June 5, 2003
Back in the fifties there was a singer named Ricky Nelson who had a bunch of hit songs like ĎPoor Little Foolí, ĎItís Lateí, ĎHello Mary Louí, and ĎIím a Traveling Maní. Ricky was the son of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson who starred in a TV sitcom about their own family of Dad and Mom and two sons. Ricky was the younger son. He had beautiful hair and was very polite and charming. One episode when he was about fifteen, he sang a song on the show and his singing career was launched. His records sold in the millions.
Around 1972 Ricky had his first hit song in almost ten years. It was called ĎGarden Partyí.
I went to a garden party/ To reminisce with my old friends/ A chance to share old memories/ And sing our songs again/ When I got to the garden party/ They all knew my name/ But no one recognized me/ I didnít look the same
By this time, he preferred to be called Rick Nelson. He was 31 years old. Heíd been married and divorced and had three small children (all of whom became media stars in their teens and has-beens in their thirties). He had an excellent group, the Stone Canyon Band, and had written a lot of new songs. ĎGarden Partyí told the story of playing at a concert at Madison Square Garden that featured other music stars of the fifties. Rick wanted to share his new music that meant so much to him, but the crowd only wanted Ricky Nelson the teen idol of the fifties.
The chorus said: But itís all right now/ I learned my lesson well/ You see you canít please everyone/ So youíve got to please yourself Rick realized this crowd wasnít interested in who he had become. They only wanted to see him as he had been many years earlier. I remember around this time, thirty years ago, being acquainted with many musicians in the State College, PA area. Many of us thought we were great intellectuals and we loved to exercise our minds with lofty discussions. One of the great questions we would discuss was whether a musician should play to please the audience or to please himself. It was nearly unanimous that it was wise to please yourself, and ĎGarden Partyí made that very statement.
These days as I visit many churches and talk to many musicians and pastors as well, this same question is being bandied about, although never in the same conscious directed way as it was thirty years ago. It seems everyone has an opinion of what Ďpraise and worshipí is and how it should be done. The pastors in many cases are concerned about how the people will respond. It is their nature to want to please the people. The musicians are often conflicted because they have their own ideas of what will please the people and, in many cases, have their own needs for self-expression and acceptance that influence their music.
This is a no-win situation, just as it was thirty years ago. The question that needs to be asked, and isnít being asked nearly often enough is: "God, what would you like to hear?"
The truth of the matter is you canít please everyone, and pleasing yourself is not the answer either. The Bible tells us in so many different places that pleasing God is the right way to go. Romans 8:14-15 states:
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
To me, this passage is saying that every child of God is led by the Holy Spirit. The question is, will we follow Him. He will lead, and we donít need to be afraid, because He assures us that He is our Daddy (Abba).
So, I can tell you with confidence, God wants us to follow Him every minute of our life. To many people, this means follow a man who is in a position of authority within a local church. This is based on a belief that a particular individual is hearing from God and all God requires of us is to trust that person and obey them. We are to assume that the songs being sung are the songs God wants to hear and that the message being preached is the one God wants everyone to hear. To question that is to be "in rebellion".
If you support this theory, then God must prefer songs by Hillsongs, Darrell Evans, David Ruiz, and Martin Smith in His charismatic churches, while at the same time He prefers ĎAmazing Graceí, ĎHe Livesí, ĎVictory and Jesusí, and ĎLeaning on the Everlasting Armsí in His Baptist churches.
Do you believe that?
I donít either. In fact, having played for over fifteen years on several different worship teams in Baptist, Foursquare, and Full Gospel churches, I donít remember anyone ever praying about whether God might want to hear something different.
Modern Ďpraise and worshipí has become all about pleasing people when it should be all about pleasing God. Playing accepted Ďhití songs in church that have a good reputation is the safe way to make the people feel good and keep them coming back. It has become so standardized anyone can sing along (or not) without feeling or believing any of it. It also helps to sell records which then bring new hit songs into the church.
It is a situation that can be very frustrating for anyone who has experienced what worship really is, an intimate experience with God. If we could experience that on Sunday morning through singing a few familiar songs, it would be nice, and Iím sure a few people do experience that, but most do not. My opinion is based on years of observation, from asking people, and from hours of conversations with the Lord.
The fact is, God is a creative God and He wants to unleash the talents and anointings He has placed within the Body of Christ. He wants to stretch us beyond our comfort zone and need for security. He wants to give us new songs.
I have talked about the evolution of "the song service" led by "the song leader" of the 1980ís into the "Worship" led by the "Worship Leader" and "Worship Team" of the present time. New people come into the church with a lot of musical talent and a lot of wounds from being musicians in a world that wants musicians to shut up and listen. Many times they wind up joining the worship team at the church where the Sunday morning approval they receive becomes their sustenance, while they are not being discipled by mature believers.
I have seen some who became worship leaders and then fell into sin and lost their position. In quite a few cases, they left the church they were in and re-emerged at another church that needed musicians for their "worship team." Iíve seen others simply leave the church and go back to their former way of life.
Many people want to defend the way we do things. They are intensely loyal to their human masters, and equate that with serving God. Look at the standardized formula for a Sunday morning service: 1. Sing four or five songs. 2. Say a short prayer. 3. Make some announcements. 4. Take an offering. 5. Have the pastor give a sermon. 6. Bring the worship team back to play two more songs while people come forward to receive prayer.
Whose plan is this?
I submit to you, Theophilus, that we who are Godís people donít know the God we claim to worship. Heís the one Who tells us to love one another, but we only love the ones that we feel comfortable with. He tells us to be holy, but we think itís either impossible or something weíll do later.
Our system is becoming exposed for its lack of zeal and the general boredom that so many are trying so hard to hide on Sunday morning. Attendance takes a dive on Sunday night and Wednesday night. Why? Because nothing is happening in peopleís hearts on Sunday morning. They would rather stay home and watch television.
Now, as this condition becomes more acute, and the time frame is short on this, there will be what religious leaders call a "paradigm shift" which is just a fancy way for the "intellectuals" of the seventies to say complete change. In the next two years, a new figure will emerge on the local church scene, the Psalmist, also known as the Anointed Psalmist.
Whatís happening is that whenever the old way becomes intolerable, a new way emerges that is really just a repackaging of the old way. There are psalmists in the Body of Christ, but most of the new Anointed Psalmists that will lead the Sunday morning worship will not be psalmists according to the biblical definition.
These days more and more musicians are making CDs and more and more are writing songs. It is so easy to write a "Christian song". Letís take an old song from the sixties called "Wild Thing" by the Troggs. You remember the song:
Wild thing (bumbumbabumbum)/ You make my heart sing (bumbumbabumbum)/ You make everything groo-vy (bumbumbabumbum/ Wild thing (Bumbumbabum---Bumbumbumbum)/ Wild thing I think I love you (Bumbumbumbum)/ But I wanna know for sure (Bumbumbumbum)/ Come on and hold me tight (Bumbumbumbum)/ I love you!
Now we get a bunch of teenagers that got saved (sort of) a few weeks ago, at the evangelistic meeting, and theyíve got a band. So they take the old Troggs song and change the lyrics and change the tune just a little. Presto! Hereís their new song "from God".
Je-sus (bumbumbabumbum)/ Your truth has freed us(bumbumbabumbum)/ We want to see you (bumbumbabumbum)/ Je-sus (bumbumbabumbum) Je-sus I want to praise you (Bumbumbumbum)/ You are my holy Lord (Bumbumbumbum)/ Fill me with Your Holy Spirit (Bumbumbumbum)/ I worship you!
First they share the song on Friday night at the youth service. A couple of weeks later, they do it for the offering. After a few more songs like this theyíre doing concerts and working on their CD, and the boy that writes the songs is being told he has a psalmist anointing.
The time is coming when people who write songs will be called psalmists and they will have the upper hand on the musicians who are playing other peopleís songs. They will be exalted and churches will be very appreciative of their song writing abilities. Most people (95% or more) have never written a song. Most who have, have only written a few. So the person who writes a lot of songs can impress people. I often share with small groups collections of eight or ten songs Iíve received printed on a single sheet of paper. I love doing this because they are wonderful songs and the people always enjoy singing them with me. When weíre wrapping it up someone often asks, "Did you write all these songs?" There is a tone of awe in their voice as they say the word "all". I say, "Yes". I could say, "No, God gave them to me." The thing is I did write them as He gave them to me. And this is the genuine gift of being a psalmist. It is simply receiving songs from God and sharing them with Him and anyone else He wants you to.
Thereís only one mention of the word psalmist in the entire bible, but it is a very revealing passage, II Samuel 23:1-2:
Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel said, The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue.
The essence of a psalmist is to speak Godís word through music. I donít mean, simply to take bible passages and put them to music, although that is part of it. Understand that in Davidís time there were only the writings of Moses that were regarded as the holy scriptures. David received new words from God that became scripture, because Godís word was in his tongue.
We know that all scripture is inspired by God (I Timothy 3:16, II Peter 1:21). We know this includes the book of Psalms. These were songs that came from the tongue of psalmists. David wrote more than 100 of the 150 Psalms, and several others wrote psalms as well, including Moses, Asaph, and Ethan. Now it occurred to me a few years ago that David wrote the Psalms in the mechanical sense, but he was in fact simply recording the word of the Lord that was in his tongue. The same Holy Spirit that inspired every word that Moses wrote in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, inspired David to write the Psalms. It occurred to me that God, Who exhorts us over and over again in the Psalms to sing a new song to Him, is the one Who will give us the new songs He wants us to sing.
Now we know that:
The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Consider the impact of Godís songs received by psalmists and shared with the church. Godís songs cut through to the spiritual battles His children are caught up in as they struggle to yield to His Spirit while crucifying their own flesh. Godís songs reveal to His children the thoughts and intents of their own heart.
Your word leads me into Your presence/ O Lord/ Your word is sharper than any two-edged sword/ It causes me to weep/ And it leads me to rejoice/ As I open my eyes and my heart/ To hear Your voice Your word exposes all of my sinful ways/ Your word cleanses me/ And it fills my heart with praise/ It causes me to weep/ And it leads me to rejoice/ As I open my eyes and my heart/ To hear Your voice Your word leads me into Your presence/ O Lord/ Your word is sharper than any two-edged sword
There are many psalmists within the Body of Christ and many more to be revealed. Very few are functioning in their gift within the local church. Many, however, are beginning to impact their world with the songs God has birthed through them. As they recognize and experience the power of a new song from God, God is revealing His purposes for their life through the very same songs.
As a people we have been sinking in the quicksand of religion and the new wave of man-pleasing psalmist-worship leaders will only cause more people to stumble and fall away from God or worse, to continue to be satisfied with an unsurrendered religious life. Only through repentance of our cavalier attitudes toward God and His utter holiness can we as a people break free from the bondage of religion and enter into genuine worship. The real thing, baby, is so wonderful, but we have to lay down our me-first sinful attitudes and receive His cleansing to be fit for worship.
Genuine praise and worship is pleasing to God. Singing a few songs has nothing to do with genuine praise and worship. Praise is a sincere expression of Godís greatness. Worship is a sincere expression of our deep love for God. Remember the BeeGees had a song back in the seventies: How deep is your love?/ How deep is your love?/ I really need to know!
God wants us to ask ourselves, how deep is our love? It needs to be deeper.
So praise and worship is in a very simple sense, "God, You are great!" and, "God, I love You!" We need God to give us a revelation of how great He is and how much He loves us, so we can truly praise Him and worship Him.
I began to get a revelation of Godís love for me in January of 1996 as I vowed to sing to Him every day, and to sing the songs I believed He wanted me to sing. He gave me twelve wonderful new songs that year, and when I asked for twelve more for 1997, He insisted I should ask for more, so I did. Over the next six years I received well over 500 songs dealing with every situation in my life, and every emotion in my heart, revealing His greatness and His love for me. He enabled and empowered me to express my love for Him in a deeper and more intimate way than I ever dreamed possible.
As Iíve shared previously, I had retired from the worship team circuit and only shared a song occasionally in a local church. I sensed Sunday after Sunday that God would have been very pleased for me to share much more at my local church, but there were too many restraints for the free flow of His Spirit at those weekly meetings. I was always there at 8 AM, singing in an empty sanctuary the new songs the Lord had given me during the week.
I remember asking the Lord one morning if these songs had any impact on my local church or the Body of Christ and God let me know in no uncertain terms that the songs that I was singing were having a tremendous impact even though very few people were hearing them. I became increasingly conscious of the spiritual forces that were at work to destroy that church and sought to be a vessel God worked through to bless the people who attended regardless of whether they were directly exposed to my music. Each day, through worshipping my wonderful Lord with new songs He was giving me, I was becoming more and more secure in His love for me. As we become more secure in His love, we are able to impart that peace to many others, and our spiritual ears become more and more in tune with the voice of God.
I often sing for people these days, and frequently itís at a local church. I travel a lot and share these wonderful songs wherever God sends me. Once upon a time Iíd come out and sing a song and hope the people liked it and ask my wife if they liked the song. I had a genuine and deep need to receive affirmation, acceptance, and approval from people, and singing sometimes gave me that. Sometimes, I felt like a flop. All that changed when I began to make a daily habit of singing to the Lord. As His love surrounded me, I received that affirmation, acceptance, and approval so powerfully, I no longer need to look to people for it. Instead, I can impart it to them. God, Who lives in me, loves to touch people through the songs He has inspired in my heart. Would you like that for your life?
God wants you to have that, and if you donít already have it, you can receive it now. All you need to do is ask Him for it. Ask Him: Dear Lord, give me a greater revelation of how great You are, and how much You love me. Dear Lord, give me new songs to express how great You are, how great is Your love for me, and even to express how much I love You.
Itís not a formula. Itís simply a gift He wants to give you that you receive by faith. Itís like asking for wisdom (James 1:5). You need to believe that He is so loving toward you that He will gladly fulfill your request. Think about what youíre asking for and whether or not you believe Heíd want to give you what youíre asking for. When you realize without any doubting that He wants you to have a greater revelation of His greatness and His love for you, you will receive it. When it belongs to you, you will want to give it away. Any where I go and sing now, I donít even concern myself with whether the people like me or not. I am overwhelmed as God reveals to me and through me how much He loves them!
People will be writing books on the psalmist anointing and what it is. Some of the books will catch on and make the authors famous as the experts within the Body of Christ, and whether what they teach is biblical or not, it will be generally accepted. It will make the psalmist someone to admire and want to be like. Psalmist schools will begin to pop up and some of them will become very famous and rich.
I have shared the truth about this to the best of my ability and have no ax to grind. I thank God every day for what He has given me, and for the daily direction I receive as I follow His leading. If you have questions, let me know. Iíll try to answer them. If you think Iím missing something or wrong about something, let me know, and we can talk about it.
Sometimes God gives us a new song that the church wonít receive, and the enemy wants us to question whether or not what we received is of God. Either that or he wants us to become frustrated with the church, to become critical, discouraged, and angry. Always, God offers a better way, and we can sing our new songs to the Lord Who inspired them, and Heíll set you free from all the works of satan.
Soon, weíll be looking at the recording process and how to package and share our new songs.
There are many wonderful songs at www.mydaddylovesme.org
Visit us today, and listen to ĎPrivate Tableí, song #8 on Ď1949í
Some times when no oneís watching/ I like to slip away/ To a private table/ Where we meet every day/ We share our conversation/ Under a banner of love/ I find my consolation/ As You woo me with Your love/ You woo me with Your love/ You woo me with Your love
Some times I feel like dancing/ To the music You play/ It leads me into Your presence/ Where You ask me to stay/ Weíre getting so much closer/ Your love is so divine/ Iíve got to shout about it/ That You are really mine/ You are really mine/ You are really mine
If your spirit bears witness to these messages, share them with other musicians. Our subscriber list has grown from 58 to 130 since March. If some of these are being impacted by the truth, it is a wonderful thing. I know from Jesusí parable of the sower that some donít receive anything, some get blessed when they read it but soon forget it, some receive a great deal but the cares of this world prevent them from doing anything with it, and then there are some who take Godís truth and do it and receive the fullness of His abundant life.
Wherever you find yourself, go deeper with Jesus. Pray for me that I would not be satisfied with less than His very best for me, an even closer walk with Him and a deeper love for Him. And that is also my prayer for you!
Iím a musician. God made me a musician. I am His musician. He loves me. I love Him. Hallelujah!
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