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I read a lot. But every now and then I read a book that impacts me so deeply that I have to share it with others. Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church is one of those books.
If you aren’t familiar with Keith and Kristyn Getty, they are modern hymn writers from Northern Ireland who have blessed the church with songs such as “In Christ Alone” and “The Power of the Cross.” They write music that will impact the church for years to come–what some would call classics.
Calling on the rich heritage of men like Martin Luther, the Gettys are moved by the need for theologically rich lyrics and classically deep melodies that will not only touch hearts but impress the truths of the Word of God into our souls.
I was already a fan of their music, but after reading this book, I discovered that they were touring churches and sharing their message with worship leaders and music directors across the country. So, this past week, I attended a Sing! Conference that was held here in my state.
What an awesome day of worship and learning from a couple who so obviously love Jesus and want to not only sing it but share it with others!
Why We Sing
The first three chapters of Sing! are also what Keith Getty shared in the morning session with us, and that is what I want to share with you today: Why we sing.
“Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song” (Psalm 95:1-2, NIV).
One of the greatest indicators of a healthy church is one in which the congregation sings. Singing is not about how the choir or the praise team performs or about how well we sing; it is about how enthusiastically we sing and proclaim God’s Word to one another.
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20).
Did you know that there are more commands in the Bible to sing than any other command? The great reformer Martin Luther once said:
“Let God speak directly to His people through the Scriptures, and let His people respond with grateful songs of praise” (Sing! xxiii).
Getty shared with us at the conference that singing is how we take what we have learned from God’s Word on Sunday with us in our Monday through Saturday. We all know the power of a melody to stick in our brains and on our hearts. With a tune, we are able to take the message we heard and keep it fresh in our thoughts all week.
“The songs we sing on Sunday provide the soundtrack for our week” (38).
So, why do we sing?
First, we are created to sing.
As the Gettys share in their book, we may not all be good singers, but we were all created to sing. When we sing God’s truths, we are declaring with our lips what is in our hearts.
“Your voice may not be of professional standard, but it is of confessional standard” (4).
We are made in the image of a Singer who sings over us.
“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
All creation sings God’s praises, so why wouldn’t we? We are the crowning work of His creation.
“Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!” (Psalm 147:1).
Second, we are commanded to sing.
And not just in the car or the shower, we are commanded to sing in the congregation.
“Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints” (Psalm 149:1).
What we sing matters. We should be singing “the truth revealed in the Scriptures, the story of redemption” (16). What we sing should point to the truth of who God is and not just focus on us.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).
Even as Jesus prepared to go to the cross, He sang (Matthew 26:30). How can we not?
Third, we sing because we are compelled to sing.
“God’s love for us inspires our response of love for Him and calls forth songs of joy from our lips” (21).
“Worship comes as a response to revelation” (22).
“Singing gives voice to a heart that deeply knows the gospel of grace. It is the overflow of a heart captivated by the gospel” (31).
The message of the gospel–that God made a way for us to know Him by sending His Son to pay the price for our sins–is what compels us to sing. The missionary Amy Carmichael once said, “How can I keep from singing?”
A friend of mine said that he believed something about music had the ability to bypass the brain and go straight to the soul. If that is true, then there are many songs vying for our attention each day. As the Gettys put it:
“Singing deep songs of the Lord keeps the right voice loudest in our ears” (39).
And never forget, that your singing is a witness. Before I personally came to know Jesus, I first began to feel a stirring in my heart after being in a church service in which someone sang a gospel song with such passion that I knew she had something that I didn’t. And I wanted it.
Our congregational singing is a witness to visitors. So what are we saying? Are we singing with such passion and enthusiasm that we show how much the gospel has impacted our lives? Are we singing in a way that testifies to the power of the gospel to save us?
There is so much more I could share about this book, but I want you to read it for yourself. I’ll leave you today with one of my favorite Getty songs. I’ll admit, it was difficult to pick just one, but you can always go to Youtube and listen to some of their others.
So, may the songs of Jesus be the loudest voice in your heart and mind today!