Can Manly Men Sing in Church?

I think with the modern church worship movement, the singing time of our worship has gotten a sort of feminine rep. People sing songs like “God I love you. Wrap me in your embrace. Hold me. I feel your beauty, I want to touch you, etc.” And what does that make you do as a man? What response does that generate?  You’re like… “um Na I don’t like that. That’s girly.”

Now, “worship” is way more than the song portion of our church service. It’s a lifestyle of ascribing worth to God. Worship is the act of pointing to Gods infinite glory and power and wonder and love in everything we do. But I want to redefine how we do that in song as men..how manly, godly men are to act when singing in a worship service.

  1. The awesomeness and majesty and beauty of God is NOT girly or weak.
    • God is powerful. He is mighty. He created the universe, the earth, and everything in it. He’s full of wonder and mystery and splendor. But for some reason, the church has labeled those thoughts feminine. It’s been said the church has had too much mothering and not enough fathering. Even the image of Jesus has been transformed (in ignorance) into some pretty boy with luscious brown locks. Jesus was never like that! He was a man! Bearded and calloused. Our Lord is strong and mighty. He worked, he got his hands dirty. So we can say “Jesus is mighty, he is majestic and wonderful”, and we can say it like men.
    • Bragging on how huge and powerful something is isn’t lame. It’s appropriate. You look at the grand canyon and think, “wow, that’s amazing”. How much more so is God? How much more worthy is the creator than the creation.
    • We also have to correct our thoughts about certain terms.  The term “Beauty” is used a lot in the psalms to refer to God. But it doesn’t have to be a feminine term. It’s a great way to describe how perfect and flawless God is.
      • How many of you ever build something and finish and you’re like “oh yea… that is beautiful”?
      • Or maybe a brand new Corvette, or a the most powerful powertools on the market, those things are beautiful right? I see a Rickenbacker 330 guitar and I’m like “You are beautiful indeed”…
      • So it’s not just a romantic term is it? We have to stop treating it that way. His love for us is beautiful. The way he’s made creation is beautiful. It’s flawless, it’s perfect.
  2. Refusal to publicly proclaim God’s praises is deeply rooted in PRIDE 
    • Now I don’t think men see Gods attributes as weak… but its the thought of making ourselves look weaker by pointing out his strength that hinders us.
    • The refusal to praise him is straight pride and nothing else! You want to be strong, you want to be THE MAN. And talking about how small you are compared to God doesn’t pump you up.  But If you’re a christian, you MUST get passed your PRIDE and give God credit for how great he is. That doesn’t make you weak… it makes you smart, and it pleases God.
    • So we need to ask ourselves… Is our response to God held back by pride? Because you don’t want to look weak or vulnerable?
    • We have to remember God commands humility. Scripture says over and over that he honors and blesses the humble. But he despises the proud. He turns from the arrogant.
  3. True worship in song does not have to be emotional, but it should not be guarded.
      • We sing in an atmosphere designed to keep your focus, to help you keep your thoughts on God and what you’re singing. But it doesn’t have to be an emotional moment. There is no scripture that defines singing worship songs as big tear-fests where all the men in the room are weeping.
      • If it is, if the thought of surrendering to God’s faithfulness in a time of hardship brings true emotions out of you, that’s perfectly ok. God desires authentic response, and authentic response is good and necessary to strengthen our faith. Letting our guard down helps us to hold on to God and his promises throughout life. It does nothing for us and nothing for God when we harden our thoughts during worship. God seeks a broken and contrite heart.
  4. God’s love for us is not romantic, neither should our response to that love be.
    • “LOVE” was created by God first. But society has put a weird spin on it. Love these days is seen mostly as Romantic Love. And even love between man and woman has been over-romanticized, leading to a lot of misconceptions about the reality of marriage.
    • True Love is devotion that prompts action. It is unconditional and unwavering. And that’s the love God has for us. He’s devoted to us as a creator is to his creation.
    • So Be secure in your response to that love.
      • Because there is nothing stronger than Him. There is nothing we can put our stock in that’s greater than His power. There’s nothing mightier than Him. There is no one on earth or in heaven who loves you more than the Father does.
      • Look at it this way…Does the loyal army feel weird about shouting praise to the king they serve? Neither should we about our king.
  5. True worship in song is thoughtful and deliberate.
    • What are you thinking when we sing? Anything? Maybe you’re thinking of the people around you, maybe looking at the drummer or the people around you. You might be worrying about whether someone can hear you sing, or you may be thinking about how bad your wife’s voice is.
    • When we sing, we should be focusing on the truths of God, His faithfulness, His strength in our weakness, His sacrificial unending love for us. We need to actually say the lyrics to God, proclaiming those truths over the situations in our own lives. It benefits neither side when we sing words we don’t give a second thought.
    • TRY THIS… Next time, during the service, sing the songs as if you’re having a conversation with God, like it’s a prayer instead of a song. I promise you will be blessed by it.
  6. How we worship influences our families.
      • We can mislead our kids in 2 ways by how we act in a worship setting.
        • We lead them to believe corporate worship singing is important, but that it’s meant to be an emotional and romantic moment.
        • OR we lead them to believe corporate worship isn’t important.
      • You know your kids watch you do everything. Do you want them to think you’re a hypocrite because you talk about God, but when it comes to expressing his glory in worship, you just stand there stoic? They see how excited you get about baseball, football, and soccer games, but when it comes to God, it’s like you’re not moved at all. They think, well is God important? Is he real? Do we really need him? Because my dad doesn’t seem like it.

    As the spiritual leaders and influencers of our wives and children, we HAVE TO SHOW them how a strong christian sings to the Lord. With thoughtfulness and sincerity. With pride in our God and humility in ourselves.


I promise this to my church:

* I will NEVER lead a coed service in feminine, ooey gooey worship.
* I will not bring to the church songs that depict a romantic relationship between the worshiper and God, BUT RATHER a deep adoration of God’s greatness and love.

If you feel like I have, come talk to me about it and we’ll discuss it. You may point out something to me that I’ve overlooked. Or I may have some valuable insight for you.

The Action of Love

WWJD?

It’s a cheesy, once popular phrase that’s almost no where to be seen nowadays (unless you count your local christian book store). The popularity is gone, but what about its call to action?

I was reading in Luke 14, when Jesus heals a suffering man on the Sabbath. Afterwards He turns to the lawyers and Pharisees in His midst and said “Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?”

The question paints a dramatic image. And of course, we would all rescue someone from a well at any point… because without rescue, without our help to give them a way out, they would die.

But there are people all around us, at work, at school, in the grocery store, a waiter at our favorite restaurant, maybe even a family member who is also trapped. They’re stuck in a deep deep well, whether they jumped in, slipped in, or were pushed in by another. And unless they are given a way out, they will suffer, they will starve for help, and they will die. They will die after all the while living right beside us, standing outside the locked gate unaware that those next to them have the key they desperately need.

Our God is a loving father. He didn’t create His children for suffering, but sin has entered in nevertheless. Still He has hands and feet on this earth. He has a church, an army of servants after His will. Being His ambassadors on earth means doing what He would do for those He loves. It means working to meet needs immediately, without hesitation. It means seeing the lost around us not as hopeless or as untouchable, but as people who need finding, people who need saving. It means doing what we can to provide.

Love is not a feeling. It’s an action. And the best way to fail at it is to never try.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  -Matt 5:16

“The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  -Mark 12:31

“And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.”  -Titus 3:14

Father, help us see the people trapped around us. Help us see the hurting, the angry, the depressed, the lonely, the anxious, those trapped in sin. Help us to see from the shore those drowning in the waters beside us. Help us to show them the way, to give them even a small opportunity for safety, for salvation. Help us to see not their sin, but the love the Father has for them, His children. Remove our fear and hesitance and replace it with an active love, and a desire to help those who are in physical and spiritual need. Amen.

Worshiping in Spirit

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“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” –John 4:23


 

Worshiping in “spirit” was not a reference to the Holy Spirit. He’s talking about our emotions and our will, our mindset, motive, and desire. In other words, it’s the opposite of singing and raising of hands without truly purposing in connecting with God and exalting Him. It’s when the body joins in with the emotion and intellect to say “You are worthy, faithful, good, holy, etc”.

Do you sing to the Lord with your spirit, with your will and mind keenly focused on His greatness? Are you singing words with notes, or are you responding to Him for all He’s given to you and all He’s done for you? Empty songs don’t mean anything to our creator. They don’t give Him glory. They don’t bring us joy and encouragement. But worshiping in spirit does.

I challenge you this Sunday, come with an intentionality to join in worship to a worthy Savior! Give all the focus of your thoughts to what we’re saying with the songs we sing. Dwell on the messages, proclaim the truths in faith. Thank God that He never fails us, that His word is true, His hope is strong, and His love is everlasting! Come join with brothers and sisters in spirit as we lift up our King.

 

Night of Gold and White

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Two praise and worship songs… a cheesy reindeer joke…  a quote from the Grinch…  a presentation of the Gospel… and “What is a Chrismon?”  And that was only the first half of a fun and incredible ladies event.

Last Tuesday evening, seventy-one amazing women gathered at Fellowship West for “An Evening of Gold and White – Celebrating Christ Through Chrismons.”  And yes, the word really is Chrismon; a combination of the words Christ and monogram.  Chrismons are white and gold ornaments that represent who Christ is; His character and His ministry.  The Chrismon tree I made about ten years ago was on display, and I explained the significance of each of the eleven different ornaments, such as a cross and a lamb.

To stay in theme, each of the eleven tables was decorated in gold and white, and even the food we served was white.  It really was beautiful.  We also had give-aways.  In the center of each table was a white lantern with a tea-light candle.  One lady at each table became the owner of the lantern.  And then we had a drawing for a door prize; a lovely Christmas cookbook.

We sang, we worshiped, we ate, we laughed, and each lady made a gold and white beaded Chrismon ornament to take home as a remembrance.  But I think the highlight of the evening for me was being able to present a simple devotion using a very familiar Scripture verse, John 3:16. My prayer is that every person who attended our Chrismon celebration will realize the importance of the Baby in the manger, and what He came to accomplish through His birth, life, death, and resurrection.  And may we all truly celebrate Christ this Christmas.  After all, that is what the word “Christmas” means.  If you aren’t going to celebrate Christ, you might as well just go around saying “Merry” to everyone and forget about the word “Christmas.”  Please don’t leave the baby in the manger when Christmas is over this year… He did not stay a baby.  He grew up to become the Savior of the World.  But more importantly, He grew up to become a “Personal Savior”… My personal Savior… Your personal Savior.  Jesus Christ is a gift just waiting to be opened…   And remember, we can’t buy Christmas.  Christmas is Free.

-Karen Clough

Love One Another

The mission statement of Fellowship West is; Share Jesus, Disciple Believers, Love People.  Fellowship West exists not for ourselves, but for the Glory of God.  We continually pursue ways to accomplish our mission so that we can make Him known.  We are striving to make a positive impression on our community through prayer, intentional conversation, and a lifestyle of love for our neighbor.

John 13:34-35 says,  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  Our Fellowship recently sought to love our community by providing coats for those in need.  I am pleased to announce that we were able to provide coats for every student in need at Bonner Springs Elementary, their family members, and also students and families from other schools in the area.  We also have enough coats left over to aide our International Campus to provide for their community.  We will continue to look for ways to demonstrate the love of Christ to those in our community.  We are grateful for all who helped us provide coats, and want to encourage others to join us as we strive towards continuing to impact our community.

Our Mission

Share Jesus.  Disciple Believers.  Love People.

Share Jesus, disciple believers, love people.  Every morning this mission statement is repeated in our church.  But it’s more than a mission statement, it’s a way of life.  It’s the very fabric of who we are.

A few weeks ago our church began praying that God would show us the names of three people that we could intentionally pray for daily.  As we began praying, we looked for ways to engage these people with the gospel.  My prayer from the start was that this would help each of us be active participants in the Great Commission.  With this, the God given mission of reaching the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ must first start where we are, in our Jerusalem.  And as I look at all the areas of life that God has placed our church in, I fully believe that we will see a great move of God in the coming years.

Today I want to encourage you to continue to pray for the salvation of those whom you encounter.  Pray that God will open doors, orchestrate situations, and lead you into conversations so that you can share the good news of the gospel.  In every day, in every situation keep the mission before you.  And remember the promise given by Jesus to the disciples in Acts: “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” -Acts 1:8

-Pastor Matt