by Paul Landkamer
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There are too many hypocrites in the Church. There are many paths to God. What's right for you might not be right for me. Christianity is too patriarchal. There are too many rules. God's too loving to reject anyone. I'm too busy. Christianity's too narrow-minded. I meditate alone. Oh, I don't know --I guess I'm not ready yet. Christianity's just a big social club. There are so many other excuses for not accepting God's free gift of salvation.
You've heard the excuses. For the sake of writing this article, I'll assume you've gotten past the excuses and have accepted Jesus. Sure, there are lots of hypocrites in the Church. We're imperfect humans. You know there's only one way to God, and many see that as narrow-minded. You know God's loving, but He's also too perfect to have anything impure in His presence. You know the value of corporate worship. Even if the Church is called a social club by some, we still meet in Jesus' name for the purpose of giving Him glory and honor. You know all this, but do you live a Christian lifestyle?
I was reborn in 1991 after many years of misguided living and downright resistance. Wow, that "still small voice" can be a nag! Suffice it to say, I didn't change overnight. God never told me I'd go to hell if I used tobacco or alcohol. I even used the excuse that porn doesn't hurt anyone. Despite my hanging on to these fleshly pursuits, I became a youth group leader, and shortly became a deacon and even chairman of my church's education department. I was actively living in both worlds, but I didn't see it as that. I retired from the Air Force and life began to settle down for my family. In 2000, we even bought property in the country. Life just kept getting better.
God was blessing me, even though I wasn't doing Him decently. At our new place, we didn't have cable TV, and didn't feel like getting a satellite dish or even a big antenna. We didn't have time for TV anyway. God used that to refine our discernment skills. It didn't take long until I couldn't walk into a store without flinching at the worldliness. My job took me on fairly long drives twice a week, so I got to listen to the radio. I love my music, but it was still fleshly stuff --hard and classic rock, whenever I could find it. That growing discernment began to bleed over into my music-listening, and I actually began to hear the lyrics and see the content of the commercials. Jesus kept saying to me, "If Jesus were sitting right here, would you still be listening to this?" He got me. He WAS sitting right there, and I was without excuse.
What broke it open for me was the on-air humor of a disk jockey who was also an ordained Methodist minister. I felt it my duty to tell him that his sexual and dirty humor was out of place for a Christian, and that I'd be leaving that radio station if he couldn't stop. He replied that they give the listeners whatever they want, despite any moral implications. He went on to say that lots of listeners threaten to quit, but they usually come back. I quit, and didn't return. And it was my favorite radio station, too.
I found a Christian talk radio station, since I couldn't stomach Christian music, or what I thought was Christian music. I've heard all those excuses, too. I even used lots of them. My excuses were, Christian music is all that sticky-sweet, cliche easy-listening stuff. It's outdated and second-rate. Other excuses I've heard are "there's too many Jesus-is-my-boyfriend songs," "It's not Christian enough" and "They only copy mainstream artists, anyway." I missed music, but couldn't go back to that station, and the message of my other stations stung my ears. I broke down and started listening to one of those sticky-sweet stations. I couldn't take it for long at first, but they occasionally played a good one. Then I spotted an ad in Christian Happenings magazine for a new station that played Christian music I'd heard and liked, but never heard aired before. I got excited about my findings and began to actively hunt for the good stuff. It's really out there.
You've heard the excuses, and probably even used some yourself. Have you put fleshly music behind you? I did in late 2001. It even became easy for me to see that Jesus gave His life for me, so the least I could do would be to give up my porn, tobacco and alcohol. I'm seeing that this world is truly not my home. I'm living in lots greater contentment, and my whole family is even happier since I gave that part of my life over to Jesus. I want all readers to feel free to contact me for music recommendations or if they have questions.
My old favorites included Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Queen, Led Zepellin, The Beatles, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, ZZ Top, David Bowie and so many more. I was a hard-sell classic-rock lover! Believe it or not I've found a wealth of music that fits my musical taste. I've also gotten quite a bit more accepting of other styles. I listen to rap on occasion, and even listened to southern Gospel --on purpose. Aside from those quirks, I'm still an old-school rocker. Please contact me for any reason. Jesus speaks loudly through Christian rock.
Stay in touch here. The next article will attempt to prove to you that "Christian rock" is NOT an oxymoron. Be of good cheer because life here is short, then we get to go home.
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