Monday, April 27, 2009

Apparently Burger King Doesn't Want My Business

That's what I think when I see this commercial:

I was absolutely floored when I first saw this, especially the fact that it's an advertisement for a KID'S MEAL. The ad is aimed at kids. Women shaking their butts (square or otherwise) in the camera, having the burger king run his tape measure across them, setting his square on them, etc. - it's aimed at kids.

I pity the parents who have to explain this to their kids who are old enough to understand it. Also, can you think of the conversations kids are having on the playground? I'm sure some girls will get teased that they have square butts, "just like the girls on the Burger King commercial." Way to go, Burger King. Real classy.

Swine Flu Hysteria

OK, don't you think we've gone a bit overboard on this swine flu thing? I just heard about the swine flu for the first time this past Friday, and since then it's become a global pandemic. How did it balloon to such a huge problem in such a short time?

These folks suggest that Twitter is partly responsible. Certainly the media involvement can't be ignored either. I first heard about swine flu on the radio on Friday (for the first time in my life, that is!) and now it leads every major news broadcast. There are videos of people walking the streets in surgical masks, and a lot of people are scared about contracting the disease.

But how much of this is actually something to be worried about, and how much is just hysteria, fear mongering, and rumors? The LA Times posted some statistics on the swine flu about 45 minutes ago (11:15 am CST, April 27). So far there have only been 40 confirmed cases of swine flu in the U.S. and all of those have been mild cases, and only 1 of those forty cases has been hospitlaized (considering the population of the U.S. is over 300 million, I like those odds). The flu is easily treatable with common flu medications available by prescription.

There have been 103 deaths in Mexico that have been attributed to swine flu, but here's what the media isn't telling you about that number: only 26 of those 103 deaths has been confirmed as having been caused by swine flu! So far, out of a planet of more than 6 billion people, 26 have died, and that's a global pandemic? Isn't the regular flu technically more lethal than the swine flu?

The LA Times goes on to say that rumors of swine flu being reported in other countries are just that: rumors. There have been no confirmed cases other than in Mexico, the U.S. and Spain (two mild cases were just reported in Spain by travelers who just returned from Mexico). The World Health Organization says that the numbers being "bandied about" by the media are over inflated and not true.

It's amazing to me to see the inflated sense of hysteria that has occurred regarding the swine flu, if nowhere else than in the media. I guarantee that if you turned the news on right now, you'd hear about the global pandemic of swine flu, and see people walking around the streets wearing surgical masks. What, are they afraid they'll run into one of the 40 people who have the disease?!

This is just another instance of how people need to look for the facts before they decide how to react. It's also another example of how the news media doesn't always have it right, and certainly doesn't always portray an accurate picture of what's actually happening.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dust Off The Barbie Dolls

It's confirmed: Jamie's getting a little sister this July. After the first ultra-sound yielded no positivie information regarding the gender of our unborn baby, Betsy had a second one today to find out what it is. The nurse checked like 5 times, and each time, she came back with the same result: girl! I guess I'll have to brush off the old Barbie dolls in the basement (Betsy's, not mine) and get my tu-tu and leotard out. That won't be a big deal, though - I'm already used to wearing spandex! (How ya like that mental image?)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Why I Love Baseball

If I could go back in time, it would be to my tween and early teenage years to go back and play baseball. I love baseball. Some of my fondest and most cherished childhood memories took place on the baseball diamond. If I had a few options for going back in time, my other choices would be to go back to the 1987 and 1991 World Series wins for the Minnesota Twins. A lot of other great childhood memories come from watching and listening to Twins games with my family. We all got into it. We cheered together, and celebrated Twins victories together, and complained about Rick Aguilera together. Those were some great times that I'll always remember. I can't wait to make such memories with my own kids.

Personally, I enjoy listening to Twins games rather than watching them. Just like the Twins players were a huge part of my life when I was a kid, so was the radio announcing crew. Another one of my cherished childhood memories is hearing John Gordon scream "Touch 'em all, Kirby Puckett!" whenever he or any other player hit a home run (game six of the 91 world series is especially sweet, as Gordon screamed "Touch 'em all, Kirby Puckett!" about a half dozen times in a row when Puckett hit a walk off home run to force the series into game seven - I'm getting goosebumps as I write this, just thinking about it).

Last night, I turned the Twins game on while I was doing homework. I specifically bought a small radio that I could plug in in my home office for just that purpose. After the seventh inning, the Twins were getting beat 8-3, and I figured the game was pretty much over, so I shut the radio off and concentrated on my homework. This morning, while I was at my parents' house, I noticed the front page of the sports section sitting on the kitchen table. The banner headline read, "Vicious Cycle." I immediately assumed that meant that the Twins' woes had continued and they fell to the Angels the previous night as I had suspected they would. But something was off: the picture below the headline was of several Twins celebrating around home plate. It didn't make sense that the Twins would be celebrating a loss, so I looked for the final score: Twins 11, Angels 9! I was flabbergasted, and immediately began kicking myself for losing hope and turning the game off before the comeback.

As I continued to read the story, I learned that Jason Kubel hit for the cycle (in other words, he had a single, a double, a triple, and a home run - actually a grand slam). I started to kick myself even harder. It's not everyday that you get to see your team come back from a five-run deficit, let alone to see one of the players hit for the cycle. It's only been done 9 times in Twins history. It's an incredible achievement. Now I was even more mad that I had missed the game. Plus, I was irritated that I wasn't able to hear John Gordon going crazy as he announced the hit (I can just hear him, "Hey! Touch 'em all, Jason Kubel! Touch 'em all, Jason Kubel! Touch 'em all, Jason Kubel!"). Later in the afternoon, I got on the internet to see if I could watch the progression of Kubel's hits. What I really wanted to do though, was hear John Gordon's commentary. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find it anywhere. But check out Kubel's cycle if you haven't seen it yet:

I've probably watched this clip a dozen times by now, and I get goose bumps every time I do. I love watching the crowd go wild when Kubel smashes that grand slam into right-center field. I love hearing the excitement in Dick Bremer's voice "A high blast to right field! Up...Back...Gone!" But most of all, I love the two kids at 1:05. Seriously, if you didn't watch the video, check it out, it's worth it. They both have their baseball gloves on, in hope of the off chance a ball would be hit their way (I did the same as a kid, and I was devastated when I didn't catch a ball). The kid on the right is clapping into his glove, celebrating the homer. The kid on the left is awesome: his jaw is literally on the floor. He can't believe he's just witnessed what he has: his home town team, staging a dramatic comeback for the win, achieved by a grand slam home run from a man who has just hit for the cycle. It's a memory I'm sure he won't soon forget, and it will drive his love for the game.

I am that kid.

Friday, April 17, 2009


If either of the two of you that follow this blog attend the 9:00 service at Riverview, check out this blog post to get a head start on what we'll be looking at this week.

Phil Johnson talks about giving answers to unbelievers that might make them angry. His conclusion is that, even if something we say makes someone angry, it must be said if it is truth. They key though, is to do so with gentleness and respect.

I'll be talking about these and other things during my message this Sunday. But even if you won't be at church, I'd recommend the post to you.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Knowledge and Responsibility

It's fun to watch the way God works in my life, specifically in my theological training. Last week at our church's Easter service I preached a message on the judgment and destruction of three Old Testament cities: Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon. Each of these cities was very wicked, and despite being warned by God several times to repent of their sin, they refused and were judged. In Luke 10, Jesus cites the judgment of these cities as being child's play compared to the coming judgment for those towns and cities that he had personally visited and ministered in, and yet the people did not believe.

One of the main points of my message was that everyone will be held accountable for their level of exposure to God, his word, the gospel, etc. I argued that the more exposure to God an individual has, the more accountable they will be to believe the gospel. Hence the judgment of Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon, and the more severe judgment coming for those cities (Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, specifically) that had heard and seen Jesus but still did not believe.

The obvious conclusion for our world in this day and age is that we are more exposed to the truth of God than anyone before us in history - especially in America. This is readily demonstrated by ritualistic/traditional celebration of Easter. Pretty much everyone goes to church on Easter, whether they're a Christian or not. And guess what? They are exposed to the gospel and the truth of God when they go to church on Easter. Know what that is? Knowledge. Know what comes with knowledge? A responsibility to act on what we know. Also, we have freedom of religion, practically everyone in this country owns at least one Bible (Christian or otherwise), practically everyone in this country has either been to church or heard the gospel in some way, plus we have 2000 years of Christian history that testifies to the truth of the gospel. So when it comes to exposure to the truth of God, I think it's safe to say that we are even more privileged than those who actually saw and heard Jesus when he was on this earth. In other words, I think we're going to be held to a higher standard for our level of exposure to God than any other people in history.

This begs a question, though, that a lot of non-Christians get hung up on: what about people who live in primitive tribes in the middle of the jungle? Will they be judged and go to hell simply because they haven't heard about Jesus? A lot of would-be Christians can't bring themselves to believe in a God that would send "innocent" people to hell. But if we look at scripture, it turns out that primitive tribes in the middle of the jungle don't have any more or less going for them than those in Sodom, Tyre, or Sidon did.

In Romans 1 Paul says that God has made himself known to all people through creation. In other words, it stands to reason that if there is a creation than there must be a creator (the same principle applies to the watch on your wrist - if you have a watch, you have to have a watchmaker. Watches don't just happen by accident.). So the people of Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon (and the primitive tribes in the middle of the jungle) are all exposed to God simply by walking out their front door. In Romans 2, Paul goes on to say that God has written his moral law on the heart of every human being. Paul makes his point by saying that Gentiles (non-Jews) follow the laws instituted by the Jewish faith. How can they do that if they have no knowledge of or participation in Judaism? The only answer must be that there is a Moral Lawgiver who has endowed all men with a knowledge of his law. In other words, when somebody does something wrong, they know it's wrong because God has put his law on their heart. This too, is a way that God has revealed himself to all people.

So then, it turns out that the people of Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon, and the primitive people in the middle of the jungle are all in the same boat : they won't be judged because they've never heard of Jesus (which, don't forget, the people of Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon had not heard of Jesus, nor had they read a Bible, much like people from the primitive tribes in the middle of the jungle) - they'll be judged because they've rejected the revelation of God.

That might sound harsh, but remember this: God is a powerful, loving, and merciful God who can save whomever he wishes, and he is not willing that any should perish. So if someone from a primitive tribe in the middle of the jungle uses his power of reason and realizes that since there is a creation then there must be a Creator, and that he has a conscience that bears witness to his sin, then God is powerful enough to see that person saved. He might send a missionary to them to explain the gospel to them and tell them about Jesus, or he might direct them to a more civilized part of the country where they can attend a church and here the gospel. But the key is to respond to the knowledge that is given to us by God, no matter how much it is, whether a lot of exposure to God (like in America), or just a little (like primitive people in the middle of the jungle).

This is where it's fun to watch how God uses things in my life to teach me and cause me to reflect on his word. Guess what we're studying this week in my "Creation, the Spirit, and the Church" systematic theology class? This very topic. It's been fun to rethink and re-examine my thoughts on this.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Two Corpses In One Day

This past Saturday I had resolved to get some serious yard work done. Rehearsals for the Good Friday service weren't needed anymore, considering Good Friday had come and gone, so I had the Saturday free. I started by trimming the bushes around the front and side of my house, with the use of a hedge trimmer that I borrowed from my bro-in-law.

After that I blew all of the clippings and leaves from the landscaping rocks that surround my house and garage, and also from where they get stuck in the bottom of the fence that surrounds my backyard (thanks again to the bro-in-law for letting me borrow his leaf blower).

A couple weeks prior to my spring cleaning, however, I had noticed a black garbage bag located on my western-most property line, amongst some leaves and other debris. At the time I wrote it off as being a bag of leaves that the neighbor had tossed there at some point. I didn't think much of it, except to make a mental note to clean it up when I got around to my cleaning. I had planned to take care of it and a bunch of other leaves and junk that had collected back in that area.

After my hedge trimming and leaf blowing fun, I decided to head back to clean up the bag and the leaves that surrounded it. As I approached the bag, I detected a seriously foul stench. As I moved in for a closer look while holding my breath, I noticed a very large bone lying on the ground next to the bag. Several other large bones were protruding up from out of the bag as well. My first reaction was to notice that these were BIG bones. They definitely weren't from a chicken or a dog (what would dog bones be doing in a garbage bag on my property anyway?). The conclusion that I came to was that these were people-sized bones. The bag had been torn open and some of the bones had been pulled out, presumably by neighborhood dogs. Not wanting to disturb what could potentially be a crime scene, I called the cops.

A police officer arrived shortly after my call, and we walked back to the bag. He didn't seem to be too concerned about disturbing a potential crime scene, and he went right up to the bag and tore it open. Amongst the bones that protruded from the bag, there were now two deer hooves that also stuck up and out of the bag. Someone had gutted, butchered, and boned a deer, shoved its remains in a garbage bag, and dumped it on my property!

The officer and I came to the conclusion that the dumping probably took place last November and was subsequently snowed over, and I didn't notice it until a couple weeks ago after all the snow had melted (what's weird and somewhat unsettling is that I probably walked by the bag a hundred times during the winter months, never knowing it was there). Also, the officer said that the deer was most likely poached. Why else would someone have dumped it and not disposed of it properly? I was not happy. What jerk would do something like this?!

To make the discovery all the more cheery, the officer told me the city maintenance department was closed for the weekend, and wouldn't be able to come by to pick it up until the following Monday. Goody! I got to have the deer carcass on my property for another two days!

Fast forward to today (Monday): a guy in a city truck came through my alley and I helped him load the smelly thing into his truck bed. He kept mumbling something about "The Great White Hunter," (seriously). After he left, I noticed that there was still a bone sitting on the ground, which I proceeded to pick up with a stick and put in my trash, where it sits even now, stinking.

Now rewind back to Saturday again. After my gruesome discovery, Beetz and the Fergeson arrive home after being at a friend's birthday party. They to play in the yard while I continue to do yard work. After a while, Betsy beckons me over to her to look at something. There in the middle of my yard is a field mouse, squished flat as a pancake. Where did that come from, and how did it get so flat?! I picked it up and threw it in the trash. So as I write this, there are currently two dead things in my garbage can.

Needless to say, two corpses on my property in one day was certainly enough for me for a while.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Crucifixion Description

You MUST watch this video. It's an excellent description of what Christ endured on the cross.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hymns For Good Friday

As I was looking through my copy of "Our Own Hymn Book" I came across these fantastic hymns of Christ's suffering and death. These are just a few that stuck out to me. Enjoy them, and worship Christ as you read them.

THE CUP OF WRATH - Albert Midlane, 1864
Once it was mine, the cup of wrath
But Jesus drank it dry
When on the cursed tree transfixed
He breathed the expiring sigh
No tongue can tell the wrath he bore
The wrath so due to me
Sin's just desert; he bore it all
To set the sinner free
Now not a single drop remains,
"T'is finished!" was his cry
By one effectual draught he drank
The cup of wrath quite dry

DESPISED AND REJECTED - William Robertson, 1751
Rejected and despised of men,
behold a man of woe!
And grief his close companion still,
through all his life below
Yet all the griefs he felt were ours
Ours were the woes he bore
Pangs, not his own, his spotless soul
With bitter anguish bore
We held him as condemned of heaven,
An outcast from his God
While for our sins, he groaned, he bled
Beneath his Father's rod
His sacred blood hath washed our souls
From sin's polluting stain
His stripes have healed us and his death
Revived our souls again

THEY CRUCIFIED HIM - William Faber, 1849
Oh come and mourn with me a while
Oh come ye to the Savior's side
Oh come, together let us mourn,
Jesus our Lord is crucified
Have we no tears to shed for him
While soldiers scoff and Jews deride?
Ah! Look how patiently he hangs
Jesus our Lord is crucified
How fast his hands and feet are nailed
His throat with parching thirst is dried
His failing eyes are dimmed with blood
Jesus our Lord is crucified
Come, let us stand beneath the cross
So may the blood from out his side
Fall gently on us, drop by drop
Jesus our Lord is crucified
A broken heart, a fount of tears
Ask and they will not be denied
Lord Jesus may we love and weep
Since thou for us art crucified

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Is It Ever OK To Swear?

For the past couple of years I've been reading books by Mark Driscoll and watching some of his messages on the internet. For the most part, everything he's said/taught/preached has been right on (I particularly enjoyed his take on "The Shack," and I thought he did a fantastic job in the "Does Satan Exist" debate), and I especially appreciate his reformed view of theology and ministry. I've read a couple of his books and have found them to be helpful and fun.

A couple weeks ago, though, I watched this message by Driscoll on a verse from 1 Peter (I can't remember which verse it was) about what it means to be a biblical man. Again, I thought he was right on, docrtinally, and he was funny and engaging. I thought he had a lot to say about what it means to be a man biblically, except there was one point at the end of his message that pretty much skewed everything else he had said (at least in my mind it did). In a moment of just anger and intensity, Driscoll swore.

I've known that Driscoll has had issues with his language, but I had never heard him swear in any of his messages, books, or speaking engagements until now. I also know that Driscoll has had to apologize and "repent" of his foul mouth on many, many occasions. I assume his reasoning for swearing (at least in the message I saw) was that this issue was important enough, and he was so righteously indignant about men shirking their biblical responsibility to be a godly man, that he thought the situation warranted a curse word, if for no other reason than to express his seriousness about the topic.

Swearing and vulgarity have become increasingly permissible in many Christian circles for a variety of reasons. But mostly, I think a lot of people think that swearing is permissible if they get "angry enough," or for dramatic effect. Is that really OK though? To tell you the truth, I personally thought that Driscoll's use of swearing severely damaged his credibility when it came to the content of the rest of his message (one of his main points was that mistreating and using women was a severe cop-out when it comes to biblical manhood, a shirking of one's responsibility). When Driscoll swore in his message, I found myself asking if a "real, biblical man" would really need to swear in making his point. I think it shows at least some kind of immaturity to not be able to express truth (especially biblical truth) without using vulgarity.

Cut to today. Phil Johnson posted this on his facebook page: it's an article on swearing by Eric Pement. He offers seven common "reasons" (it's probably more accurate to call them justifications) for swearing, and why they don't work when compared to scripture. He finds the seven most common reasons for swearing are:

1. To "relate" to the rest of the world.

2. To avoid hypocrisy (for instance, if a person thinks a swear word, they might as well say it - thus, to think about swearing but not actually swearing is supposedly hypocritical).

3. To break religious/Christian stereotypes.

4. Pressure, suffering, or persecution.

5. Because the words aren't bad - the intention behind them is what could be considered sin.

6. Because the Bible doesn't prohibit swearing - just slander, gossip, blasphemy, etc.

7. Because some "swear" words are in the Bible.

Pement goes on to explain why none of these are valid justifications for using filthy talk. I highly recommend the article to you.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Fear Of The Lord

This little article came out with the Way of the Master weekly newsletter this week. I thought it was worth some thought:

The Fear Of The Lord
There have been about a dozen mass-shootings in the United States in recent months, and secular experts are still trying to piece together the profiles and common denominators of these murderers. However, every one of them had one thing in common. They all lacked a fear of God. If someone fears God they won't lie to you, steal from you, or commit adultery with your spouse. They won't even lust after them. They won't hate you, harbor anger or be bitter towards you, and they certainly won't kill you. "By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil." (Proverbs 16:6)

One of the major reasons this nation lacks the fear of God is that it's rarely preached from the modern pulpit. Think of what Nathan did with David. He put the fear of God in him by saying "You are the man! Why have you despised the Commandment of the Lord?" (see 2 Samuel 12:7-9). Without such a reproof David would have simply remained an unrepentant man who made an unfortunate choice in life. But the reproof revealed that he was a criminal who had despised the moral Law, and that God's wrath hovered over him for his terrible transgression.

We need to be Nathans to this nation and faithfully preach the Word, in season and out of season. We must "reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all patience and doctrine," and the well-spring of our words must be love for sinners. We cannot let fear stop us from showing them that they have despised the Law, and that they have personally sinned against God, as Paul did in Romans 2:20-24.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Don't Get An Obama-Burger

I have a friend who lives in Greenville, South Carolina. He just sent me an email that said that he has found a local restaurant that serves what they call an "Obama-Burger." Apparently it's pretty much a regular burger, except that when they bring the burger out to the customer, the server cuts it in half and gives half of it to a complete stranger at random! The best part is, they still charge you for the whole burger!

As far as I know this is for real, although I don't know how a restaurant could get away with something like that and maintain a customer base. I looked for the restaurant on the internet, but couldn't find it. Maybe my leg's being pulled. But even if it is, it's pretty funny.

Content Vs. Style

As I've gotten older, I find myself appreciating the rich, theological depth of the more "traditional" sacred music. You usually find these types of songs in hymnals, and most of them were written before the 20th century. When you compare new religious (worship) music to the old hymns, the new stuff just can't compare when it comes to content. In most cases, I detest the shallow, touchy-feely, "Jesus is my girlfriend" lyrics that tend to plague modern worship music. There's just no substantive content to most of it. Thus, my affinity for the older songs. I'm in a strange boat, however. While I love and appreciate the old school lyrics, I prefer a more modern musical style, and let me tell you, finding songs that are "old school" in content and "new school" in style are hard to come by.

I learned recently that my personal opinion on this issue is the minority. There are many within the church (including my church) who feel that older sacred songs should be sung with only the accompaniment of a piano or organ, or perhaps both. Their musical tastes are a little different from mine: they prefer the old content and the old musical style. Also I learned that many who feel this way also think that any deviance from the old musical style in some way negates or diminishes the content of the old song. In other words, they feel that when a modern musical style is combined with the lyrical content of an old hymn, the hymn becomes somehow "less" than what it is when accompanied by a piano or organ.

I disagree with that line of thinking, however. As I see it, the only "value" of a sacred song is in the content of the lyrics, and I don't think the content of a song is diminished by the musical style in which it is played. After all, what is the content or value of a song if not the theological truths it proclaims? The content certainly can't be in the music itself or the melody. The music is just an arrangements of specific notes and tones, arranged to form a coherent melody. Certainly the value or content of the music is in the words that are formed and arranged in order to bring glory to God. Here's a good example (click on the song "Nail My Glory" on the music player). If you didn't follow the link, you're missing out. It's a great song. Allow me to describe it to you: it's loud, fast, rock n' roll. The lyrics are as follows:

No more, my God, I boast no more
Of everything my hands have done
I quit the hopes I held before
To trust the merits of Your Son

Now for His love I bear His name
My former pride I call my shame
What was my gain I count my loss
And I nail my glory to His cross

And by Your grace I will esteem
All things but loss for Jesus’ sake
Oh may my soul be found in Him
And of His righteousness partake

All of the works of my own hands
I dare not bring before Your throne
My faith responds to Your demands
By pleading what my Lord has done

You may be surprised to know that this song was written by Isaac Watts in 1709, author of such hymns as "O God Our Help In Ages Past," "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross," and "Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed." Now, does the fact that Watts' words are set to a more modern musical style make them less true? I should think not. They have not changed. The rich, theological truths they proclaim remain unmolested.

Here's a another example, except this time, here are the lyrics to a "modern" worship song:

Looks like tonight the sky is heavy
Feels like the winds are gonna change
Beneath my feet the earth is ready
I know it's time for heaven's rain
It's gonna rain...yeah

Cause living water we desire
To flood our hearts with holy fire
Rain down, all around the world we're singing
Rain down, can you hear the earth is singing?
Rain down, my heart is dry but still I'm singing
Rain down, rain it down

Back to the start, my heart is heavy
Feels like it's time to dream again
I see the clouds and yes, I'm ready
To dance upon this barren land
Hope in my hands...yeah

Do not shut, do not shut
Do not shut the heavens
Open up, open up
Open up our hearts

Give me strength to cross this water
Keep my heart upon your altar
Rain down, yeah
Give me strength to cross this water
Keep my feet, don't let me falter
Rain down, yeah

I have no idea what this song is about. It's merely a conglomeration of churchy sounding phrases (holy fire, heaven, heart, etc.). Some of the phrases don't even make sense ("Can you hear the earth is singing/feels like it's time to dream again" HUH?) I don't know what the song is trying to say. I don't know what it says, if anything, about God. I don't know what it says about my relationship to God. I don't see how it praises God, or leads one into worshiping him. This song has little or no theological value at all. Plus it just doesn't make sense. The theme of the song seems to be a request for rain, as if rain is needed and is good, but towards the end of the song the lyricist states, "Give me strength to cross this water." Wait a minute! I thought you wanted water!

If you followed the link and listened to the song as it was played, you'll note that it is likewise modern and of the rock n' roll variety. But here's an interesting question: would setting the lyrics of this song to a piano and organ tune make it any less goofy? Would its content somehow become more valuable and rich? Certainly not! The lyrics would still not make sense, and it would still fail at telling the worshiper anything about God, or why he deserves praise, honor, and glory.

So then, I conclude, that the only thing that matters in worship music is the content of the lyrics. The musical melody, style, or tune does not factor into the value of a worship song (it should be noted that there are plenty of old hymns that are just as big of stinkers as many modern worship songs - they would likewise be useless in any musical style).

I explained this line of thinking to a friend of mine, and he challenged me by asking if I would be OK with a rap worship set in the morning church service. My response was "Yes, as long as the content of the song glorifies God." Now, that is not to say that we should convert all of our worship to rap - our culture has not dictated to us that rap is the acceptable medium of the masses. In other words, our culture dictates the driving musical style to us. Who knows, maybe in 20 years rap will be the main musical style of our culture. At that point in time, an all-rap service will make sense. And if and when it does, churches should not hesitate to have rap worship - as long as the content is sound.