Christian Living

Why Sing? | Part 1

Why do we have music in church?

This may seem like an odd question. Most — if not all — churches have music, don’t they? This is just how it has always been, right?

While this may seem like an odd question, I believe it is nevertheless an important issue to discuss because of the myriads of faulty answers people will give when answering the question. For instance, I have heard people say that the music of a worship service is simply prelude to the preaching. These kinds of people view music as nonessential to a worship service; we could eliminate it altogether and they wouldn’t miss it at all. Others say that music “sets the mood” for the preaching. This is still a “prelude to preaching” type of thinking, although these people would probably say that music is a good thing because it does “prepare our hearts” for the message. A third group — and this is what I’ve heard more often in our circles — will say that the reason we have music in churches is so that we can teach and affirm biblical truth. This answer may sound a bit better, but I will still insist that it is no better an answer than the other two.

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Logic in Its Place

The two latest installments of Kevin Bauder’s In the Nick of Time, “Shall We Reason Together?” parts one and two, raise interesting questions about the relationship between Scripture and logic. (I’ll refer to them as SWRT 1 and SWRT 2.) The essays are stimulating reading and provide valuable perspective in an area that has received little attention among biblical fundamentalists. But the articles represent only two views of the role of logic: Dr. Bauder’s view and the view he rejects as “alogicality.” A third option is available and might be a better choice.

The Alogicals

The essays refer to the philosophy that what we infer from Scripture is less authoritative than Scripture itself. People who believe this are not hard to find. But Kevin also describes the alogical philosophy as holding to the following beliefs:

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Disciplines of a Devoted Prayer Life, Part 4

Note: This article was originally posted December 7, 2005.

For those of you who think that I just do not get the idea of blogging, you are probably spot on. Articles on prayer will most likely never make the blogging Hall of Fame. In all sincerity, I understand that subject matter such as this is not the best “blog material.” I mean, none of us really disagrees with the fact that prayer is a necessary and an incredibly important part of our lives. Yet I continue to write on the subject for that very reason. We need prayer. While we spend our time debating some much-less-important topics, many times the most important ones (prayer and a true passion for Christ) are ignored in our schedules. Nevertheless, as a word of encouragement and comfort to all: this is the last of the four-part series on prayer.

E.M. Bounds wrote,

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Hurry Up and Wait

The other day, I was sitting at a red light, and the words came out of my mouth that have often rolled around in my head. “Oh, come on! What’s the deal with this light?” After all, this light had just extended my massive six-minute drive into a serious eight-minute intrusion into my busy life! Unfortunately, my impatience was mirrored in the reactions of the four- and six-year-old children who were in my car. Jonathan said, “Yeah. Hurry up, you slowpoke light.” Savannah made a similar comment. “That’s a stupid light.” Talk about conviction! I had just displayed to these little children that the way to solve our problems is to get impatient and frustrated with anything that stands in our way.

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Lied About, Stoned, and Left for Dead

Note: Parts of this article came from the Labor Day 2006 sermon Pastor Joel preached at Southeast Valley Baptist Church (Gilbert AZ).

A Pauline Illustration of the Modern-Day Need for Barnabas-Styled Ministries

I recently preached on a passage found in Acts 14:19-20. The title of the sermon was the same as this article: “Lied About, Stoned, and Left for Dead.” The occasion for the sermon was Labor Day, so I tried to insert a little humor by adding the following subtitle, “A Union/Non-Union ‘Sensitive’ Labor Day Sermon: A Pauline Case Study of the Biblical Procedure in Recovering from the Emotional, Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Wounds Received from Those Nasty, Stinky, and Stubborn Elephants That Often Will Run You Over in Life, Work, and Ministry.”

Other than the fact that I’ve never preached a sermon with a longer subtitle, the folks of our congregation enjoyed the description. It’s funny, but several folks said the subtitle immediately set the context of how the topic intersected with them. Most of us have suffered pain in the context of trying to do the right thing at home or at the work place and even in ministry. That happened here with the apostle Paul. Notice the passage.

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Character in Ministry

A Call to the Higher Standard

In mentoring his son in the ministry, Paul challenged young Timothy with these words, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12, ESV). Throughout his Holy Spirit-inspired counsel to this young man in the ministry, Paul stressed the need for a transparent character, an excellent reputation, a humble integrity which would allow others to see Christ in and through him.

In his Lectures to My Students, Charles Spurgeon left virtually no stone unturned while impressing the need for private integrity which leads to public credibility upon his college students. From prayer to “keeping the tools sharp,” to the work of the Holy Spirit, to the ways in which a pastor/teacher might use his voice, Spurgeon understood and emphasized that ministry leads us to a total investment of ourselves into the work of the ministry.

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The Primacy of the Local Church

Note: This article was originally posted December 16, 2005.

A man skips church because he and his co-workers receive free tickets to an NFL game. A Sunday school teacher runs in a marathon rather than teaching his class. Both of these are real situations. Both men graduated from fundamental colleges. Are they right or wrong? Certain segments of Fundamentalism criticize other segments for not being “big on the local church.” Although much of this criticism is due to petty differences over the doctrine of the universal church, some of this criticism is well-deserved. Sometimes those who lift up Christ and the fundamentals are guilty of slighting the local church.

The word church literally means “called-out assembly.” “Called-out” teaches separation from the world and its sinful system. Second Corinthians 6:17-18 says,

Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

The church gives believers an opportunity to physically practice this principle on the Lord’s Day and at other times during the week. “Called out” also signifies being drafted into the work of the Great Commission. Jesus says in John 20:21, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” He prophesies in Acts 1:8:

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