Saturday, April 5, 2008

What is Sermons in Song?

A sermon in song is simply a sermon set to music. In some cases it is a summary of a sermon, and in other cases the listener can follow along with the song in their Bible, just like they would any other exposition of Scripture.

I am an expository preacher of the gospel first, and this means that I am committed to preaching that deliberately and consciously adheres to what the Bible says, where the Bible says it, and with the emphasis that the Bible gives.

However, I also don't believe that Biblical exposition should never become a dry, academic exercise in boredom. No one should ever be put to sleep with the Word of God. The goal is to creatively and memorably bring the hearer into a clearer understanding of God Himself, as revealed in Scripture, and to show how this knowledge applies directly to every day life.

This brings us to music, and more particularly, our basic philosophy of music. We treat music like a language, with the volume turned up on the emotion. This means that our music is not treated as if it was only a vehicle for the message. On the contrary, just as my tone of voice is part of the whole communication in my speech, so music is part of the message of the lyrics.

We believe that when lyrics are accompanied by music that expresses emotion consistent with the message of the song, it can be both powerful and memorable, and because of this, music that is used to communicate doctrine must be handled with extra special attention to what is communicated both lyrically and musically.

So, you might ask, how did all this begin? Well...One day, I was commenting to my wife about the sorry state of contemporary Christian music, and she said, “You’re the one that is always saying not to curse the darkness unless you are willing to light a candle.” So I said to myself, “fine,” and sat down and began to write a song that was basically a summary of the book of Jeremiah.

I was preaching through Jeremiah and Lamentations at the time, and the idea was to write theologically accurate lyrics coupled with music that was emotionally consistent with the content of the song.

Well, my wife liked it, so I sang it for our church, and they liked it. Over time I continued to turn occasional sermons into songs, and the folks in our church continued to encourage me to do more. Later, we were visiting my parents and grandfather in Southern California, and I played some of the Jeremiah songs for them. My grandfather asked why I had never recorded an album, and I told him that it cost too much money. To my surprise he offered to buy all the recording equipment necessary to make it happen! Our first album, “Sorrow to Hope” was the result of his vision.

Ok...so what is it like? The first thing that I tell people is that our music isn't going to win any musical awards, and you won't hear the songs in any Classical music venues. It certainly wouldn't make it in any kind of secularized Christian market for a whole host of reasons. However, this doesn't really answer the question.

The music is made up, mostly, of original songs that are presented with guitar and cello accompaniment. Though the style is unique, you will definitely hear both Classical and Folk influences in the music, and most importantly, if you open your Bible, you will be able to follow along with the song.

It would be misleading to simply call it a concert, since preaching introduces and follows most songs, but the concept is flexible enough for the songs to stand on their own. For example, the entire “Sorrow to Hope” series can be sung, with brief introductions, in a little more than an hour. However, in this accelerated format, there is only enough time to hit the high points, and much of the richness of the various passages is easily missed.

There is even more to be gained by stretching the series out over a few services, and savoring the depth of truth that is to be found by exploring the Scriptural teaching in more detail through both preaching and music.

In addition, God has given us a variety of skills and experiences that we believe can be useful to local churches, so we are essentially beginning a ministry of helps for churches in the following areas:
  • Developing resources for training skilled ministers within the context of the local church (Veritas School of Theology)
  • Conflict resolution
  • Seminars on Bible Versions, Biblical Interpretation, and Information Technology in ministry
  • Providing recording services to help conservative Christian musicians record their music
  • Or any other way we might be an encouragement to you!
If you are interested in this ministry, our schedule can be found at the bottom of this site, and if you would like to schedule us for an open time, feel free to contact us directly. Of course, we are especially interested if you would pray for us, but please drop us a note to let us know who is praying for us! We would love to keep in touch.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Yard Sale

Well, we have a yard sale in the morning, and our life looks like an explosion of boxes...but we are making progress - whooo hooo! Whatever we don't sell we plan to throw in a big dumpster next week. Then, cleaning and painting so we can be completely gone in two weeks. It will be good to put this chapter in our lives behind us and move forward.

Please pray for us, that we will have a profitable day!