Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘1 Corinthians 14:18-19’

The last two Sundays, I’ve attended two different worship services in two different locales.

I loved the first service.  But I almost walked out of the second one.

Two Sundays ago, my wife and I attended a service at our daughter’s medium-sized Bible church in Northern California.

Then last Sunday, I attended the second service at our “home” church in Southern California … a Calvary Chapel.

The worship times at both churches were vastly different.

I have to admit, I struggle through most “worship times” these days … and I especially struggle with many of the lyrics to the praise and worship songs.

Last Sunday, the worship leader told us that his daughter requested the next song we were going to sing … a song called “God’s Great Dance Floor.”

Along with another guy, Martin Smith and Chris Tomlin co-wrote the song.

I love Martin Smith.  I’ve been to a Delirious? concert.  I have all their CDs … and bought the CD God’s Great Dance Floor the day it was released.

I’ve been to a Chris Tomlin concert, too.

So I already like these guys … I just don’t like the song.  It belongs in a concert hall … not a worship service.

The chorus goes: “I feel alive/I come alive/I am alive on God’s great dance floor”

I’m sure those lyrics are deeply spiritual, but their meaning is lost on me … and I’ve never figured out what “God’s Great Dance Floor” refers to, anyway.

After that song was mercifully over, the worship leader prayed and said, “God, when we’re dancing with you, I know that you’re right there dancing with us.”

What does that mean?

Then we sang a song I’d never heard called “Wildfire”:

“In the furnace of my soul/fan the flame and take control/like a wildfire, wildfire … You’re a wildfire, wildfire”

Really?

I assume the song is referring to the Holy Spirit, but I’m reluctant to call Him a “wildfire.”

Right now in Northern California, wildfires are burning out of control, destroying homes and property … leaving people displaced … harming entire communities … and as of this writing, have killed five people.

Is the Holy Spirit really a wildfire … destroying everything in His path?

I find this to be a disturbing metaphor.

This hits close to home because we have a friend who’s a fireman who sometimes has to fight those wildfires.

Oh, God, forgive me … I’m thinking too much when I’m supposed to be shutting down my mind.

I’m not down on those songs or the people who wrote them.  I just think there are far more appropriate songs we could sing in a worship service.

This reminds me of the following story told by the late Chuck Colson:

“We’d been led through endless repetitions of a meaningless ditty called ‘Draw Me Close to You,’ which has zero theological content and could just as easily be sung in any nightclub. When I thought it was finally and mercifully over, the music leader beamed. ‘Let’s sing that again, shall we?’ he asked. ‘No!’ I shouted, loudly enough to send heads all around me spinning while my wife, Patty, cringed.”

By contrast, the lyrics at my daughter’s church were intelligent … and even elegant.

In fact, they didn’t sound like tossed off little ditties, but were songs of substance … filled with solid theology and meaningful lyrics.

My wife and I both wept during the worship time.  I didn’t want it to stop.

In fact, if the church wasn’t 500 miles away, I’d visit again this next Sunday.

Ten years ago, I attended a seminar on worship music led by one of America’s top worship leaders.

He told us that he submitted a list of songs to the senior pastor (I won’t tell you his name, but his initials are RW) every week for approval … and that the previous week, the pastor had put a big “X” across all the songs and wrote in the ones he wanted to be sung.

Maybe when the pastor is ultimately in charge of the “worship time” … and can veto certain songs or select his own choices … the lyrics will hopefully be more biblical and intelligent.

I’m reminded of Paul’s words on speaking in tongues in 1 Corinthians 14:18-19:

I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.  But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.

If, as some believe, Paul is contrasting tongue-speaking in personal devotions with tongue-speaking in a public worship service, he’s at least making this point: the words used in a worship service must be intelligible.

I love the Lord.  I love music.  I love worship times.

But right now, I’m tempted to put a big “X” through the first thirty minutes of the service … and yes, I’m seriously considering looking for a new church home … because I just can’t sing about dance floors and wildfires a second time.

In fact, isn’t biblical worship about far more than just music?

Can’t we have a personal testimony every once in a while … or is God only working in the lives of the worship leader and lead pastor?

Can’t we have an element on occasion that makes us think … like a reading from Max Lucado or J.I. Packer or R.C. Sproul?

Can’t we turn loose some creativity and periodically show a meaningful video produced by people from the church?

Can’t we let one or two people with gifted voices sing a performance song with thought-provoking lyrics?

Why do we always have to sing for 30 minutes before the sermon?

Who made that rule?

I think I know.  Maybe someday I’ll tell you.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: