Saturday, July 23, 2011

iPods Don't Make Musicians

[Inspired by Romans 2:13]
We are not musicians just because we listen to music on our iPods. It would be a ridiculous notion to think otherwise. Imagine someone auditioning for an opening in a band or orchestra of some sort:

"So ... tell us about yourself."

"Well, I'm a musician. I've been playing for years. I love music more than anything and I really want to be a part of this."

"That's great. So what is it that you play exactly?"

"The iPod."

[insert cricket sound here]

As asinine as that scenario is, there is an equally absurd one that plays itself out every weekend. All over this country every Sunday people spruce up their wardrobe, their behavior, and their language for about 2 hours and head to church. They hear music and maybe even sing; they hear preaching and maybe even take notes. Then they head home to enjoy the pot roast that has been slow cooking in a crock pot since dawn. This, especially in the south, motivates people to answer in the affirmative to the question, "Are you a Christian?" Yet their actions the other 166 hours of the week offer no evidence to support such a declaration.

In Romans 2:13 the Apostle Paul makes it clear ...

Just as you are not a musician because you listen to an iPod ...
neither are you a Christian because you have heard the law.

That's not what makes us right with God. Remember that the next time you go to church just to check that box off your to do list. And this isn't a new problem. It was addressed in the Old Testament too when the prophet Samuel wrote, "obedience is better than sacrifice" (I Samuel 15:22). It's not about going through some obligatory motions and tipping your hat at God. That was never His intent. There is an expectation of action, of change, of becoming more like Christ.

So, are you living the sermons you hear being preached? Are you becoming more like the person God created you to be?

Am I?

Paul also wrote, "Faith without works is dead." I believe I heard that in a sermon once too.

{Image from}

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Singing in the Rain

[Inspired by Acts 16:22-39]

What would you do if someone trumped up charges about you and had you thrown in jail and shackled? Get mad? Cry? Panic? Fight to get out? Maybe all of the above.

Or would you sing?

That's what Paul and Silas did. In verse 25 of this passage we read, "Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening." They were in a dungeon with their feet in stocks and decided the appropriate thing to do was have a good old fashioned SANGIN' (as we call them in the south). I can just hear them now thinking of their favorites. "Oooh, Paul, remember this one ...?" and "Oh I love that one! How about this one, Silas ...?"

Sound crazy? Maybe. But Psalm 22:3 tells us that God "inhabits the praises of His people." If ever I want God close by it is when I've been thrown in prison.

But God doesn't just give Paul & Silas warm fuzzies because they sing. He uses them to bring others to Christ (the jailer and his entire family were saved & baptized as a result). And you know the fellow prisoners listening and watching it all were encouraged. Then God frees Paul & Silas from prison and restores their names with apologies from the authorities. Everyone benefited!

Never underestimate what God can do. When we find ourselves in difficulties and trials, our role is not to question, certainly not to worry, and not to try to figure it out. Our role is to praise God. Period. Despite what we're going through. Then watch God work in the midst of what we're going through!

Who wouldn't love to go through life singing ... even in the rain?

Note: For some extra inspiration, watch the movie Singing in the Rain or Glee's performance of the song. Due to copyright, I can't post them. Sorry.