One vital aspect of good songs is that they are skillfully written, both in words and in music. We as a society tend to value skill less than we value efficiency or expedience; but the Bible clearly values skill—or wisdom—in spite of the extra time and labor it takes to both develop good skills and to employ them.
I can sit down and come up with a few lines of music very quickly; I can do the same with a few lines of verse. What I cannot do very quickly is cultivate a deep understanding of the Word of God and its application to my life, along with a deep understanding and knowledge of language and poetry and communication and/or a deep understanding of singing and music. These skill sets are essential for good songwriting, and I always look for the display of these skills in the songs we sing.
There are many, many badly written songs in use by the Western church today. What does it say about our worship of God when little to no effort, skill, study, and labor go into writing the songs we sing to and about Him? Colossians 3:16 instructs us to “let the Word of Christ dwell richly” in us, which should result in rich singing, not anything that is poor, unskillful, or lazy. May our exalted view of God lead us to exalted, skillful, rich worship—the kind of worship of which only He is worthy.
Originally appeared in the April 2010 Newsletter
Train a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Safety and security is everyone’s responsibility. The safety and security of our children is one area of utmost importance. While our children are truly a blessing from the Lord, it can pose challenges to protect them. The following are a few examples and reminders of what we as adults and parents should keep in mind:
- A child running in the hall. This can be hazardous to the child as well as adults who may be tripped or fall in trying to avoid them. If you’ve ever heard an usher sternly warning kids not to run, this is the reason. Typically, ushers do not speak to a parent of the child but this may be necessary if a warning is not enough.
- Kids playing on the playground during the service will be asked to return inside and attend the service. Playing on the playground during or after the service without adult supervision can be dangerous as well, with smaller and older children swinging, sliding, etc., and due to darkness during the winter season that can hide someone lurking in the shadows. Actually, whether winter or any other season, this remains a viable threat. If you have children playing outside, we ask that you please ensure they are supervised.
- Small children leaving service alone and going to the bathroom, getting a drink etc. While ushers try to keep an eye on such situations, there are times when their attention may be needed elsewhere. If you have small children who have a need to leave during the service, please ensure they are supervised.
- Children playing on stacked chairs. Children have been observed climbing on and up stacked chairs (which they undoubtedly consider to be a convenient mountain climbing experience). While exercising these skills is not a bad thing, they need to be accomplished in a much more controlled and safe environment. If you see kids doing this, please ask them to stop. If they are your kids, please provide them the necessary guidance.
Please note that this article is not intended as undue criticism of any parenting skills. We know kids will be kids and that it is nearly impossible to watch them every second of the day. We do hope that such reminders will help all of us protect the young lives entrusted to us. After all, children are our legacy, our footprint on the world, and pleasing to our heavenly Father. Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. (Psalm 127:3)
One final thought, a quote from Robert Fulghum, “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”
Originally posted in the March 2010 Newsletter