Music


I love to listen to the radio. I wore out a set of headphones as a child listening ever so discreetly to radio stations across the nation long after I should have “signed off” for the night. Even now, there is always some radio station on in my house at almost any given time. I have a station list in my head for everywhere I travel regularly so that I can find something to listen to while away. Recently, I found myself in Raleigh unable to find anything to meet my listening needs when I thought about trying to tune in a radio station I listened to almost all the time when I lived in Chapel Hill. KLOVE is a national Christian music radio network and I love it’s format. I will even listen to it on the internet sometimes I enjoy it so much. The problem is that when you are in East Raleigh it’s difficult to pick it up and that is where I was at the time. I tried it however and through a very weak signal I heard Chris Tomlin singing “How Great Is Our God.” I have heard the song countless times, but it spoke to me in ways I had never heard before. Here I was feeling down, I was going to the hospital a place filled with worry and discouragement, and I was in a community that was being hit hard by the recession through layoffs and home foreclosures and suddenly it all seemed insignificant in the light of thinking how great God is. He is so much bigger than anything you and I can ever face and His desire is for us to seize hold of that truth. It occurred to me as I sat there at the stoplight and let that truth wash over me that there were people all over the Triangle who needed to hear that truth as well, but because they were tuned in to other things they were oblivious to the message. The question for us is whether we are tuned in to the message? Do we regularly hear the good news that God is bigger than any problem, worry, concern, or trial? Zephaniah tells us that “The Lord your God is with you, he is might to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” but do we ever hear His song? I’ve found that the closer I get to a radio station the clearer the signal becomes, the same is true with God. If you can’t pick up His signal or it’s coming in a little fuzzy, try moving closer to Him and hear the good news He has to share.

Peace be with you.

    

     I awoke this morning to the news that Britney Spears had been rushed with a presidential-like police escort to the UCLA Medical Center.  The anchors suggested that this was an involuntary psychiatric commitment and that the pop queen had finally broken apart.  I did not think it was possible to knock off the ongoing primary war from its perch, but the Britney saga did throughout most of the day.  I shudder as I write that because it shows just how utterly depraved our society has become.  Yes, I know that we were totally depraved from the start, but I can remember in the not so distant past where the news involved the pressing issues of our day and not the latest mental breakdown of a celebrity.  Yet, how in good conscience can I complain?  After all, haven’t we all contributed to the depravation?
     We all in some way have encouraged our society’s fascination with all things celebrity and through our maniacal obsession with celebrity lives ignored so many things that deserve our attention.  Let’s face it, the celebrity gossip shows and magazines would not exist if we did not frequent them.  I know, I know, you don’t watch them, but somebody must.  I cannot believe that with ratings performance demands as high as they are, television studios would waste money producing shows that missed major demographics of our society.  Recently I read that 86% of our country claims to be Christian and that roughly half of that number considers themselves to be born-again evangelicals.   It would seem to me that a substantial portion of evangelicals then are probably watching these shows or at least tolerating them to be watched for them to still be on the air.  Furthermore, I never hear of evangelicals banding together and writing the news organizations, whether they be cable or network, and encouraging them to actually report the news instead of celebrity gossip. 
     We have all sinned, whether it be knowingly or unknowingly, by allowing this celebration of other’s misfortunes to continue to be broadcast over the airwaves.  How easily we forget that true love according to Scripture “does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”  If we watch with glee someone’s misfortunes then we have delighted in evil and yes, I believe continuing to watch the gossip shows is delighting in evil.  Our society is dying a slow and agonizing death because we are more concerned with what’s going on in some pop star’s life than what’s going on in the rest of the world. 
     I heard on the news tonight that a soldier died today in Iraq.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I cannot remember that hero’s name.   I suppose I can’t be blamed though because it was only mentioned in passing, while we spent hours last week hearing about the death of Heath Ledger.  I received no “breaking news” email about the soldier’s death, but I did about Heath’s.  I see a great imbalance in our societal ethics if we find the death of a Hollywood star more important than a soldier defending our freedom abroad.   Just think how many hours we had to sit through news items on Madonna adopting a child from Malawi.  Yet, how many of us have heard about the outrageous sums of money family’s have to pay here in the States to adopt.  Or, better yet, did we hear about the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis and the fact that pharmaceutical companies are not releasing patents for medicines which is helping create the orphan situation in sub-Saharan Africa because of the death of so many parents?  I guarantee though we will hear when those pharmaceutical companies make the next breakthrough in sexual enhancement medications.  Christians are called to be better than this and if our country is as Christian as it says it is then our focus should not be on whether Britney has finally gone crazy.  It should be on learning more about the world’s problems and striving to end them.  It is to this we have been called and as long as we forsake our call, our society will continue to die.       

       Peace be with you. 

First off, let me apologize for serving the appetizer late today.  I have realized this Advent season that although we have more services in the week leading up to Easter, Advent and Christmas are busier.  One reason things are so busy is that we have been working on the final touches of our annual Christmas concert.  We will present our program Sunday night at 5:00 and will feature our Adult Choir, both children’s choirs, and both handbell choirs.  I really do hope you will come out and join us as we “celebrate Christ’s birth.” 

 Sunday morning we will light the candle of peace during our worship service.  I for one have been so stressed to the max over the last few days with everything going on and the specter of even more projects that desperately need my attention that peace seems only a distant goal.   I’m sure many of you are in the same condition.  So far, I have only bought one, that’s right, one Christmas gift.  It’s a new wallet for my grandma that I happened to see as I was heading for lunch at the Four Seasons Mall food court while attending the Baptist State Convention in November.  Am I alone in finding it strange that we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace by becoming stressed out?  Jesus said that He was leaving us His peace, a peace that the world does not give to us.  Sunday, we will explore what that peace is and how we can experience it more.  I hope you will join us.