Thursday, February 19, 2009

mumble...mumble...JESUS SAVES! JESUS SAVES!..mumble

The LORD was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD.
Isaiah 38:20

One person once said that you can tell a person's spiritual temperature by their singing. I have seen this to be most true. I will preface this post with the following information.......
1. Most everyone in my family past and present can sing decently well.
2. My grandfather sang bluegrass Gospel for nearly 40 years as part of the John Burke and the Layman Trio.
3. I took 8 years of Trumpet Lessons, basic music philosophy in college, and was always part of our school/youth choir.
4. I have a cousin and uncle who formed a well known Christian Rock Band.
5. I have sang in our adult choir since 1994,and still sing in it as pastor.
6. I have read over a dozen books concerning sacred, church music.
7. I have led our youth choir and adult choir in the past 10 years.
8. I have, as a preacher, spent numerous hours studying God's Word on the topic of music and preached many sermons concerning it.

I say all that to inform the reader that I am not an expert on music as some others will be, but neither am I a novice. I am not in a "bubble" of sacred music, but am informed as to the types of music and dangers of wrong music. My goal in this post is not to convince the reader of what kinds of music you should listen to (but I would love to do that music is not a-moral. There are right and wrong types of music and it is destroying people's lives). My goal in this post is to cover question number 4 on our teen questionnaire, which reads:
My family sings together at home:
A. Never
B. I think we did once or twice
C. At least once a week
D. Every Day

Our goal in this question was to get an idea as to how important music was in the home. We did not ask what type of music was being sung, but are we singing at all in our homes? The results were:
A. Never 56%
B. I think we did once or twice 25%
C. At least once a week 14%
D. Every Day 5%

Thus we learn that in our independent fundamental Baptist homes, 56% of our families have NEVER sang in their homes with their children. 25% may have sang once or twice in their lifetimes with their families, and so on. While it probably is not reasonable to believe that every family sings everyday in their homes, it should be alarming that 81% of our families have never or maybe once or twice sang in their homes as a family. And it shows...
The title of the post is "mumble...mumble...JESUS SAVES! JESUS SAVES!mumble" because that is how the typical teen sings in church, if they sing at all...and alot of adults! The responsibility is ours as parents! We are commanded in Scripture repeatedly to Sing unto the Lord. We are to sing to others and to ourselves, teaching and admonishing, with Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. There are literally 100's of references in Scripture commanding us to sing!
Music in Scripture is powerful. It comforts, praises, teaches, exhorts, drives away depression, encourages, rebukes, tells stories of victory, and worships the Lord.
As a result of neglect, homes are invaded by distress, discouragement, oppression, lack of knowledge, anger, discontentment, and an ignorance on how to properly worship God. We need to SING!
We can recite the schedule of our favorite college team, the starting line up for our favorite baseball team, the phone numbers of our top 10 friends...but we don't know the third verse to "Amazing Grace." We can't get the gumption to open a song book during the singing service because singing is "lame." We have used the excuse of "not having a good voice" enough to where no one has a good enough voice but the "chosen few" who sing specials in church. We have neglected playing and singing solid music in our homes now to a point to where music and singing does not interest in the least bit our young people...and we lose the benefits thereof.
I can share a plethora of stories of singing with my family while growing up. Every trip to Papa Burke's was a Burke concert. No one taught me how to sing a part, I learned in the car. No one taught me how to breathe properly with your diaphragm, I learned by watching my mom and her correcting my chest breathing. My basic music knowledge came from car rides and a living room with a T.V. turned off. That turned in to church singing. I've always loved it, because my parents. My sister and I sang our first special at church at age 8 and 5..."He's Still Working On Me."
That singing created a desire in my life to learn more; thus the trumpet, choirs, and college classes. That early singing is why I, as pastor, still leave my seat on the platform durring the third congregational to take my place in the bass section of the choir. I love singing. Here's the kicker...I'm not good at it. I just love it; because I was trained that way.
That's one reason why I smile, why I have joy, why I don't get defeated, why I do not have to see a psych at every! I prescribe it to those who are struggling with depression. I counsel it for those whose marriages are rocky. I push it upon those whose chldren are rebelling. There is a reason why God commanded us to sing!
Imagine an auditorium where the song leader gives the hymn number, everyone with a smile and anticipation turns there, the orchestra (because a love for music has led them to learn) begins to play, every adult, young person and child open their mouth's wide and sing God's Praise thunderously. That is worship! It all starts in the home.
Or we can ignore it, allow pride to keep us from singing, and enjoy our ignorance; and watch as oppression continues, discontentment and rebellion rule, and our young people CONTINUE TO LEAVE IN SEARCH OF SATISFYING WORSHIP-which they will temporarily get in a modern praise and worship service. Why? Because in their eyes that is much more real and moving than...
mumble...mumble...Jesus saves, Jesus saves..mumble...mumble


Anonymous said...

I love music, My children love music, I was raised on gospel music. I believe a song can change your whole attitude.
The day my parents bought me a stereo and put it in my room at 10 years old, I can look back and see the struggles in my life began.

Travis Burke said...

A comment of great truth. I can agree much the same. The key, I believe, is singing TOGETHER. Thanks anonymous!

Chrystal-the eldest sister said...

I can testify to how singing the God honoring songs and singing together with my family made such an amazing impact on my life. My parents always encouraged us to sing and sang WITH us! I just wanted to add that in my opinion it helped form relationships with my parents and my siblings.(and christian friends in my life too) I encourage my kids to sing together now. I formed special bonds with those people I sang/ sing with. I believe it is all part of "O come let US worship together". I don't believe I can sing well, but I have a deep love for singing and serving the Lord thru song. And I agree, it's there bc of the car rides full of singing with my family! Thanks, bub! I love ya!