August 5

Written by Bill Grandi on August 5th, 2019

My title for this devotion is Man Worship vs. God Worship.

I’m not sure if today’s devotion will be a soapbox or not. I hope not. But after reading a passage of Scripture this morning, I have to speak up.

Today’s “modern” worship has its moments. It has its good moments; its so-so moments; and its really bad moments. I’m not speaking about the externals-the lights, fog, instruments, style of music, etc. No, those are all externals- unnecessary possibly, but still external. I’m speaking about the content. The songs we sing.

Some of them are really good, i.e. really honest-to-goodness worship songs. Songs which lift up the name of Jesus; songs that draw attention to Him and give game to His Name.

Some are so-so. There is a mix of praise with a dab or dash or dollop of “feel good” vibe.

There there are those which are really, really bad. Awful may be a more descriptive word. The lyrics are totally self-centered; all-about-me oriented; I feel good because you made me feel good type of songs. If I may be so blunt and use a word I can count on one hand as using before: they are God-awful songs. Much (not all) of what we have coming out of the music factories like Bethel, Hillsong, and Jesus Culture are in this vein. Besides that, they have some really bad theology.

What got me to this point this morning? Psalm 147.  Here you go: “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises (about yourselves?) to God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.” (v.1). “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.” (v.5) But here’s the kicker: “His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of man,  but the Lord takes pleasure (wait for it) in those who fear Him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” (vv,10-11)

His pleasure is not in those who sing love songs where we aren’t sure who we are singing to or about. It is not in those who “play” at worship. It is not in those who repeat and repeat and repeat a stanza or two or three. And don’t get me wrong: I am not advocating going back to hymns. Some of them were awful as well. I am advocating songs which lift up the Name of Jesus; when there is no doubt who are singing about and to Whom we are singing.

“Father, may my lips sing your praise.  May my heart lift up Your Name- find its joy, meaning and purpose in Your Name.  And may I sing and speak and lift up the fame of Your Name.”


I guess this does sound like a soapbox. I just think we need to be more conscientious about what we call “worship and praise” music. Songs of feeling good or songs which focus on me and my needs-while not totally illegitimate songs to sing-do not qualify as worship. I’ve said my piece. Now I will move on.  🙂


10 Comments so far ↓

  1. Boy, Bill, I REALLY hear you on this one. Some of the modern “Christian” songs do not reflect a healthy tone of worship of the One who deserves all our attention. It’s all too easy for us as fragile humans to make it all about us and not about God. May we see the error of our ways.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      You put it well Martha. Some don’t reflect a healthy tone of worship. We do need discernment.

  2. Glynn says:

    Music is vitally important to my wife, and it has been since she was a young child. She considered the “worship and praise” takeover of Sunday worship music akin to the bubonic plague, and I had to agree with her. One church we attended embraced it as part of a transformation to “seeker church” with disastrous consequences. Our current church flirted with it fro a time, and then quietly began a shift back to more traditional music. It still has some contemporary songs, but they’re theologically sound. And the church is growing, attracting a lot of young families.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I think I remember reading this awhile back from one your older posts Glynn. There is no question the “seeker movement” did much damage in many ways, and most definitely in the area of music. I confess to liking a more modern sound but I also don’t mind some of the old hymns which lift up the cross and Jesus.

  3. Ryan S. says:

    I can understand the frustration. Though I try to give the benefit of the doubt in some songs.

    I am most certainly not a song writer, poet, book writer, etc… however,
    I wonder where the heart of the writer is when writing the songs.

    If what you say is true, that some of the songs being sung are just a bunch of feel good words thrown together and slapped on top of music with a decent beat and that Jesus is an afterthought… a “plug in your deity here” song.
    —The I totally agree.

    If however, the song was written by one who is truly seeking after God, then I have no problem with it.

    When I talk to my wife or if I were to write a song or poem to her… I may not use her name in it. However, if I am truly singing or reciting it to her… She knows it is for her.

    I believe the same “CAN” be true with some songs. If the songwriter is writing the song to God… NOT for others, necessarily, but to God… to Jesus… and in those cases I can understand if Jesus is not specifically stated in the song itself.

    I can see both sides… I guess…
    Not trying to kick the box out from under you, but just wanted to share my thoughts.

    Love ya man… we need to have lunch soon.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Box kicking allowed Ryan! 🙂 Seriously, you do have valid points. I’m just wondering why we would sing a song written by a seeker who has not found Jesus yet in our worship set. Maybe as a special or introductory song to a message. But that being said, there really is no easy answer. AND lunch sound good. 🙂 We will have to sync up.

      • Ryan S. says:

        This actually brings about another thought in regards to song writers.
        How to handle worship songs written by artists that proclaimed to be Christian but have since renounced their faith. I put far less weight on the song writer and much more expectation on my heart to worship God in any setting and with any song.
        If God can take a shipwreck like me and make me an instrument of His, certainly he can take a song that is being sung by believers in heartfelt worship and it be as honoring as a well written hymn.
        God is in the business of turning bad into good even if it is poorly written lyrics.

        • Bill Grandi says:

          To put weight on the words would keep us away from being guilty of idol worship. I am somewhat more concerned about some of the bad doctrine we sing as opposed to who wrote it.

  4. floyd says:

    I’m with you, Bill. The level of self centeredness and even narcissism has gotten even deeper in the church… and most people can’t see it.
    And that’s how far from knowing scripture they are…

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I think you have called it for what a lot of it is Floyd- self-centeredness and narcissism.