Welcome to my blog! I hope to be a resource to help you in your walk with God. Now more than ever we need to get back to the basic fundamentals of moral living and take a stand for what is right and truthful with God as our ultimate authority. His Word is reliable and preserved and can be trusted, so that is the basis for my advice and teaching. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or topics you would like me to cover. I look forward to sharing what God has placed on my heart. See my website at https://www.lovinggodministry.com/ for books and music I have written that will enrich your life!

Ezekiel 22:30: "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." Let's stand in the gap together!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The holiness of God - #4 of 6

This one is not my favorite in the series, but is an interesting history lesson. It gives an example of someone who believed in the holiness of God, and was willing to die and to stand up against the religious leaders of his day to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ.  As always, I recommend you watch the link, but I have also summarized it below if you prefer to read it.

#4 – The Insanity of Luther

In the 16th century, hot debates would go on in the world of religion.  Martin Luther was considered rude at times, and the Pope referred to him as a wild boar running around their vineyards.  It was thought he was a drunken German, and they believed he would change his mind about his 95 Theses after he sobered up.  Some in the 20th century thought perhaps he was a madman. Why? He engaged in theological debate in an unusual way, very crass at times.  He was intemperate in his speech and neurotic about his health (hypochondriac), had nervous anxiety and nervous stomach, had kidney stones, predicted his death 6 or 7 times thinking he was going to die with his stomach aches. He had many phobias.  He had such a fear of the wrath of God that early on in his ministry someone asked him if he loved God. He said “Love God? You ask me if I love God? Sometimes I hate God! I see Christ as a consuming judge who is simply looking at me to evaluate me and visit affliction upon me.”  

That hatred was related to his paralyzing fear he had about God. As a young man his dad wanted him to be a lawyer. When Luther was a law student he was a brilliant young mind, but in the midst of that experience he came home when a storm arose, and he was trapped in the road in a violent thunderstorm. A lightening bolt landed so close to his horse that he was thrown. Had a narrow escape from death, and promised to become a monk. Thought it was an omen and a call to the ministry, dropped out of law school and took training for ministry, not out of love for God but out of phobias. 

At last his first mass came, and Hans Luther (his dad) came.  Martin Luther was an outstanding scholar and speaker, so everyone was waiting in anticipation for the first mass.  They believed a miracle took place. During the prayer of consecration, they believed transubstantiation occurred. The appearance of bread and wine was the same, but they thought there was a substance change in these elements – changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ.  Luther made his prayer over these elements.  Everyone waited for Luther to say the words of consecration. This arrogant person capable of public speaking and well rehearsed suddenly froze, he trembled, his mouth opened and lips moved but no words came out. His dad was embarrassed. Not a mental lapse as was thought, but he began to contemplate that his sinful self could not hold in his sinful  hands the body and blood of Christ. So overcome with his unworthiness that he froze. 

Most indicate his insanity was the apparent commitment to meglamania (I'm not sure if I spelled that right): a person being willing to defy every authority structure in this world and stand utterly alone as a young priest against the pope, church, counsels, everyone.  Debated with many. Went to Diet of Worms.  He claimed the Pope is an adversary of Christ, and the vicar of Satan. Less than tactful and diplomatic.  Luther marched in to the Diet of Worms, and when asked if he would recant (deny) what he said about Christ and faith and his 95 Theses, he declared he would not recant Christ. Hollywood version was he came in boldly and loudly and said:  “Unless I am convinced by sacred Scripture or by evident reason I will not recant. For my conscience is held captive by the Word of God and to act against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. God help me. I can do no other.”  That's not how it happened.  That moment in church history when asked: Will you recant? He said so quietly that no one heard him, and he was asked to answer a second time. He said, “could I have 24 hrs. to think it over?”  He didn’t know if he was right.  He was granted the additional time.  

He retired to his cell for private prayer and meditation and wrote a prayer that has survived to this day. A private Gethsemane. Here is a portion of his prayer: “Oh God, Almighty God everlasting, how dreadful is the world. Behold, how its mouth opens to swallow me up, and how small is my faith in Thee…if I had to depend upon any strength in this world, all is over….help me against all the wisdom of this world…for the work is not mine, but Thine. I have no business here, I have nothing to contend for with these great men of the world. I would gladly pass my days in happiness and peace, but the cause is yours, and it is righteous and everlasting, Oh Lord….I lean not upon man…dost thou not hear?...Thou hast chosen me for this work, I know it. Therefore, O God, accomplish thine own will and forsake me not, for the sake of thy will, beloved son Jesus Christ, my defense, my buckler, my stronghold…”  When Luther returned to the Diet of Worms the next day, they again said, “Brother Martin, will you now recant of these teachings?” Again he hesitated for a moment and he said, “unless I’m convinced by sacred scripture or by evident reason, don’t you see, I can’t recant.  My conscience is held captive by the word of God and to act against conscience is neither right nor safe.  Here I stand. I can’t do anything else.  God help me.” Meglomania? Visions of grandeur – maybe.  

Going back to the years on the monastery, the monks would give a daily confession. As a matter of routine the other brothers would do their confessional, but Martin Luther would spend 2 hours or 3 hours or 4 hours to confess sins in the past 24 hrs.  The superiors in the monastery told him to stop. They were small little sins, and they wondered if he just liked to spend time in the confessional, trying to get out of doing other things. But they realized he was earnest about this. Would come out and hear the words of the priest say “your sins are forgiven”, and would feel lighthearted and joyful until he remembered something he forgot to confess. Guilt affliction. 

There is a thin line between insanity and genius. Psychiatrists overlook that before he studied theology he was a brilliant student of the law. He applied that training to the law of God, and analyzed himself to the holy law of God and couldn’t stand the results. The character and righteousness of God was so holy, and he saw he was so awful, so he started to hate the idea of the righteousness of God.  He was a doctor of theology, and as he read Romans 1 he noted, “for the righteousness of God is revealed by faith…and the just shall live by faith.”  Suddenly the concept burst upon his mind that it was discussing the righteousness of God that God provides for you and for me graciously, freely to anyone who puts their trust in Christ receives the covering and cloak of the righteousness of Christ. He realized for the first time that his justification is established not based on his own naked righteousness which will always fall short of the demands of God but rests solely and completely on the righteousness of Christ.  He finally understood the gospel. 

To popes and counsels and diets and kings he declared that the just shall live by faith alone, God is holy and I am not.  Not negotiable – it’s the gospel. If that’s crazy, then we need an army of "insane" people like that to go into this world that the gospel may not be eclipsed, that we may understand that in the presence of a holy God, that we can be justified who are unjust. God offered us the holiness of his son as a covering of our sin, so we will not perish but have everlasting life if we believe in Jesus Christ.  For this Luther was willing to die.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The holiness of God - #3 of 6

This is the third part of a six-part series by Dr. R.C. Sproul on the holiness of God.  I have put the link below, but also typed up some notes as I listened to it.  I recommend listening to it, because as I've said before, he has a way with words, and articulates things so clearly and with such passion.  He sets things straight that get muddy in our culture.  This message here is one of my favorites, because so many times we hear the words, "That's not fair!"  We look down our noses at God as if He is unholy and unjust to allow things to happen, to pour His wrath or judgment on someone.  We have the audacity to accuse Him of injustice.  Please read below for a very clear presentation of Holiness and Justice. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/holiness_of_god/holiness-and-justice-3257/?

#3 – Holiness and Justice

In the 18th century in the American frontier, a recurring motif in the Great Awakening was: man is very, very, very bad, and God is very, very, very mad. Emphasis on sinfulness of man and wrath of God. 19th century had a dramatic reaction: well, man is not quite so bad and God really isn’t quite so mad, focused on the goodness of man and love of God. Beginning of 20th century a response to that reaction: crisis theology because it borrowed the term from the Latin word cresis: judgment.  If we are to take seriously the biblical portrait of God, we must take into consideration the wrath of God.  

In the Old Testament there are certain times and places where people felt there was an irrational expression in the character of God Himself. His holiness and righteousness were present, but there was a defect in His character.  The "shadow side" of Yahweh. Some even referred to it as an element of the demonic.  They felt it displays itself by sudden unprovoked manifestations of whimsical, capricious, arbitrary anger. 

Passages come to mind such as the beginning of Leviticus 10 when Aaron’s sons added incense and offered unauthorized fire. The fire consumed them and they died before the Lord.  How did Aaron react?  Here he was, a high priest who had a ceremony into the priesthood, wearing garments for glory and beauty, and then his own sons were also consecrated for the priesthood.  They were young clergy who tried a little adolescent type prank, result of immaturity, and without warning or rebuke, God strikes them dead instantly.  Aaron goes to Moses, "What’s going on?  Are these the thanks I get for my service? It's a small transgression – what kind of God does this?"  Moses said to Aaron: “This is what the Lord spoke of when he said among those who approach me I will be regarded as holy, and in the sight of all the people I will be honored.” And Aaron held his peace. God said, "Do you remember when I established the priesthood, consecrated you for these holy tasks?  It is not negotiable that before the people I will be treated with reverence."  When God spoke Aaron shut up. 

Another example was Uzza the Coathite.  The ark of the covenant was kept in safe keeping until it would be restored in its place in the sanctuary.  There was a celebration as they transferred it in the city, and people lined the streets, danced and sang. The ark of the covenant was placed in an ox cart. As it was moving down the road, one of the oxen stumbled, and the cart tilted and it looked like it would slide into the mud and be desecrated. Instinctively, involuntarily Uzza stretched forth his hand to protect the throne of God from falling in the mud.  God didn’t open up the heavens and say, “Thank you, Uzza!” No, as soon as his hand touched it, God struck him dead.  To give some background, the tribe of Levi was set apart by God to care for the temple.  Each family within the tribe of Levi was given a particular task. Coath was one of Levi’s sons. Their task or life’s vocation was to take care of the sacred vessels.  They were trained on how to treat it. Never, ever, EVER were they to touch the throne of God (the ark of the covenant) – one of the things they had to know. God said, If you touch it, you will die.  Why was it transported on an oxcart? Loops were there so they could carry it with sticks on foot.  Here was the problem: he assumed that his hands were less polluted than the dirt.  The earth was being dirt, obeying God’s laws, doing what dirt is supposed to do.  The hand of man was what God said “I don’t want that on this throne.” 

List of capital crimes – over 30 offenses for which God commanded the death penalties, for homosexual acts, adultery, child being unruly in public, capital crime for a Jewish person to go to a fortune teller.  How blood thirsty, we might think!  The New Testament has a spirit of mercy and love.  

Here is the key to the whole matter: the real mystery of iniquity is not that a holy, righteous God should exercise justice, to punish willfully disobedient creatures.  The real mystery is why this God through generations tolerates rebellious creatures who commit cosmic treason against His authority.  Even though there are 30-something capital offenses in the Old Testament, that doesn’t represent a cruel and unusual form of justice at the hand of God but already a massive reduction in capital crime.  Remember the rules at Creation: God breathed into dirt the breath of life, put man in the highest status on the planet, the greatest blessing and gift of life, and stamped his holy image on that piece of dirt.  But the law was: The soul that sins it shall die. All sin is a capital offense. Not just death after 70 yrs. old.  Adam and Eve were told about the forbidden fruit: "the day you eat of it you shall surely die."  Not spiritual death alone the day they transgressed the law of God.  The day that you eat you die biologically; it’s over.  Who can convict a holy, perfectly righteous Creator? Out of sheer mercy He is giving blessing.  Is there anything wrong with God extinguishing a creature who has the audacity to challenge His authority to rule His creation?  

What is involved in the slightest sin?  We in essence say, "My will has a right that is higher than the rights of God."  It is terrifying that people think committing abortion is a moral right. God never has given the moral right to do that. What will happen when someone stands before God and says I had the right to do that? Where did you get that right? They are saying, "I defy the authority of God, insult the majesty of God, and challenge the justice of God."  We are so accustomed to doing that and so careful to justify our disobedience that our consciences have been seared. We disobey and think it’s no serious matter. God, instead of destroying mankind in that act of revolt, instead reached out and extended mercy. Instead of justice He poured out His grace.  

There is a history of repeated episodes of manifestations of God’s gracious forbearance and merciful forgiveness to people disobeying Him day in and day out.  The swift and sudden exercise of justice we see is perhaps because God finds it necessary to interrupt His normal pattern of forbearing his grace and mercy to remind us of His justice.  Gives us time to repent, but instead of repenting we exploit it and think God doesn’t care if we sin, or if He cares there is nothing He can do about it. We are challenging the Almighty! We become so accustomed to God’s normal pattern of grace and mercy that we not only take it for granted but we begin to assume it, demand it, and if we don’t get it we are furious!  We say, "It's not fair!"  

Understand the difference between justice and mercy. The moment you think God owes you mercy, remember by definition mercy is voluntary. He is never obligated to be  merciful to a rebellious creature. He doesn’t owe you mercy. He said, "I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy."  A holy God is both just and merciful, never unjust. There is never an occasion when God punishes an innocent person.  He doesn’t know how to be unjust. Thank Him that He knows how to be nonjust. Mercy is nonjustice, not injustice.  Don’t pray for justice; He might do it. If He deals with us with justice, we would perish as swiftly as those in the Bible, like Uzza, Aaron’s sons, and Ananias and Sapphira, Lot’s wife, etc. We live by His grace and mercy, and let’s never forget it.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The holiness of God - #2 of 6

The second part of a 6-part series by Dr. R.C. Sproul on the holiness of God is summarized below, notes I took as I listened to it.  It's called, "The Trauma of Holiness."  The text is Isaiah 6.  I encourage you, however, to listen to the link. These links that I have been posting are roughly a half hour, and so worth it to watch.  Dr. R.C. Sproul articulates Scripture so well, with a true reverence and passion that really touches my heart.  He is a teacher that breaks things down to make things easy to grasp.  http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/holiness_of_god/the-trauma-of-holiness/?

#2 - Trauma of holiness

The holiness of God is traumatic to unholy people.  What happened to Isaiah in response to what he saw, when his eyes beheld the glory of God? John Calvin said: “Hence that dread and terror by which holy men of old trembled before God, as Scripture uniformly relates.” There is a pattern to human responses to the presence of God in the Scripture. The more righteous the person, the more he trembles when he enters the presence of God. 

Habakkuk’s complaint: he saw all the degradation and injustices in his homeland, and was so offended, that he complained against God in his watchtower and he wondered how He could stand seeing all this come to pass.  He waited up there until God answered his questions.  “My lips quivered, my belly trembled, and rottenness entered into my bone” he said when God did finally make His presence known.   

Job said when God spoke with him, “I abhor myself, I repent in dust and ashes, I spoke but will speak no more, I will put my hand over my mouth.” Any human exposed to the holiness of God trembles in His presence.  There was probably no human more righteous in those days as Isaiah.  He has a glimpse of the holiness of God, and the first thing he does is cry out in terror, “Woe is me! For I am undone.”  “Woe” is the opposite of “blessed.”  Woe is a grim and terrifying announcement of God’s judgment.  

The prophet Amos announced judgment by saying “Woe unto you.”  Jesus prefaced his words of judgment to the Pharisees by saying “Woe unto you.”  How rare in Scripture is anything brought up to the superlative (3rd degree), such as “holy, holy, holy.”  Jeremiah mentioned people saying “the temple of the Lord” three times, but this again is rare.  “Woe, woe, woe” is said when the angel flies over the earth with judgment.  That is something you do not want to be around for.  

Isaiah was one called of God and set apart, and the words of God are placed in his mouth, and the first oracle he pronounces is an oracle of doom upon himself. “Woe is me!”  For the first time in his life he understands who God is, and then for the first time he realizes who he (Isaiah) was – like a primordial scream where he curses himself. "I am undone!"  Psychological disintegration.  If healthy, they are whole. If unhealthy, they are falling apart.  Virtue of integrity – everything meshed together in a coherent and consistent way.  This man with the most integrity comes apart when he gets a glimpse of the character of God. 

We veil ourselves from the true character of God, as our natural inclination is to hide ourselves from Him (note: started in the garden of Eden after Adam and Eve sinned).  We know instinctively that His presence exposes everything that is unholy.  We justify all our sins; we are masters of self deceit.  Human nature: when asked, “are you perfect?”, 99/100 people would say, no I’m not perfect.  Nobody’s perfect!  To err is human!  But it doesn’t seem to bother us at all.  We don’t realize the seriousness of not being perfect.  We won’t be judged on a curve, but by the standard of God’s perfection.  We judge ourselves by each other, which is not wise.  We can always find someone more depraved than we are!  That is until we see the standard – pure holiness, then we realize we are undone.  

Isaiah said, "I am a man of unclean lips, and live among people of unclean lips." In other words, "I have a dirty mouth!"  One day every human being will be called before the holy Creator of heaven and earth. Every idle word we have ever spoken will be brought in to judgment.  Not what goes into a man’s mouth defiles him, but what comes out. We lie, we hurt others, we blaspheme God. We have dirty mouths! His hand went instinctively to his mouth when He saw the holiness of God.  What did God do?  Did He comfort him, and try to get him to stop carrying on like this? Or did He desire him to suffer and call him a miserable creep, and be mean about it?  He also didn’t say a word about cheap grace to Isaiah.  He didn’t say to sign a membership card or raise his hand and he can come in to his kingdom. No. He had the angel take a hot coal with tongs and place it on his lips.  Lips are hypersensitive! Hot coal on his lips would result in a huge blister, flesh sizzling.  Cruel punishment? No. The coal was applied to cauterize his lips, to purify him, to heal him, to prepare them for the message that he was to give. "Your guilt is taken away and sin atoned for. All your guilt is taken away.  I have forgiven you and cleansing you this moment and forever."

What would you give to hear Jesus say that to you?  God said that to Isaiah.  Then God said, "Who shall I send and who shall go for us?"  Isaiah says, “Here am I, send me.”  Not “here I am.” That would be telling God his geographical location.   No, “Here am I” – the price of repentance is painful, honest before God, painful to come into God’s presence, but when humble, God is ready to forgive, cleanse, and send. 

The holiness of God - #1 of 6

R.C. Sproul from Ligonier Ministries preached a series about the holiness of God that I absolutely love!  I recommend listening to it yourself, as he articulates so well.  http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/holiness_of_god/the-importance-of-holiness/?  But just in case you don't want to or don't have time, here are some highlights I typed up.  I am burdened by the fact that we (myself included!) don't have the proper reverence for God in this generation. I believe that is because we don't fully understand the holiness of God.  This series really puts it in perspective, and I believe that once you have gone through this series, you'll never be the same.

Here are some tidbits from Dr. R.C. Sproul's series #1 of 6 on The Holiness of God (from Isaiah 6): "The Importance of Holiness." When God creates something, He doesn't waste anything. He makes it fit for its environment (fish with fins and gills, birds with feathers and wings, etc.). The Seraphim around the throne of God have 6 wings, 2 to fly, but 2 to cover their faces, and 2 to cover their feet. The feet represent creatureliness, and they are in the presence of God Almighty. Two wings cover their faces. Moses asked God if he could look at him, and God said no one could see His face and live. Moses had to be covered in the cleft of a rock in order to see the back end of God's glory as it passed by, and as a result, that light reflected on Moses' face to the point the people told him to cover his face because he was blinding them! So in order to survive, the Seraphim cover their faces.

They sing all day and night: "Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God Almighty, heaven and earth is filled with His glory." We bold, underline, italicize, and put exclamation points to emphasize something. The Jews would do verbal repetition to emphasize something, and repeating something 3 times put it in the superlative emphasis. That is the only trait of God that is mentioned this way. Not love, love, love, or justice, justice. justice, but holy, holy, holy. They sing that day and night. The reaction of inanimate objects such as the doorposts and thresholds to the manifestation of the holiness of God was they shook and trembled. If these lifeless things are so moved, how can we as humans be apathetic or indifferent to God's majesty? God alone is holy.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Weeping Musician

Have you heard of the weeping prophet?  Jeremiah wept over the judgment and destruction of God's people.  I have to confess I have not wept, but my heart is bleeding over something that is very personal to me: today's Christian music scene.  

Leviticus 10:1-3 says, "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.  And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace."

This is my personal blog, so I want to share some personal thoughts of mine. My heart is grieved over the culture when it comes to Christian music.  I know there are more serious things in the world going on right now, particularly with Israel and the world of politics.  I believe the Lord's coming is nigh at hand.  But we are to occupy until He comes, and because I am a musician and music teacher, as well as an author/singer/songwriter, music is one of those things I am passionate about.  

I get accused that I worry too much over issues.  I keep trying to save the world, and really I should be focusing on my day to day activities and let the things of the world take care of themselves, or let someone else deal with it.  That might not be said in those exact words, but the meaning is there.  I also get accused of being too judgmental.  People will say, "Yes, I agree with you, that is wrong, but..."  Then fill in the blank.  "but...it's not your problem."  "but...there's nothing that you can do about it."  "but...mind your own business."

Music is one of those very personal, intimate things that often becomes a god in people's lives.  I have to watch out for that myself; I live, breathe, think, and sleep music - it's a part of my soul, and I have to make sure I never put it in higher esteem than the one and only TRUE God.  Those who know me best know how much I love music.  And yet after experiencing four separate events in which music was misused and/or used inappropriately, I actually felt like I hated music.  Strange coming from me.  I felt like I didn't even want to hear any music anymore because it's gotten so corrupted in Christian circles, and I felt like if I had to listen to that in church every week, I would stop going to church.  Really, I would find a different church, but in that moment, I was turned off to Christianity in general as I put myself into that culture that was presented to me through song.  Not only did I not feel like worshipping God as I watched praise teams "jiving" up on stage putting on a show, but I was repulsed by it.  I'm sorry, but I do not want to come to church and watch a show and see people moving their hips and singing as if they were the main attraction.  He must increase, we must decrease.  I'm there to hear the still, small voice of God.  Get the distractions and the hype out of the church.  We don't need hype; we need the Spirit of God to indwell us.  When did "worship" become "entertainment?"  Why have people come to expect that in a church?

Now, I do totally understand that humans have different preferences and tastes when it comes to music.  Some songs will minister more to some than others, and some are not bothered by heavy drums and rock beat because they are used to it.  I know that some people are more sensitive than others.  There is music I like that others don't like and vice versa.  I'm not referring to styles, per se.  I'm talking about a disconnect between the words and the music behind those words.  I've seen concerts in which they said wonderful things, but then the music contradicts what they just said.  I've heard Jesus Christ's name in a song that is hard rock, heavy metal, and that is a disgrace, maybe even blasphemy, perhaps a form of taking His name in vain.  Where is the reverence for God?  How and when did it disappear from the house of the Lord, or even a Christian concert?  Are we offering up strange fire?  A Christian concert can be fun without being worldly and secular.

I'm grieved because why is this going on?  Why aren't more people speaking up against it?  When I was saved, I was taught that you forsake the things of the world; old things are passed away, behold, all things become new.  We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  God places a new song in our hearts.  God was so upset when He was giving Moses the Ten Commandments because He heard His people singing war-like music while worshipping a false god, the golden calf.  He stopped everything and sent Moses down there to break up the party.  There was judgment for that. Why didn't Aaron stop that? What is going on with our leadership today?  Why is rock music and hip hop and heavy metal tolerated in Christian circles and churches and Christian universities?  It really doesn't take much to realize that is not music pleasing unto the Lord, but something that is carnal, fleshly, worldly, that we are embracing.  I see the movements of the body that go along with these supposedly God-honoring songs.  I see people who listen to Christian rock very easily transitioning to secular rock, having it at their wedding receptions, games, etc.  The words are often not even clearly heard or understood.  The music is so loud that people are having to cover their ears in order to protect their hearing. Talk about quenching the Spirit by harming and injuring God's temple.

Listen, we need to get serious about the holiness of God.  Reverence Him!  Take those same songs and lose the drums and the electric guitars, unless you can play them reverently.  You can take any song and play it appropriately or inappropriately.  I'm thankful that so many songs have words that are honoring to God, but the whole package is needed - God honoring words and music to match those precious words.  

I will tell you this clearly: Christian music does not require a heavy, driving beat to get through to people's hearts and minds.  Church is not a venue for entertainment.  You don't have to deafen the audience to have an impact on them!  People should not have to wear earplugs to a concert or church service.  You are being deceived if you think you have to act like the world to reach the world.  NO WAY!  Lift His holy name up, and He will draw all men to Himself.  Don't slam that precious name in the wretchedness of the world's lost condition.  Rather, elevate and edify people up toward the holiness of God.  There should be a difference in our music that makes people hungry for more - hungry spiritually, not physically.  It is so disappointing to see wonderful, talented Christian artists mimicking the secular world's system.  

Think "acoustical version", and you will probably make great strides at turning your songs into God honoring messages that are consistent with God's Word and His demand for holiness and reverence.  Leviticus 11:44: "For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy."  God, help us in this generation of apathy and carnal living to set ourselves apart unto you, and to put away the old man. Ephesians 4:22-23: "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind."

Yes, we shouldn't be judgmental, looking down our noses at people and thinking we are better than everyone else.  But we better be judges of things and actions, and use discernment.  We better look around at our culture and separate ourselves from worldliness and deceitful lusts.  We better reverence God Almighty with humility, and make judgment calls of things to see if they are wicked or good.  "Abstain from all appearance of evil."  1 Thess. 5:22.  It's apathy and cowardice to look to issues and say, "Oh, I can't do anything about it, so I won't get involved; I won't say anything. Besides, what good is one voice?"  Hey, you have one voice! Use it! The more people who speak up against inappropriate, irreverent music, the more chance that it will get the attention of those who do have the power to make decisions that will impact our culture. It starts with you!

Certainly we can't personally attack every issue out there, but it takes a team effort.  There are people actively fighting against abortion and saving lives of innocent unborn children.  There are people actively trying to defend Israel.  There are people actively trying to fight world hunger.  They have their daily, personal needs as well, but it takes a concerted effort to make change in this world, and that's not being a busybody, that is being an activist.  That is making a difference by getting out of your comfort zone and use what God has given you...a voice, talent, ambition, prayer, convictions.  Speak up!  Make change!  Things didn't go in a wrong direction over night, and neither will fixing those things, but with God's help we can make positive change in one church, one organization, and one life at a time.

Get rid of the strange fire before God sends judgment.  I realize that many don't even recognize it. I've seen eyes open, and all of a sudden they see it. Please pray and self evaluate.  Maybe your music is fine, and your church's music is fine.  Praise the Lord! Spread the word, and continue to set a good example to those around you.

Click on this for a great study on the holiness of God by Dr. R.C. Sproul.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Walking in Wisdom RELEASED TODAY!!!

My Walking in Wisdom: Singing the Proverbs CD is released today!  Find it at discounted prices online at places such as amazon.com.  These songs were all taken from the book of Proverbs, and instill wisdom and understanding.  It's great for the whole family!

Buy Walking in Wisdom at amazon.com

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Get Ready, Get Set...for Walking in Wisdom!

Today is September 5, ten days away from the release date of Walking in Wisdom: Singing the Proverbs album on September 15, 2015!  This album is great for the whole family, but especially the kids!  I wanted to make an album that parents could feel good about their kids listening to, and have songs with catchy tunes that would resound those godly messages in their minds and hearts throughout the day.  Most of these songs have been "kid tested, teacher approved" as we have sung a lot of these songs at assemblies at our Christian school.

When kids come up to me and tell me they love this song, and that it was stuck in his or her head all day (and they weren't annoyed by it!), then that's a good sign. They're singing them in the shower, and even younger siblings are joining along! Some have requested to sing them in church, so they have done so.  What a great feeling to see kids excited to not only hear but to sing songs about living right for God, ministering to others as they do it.  God is using these kids right here, right now - right where they are!  They don't have to wait until they're grown up to make a difference - NOW is the time!  And they're doing it, being a blessing to many around them.  Praise the Lord!

This album is a GREAT supplement to my book, I Will Stand.  This book is interactive, building strong character skills, causing these kids to WANT to please the Lord with their lives and attitudes and behaviors.  What more could a parent want?  Some of those principles are put into music format with Walking in Wisdom.  There are several ways you can preorder the CD, and also buy the book if you have not already done so.  If ordering through Tate Music Group or Tate Publishing, you can buy the album today.

Strengthening the next generation (and our generation as well!) does not happen without effort.  These resources are tools you can use to do the job effectively because they are based on the Word of God.  That's where the power is!  My desire is that as your family draws closer to the Lord, you will draw closer together. It's like a triangle; as we get closer to the point (God), we draw closer together. Strong families make strong communities, which in turn make a strong nation.  Political candidates are not responsible for the moral fabric of this nation; we are.

Get your copy today, and take a step in the right direction toward building strong kids for God.  God bless you in your efforts!

Receive Walking in Wisdom now:

Buy Walking in Wisdom now from Tate Music Group

Preorder Walking in Wisdom to be shipped 9/15/15:

Preorder Walking in Wisdom through iTunes
Preorder Walking in Wisdom from Muzoic
Preorder Walking in Wisdom from amazon.com

Receive I Will Stand, an interactive devotional to build character in your child:

Buy I Will Stand from Tate Publishing
Buy I Will Stand discounted at amazon.com