Enjoying the Journey

We were in the middle of a service several weeks ago when a fine young man leaned over and asked me, “Do you have a favorite hymn?” I did not know that he was scheduled to play the offertory or that in a matter of moments this gifted young man would play one of the most beautiful arrangements of my favorite hymn. My answer was, “Yes, I have a favorite, but people don’t sing it much today. My favorite hymn is And Can It Be?” Charles Wesley wrote more than 6,000 hymns but many people believe this is the greatest. Perhaps it is because it was written to celebrate his own salvation. It is a testimony song! Yet this testimony…

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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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On a recent flight a lady commented to me that she loved the hymns but found it very difficult to find a church now that would sing them. This is increasingly becoming the norm. While I am not opposed to new songs and choruses, I thank the Lord for the great hymns of our faith. My favorite hymn is a rarely sung song written by Charles Wesley, And Can It Be? Read the words sometime! It is full of theology. Someone said “it is like putting the doctrine of salvation to music.” Music teaches. It does more than simply make us “feel” – it should make us “think.” This is why the Bible says, “Let the word of Christ dwell…

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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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