‘Give me rules, I will break them
Give me lines, I will cross them
I need more than a truth to believe, I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes…
It ought to be more like falling in love than something to believe in
More like losing my heart than giving my allegiance
Give me words I’ll misuse them
Obligations I’ll misplace them
‘Cause all religion ever made of me was just a sinner with a stone tied to my feet, it never set me free
It was love that made me a believer in more than a name, a faith, a creed
Falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me
Caught up, called out, come take a look at me now…
(Jason Gray ‘More Like Falling In Love’)
I love the way Jason Gray can turn common thoughts and phrases upside down and make you think. In his song ‘Everything Sad Is Coming Untrue’, the title, even before you get to the lyric of the song, is a terrific expression of his upside down way. Music is the subject of this newsletter. Actually, not just Jason’s but all the music we play here on WBVN. ‘Praise is our business. Praise is our game.’ Maybe that should be a business card slogan but I don’t like the word game. It’s no game when you’re handling and responsible for such an important part of the Christian life, handling such a powerful instrument of God’s Love. Truly, praises are the things we do the most of here. Scripture affirms that there is an important purpose in God’s instructions for us to praise Him. I don’t think it is necessary for Him to receive praises, but it is necessary for us to give them. God’s wise in that way. His instruction to praise is God giving us one of the secrets of this Life. He always provides what will work for us, does not keep those secrets a mystery. According to the New Testament, He doesn’t seek His own. He weaves into His teaching how important it is for our lives that we praise Him for our sake! I believe the heart of God was not in the Law of God but rather, the Law reveals some of the Wisdom of God. He created the creature and knows exactly what works to our advantage. It’s not just righteous indignation; it’s giving the ‘apple of His eye’ the best way to live, giving us what works for us, what will bless us.
We all need encouragement. Encouragers are associated with ‘cheering’ people on. To encourage is to implore people to be strong, to hold fast, to withstand, to repair, to recover, and in each case to be courageous. WBVN does not challenge listeners to a new doctrine, but instead we cheer our listeners on in their own personal Faith, no matter the specific Christian doctrine. We came for one purpose and one purpose only: to encourage believers daily. It’s not tricky! We used a slogan early on in this ministry pulled from the Book of Acts, ‘They could not help but speak.’ So much has taken place, is taking place and will take place that we simply must declare to others the praises of God. Much of the time that’s in the form of songs, psalms and hymns over FM 104.5.
Ephesians 5: 19 represents that best: ‘…address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart and giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.’ You know everything we can do as Christians to prove we are a Christian can be faked except what comes out of our hearts. We can get down on our knees and pray, we can memorize Scripture, we can sing beautifully for people, we can teach, we can say whatever, but all those things can be done dishonestly. What comes out of our hearts is the real thing! That’s what God is looking at. Geoff Moore and Steven Curtis Chapman suggested that a few years ago in their song, ‘Listen to Our Hearts’,
‘Listen to our hearts, hear our spirits sing
A song of praise that flows from those you have redeemed
We will use the words we know to tell what an awesome God You are.
But words are not enough to tell you of our love, so listen to our hearts.’
Scripture qualifies all praise to be of the heart. The psalms, hymns and songs are to be mixed with heart and thanksgiving. The ancient meaning of psalm is ‘a touching’, something filled with Mercy and Grace, i.e. a blessing. In our songs, in our praises, God gives it, He is present in it and He operates through it. When we praise, when we directly address His glory and truth, we sing spiritual songs that reach His presence. As with prayer, with praise we can be changed, we can be touched by the hand of God. We can speak prayers and we should do so. We get to sing Praise and should do so. That’s why we can come with confidence about our broadcasting and the concerts. Both permit you to express your heart. They permit Him to display His Love and Mercy for us all through that Praise. Jesus and the disciples sang at the last supper (Mathew 26:29-30) and James (5:13) instructs those that are merry to sing hymns. We have the songs of Moses, Mary, Deborah and Elizabeth also playing significant roles in Scripture. Singing praises refreshes the very presence of God.
Because there is so much falling away from the Love of God by the whole world, I think a time is coming, especially as we see the world intensifying its rejection of the Love of God, when we will see believers eagerly and spontaneously praising, honoring and thanking the Father, as we see His presence more and more often in our lives. At those times, we may not have memorized each verse. We may not have prayed each morning that week. We may not even feel as though God is present at all. Truth is we might feel completely alone. Maybe things are falling apart all around us. But each day, whether we feel like it or not, we can praise Him. It will be like falling in love. ‘Give me rules I will break them, give me lines I will cross them,’ but give me a Truth that lives, moves and breathes and it will be easy to embrace each of those moments.
To everyone that helps financially support this radio ministry: Thank you! We’ve been able to rotate CCM, praising Him, for 22 years now. Every minute has been a pleasure for us and we trust inspirational and fun for you. What we say about Him makes a big difference in our attitudes and our hearts. We love gathering together for the concerts (140 now!) and gathering together on the radio each day. It is a treasure to us to have such wonderful support and terrific freedom to play music that encourages and enlightens. This year is about half gone. I think it passes so quickly because of the kindnesses and the grace you give this radio station each day. This letter is a note to share with you again the appreciation we have for our listeners and concert attendees. I was backstage at intermission of the Andrew Peterson and Laura Story concert. Laura came running up to me and said, “WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE!” She was so thrilled to have been able to spend the evening with many of you, and the reception you gave her just overwhelmed her heart. Well, those same people have been giving WBVN and our guest artists a great reception for over 20 years now, and we are very grateful for your encouragement.
Ok, now get in that pickup truck and just sing praises, just sing your lungs out! And be touched!