Since the Psalms call us to praise our God all day, every day (e.g., Psalm 34:1, 71:14), an act of praise should hardly be an “interlude.” But the focus of this post is a departure from what normally appears in these pages. Hopefully we’ll be able to do this more often. Heart and mind are intertwined and the work of thinking can only be enhanced by the work of intentional worship. Enjoy Kim Noble’s song of thankfulness. —Ed.
Jesus Christ, to Him, be praised!
A song of thankfulness, I raise,
For in the pages of Holy script,
I find a comprehensive list,
A portrait of our mighty King,
All praise and glory do I sing.
Truth, is what I’m thankful for,
This first word shows our Savior-Lord,
Will never falter, never fail
His words and deeds are faithful still,
The following is an excerpt from a series of essays entitled “Towards Conservative Christian Church” (parts 17 and 18). The series continues at Towards Conservative Christianity as well as Religious Affections.
One of the most difficult tasks facing the conservative Christian pastor is teaching that the affections are shaped, and that Christians ought to give attention to what shapes them.
Once again, most Christians live with an incorrect view of the affections. They see the emotions as more or less reactions to various stimuli. In that sense, their focus is merely on controlling (or suppressing) emotional expression. They become oblivious to the whole discussion of shaping or molding the affections, and tend to regard such discussions as extra-biblical pontificating or even legalism.
However, if we see the affections as expressions of value or worth, or more simply, our loves, it becomes obvious that what we love or treasure or value can be shaped. We do not love all things immediately, but learn or acquire some loves over time. We can grow certain loves, and weaken others.
The problem we encounter is that the loves are not under our direct control. While some of our loves may have been pursued by an act of will, others have been picked up without our knowing why. Many of our loves are loves that grew because of what our family loved, what our peers loved, what was loved by people we respected. Some loves came very late in life, while some were there early. Some loves were hard to develop, while others seemed almost natural. Not many people can explain why they love what they love without some serous thought. The affections do not come by sheer acts of will.
First appearance at SharperIron posted 2/12/09.
In many conservative gospel-preaching churches, the only thing rarer than drums is Psalms singing. This seems particularly odd in view of the fact that most of these churches insist on musical worship that is biblical, that is deeply rooted in history, and that has stood the test of time. What songs are more biblical, more historically rooted, and more timeless than the 150 songs that God Himself breathed out more than 2,000 years ago?
Every worship leader should serve with the conviction that the flock he leads needs to be singing the psalms regularly in corporate worship services. This conviction is rooted in three realities.
First, the psalms are songs. In other words, they were originally written as poetry to be sung. As songs, then, these compositions cannot be fully appreciated or experienced as God intended them to be apart from singing. Experiencing the psalms in a non-musical way would be like trying to experience Handel’s Messiah by simply reading the text. So while the psalms need to studied, prayed, and preached, we also need to experience them as worship songs.
Second, the psalms are God-breathed songs. The book of Psalms is the only God-breathed hymnal in existence. That fact should carry some weight when we make decisions about which songs to include in corporate worship!
Third, by example and command the New Testament urges believers in Jesus Christ to sing psalms. Apparently Jesus led His disciples in singing a psalm after the last supper (Matt. 26:30). Worship in the early church included Psalms singing (1 Cor. 14:26). Also, the Bible clearly urges New Testament believers to sing psalms as an evidence of Spirit-controlled living (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).
“I sensed that the congregation was almost superfluous to the activity on stage.” Contemporary Music: The Cultural Medium and the Christian Message