From the Pastor
Message from Jim
Message from Pastor Jim

CRELIN, JIM

 

From Pastor Jim

Recently, Cathy and I enjoyed the end-of-the-year celebration with the music department. From September through May, singers and instrumentalists under the leadership of Wendy Fentiman provide incredible praise and adoration of our God in worship. At other times they just have fun entertaining us in concerts. In fact, some of our singers and pianists take the show on the road for local adult resident communities. It is appropriate as the season comes to a close for the music department to celebrate a ministry well done. We are fortunate to have such wonderful talent in our church and I wish to thank everyone from the music department and those who provide the sound for blessing us in this way.

Worship and music are as essential to each other as worship and preaching. From my very first days in the pulpit, I have realized what an important part music plays in the worship experience. It has seemed to me that the better the music, the better the sermon. Over the centuries a debate has been on-going as to whether music or the sermon should play a greater role in worship. The truth is, preaching and Christ-honoring music are not adversaries: they are partners in worship. Recently while reading 1 Chronicles 25, I was amazed at just how great an emphasis God placed on the ministry of music in the service of the tabernacle and the temple.

In 1 Chronicles 23:1-5, we are told how David provided for worship as he passed the kingship on to his son Solomon. “David assembled all the leaders of Israel and the priests and the Levites. The Levites, thirty years old and upwards, were counted, and the total was thirty-eight thousand. ‘Twenty-four thousand of these’, David said, ‘shall have charge of the work in the house of the Lord, six thousand shall be officers and judges, four thousand gatekeepers, and four thousand shall offer praises to the Lord with the instruments that I have made for praise.’” Four thousand people were dedicated to the ministry of music for the worship of Israel! I believe the Lord was very serious about music in worship.

Later in 1 Chronicles 25:1–6 we are told David selected three men (Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun) to organize and lead the music in public services. In that same passage, we are told that these men had between them twenty-four sons, who then led in the ministry of music. Each of them had specific responsibilities in both instrumentation and voice and together led an army of musicians.

As important as that is to know, what really caused me to take note was how the Lord described their ministry in 1 Chronicles 25:2–3: “Of the sons of Asaph: Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah, and Asarelah, sons of Asaph, under the direction of Asaph, who prophesied under the direction of the king. Of Jeduthun, the sons of Jeduthun: Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the direction of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied with the lyre (harp) in thanksgiving and praise to the Lord.”

Note the words that I emphasized: they used their instruments and voices to prophesy. Now they did not preach, but their music had a message that gave thanks and brought praise to the Lord. It is important that the music in our services is not viewed as a performance to highlight the talent of the musician but as a message about the glory of our God. We need to be so careful that music, the lyrics and the musician have as their goal to praise God. In so doing, those that hear the music are made ready to receive the Word that will be preached. Music and preaching are not in competition in worship; they are complementary to each other and allow for Christ-honoring worship.

--Jim

Musical staff 1

 

Last Published: April 27, 2019 7:53 AM
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