Should Non-Christians Play Worship Music in a Church Service?

This is an interesting post from a student pastor who has joined our church this year. He has quite recently started blogging and his posts abide by a unique self-imposed rule, that each one be 299 words or less….with no boring bits. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I have, and maybe join in the conversation.

THE 299

I have recently read some blogs and comments on facebook proposing the idea of why people who don’t know Jesus should be allowed to play worship music in a Church Service. I know that some of the big mega reformed churches take this policy (mainly paid positions) however it doesn’t sit right with me. Our job with those who don’t know Jesus is to tell them about the forgiveness of sins that Jesus offers through his life, death, resurrection and ascension. We should be showing love to those who don’t know Jesus by welcoming them as people sitting in the congregation not putting them on stage and getting them to lead the service. The primary place for those who don’t know Jesus in a church service is in the congregation and taking in the gospel so they can know Jesus, then once they know Jesus they can serve in this…

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Music for Revelation and a fresh vision of the Risen Lord

Luke 3:16In the first week of January this year I spent 6 days leading music at a missions conference on top of a mountain in southeast Queensland. The conference was the CMS (Church Missionary Society) Summer School, an annual event for the mission organisation with various guest speakers and missionaries, and about 600 supporters, many of whom are advancing in years (though the younger age brackets are also well represented). The conference theme was ‘Keep Calm for Christ has Won’ with keynote bible talks from Revelation. In fact we covered the whole book in this time! Peter Rodgers, head of CMS Australia, taught us well, showing how Revelation really is a book for us, not written to confuse us but to encourage us, to comfort, strengthen and make us bold for the risen Christ who stands as Victor in the spiritual realm…now! This is the realm revealed in Revelation, the realm of things that must remain unseen until our current heaven and earth are ‘rolled back like a scroll’. Revelation looks behind that heavy backdrop curtain which is the present physical world. It reveals a giant canvas of spiritual realities, of the victory Christ has already won. Far from being a timetable for world history yet to come, the book of Revelation is largely a picture of what has taken place already. (Well, through the teaching we received it made much sense to understand that this is what John has revealed). His letter describes the giant canvas of Christ’s victory. As John takes in this visual revelation his focus zooms in on one area at a time, explaining each different aspect of the battle and the victory. Though people will no doubt continue to discuss and debate the sequence of events, and how many have already occured, we should take comfort in this revelation of the big picture spiritual reality, and not be frightened off by the endless debate which surrounds the book.Christ has won Christ has won the victory, at the Cross. No matter what the spiritual reality behind the scenes looked like at this point in world history, the outcome remains the same.

Probably the most striking vision of the Risen Christ we were confronted with comes in the very first chapter, at which John falls down as though dead!
“I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
Revelation 1:12-18 NIV

This is no defeated carpenter who suffered and died and was forgotten. This is no meek and mild moral teacher. This is the blazing Lion-Lamb who lives and reigns now! He suffered as a sacrifice and conquered over the power of sin and death, once and for all. Now he lives forever. His voice and feet and mouth are more brilliant than the sun, and full of power. This is the risen Lord Jesus, Son of God, Son of Man who would receive the Kingdom and restore people to God.
Why then should we fear if we belong to him and are united with Him by faith, united in His death and resurrection? This is the vision of Christ we must hold on to in our present struggles – struggles much like those the early Christians suffered as they held onto their faith amidst persecution and ridicule. This letter was written (this vision was revealed) as much for their encouragement as ours. Let’s explore it without fear!

There’s so much more I could write about all that I learned from Revelation at the conference, but this vision of the Mighty Risen Saviour stands out most clearly. Here are some of the songs we used at the conference which have strong references to the concepts and words of John’s Revelation. (You might find them useful if you are preaching or singing through a series on the book.)

Come Hear the Angels Sing (Michael Morrow)
We belong to the Day (Michael Morrow)
See Him Coming (Mark Peterson)
Crown Him with Many Crowns (hymn)
See the Man (Trevor Hodge)
It is well (Todd Fields version of this hymn with new chorus: “God has won! Christ prevailed!”)
Let Your Kingdom Come (Sovereign Grace)
Majesty of Heaven (Chris Tomlin)
No other name (Trevor Hodge)
The Power of the Cross (Keith Getty)

CMS2014
Here we are at CMS Conference 2014. Music brings such encouragement!

Ps. If you have been praying for my dad Martin, thanks! Please continue to pray that he will be able to keep absorbing the food he is now eating and gain in strength. We praise God for his recovery so far! Blessings,

Ros

Five Ways to Improve Congregational Singing

Five Ways to Improve Congregational Singing.

Here are some great tips from Keith Getty for you to consider if you are involved in Music ministry at your church. It will help review the effectiveness of what you are doing, as you remember who it is you are serving, and the goals of what you do. Blessings!
(Click the title above to read the full article at the Gospel Coalition)

You may also enjoy:

How effective is your music ministry?
cats recorder

Won’t you be my love?

This is a great song from Mercy Me, which brings a reminder of the unique position we are in as Christ’s followers. We are his hands and feet, his representatives on this planet, shining his brilliance and pointing people to Him.

“Won’t You Be My Love”

[Verse 1:]
When you fall asleep tonight
In your warm and cozy room
Know that I’m awake
And I’ve got no shelter and no food

[Pre-Chorus 1:]
I am not alone
My friends are broke and lost
Looking for someone to lead them to my cross
I need your help, I need your help

[Chorus 1:]
Won’t you be My voice calling
Won’t you be My hands healing
Won’t you be My feet walking into a broken world
Won’t you be My chain-breaker
Won’t you be My peacemaker
Won’t you be My hope and joy
Won’t you be My Love

[Verse 2:]
The other side of the world
She is just a few days old
A helpless little girl
With no family of her own

[Pre-Chorus 2:]
She is not to blame for the journey she is on
Her life is no mistake
Won’t you lead her to My cross?

[Chorus 1:]
Won’t you be My voice calling
Won’t you be My hands healing
Won’t you be My feet walking into a broken world
Won’t you be My chain-breaker
Won’t you be My peacemaker
Won’t you be My hope and joy
Won’t you be My Love

[Bridge:]
To those I call My own
To those I’ve set aside
As spotless without blame
The chosen ones My bride

[Chorus 2:]
We will be Your voice calling
We will be Your hands healing
We will be Your feet walking into a broken world
We will be Your chain-breaker
We will be Your peacemaker
We will be Your hope and joy
We will be Your love

Waiting on the Lord

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.   He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.   Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;   but those who hope in the Lord  will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV

Waiting on the Lord has taken on a whole new meaning in last two weeks. My family is waiting to see the Lord’s decision on my dad Martin, 85, who fell over his excited young dog on the farm, broke a rib and cartilage down front of rib cage, then ended up with in ICU with a digestive blockage and surgery. He has been in and out and back to the ICU, been sedated much of the second week – but he continues fighting on. It has been a difficult time for everyone and I would appreciate your prayers. I will probably continue to be fairly quiet on Seven Notes for a while yet.
Thank you all for being such a caring Blogging family!
(Below you can see my dad Martin on Boxing Day 2013, his 85th birthday, with the 5 grandkids – mine are the three at the back. You can also read about him on this post: 23 Things my dad taught me ).

Blessings, Ros

Grandad and kids