Of those who witnessed the evangelistic crusades of Billy Graham at their high point, many would later ascribe his success to a combination of gospel preaching and gospel singing. Of these two elements, it seems that the latter was at least as potent—if not more so—than the former. As one observer recalls:
Yesterday, I shared how words from an old youth fellowship song came back and comforted me when the birth of our twins turned into something of an emergency, and I was unable to articulate any prayer of my own. (more…)
The birth of your first child is always momentous. For me, it was also scary. We were expecting twins, and the labour did not proceed well. Karyn was wheeled off for an emergency caesarean, with me running alongside. I was then left standing at the thick red line by the nurses’ station. And the door closed. (more…)
I once saw a man who I thought was dead. It was a little unnerving to see him walk over to a microphone and start singing although it was on screen. I presumed that it must have been an old film but it was a live broadcast. (more…)
This Christmas the American Atheists have posted a large billboard in Times Square New York. It has two pictures: one of Santa Claus and the other of Jesus on the cross. The captions under the pictures are “Keep the Merry” and “Dump the Myth”. Apart from having the captions under the wrong pictures, the sentiment is one I agree with. (more…)
Now there are all sorts of reasons why Christianity is a singing faith; for the practice of making melody to the Lord, and of hymn singing in particular, has many purposes. My intention in this article is to focus specifically on congregational singing and to open up its three principal purposes. (more…)
We’re publishing a major article on singing in church by Rob Smith in the September Briefing, but if you’re in Sydney and want to hear some singing by Rob Smith before that, try this …
In the middle of the classic Christmas hymn ‘Away in a Manger’, there is this one line that doesn’t quite ring true. The second stanza tells us, “The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes / But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes”. Did baby Jesus really not cry? The hymn author was likely thinking that Jesus did not cry because he was perfect and divine. But does a crying baby Jesus detract from his divinity? I think not, but a non-crying baby Jesus detracts from his humanity. (more…)
Recently, we’ve been preaching on Guidance, and to reinforce the theme, I selected “Guide me, O my great Redeemer” as our hymn of the month. (more…)
I’ve shared before the concept of “Hymn of the Month”
In November, given our sermon series on Guidance, it makes sense that I selected “Guide me, O Thou Great Redeemer” as Hymn of the Month. Here’s what I wrote about it in our weekly church newsletter… (more…)
So was it important that the excellent things that Bob Kauflin was saying at the TWIST pastor’s conference were being said by a ‘Reformed charismatic’? (more…)
From all that he said, from what others have told me, and from my brief personal conversation with him, Bob Kauflin seems like a thoughtful, humble, godly man, who loves Jesus and the gospel, and is conservative and Calvinist in his theological convictions. My second reaction to the TWIST pastor’s conference was simply one of appreciation: the material that Bob Kauflin presented was insightful, well-delivered, and stimulating. (more…)
If you had told me 10 years ago when I was on the Board of Emu Music that in 2011 we’d be putting on a TWIST music conference for pastors and inviting the ‘Director of Worship Development’ from a major charismatic US church to be the keynote speaker… well I’d have been a little surprised, to say the least. (more…)
Sandy, I am delighted of course that you are with me on so many things. And I hope you will also be pleased to know that I am with you completely on the goodness and value of singing. (In fact, the only thing I wouldn’t be with you on is the need for that ‘but’ at the beginning of your second paragraph. But let’s not quibble.)
As for why we don’t sing more or better, and in particular why your men aren’t singing, I think the Bible also points us to the answer.
Okay, Tony, I’m with you on not calling our singing the ‘worship time’. I’m with you on not even calling our church gathering the ‘worship service’. I’m with you on wanting to avoid mere emotionalism. In fact, I also know you believe the emotions (or better, the affections) matter.
But I believe singing is important.
I believe the Bible says it’s important.