Posts Tagged ‘Social media’

1 cor. 9.22.001Recently I posted about purchasing a couple of tickets to a baseball game for my wife and me to attend. Our local AAA baseball team had partnered with a semiprofessional football in our area for a one-night promotional event through which the Bayou Lacombe Cardinals football team would receive a portion of the proceeds. I also happen to work with the team as their public address announcer.

I had no idea that my post — meant to urge others to purchase tickets to support the football team — would be controversial. Because I am also a pastor, my association with the team was questioned, and I offered an immediate straightforward answer: “I’m building relationships with people who need the gospel.” Somehow this led to a charge that my “popularity” has to do with my willingness to please people and to conform to their ways. The charge continued to what must have been the aim of the original question, which was to disparage the use of contemporary music in churches.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I enjoy contemporary music. But I also enjoy the sacred hymns. However, I also enjoy many other styles of music. When asked “What kind of music do I want the church to use?” I always respond, “Music that honors God and that is done well and that relates to the people. I define “done well” as that which is presented as the best the particular congregation, singers, or instrumentalists can offer because we ought always offer our best when it comes to worshiping the Lord.”

Throughout my ministry I have pursued a variety of interests in order to connect with people in the community. The goal has always been the same — to build relationships with people who need the gospel. The apostle Paul modeled this (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23). Paul clearly stated his purpose for conforming to the customs and opinions of men by stating “I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some” (1 Cor. 9:22). What mattered to Paul was not him, his rights, or his preferences, but the gospel. The gospel consumed his life.

The controversy surrounding “contemporary music” hardly smacks of something new. In 1873 (that’s more than 150 years ago!), something new came on the scene when the great preacher D.L. Moody’s singing associate, Ira D. Sankey, introduced what became known as the “singing of the gospel.” Sankey’s style completely revolutionized the music of the church.

Before Sankey, a cappella singing of the psalms and hymns and spiritual songs had always been an important part of worship services. However, Sankey introduced a style of popular hymn calculated to awaken the careless, to melt the hardened, and to guide the inquiring souls to the Lord Jesus Christ. Often when the Moody-Sankey team came to town for an evangelistic campaign, the people would come out of curiosity to see and hear Sankey sing. Pedaling his small cabinet organ, he would sing out in his rich, melodious voice, and completely captivate his audience. During this time many church members thought that the use of an organ or any kind of musical instrument to accompany the voices of singers was wicked and worldly. Strict church people, accustomed only to the unaccompanied old psalm-singing type of church music called Sankey’s songs “human hymns.” It took tact on the part of Sankey to break down the prejudice against organ music. He helped transition the practice and the result was a wave of well-composed and great theologically sound hymns which are still sung in churches today.

I believe that each generation needs its Ira Sankeys who can tactfully make the theology of Scripture speak to the people. People often say that the older hymns have such theological value and that we should be teaching their value and not have them lost. If by teaching the value of hymns, you mean that we should sing songs that have robust theological meaning, I wholeheartedly agree. If you mean that we need to teach a particular style of music, that’s actually missing the point. People are converted to Christ through the gospel not through a style of music.

What matters is the theological truth that comes from Scripture. Words are what matters — not the melodies or tunes or even the instruments. We should sing truth. We can sing truth with new songs and new instruments, and we can sing truth with old songs and new instruments and new arrangements.

It comes down to getting the saving message of the gospel to people. I cannot win everyone, but I’m willing to do whatever is biblically permissible to win some. And I’m willing to rub elbows with anyone if it means that I might have the opportunity to speak the gospel.

 

 

 

 

NEW YORK - JUNE 11:  Actor Denzel Washington visits the

One of my favorite actors, Denzel Washington, gave the commencement address at last month’s graduation ceremony at Dillard University in New Orleans. During his address, Washington urged the graduates to put God first and thank Him constantly: “Put God first in everything you do….Everything that I have is by the grace of God, understand that, It’s a gift…. I didn’t always stick with Him, but He stuck with me…. While you’re on your knees, say thank you. Thank you for grace, thank you for mercy, thank you for understanding, thank you for wisdom, thank you for parents, thank you for love, thank you for kindness, thank you for humility, thank you for peace, thank you for prosperity. Say thank you in advance for what is already yours…. True desire in the heart for anything good is God’s proof to you sent beforehand that it’s already yours…. When you get it, reach back, pull someone else up.”

Not only must we thank God for all He has done and offered to us, we have plenty of thanks to offer to the people in our lives. We should thank our parents for loving us, for providing for us, for teaching us, for playing with us, for showing us how to live, for pointing us to Christ. We should also thank those who have invested in our lives and made it possible for us to be who and what we are today. Teachers, mentors, coaches, pastors, supervisors, and bosses have all contributed to our lives.

This past week at our Vacation Bible School, many adults and teens came together to provide a great week of instruction and fun that I believe had an impact on the children. Some of these kids have been forever changed because they came to know Christ personally. Others had their lives enriched through a deeper relationship with our Savior, and still others had “a little more foundation laid” so that the gospel might one day take hold in them.

Don’t forget to say “thank you.” It really makes a difference. Do you want proof? An airline pilot flying between Spain and England received a very special note from a passenger recently, and he shared it on social media. The passenger, mindful of the recent pilot-caused airline crash in the French Alps, wrote a heartfelt thank you for a safe flight to her family back home, appreciative, perhaps for the first time, of someone she had taken for granted every time she set foot on an airplane. “You’re making a massive difference and you’re the reason I can smile tonight,” she wrote.

When was the last time you truly saw and appreciated one of the “invisible” people who deeply impact your life every day? Perhaps gratitude and mindfulness of such folks will help you see your life in a new light.

The headline read “Ashton Kutcher Apologizes for Slamming Penn State Officials for Joe Paterno Firing.” Apparently, Kutcher has learned a valuable life lesson after blasting Penn State officials on Twitter for firing legendary football coach Joe Paterno. Kutcher had sparked a frenzy among his more than eight million followers late Wednesday after he tweeted, “How do you fird Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste.” (By the way, # before a word is a way on Twitter to make sure you get more hits on your feed. It’s called a hashtag in Twitter lingo.)

However, the actor soon admitted mouthing off in ignorance on the ongoing child abuse scandal in State College. Kutcher expressed shock and issued an emphatic apology after he discovered why the  longtime coach was dismissed. He deleted the previous post and then tweeted, “Heard Joe was fired, fully recant previous tweet!”  he added, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Didn’t have full story.  #admitwhenYoumakemistakes.”

Kutcher later deleted the series of messages, before  issuing a frank apology. “As an advocate in the fight against child sexual  exploitation, I could not be more remorseful for all involved in the Penn St.  case,” he tweeted. “As of immediately I will stop tweeting until I find a way to  properly manage this feed. I feel awful about this error. Won’t happen again.”

When we attempt to draw conclusions without having all the facts and pass those conclusions on to someone else, it’s called gossip. All scuttlebutt subject matters — no matter who or what it involves — has the same fundamental two-pronged goal. First, it’s intended to hurt somone. Gossip never builds, and it never helps anyone. The second goal of gossip is selfish in that the one who dispenses it either actively or passively seeks to elevate his or her position. This may mean that the individual sharing it wants the listener to think he or she is the source of important or valuable information.

Consider these references to gossip:

  • A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends (Proverbs 16:28, NIV 1984).
  • A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much (Proverbs 20:19, NIV 1984).
  • Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down (Proverbs 26:20, NIV 1984).

Ashton Kutcher would have done well to have not spoken (tweeted) until he had the facts, because he spoke before he had all the facts. However, as believers we can actually go a step further. Before speaking (or posting on any social media), we should ask, “Is what I am about to say going to help or tear down?” If it will tear down someone’s character, it violates biblical guidelines. Consider what Paul wrote to the church at Rome, We must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another (Romans 14:19, HCSB).

Let’s promote peace and build up one another!