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                I have not always been a music fan. Growing up, music was something that might or might not be on in the car as we travelled. Around our house, we listened to a lot of talk radio (which was way before talk radio became the cesspool of negativity that exists to attack anyone who disagrees with it.) WSB 750 in Atlanta seemed to always be on, with good reason. It was the station that shared the weather constantly and played the Braves, Bulldogs, Falcons, and Hawks games. Occasionally a pop station might get played, but not much. I do not believe that I cared about music until I was in middle school and a friend let me borrow his Creedence Clearwater Revival tape (“Bad Moon Rising” was the start.) Music changed for me that moment. Gone was bubble gum pop, and it was replaced with classic rock with lots of guitars and drums with the occasional, questionable lyric. My mom used to call the music I listened to “funeral music”, but what did she know – she was old and just didn’t understand (never mind I really loved the music from her youth.)

                Christian music was around, but only listened to on Sundays on the way to church, and that was mostly Amy Grant/Sandi Patty type of songs – songs I was not in to. It was mostly, at least to me, pop songs that simply replaced some mysterious person and his/her pronoun with Jesus. Sometimes these songs went the other way and replaced the name Jesus with some personal pronoun that would make the song less offensive. A youth minister changed that when he played Petra and Keith Green. Music that rocked about Jesus and was not simple little love songs. Petra and Keith Green were soon replaced with DC Talk (Jesus Freak is the single best Christian album ever produced and I am willing to fight over that) and Newsboys. Unnecessary silence was replaced with songs, real songs, about Jesus, and I needed it to get through my days.

                Eventually, many of these artists, such as Michael W. Smith, began to write praise and worship songs. Solo car rides (always solo-I do not sing loudly in front of anyone other than my family, and everyone else is thankful) were filled with both rocking Christian songs and praise and worship songs. It felt like I was actually singing,” I Could Sing of Your Love Forever”, forever, and it was great. Praise and worship songs soon found their way into youth services and then into church services. Some of these songs were good, some were not, but they were there.

                Of course, anytime a church tries anything new, there is bound to be resistance. Clearly a church could in no way sing both “Blessed Assurance” and “Shout to the Lord” in the same service. This brought forth the Great Worship Wars of the late ‘90’s and early ‘00’s where thousands were maimed and killed in this most deadly war (that is actually not true. No one died, but there were plenty of hurt feelings and church breakups.) Churches, even today, try to find a proper way to best bring musical worship into a church service.

                If you have bothered to read the last four paragraphs, you may be asking yourself where is this going? Not a bad question to ask because it is leading somewhere. Over the next week or so, I will write several articles about praising and worshipping God through music and its importance. It is something that I do consider important, and I hope that you will read each article with an open heart. You may not agree with my preferred style of music to worship with, but you should agree with the importance of worship. I hope to help us move to a much deeper and meaningful musical worship time in your private life and in our church life. For those of you to whom, music is not that important, maybe I will introduce you to a song or artist that changes your mind. It is impossible to completely separate songs with praise in the Bible, so in order to have a true sense of Biblical praise and worship we must sing and sing loudly and boldly. Hopefully, I will be able to help you with this. I am looking forward to this journey.

MJ

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