by Linda Clough
A starting place for discussing the issue of contemporary music. Three Biblical principles of God-centered worship.
Slightly adapted from Select Hymns: with Tunes Annext (1761)
John Wesley's practical advice for singing in an early Methodist hymnal is still applicable to us today. He warns, "beware of singing as if you were half-dead or half-asleep," but emphasizes above all else, "sing spiritually."
by Serena Sickler
The singing and writing of hymns is a precious part of the legacy that has been left by centuries of Christ-followers. While the church of today often enjoys singing more current styles of music, it is vital that we not neglect the rich heritage of hymns we possess.
Psalms 145:4 tells us, "One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts." We can be a part of this generational praise by listening to the praise of past generations, learning from it, and joining in the praise with hearts overflowing with thankfulness.
While hymns are part of church tradition, they find their roots in the Bible. Several passages instruct Christians to sing praise to God, such as Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19, while others give Christ's example of singing hymns in the time before his greatest trial on earth, such as Matthew 26:30 and Mark 14:26. Hymnody began in Biblical times and continued into early church history.
by Stephen Miller
Almost 200 years ago, the carol “Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht” was heard for the first time in a village church in Oberndorf, Austria. The congregation at that Midnight service in St. Nicholas Church listened as the voices of the assistant pastor, Joseph Mohr, and the choir director, Franz Xaver Gruber, rang through the church to the accompaniment of Mohr’s guitar.
by Serena Sickler
We all enjoy a good story. As children we love hearing the same book read over and over again even though we know every word by heart. We like hearing stories and we like telling them. This love of stories is a reflection of who God is. God is a story-teller.
God's story is written in history; our stories are imitations of His larger work. Though our love for stories was originally good, the entrance of sin into the world means that much of what was intended for good is now used for evil. Many writers have a distorted view of God and the world around them. We as Christians must use discernment in our reading choices.
by Serena Sickler
Singing has always played an important part in Christian worship. Jesus himself sang a hymn with the disciples at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:30). After Jesus' death and resurrection, the early Christian church continued singing psalms of praise when they gathered together to worship.
Fifteen-hundred years later Protestant reformers reestablished the importance of congregational singing which had been stifled by church leaders. Each new generation has developed what they thought was their own unique perspective on the best way to sing praise to God, but—with a few rare exceptions—they have all agreed: singing is a necessary part of worship.
by Julia Sickler
The morning sun was growing warmer, and from his rocky vantage point, the old man could see the waves gradually subsiding, their quiet washing starkly different from the wild tumult of only moments before. Gone was the long night of chaos: the sea torn in two by the blast of the Almighty, the rushing cliffs of water that hovered for hours above them as the multitude poured through to safety, the roaring column of fire that separated them from their pursuers and lit their way through the gleaming walls.
Now all was still.