Songs that make me cringe. Since this is a “Friday Five,” and I’m keeping my thoughts short, I don’t have the space to talk about all the songs that make me cringe. I’m speaking about “Christian songs” in particular, but not limiting myself to them. And there are many. I’ll get to them as the weeks roll on. I have a hard time repeating something that isn’t true. For instance, if a preacher stood in front of the congregation and asked me to repeat with him, “Joel Osteen preaches the Gospel,” I would not. MOST of us (I would hope) would stand silent.
Why is it, then, with songs and hymns, we lose our doctrinal compass and just say it anyway? The one song I’ve always had trouble repeating is “Blessed Assurance.” I realize “Blessed Assurance” is a classic, and everyone loves it. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be sung, or it is sinful to sing it. But, I have issues with it.
For instance, the line “praising my Savior all the day long” often rings hollow for me. Why? Because do I REALLY praise my Savior all the day long? No, I do not. I wish I did, but I don’t. I don’t know anyone, being honest with themselves, who does.
Likewise, the line “Perfect submission…” I do not have perfect submission to God. Jesus did, but I don’t. My flesh still rises up against my Master, causing us both great grief. I am often insubordinate in my flesh — far from being perfectly submissive. As I am trained in sanctification, I have been able to nail pieces of my old man to the cross daily, but I know the perfection of my will, mind, and flesh will not come until I am glorified. Therefore, I’m lying if I repeat otherwise, and that’s just being honest.
Busyness is dangerous business. Most churches have a lot going on. Especially if they’re program and committee driven. There’s always a meeting, a planning session, an event, a program, or training of some kind going on. I don’t deny that it’s important for churches to plan and communicate, but there comes a point when too much of it leads to busyness, and busyness for the sake of busyness is dangerous business!
A perfect example of this can be illustrated with the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42). As Martha sat at the feet of Jesus and learned (and rested), Mary was busy doing other things: “But Martha was distracted with much serving.” Martha was so distracted with activity that Jesus eventually rebuked her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things.”
And that is what busyness does to many Christians and churches. It distracts us from the “one necessary thing” (v. 42). Being distracted from the Person and mission of Jesus is a very dangerous thing. Why spend our time being overly busy about what to do for Jesus, when we could be spending time with Jesus, and fulfilling the mission of Jesus?
“Let’s Not Cut Christ to Pieces.” This is a must-read article by Michael Horton in Christianity Today. The article itself deals with the biblical view of homosexuality, but more than that it gives great insights into our struggle with sin in general. Too often, Christians disobey the gospel’s directives for dealing with sin, and we devise our own schemes and escape plans for dealing with sin and temptation. They fail 100% of the time.
Do yourself a favor and read this. Horton comes off as passionate, compassionate, and thoroughly biblical. Again, a must-read!
Should Christians Have Tattoos? Tattoos are a cultural phenomenon. Like most cultural phenomenons, the church lags way behind in teaching its members to think biblically on the issue. More than 45 million Americans have at least one tattoo according to an FDA report. Seems everyone has one. Among that 45 million, I would wager that there is a substantial number of Christians included. So, should Christians have tattoos?
Here’s how I would answer that. I’d start by asking questions. What does the Bible, understood in its proper context, say about it? Does your conscience allow it? Will it offend weaker brothers and sisters in Christ, and cause them to stumble? Will it draw attention to you and not God? If you live at home, does it rebel against the rules of your parents? Will it advance opportunities to share the gospel, or will it hinder them? These are all questions for you to think through if you are considering getting a tattoo. If you answered in the negative, you might want to reconsider.
Perhaps you thought I was going to throw some Leviticus 19:28 on you?
Saluting the Rolling Stones. Rock band The Rolling Stones celebrated the 50th anniversary of their first gig, which was in 1962. The Stones are like the Energizer Bunny of rock music — they just keep going and going and going ad infinitum. Well into their 60’s, rumblings abound that the Stones are gearing up for yet another world tour. Speaking of music that makes me cringe, there are Stones tunes which are certainly cringe-inducing. Not to mention all the years of drugs, illicit sex, drugs, and illicit sex. And more drugs. But, they somehow managed to stay alive (Brian Jones notwithstanding) and help shape the modern music landscape.
There can be no denying that Mick Jagger is among the greatest rock-n-roll front-men in history. Likewise, Keith Richardson is widely regarded as one of the premier rhythm guitarists of all time. As a duo, they wrote a literal treasure trove of great music.
For their longevity and contribution to the world music scene, I salute the Rolling Stones on the 50th anniversary of their first gig!