Growth In Grace

July 1st, 2010


Standing at the back of the sanctuary, Josh listened with sadness as a lady of the church expressed her frustration at the song and instrument choice for the morning. He calmly reminded her that the staff was doing its best to provide a variety of music. He explained that they were attempting to give people of all backgrounds an opportunity to connect with God in a format they understood.

She responded, “Well if that’s the kind of music they like, they can go somewhere else!”

His heart sank.

It’s sad to see Christians who ought to be mature in their faith express attitudes and action to the contrary. How is it after so many years of experiencing God’s grace for themselves they fail to offer it to others?
As a man of 85 years, Caleb prepared to enter the Promised Land. He was ready to finish the race as he had started it. May we all extend God’s grace in ever-increasing quantities.

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28 Responses to “Growth In Grace”

  1. Fred Carter Says:

    July 1st, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Even if the music doesn’t strike a chord with me, I don’t knock it. It is sad when we forget it isn’t just about me. We mustn’t forget the ones who are coming behind us. The incident you described today is probably far too common in our churches and pushes people away from God. This cannot be pleasing to Him. We must not cause a little one to stumble.

  2. alex Says:

    July 1st, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Agreed Fred. I see this same issue in my own church. People have even threatened to leave the church several times if the drums are included in service. I would think it would be an amazing sight to see young people taking ownership of their faith and worshiping in a way that means the most to them.

  3. Everett Potter Says:

    August 8th, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Hi folks, Yes, I agree, it is sad when we allow music to come between us. I am 90 years young, I love young people too much not to except there style of music. You know what? Ear plugs are not that expencive:) God Bless the young’ens,
    I’m going for a ten mile bycicle ride, and pray for the young of our day,
    Everett Potter

  4. Gail Says:

    August 26th, 2010 at 5:23 am

    Well, it IS sad when one can no longer stand to go to Sunday morning worship because of the loud, unfamiliar music. Our beloved church went to a totally contemporary (loud!) style of worship/music almost overnight, when they moved into a brand new “multi-purpose” facility across town (which by the way the “older” Nazarenes paid for). This pastor caters ONLY to the new, young crowd now; no alter calls, no Sunday night church, NO hymns. Many long-time members are leaving and unfortunately, most are going to other denominations. Many people leave after Sunday School (oops, it’s not called that anymore) and yes, some do wear earplugs. Very sad, indeed.

  5. alex Says:

    August 26th, 2010 at 7:36 am


    If the music was balanced half and half between traditional hymns and contemporary worship, would you be happy at your church? Music is only unfamiliar after so long. At one point, hymns were unfamiliar as well. I must be honest, much of what you say in this post makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

    I don’t know why people get so wrapped up in the “us versus them” mentality. Good grief, we are all worshiping God! Young People worship through contemporary praise songs. Older people worship by singing hymns. It is all worship and one is not better than the other.

    Try to look at contemporary songs not through the lens that these young people sing to needlessly loud music, but look at it as “Wow, these young people are on fire for God, and they are showing it by lending their musical talents and voices to the types of songs that they relate to.

    Clearly, I am a young person. I go to a church where 75% of its congregants are over 70. I am used to hymns and traditionalism. Hymns are not my favorite. They are boring and slow to me. They use language that I would never use and therefore can’t relate to. How do I truly own the message of a song that would never come out of my mouth? I completely understand the idea that we each have our preferences. Should I start boycotting church because I don’t like the music selection? This notion is ridiculous to me.

    People who skip church after Sunday School because they cannot possibly bear the sound of someone worshiping are incredibly misguided. I question their motives.When musical preferences get in the way of hearing God’s word on Sunday, the fault is with the parishioner, not the Pastor. It is the parishioner’s choice alone whether to go to church or not; nobody makes that decision for them.

    The mention of money here also deeply saddens me. By the tone of your post, it sounds like you believe that because the “older Nazarenes” gave money for this new facility, they should have more say in the worship style that is used in it. Why? Because they gave to God what is his in the first place? Our money is not ours. Our money is God’s. God paid for the facility by blessing these “older Nazarenes” with careers and financial security. When we give to the church, we are giving in faith, giving selflessly, expecting nothing in return, right?

    I don’t mean to pick on you, your post was just dripping with negativity and it is discouraging to see. This is near and dear to my heart because I attend a church where I prefer a different style that what is currently in place. Every time our pastor tries to introduce an element of contemporary worship, he is chastised by “older Nazarenes” who aren’t giving a second thought to other’s spiritual needs. It sounds very much like we are in the same boat. Just like me, you determine what attitude you will have about it, nobody does that for you. End rant.

    P.S-Everett- This is exactly what I am talking about! Excellent attitude about the whole thing! More concerned that young people do what they need to do to take ownership of their place in the Kingdom than what style music is played!

  6. Valerie Says:

    October 7th, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    It seems this attitudinal problem is a global phenomenon. Australian churches (most denominations) share this spiritual dilemma. The good thing is it brings us back to the real essence of worship. I dare say the Israelites had the same problem adjusting to the cultural changes they must have endured after leaving Egypt! Let’s keep our body, mind and soul worshipping God regardless! If we were in prison or deaf there might be no music, but the music of our hearts. It seems negative, critical attitudes make a pretty sour tune. We have plenty of hours in the day to listen to the music of our own preference. So don’t spoil the greatest opportunity we have to mentor the next generation in the things that really matter – loving our neighbours.

  7. Miz Liz Says:

    October 10th, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    WOW! Here it is October and I just “accidently” stumbled across this post from July. How sad that many churches across America are in this same bind.If only the the attitudes of Everett and Alex were contageous… oh, that’s right, it is…. they “got it” from Jesus. Thank you for giving me courage to keep praying for more of us to encourage and bless and not tear down the work of the Spirit.
    And thank you for these devotions.

  8. Susie M. Says:

    November 9th, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Worship is about God, only. It should be a combination of both traditional and contemporary worship. Fighting over whether one way or another is right…is wrong.
    It’s about being in the House of God, being filled with his spirit in our hearts with our cups running over, not whether the choruses are only on the screens or the hymnals ONLY being used….Meet in the middle. It’s about God…not the big ME… The right attitude with all is the secret!

  9. Jim Boyd Says:

    August 6th, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Do most young Christians believe singing songs from the book of Psalms honors and glorifies God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit?

  10. Jim Boyd Says:

    August 8th, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Colossians 3:16-17 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

  11. Ellen Cusack Says:

    September 20th, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I can relate a little on both sides of this discussion. I’m getting older & unfortunately sometimes I don’t hear the vocals as clearly as I once did so new songs are can be harder to follow and/or join in. I still enjoy alot of the Hymns and I enjoy the new songs that we are constantly learning in our church. Our church has started projecting the words of all songs on the wall so everyone can see them. Even when I don’t know the song just being able to read the words helps me to enter into worship. Alot of these new songs are even word for word from the scriptures, so you know we are praising God in song. Our worship team is just that, a team. They all love our Lord and have committed to use the talents that God has given them to lead the rest of us into a time of worshipping our Saviour. I love it I see them completely forget that there is anyone else in the room and they just worship God with their whole being. It does not matter what song they are singing or whether or not I understand it or even like it. What matters at that particular moment in time is God is first and foremost and I just want to soak up His presence along with them. I can’t sing worth beans but I love to try and when my singing is coming from my heart and not just my mouth, I know that He is taking it as praise and not just noise. I know there are times when I do just make a noise (when it’s not coming from my heart) but God knows the truth and if I let Him, He points that out to me, sometimes just by showing me someone who is obviously truely worshipping HIM with everything they’ve got.

  12. rachael mcgimpsey Says:

    October 3rd, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Hymns are very important to me, the words if you try to understand them are truth, they are true doctrine and that is why many of us love them. I am 40ish, that may be ancient to some, but, i am “young enough” to also like some praise and worship, but sometimes i feel they lack a strong biblical message and are mere fluff. I think, you should honor your older members and not be so disparaging toward them. There is plenty of non rocky praise and worship music, and like it or not the older generation are the backbone of your church, what would you do if they took there “blessings of God” as you put it, to another church? Whatever you think about hymns, it is not possible to be distracted by them, older people , however, have a hard time with loud noises, as do some people who have sensory problems, they can not enjoy the more rocky type music because it is actually painful for them.

    “Every time our pastor tries to introduce an element of contemporary worship, he is chastised by “older Nazarenes” who aren’t giving a second thought to other’s spiritual needs.”

    I find this negative, Why is it about you? Maybe they feel the more modern music does not reflect the body as a whole, why should one group be catered to above the other? Why is it okay to paint the older saints in such a light?
    Why can not hymns and non rocky praise and worship catered to the whole bodies spiritual needs?

    “People who skip church after Sunday School because they cannot possibly bear the sound of someone worshiping are incredibly misguided. I question their motives.When musical preferences get in the way of hearing God’s word on Sunday, the fault is with the parishioner, not the Pastor. It is the parishioner’s choice alone whether to go to church or not; nobody makes that decision for them.”

    This is too harsh, how can you judge their motives and then call them negative? As i pointed out the loud music is a distraction to older people and sometimes it is actually painful to those who have sensory issues. The music should reflect what is best for the whole body and what brings the most glory to God. You can not blame the parishioners solely. I think older people feel like they are not wanted in this “new age”, that they are expect to make way and give up what they cherish for the young who do not try and see their point of view. Try listening to your older members they have had a lot of experience, and they may have something to teach us.

  13. rachael mcgimpsey Says:

    October 3rd, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
    The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
    Before the throne my surety stands,
    My name is written on His hands.

    He ever lives above, for me to intercede;
    His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead:
    His blood atoned for all our race,
    And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

    The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One;
    He cannot turn away, the presence of His Son;
    His Spirit answers to the blood,
    And tells me I am born of God.

    This is a hymn by Charles Wesley

  14. luv2tch Says:

    December 31st, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Interesting conversation. Age is so relative. I am getting close to 60, but I remember when I was a teenager in the ’60s, early ’70s. The same conversation was going on. I remember the contemporary Christian music that I liked–those are almost considered hymns now 🙂 I love the old hymns, I love the contemporary (to whatever the time period is) Christian music. I love any music that honors and praises God. It lifts me above the daily toils and problems of life and puts me in the presence of the King. Perhaps if we all did this throughout the week to whatever music we like the best, then on Sunday morning we’d be so full of praise that it wouldn’t really matter if we were singing Charles Wesley, Bill Gaither or Chris Tomlin!!

    How do we expect to attract a lost and dying world if we can’t be joyful. I look forward to hearing the music of Heaven!! Regardless of what kind it is.

  15. Debbie Says:

    February 26th, 2012 at 11:47 am

    None of you know me and may never will but I just have to speak here. I have read many but not all of the posts here under this devotional. To be honest, you will never please everyone. I remember one couple who left the church one time because a new family came and started sitting ‘their’ seat(the new people had no idea). When they went to the Pastor and he refused to go to these people and insist they set elsewhere, the older couple became very bitter as I recall. I do believe they left the church. I can tell you I may be the farthest thing from a mature Christian at 50 years old and I like older hymns but have very little of it and prefer mostly modern, loud, excited about the future songs that a young band has. I love The Newsboys, Building 429, and such.

    My son was brought up in mostly Nazarene churches(we moved a lot). As he became a teen, he began to grow his hair long and go to a more open type of church is I guess how I put it. When we moved to Kentucky he did an about face and started going to a very reserved church. I told him, that is fine but please just remember God loves you, he made you who you are for a reason and he will use you as you are. He went to this church for a long time and he insisted they were non-conforming and accepted him. He went calling with his Sunday School teacher every week. While his teacher wore a suit and tie and dress shes, my son wore a ponytail, skate shoes, and an old t-shirt with a pair of jeans. True story…they came upon 4 teens who were skate boarding and so the Sunday School teacher(who was btw, awesome) decided to approach these young men. They really didn’t get much into the conversation till my son said to one of the teens….nice shirt…the kid looked at my son and said, nice shoes. Long story but when they walked away from those teens that day, 3 of the 4 had received Christ. I literally cried when my son told me this( my son is very private and rarely shares any such thing with me). Not long after, my son being the only long haired boy in the church (I had bought him suits before this as I was well aware he would be shunned) the preacher mentioned how men should never have long hair, Amens resounded through the church. For weeks my son agonized over this as I begged him not to be a clone and I kept bringing up the skateboard kids and how the conversation would probably have gone nowhere if he wasn’t who God wanted and needed him to be. Weeks later, he had his hair cut. He had met with men from the church who absolutely convinced him he needed his hair cut according to scripture. He had his hair cut and donated it to locks of love, probably the last good thing that ever became of his long hair unless the wig went to someone who continued to use it as God planned. Do we really have the right to judge another who may be just the way God wants him to be at that time? Maybe I am judging the denomination he chose to get involved with but I still think my sons clothes and long hair had nothing to do with anything but conformity and no one but God himself would be able to convince me that those boys were saved by anything other than what my son had in his heart and without him being himself, God could not have used him.
    Let’s be honest, men wore what were basically what were long dresses, can we safely say that times have changed or should men be wearing robes like Moses?

  16. Sharon Says:

    July 9th, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    I just stumbled onto these posts while searching for the beliefs of the Nazarene Church. I have been attending a Nazarene church for several months. The WORD is preached weekly and I feel more “connected” than I have for several years. I must say, however, that I am coming from another denomination & local church where MUSIC is a big issue. As a musician myself, I was active in the choir, pianist, and orchestra until recently when everything just fell apart. Because the seniors of the church started a gospel choir, on our own time and sang in nursing homes, etc., we were told we were a negative influence on the community. As a result, the choir became an independent community gospel choir and have welcomed many new members from varying communities & churches who love gospel music but were reluctant to join a choir affiliated with a specific church.

    The piano and orchestra were discontinued in the church and everything is contemporary with guitars & drums. I felt like a servant without a place to serve, so I started attending the Nazarene Church because it has wonderful music and musicians and it truly puts me in the spirit of worship as soon as I hear the music from the parking lot. Can this be wrong? Music is the means to worship for me, and when I can’t identify with it, I die spiritually.

    I can understand how the younger people say the same thing when they are referring to the contemporary. Can this be wrong? Don’t we all identify with what we are familiar with.

    I will say, that the loud, rhythmic music makes me feel as though I’m attending a rock concert and not church. It’s also the words or lack thereof. Gospel music tells a story of how God produces change in us and our lives. Most contemporary music is merely love & praise….of which there is nothing wrong…I just need more.

    I hope that I’m not WRONG because I identify with gospel music and the fact that it helps me enter into worship. This dilemma is very frustrating for me and really makes me wonder about myself.

  17. Chad Says:

    August 4th, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Worship is not about us…it is about God.
    It is a time where we get away from the outside world to be one as a body of believers and worship the one true God.
    When we start making worship about us, about what we get out of it, it is no longer worship.
    Our church does a combination of hymns and traditional music- with a combination of guitar and piano- and it seems to have gone well. But above all, we must keep it in perspective. Songs are just one way to worship- and if it’s dividing us, we have let worship become something totally different than it was intended.

  18. Chad Says:

    August 4th, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    **I meant to say combination of hymns and contemporary music

  19. Paul Says:

    September 25th, 2013 at 2:44 am

    There was a church I attended most of my life where we would do a traditional service a blended service then a contemporary service. After that we did a Sunday night service as well. That worked just fine. But one thing we started to do when I interned for the music pastor was something called hymn sings. Every quarter we would take a Sunday night, get many singers and musicians to play hymns for a good hour or two and then everyone would go and eat pie and drink coffee in the fellowship hall. It was a great way to honor the seniors in the church. They felt so appreciated that we would do such an event. and it was fun to do. It got pretty big and after a while it needed a larger venue to host it. I’m in my twenties but I believe we can have our own music preference and honor others. The bible says to clearly put the needs of others above your own and consider your brother higher than yourself. I personally enjoy playing all sorts of music styles and believe that the more you learn an instrument and the more you sing, the more you can appreciate a variety of music styles. Whichever style it is, lets remember that we do it to encourage one another in the faith so that we continue to live as the holy people of God and that we honor him in everything we say and do.

  20. Barbara Says:

    December 15th, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    “It’s sad to see Christians who ought to be mature in their faith express attitudes and action to the contrary.”

    The saddest part is that they “know not what they are doing to their own relationship with Christ.”

    It’s good that only God can see their hearts. We would be appalled (before the plank in our own eyes is revealed).

  21. Frances Says:

    December 28th, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    By the grace of God I have just read all the comments on the controversy about music and it has helped me put into perspective what I have seen happen in the church that I attend. For many years I lead the music worship in my little church. We sang only the hymns and choruses because that is what I knew. That all happened many years ago in another country. Seven years ago I came to the States and have been able to attend more than one church. I have been surprised to see the differences between the “traditional” and “contemporary or modern” ways people like to worship. Also, I have seen families leave the church for many reasons that do not have to do with sin. Some have left because they “don’t feel it’s like home”, because “the music is too loud” or “too modern”. Others have left because they don’t like the way the preacher preaches, or “people are not friendly enough”, or…the list gets very long. Right now there has been a great change in the church I am attending. I have felt very sad and even angry at those who left. I have even been tempted to go to a big church where a lot is offered. But God has told me to continue where I am. Now I see that this is nothing new. Only the Holy Spirit can bring revival. I think what has made the difference for me is that I am fed by the Lord every day by His Word, by singing to Him in my devotions, by giving my talents to others in any small way that He leads. Then on Sunday or any other day that I meet with my brothers and sisters to worship and fellowship, I’m not empty and so hungry that I can’t be satisfied if what happens in the service is not to my particular style or likeing. I go to share, not just to receive. And God blesses me every time. By the way, I am 74 years young.

  22. Penny T Pozgay Says:

    March 9th, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Thank you all for sharing! I feel so blessed!! I am 56 years young and truly blessed and desire nothing more thant to be a blessing to God and his chosen family but also to a world of lost and hurting men, women and children!! The church my son and I now attend ( i am now a widowed pastor’s wife and my son his orphan) is going through major change as it grows and dies under the leadership of a new, young inexperienced couple who are literally practicing on this little church on the prairie of the Olympic Peninsula. My son and I are growing in our love for Christ and want to continue worshipping at this church, however, we constantly find ourselves pushed and pulled by the saints and sinners which abound in a church so inwardly focused. I believe God is calling my son and I into His ministry within the Nazarene faith but I also believe He wants us to follow Him out of THAT building as quickly as He has allowed us to enter. Nazarene Bible College online!?!

  23. Ruby Stull Says:

    October 11th, 2014 at 11:14 am

    I’m so glad I came across this ‘conversation’ even if it spreads over a few years. To tell the truth, the first comments blew my mind. Then we finally got to the real purpose of worship. And yes, I am partial to the ‘older folks’ thinking- being as I am mid-70’s. So many varied but well thought out comments. And when Rachel wrote the Hymn “Arise My Soul Arise”; I could barely keep from weeping while singing the words. As a Mennonite in my Teens and learning the old hymns sung a cappella, and for the last 25 years in the Nazarene Church, which at present we only have organ music to accompany our worship, to me the most important part of praise is the words. If all the music puts you in ‘the mood’ for praise I question who you are praising, the musicians? I’ve BEEN in services with the loud music. It is more for entertainment the way I look at it. Give me the singing by the people and words you can understand. Praise God as you see fit but make sure you are truly worshiping Him in Spirit and in Truth.

  24. DMF Says:

    February 21st, 2015 at 10:30 am

    I am amazed that everyone is talking only about the music and how everyone worships differently. The lesson is all about Grace! Giving each other grace. No matter what the differences. Grace is one of the hardest things or attitudes to give one another. Yet God gives it freely to anyone who asks. The hardest is giving Grace to one another. No matter what they have done to you or someone else. Let’s talk about this… How do you give Grace?

  25. MalerieB Says:

    March 24th, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Grace AND music all in a hymn based on scripture to boot, Romans 5:20-21! 🙂
    Thank You, Lord, for Your grace & mercy, & the blessing of worship through music. Equip us, believers, to extend grace to one another daily. Holy Spirit help us & pray for us with groanings which we don’t understand. We desire Your perfect will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

    Grace Greater Than All Our Sin
    by Julia H. Johnston

    Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
    Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
    Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
    There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
    Grace, grace, God’s grace,
    Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
    Grace, grace, God’s grace,
    Grace that is greater than all our sin!

    Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
    Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
    Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
    Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
    Dark is the stain that we cannot hide;
    What can we do to wash it away?
    Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
    Brighter than snow you may be today.
    Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
    Freely bestowed on all who believe!
    You that are longing to see His face,
    Will you this moment His grace receive?

  26. louise Says:

    March 2nd, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    MalerieB, that is beautiful! I remember singing that song many times through the years. Couldn’t help but wonder if alex thinks this song is boring and is a message that would never come out of his month. Really? (sad face)

  27. louise Says:

    March 2nd, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    sorry, didn’t mean to say his “month”….how about mouth? Love ya all. Hope to see you on the other side and we can all praise the Lord together! What a day that will be.! Another great old hymn!!!!!

  28. Mark Says:

    January 27th, 2024 at 7:24 pm

    I grew up with hymns. I love them. I like some of the newer songs.
    The problem is, most churches that move to contemporary thinks that louder somehow equals better worship. It doesn’t.
    For one, its offensive to those that wear hearing aids (like myself).
    Secondly, just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s good. Let’s be honest, there is a lot of contemporary Christian music that isn’t biblically sound. It’s up to the saints of the church to monitor it and make sure its has a sound doctrine.
    Lastly I’ll point out, just because a song is a “Christian” song, doesn’t make it Sunday morning worship appropriate. Just because it’s played on a Christian radio station doesn’t automatically make it a good song for a worship service. I think this is another shortcoming the “younger” church falls into.

    I agree, there needs to be a balance. But I do get why the older generation get feisty and dig their heels in on the issue. They feel like they get kicked to the curb when it comes to the music. I get it.

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