Sunday, September 6, 2009

I've Changed My Mind

Ever thought you had something all figured out only to find out when the rubber meets the road - you don't? I don't imagine I am the only one to do this..on a variety of issues, but I never imagine this one hitting so close to my heart. MUSIC.

My love for music is no secret. In fact, lots of my blogging has to do with music...songs I like, music lyrics, concerts I've attended, worship teams...anyway, you get the picture. It's been a huge part of my life since I started playing the piano for the church I grew up in when I was 14 years old....and maybe before that because I do remember being in the "Sunshine Choir" with Ms. Paula at Belmont Baptist Church in my very wee years.

Before college I had already fallen in love with instrumental praise and worship music. In college I had my first try at Handel's Messiah and it was also my first time to sing Brooklyn Tabernacle's music.

Once we left college we worked at more traditional churches who sang mostly hymns and had more southern gospel tendencies (something I was familiar with but not necessarily a big fan of). Only when Bruce became a pastor did I feel like I was in a church that had a really balanced music approach...and that didn't happen overnight. We've tried almost everything, worship leader alone, worship leader with praise team/band, praise team, choir, soundtracks, live music....you name it, we have tried it.

Somewhere over the course of time, I got in my head or reasoned within myself, that choirs weren't the way of this century and that the praise team was best...with all live music, of course. I strayed farther away from hymns than ever before and fell head over heels in love with groups like Starfield, Third Day, Pocketful of Rocks (most of the stuff you find here on my blog).

I've made fun of congregations that wouldn't move past hymns. I'm ashamed.
I've made fun of southern gospel music. I'm ashamed.
I've made fun of pastors who wouldn't let a set of drums on the stage. I'm ashamed.
I've made fun of Christians who I didn't think were making a difference because their "worship style" wasn't what I Preferred. I'm ashamed.

Keyword: Preferred.

Did you know that God doesn't care if the music is high church, southern gospel, praise and worship or ...
As I was examining my heart recently I was saddened by the thought that I have wasted so much time standing in judgement of other's preferences that I couldn't see past my own pride. What was I thinking???? Was I telling God what HE was going to like???

Do you think God cares if He hears: How Great Thou Art or How Great is Our God? I don't. He cares about the condition of our heart when we sing the words to any song. Who am I to say that someone can't be totally swept away in worship when they sing a hymn written 300 years ago- just because that's not my style- doesn't mean it's not God's.

About church choirs: If you don't like church choirs you won't like heaven....or at least that's what I have figured out these past few weeks! Doesn't the Bible tell us that we will all be singing HIS praises? Sounds like a big church choir to me! It's not gonna be me up there leading all you in worship...wow...that's some pride there isn't it???

I guess I'm just realizing I haven't got this whole music/worship thing figured out. I truly LOVE praise and worship music. It is MY favorite, and I guess I am just learning that somebody else might feel just as strongly about hymns or high church music...and that's OK. God likes it all. It's about HIM...not us...and it takes a MIGHTY humble worship/music leader to stand humble week after week alone or with the presence of a choir, worship team or band to do that...and it not be about him/her/them. Lord help us.

I still love praise and worship and contemporary Christian music. I don't imagine that's gonna change, but I am open to more styles because I am realizing every day that God's not necessarily into style...He's into worship, praise, adoration, kneeling down, humbling ourselves and getting swept into his presence. After this morning's service at church....I've been in HIS presence and that's where I want to stay...forever.

I realize that if you are still reading this....you either love me or hate me...and probably have something to say about all this....if you do...leave me a comment. I'd love to hear it!

"Lord You're Holy"
Anthem Avenue
music and lyrics by: Eddie James

Lord you're holy, Lord you're holy
And we lift you up and magnify your name
Lord you're holy, Lord you're holy
And we lift you up and magnify your name
As I look around and I see,
all the works your hands have made
The awesomeness of you, and how your love will never fade
Mere words cannot express how I feel inside
I can't describe your glory divine
But as a token of my love, this is what I'll do
I lift my hands and cry, Holy
Lord you're holy, Lord you're holy
And we lift you up and magnify your name
Lord you're holy, Lord you're holy
And we lift you up and magnify your name
There's not enough words that I can say
TO tell you how much I appreciate
All the wonderful things, You've give me
Your love and kindness, your tender mercies
It's my desire, to praise you,
and to tell you how much, I love you
Cause you're worthy of all the glory, yes,
You're worthy of all my praise
I don't know how you could love
How you could give me so much mercy
Cause you didn't have to suffer and die for me
Way back on Calvary
But I just want to thank you.
We thank you! Lord we thank you
Wonderful, Glorious, Holy and Righteous,
Victorious, Conqueror, Triumphant and Mighty
Healer, Deliverer, Shield and Defense
Strong Tower and My Best Friend
Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Soon Coming King
Alpha, Omega, Lord of everything
You're holy, Holy is your name

© 2001 New Spring Publishing, Inc /
Fresh Wine Publishing (ASCAP)

5 comments:

Kathy said...

He loves anything that comes from the heart, Gina. Sounds like you have a handle on that. It's amazing what critics we can become isn't it. I can remember I time when I flat-out embarassed myself over that very issue. I had lost sight of the one it was all about. I think He'll use whoever offers up that sacrifice of praise, style being a non-issue. Blessings on the journey, friend.-Kathy

F. Deaton said...

LOVE your post! It is so easy to "tune out" a song about the Lord just because it may not be in the style we like. I am definitely guilty of that one. I have to remind myself sometimes in choir that while a particular song may not be one of my favorites, the One I'm singing for and about is the important thing.

Love ya girl!

J. Creech said...

Amen and amen.

Dealing with this issue has been one of the greatest challenges and discouragements in my ministry. It has also been one of the greatest blessings to come to the same realization for myself early, and to be able to try to teach my children and others the same.

I have always made and argument for keeping choirs. Praise teams are fine too, but no need to get rid of the choir! I really think most music directors are just too lazy to struggle with a choir-the idea of just dealing with the most committed, talented musicians has a certain appeal, but God calls us to more than what is easy! I'll put away the soap box-sorry.

God is not limited to my understanding, much less my preferences. What a mighty God we serve!

Red Writing said...

Great post!

Worship Dude said...

Hey Fellow BBC Choir member that loves BTC,

Loved you post. You know, I have a wide range of taste. I still can't understand why people have to have their style of music, but that's why we have two services every Sunday-1 Traditional and 1 Contemporary. Everyone needs to read you post. Thanks for posting!

Have Fun,
Jamey