Friday, April 30, 2010

Now That’s Music to My Ears

Let me be clear. I loved Carmen and Stryper back in the day. I mean no disrespect whatsoever when I say Contemporary Christian music has come far since then. They, along with Petra and Mylon Le Fevre and even Amy Grant, were pioneers, fording raging religious creeks in stormy weather. I’m just glad that now-a-days, the genre of music is not deemed Christian or secular, and that it’s all about the message.

And that’s how I’d define Contemporary Christian music – any genre that promotes the message of the Gospel, salvation through Jesus Christ, and the principles of the Bible.

Today, the pickings are vast. Folk (Todd Agnew and David Crowder have folksy sounds, I think), gospel (CeCe Winans), southern gospel (The Gaithers, Elvis Presley), country (Steven Curtis Chapman), hip hop (Hawk Nelson, Newsboys), rap (TobyMac, T-Bone), thrasher/head-banger (Thousand Foot Crutch, Disciple, Kutless), praise & worship (Lincoln Brewster, Israel Houghton), easy listening (Mercy Me, Jeremy Camp, Nicole Nordman, Meredith Andrews), others that are more classic rock (Third Day, Sanctus Real, Switchfoot) – whatever sounds good to you, there’s a band out there singing about Jesus to that exact tune.

That’s just awesome.

Now I can clap, dance, head bang, wave my hands, or boogie down all while lifting up the Name of Jesus.

Music is powerful. As I’ve said before, it sinks into the memory and grabs hold. You can hear it without being aware that you are hearing it. It influences emotions and inspires ideas.

Add the Name of Jesus, and you have a potent, life-changing, contagious phenomenon.

Listening to Christian music encourages, guides, reminds, convicts, draws, strengthens, empowers, inspires.

Certain songs were instrumental in keeping me from loosing it during our “wilderness” time (Hold Fast by Mercy Me). Others have reminded me that no matter what I’m feeling, I’m not perishing, and that I can experience peace if I stay focused on God (For Those Who Wait by Fireflight). Music focuses me on God (Rise and Sing by Fee). Music also helps me praise and thank God when I can’t put words to my gratitude (Alabaster Box by CeCe Winans).

Like stories, songs illustrate that God is big and holy while also being personal and intimate (What Do I Know of Holy by Addison Road), they describe the relationship between God and man (Beloved by Tenth Avenue North), they express in poetic beauty how God feels about me (I Belong to You by Building 429), they set principles to a tune I can internalize and apply to my life (Get Back Up, by Toby Mac).

Songs about Truth. Can’t get better than that.

I’m in a… let’s call it a mini-season… of life that has presented some challenges. I’m baffled by the darkness that’s surrounding me. It’s like being in a haunted house. I know the creepy, decked out goblins are not supposed to touch me. But they’re there to scare me, jolt me, distract me. Unless I let them, they can’t do that, though. They can’t even hurt me. My force field, of sorts, during this time has been music… Christian music… just singing the name of Jesus, in all the genres that I love, and praising over the darkness. It’s like shining a flashlight in that haunted house, right in the faces of the goblins, and discovering they are only people wearing disguises and bad makeup.

I love all kinds of music, as surely you’ve seen during the Spring Concert Series here on Dry Ground. Ultimately, though, music with the Truth message does more than just entertain or provide background noise. And that’s why I’d have to say that Christian music is my favorite. It connects with my soul, holds me up when I feel I might fall, provides a weapon in spiritual battles, and is my avenue for fulfilling this command from Paul:

“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Do you listen to Christian music? If so, who are your favorites, past and present? If not, why not? I’d love to know what’s holding you back. (click here for a list of artists to get started or expand your horizons!)

Although tons to choose from, here is one of my new favorites. Hope you enjoy!

Thank you for joining me for the Spring Concert Series on Dry Ground. Have a wonderful weekend, friends!


KM Wilsher said...

My first ever favs wer DC Talk. When I became a Christian, I was a total rocker/thrasher and didn't know how to fill that with something else. I like:
Jaqui Valesquez, The News Boys, but my favs now are: Red, Lifehouse, Skillet, Flyleaf. . . You are right. We can listen to what ever genre and find Christian music in it :0)

Love this series!

Amber said...

I haven't heard that song before from the YouTube link, but I loved it! So encouraging!!

You named a lot of good ones. My favorites are Jars of Clay and Salvador. If you ever get the opportunity to see Salvador live, take it... they have the full Latin band and it is a JAM!! I love to put on my Salvador CD's and dance and sing all over the house! :)