Church Entertainment as a Substitute for God

Perhaps we rely on entertainment in the church to keep things interesting because we do not rely enough on God to keep our gatherings compelling. Entertainment is easy compared to waiting on God because waiting on God requires we come to church with hearts prepared, undistracted by the world, and with a desire to commune with God corporately.

Though it is true that God can and does move in places where entertainment happens, have we begun to rely on artificial hype to fill the void when He is missing? Has entertainment become a cover for our spiritual emptiness?

The thing about amusement is that it is easy to manufacture. Think of all the amazing secular productions that have grabbed your attention and not let you go. They were produced without long hours in prayer seeking the Lord, and the creators created them without hearts aflame with the holiness of God. Do not get me wrong. It was hard work, but it took no spiritual effort. It may be an amazing testament to the natural man made in the image of God, but that is not what the church is to represent. The world and the people of God can get that anywhere.

If the lights, recording quality praise bands, drama teams, and preachers with magnetic personalities were all gone, would we be close enough to God to see him move? Would we still gather?

I do not have the answers to all these questions because I do not know the context of your church. Your church may not have any of these trappings and still be far from God. Nor am I saying that God will not use anything that looks like entertainment. I pray your church leaders have amazing musical skill and that the Lord has gifted pastor with oratory ability, but I also pray, when you gather together what truly impresses your heart is much more than that. If not we might as well go to a movie or a theater performance.

Maybe if we rely a little less on these things in our services, we will rely a little more on God. If we do that and our gatherings become dull, maybe we should examine our hearts, get down on our knees, and ask the Lord to move and sanctify us. Though it may not be appealing to the world, that would be a corporate gathering worth attending.

-D. Eaton

Singing Lies in Church

Aiden W. Tozer once said, “Christians don’t tell lies–they just go to church and sing them!” This is one of those quotes that jolts us to the core once it is properly understood. Without context, however, many people misunderstand what he is saying because they immediately begin to think of hymns and worship songs with bad theology, and there are plenty of song lyrics we sing that should cause us to scratch our heads, such as:

“Like a rose, trampled on the ground, you took the fall and THOUGHT OF ME ABOVE ALL.”

“So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss.”

“And in His presence, our problems disappear.”

These types of lyrics certainly deserve closer scrutiny, but what Tozer was really getting at is the fact that we often sing songs that do not coincide with our true spiritual state. We often sing:

“I am a tree bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy”.

When, in fact, our hearts are hard and unmoved by the cross as we sing. Or we will sing:

“Where You go, I’ll go
Where You stay, I’ll stay
When You move, I’ll move
I will follow… “

when we plan on going out to live like the world on Monday. We could go on and on exposing lyrics we regularly sing, that we often have no intention of living out in our actual lives or are contrary to the state of our hearts.

This is no small matter in the eyes of the Lord. He desires truth in the inward parts (Psalm 51:6). There should be integrity and sincerity in all that we do and say, especially when it comes to worshipping the King of Kings. Jesus pointed this out when he said:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. -Matthew 23:27-27.

If you read this article and think, “I’m glad I don’t do that,” as if you somehow escape unscathed, you have completely missed the point. We are all guilty of this. We all fall short, and none us can worship God properly in our own strength.

It is important that the Christian life be one of constant repentance. This should also remind us that it is usually better, in our worship, to sing about God and what he has done instead of singing about ourselves, but that alone would portray a truncated picture, for as Michael Horton says,

“The Gospel is not about you, but it is for you.”

Our songs should exhibit this fact as well. The Gospel does impact us and changes our hearts, but we should never forget the fact that even our worship is tinged with sinfulness. This recognition of our sinfulness should direct us even more resolutely to praise Jesus, who offers us forgiveness and continues to beckon our sinful selves to approach the throne of grace with confidence. However, as we approach Him, we must always remember that the “throne of grace,” leads us to three important truths.

  1. It is a throne, so we should not approach it flippantly or without sincerity.
  2. It is a throne of grace in the sense that we do not deserve to approach it at all. None of us are worthy and we must approach it in repentance.
  3. It is a throne of grace in the sense that, though we are unworthy to approach His throne, that is the very reason we need to draw near. It is here we find the forgiveness we need and the underserved favor we so desperately desire.

If we would prepare our hearts by remembering each of these points before we begin to sing to the Lord, it may just help us all to sing fewer lies in our times of worship.

-D. Eaton

Good and Gracious King by CityAlight

May your spirit soar as you worship your king with this beautiful song.

I approach the throne of glory
Nothing in my hands I bring
But the promise of acceptance
From a good and gracious King

I will give to You my burden
As You give to me Your strength
Come and fill me with Your Spirit
As I sing to You this praise

You deserve the greater glory
Overcome, I lift my voice
To the King in need of nothing
Empty handed I rejoice

You deserve the greater glory
Overcome with joy I sing
By Your love I am accepted
You’re a good and gracious King

O what grace that You would see me
As Your child and as Your friend
Safe, secure in You forever
I pour out my praise again

You deserve the greater glory
Overcome, I lift my voice
To the King in need of nothing
Empty handed I rejoice

You deserve the greater glory
Overcome with joy I sing
By Your love I am accepted
You’re a good and gracious King

Holy, holy, Lord Almighty
Good and gracious
Good and gracious
Holy, holy, Lord Almighty
Good and gracious King

Holy, holy, Lord Almighty
Good and gracious
Good and gracious
Holy, holy, Lord Almighty
Good and gracious King

You deserve the greater glory
Overcome, I lift my voice
To the King in need of nothing
Empty handed I rejoice

You deserve the greater glory
Overcome with joy I sing
By Your love I am accepted
You’re a good and gracious King

-CityAlight

Is He Worthy? – Andrew Peterson

Andrew Peterson released a new song off of his upcoming album today, and it is absolutely breathtaking. It made my Spirit soar. Do yourself a favor and take a listen. I have included the lyrics below.

 

Do you feel the world is broken?
We do.
Do you feel the shadows deepen?
We do.
But do you know that all the darkness
Won’t stop the light from getting through?
We do.
Do you wish you could see it all made new?
We do.

Is all creation groaning?
It is.
Is a new creation coming?
It is.
Is the glory of the of the Lord
To be the light within our misdst?
It is.
Is it good that we remind ourselves of this?
It is.

Is anyone worthy?
Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal
And to open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah
Who conquered the grave
He was David’s root and the Lamb who died
To ransom the slave
Is He Worthy?
Is He Worthy?
Of all blessing and honor and glory?
Is He worthy of this?
He is.

Does the Father truly love us?
He does.
Does the Spirit move among us?
He does.
Does Jesus our Messiah
Hold forever those He loves?
He does.
Does our God intend to dwell again with us?
He does.

Is anyone worthy?
Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal
And to open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah
Who conquered the grave
He was David’s root and the Lamb who died
To ransom the slave
From every people and tribe
Every nation and tongue
He has made us a kingdom
And priests to God
To reign with the Son.

Is He worthy?
Is He worthy?
Of all blessing and honor and glory?
Is He worthy?
Is He worthy?
Is He worthy of this?
He is?
Is He worthy?
Is He worthy?
He is.
He is.