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modernism, praise and worship, hymns, hymn singing, God of Jacob, Karen and Richard Carpenter, Knotts Berry Farm, Laguna Beach, Hollywood Elite,
There are those who press for success
and those who praise God for who He is and what He has done. Those who abide in lives
dedicated to praise discover contentment in every circumstance. These are the ones who
will find themselves victorious in the battles that confront Christians today.
Most of all, I find that music devoted to
glorifying the Lord while revealing His nature from His Word to be that which most
inspires me. Music that brings the Scriptures close to the heart is what I concentrate my
efforts on as a result. That which praises the Lord and declares His magnificence is
lasting music. And it is a song of joy that gives encouragement and comfort to the human
soul. For we all are constantly reaching out for a Savior.
According to the Bible, all music should
be utilized to exalt the Lord in worship. In fact, singing to the Lord is clearly
designated as a religious duty throughout the text. Therefore the psalms fill the middle
of the Bible with songs of praise and adoration to the Lord. They declare, Sing for
joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! Begin the music, strike the
tambourine, play the melodious harp and lyre. (Ps 81: 1-2 NIV)
Music remains as a glorious way to praise
the Lord and thank Him for everything He has done. Come, let us sing for Joy to the
Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our Salvation. Let us come before Him with
thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. (Ps 95: 1-2)
I can remember a time in my life that led
to one of the most significant decisions that I ever made. At the time I was involved in
two bands. One of the pursuits was for my own glory. I was the leader of the band and
determined to pursue fame and fortune through it.
I had already sat close enough to fame
that I could smell it. Years before I had sung in the Cal State Long Beach choir to see
Karen and Richard Carpenter rise from obscurity to instant stardom. Inspired by this, our
band joined in the competition in the Hollywood Battle of the Bands and won it. An A&R
man from a major recording label was there and after the performance offered us a
recording contract. Though that opportunity fell through, a few years later we hooked up
with an agent and we had plenty of original material by that time to make the grade. The
band was very good. There were musicians in the group who went on to play with major rock
bands, cut albums and tour the world. This was everything I wanted to do and I was primed
However, I was also drawn to a cause
higher than my own exultation. An exciting humble Christian music genre was just beginning
to usher out of Calvary Chapel during the early 70s. I was involved with a no name
Christian band at the time that had roots in that movement. However, this new band did not
play at the level of expertise that I was used to. So it was a very difficult experience
for me at first and it did not appear to me at the time that success lied in that
One evening I was at Knotts Berry Farm with some friends on Christian
Night. As usual there were a whole lot of bands there to listen to and we bounced from
stage to stage taking it all in. As I was talking to a friend about my two bands the
response was, Oh, one foot with God and the other in the world?
It was just a few weeks later that I made
a decision to drop my quest for fame and fortune. I can remember walking along the Laguna Beach coastline with the drummer of the band
talking about life and everything else that came to mind. During that fateful discussion I
attempted to explain to him why I had decided to leave the band that I had been involved
with for years while sharing common dreams and aspirations. We were very close friends and
it was one of the most difficult moments in my life. I could only explain that it was
something I had to do. The call of personal glory was too important to me. I needed to
turn from my desires to have the world at my fingertips in order to praise God who holds
the universe in his saving hands.
The world that the Hollywood elite has created for us is a hostile
one, especially for musicians. They point us all to greatness to perpetuate their decadent
system, only to deliver despair. This comes either in the form of dashed hopes as the
dream of greatness is never realized, or in the form of success in the world that idolatry
has built, which for so many leads to ruin.
But the Christian musician is called to
perform for God and God alone. That is where true greatness can be found. It is through
praise that Gods work is accomplished. Nothing but misfortune results from the empty
attempts of men to get Gods work accomplished for Him. There is no greatness to find
there. But God is great and those who exalt Him in His greatness will be those who will be
found noteworthy in the Kingdom of Heaven.
You have also given me the shield of
Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great. You
enlarged my path under me, so my feet did not slip. (PS 18:35-36 MKJV) It is in
Gods hand and His hand alone that true greatness can be found. And that greatness is
found in the exultation of God who is our great God. It is our identity with God that
makes us who we are. Anything that we are is because of Him and we praise Him because of
it. In contrast to the overt pagan worship that surrounded Nebuchadnezzars statue
dedicated to self-worship, we are called to praise to God and God alone in song.
Psalm 150 tells it all: Praise the
Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His
acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness. Praise Him with the sounding of
the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and the lyre, praise Him with the tambourine and
dancing, praise Him with the strings and flute, praise Him with the clash of cymbals,
praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise
the Lord. (Ps 150 NIV)
When contemplating this psalm it is
interesting to see many of the same instruments encircling God with praise as we saw
encompassing Nebuchadnezzars ancient Babylonian idol. Church people have a tendency
to categorize musical styles and instrumentations according to their own preferences in a
manner that excludes much that is out there from their worship life. The contemporary
Christian will tell you that he cannot worship God to a hymn or organ with a choir. The
traditionalists many times will go as far as to say that guitars and drums along with that
African beat are from the Devil and not suitable for worship in the church.
But this biblical example clearly
demonstrates that all music expressed in a biblical fashion to God regardless of any
specific style is a suitable vehicle for our declarations of praise. Every instrument that
has been designed can be utilized to exalt Him. Every biblically based song, no matter
what the style, that has been written to honor Him is suitable for worship in the church.
It is not the art, but the heart that matters. It is how music is used that makes the
difference. And music that glorifies God is music that blesses God.
Praise is a public declaration that
proclaims the greatness of God for who He is and what he has done. Therefore, church music
is not about amusing the masses or creating entertainers. It is for the purpose of
glorifying Him. Its purpose is not to attract people into the church. Rather, it is to be
utilized to thank God for all He has done, including adding to the church daily. Music to
the Lord is to be sung with an attitude of gratitude rather than a desire to draw and
manipulate the crowds. It is the result of what God has done rather than the cause of it.
Therefore we have the simple praise song
Thank you Lord, for saving my soul.
Thank you Lord for making me whole.
Thank you Lord for giving to me.
Thy great salvation so rich and free.
Stay Tuned for More!!!!
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"I might not be a religious
man myself but I know good music when I hear it, and this is very good! . . . I dont think that I have ever given such high
ratings to so many songs before. But the fact is that they are well deserved
because the music is amazing. Simply wonderful religious ballads and they
really get to your heart. . .everytime." Fredrik Cole: Trax In Space
was formed as a service to the body of Christ to encourage scriptural
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