Congregational Singing led by Kevin Parr
Having the right foundation spiritually can make the difference on where one spends eternity. The only foundation that will make it. past this life is one that is based and founded upon the Word of God. It is one that puts it’s trust in the One whom the Apostle John called the “Word.” It is a life built on a trust in the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We build our lives on all kinds of foundations. Jesus spoke of those who build their lives on the sand, which has no permanent foundation. He contrasted that with the ones who built their lives on a solid foundation. The one who built on the sand had all kinds of problems; the one on the solid foundation had the blessings of God.
We need to base our faith on the foundation of the Lord Jesus and His blessed Word. Romans 10:7 reads, “and so faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”
We must be found standing on a faithful Word. We must have the assurance that the Bible we read, study and live by is really God’s Word.
The Apostle Paul answered that question for us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
It is the responsibility of every Christian to be steadfast. We have a reliable Bible and in it we find out how to live the Christian life. If we will but allow the Lord, He will equip us for service today!
We must be willing to put Him first in our lives at all times, not just when it is convenient for us. The song “I’ll Put Jesus First in My Life,” tells us in verse 1 that to the Christian the “the world all about me has now no allure.”
This means that once we put the Lord Jesus on in baptism we change “kingdoms.” Paul told the Colossian church that we have been conveyed out of a “kingdom of darkness”that leads to Hell and now we are in the “kingdom of the Son of His love,” a kingdom of light ruled by the Jesus. We are now in the “marvelous light of the gospel” and have the privilege to help other find that light.
By having the “firm foundation” of the Faithful Word of God, we are on the path of spiritual growth, a lifelong privilege to look into the very thoughts of The Godhead and know that They love us and want us to, as the Apostle Peter said, “to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ!”
Musical preference is subjective, and that truth is seen in religious as well as secular settings. In a majority of churches you’ll find 2 basic styles of music: hymns, and praise and worship songs. Whichever style of music you find yourself supporting, or even if you’re appreciative of both, I think it’s fair to say that we could all benefit from a ‘spring cleaning’ of sorts, in regards to the way we approach our time of musical worship.
If you sing something enough times, you’ll memorize it. While memorization is an awesome skill, I have caught myself on many occasions robotically singing both categories of songs during a church service without engaging my mind and my spirit in the words that I’m singing, and in the message that’s being conveyed. One could point the finger at ADHD, and I won’t deny that my brain is a bit ‘lacking in focus’ at times, but each Christian has a responsibility when we walk in the door of the church to make an effort to focus on worship. If we don’t, then we have to ask ourselves why we’re even there. The deeper, more invisible culprit to my nomadic mind is our enemy the devil. He WANTS you and I to be distracted during church. What a way to thumb his nose at God, eh? Almost anything can be a distraction during church, from planning the day ahead, to the personal devices that you bring to church, to children (yours or others).
One way that we can attempt to overcome this distraction is to make more of a connection with the songs that we sing. Hymns are typically more beloved by the older generation because they grew up singing them. A hymn is definitely not the musical style of today, but many of them have awesome words and melodies. Consider the song “Only In Thee.” It has a nice tune and harmony, but a few of the words and some of the poetic imagery are pretty unfamiliar for today: words like thee, thy, dwelleth, betide, cometh, and ‘pilgrim bark aright’. Don’t be tempted to bypass the absorption of these songs into your mind! Upon closer inspection (and perhaps with the help of a dictionary), we can see the powerful message of this song. You can endure the troubles and temptations of this life by the peace and protection of Jesus. Many of us could attest to the fact that sometimes life in this world is dark (‘Only in thee when days are drear, when neither sun nor stars appear…’). Jesus is portrayed as shining ‘like a beacon in the night’, and the last verse is a beautiful statement of his love for us: ‘Only in thee dear savior slain, losing thy life, my own to gain’. A modern way to paraphrase this is: Only you, Jesus, would lose your life, to save mine. What an awesome thought to hold onto, if you will delve into the words and their meaning!
A praise and worship song I love is “Sanctuary.” A short chorus with only one main thought, but what a vital piece of our Christian walk and worship: ‘Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary: pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving I’ll be a living sanctuary for you’. Exodus says (God’s words) “Then have them make a sanctuary for me and I will dwell among them.” What an awesome thought, that God wants to spend time with us.
I invite you to take the opportunity to explore songs you’re unfamiliar with, and also to be focused and aware in your worship.
Rebecca Parr is married to Kevin and they have 3 children.
The Word of God tells us of many men and women of faith. We read about how they put their faith into action. Serving God requires action on our part. If we are willing to accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior and obey the Gospel by being “buried with Him in baptism,” God had promised that our sins will be remitted and we will receive the “Gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
We must want to grow “in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.” The Lord has promised to equip His followers for service. We must put our faith into action and be “doers of the Word and not hearers only.” We must desire to grow spiritually.
We must endeavor to have a faith that is real, a faith that is active and ongoing. The Apostle Paul had that kind of faith and he shared the importance of that faith with Timothy, as well as others. Paul never ceased to encourage Timothy. I’m sure he learned that, in part, from Barnabus, who is called “the son of encouragement.”
Faith, like other characteristics of believers is meant to grow. All of us are at different places in our spiritual pilgrimage. Paul in 1 & 2nd Timothy is attempting to encourage Timothy and get him to build upon his faith in Jesus. In the 2nd Epistle, Paul who is in prison in Rome awaiting execution knows that this is last chance to write to Timothy. He wants Timothy to come to Rome; we do not know if he made it.
In 2 Timothy 1:3-5 we have Paul reminding Timothy of the heritage he has in Christ. He first tells him that he is praying for him. Secondly, he reminds Timothy of his spiritual heritage. Timothy was blessed to have a faithful grandmother and mother.
Paul tells Timothy that he is confident of the faith of Lois and Eunice and that he believe that kind of faith is present in Timothy also. Paul calls it a “sincere” faith (ESV). The NKJV uses the word “genuine,” while the ASV uses “unfeigned.”
Denny Petrillo, President of Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver, in a series of expository lessons on 2 Timothy given at the 2012 “Re Charge Me Conference” in Monterey, CA explained “sincere faith” in the following manner. “It is a faith that is present, even in the dark. It is a 24/7 faith. His faith is the ‘real deal.’”
It seems, according to 2 Timothy 1:6-7 that Timothy’s faith may have been weakening. Paul admonishes him to “fan into flame” (ESV) or “kindle afresh” (NASB1977). We must always be growing in Jesus, using what He has given to equip us for service. We must take advantage of all the Lord has for us.
If we have the “sincere faith” Paul mentions here, we will be able to live an abundant life in the Lord Jesus and help others to the same, thus living out our faith as the Lord Jesus told us in Matthew 5:16: “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.”
Having a “sincere or genuine faith” means putting Jesus first and living out our faith.