Good Friday

As Holy Week draws to a climax, today is the day the day that we call good. In reality, some 1950+ years ago in Jerusalem, unspeakably bad things took place.As I was reading about the Last Supper last night, the thought struck me about how long the original Good Friday was and all that took place. So much of the gospel narrative takes place during Holy Week and particularly on Friday. Beginning with Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane all the way through the crucifixion and burial, its far more involved and agonizing than an episode of 24 could aspire to be.

All four New Testament gospels do a great job of putting us right in the middle of the chaotic and brutal events that took place. I’m partial to Luke”s account, although I don’t really know why.

The scriptures do not mince words in their treatment of Jesus’ scourging and crucifixion yet in some ways the account is almost matter of  fact with no attempt to sensationalize as would be the case in our day. Several things jump out to me as I’m sure they wold  to anyone who reads the account with an open mind. I will mention just a few that are quite meaningful to me.

For the first one, I go back to the Old Testament;  Isaiah 52:14b

” So his appearance was marred more than than any man

What a striking statement to describe just the outward effects of Jesus” suffering.

Secondly, I look to Matthew 27:12-15 when Jesus was questioned by the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. I can scarcely imagine the confusion and chaos and the violently raucous atmosphere that must have been present during this event. But yet under intense questioning by a very powerful political leader, he answered not a word as had been predicted many years previously. John19:11 amplifies this conversation so beautifully,when Jesus said ” You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above”. Perhaps the most poignant and certainly the most difficult for me to even begin to fathom when at 3:00 PM in the midst of crushing darkness, just before the end, scripture tells us that  Jesus said these words.

“My God, My God why  hast thou forsaken me?’ It is said to be the time when the inexplicable relationship between God the Father and Jesus was broken as Jesus took on our sin. No, I cannot fathom it , nor come close to explaining it. Those much better versed theologically should make those efforts. I will borrow a line  from a Darlene Zschech song  that says:

‘” I ‘ll never know just what it cost to see my sin upon that cross”

And so Good Friday it was and is, not for Him, but for us.


It is a



April 10, 2009 Posted by | Bible study, History, Holidays | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Shout To The Lord!

We all have favorite songs  that we tend to enjoy more than others. Sometimes, it makes sense based on the artist or style or lyrics or melody or whatever. I will ask my wife from time to time why a certain song by a certain artist tends to be so meaningful. I suppose it is actually a rhetorical question but since I respect her musical opinion, I continue to ask. Invariably, her answer is something like, there is no answer. Having wandered around that topic for a while, I will say that the song referenced in my title is one  of those “magical” songs for me.

I was introduced to the song at a  wonderful pentecostal church in Salisbury,NC, named Rowan Christian Assembly. Since that time some eight or nine years ago, it has been a song with few equals. I have rejoiced to hear it sung and to join in with others as they have sung it. During those times, I have laughed, I  have cried, I have been so overcome with joy that I could hardly describe it.

It was composed by Australian singer, songwriter Darlene Zschech about 11 years ago. The song was birthed at a discouraging time her life and has since come to be a song sung by literally millions every week. All this is great although I doubt she wrote it with those  results in mind.It is based largely on Psalm 92-96 which are worth a read in themselves.

But somehow, when I hear it it’s mine. I hope someday to be able to express my thanks to the artist for her inspired work. If you have never heard the song, visit  ITunes or buy it. I trust it can become meaningful for you as well.

My Jesus,My Saviour

Lord, There is none like you

All of my days, I want to praise

The wonders of your mighty love

Just a sample of some wonderful praise lyrics.

Shalom and Amen

The Artist and the Album

The Artist and the Album

March 28, 2009 Posted by | Music | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Do You Have a Favorite Style ? ( And Should You ? ) Part I

At church today , the sermon was on ” Politically Incorrect Worship ”  and an interesting message it was . I have learned over time that a ” good ” sermon isnt always one that I totally agree with or that makes  me feel good . Today’s sermon hit the mark on both counts .

My wife was unable to attend today so she asked for a summary or synopsis or whatever when I got home . About 15 minutes later, I finished  . To her credit , she didnt complain about the length of my summary . I dont want to rehash the entire sermon per se but rather make some comments about how it affected me and some of the thoughts it generated . However , you can hear the sermon in its entirety if you wish . Go to newcommunitychurch.net sometime tomorrow and have a listen.

Over the years, due to moving etc we have attended probably 40 or more churches , some as actively involved , others as inquiring guests , others due to church responsibilities . Naturally , there are various ways /styles that worship is carried out . The music styles vary widely, due to skill levels, worship leader’s methods or proclivities etc . While music is not the end all , it does set the stage for good or bad  . We have been in churches with wonderfully talented, traditional music programs, talented ” contemporary ” music programs , good ole Southern gospel etc . We have been drawn to a church by its music and  ” turned off ” a church by its music . Must a church have good or exceptional music to have effective worship ; probably not but neither do I think falling back on Psalm 100: 1 is a valid excuse . Darlene Zschech is well known as a worship at her church in Sydney ,Australia as well as a singer and songwriter . I once read an interview in which she was asked about her role as worship leader . Two things stood out :

  • She had 20 minutes , generally , available for worship music
  • She told the interviewer that was ok, that she and the music were not the main show

That to me says that music had the appropriate but not the focal place in the service .Great attitude on her part and a good example .

I hadnt intended to devote the entire post to music related issues, so I will attempt to continue tomorrow .


November 30, 2008 Posted by | Christianity, church, Music | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments