When Jesus is trying to teach me something, I usually encounter many problems pertaining to the area He wants to teach me about. He lets me wrangle with the contradiction in my heart for a while. Sometimes I get an answer, sometimes I don’t.
Lately, I have really been concerned with something I’ve been observing in my church, my friend’s churches, and in mega churches in general. There is this growing tendency toward secular music; feel good music. This trend has made red flags and alarm bells go off inside me for some time now.
My church started a contemporary service with a band. At first they played Christ-centered worship music. Then there were some changes in the band, and the remaining members started to throw in a couple what I call Word-void songs. I loved that service at first, but after the changes I started to leave empty and void. After bringing it to the attention of the leaders and seeing no change I, sadly, had to quit going to that service. Know what? I haven’t regretted it once.
Some good friends of mine have been saying that their churches start off the service with a secular music selection….even now, huge warning bells and red flags are pounding in my heart…..and I feel the angry warfare when I question them on it. If there is warfare then I have learned there is definitely a spiritual problem. Satan gets angry when we try to steal back territory he has gained ground in.
I woke up this morning and I finally had some peace about the whole situation. The Holy Spirit reminded me that when I was just a baby Christian less than a dozen years ago our church was planning a Christmas play. I volunteered to help, and the chairperson and I came up with this elaborate production with choreography and songs. The Pastor stepped in…thankfully….in the nick of time and saved us from our foolish notions. He wasn’t pleasant either. He rebuked us loudly and angrily, righteously so. He was so loud and so angry it still brings tears to my eyes and hurts my heart even now. Jesus was showing me something very very important that day and the only way to make it stick was to make it hurt (a fool spurns instruction, but a wise man heeds a rebuke.) The Pastor told us how important it is to stay with the simplicity of the gospel message and leave the work up to the Holy Spirit. He also told me that the Holy Spirit ALWAYS and ONLY points to Jesus Christ. So, instead of doing a song and dance, we stuck with the humble historical account of Jesus’ birth, and looking back I see how blessed I was to have Pastor’s wisdom to keep me on the straight and narrow path.
Simply put: Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the WORD OF GOD.
If we think we know better than the apostles, if we think we know better than God, if we do anything other than present the word of God and sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs then aren’t we really trying to play God?
Seekers are seeking because they are HUNGRY, not because they want to be understood. They want and need JESUS, not to feel good. I can say that from personal experience. If I, a former atheist, had walked into the church in 1993 when I was seeking, and had heard a secular song I never would have went back (“My sheep know my voice”) because the church would have looked like the very world that was making me empty. I am so thankful to the Holy Spirit that, even though it took 6 years of Sunday after Sunday sermons and boring hymns (which I now cherish and love and eagerly devour,) He finally broke through the hardness and deceitfulness of my heart with the simplest of words, “Who was Jesus?”. Let me never again succumb to the temptation that I know better than God.
Two days ago my son and I were listening to Bob Dutko talking to a “Pastor” who only accepts Jesus’ words that make him feel good. If they don’t make him feel good he rejects them, and his reasoning is that the apostles must have mistaken Jesus because Jesus wouldn’t want to hurt anyone, right? My son’s comment was, “Christianity is the only “religion” that starts with hurt first.”
Father God, help this country keep it simple. Regain ground lost to the devil’s deceitful ways. May we preach (and sing) Your Word and Your Word only, even if it hurts. In Jesus name. Amen