Music Soothes The Savage Beast

Music has charms to sooth a savage beast.  Good music has the quality to calm, settle the savage beast, which is a hidden potential in all of us. The idea is not to let the beast out, to tame it. 

Christian rock has been the subject of discussion over the years on Facebook posts. It’s also been written about on  Back in 1958, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr answered a correspondent on Ebony magazine who asked if his playing rock and roll was consistent with gospel music and this 17-year old’s faith.  Dr. King responded that the two were incompatible. He continued “The profound sacred and spiritual meaning of the great music of the church must never be mixed with the transitory quality of rock and roll music.” Dr. King said that gospel music lifts people up to God, whereas rock and roll degrades humanity. 

Today, based on the music I hear from sources such as K-Love, the Christian music station, much of Christian rock is tame, uplifting. Some Christian rock I’ve heard live was much too loud, wild. I left a church in the early 80s for that reason. You don’t go to church to party, but to worship and honor God. 

In any art form, form and content should match. In the case of music, the instrumentals and vocal quality should be an integral part of the message. They should not just be an add-on which stands on it’s on. Form and content should be in harmony.  My late Dad used to play classical music while he watched a football game on TV. That was quite incongruent! It didn’t interfere with him watching the game; it was just funny. But having wild, blaring, screaming guitars in worship service is no joke.  Some worshipers, I believe, can really get down and still get a Godly message, but I still think it diminishes, distracts from the message. I don’t go to church to be entertained. Recently, someone told me she plans to visit another church, because “I like the music.” 

The idea is not to call attention to the music, the performers, or the preacher. Back in 1957, Dr. King urged his fellow preachers not to engage in showy displays. “We can’t spend all of our time trying to learn how to whoop and holler,” he said.  

The focus should be on God. 

Discipline is the key. Christians are disciples of Christ; they follow Him.  

Since the 1st century, the church was challenged to stay on track, to preach and act in sync with God’s Word.  As his disciples, Christians need to be challenged to walk in God’s ways. Salvation is immediate but sanctification, which some call “progressive sanctification”, is a lifelong process. Although the charges of sin against those who profess Christ as Lord and Savior are dropped, we still need to be held accountable.  

When someone continues to engage in sin, a true church disciplines the offender, starting with gentle admonishment. Then a one-on-one meeting to try to get the offender back on track. Then meet with several witnesses. If all this fails, then the matter is brought before the church. Excommunication is a last resort when someone fails to turn from besetting sin. The Westminster Confession of Faith sees the three steps of church discipline as being “admonition”, “suspension from the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper for a season” and then finally excommunication. 

Church discipline is important. One member continuing in sin, unrepentant, contaminates the rest of the church. In today’s world where we lack absolutes, the church needs to maintain them – God’s standards. God doesn’t grade on a curve! 

An outline of church discipline: 

Ultimate authority resides in Christ, who authorizes the Church to use it as needed. (Matthew 18:17)  

Corrective discipline is for:  

  • Troublemakers and those who sow discord. (Romans 16:17) 
  • The unruly and disorderly. (1st Thessalonians 5:14) 
  • Those who disobey the great doctrines of the faith. (2nd Thessalonians 3:13-14) 
  • Those who deny the great doctrines of the faith. (1st Timothy 6:3-4) 

Procedures in discipline  

  • Arrange a private meeting with the offender. (Matthew 18:15) 
  • If a private meeting fails, meet with them and several witnesses. (Matthew 18:16) 
  • Admonish and warn them. (Titus 3:10) 
  • As a final resort, bring the matter up to the whole church. (Matthew 18:17) 
  • Remove their membership, and avoid them. (Romans 16:17) 
  • Be ready to forgive them when repentance occurs. (2nd Corinthians 2:7) 

Purpose of Discipline  

  • To maintain the standards of the church to a watching world. (Matthew 5:13-16) 
  • To keep sin from spreading throughout the church. (Joshua 7:3); (1st Corinthians 5:6-7) 
  • Help the guilty person find their way to God. (2nd Corinthians 2:6-8) 
  • To escape God’s judgment upon habitually sinning saints. (1st Corinthians 11:30) 

Music is one part of worship. The music, the preaching, showing Christ’s love to others and being a good example of a disciple of Jesus all work together. Christians should not conform to worldly ways, but be salt and light in the world. 

Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires”.  -Romans 6:23 

Doing Something To Not Let Evil Triumph

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People got together at Music Fest 2019 & Relapse Prevention Walk to address ways to curb the insanity of the voluntary slavery of drug addiction.  

Besides the Christian music groups and speakers, some officials and others just regular folks, representatives from the Bensalem police, include the chief, participated in the event. Although I kidded someone who asked people on the relapse prevention walk why we were there by telling him I was just there to walk alongside my girlfriend because her doctor said I need to accompany her on walks, the walk represented people on a journey to help rescue those enslaved by addiction. 

It was a wonderful time, with brothers and sisters joining together to edify one another. Families came, and kids played. The dogs at the event also had a grand time, playing around and socializing, some of them being de facto therapy dogs! 

The music was uplifting, edifying, and as was the case with the rest of the event, offered hope. One musician of particular note was Santos, who performed Doo-Wop gospel, using the soothing, unique sound of the genre to further the gospel. During his performance, Walter Santos literally pointed to the cross on the top of the church in the near distance in front of the stage. 

One big hit was the mock teenager’s bedroom, where participants could get clued in on what to look for if their kids are messing with drugs, run by the Bensalem Police.  

The Bensalem Police Chief spoke about a new program where people who need help with their addiction can walk into the police station and quickly get the help they need. It used to take hours before someone could get help, but now the wait is down to 20-25 minutes!  And on the spot they can get connected to a place that can help them in their journey to sobriety. 

Back in early 2018, I wished there were resources such as this when I helped someone who asked me for help to get clean. With no experience doing this, I used what I had. With much help from the church, she got clean in two months and was clean for more than three months. Although the journey led to sobriety, her past 30 years of drug abuse caught up with her. A time bomb went off the 4th of July, 2018, and God took her home. During her journey, she accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, and was radically transformed. After struggling with addiction for some 30 years, this was the only way she got clean.  The autopsy showed that she died clean. 

As one official said at the event, the government has a role in the war on drug abuse, but the most important thing is people who reach out and give their time and money to help others. 

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The Right Cross

The Cross and the Switchblade, a decades old movie, shows that ingrained hatred and cynicism can be overcome. Through Christian faith, people can be positively changed.  

The movie, starring a very young-looking Pat Boone as a country preacher from a small town in Pennsylvania, and Erick Estrada, a gang leader in Brooklyn, shows that through faith and perseverance, people can be turned around. People can be reached when Christians show others the love of God. 

The movie is based on the biographical book by David Wilkerson (Pat Boone). The country preacher meets various gangs in Brooklyn and finds cynicism and hate. It took the preacher, who was in strange territory, much perseverance and trust in God to hang in there to help change the street worn thugs. He tells them that he and God love them and that God will change them into new, loving creatures. The old ways passed. 

To the gangs, there seemed to be no way out. They thought they couldn’t change the status quo. But, as the country preacher persevered, even Nicky (Erick Estrada), the most hateful, cynical gang leader, turned around and he started bringing others into the fold. Even the police, who were doubtful the gang activity would stop, discovered it did! Early on, during a street rally, after a police officer shewed David and his gang audience, a police sergeant was won over. He said he was glad there were guys like the preacher whom he believed would make a difference. 

The movie was well-paced; it held me and my girlfriend’s interest when we watched it recently, as we witnessed the drama of the hearts of gang members being won over unfolded.  

No matter how far you’ve fallen, and what bad things you’ve been doing, there is hope in the Cross, the right cross. Sometimes a right cross is what’s needed to wake us up! In gently admonishing the gangs, David didn’t pull any punches. He sacrificed for God and his fellow humans to help others. 

Other Christians helped the downtrodden. In the movie, caring Christians took in a drug addict, showed her love by taking care of her until she kicked the habit.

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22:34-40 

This Saturday, the 7th Annual Conquering Grounds Music Fest & Relapse Prevention Walk will be held in Bensalem, PA. Like the gang members in The Cross and the Switchblade, there is hope for those who are suffering from sin, the voluntary slavery of drug addiction to come clean!  

Check it out! 

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Heal The Land!

As I’ve blasted in my blogs, the drug epidemic in this country is soaring out of control. In lower Bucks County, PA, for example, the statistics are astronomical, as reported by the Levittown-Fairless Hills Rescue Squad: 

August 9 at 12:50 PM ·    

Updated Overdose Numbers are 163 Overdoses with 18 deaths. Since 2016 we have had a total of 786 overdoses and 72 deaths in our coverage area which is Levittown, Fairless Hills, Bristol Township, Tullytown, parts of Morrisville and Yardley. This continues to be an epidemic in our area. If you know someone that wants help please contact Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission Inc at 1-800-662-4357 (HELP) #overdoses #epidemic #ems #ems911 #gethelp #addiction #roadtorecovery #lfhrs    

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 All the King’s Horses and All The King’s Men are trying to figure out how to put broken people back together again. One initiative is Push Out The Pusher. The county has pulled out all the stops to bust these bandits who are solely to blame for the epidemic that’s been taking away our youth.  Our youth are victims, just as JJ (Jimmy Walker) was on an episode of the 70s comedy show Good Times. When the parents were away, JJ was in charge. He got busted for having a wild party, but he was a victim.  “Some people broke into our apartment and forced us to party with them!,” he exclaimed. 

Update: A year after the Push Out The Pusher program first allegedly struck fear in the hearts of drug pushers it busted and convicted the first pusher.  Elliot Ness was much more successful in busting the Speak Easies and Gangsters during prohibition, where the government fought the problem by going after the supply. Although Mr. Ness busted a lot of folks, prohibition did not resolve the problem. Push Out The Pusher won’t either. 

Seriously, the root of the heroine epidemic, like other social maladies, is that our culture pushed out God. 

When I was in elementary school, with Fred Flintstone in the Yabba Dabba Doo school district, the teachers prayed with students and read the Bible to the class. We didn’t have school shootings and other such problems in the schools. Now students don’t read and write so much as they riot, especially in the colleges.  After decades of pushing God out of the schools, now students, youth leaders and others are bringing God back in. 

A grass roots movement, See You At The Pole (SYATP) started in 1990 with ten students praying at their school. Now millions of students worldwide meet at the pole before school to pray. 

The youth leader at my former church first took her students to the pole at a public school in Burlington, New Jersey seven years ago.  This year students will meet at the pole on September 14, the same day the 7th Annual Music Fest 2019 and Relapse Prevention Walk will be held. Both are examples of bringing God’s power to heal our land. 

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 During the day, the youth leader said on her Facebook page in 2017, the students who prayed at the pole confidently answer people who ask “what were you doing outside by the flag pole?” 

Students who go to SYATP end up going to church and youth groups. Lives have been changed, people have grown in their relationship with Christ, and teachers, principals and school staff like what SYATP is doing at their school, the youth leader wrote. 

Since the 60s, we have been in a culture war. Bringing God back into the schools is a salvo fired in that war. Unlike some movements, this side in the war is not violent but it is about peaceably changing hearts and minds by bringing people to Jesus. 

The roots of the attack on our heritage, our Christian traditions go back to the French Revolution. The erosion of our culture started creeping in, progressing during the 20th century, but after a respite after WWII, the Storming of the Bastille occurred during the late 60s.  

By the 70s, as a result of the influence of the counter culture, we started losing our civil liberties. Political correctness and other oppressive regimes crept into our culture.  Evangelist Francis Schaeffer wrote in the 70s that, as freedom degenerated into licentiousness, to keep order, either we will have a police state to control people from the outside, or we will establish a Reformed Christian consensus where people will control themselves from the inside. 

See You At The Pole is a step in this direction. We shall overcome! 

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 

The Best Bet To Stop The Insanity

Doo wop gospel artist Walter Santos asked a good question when he performed at the 4th annual March and Prayer Rally at Williamson Park in Morrisville, PA on Saturday, August 17. He asked why an event that addresses a major problem today – drug addiction – wasn’t better attended.                                                                                                                             

Besides the wonderfully edifying gospel doo wop, there were more than ½ dozen pastors and other speakers. There were also several tables that displayed resources that offered hope for those trapped in the voluntary slavery of addiction. The event may not have been better attended because some people are stuck in the mantra that the government is going to resolve all their problems. 

The hot weather may have been one reason more people didn’t show up, but if people are really serious about helping to rescue people out of their dark work, they would come out anyway. My girlfriend and I did. She did, by the way, get dizzy the next day as a result of staying out in the blazing sun part of the time. 

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke 

People have been overdosing and dying as a result of drug addiction.  A recent Facebook page from the Levittown-Fairless Hills Rescue Squad: 

August 9 at 12:50 PM ·   

Updated Overdose Numbers are 163 Overdoses with 18 deaths. Since 2016 we have had a total of 786 overdoses and 72 deaths in our coverage area which is Levittown, Fairless Hills, Bristol Township, Tullytown, parts of Morrisville and Yardley. This continues to be an epidemic in our area. If you know someone that wants help please contact Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission Inc at 1-800-662-4357 (HELP) #overdoses #epidemic #ems #ems911 #gethelp #addiction #roadtorecovery #lfhrs   

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 The faith community is making a difference by doing something. In Kensington, which officials call “ground zero” for the drug problem, the ministries of the church there is bearing fruit.  According to a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer, overdose deaths decreased 23% between 2017 and 2018 in Kensington. Some of this decrease may be a result of improved first aid from responders, but overdoses have increased in other areas, such as south Philadelphia neighborhoods. 

In Bensalem, PA, groups such as Conquering Life Prison and Recovery Ministries (CLPRM) is making a difference. CLPRM is a grass roots organization where caring people, who serve without pay, are there to help others overcome their life destroying problem.  

On September 14, in Bensalem, there will be a major event to help overcome a major problem – a problem that is more devastating that the Florida storm. Image may contain: one or more people and text

In the greater Bucks County area, there are group meetings to help people with conquer addictions practically every day of the week. Many of the are modeled after “A First Century Christian Fellowship”, later known as the “Oxford Group”, which a minister created in 1921, fourteen years before Alcoholics Anonymous was formed. AA uses many of the Oxford Group’s ideas, but watered down the Christian aspect in their program.   

The philosophy of the Oxford Group: 

      • All people are sinners
      • All sinners can be changed
      • Confession is a prerequisite to change
      • The change can access God directly
      • Miracles are again possible 
    • The change must change others 

Learn more about CLPRM, which models the Oxford Group: