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Posts tagged ‘Christian music’

What’s Wrong With Contemporary Worship?.

What’s missing from our modern worship? (stockmedia for

Worship—it’s the hottest fad to hit the Christian music industry since contemporary Christian music came into its own more than 25 years ago. Worship music heads the lists of many musical surveys and reports that come across my desk. Even artists who are known for other types of music have jumped on the worship bandwagon.

Bands are doing worship tours around the country. Christian radio stations are adding more and more worship to their programming, and compilations of the top worship songs of the year sell like hotcakes and zoom to the top of the charts.

Worship has also invaded Sunday church services. When I was a kid, worship was limited to singing a hymn about the deity of God. The rest of the song service was spent singing testimonial and feel-good songs.

Nowadays, worship songs and choruses based on Scripture dominate the church gathering. Traditional churches offer special services featuring contemporary worship, and charismatic and Pentecostal churches tout their worship programs as the No. 1 way to get new members.

Let’s face it—worship is all the rage. It’s everywhere. It’s taking over. Wow!

But wait a minute. I have sat through countless church services and listened to thousands of songs (on the radio as well as on CDs, tapes and even long-play records). In light of my observations, I must ask this question: What about His presence?

As I see it, true worship is designed for (or at least offers the byproduct of) entering the presence of God. I am not talking about the popular word presence found in many Christian lyrics. I am talking about the felt, manifest presence of Jehovah, the Creator of the universe, the eternal and everlasting King, the passionate lover of every believer’s soul.

Where is His presence?

Does your soul feel a void after listening to Christian music for a while or after leaving church on Sunday morning? Does anyone recognize the gaping hole? My friend, we are missing out on one of the greatest and most powerful gifts freely available to the body of Christ today—His presence, His glorious presence!

Music fads sometimes become so popular that the listener loses the true message by getting caught up in the fad itself. This is what British worship leader Matt Redman was writing about when, during a fast from all music in his church, he penned the lyrics “I’m coming back to the heart of worship/And it’s all about You/It’s all about You, Jesus.” I believe Matt had a wake-up call one day—a revelation that although they were singing songs and playing instruments in his church, God’s presence was nowhere to be found.

True worship is not a fad; it never has been and never will be. True worship is eternal. Other trends come and go, but spirit-and-truth worship always has been what the Father is seeking (John 4:23), and it always will be the unending song of the elders, the angels and the redeemed that will ring throughout heaven for all eternity.

Why should we seek this often-elusive gift from on high? In the worship experience, the presence of God is what transforms the heart of man. When you truly encounter Him, you cannot help but be changed. It’s automatic.

Why? It’s so simple. Big God, little man. When the presence of the Creator of all visits your space, anything can happen.


Terry MacAlmon is an accomplished worship leader, songwriter and recording artist and the founder of Terry MacAlmon Ministries. He has released several worship CDs, including Visit Us and The Sound of Heaven. For more information, go to


TobyMac Wins Artist of the Year at 2013 Dove Awards.



Gospel singer TobyMac scooped the big prize at the 2013 Dove Awards on Tuesday when he was named artist of the year for a second time.

The star, who has been nominated for the prestigious award seven times and won it in 2007, saw off competition from Chris TomlinFrancesca Battistelli, Lecrae and Tamela Mann to earn the accolade at the Christian music ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee.

The singer has been hailed as one of the best-known Christian rappers and found fame after becoming only the third Christian artist to have a number one debut on Billboard’s Top 200 chart with his albumEye On It in 2012.

He says, “I’ve always come from hip-hop roots albeit I’m a pop artist… I’ve always thought, man, if you’re talking about hope, if you’re talking about faith, you can’t limit it to one style of music… Gospel hip-hop has always existed, it just has never had the platform it’s finally getting.”

Other top winners include singer-songwriter Matt Redman, who scooped six trophies, including songwriter of the year and song of the year for 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord), and Ed Cash, who was named producer of the year.


Mark Driscoll Arrives at Worship Service in Hearse to Illustrate Dying Church.


Mark Driscoll
Mark Driscoll pulls up to a worship service at Mars Hill U-District Sunday night in a hearse (left); Driscolll preaches to more than 500 college and grad students. (Mars Hill Church)

In an effort to hammer home his point that the church is dying, Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll pulled up to a worship service at Mars Hill U-District Sunday night in a black hearse and was wearing a formal funeral-style suit.

The stunt also served as a promotion for his new book, A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future? which releases Nov. 5—the same day leadership conference Resurgence 2013 kicks off.

More than 500 college and grad students showed up to see Driscoll preach at the 400-seat auditorium. He spoke to the congregation about how we got the Bible today, why it should be trusted and why it is true.

Driscoll’s sermon included topics ranging from the number of manuscripts of the Bible’s different books to how close they are to their origin dates. He encouraged students to continually test everything they hear throughout their college years against Scripture.

“I was really excited for students to hear the truth of the gospel compared to what they’re going to hear day in and day out on campus,” says Drew Hensley, lead pastor at Mars Hill U-District. “People are telling them this is what you should believe, this is what you’re made for, and it’s absolutely against everything we see in Scripture. For Pastor Mark to come out tonight and share that Scripture is truth, it’s authority, you can place your faith and life in it, and it sustains you, I think that’s huge for students.”

“One of the things we see time and time again with our students is they might start really strong, and then a lot of lies come in,” Hensley continues. “They sacrifice Jesus on the altar of grades for the idol of career. We see waves of college students and their ups and downs when they start to believe in a false identity. To see their identity doesn’t have to be rooted in all of that but it can be rooted in Jesus is amazing.”

Sophomore Mahlon Houck says Driscoll’s message affected him.

“I definitely have less fear in leading a community group and not really feeling like I need to force the Word on people,” he says. “I just need to let it speak for itself, because it is true and it changes lives.”

In a letter addressed to “Christian” that was meant to promote the leadership conference, Driscoll writes, “Christians are being ostracized, gay marriage is being legalized, the bandwagon has stopped carrying us and has started running over us. The church is dying, and no one is noticing because we’re wasting time criticizing rather than evangelizing.”

“The days are darker, which means our resolve must be stronger and our convictions clearer,” he adds. “This is not the hour to trade in work boots for flip-flops. You didn’t think you were here to kill time listening to Christian music until Jesus returned, did you?”


Gina Meeks

‘American Idol’ Hopeful Recounts Persecution for Bold Faith in Christ.

Moriah Peters
Moriah Peters (Facebook)

Moriah Peters, who appeared on American Idol during the 2010 auditions, launches a new short film today retelling her experience with the famous judges and the rejection she received due to her bold stand in sharing her faith and way of life, in stark contrast to young celebrities today.

Peters seemed to have everything the American Idoljudges would be looking for in a contestant. She was a talented singer with a great look and vibrant personality. However, one thing deterred them from allowing her into the competition. Peters was a committed Christian, leading Bible studies and saving her first kiss for her wedding day.

God took me on a bit of a journey where I was able to use music to impact other people,” she says in her I Am Second video. “It started with just leading worship at my church. I said, ‘Okay, God. This is something special. This is something powerful, and I want to be a part of it.’”

Throughout high school, Peters was committed to serving Christ through music. She was a leader in her public high school and led a girls’ Bible study. She had career aspirations of becoming an attorney, but then God opened the door to the music industry through American Idol.

“One day I came downstairs, and the application, the map and everything was out on the kitchen table,” Peters says. “I was like, ‘All right. Let’s do it.’ I was excited.”

However, Peters’ experience on the reality show was not what she expected. Her first auditions were a success, but then the time came to perform for the televised auditions for the judges. While they complimented her voice, they criticized her for her commitment to purity and her Bible studies.

“They told me, ‘You’re trying to be too perfect. You need to go into the world and make some mistakes,’” she says. “’Go kiss someone. … Then you’ll feel sexier.’”

Despite her disappointment, Peters remained firm and positive about her faith during her post-audition interviews, even while she couldn’t understand why God had brought her this far to be rejected and teased by the judges.

Minutes later, a man approached her about a record deal with a Christian music label.

“Really, from the time I had stepped out of the auditioning room to going down an elevator to exiting the building was the amount of time it took for God to open the next door and do a complete miracle,” Peters says.

Today, Peters has taken the Christian music world by storm. Her debut album with Provident Music Group released in April 2012 and was a hit, with her song “I Choose Jesus” hitting No. 11 on the Billboard Christian song chart. She is currently featured on the Restart tour with the Newsboys and For King and Country.

In addition, since her experience, Peters married the love of her life and shared her first kiss on her wedding day.

Her complete story can be viewed at



Lessons From a Screen Door.

Ron Phillips-small

Ron Phillips

It’s funny. I don’t remember moving to Seattle.

To my friends in the Seattle area, those of us in East Tennessee are beginning to be able to relate to you. This year, we have been inundated with rain. While a normal summer for us is hot and fairly dry, our temperatures have hardly gotten over 90 degrees this summer, largely due to the overcast weather and almost daily showers that have kept the temperatures down and the humidity up.

All of this water reminds me of the lyrics of the Rich Mullins song “Screen Door“:

“It’s about as useless as a screen door on a submarine/Faith without works … /It just ain’t happening.”

Now, Rich could be considered one of the most successful artists in the history of Christian music. With songs like “Awesome God” and “Sing Your Praise to the Lord,” he left a huge mark on not just the Christian music scene but on the church at large.

However, Rich understood not just the significance of the lyrics he penned, but also the importance of putting your money where your mouth is. He once stated that when his royalty checks came in, his advisory board gave him a modest, fixed amount to live on. This amount was not based on an arbitrary calculation but on a national average.

So, what became of the rest of his money? Stocks? Bonds? Savings or market investments? Retirement?

Nope. His advisory board simply gave it away.

Rich once said he had no idea how much he even made. What was important to him was following the example of Jesus by ministering to the poor. At the time of his death in 1997, he was living on a Navajo Indian reservation, teaching music to the Navajo children. He understood that the trappings of success weren’t the true measure of success. Following Jesus was.

The Bible says that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20).

Why not find a way to put your faith into action today? Do something to show the world that your faith has a pulse.

Source: Ministry Today.

Written by Ron Phillips

Ron Phillips is senior pastor of Abba’s House in Chattanooga, Tenn. His weekly television and daily radio programs are broadcast worldwide and available on the Internet. He is a sought-after speaker and the author of numerous books, including the four-part Foundations on the Holy Spirit, Our Invisible Allies and his latest, A God-Sized Future.

For the original article, visit

Carman: I’m Going to Duplicate Myself.


Carman isn’t backing down from the fight against cancer—even though he recently landed in the emergency room with extreme nausea.

Carman is working on a new album and has committed to equipping more evangelists through his online teaching programs. He wants to breed soul-winners for Jesus—and he wants to win many more before he goes home.

“I’ve rededicated myself to creating more evangelists. I’m putting out a lesson every week to teach a generation to do what I did,” says Carman. “I’m going to duplicate myself as many times over as I possibly can. Devil, you want to take out one, I’m going to put 100 onto you! You’re messing with the wrong guy!”

Carman is also determined to make sure as many people in his path get saved as possible. He’s making salvation invitations at every turn. When he reads comments from his Facebook fans about how their kids got saved through his ministry, it sparks a fire in his spirit to take it to the next level.

“I have a responsibility to show people what to do when you are attacked. You fire back three times what was fired at you,” Carman says. “That’s the mentality. Sometimes I get tired. I’m out of breath just talking to you, which is unusual for me. But I have to fight. It’s the only thing I can do.”



Amy Grant’s Latest Album Makes ‘Billboard’ Top 20 Debut.


Amy Grant
Amy Grant

Amy Grant’s first full studio project in 10 years debuted at No. 1 on Christian SoundScan and No. 12 on the Billboard 200 for the week of June 1.

Her 18th studio album, How Mercy Looks From Here(Sparrow Records/Capitol Christian Distribution), has sold more than 26,000 units since its May 14 release.

Grant “has delivered a beautiful record of compelling songs that document her life experiences over the past decade since her last studio record,” says Capitol Christian Music Group President Peter York. “It’s an authentic album of songs she’s written that allow the listener to peer deeply into her heart and connect emotionally with her journey.”

How Mercy Looks From Here, which features James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, Will Hoge, Carole King, Eric Paslay and Grant’s husband, Vince Gill, has won praise and national media attention.

Grant, a six-time Grammy winner, is scheduled to appear June 20 on The View and July 19 on The Chew, both on ABC.

To read our Meet the Artist conversation with Grant from the May issue of Christian Retailing, visit



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