Always Singing – A Note from Dr. Merril Smoak about Music & Worship

Christians Musicians Are Always Giving Thanks

Christian musicians are always looking for scripture verses that mention music and singing.  These verses guide us in our song selection and deepen our understanding of how to lead others in worship.  In the New Testament, we find two examples of these selected Bible verses:  Ephesians 5:15-20 and Colossians 3:15-17.  These two well-known passages mention the familiar “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” of the first century Christian church.  These verses are singularly important because they teach us that singing was an important part of early Christian worship. 

Yes, singing is an important part of our Sunday worship, but as we read and study Ephesians 5:15-20 and Colossians 3:15-17 other themes emerge that must impact our worship leadership.  Note these phrases:

         “always giving thanks”       Ephesians 5:20

         “And be thankful”               Colossians 3:15

         “with gratitude”                  Colossians 3:16

         “giving thanks”                   Colossians 3:17

In these verses Paul reminds us of the link between singing and giving thanks that was already established in the Old Testament:

         “It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
         to sing praises to your name, O Most High
”          Psalm 92:1

As we sing together during times of worship we are giving thanks.  As we pray we are giving thanks.  As Christians, we live a life of everyday giving thanks to God for his blessings, mercy, and grace.  We continually give thanks to God for his Son Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Thanks be to God!

Let’s take a closer look at Paul’s teachings on “giving thanks” in these verses from Ephesians and Colossians.  Here is Ephesians 5:19-20

        “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Notice that the phrase “always giving thanks” is a continuation of the sentence “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.”  In verse 20 Paul answers three questions:           

To whom do we give thanks?         “to God”

For what do we give thanks?          “for everything”

How do we give thanks?                “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”

We give thanks to God for everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!  Amen!

Here is Colossians 3:16b-17

       “…singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Again Paul links “singing” with “gratitude” (giving thanks).  He then reminds us that our spoken words and our actions are all to be done in the name of the Lord Jesus as we give thanks to God through Jesus.

On November 25 of this year, we will celebrate a national holiday called Thanksgiving Day.  As Christians, we understand that setting aside one day per year to give thanks is certainly not enough!  Every moment of every day we give thanks to God for our very breath and our new life in Christ Jesus.

Here are the words to one of my favorite closing worship songs:

         Giving thanks, giving thanks,
         To God through Christ our Lord.
         Giving thanks, giving thanks,
         To God through Christ our Lord.

Christian musicians and worship leaders always remember to live a life of daily giving thanks as you prepare to lead your people in worship by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  Thanks be to God!

A Brief History of Veteran’s Day

In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I.

Just over 116,000 Americans died in World War I, defending the lives and freedom of our European allies.

The following year, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration to honor the soldiers who fought in that war. The day was originally known as Armistice Day.

November 11th became a federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, the holiday became known as Veterans Day.

It is estimated that more than 1 million Americans have died in all U.S. wars. The effects of PTSD are being widely recognized every day. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 20 veterans die per day from suicide.

Today, there is a projected total of 1.3 million active duty service men and women in the U.S. military, with an additional 800,000 serving in reserve components.

While women have played a pivotal role in all wars dating back to the Revolutionary War, it was in 2013 when the military’s ban on women serving in combat was lifted. About one in every five active duty military today are women, equal to approximately 250,000 today.

Today there are approximately 21 million veterans alive in the U.S.

On the first Armistice Day, the nationwide celebration included parades, public meetings and a two-minute suspension of business at 11 a.m.

The first celebration using the term Veterans Day occurred in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1947. This “National Veterans Day” celebration included a parade and other festivities, to honor all veterans.

From “Building Homes for Heroes”