Have you seen Jesus lately? He's easy to find. Jesus is somewhere among the weak, the poor, and the broken. And, Jesus is within you. These two places are the best places to start your search. Look for those who need Jesus. There you will find a chance to fill that need, and there you will find you are giving to Jesus Himself, for He said that when you do for the least, you do it for Him. Matthew 25:45 I'm not talking about salvation at all. I'm talking about finding the way to Jesus' heart.
"I am a worship leader,” he states. “That is what I do. I’ve been on staff at churches and I’ve been a pastor, but mainly I’ve operated as a worship leader. I’ll be honest…it worried me when worship music began to run to the top of the Christian music charts. It seemed that worship started to become a part of the industry with the center of attention on the artist. But worship has nothing to do with a person. Worship is anything that brings pleasure to the heart of God, and if we really want to please the heart of God, it probably has very little to do with the songs that we sing. Worship is more about ministering to the lost, the least, the downtrodden, the broken, the marginalized people of society; the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the imprisoned, the sick. It was a revelation to me that I could be close to the heart of God if I ministered to the poor. The song, ‘Among the Poor,’ flows out of that revelation.”" -Jeremy Riddle (source: http://www.vineyardmusic.com/vm/content/jeremy-riddle )
While you look for those with needs, look to yourself, and the way you treat your own body. Though this is often overlooked as unimportant, our bodies are the temple of God. If we abuse our own body with drugs, or alcohol, take the life within us lightly, for example, we are defacing the temple of God. Yes, it's like destroying a church... the house of God's Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19
Beyond the way we treat the poor and our own body, the heart of God can be found in our worship of Jesus. John 12:8 Jesus said that we have the poor with us always to do good for, and to feed. But, when we worship Him, and praise Him, when we speak to Him in prayer, that's the way to His heart. But, we'll never get that far if we don't take concern for our own body and the poor and weak among us. So, when we find Jesus, are we ready to lavish our praise on Him?
Worship comes in many forms. A Swedish proverb says, "Those who wish to sing, always find a song." Just like the old song we used to sing in Sunday School, "...red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight..." today we find all kinds of praise filling the air waves and churches. Within the arms of Christian Music Genres we find: Acoustic/Folk, Alternative, Bluegrass, Contemporary, Dance/Techno, Gospel, Heavy Metal, Pop, Praise & Worship, Christian Punk, Rap Hip Hop, R&B, Christian Rock, and Christian Ska music. But, all in the range originates from the original desire of humanity to worship God and to sing their own song.
Christian Hit Playlist: 11 tracks-
A compilation of my own, with hits taken from the charts as well as one Fringe hit by Beckah Shae. It is featured as a playlist titled "Christian Chart Hits February 2012" on my YouTube Channel.
To visit the page directly go to
My playlist above does not go out into the fringe, and I chose these songs from the Contemporary genre mostly just to illustrate a few popular pieces for the purpose of looking at the function of music today in Christianity. I have seen a variety in my lifetime. First think of the "old hymns" which are not really old, but that's what they are called because the "older generation" sang them in church growing up. These include songs like Amazing Grace and Just As I Am, as well as I'll Fly Away and Victory in Jesus. Many of them are based on actual passages in the Bible and they have an excellent theology. Some, like Just as I Am, are beautiful and bring many people to conversion to Christ, though they really have no actual Bible basis. This song is taken from the idea that we should come just as we are. Though that idea is not in the Bible, it's beautiful and is a good starting place, because how else can you begin but where you are. But, the real "Old Hymns" were written in the 1800's and were mostly written with Scripture allusions. They can be found online at http://nethymnal.org and are a lesson in appreciation of our music foundations. The "old hymns" we sang as children were seen as scandalous to the previous generation, who listened to hymns on pipe organs.
From there and not in any time order, remember the country/Gospel tunes that are so popular in some small towns in the South. I personally have a hard time with many of these, simply because they are not my style. But, many people find much comfort in them. From there we can move all over the fringe ethnic groups, punk, rap, etc. The styles differ simply because the cultures differ that follow Christ. We don't look down our nose at a generation or ethnic group for the way they praise the Lord. So, that is not my line of thought here.
I look at songs from the perspective of the message that they carry. Some songs are what I see as worship songs. These are the ones that would be suitably sang by the congregation in church, and speak of worship and adoration directed from me to God. The focus of songs in this group is a God focus. Other songs are what I consider "message songs." They speak directly about a situation in our lives, such as Someone is Praying for You, by the Katinas, or Casting Crowns' We Are the Body, or Jesus Take the Wheel by Carrie Underwood, or Jesus to the World by New Song, or My Own Little World by Matthew West. These songs we may hear as specials in church. They usually speak directly to our hearts about change and the focus is on the message and our hearts. Either type can be based on a Scripture passage, and both are wonderful expressions of faith. I particularly think My Own Little World has an excellent theology of message. And that is what it is all about, a theology of worship.
There are many songs that don't fit into either of these two categories. Some are just "feel good" songs that say things that are popular. Others have a popular rhythm or beat. Some repeat phrases over and over. For whatever reason they are popular, the focus is not really on God or the Church or the message. I see nothing bad about the songs in this group. I just see them as not about praising God, and not about effecting a heart change, and not really ready for prime time or the worship service.
Naturally, I am not labeling songs in this blog as outside the first two categories. That is not my purpose. I just want to open a dialog on what it is that we look for in music in the church today. I also think we should avoid looking at genres and stick to the message and tune that we are hearing. After all, the purpose of worship in church is not that each song would please everyone sitting on a pew or chair. It is not about entertainment. But, the purpose is to move hearts toward God, and to usher in the Spirit of God with worship. I believe that a good background in music is essential for the soul. I particularly remember my music appreciation class in college where we had classical music forced on us, till I could almost puke because the sound was so different than anything I had ever heard. But, afterwards, besides learning what music I hated, I discovered that I loved Chopin, Debussy, and even some of Tchaikovsky's work. So, the class exposed me to music that I would have never discovered on my own. Likewise with Christian music, if we open our hearts to the music others choose to worship with, we may just discover a whole new relationship with God, through someone else's ears.
I would like to give you a few questions:
1. What do you look for in the Christian music you listen to at home? In the car? While working out?
2. What do you like to sing in worship services?
3. What songs do you like to hear sung as "Specials" at church?
4. What songs do you not like to hear?
Please leave comments below or call them into my feedback line at 206-202-4087 and I will post audio comments in a future blog. But, keep in mind, I am not looking for genre, merely the focus of the song that you like, and/or individual song titles. If you choose to play the game, thanks in advance. Your response is very much appreciated :) God Bless you!