Book Recommendation from a Pastor
From the outside, a lot of what the church does may appear to very similar to what many secular organizations would do. We hold meetings, we put on events around shared interests, we listen to lectures that are meant to inform and improve, we make charitable donations. But one characteristic of the church that should make us instantly distinguishable from any other organization is that we are a singing people. Can you imagine a basketball team spontaneously bursting into song during a practice? A book club belting tunes while they read Ayn Rand? The PTA at school performing three part harmonies? Singing is a universal human experience, but it is a distinctively Christian mandate. Scripture gives us both exhortation and example of how we ought to be a singing people, those who ought to have a song in our hearts that burst out from our lips.
Two of the most important contributors to the church music of this generation just happen to be married. Keith and Kristyn Getty, writers of such Lighthouse standards as “In Christ Alone,” “Speak, O Lord,” and “The Power of the Cross,” step away from the microphone and piano and transition to pen and paper in their first book, Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family and Church. While many books already existed to equip leaders and musicians in the trade, precious few resources were available for the broader church and the every-day Christian.Bu the Gettys wrote this book for exactly that group of people. Their thesis is that music is not meant for those who identify as musicians, but it is a mandate for all of mankind, particularly for those who have been saved through Christ. Music is not reserved for those plays instruments or who can carry a tune; singing is for every Christian.
Here’s how the Gettys put it:
- “God designed our psyche for singing. When singing praise to God, so much more than just the vocal box is engaged. God has created our minds to judge pitch and lyric; to think through the concepts we sing; to engage the intellect, imagination, and memory; and to remember what is set to a tune… God has formed our hearts to be moved with depth of feeling and a whole range of emotion as the melody-carried truths of who God is and whose we are sink in.”
- One of their most helpful emphases is on the congregational, communal nature of singing.
- “When we sing together as the Church, we are showing how we are a congregation of living stones. Our singing is an audible expression of the bonds we share, testifying to the life that lies within these stones. We are cut from the same elements of faith, united in Lord, filled by one Spirit, brought into one Church, to offer our praise to Him. We are being chiseled and refined through our singing, just as wet re through every aspect of our lives. We are forged together through our singing together” (72).
This is a challenging principle to apply these days, but I think we have great opportunity to live this out. Quite simply, are you singing? Do you sing during our worship service livestreams? Do you sing with your small group on Zoom? Are you singing with your children or your spouse? Are you singing with your roommates? While we may not be able to gather in a church building to sing, are we singing in the communities that we have available to us with the means we have available to us?
I heartily recommend this brief, practical book to you, and I even more heartily recommend singing to you. Sing on, Lighthouse!
As we are separated and physically distanced, it is good to know nothing can separate us from the love of God. In Christ, we can rejoice in the simple yet profound truth that He is with us.
Elaborating on the Sunday sermon, this article speaks to how we’re never alone in our struggles and troubles. The author shares four verses to memorize and work through when we feel the loneliness of suffering rising upon us.
While this article is written with application directly for women, I believe we can all benefit from the principles shared. As we find ourselves busy and inundated with content and voices, it serves us well to carve out time to listen to God.
How we love the church and long one day to be physically present. Until that time, let us remember the privilege, blessing, and high calling of belonging to Christ as His family here on earth.
Living in such a technologically advanced world, a constantly changing culture, and a fast paced society, it is easy to apply the same outlook onto our Christian life. Challies pauses to consider what is the great daily challenge for us as Christians.
This article is longer, but contains wise and insightful principles that will pay dividends in our parenting. Many of the same ideas can also be translated to other relationships we have.
The president of Biola University shares an exhortation to college students who have difficulty redeeming this frustrating season. In reality, he speaks to many of us since we all could be served by the encouragement of persevering that we might mature in Christlikeness.
Bob Kauflin and his daughter cover the most popular song from his old band. The words are rich and particularly pertinent during this season.
This is a neat arrangement to a favorite hymn. A collaboration by cell phone, who would’ve known.
Musicians are interviewed on how this pandemic has affected their craft and livelihood. Should you feel compelled, they also share how people can support them.
This one is especially for the young adults, but a lot of these books are appropriate and encouraging for all. Lots of good recommendations and favorites like “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment,” “Thoughts for Young Men,” and, “Just Do Something.”
This is a cool Kickstarter project that illustrates Pilgrim’s Progress for kids aged 4-10 years old. What a great way to introduce this classic to little ones.
Please read this article rather than just grabbing titles and watching listed movies. There can be redeeming lessons from these films, but we need to exercise the power of discernment.
This video clip has us examine our hearts when our initial reaction to commands is to protest or disobey. There can be much gained in our submission, not only personally, but eternally.
Dane Ortlund leads a 14-day audio devotional based off his excellent book, “Gentle and Lowly,” which was a previously recommended resource.