Not too long ago, David Crowder came out with a new CD titled “Church Music”. It’s been a regular in my music listening since it came out. Now I’m grooving to Matt Redman’s newest CD. Not sure which I like more right now.
Two tracks from Matt’s CD that stand out to me:
This Is How We Know (YouTube Video)
The opening lyrics:
This is how we know
This is how we know what love is
Just one look at Your cross
And this is where we see
This is where we see how love works
For You surrendered Your all
And this is how we know
That You have loved us first
This is where we chose
To love You in return
You Alone Can Rescue (YouTube Video)
Some favorite lyrics from this one:
Who, oh Lord, could save themselves,
Their own sin could heal?
Our shame was deeper than the sea
Your love is deeper still
You alone can rescue, You alone can save
You alone can lift us from the grave
You came down to find us, led us out of death
To You alone belongs the highest praise
Any good ones you’re enjoying right now?
At Catalyst, we sang “We Shine” by Steve Fee. Here’s a portion of the lyrics:
Yeah, yeah, we shine, we shine the light of God
And when we speak, we speak with words of love
And when we dance we may get a little wild
‘Cause we’re the people of God yeah, the people of God
And when we sing, we sing the angels’ songs
The ones they’re singing around the throne
Yeah, yeah, we worship the King with everything that we are
‘Cause we’re the people of God yeah, the people of God
It made me think. Do the angels sing some of the same songs we’re singing here on earth? I don’t have a Bible verse to back this up, but I believe they might. God delights in His people, and I imagine He and the angels enjoy hearing our creative expressions of praise. I wonder what songs we’ll be singing around the throne? I imagine we’ll be singing some of my favorites. What songs are you hoping we’ll sing?
The Sunday before the series starts, we’ll be voting on some of the top songs at Billboard’s music charts. The highest vote-getter will be the basis for our lesson the following week. The plan is to look at popular culture and see what spiritual issues it raises and what the Bible says about those things. Most of our students are listening to this music, so we want to explore it with them and teach the skills to identify those spiritual issues and bring them back to the Scriptures on their own.
This song probably won’t make the list (thanks to The Plow):
How did Christian music ever make it out of the early days?
I’m not for isolating ourselves from other churches, but there’s something awesome about a local body of Christ supporting one another through prayer. Wouldn’t it be neat we had something similar at First Trinity?
Maybe it’s online at our website that Joe Z does such great work on.
Or maybe it’s just a section of wall with butcher paper from floor to ceiling where people can write prayer requests and praise reports.
Maybe it’s off the beaten path on Sunday morning (is there somewhere not on the beaten path?) where people could not only write, but actually stop and pray, together or individually.
I started Lutheran Confessions 1 today. I’m not extremely excited about it since my schedule is so crazy, but I love having Dr. Winger as a professor. He’s great for my style of learning and he’s great at keeping my attention. There are few people I could sit and listen to talk for 3 hours, but he’s one of them.
Today we talked about the three confessions of the Christian church: Confession of sins, faith and praise. The first two are fairly well understood by most Christians. We confess our sins to God and are forgiven. We confess our faith in the words of the Apostles’, Nicene and occasionally the Athanasian Creeds. But the confession of praise? The term “confession” is not used with “praise” in modern Christianity often.
Basically, it’s the church’s act of praising God. Dr. Winger made the point that our modern concept of praise has given us a slight misunderstanding of this word. Modern “contemporary” Christian music is sometimes guilty of only praising the attributes of God. God is good, great, awesome, mighty, etc. The biblical concept of praise is more than that however. The Greek term for “confession” is used when God tells of us His deeds and we speak them back to Him. Most of the “praise God” stories in the Bible are retellings of His previous work. The Psalms are full of this type of praise as psalmists declare how God has rescued them from the depths of the grave.
In the last several years, I’ve noticed Christian worship moving away from the “God is great” style towards a deeper, more Biblical one. Music is a tremendous gift to the church, and the resurgence of scriptural lyrics confessing praise to God brings the Scriptures to life in new ways. I’m thankful for those artists who were led down that route for their music.
I got this shirt from my good friends, Eric and Carlin, over at Life Resources. I love the shirt because it’s a great tool for teaching the 7th Commandment. While I couldn’t find it for last night’s class, I still enjoy the pic and thought I’d share it with you.
“You Shall Not Steal” is a huge commandment. Beyond the obvious stealing, we also talk about dishonest gain. Plagiarism is a growing concern in schools, especially as more and more papers become available online for people to read. Profiting on someone else’s work, whether in school or the real world, is forbidden in this commandment.
Also forbidden is file sharing. I use James 5:4 as the Bible verse for it. It reads:
Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
When you download music, movies, television shows or other copyrighted material, you are stealing from the people who made that material. I’ve heard lots of rationalizations for the behavior in my seven years of ministry. Some of the highlights:
- Everyone else is doing it!
- Why would they make CD Burners if we couldn’t burn music?
- Why do they put the music online if not for me to download?
- I wasn’t going to buy the CD anyway, so it’s not like they lost money on me!
- My friend and I split the cost of the CD and I got the copy. What’s wrong with that?
- They charge too much for CDs anyway!
My favorite by far, however, came up last night. Katie shared it with us during class. She had been told that sharing music online is like helping the poor. The ones that can afford the music buy it and share it online so the poorer people can download it for themselves. While very noble, it’s still wrong. It made me chuckle though.
Jaime hates the subject, but I love it because it meets students where they are, confronting a real world sin in their lives. The discussions I’ve had with youth around this issue (and the larger issue of sin in general) have been great for helping students in their walk with Christ.
If you’d like to hear the full-blown, knock-down drag-out version of the lesson, it’s available on our podcast. Or, for your convenience, you can listen below by clicking play (NOTE: If you are reading in a reader like Google or Bloglines, you’ll need to visit the blog to see the play button). Be warned, however, the lesson ran 55 minutes–30 minutes longer than usual, thanks to all the questions. I tried to amplify the student’s questions as best I could, but until we get a new sound system, the student portions are much harder to hear than me.
I seem to have impeccable timing. For some unexplained reason, my laptop has decided to be difficult right before the Christmas season when I’ll be traveling and need it to keep up on emails and work stuff while away. For some reason, it has decided to always run the CPU at full load, making everything load extremely slow. I waited 6 minutes for a login prompt and then another 25 before the desktop was actually up and clickable. Nothing opens, really, but it’s there at least. I’m hoping Brian will be by soon and be able to fix it, otherwise I’ll be stuck without it for the Christmas season.
Due to the lack of a computer, I won’t be able to post the audio for last night’s Cornerstone until mine is fixed. As usual, it was a fun night as we discussed the 7th Commandment, most notably as it relates to stealing music through file sharing services. I’ll post more on it when I do the writeup with the audio link.
Word on the street is that there’s going to be a big snow storm late this evening and early tomorrow morning. Not being a big fan of snow, I can’t say I’m happy about this. It was already getting started this morning as I drove to Joshua’s Men at the church. Since neither of us enjoy the snow, Jaime and I decided that it would be a good day to get out the Christmas Decorations.
We also splurged and purchased some new Christmas songs from the iTunes Music Store. The new playlist:
- Angels We Have Heard on High by Chris Tomlin
- Baby It’s Cold Outside by Dean Martin
- In The Bleak Midwinter by Jars of Clay
- O Come All Ye Faithful by Jeremy Camp
- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing by Rebecca St. James
- 12 Days of Christmas by Relient K
- Handel’s Messiah (The Hallelujah Chorus) by Relient K
Chris Tomlin needs to come out with a Christmas album, as does David Crowder (who has a single song, Feliz Navidad, that I can’t bring myself to purchase). Relient K has a great take on the songs we purchased, plus several others. They’re always a good listen if you like rock/punk.
And now, for being such a trooper while decorating, I get to sit and watch a little bit of the OU-Missouri football game to see if my Buckeyes back their way into the National Title Game. I’d like to see it happen because I’m a fan, but also because it just looks bad for the BCS. They really need a new system…
I used to listen to more bands, but lately I just keep coming back to these five, the fifth of which is actually a collaboration between the first three artists and some lesser known ones. Lincoln Brewster, Jami Smith, Sara Groves and Kutless get some plays in my iTunes library as well, but far fewer than the top five. Maybe I need to branch out more and listen to a wider selection of artists, but for some reason I don’t.
Who would you place in your “fave 5″ of Christian artists?