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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Trucker chapel church service
Church service in trucker chapel
Photo by Doris High

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"From Generation To Generation"

"His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation (Luke 1:50). Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess His Name" (Hebrews 13:15). 
"God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).

Brooksyne came home from our local Christian bookstore last week and told me of an interesting exchange of conversation she had with an employee there. I asked her to share the story with you today:

I often listen to the music of Keith & Kristyn Getty who co-wrote the popular song, "In Christ Alone" with Stuart Towend. I especially appreciate the Gettys for the rich lyrical content of their songs based upon sound theological doctrine and for their simplicity in music composition so I thought I'd look for some of their music in the bookstore.

As I was looking in the music department I noted that there was one lone hymn book. I asked the salesclerk, who was 30ish in age, "Don't you have any other hymnals to offer?" He responded, "We don't really stock hymnals anymore." We continued in conversation and I concluded our visit with a suggestion, "It would be nice if you could offer more variety in hymnals for those who enjoy the hymns." He looked at me, and said matter of factly, "Do I get the distinct impression that you're not into Praise and Worship?"

Taking but a second to process such an incorrect impression I responded, "I am very much into praise and worship. I worship God in the contemporary music but I also praise God in the hymns that have been written over many generations. I like to sing the hymns that George Washington might have sung, the songs that Isaac Watts penned hundreds of years ago and I also like to sing the songs that God is giving to His people today."  I'm not so sure he was prepared for my honest response (I was also kind), but it was important for me to correct the false impression of some believers today who think that Praise and Worship has only been created over the past generation.

After Brooksyne told me about her conversation I've given it further thought. We are part of the great church of God comprised of believers from every generation. Should Christ tarry there will be generations who follow us who will likely see our music and worship styles as primitive or old-fashioned.  I acknowledge the validity of different styles of music in our worship services; the composition, the instrumentation, and the singers themselves. I confess that I get a bit agitated when a church or particular group of believers feels that their choice of songs or their delivery style is the only right way to worship God.  I like what M. Morrison writes about worship: "Our worship involves not only what we sing or how we sing it, but how we work, how we drive, and what we choose to watch on television."

There's a great deal of variety in songs selected for the worship services but I like to see Scripture, adoration and praise, thanksgiving, songs that teach of God's attributes, songs that call us to obedience and prayer, songs that convict us of sin. I also like simple melodies so that people who are untrained musically (which is the majority) can remember it after leaving the service and sing or whistle the tune and think about the words as they go about their day. One of the difficulties we have in our churches today is the lack of repetition due to the vast number of songs to choose from, so it's harder to learn and memorize music today. In addition, I like to see the congregation participating in worship rather than being sung to by the praise team or choir or whomever is leading in worship.

Today, let us hear the words of our Lord: "God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). Whatever expression we may use let us worship God in spirit and in truth and seek to glorify Him in our musical preference, in our various styles of worship inside and outside of the church setting.
Indeed from generation to generation let us praise the Lord!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, each generation has a chosen people, a royal priesthood who declares Your praises to a lost and dying world filled with darkness. We're a peculiar people in that we praise You in the good times and we praise You in the bad times; that's how we show forth our praises of You who has called us out of darkness into Your marvelous eternal light. It is through Jesus, therefore, that we continually offer to You, our Father, a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of our lips that confess Christ's name and the fruit of our lives that prove our words to be genuine. It is in our Savior's name that we pray. Amen.

Stephen's Note: We have two vibrant, community oriented Christian radio stations in our area. WDAC is more traditional with some contemporary while the other, WJTL, is fully contemporary and very little traditional. The "classics" on WJTL are songs written 20 years ago (so what does that make us?!) We listen to both since we have a rather broad appreciation in regard to musical styles. We love the old hymns as well as many types of the contemporary. However most of the godly teaching we enjoy is aired on WDAC.

Several years ago our contemporary station compiled a list of the "Top 500 Christian songs of all time" as selected by their listeners. I thought it was interesting as I listened to the selections being played. Even though it was greatest songs of all time the vast majority of the top 500 songs were written in the last ten years, a period comprising some .5% of the church's history. I enjoyed listening to the music, although not all of it was to my personal taste. What's more - every so often I heard an "ancient" song from the eighties (the 1980's that is) such as a Keith Green number!

Two Local Agricultural Photos

Tractor in driveway
We have some interesting sights that I suppose very few of our readers have. Many local farmers live in farmhouses, but not all. A neighbor up the road from us lives in a development like house and I passed this scene yesterday.  Apparently he drove his tractor and hay baler home from work and parked in his driveway!
We hope he doesn't try to pull it into the garage!

Amish team for corn planting
I took this photo last week when we visited with our Amish friends. The team just finished planting corn and is being unhitched to go back in the barn after a hard morning of work.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

Praise and Worship music has been written by and for all generations!

"Praise To The Lord The Almighty"  Video  Written approximately 350 years ago.

"O Worship The King"  Video  Written approximately 200 years ago

The following two songs were written in part by Keith & Kristyn Getty

"In Christ Alone"  Video  Written in 2001  A beautiful song, most especially for Communion, Easter or any other Sunday!

"Every Promise"  Video  Written in 2005  A song we've been singing the past couple weeks.  The great promises of God we're reminded of in this song as "I stand on every promise in God's Word".

The Complete Book of HymnsThe Complete Book of Hymns
By William Petersen & Ardythe Petersen / Tyndale House
The Complete Book of Hymns brings to life the stories behind more than 600 hymns and worship songs. With background on the composer, the inspiration behind the lyrics, scriptural references for devotional consideration, and a sampling of the song lyrics, this book brings forth the message of these great songs of the faith like never before! Ordering information.

Our local Christian radio stations.  WDAC  WJTL
WDAC offers online streaming  

Today's chapel photo was taken by Doris High inside a truck trailer that has been converted to a chapel.  These chaples are placed in large truck stops by a ministry known as Transport For Christ.  Here are some photos of a chapel conversion taking place.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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