Saturday, July 2, 2016

A Softened Heart

I must admit.  I have had a hard heart against contemporary worship music for most of my life.  I could point to all kinds of reasons.

Maybe it was because my parents took me to a non-denominational church on Sunday nights in my elementary school years when all I wanted to do was play Orff instruments and listen to the choir sing pieces from Messiah.

Maybe it was because the only radio music I was allowed to listen to was oldies, elevator music, classical or Christian (but mind you, there were NO Christian radio stations at that time in Shreveport.)

Maybe it was because I took classical piano and flute lessons, but can't improvise my way out of a paper bag.

Maybe and most likely, it is because during my senior year of high school and into college, my parents left our traditional Methodist church and my dad began playing bass and singing in a contemporary Methodist church which left me going to church without my family.  Whatever psychological reason, my heart was hardened.

Since taking on the Music Ministry job at my current Methodist church, my heart has slowly been melting.  God has been working a number on it.  I had to find a way to make the middle service at Easter more contemporary with a classical group.  The Worship team asked if I would sing with them, though we haven't found a date yet to do that.  I led all the music at our rocking Cave Quest VBS in June.

In April, I attended an Amy Grant concert.  She was THE. ONLY. contemporary Christian singer I liked in my junior and senior high years.  Amy rocked it, but what blew me away were the other two women with her on stage--Nichol Nordeman and Ellie Holcomb.  Such a different sound than the Chris Tomlin's of the world.  I became more curious about these women-- their sound and voices.

Well, as it turns out, this Sunday our entire worship team is out of town being it is the 4th of July weekend and it happens to be our new pastor's first Sunday.  So, Ben has asked me to sing 4 praise songs with him and one other extremely talented youth who will also play guitar.  Think of it as the unplugged coffeehouse set.

If my Dad were here, his jaw would probably have dropped to the ground had I broken this news to him.  On the other hand, my Mom thinks he would be "proud of the Jesus in you shining a light in the lives of His children."   

Either way, know that if you think you will never do "such-n-such," God probably has a different plan than you do.  He knows what is good for us and finds a way to soften our hearts.  Maybe it is a way to use us for his good and teach us lessons to come to know him better just as the Israelites had hardened hearts in the wilderness.  

So, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
    during the time of testing in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested and tried me,
    though for forty years they saw what I did.
10 That is why I was angry with that generation;
    I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
    and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ [b]
12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.  Hebrews 3:8-14

So, "today" I will listen for his voice and sing what he wants me to sing.  I will search as to how he wants to use me whether it is through contemporary, traditional, play songs, lullabies or hymns.  It is all good music to His ears and His name is to be praised.

See you at 9:30 worship tomorrow at Suncreek UMC!!!