Election Day ... it did it again! The results produced myriad emotions ranging from convulsive joy in some to severe depression in others.
I’m fascinated every time I see our democratic process unfold. The fact that we, the people, actually get to elect the leaders of our nation intrigues me. But we have learned to put so much hope in government that people are often crushed beyond measure if their candidate loses or relieved beyond reason when their candidate wins. Both emotional extremes are unnecessary since Scripture suggests that no matter who wins an election for office, we can still win.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority—that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4, NIV).
As worship leaders, writing and arranging songs for congregational singing is something most of us hold, or would like to hold, as a value. (By writing I mean creating an original song. By arranging I mean taking an already existing song, typically a hymn, and altering it instrumentally and on the very rare occasion, adjusting the melody).
Even if we don’t have the most talented musicians or the most expressive group of people to lead, music matters because it’s part of our calling, to proclaim the gospel through music. So we do the best we can with the people and resources God has given us.
At the same time, music can’t be the primary focus.
What always takes precedent over the music is the gospel. We aren’t going to make the gospel sound any better than it already is, so our goal in writing music or arranging songs must be approached with humility and with a desire to call attention to the creator—not the created. Arranging and writing music can be fun, but it’s not essential.
Whenever I officiate at weddings I make sure I come early. With traffic unpredictable in Manila, it’s just not worth the stress of being stuck not knowing if you will be late. That’s why I came one hour early for a recent wedding ceremony.
The banquet hall was empty except for one table where a few early guests sat. At the table, our friends Junjun and Mae Perez were excitedly recounting a recent sighting of brightly colored rainbow. Junjun posted the picture shown here in Facebook. As Christians, we believe that a rainbow is a sign of promise from God, a promise that He will never harm us or destroy us as it was in the days of Noah.
As Mae and Junjun spoke, I was reminded of the number of times these colorful appearances have been a source of encouragement for me. One in particular stood out.
This past weekend, thousands of youth ministers participated in the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. As a participant in the past few, I know that feelings of empowerment and encouragement are flowing through this year's attendees' minds and souls.
The reason these conferences can be such a powerful experience is because of the camaraderie and the opportunity to take a youth ministry “time out”.
The problem with a conference like Simply Youth Ministry is that it’s only a weekend. After a weekend of euphoria you are forced to go home and face:
Anytime we exalt the men of God above the God of men, the church has been charmed. I thoroughly and wholeheartedly believe in honoring deserving men and women of God. This is right and well pleasing in the sight of the Lord. Paul instructs us in the Book of Romans to give honor where honor is due. Quite honestly, honor is a rare commodity in many Christian circles nowadays. We would do well if we practiced giving honor to those who merit it more. But trouble is on the horizon when we exalt our leaders as if they are Gods and give glory to them that is due the Lord. Men can and should be honored, but they must never be worshipped.
The ethnic church is leading a reformation that is reconciling Catholics, diversifying worship and reclaiming biblical orthodoxy.