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Pastor's Article
September 26, 2018, 3:00 PM

Yes, this is actually the second year that we are doing our "Favorite Hymns Countdown."  We asked you for your favorite hymn selections (and praise and worship selections at our Connect service).  Over the month of September, we have been counting them down until the last Sunday of September and the last song at that service will be our #1 hymn selection.  Singing the Top 20 Hymns proved to be very popular last year, so we are doing it again.  Of course, we cannot disclose which hymn is number one, so congregation members have to come to the service on September 30 at 9:00 am to find out what the top four are!


It's interesting that some of the Top 20 hymns are the same as last year, and some are different.  We do the voting over the month of August, so it's mostly our year-round residents who do the selecting.  I think it gives us something fun to do and adds a bit of camaraderie to our ranks.  Since we have quite a few Wwinter Visitors, they can see that something exciting has been going on here while they have been gone, and are eager to join in.  Last year the Sonoran Strings joined us for our "Top 4 Sunday," while this year the guest will be Jim Sorensen.


You probably know by now that my background is in music ministry.  I spent thirty years in service to various churches around the country before I yielded to God's call to enter the Pastoral Ministry.  I still break loose with an occasional singing of "I Can Only Imagine," which our music staff, praise team, youth praise team, and choir were kind enough to pitch in on recently.  It was pretty exciting for me, and I hope for the congregation.  I love doing music with my church family!  We have so many talented musicians in our congregation, though, that I try not to take too much music time in the chancel.  I am primarily the teaching elder and pastor.


But to that point, once a musician always a musician.  It's natural for me to use whatever gifts God has given me to praise him, musical or otherwise.  I believe that we are hard-wired to respond to God's great acts of salvation through praise, and maybe particularly in praise and music.  A worship service without music seems a little foreign to me, personally.  Some of our brothers and sisters in Christ opt for that, but most recognize that wherever Christians gather, we feel compelled to worship God in music in one form or another.


Music is important to worship for several reasons, but I think the most important are the following.  When we sing ,we use our whole bodies.  We are the instrument, giving everything that we are to God!  Singing together brings us together.  Just think of going to a Diamondbacks game and not singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame!"  It brings the fans together.  Since the early days of church hymnody, the church fathers recognized that putting good theology to sing-able music helps us to remember it and makes it part of us.  Also, God has hard-wired us to sing!  Endorphins, a hormone released by singing stimulates our pleasure centers.  God literally built us to sing.  And lastly, most importantly, God is worth it.


Soli Deo Gloria.  To God alone be the glory!