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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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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Enjoying the Journey blog square

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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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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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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