For me, there is nothing like live music. I admire those who have been blessed with musical talent and I enjoy music of most genres. Last night I had the privilege of attending Carlos Santana’s show at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Until now, I’ve been a very casual fan, if that. It was a business event and I was given a free general admission ticket along with the other business colleagues attending the conference. “I’ll stay for a few songs, then I’ll sneak out to bed.” Was I wrong or what?? His music is infectious, and I found myself not wanting to leave. Just over two hours later, I’m on my feet with the rest of the crowd applauding this man who has truly mastered his craft.
Carlos Santana performing at the Mandalay Bay House of Blues, February 2, 2017. He is a master at his craft, and his music is infectious! Taken on my iPhone.
A little more than halfway through his show, he spoke to the audience. He told them that there are people out there teaching about “wretched sinners”, that those people are mean and we should run from them. He said that we all have this light inside us, and we should live out our lives in that light, enjoying life, being kind. Many in the crowd enthusiastically received and applauded his message. And that made me sad; sad because the only part of the Gospel message he’s apparently heard is the part about sin and death. If he only knew how beautiful the other side of that coin is – the truth about redemption, salvation, and eternal life through Jesus Christ, he could have shared that Truth with his audience.
As he launched into his next song I looked around the room – all those people. How many know Christ, and how many don’t? How many took his false message to heart? I turned to the colleague standing next to me and said, “His theology is a bit off.” My colleague responded, “He’s talking about his god.”
We live in a lost and fallen world. As Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37) My sense of urgency is increasing, but I sometimes struggle to find my place. Talking about things of God is easy in church, but it’s frowned upon in the workplace. Screaming the Gospel at a colleague I just met in a loud music venue doesn’t seem right either. I know God wants me to share the Gospel. This morning I prayed about the harvest and my role in helping gather it. I look forward to seeing how God chooses to use me, and I pray that He will give me with wisdom and courage to seize every witness opportunity He presents.
Soli DEO Gloria!
My wife and I are big fans of The Voice on NBC. The talent that graces that stage is absolutely amazing, and we really enjoy watching each artist grow week by week as they heed the advice of their coaches. Voting gets tougher by the week also, but here are my votes based on last night’s performances. These are the 10 artists I would advance to next the next round if it were up to me.
“I think all music is a gift from God.” ~ Pharrell Williams via brianyquote.com
My votes for The Voice performances of 4.13.2015.
These are the U-Tubes, a specialty trombone octet with rhythm section from the University of North Texas. The U-Tubes, along with The Metro Praise Youth Orchestra offered some stellar jazz rhythms at First Baptist Church in Keller this evening. Jazz in church? You bet, and heads were bobbing and feet were tapping as these fine groups entertained the crowd. If you missed it, you missed out!
Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him withstringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD! ~ Psalm 150
The U-Tubes from UNT at FBC Keller 1.18.2015
Imagine a world without music. On the radio there is nothing but talk. High school football has no fight song. You recline on the beach but there’s no “Margaritaville”. Worship is devoid of voices and instruments lifted in songs of praise. Christmas has no carols, commercials have no jingles, couples in love don’t have “our song”. We love our music. Music shapes, molds, and marks the key events of our lives.
One of my favorite movies is “Mr. Holland’s Opus” starring Richard Dreyfuss as Glenn Holland. Mr. Holland is a high school band director by day and a frustrated composer by night. As a band director-slash-composer he desperately seeks to instill into his students the same love and appreciation for music he has. In one scene, he is working after school with clarinet player Gertrude Lang. Gertrude is working so very hard, but struggling to make it through the piece she is attempting to play. At one point she gets so frustrated that she stops playing altogether and says that maybe she’ll just quit. She practices and practices but for some reason the notes just don’t come out right. Mr. Holland asks her which of her features she likes best when she looks into the mirror. Gertrude has beautiful, long auburn hair and mentions that her father says it reminds him of the sunset. Mr. Holland tells her to close her eyes and “play the sunset.” The proverbial light bulb goes on in her head as she transforms from a wanna-be clarinet player to a musician.
“Play the sunset.” That’s what music is all about. The notes on the page are not the musician’s final destination; they are the merely roadmap for taking him there. And when performed masterfully, both the musician and her audience are moved emotionally as the musician contributes another track to Life’s Soundtrack.
Music is an essential part of our lives. It celebrates the milestones in life while inspiring us to achieve great things. It sets the tone or the mood for what we’re about to do. Whether in mourning or in celebration; in peace or at war; in worship or on vacation, our music marks the times of our lives. “Play the sunset” and let Life’s Soundtrack play on.