1. Devoted or dedicated to a deity or to some religious purpose; consecrated.
2. entitled to veneration or religious respect by association with divinity or divine things; holy.
3. Pertaining to or connected with religion (opposed to secular or profane): sacred music; sacred books.
4. Reverently dedicated to some person, purpose, or object: a morning hour sacred to study.
5. Regarded with reverence: the sacred memory of a dead hero.
6. Secured against violation, infringement, etc., as by reverence or sense of right: sacred oaths; sacred rights.
7. Properly immune from violence, interference, etc., as a person or office.
(Definitions courtesy of dictionary.com)
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
For most of history, there has been a distinction between the sacred and the secular. One was not required to read the lyric sheet to determine if the song was for the glory of God or man. The savior that died for all was afforded a grander musical expression of love than the dark-eyes barmaid that caught the composer’s eye. I am convinced that God’s desire to be special has not reduced or ebbed. It is man that deemed God will be content receiving whatever we give as worship. Being a friend of the one omnipotent, true and living God does not necessitate an irreverent approach to His presence.
I included the above definition to help us determine if we truly hold God as sacred. In an age where intimate fellowship with the Most High God is wonderfully being heralded throughout the church, we must not relinquish the reverence and honor that is the trademark of all that have ever encountered Jehovah God. God is still holy and must be treated as such.
The entertainment industry is never embarrassed by its constant plunge into the glorification of hedonism and sin. Why should we follow them on the path away from the word of God? We will never be trendier than the trend makers or more stylish than the style makers. When we, in pursuit of God’s presence of God, throw off the yokes of insecurity concerning our innate peculiarity the world will pattern itself after us. The church must not be held hostage by the desires of man. God’s house must be a place where He, and He alone, receives honor and glory.
What does this have to with music and worship? Everything! If more effort and weight are given to the whims of man, the music was for man. If the objective is exalting God for sake of coming closer to Him, one is worshipping. We cannot offer God a watered down version of what the world uses to satisfy is lust and craving and consider it an acceptable sacrifice. God is constantly releasing new sounds and textures through His people that are pure and undefiled. Though there are no hard rules as to what defines a sacred work in the modern era, play amazing grace and everyone knows it is for God.
The greatest works of music came when men and women gave God music to please Him. I pray we pursue sacredness over palatability to the carnal nature of man. God is ready to pour out more of His sounds, timbres, textures, harmonies, and rhythms. He is just waiting for us to stop dancing to the world’s drummer.
For years, I've been told what can and cannot happen in church music. Not by my Pastor, Walter Hallam, but by those refusing to embrace the "now" move of God. My whole life I've been troubled to hear how this ethereal menace called The World was stealing the church's best and brightest. This is untrue. God has given us a generation full of holy, talented, integrous,gifted, and anointed young people. Will we make excuses or help them hone their crafts? I believe we are called, destined, and compelled to teach, train, encourage, mentor, discipline, and love a generation in an unending renaissance of the arts in the Kingdom of God.
I recently released my first solo CD I'll Serve You. Though I am very pleased with how it turned out musically, my greater joy is unrelated to units sold. Several young people's eyes were opened to the deception of a musical generation gap. It is not, nor has it ever been, our music verses there music. There is just music.
Young rappers and worship leaders seeking a higher level of musical understanding. Singers crying out to learn to breathe properly. Budding producers demanding historical context to the great albums of generations past. I feel like Simeon after spending time when these amazingly zealous musicians. They carry Jesus.
I've seen the move of God in their eyes and they see it in mine. Hymns to Hip-Hip. Rock to R&B. Classical to Controlled Chaos. God is bringing all His children into the camp. We must receive our diverse brothers and sisters with open arms. Chances are their expression is key to us having a fuller understanding of what God is seeking from our worship.
With the guidance of my Pastor, and the assistance of our incredible team, we will play our part in equipping and empowering a generation to touch God through the arts. To have this spread I need friends, allies, and partners to explore the topic of arts in the church. For example, does it bother anyone else that the blues section on iTunes is integrated but Christian music is still segregated?
The master's degree program in music at Eastern Washington University forced me to examine the ins and outs of music theory, history, performance and cultural impact. Let's remove the blinders of complacency and pursue excellence in arts. This will require honest, but respectful discourse concerning how we minister as dancers, painters, writers, sculptors, singers, instrumentalists, sound personnel, lighting designers, graphic artist and makers of peanut brittle and popcorn balls.
Theory and practical application of our crafts is a need I hear from Christian artist from coast to coast and churches of 15 people to 30,000. We can sharpen each other and develop a community of diverse artist with a single goal. Exalting our Savior with excellence.
If this is a worthy venture, leave comments, sign for the RSS feed and pursue this journey with me.