A Shot of Faith (to the Head) by Mitch Stokes is a recent release on apologetics. My interest in this book was the idea of some new material that I had not yet heard when arguing the faith. It seems that today, more than ever, atheists are adamant about not just opposing Christianity, but hating it.
Is it because of lack of reason? Is it because science is good enough that we no longer need God? Or is it because of other Christians? What ever the case may be, this book does a great job at pointing out some major faults in secular thinking.
Each thought is delivered well and in enough detail to really give you some food for thought. After reading A Shot of Faith you will be much better equipped to defend and argue for your faith. I’d highly recommend this read for anyone looking to be fore confident in their faith.
I just finished reading David Murrow’s Why Men Hate Going to Church. To be honest, the title was a bit offensive. Do men really hate going to church? The generalizing is a bit much, but it’s actually not far from the truth.
The book opens up with statistics and a survey on history as to how men have stepped away from the church. Murrow’s findings are staggering. What if the way we are doing church is actually pushing the men of our society away? Something to think about.
As I read through this book, time after time I found myself agreeing and thinking about solutions to some modern day issues. In particular, when Murrow discusses the modern praise and worship music (as opposed to hymns) I paid close attention. We need to be mindful of who is not only coming into our doors, but also who is not coming into our doors.
Check out this video from Matt Redman that really hits on this topic:
Murrow has done a fantastic job at not only exposing an issue that many overlook, but offers some practical things that can be done to reach men in our society.
What is God calling you to?
Take some time and read 1 Samuel 16:1-13.
Samuel thought Eliab was to be anointed king upon entering Jesse’s house. He was wrong. God had someone different in mind. It wasn’t until Samuel looked at seven of Jesse’s sons that David was brought forth. A shepherd boy.
“Then the Lord said, ‘Rise and anoint him; he is the one.’” (v. 12)
By all accounts, David was not worthy to be king… but God saw something different. Fast forward some time. Israel was at war with the Philistines. Jesse’s three oldest sons were in the army, serving their country in battle. As time progressed, a giant named Goliath called out for a champion to fight, and no one would rise to the occasion, that is until David came along.
Read the interaction between David and Eliab before Goliath is taken down.
Eliab couldn’t stand up to the giant, and even got upset at his younger brother for considering it. But as it turns out, David becomes the giant-killer and eventually becomes one of the best kings of Israel. God knew this would happen all the back when he anointed David to be the next king. God saw what man couldn’t.
Two lessons can be learned from this.
- Don’t let insecurities drive you to inaction.
- Your calling is greater than your qualification.
So let me ask you again. What is God calling you to?
Go do it.
“Hey, Mick! I have a special song I would like to share with everyone.”
How many of us have heard some form of this statement before? It seems like every congregation has someone who thinks their music ability must be showcased for everyone to see.
I’ve gone back and forth on the effectiveness of using ‘special music.’ (I hate that term, as well) Either way, wherever you stand on the spectrum, here are some simple questions that should be asked when considering using songs in this way.
- Does it fit with the main idea of the service? - We spend many hours preparing, thinking, and praying about what goes into a service. Flow can be difficult to manage sometimes, but one thing has remained a constant for us; we make a strong effort to keep everything in line with the main idea. Special music should not be any different from picking out a video or choosing which songs to sing.
- Are they part of the ministry? - God doesn’t want one-night-stands. He wants people who are committed to Him. The same goes with ministry. We don’t want people to just pop and do a ‘look at me’ performance. They need to be part of the ministry. I would rather have decent musicians who are committed than professional musicians who have no commitment.
- Can the band play the music? - Live music is always better, so matter how it compares to a recording. The days of tracks have seen their glory days, but there is almost no need of them anymore in many churches. Have your band spend time learning the music together and share it with the congregation as a team.
- What is the heart of the musician? - This gets back to the ‘look at me’ mentality that some people have. People should never be offering music in a church setting to bring glory to themselves.
- Are you doing special music for the sake of doing special music? - We should never be doing something in a service just for the sake of doing it. In fact, nothing in the service should be done just because.
What are your thoughts on special music in a worship service? Let me know in the comments.
Found this haiku online this morning and decided to draw it up.
This Saturday is the official RECORD STORE DAY, as in the giant vinyl albums. This will probably end up slipping under the radar for most people, but for those of us who care it is a fantastic day indeed.
What makes Record Store Day so special?
- It encourages people to support their local music distributor – I’m not sure any of us would see a problem with supporting our neighbors. In this economy, the small business owner could use all the help they can get.
- It helps people care about music - I’m not really suggesting that people could care less about music. It’s just that with all the pirating that takes place through file sharing, torrents, and whatever else people have come up with, people just seem to collect music for the sake of collecting music. With records, people have to actually hand pick an album. It’s a crazy concept for some, but one well worth noting.
- Records are awesome! - This is fact, regardless as to whether you prefer digital or analog.
- Artists have special releases – Many artist come out with a limited run albums. To see the giant list of special releases, click here.
This is a question that many have asked, many should be asking, and one that we should continually be asking.
Before you can really get to the answer, realize that our job as worship leaders is to lead others in worship. This is often a great sacrifice we make when taking on this role because it’s no longer about our experience with God, but creating an environment for others to worship. We are now responsible for leading others into the presence of God, not just ourselves.
This means we cannot be selfish. If it were up to me, we would all be sitting in a dark room filled with candles, incense, and heartfelt music from a djembe and acoustic guitar. Communion would be taken with red wine and Hawaiian bread, and we would all have journals to write prayers and draw pictures in response to our worship. I cannot expect too many others to appreciate this. And for that reason, we have to constantly be listening and watching the people we lead.
Here’s the answer to our question:
Each context is different. There is no magic number. What works for one congregation will not work with another. What works on Wednesday may not work on Sunday. You have to be discerning.
When people stop worshiping you are performing.
Performing is not a bad thing. In fact, I have had some worshipful experiences while watching others perform. But our job as a worship leader is to bring others into the presence of God, not into the presence of our musical awesomeness.
What works for your congregation? What doesn’t work for your congregation? Comment and let me know.