Enjoying the Journey

Let me begin by saying that I am not a musician! The books that I am recommending are not related to the technical aspects of music, but rather to the use of great songs and the stories behind them. I do love music and have a collection of hymn books in our home. However, I am afraid that very often we know the songs but little about the history of the songs or the people who wrote them. These five books have been a welcome addition to my library. I hope they will be an encouragement to you as they have been to me… Al Smith’s Treasury of Hymn Histories by Alfred B. Smith (Al Smith, “Mr. Singspiration,” was a…

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Dr. Johnny Pope is the pastor of Christchurch Baptist Fellowship in Houston, Texas. His Spirit-filled preaching has always been a tremendous help to me. It is full of Scriptural substance that makes you think and stirs your heart. Brother Johnny has been a friend and encourager. I believe you will be helped by his writing. I respect the gifting of the Holy Spirit to the Body of Christ and I took an informal survey of some of the musicians and singers of our church. I asked, “What would make better singers and worshippers in our song service?” I did not ask the tech guys who were not musicians, or Sunday School teachers, the ushers, or deacons, I asked the musicians.…

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1801-16 Enjoying the Journey Guest Articles Slide

Dr. Johnny Pope is the pastor of Christchurch Baptist Fellowship in Houston, Texas. His Spirit-filled preaching has always been a tremendous help to me. It is full of Scriptural substance that makes you think and stirs your heart. Brother Johnny has been a friend and encourager. I believe you will be helped by his writing. Music is important. Far more important than we realize. All music takes us somewhere. When I hear orchestras play, my mind goes to The Chicago Symphony led by the late Sir George Solti. This is where my wife and I spent delightful evenings in our courtship and early marriage. I would also say, my mind also goes to the days when our kids played in…

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Many of you faithfully read our Enjoying The Journey blog. Thank you for taking time to read, comment, and share the resources. This year we have had a guest author to post each month and the feedback has been very positive. I am excited to continue sharing the helpful thoughts and resources of others. A dear friend, Dr. Johnny Pope, has recently written some thought-provoking observations on the subject of music in local churches today. I look forward to passing them along with the prayer that God will use them to help us all take a biblical look at the music chosen for our church meetings. I have decided to post Dr. Pope’s thoughts in two parts. The articles are more lengthy…

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Several weeks ago I had the privilege of speaking in a pastor’s fellowship where Evangelist Byron Foxx was singing. He has been a real encouragement to me through the years and especially as I have stepped out into evangelism. The Lord is gracious to give us faithful friends in the ministry and Brother Byron is my friend. That morning he played and sang a new hymn he had recently written. My soul was stirred. I liked it for several reasons… It is written by a happy Christian and one who is diligently seeking the Lord. It is written for congregational singing. There is nothing as powerful in church music as whole-hearted congregational singing! It is written as a declaration of…

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You can learn a lot from a child.  Sometimes those we are teaching become our teachers.  This happened to me again recently.  As I walked through a certain place I heard the voice of a young man singing a great hymn.  Not just singing it…singing every word…with abandon! Suddenly so many things were clear.  This young boy has parents who love the Lord.  He is being raised in a church where the great hymns of the faith are being sung.  Now he loves them too. Young people love old hymns.  Many churches today have followed the assumption that kids only want “new music.”  In fact, they want something that is real.  They want truth.  It doesn’t have to be new…

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I love hymns and am grateful to be part of a church that still sings them.  Meditate on the words of songs like Charles Wesley’s And Can It Be?  Few modern songs exhibit such an understanding of doctrine.  Real depth. The great hymns of the faith are not just for public worship.  They are deeply personal.  Many famous Christians have testified that the use of a good hymn book was helpful to their devotional time. Recently our Pastor recommended that we adopt a hymn for the year.  A song to learn and to “make our own.”  God led me to the powerful words of a lesser known hymn.  For the last few days I have been singing it to myself (for…

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Home is the greatest classroom on earth…and not just for the children.  Every day there is more to learn, and our failures serve to remind us that we have not arrived.  In addition to the thoughts I shared in the last post, the Lord is teaching me: 8.  Never argue in front of the children. Now, I am sure you are thinking: “We never argue at all.”  Then perhaps you are farther along than me!  All married couples have “discussions” and some of those should be done in private.  Don’t talk about problems in front of your children.  Speak in faith and encourage them to face their own problems depending on the Lord. 9.  Play good music around the house.…

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