Last night I traveled to Charleston, West Virginia to see “Winter Jam.” A Christian rock concert; and before those of you who don’t believe children should listen to Christian rock turn me off, tune in for just a minute. For years I’ve advised youth to be wary of Christian rock music in their worship for a couple of reasons. Number one, because I was taught to… and number two because I would ask the kids what a certain lyric said, and they couldn’t tell me. Therefore how can you say you’re spreading the gospel, when the words are not understood?
So why did I go to Winterjam? Because I love my youth group and because I didn’t believe I could effectively teach against something I had not experienced. And before anyone screams “You don’t have to lie down with the pigs to know they stink,” – yes that’s true, but my kids weren’t in a sinful place, they were in a place that “they had said they experienced God.” I needed to see for myself. So I laid down my southern gospel, bluegrass frame of mind, and went. (With a bottle of Aleve, ear plugs, and a pass for a pre-concert interview with the artists.) If I was going to do it, I wanted to do it right.
So… did I convert to a rocker? What do you think? Of course not. But… I did experience God in that place, because I looked for Him. He wasn’t always obvious to me, and in truth that bothered me. When a heavy metal group was on the stage… oh my stars. I didn’t see God, I seen the flesh at its finest. If you want me to be real, I have to say that because that’s how I felt. If something makes babies cry (and it did) makes your head ache, the lyrics are verbal confusion and the noise causes you to want to flee from the room… God’s not in that, just saying.
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
I would be hard pressed to believe that God was in it. Am I saying the artist was unsaved? No. God is their judge, not me. I’m just saying it appeared to me to be a performance, not a ministry.
So what about the times that I did see God. One, that really surprised me was a rapper named Lacrae. Again… I didn’t care for his music style, but his testimony was spot on, his love for the Lord obvious, his influence on the kids was very positive. He preached as he sang and when he stopped rapping and began singing my initial thought was, “You’re not doing God justice with your talent.” He sang great! But the kids liked the rap. And although I couldn’t always understand it, he would slow back down and talk Jesus, and I had to believe that the gospel was going out. There were other bands that I felt the same way about, God’s moving was evident in their ministry and I’m not arguing that with anyone. Who am I to say that I have the only “right” way of ministering to souls?
So what did I learn on my field trip? I was drawn to the story of Samson this morning.
The story of Samson brings more to my mind the story of rebellion and Delilah, but long before Delilah came into the picture, Samson was chosen by God as a servant to Israel and as a young man Judges 13:25 says “And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.” The evidence of God’s hand on him was there from a youth. The problem came when he began dabbling in the world. There has got to be a line in the sand that we won’t cross.
My personal belief is some of those musicians crossed the line last night. But not all. During the preaching hundreds of kids stood making a profession that they wanted a deeper relationship with the Lord, it is my prayer that they found the road there last night.
I’m short on time this morning, I overslept because of the late night. I may or may not tackle this subject again. If the response is great, I’ll chit chat more. If it’s not…I’ll let sleepin’ dogs lie.