What Is The Purpose Of Music In Christian Worship? Dr. Mike Spaulding

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That is a loaded question for sure. Modern Christians have strong convictions when it comes to so-called worship music in the church. I say “so-called” because Christian worship has become almost exclusively thought of in terms of “worship” music. It is now believed that worship music is the vehicle for ushering worshippers into the presence of God.  This belief is a rather recent evolution in church thinking. Let me explain.

It is not uncommon today to hear those hired to lead congregations in corporate worship, say something along the lines of this – “Join us Sunday morning for an inspiring time of worship where you will enter into the presence of God.” Here is an actual flyer from a church that promised all who attend would encounter God. It said in part:

“Join us for dynamic teaching to set you on the right path, and inspiring worship where you can meet God and receive the energy and love you need to be a mover and shaker in today’s world. Alongside our teaching program are worship events which put you in touch with the power and love of God.”

This kind of superficial sales and marketing is unbiblical to the core. What kind of church leadership would make such an outlandish claim that everyone who attends will receive the energy and love they need to be successful in life, not to mention that their church staff has the ability to put people in touch with God’s power and love? This is nothing more than new age witchcraft.

The Bible states that there is one mediator between God and man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Only through Christ can we approach the Father. There is absolutely no biblical support for the belief that music in any way mediates direct encounters with God. That idea has been borrowed directly from pagan cults.

Friends, if you are in a church that gives much more time to the performance of music than to the teaching of the Bible, then you need to find another church. If the pulpit has disappeared but the stage lightening and special effects have increased then you are attending a show not a church service.

At issue here folks, is the fact that Christian worship as it is presented in far too many places today has become all about your experience. How did Christian music in our church services become about the experiences and feelings of those singing?  This is emotionally driven deception.

Our thoughts during the singing of songs must be directed to Christ and to God the Father and to all that has been done on our behalf. All glory and honor belong to God but when we chase the emotional experience and equate that with having experienced God we are grievously mistaken.

Remember friends that music in our church services is meant to honor and glorify God first and foremost. We must reject the modern idea that it is meant to provide an experience for us that we mistakenly equate to an encounter with God.

That is transforming truth.

You may contact Pastor Mike at pastormike@cclohio.org

The Media Manipulation Miscalculation – Steven Menking

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With 16 days – and about 160 news cycles – remaining until the presidential election, if you look at the news and data coming out of establishment media outlets you get the sense that the election of Hillary Clinton is a foregone conclusion. Yet, if you look at polling data on alternative outlets or even look at social media traffic you get the sense that Donald Trump will win in a landslide. The discrepancies in the information trends dictate that someone must be wrong. Unfortunately, without the tendency or the wherewithal to investigate, potential voters are being bombarded with headline numbers that are rapidly absorbed as indisputable fact due to repetition.

We should never forget the effect that confirmation bias has on this process. Whatever you want to believe, there is a way to manipulate data in order to justify your belief. I participated in a version of this ‘goal seeking’ back when I was an investment banking analyst. Rather than build up the assumptions and properly model out the most likely outcomes based on fundamentals and probabilities, a range of numbers would be deemed acceptable and then the calculations would be performed in a way to justify those numbers. The objective was to win clients. A valuation figure presented to the company needed to be as high as possible without being perceived as unreasonable. Once we won the business and as reality set in more and more, the valuation numbers invariably came down because they didn’t meet the rosy forecasts we had advertised in order to gain the business in the first place.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Imagination of God: Art, Creativity and Truth in the Bible by Brian Godawa

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Brian Godawa is a prolific writer in the Christian supernatural fiction genre. His series Chronicles of the Nephilim, Chronicles of the Apocalypse, and his latest series Chronicles of the Watchers are superb examples of what Godawa attempts to convey in his The Imagination of God: Art, Creativity and Truth in the Bible.

The opening chapter makes a simply assertion but one that is commonly misunderstood and sometimes denied; namely that reason, logic and imagination are not mutually exclusive gifts. Modern people tend to gravitate toward one of two extremes and dismiss the other. Godawa argues that this should not be the case. One example of the polarizing effect of focusing on reason and logic over and against imagination is that modern people lose the ability to both use and benefit from image, metaphor, and parable/allegory in understanding the Bible and in evangelism.

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Around The Bend – Steven Menking

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With the eyes of the country on whatever the trending trending propaganda is today – most likely accusations of Russia presented without evidence and how Donald Trump is the destroyer of American democracy based on his unwillingness to rule out conceding the election should Hillary Clinton win – I can’t help but express my weariness with all of the nonsense and how many still give any credibility to people and institutions that incessantly lie right to their faces.

I didn’t watch the debate on Wednesday, but I was a bit taken aback to hear Hillary Clinton revealing to the entire world the previously top secret timeline from nuclear launch order to actual nuclear launch. However, I was much less surprised to see that nothing immediately happened as a result even though something certainly should have.

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Wag the Dog 2016: Is Trouble Imminent Between the United States and Russia? – Sgt. Tim

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I had trouble sleeping night before last. I had a sick dog that began throwing up around 12:30 at night and after getting her settled down, it took me a while to get settled in for sleep myself. Once I got to sleep, I had a dream that left me a bit shaken when I awoke yesterday morning. It had the look and feel of one of those old WWII movies, down to the colorization and everything (I know that supposedly we don’t dream in color, but I remember colors in my dreams, so I don’t know…). I was in a foxhole, strapped with gear, with some of the guys I have worked with over the years and others. While everything felt like a WWII movie, we never referenced the Germans, but instead were talking about the Russians in the tree-line across from us. When I woke up, I saw that several veterans I follow through social media have been having similar dreams over the past few weeks. Certainly, the case could be made that it is simply the anxiety and stress of the current world situation, one that the media either ignores or looks to score propaganda points over. But it is those that served and in particular capacities that see the true danger of the current situation, and whether they realize it or not, perhaps this is seeping into their subconscious and affecting their dreams. Whatever the case may be, I awoke with a weight pressing on me, something weighing on my heart that told me that it is more likely than not that in the coming 4 days, when the news cycle typically scales down and following the debate, something big could happen in Syria that will have a profound effect on US – Russian relations.

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