Guest Blogger Post #4 Using “Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs” in Worship by Matthew Deweese

Over the past few weeks, CHURCH MUSIC TODAY has featured some blog articles by guest authors.  The authors included Rev. Tim Hooper, Minister of Music at Stithton Baptist Church in Radcliff, KY, Rev. John Cashion, Minister of Music at Beaver Dam Baptist Church in Beaver Dam, KY, and Rev. Mark Williams, Pastor of Hawesville Baptist Church in Hawesville, KY.

Today, we feature the latest article and author.  Matthew Deweese from Green River Baptist Church is featured today with an article called “Using ‘Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs’ in Worship”.

(Editor’s note: Matt is a part-time music minister.  As this site was designed to assist the part-time and volunteer music leader, I am thrilled to offer this perspective from a part-time leader with a full-time calling.)

Church music…What exactly should churches be singing in this world today? There are many answers to this question, but be sure that what you are singing is lifting the Lord’s name in praise. Many styles of music exist today, yes even in Christian music. Do not get stuck in a routine and forfeit the opportunity to worship Him through song. God’s people have been lifting His name in praise in many different forms through the centuries.

Look at this song Moses and the children of Israel sang after crossing the Red Sea. 1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. 4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. 5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. 6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. 7 And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. 8 And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. 9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. 10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. 11 Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? 12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. 13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. 14 The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. 15 Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. 16 Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. 17 Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. 18 The LORD shall reign for ever and ever. 19 For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea. Ex 15:1-19 (KJV) They were praising the Lord for what he had done in their lives.

What about Heratio Spafford’s text “It Is Well with My Soul.”

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

Refrain

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Refrain

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Refrain

This was penned after two great tragedies occurred in his life. He lost his wealth in the Chicago fire and lost his daughters in a ship wreck shortly after. He could still praise God and say It Is Well. Philip Bliss later put the text to music.

And let us look at “Forever” by Chris Tomlin:

Give thanks to the Lord
Our God and King
His love endures forever
For He is good, He is above all things
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise
With a mighty hand
and outstretched arm
His love endures forever
For the life that’s been reborn
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise

Forever God is faithful
Forever God is strong
Forever God is with us
Forever
Forever

From the rising to the setting sun
His love endures forever
By the grace of God
We will carry on
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise

Forever God is faithful
Forever God is strong
Forever God is with us
Forever
Forever
Forever God is faithful
Forever God is strong
Forever God is with us
Forever
Forever
Forever

His love endures forever
His love endures forever
His love endures forever
Forever
Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise

Forever you are faithful
Forever you are strong
Forever you are with us
Forever
And ever

Forever you are faithful
Forever you are strong
Forever you are with us
Forever
Forever
You are God…..
Forever
And ever and ever ….

He praises God and sings of His love enduring forever. He is holding onto God and worships His unfailing love.

Many congregations today are limiting themselves by staying in the hymnal. The hymnal is a great resource if used right. Great songs have been composed and have been included in the hymnal, but let us use it as a way to praise the Lord and not use it as a routine. We have all seen it happen way too often, (in a monotone voice) “Let’s turn to hymn number 330 and sing the first, second, and last verses of Amazing Grace.”

There is a wide selection of music available today. Modern praise songs and choruses are a great form of worship. They contain lyrics that allow you to sing to God or Jesus, not just about Them. Getting away from the hymnal (not completely), you will find a wide array of songs which include a tremendous amount of variety. Using these songs you will find that you will reach more people. Every person is different. We all worship in different ways, which includes using a variety of music. Not everybody wears the same brand/style of clothes, enjoys the same favorite restaurant, likes the same ball team, or has the same make and model car. Why, then, would we all worship in the same way or like the same music. We are all made different. God created music for us to sing praises to His Name. What stirs your spirit in song may not affect others the same way.

I am not saying we should eliminate the hymnal. We should just be open to all styles of church music. I will end with a few more thoughts. When the hymnal was introduced, many of the songs in it were rejected and the people were against this change, yet it is used by most churches today. Now let the coin be flipped over. New songs and styles are being created today; do not reject them…use them. Remember, all congregations are different, use what allows them to praise and worship the Lord.

Always keep your mind open, ask the Lord to direct you, and keep singing His praises with new and old music. As with everything in life, change is inevitable. How we adapt to change is our decision. Keep a little old, add a little new and be sure that if you hold on to our unchanging God, He will bless.

Psalms 98:4-8

4 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. 5 Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. 6 With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. 7 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. 8 Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful.

Thank you, Dennis, for asking and allowing me to share on your music blog. It is a privilege to be asked to do this by a great friend.”

–Matt Deweese is a guest blogger on CHURCH MUSIC TODAY and is the part-time Music Leader at Green River Baptist Church in Cromwell, KY.  Matt said, “I have always loved music. Mom said I loved how the notes ‘sounded together’ even at the age of four. I have always been involved in the music of the church. I was the only bass singer in the 8-member choir at New Harmony Baptist at Prentiss as a young adult. I sang in the choir and played trumpet in the orchestra at Beaver Dam Baptist Church for 5 years. I lead the congregation from Jan. 2000-July 2006 at First Baptist in Morgantown, KY. I am currently serving the Lord at Green River Baptist in Cromwell, KY since July 2006. I love serving the Lord especially in the music area.

I have great support from my family also. I have been married 11 years to Tiffany Deweese and we have a 6-year old little girl named Abby. I work at Young Mfg. and love all the opportunities the Lord gives me there. I am part-time staff at the church but full-time for the Lord.”

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7 thoughts on “Guest Blogger Post #4 Using “Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs” in Worship by Matthew Deweese

  1. “Remember, all congregations are different, use what allows them to praise and worship the Lord.” Words of great wisdom!

  2. Gentle introduction of new songs is a must with an older congregation – but they can and DO appreciate new songs once they become comfortable with them. “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)” and “Speak, O Lord” are 2 of our favorites.

    • Great point…I will be looking at the best ways to introduce new songs to the congregation in an upcoming post. the main point here, is that we should always be open to something new. New hymns, modern worship songs, whatever you want to call them. God doesn’t care about style, He care about substance and us following the command to sing. Thanks for the comments. I love that you read the post and offer great words back to us!

  3. Always open to new, and careful to continue to appreciate the old! I always read the posts. Just don’t always comment.

  4. OK now that’s a great phrase that I will steal! “…careful to continue to appreciate the old.” OK, consider it stolen.

  5. Pingback: January Recap of ChurchMusicToday.Net « ChurchMusicToday.Net

  6. Pingback: Guest Blog Post from Travis Doucette “Ten Characteristics of a Worshiping Church” (Part 1 of 2) « ChurchMusicToday.Net

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