WHAT KIND OF SINGING DOES GOD WANT?

“You sure missed a bunch of notes on that song?” said a gruff sounding woman at church the other day. I turned to see who she was talking to and discovered an embarrassed teenage boy. I immediately prayed for two things, first that God would shut her big mouth, and second that the young man wouldn’t take what she was saying as criticism and stop singing. I have no doubt that the Lord loves hearing this young man sing (missed notes and all).

When will we learn that God is more concerned with singing that comes from the right heart than singing that hits all the right notes.

Even the singer James Brown was criticized for not hitting all the right notes, but no on ever questioned his heart. He sang with his heart. I don’t imagine anyone ever left a sold out James Brown concert saying, “I just don’t think he meant it.” He sang from the heart.

If the heart isn’t involved in the singing, it’s nothing more that just some words, even if you hit all the right notes. But when you use your heart, it’s really SINGING and praise to God. That’s what God really wants.

Sometime it’s easy to forget that it’s not about how I sound on the outside, but how I sound on the inside. My dad understands this better than most because he knows how to really sing. He’ll be the first to tell you that he can’t carry a tune in a bucket. I beg to differ with my dad on this, I’ve painfully sat next to him in church many times when he’s singing. Not only can he not carry a tune in a bucket, he can’t even find the bucket to carry a tune in! But understand this … that doesn’t stop him from singing. And sing he does. To God he sings beautifully, and God is glorified not by how it sounds coming out of his mouth, but what’s coming from his heart.

We must engage the heart …

  • It’s the heart that matters in my worship.
  • It’s the heart that matters in my relationship with God.
  • It’s the heart that matters in my marriage.
  • It’s the heart that matters in everything I do.

Besides, those of us who can carry a tune may be really surprised someday when we get to heaven and God tells us that people like my dad and this teenage boy have been the ones doing the singing right all along.

“…sing and make music in your heart to the Lord…” ~ Ephesians 5:19

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1164 articles by
22 Comments Post a Comment
  1. merry says:

    Great thoughts today, Trey!

  2. Anonymous says:

    this sounds kinda spiritual, I am not sure about it.
    not modern enough for me. I think we need a more consumeristic mindset at our assemblies.

    :)

    brian

  3. Jeanne M. says:

    My husband doesn’t hear the notes even though he has learned to sing, and does it well with songs he knows. Through 57 years I have loved to hear him sing, because it comes from his heart. Because I read music, sometimes my heart is not connected with my mind and mouth, and I have to remind myself who I am singing for – God or those around me. I know we are to edify each other with song, but that doesn’t mean with the music, but with the words. We have one young lady who sings “at the top of her voice” each week, and sometimes it distracts me, but I would never, ever tell her not to sing so loud because she is giving her all to the Lord, and he has given her a good voice. I, too, hope and pray that young man continues to worship God in song, and not let someone cause him to be silent.

  4. jel says:

    Great post Trey,

    this reminds me of the song ( PLEASE LET ME SING IN THE CHOIR )

    IT IS A GREAT SONG, gives me chills every time I here it!

    have a great week!

  5. Greg says:

    We use slides that have both lyrics and notation on them (and have been accused by those who prefer the nice backgrounds with just words as being “note junkies”!) and I notate many of the songs. So when we sing it is easy for me to become distracted with just a flag stem not lining up, or a slur missing, etc.

    Your story reminds me of an elder in the church when I was in high school. He was a very wealthy, extremely generous man who could only sing one note. And he sang that one note on every song and at the top of his voice! I loved to sit near him because I knew he was giving his whole heart to the Lord in worship.

    God blesses those who even attempt to worship him. After all, the only thing we bring to the table is our abject sinfulness. It’s the heart and the blood of Christ that matters.

  6. Liz Moore says:

    Great Post! I have learned that if we are worshiping God with all of “our” hearts, we don’t tend to hear as much the notes that others are singing. Our focus in on Him and not those around us.

    Psalm 66:1 Shout with joy to God all the earth!(NIV)
    The KJV and ASV say “Make a joyful noise”. :)

  7. Chris says:

    Great post, Trey…

    Isn’t it a sad commentary on the state of the church whenever more focus is given to someone missing a few notes than on seeking and serving the lost??

    Good thing God looks on the heart and not on the notes coming out of my mouth!

  8. Alan Gable says:

    Good stuff. I agree. I have to confess that I’ve found myself being a Simon Cowell right there in the middle of church.

  9. Chris says:

    Thanks to YOU, Trey Morgan, I was tagged the other day! And now, unfortunately, I am returning the favor — this time for your wife. Visit my site (chris.clouse@wordpress.com) to find out what you have to do.

    Remember, you made me do it!

  10. The Preacher's Household: says:

    Amen, Amen, Amen and a Halleluah!

    I later found out that one of my favorite song leaders in the college class was repeatedly criticized by an old man in his home congregation in high school. It made me respect his abilities and his heart that much more because many would have quit.

    I must say this is a tough subject for today. I to have spent some time in prayer for ‘Bitty’ today. She is the one who rushes in (sometimes during worship) to correct the singing of anyone there, mostly the leaders. Honestly, she sounds so bad I hate to sit by her because I know she is not singing from the heart. On another note with the same woman, Kobi CHOSE without being asked to sit with one of her elderly widow friends that happened to be across from this same lady at the potluck yesterday. ‘Bitty’ repeatedly criticized her for not using her fork, or wiggling or…. It took all I had to not take a bite out of Bitty! (Maybe I need prayers to…)

    All that to say, it is not just the singing that we need to do with our hearts – our whole attitude and the way we treat others needs to be pleasing to God. People need instruction but not destruction.
    Kathy

  11. TREY MORGAN says:

    Alan – thanks for stopping by.

    Chris – way below the belt. I’ll ask Lea if she’s willing to participate. ha

    Kathy – thanks for making me laugh. I think you should have had a bite out of “Bitty.” Would have made for a great story. When you get time print this out for Bitty … I wrote it just for her: Click right click here and click “open in new window”

  12. preacherman says:

    Trey,
    Excellent post.
    At one of the churches that I was at I saw a song book with the words in the front, new songs add to this book: “How Great Thou Art, When I Survey The Wondrous Cross, Hand In Hand With Jesus, and Just A Closer Walk With Thee.

    Those who have problems with “new” songs forget that the “old” songs that they love were once “new”.

    The most beautiful worship in song that I remember was men in the Price Daniel Unit singing praises to God. Their favorite was I’ll Fly Away especially verse was 2 and would really sing out loud on was on the words, “Like a bird from prison bars have flown. I’ll fly away.”

    I think God wants and desires us to sing from the heart. The heart is what it is all about. It is essential. Without the heart the songs that we sings are static noise of am station to the Lord.

    Great post brother!

  13. Shane Coffman says:

    Consider the possibility that God isn’t listening to the physical sound coming out of our mouths at all…the only sound he hears may very well be the song coming out of our hearts.

    After all, the Lord doesn’t judge by the outward appearance, but by the heart, right?

    Perhaps the physical sound is somewhat for our encouragement, but that’s not the top priority.

    Being engaged in mind and soul is the top priority.

    Good thoughts, Trey.

  14. David Kirk says:

    Trey:
    Real men sing real loud, not always real good! Thanks for this post!

  15. Bob Bliss says:

    Trey, when our son Trey was quite young he would sing (rather make a joyful noise) and wave his hands like he was leading singing. We would just smile and hope that he would never lose that “lost-in-God” moment while he was at worship.

  16. AncientWanderer says:

    Willie Nelson (the world’s greatest singer) sings every song 1/4 off beat.
    NUF SAID!!

  17. leslie says:

    my ‘tone deaf’ father used to lead singing on occasion. and rarely did the same people sit near us twice.

    he left us no excuse not to join in the singing, and humbled us into using our whole heart.

  18. TREY MORGAN says:

    AW … Willie? World’s greatest singer? What have you been smoking? (teasing).

    Leslie … thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  19. ben overby says:

    Worshipped with Robin Mark, David Crowder and Casting Crowns yesterday in upstate New York. In each assembly someone was positioned to lead the deaf in worship. Even with no noise, God is glorified, as you said, by the heart.

  20. Dwight says:

    Here is a memorial for the late Ken Colley, an Australian bloke whose singing bore no resemblance to the song. But he sang with all his might and with all his heart. I want to stand next to him in heaven and hear what he wanted to sound like. Your notes are right on key…I like your tune! dwhitsett.wordpress.com

  21. James says:

    I heard a preacher one time talking about The Secret Code”. He made what I understood to be a distinction between singing and worship or praise. When we focus on the words and notes we may be singing but is it praise?
    James

  22. Justin says:

    What a great message. I can’t sing, but I love doing it, especially when I’m singing to God. Sometimes, when I let out a really bad yelp, I think God is just cringing at the sound. HAHA. Now I feel better!

    Thanks again from http://www.awesomepurpose.com

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Husband, father and cancer survivor ... who moonlights as the senior minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage & randomness.
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