Friday, January 30, 2009

(Jonah calling Ninevah to repentance!)

America Needs To Repent!

With the financial crisis devastating our country, and the new president rolling out a "I hope this works but don't know if it will" economy stimulus plan that will cost tax payers upwards to 800 Billion dollars, it is time for our country to take a hard look at where we are spiritually and consider that maybe some of our problems are related to our spiritual condition.

I believe that faithful pastors everywhere should call this country to repentance. If we, as a nation, would turn from our national sins and the greed and selfishness that is so much a part of the fabric of everyday American life, we would have no problem meeting the financial crisis that we are facing today.

Here are some sobering statistics that reveal the depth of our spiritual problems and the deep sin that has engulfed this nation. Every year Americans spend enormous amounts of money on things that our forefathers would have called vice, sin, and wasteful habits.

1. 286 billion dollars a year is spent on gambling in America.

2. 100 billion dollars a year is spent on illegal drugs in America.

3. 29 billion dollars a year is spent on fighting illegal drugs in America.

4. 22 billion dollars a year is spent on welfare benefits for illegal aliens in America.

5. 79 billion dollars a year is spent on cigarettes in America.

6. 30 billion dollars a year is spent on alcohol in America.

7. 1.7 trillion dollars a year is spent on health care in America, (the vast majority of that is
related to treating people who are abusing themselves with sex, drugs, cigarettes and

8. 50 billion dollars a year is spent on fighting std's in America.

9. 13 billion dollars a year is lost by shoplifting in America.

10. 15 billion dollars a year is spent on pornography in America.

11. 412 billion dollars a year is spent on the interest on our national debt in America, (this is the
third largest budget in our federal spending!)

If Americans repented of their sins and used their money wisely we would not have a financial crisis.

America needs to repent and turn from its national and personal sins. May God convict America of her sin. May God bless America once again, and may God use each of us to call others to holy living in the days in which we live.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Return From South Africa!

I have returned from our conference in South Africa. I traveled with Kevin Thompson my son in law and was gone for the past two weeks. We had a wonderful time first in England as I met with several English pastors and friends. I was able to encourgage the brethren over in England and did my best to comfort, edify, and to exhort them to faithful obedience to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I also met with an author who is seeking to publish one of his books possibly with Emmaus Road Press the publishing company that we have begun here in Grand Blanc, Michigan.

We then traveled to South Africa where I spoke in the church of pastor Irving Steggles. It was a wonderful time of encouraging his people as well to have a positive world view that the Lord is on His throne and is doing mighty things among the nations of the earth. We had several opportunities to visit and fellowship with various people in his church to stir their hearts as well to serve the Lord with faithfulness.

We flew out of Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth where I spoke at the APC (African Pastor's Conference). I spoke three times and the Lord came down in an amazing way. I am always hesitant to talk about what may or may not be the perceived blessing of God on my preaching ministry. But let me say that the Lord definitely appeared to come down among that special group of pastors and touch many hearts as I spoke on the subject of biblical worship. My book What The Bible Teaches About Worship was distributed among the pastors at these conferences in South Africa. All of these things give me reason to praise the Lord for all of His many blessings. My hearts desire is to be used of God to exalt His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

As I was traveling I had this verse on my mind often, "As the hart pants after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." Psalm 42:1

I will make a brief presentation of our trip this Sunday January 25th. Thank you all for your prayers for our safety and for the Lord's blessing on our labors while we were away from our homes here in Michigan.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dickie

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dear Berean’s,

I am on my way to South Africa to preach at a Conference. Please keep me in your prayers.

I wanted to post this article on worship with the prayer that it will be a blessing to all of you.

God Bless you all,

In Christ,
Pastor Dickie

Contemporary Christian Music

By: Greg Barkman
The Beacon Beam
September 2008

Ah, the music wars! Conservative, evangelical, fundamental churches (along with some other labels and categories) are divided over music. What styles of music should we use in the meetings of our churches? Is “Contemporary Music” acceptable? Is it preferable? Is it abominable? Is “tradition Music” acceptable, preferable, or is it a hindrance to the mission of the church in 2008? These are the questions. The answers are diverse, to say the least.

By Contemporary Christian Music, we mane a certain style, very different from tradition church music that began in the 1960’s with the “Jesus Movement” and has developed into a widely used musical style in many churches today. Technically, any music written recently is “contemporary”, even if formulated according to traditional concepts of hymnody, but Contemporary Christian Music (or CCM), has developed a style all it’s own. Thus, recently written hymns may be either contemporary or traditional, without any reference to when they were composed. Sometimes this newer style is called “Praise and Worship” music, though I trust without any implication that traditional hymns do not appropriately praise and worship God.

There are generally two arguments to support the new music. The Bible, we are told, contains no instructions for music and therefore music itself is neutral. Music communicates nothing apart from words, so the words, not the music are the important element. We are therefore free to use any musical style. Furthermore, we are commanded to reach unbelievers with the Gospel. Since the un-churched find traditional church music unappealing (so we are told), we need to use styles that appeal to unbelievers in order to attract them to our churches to hear the Word of God.

While it is true to that the Bible contains no specific instructions regarding the composition of music, the “music is therefore neutral” argument does not necessarily follow. Simple observation demonstrates that different styles of music do communicate messages with or without words. Why don’t nightclubs play Sousa marches or classical music? Why don’t upscale restaurants play rap? Because that would send the wrong message, even without words! Obviously, music does communicate. It cannot communicate with the clarity and precision of verbal language, but to say that it is entirely neutral defies reason. We have an example of this in Exodus 32:17, 18. when Moses came down from the Mount with the Tables of Stone, Joshua heard noise in the camp which he misinterpreted as the sound of war. It must have been chaotic. Moses identified the noise as neither the sound of victory, nor of defeat, but singing. Neither Joshua nor Moses could understand the words, but both recognized the music as communicating something significant. As we know, it was the sound of wild partying in connection with the false worship of the golden calf. Nobody thought this as the sound of people worshipping Jehovah! Music communicates general concepts even without words. Shouldn’t we therefore, endeavor to construct our music and words to communicate the same message?

The evangelism argument must also be examined. Where does the Bible indicate that music is an appropriate vehicle for evangelism? Scripture teaches that church music, specifically singing, has two purposes: First, as a means to teach truth to believers, and secondly, as a vehicle to worship God (Colossians 3:16). Conversely, preaching has the twofold purpose of evangelizing sinners as well as edifying saints. Preaching and singing are two different practices. Though both singing and preaching share the goal of edifying believers, only preaching is sanctioned of evangelizing sinners. To use music, an element that God reserved for praise and edification, for evangelism, a purpose that God never intended, is certain to lead to problems.

My analysis does not specify every detail of Christian music. To do so would go far beyond the bounds of Scripture. There is enough flexibility in God’s Word to accommodate Christian worship in every part of the world, with a dizzying array of styles, cultures and musical norms. However, we must begin with a firm commitment to the guidelines that Scripture lays down before we explore the limits of personal taste and expression. After all, if our music is not first and foremost designed to bring glory to God in the way that He prescribes, how can it possibly be right?