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. (The Place of Revelation)

I would love to know what you think of this, especially after you read the biblical references.

What do you think of topical sermons like this? Expository preaching is something I regularly do, but I also think we need to mix up the delivery styles every so often. Doing it this way – a song sermon – is not only a good way to explain a song, but doing so with Scripture helps reinforce the truth the next time the song is sung.

Head’s up, South Soddy Baptist! You might be hearing this sermon tomorrow morning 🙂

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Filed under Bible Study, God, Jesus, Love of God, music, poetry, Preaching, worship