Friday, June 19, 2009

Closing the Doors

So for anyone who has been checking in on me, you notice that I post once or twice a month at best. I have decided to officially close the doors on the blog for a little while. I will re-open when I get a better picture of what I have to offer as a blogger and can post often enough to make it worth everyone's time.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

VOY o Voy

Hey all, this Sunday is Vitality of Youth Sunday, which means that the spotlight will be on our Junior and Senior High students. Please make sure to come support our students as they help lead us in worship in all three services. Then, stay for the picnic afterward where we will welcome members of other congregations that meet at Hope and OCMC.

Monday, April 27, 2009

3 Chapters a Day

Did you realize that if you read 3 chapters of the Bible each day, you can read the whole thing in a year? Ok, so you have to read 1 extra chapter a week to make it work out, but that is more than manageable. There is an average of about 700 words per chapter, which means reading around 2100 words a day. For ease, let's call it 15 minutes a day. Can you carve out 15 minutes a day to read God's revelation to us?

(Is it wrong to suggest you skim genealogies?)

If you've never read the whole Bible before, I encourage you to challenge yourself to do this in the next year.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Why I should stop being a muscial snob

I found this article by Bob Kauflin through another blog. I am guilty of a lot of this. Are you?

I Hate That Music

by Bob Kauflin

I’ve been musing recently about how we express our musical opinions. Why do we feel so strongly about songs, bands, and styles? And why do we draw conclusions so quickly? Someone plays a new song or band for us and we have an immediate response:

Nope. Don’t like it.

That stinks.

I can’t stand that kind of music.

You like that stuff?

Is there anything wrong with raving about the music/artists we love and being swift to trash those we despise?

If we’re Christians, yes. Let me suggest ten reasons why musical forbearance might be good for our souls.

1. Being a self-appointed music critic is often just a sign of pride.

Using exaggerated or biting words to put down certain songs, styles, or artists can be a symptom of selfishness, laziness, or arrogance. Music is a vast topic, and no one knows everything there is to know about it. I know at times I haven’t taken time to consider whether or not my assessment was accurate because I was busy sharing my opinions. (Prov. 18:2)

2. Music doesn’t define us.

Why do we become offended when someone critiques our favorite song, group, or style of music? Often it’s because they feel like they’re insulting “our” music, which means they’re insulting us. The problem might be that we’re viewing music as an idol, the thing that satisfies us and gives meaning to our life. Music isn’t our life — Christ is. (Col. 3:4).

3. Great songs don’t always sound great the first time through.

Some songs require repeated listenings to appreciate their value. Albums and songs often grow on us over time. Is the best music always instantly accessible or appealing? If we’ve learned anything from hundreds of years of music making, the answer would have to be no.

4. Listening to music the masses have never heard of doesn’t make us better.

Some of us derive a particular joy in finding and listening to obscure, undiscovered artists. I sure like coming across a great band I’ve never heard of. But finding an unknown artist isn’t admirable in and of itself. Some bands are undiscovered because they’re not very good. And if we do happen to discover a talented unknown band, it’s an opportunity to serve others, not look down on them.

5. Listening to music that is massively popular doesn’t make us better.

This is the opposite craving of the previous point. It’s the mindset that says if the song or artist hasn’t been on the radio, at the top of the charts, or on TV, it’s not worth listening to.

6. Learning to appreciate unfamiliar music is one way to prefer others. I can find this hard to believe at times, but not everyone likes the music I do. And patiently seeking to understand why my friends like the music they do will not only cultivate humility. (Phil. 2:4) It might broaden my musical world!

7. Learning to like other kinds of music can open my eyes to God’s creativity.

In his book, Music Through the Eyes of Faith, Harold Best addresses musical elitists. “Among all this stuff that needs aesthetic redeeming, there is also goodness, a whole lot of integrity and honesty, from which they themselves can learn.” (p. 89) That means I can actually enjoy music that is less sophisticated than what I’d ordinarily listen to.

8. We may have to eat our words.

It’s happened more than a few times. I mouth off about how bad a song is, and later on start to think it’s actually pretty good. Or I tear up a song on my blog and later find myself talking to a person who loves it or the person who wrote it. Oops.

9. We might be missing an opportunity to be grateful for God’s gifts.

Our tendency is to assume that God’s gifts all look and sound the same. They don’t, and that shouldn’t surprise us. What would happen if the first time we heard a song we were grateful rather than critical? James 1:17 tells us that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” Those good gifts might include that new song that sounds so strange to our ears.

10. Being opinionated about music can affect our ability to worship God corporately.

How many times have you heard the first few bars of a worship song on Sunday and thought, “Oh no…I can’t stand this song.” Or maybe you’re talking with a group of friends at lunch on Sunday, and you’re letting them know which songs you really didn’t like. In either case, we’re giving more value to our musical preferences than God’s command to sing his praise and to love him with all our hearts. Do we really want to let our musical opinions keep us from worshiping the God who gave us music in the first place?

Let me be clear. No song is above evaluation and some songs are better than others in a particular genre. But we just might serve others and ourselves more effectively if we expressed our musical opinions with a little more grace.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Worship is Eternal!

Did you realize how big a deal worship is? This morning as I was torturing myself on a stationary bicycle, I read something that may change the way I look at worship forever.

Reflecting on Ephesians 1:3-6, Bob Kauflin had this to say:

God chose us before the foundation of the world because he loved us. But why did he choose us? Not so that we might endlessly reflect upon ourselves, but for the "praise of his glorious grace." When we worship God, we join an activity that began in eternity and will continue forever - the triune God valuing his beauty and worthy above everything else
(From Worship Matters page 176.)

When we worship God, we are joining in something that began in God's mind before time began and is going to continue on forever. When we worship Jesus Christ, we are tapping into eternity! That may change my attitude every time I offer my meager worship to God.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Find what works for you

I spent a lot of years and a lot of money trying to get the sound that other guitar players had. In fact, a few years ago, I had the exact same set up as a friend of mine who is an amazing guitar player. We had the same guitar running into the same multi-effects pedal, running out to the same amp. The only difference was that it sounded good when he played, and it sounded mediocre when I played. A lot of people have put all their money into gear that is named after their favorite musicians, but don't have the same results.

It turns out that the most important factor in determining your individual sound comes before the pedals, before the pickups, before the strings, and before your pick. It starts with the notes you choose and how your fingers play them. Finger pressure on the strings, the strength of your attack with your right hand, and a multitude of other techniques all make a significant difference.

Once I realized that I was the main reason my guitar sounded different, I started to find what worked for me. Turns out my friend thinks I am way better than he is at other things. Why? Because we play differently. Don't worry about sounding like your favorite musician. Find your style and do the best to make it better.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Let Your Kingdom Come

We are doing a new song this week. I have really appreciated Bob Kauflin's work as an author and blogger. So we are singing a song he wrote called "Let Your Kingdom Come". Enjoy.