Monday Morning Music Ministry

Start Your Week with a Spiritual Song in Your Heart

Tell Me the Story of Jesus

Sometime in these days before Christmas, likely this very week, you will meet or be with someone with whom you can share something special.

The Christmas season — everything we are surrounded with, and all that is missing in contemporary-style surroundings — can allow the sharing of thoughts to come easier. Or it can make it much harder. Clichés rush to our lips, and can sound like old truths, which they are; or sound like… well, empty clichés.

Here’s a thought: if you think someone has a need in his or her life that can be filled by the spiritual blessings you have experienced, DON’T tell them about your wonderful church.

DON’T tell them about the great music on Sunday mornings.

DON’T tell them about the amazing sermons, even if you have a stack of cassettes.

DON’T tell them about the wild youth group and all the activities.

DON’T tell them about the small group studies, ladies’ fellowships, men’s breakfasts.

DON’T tell them about the neighborhood Bible studies.

DON’T tell them about the outreaches, soup kitchens, and missions programs.

… not first, anyway. Not even second or third. If the person you talk to needs those things, he or she will come to know them, sure enough. If you act like those things are the Main Deal in your faith life… well, you’re revealing that you are a social animal, but sharing nothing about your faith. Or, rather, the Source of your faith.

Tell them about Jesus. That’s all. Tell them the story of Jesus.

The blind poet Frances Crosby (who never wrote a poem until her 40s and wrote 7000 poems and hymns before she died) said it best — and provided a brief script for us, if our own words come hard! — in the song Tell Me the Story of Jesus. Here it is sung at a Gaither Homecoming camp meeting on a warm summer evening in Fairmount, Indiana; followed appropriately by a verse from another beloved hymn, I Love to Tell the Story.

Click:  Tell Me the Story of Jesus

A Mighty Fortress

Happy Monday!

This weekend just passed covered the day we celebrate — or should celebrate and commemorate; a good time to re-dedicate — Reformation Day. October 31, anniversary of the day Dr Martin Luther nailed his 95 These to the church door at Wittenberg, Germany.

These 95 points of ”Contention” with policies of the Pope and the establishment Roman Church are regarded as the sparks that ignited the Reformation, and the Protestant movement. There were reformers before Luther – preachers, theologians and Bible translators who were persecuted, tortured, and killed. The English John Wycliffe died a century before Luther was active. Hatred against him, for daring to adapt the Bible to the language of the people, was that his bones were disinterred and burned after his death. The Bohemian reformer Jan Hus was burned at the stake for his reformist beliefs. His last words, tied to the stake, before the flames consumed him, were “in a hundred years, God will raise up a man whose calls for reform can not be suppressed.“

It was 102 year later that Luther nailed his challenges to that church door.
Luther was persecuted, chased, went into hiding, and translated the Bible into the language of his people, the Germans. He sought reform, not revolution, yet revolution occurred: half of Europe caught fire with the belief that faith alone, by God’s grace, actuated salvation; and that people needed no intercessor with God except Christ. He was excommunicated. He married. He preached and wrote lessons… and wrote hymns.
It is my belief that, as we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the church — at least the Western Church, certainly the American church in virtually all its corners — is in dire need of reformation again.

More than that, we need to look to Martin Luther as a Hero of Conscience. He said when he was called on trial to recant his beliefs and writings,
“Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can not and will not retract.
“For it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience.
“Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.“

The time is coming in this contemporary world when Christians have it demanded of them to renounce their faith. That this is already a time of anti-Christian persecution, is abundantly clear. That, daily, believers suffer indignities and are asked to compromise their principles and forced to sublimate their voices, is a reality to committed Christians.

Some days soon Christians will have to suffer no longer in silence, or have the luxury of withdrawing into small groups and communities of believers. The Bible does not merely warn… prophets did not just threaten… but God promised this holy challenge to the saints of God in the End Times.

Can we, like Luther, have the spiritual strength to say:”For it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. “Here I stand. I can do no other” ?

I have two brief clips for Reformation Day: the first is the powerful “conscience” scene from the 1953 “Luther” movie starring Niall MacGinnis (nominated for an Academy Award).

Here I stand

The second is the “battle hymn of the Reformation” sung a capella by Steve Green. Myself, I can never sing this mighty hymn without choking up. Its final lines describe Luther’s trial… and foreshadow our own:
“Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever!”

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Have a good week.
Rick Marschall

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A site for sore hearts -- spiritual encouragement, insights, the Word, and great music!


About The Author

... Rick Marschall is the author of 74 books and hundreds of magazine articles in many fields, from popular culture (Bostonia magazine called him "perhaps America's foremost authority on popular culture") to history and criticism; country music; television history; biography; and children's books. He is a former political cartoonist, editor of Marvel Comics, and writer for Disney comics. For 10 years he has been active in the Christian field, writing devotionals and magazine articles; he was co-author of "The Secret Revealed" with Dr Jim Garlow. His biography of Johann Sebastian Bach for the “Christian Encounters” series (Thomas Nelson) was released in April, 2011. Read More