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This website ALSO has:

  • a photo Album subpage dedicated to J.S. Bach
  • a photo Album page dedicated to Louis Vierne
  • a photo crawl page through the Saint Louis Kimball
  • a photo page about portable keyboard equipment

and much more







  He has recorded some of this webmaster's music, and his own compositions, educational programs of study, and "how to" instructional videos are a treasure trove of learning.

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Students, watch someone play who really knows what they're doing.  Watch them up close.

Canon No. 1:  You can steal an education with your eyes. 

This website supplies much of the

critically important study

AWAY from the instrument

that students also need.







It truly WILL be worth your time.


This website was created

for ALL organists

in humble appreciation 

of YOU, the musician.

Why this website?

My friends, we do not travel very far as an organist before we begin to realize that there is much, very much for us to study away from the instrument.  It's compulsory in order to be a musician in the true sense of the word, to work the machine, and to play the space which we, as organists, are obliged to do on all occasions.  The hand and foot technique we work so hard to develop are obvious to most listeners who watch us pressing keys, but they generally have little idea about how earnestly we must also apply ourselves in the pursuit of knowledge in all the departments of learning demanded.  As for the weekly job situation, the denomination for which we're contemplating serving, by its name, is typically a pretty good indicator of what sort of music-making will be expected of us there, but musical standards in the churches really did not begin to crystallize down into something consistent from place to place until relatively recently.  In the first few centuries of the Christian era, as the singing of unaccompanied plain chant gradually assumed prominence in church worship, the biblically-specified active participation of the congregation in the music-making (Ps. 33:3) formerly practiced in Christian worship was "officially" done away with.  The purely pneumatic, primitive pipe organ known in Byzantium from the late 4th century was being built in England by around the turn of the 8th century, but due to its extremely crude mechanism it was atrociously loud and overwhelmingly noisy not to mention cumbersome to play and of very limited musical means.  With the application of 13th century improvements in its playable portion and action followed by the invention of stop controls in the 14th century the instrument took on new powers of flexibility.  We know that it was also around that same time that composers first began writing for keyboard instruments employing early forms of notation (Robertsbridge Codex, c.1360).  It wasn't until the 16th century however that western congregations gradually resumed active participation in worship with singing from hymn books (with and without organ accompaniment).  These great hymns of faith kept congregants in touch with their heritage, exposed them to some of the greatest melodies and words ever penned, gave worship a sense of majesty and beauty, helped them lift their hearts to God, imparted correct doctrine, and embedded the truth of God in their minds, all at the same time.  Their hymn singing not only contributed to the depth of their worship experience but exalted and magnified the name of God and arguably did more than any other single resource to help them offer up their devotions.  By then the organ was capable of significant and compatible support for the singing even though in some quarters organs were considered too secular and banned from worship.

With increasing use of modern technology to project words and images on screens and to sing along with recorded tapes, the use of the organ in worship today is once again disappearing in certain quarters, and the use of hymn books has all but vanished.  Today a shift in worship back to being a pre-Reformation spectator happening is being largely embraced.  Simply put, worship services have trended back to breeding audiences.  In some congregations today the stage music presented during "worship time" makes it hard to tell whether one is attending a performer-centered service or a Christ-centered one.  Citing these changing trends and low enrollments, many schools of music associated with prestigious theological seminaries which at one time were leading training centers for organists and church musicians have closed.  Education in organ and church music with its rich history of repertoire and achievements in contemporary composition has supposedly continued at these institutions under Schools of Church Ministries, but a glance at their degree plans indicates otherwise.  The current course of study typically includes worship labs in guitar, bass guitar, drum set, keys, and song writing to the exclusion altogether of organ with its rich history of repertoire, improvisation, hymnody spanning a great many centuries, and its extraordinary sound field and ability to express the Power, majesty, and incomparable peace of God to listeners.  

Despite the fact that the raw, visceral sound of a huge pipe organ is a total adrenaline rush for us players, there is an acute scarcity of our breed of musician, mostly at the level of the local church to where little if any organ hymn accompaniment or solo organ repertoire is ever heard or even remembered.  At the very top of the profession superb organists are still being trained, but these professionals, understandably, are reluctant to commit to working where the only openings are part-time, the pay is meager, and no first rate instrument is at their disposal.  As for amateur organists who don't make their living at it, many of these are sensitive and skilled performers, but, all too often, after these students go off to the universities, they're never seen locally again.  If we can agree that organs have this special facility in worship and we're keen for them to continue, then we who aspire to play them regardless of our current level of proficiency or whether we're currently under the tutelage of a teacher, need a way forward that permits us to continue growing.  Besides working at the console, a large part of our grounding involves some critically important study we're obliged to learn away from the keys -- knowledge and education we accumulate from independent study, private instructional lessons, and yes, from our own experience or the experience of others.  This website is a warehouse of that grounding which, along with this webmaster's compositions and personal testimony, forms an outreach ministry serving each and every person who shares that same God-given interest.

We organists are thus continually faced with a serious and potentially incendiary question as to whether it is essential for us to agree with the particular takes on religion at places where we have agreed to accept a position.  At a minimum, organists are expected to conduct themselves as sympathetic participants in worship services, to respect those present, to use whatever instrument, excellent or mediocre, fully operable or crippled, is placed at their disposal to help maintain a reverent mood, and to assume an attitude of prayer when everyone else does.  Because many of us are called upon to sub fairly often at different places of worship and across denominations, it certainly can't be expected that we become a member of them all.

So, the question becomes, "Is our music-making in worship simply a play-for-pay gig to pay the bills or could it be resting solidly upon something different that isn't so obvious?"  Naturally, we can take our skills anywhere we want ... and we don't have to agree completely or even at all with the doctrine of the congregation that employs us.  The answer is going to vary from person to person, thus we have to figure out, from the place where we're at, what works for us.  It naturally feels more amiable to sit on the bench through services week after week when the congregation's doctrine and belief system is more or less in line with ours, but it can tax the forbearance of the unbeliever convinced of a self-existent universe and that nothing times nobody equals everything.  There's also a few among us who started out as would-be believers, but, as the years progressed, that changed to where we became so weary of and disgusted by what we've encountered that the glimmer of faith we used to have is gone.

There isn't a human being alive who doesn't want joy in their heart.  That includes ALL of us; we ALL want joy.  The reason some of us are deprived of it is that we're looking for it in the wrong place.  When people claim there's NO WAY to explain through human reasoning and the sum total of logic, philosophy, science, and mathematics how an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God without beginning, without end, CAN EXIST AT ALL ... let alone create the universe out of nothing, set in motion the heavenly bodies, formulate their size and distance, determine their stupendous revolutions, frame the laws of nature, animate the living world, endow it with powers of reproduction, plus be mindful of man on this earth, intervene in human affairs, and know every human being before they're ever conceived in the womb ... those same people have come to realize an important truth:  NO ONE CAN EXPLAIN GOD.  But, just because we're at a loss to explain an Almighty God we haven't seen Who's made everything, it doesn't follow that unbelief in Him is the only logical inference; we're also at a loss to explain how a brown creature can eat green grass and give white milk and yellow butter, yet we have no trouble believing in a Jersey cow we haven't seen.  In this life we sense the reality, mind, and presence of an infinitely powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present God by 1) the incredible design and engineering we find in nature, 2) the miraculous raising of Christ from the grave, and 3) the supernatural joy that only His indwelling Spirit provides.  ALL organists, all musicians, all people poised to believe in Him, are poised to experience this same joy. 

During his teen years this webmaster, in a dream one night triggered by a prayer made in faith, was taken in the spirit to a celestial building where it was shown him beyond a shadow of a doubt that the sound of the pipe organ is held in high regard there and that what exactly IS up there, how it's used, and what it sounds like DEFIES THE IMAGINATION.  Being an eyewitness and earwitness to this he can testify with absolute certitude that it is pleasing to God (and therefore not wrong or sinful or unjustifiable or unscriptural here on earth) to employ this musical instrument to praise Him, that such use in no way contradicts or makes void anything in His written Word, rejects the authority of Christ, or violates any command of God or principle of faith.  Those on this earth who condemn or discourage the use of the organ (or any other musical instruments) to lead the singing of hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs of praise, who are worshiping humility and believe that performing musicians draw too much attention to themselves to be pleasing to God, don't realize it but they're laboring under a very serious misconception.  If only such ignorance could be brought to a halt finally, one wonders whether those outside the folds of churchianity whose hearts are hardened in unbelief might be persuaded in a spirit of love to mollify their attitude and begin to think about what God has done for them.  FAITH (reception of the gospel of grace, confidence in God, and total reliance upon Him) does not come about in a vacuum; it comes by HEARING (Rom. 10:17), something a person hears causes their faith to rise, and we organists do nothing in a worship setting without having our listeners in mind.  This means that organ consoles in places of worship are not merely work stations for sound production; they're also pulpits in the sense that whatever the organist does at them to create sound is conjoined with faith.  There are pastoral dimensions to being a church musician.

NOTE:  The word CHURCH appearing 77 times in the New Testament comes from the Greek word "ekklesia" which means "called out ones, an assembly."  This same word is used over 300 times in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament created c. 270 B.C. where it refers to an assembly of Jews in a synagogue and is translated "congregation" ... thus it may refer to either an assembly of Christians OR Jews.  In the New Testament (Acts 7:38) Stephen, for example, describes Israel after the exodus as a "congregation (Gr. ekklesia) in the wilderness."  And, as everyone knows, this word has been borrowed to refer to any specific denomination, the clergy or officialdom of the same, the public building which houses the organ(s) where they meet, as an adjective ("church musician"), or even as a verb to bring someone to the building to receive one of its rites (to "church them").  Church therefore can be a confusing little word which needs to be understood not only in its proper context within the biblical passage where it is used but also in terms of its various collateral meanings in spoken and written usage. 


(CON'T) ... In this fallen world where apathy and indifference abounds our listeners may fail to offer us much if any feedback week after week let alone a good word or pat on the back.  But it's a fact that whoever hears us perform never fails to leave the building unaffected by it.  Sometimes congregations are tempted to murmur about better use of church funds than to keep a fine pipe organ in fully playable condition and offer the organist meaningful compensation.  At such moments they need to consider how much charitable funding has come about from this organist and this instrument being present in the building and sounding at its best.  At such moments it may help to remind them that

anyone can count the seeds in an apple.

Only God can count the apples in a seed.

  The music ministry with which organists in the western tradition are connected is a very broad agency which relies upon all the wonders of music for supporting the ministry of the Word.  That area of musical support is specially purposed ... NOT to facilitate an encounter with God ... NOT to move people toward God ... NOT to mediate between God and man ... but to a) offer praise of and thanksgiving TO God, b) express the joy of salvation in loud and jubilant rejoicing, c) teach the message of the cross of Christ and admonish others in a spirit of gratitude, and d) demonstrate, feed, and strengthen the FAITH of believers.  Salvation refers to someone who is dead in their sins becoming alive in Christ Jesus by believing in and trusting Him, our Jewish Messiah, confident deep down in the depths of their heart of the finished work of His cross, being saved by HIS RESURRECTION.  Salvation is thus from the Jews (John 4:22), and it comes as a gift of God, by grace through FAITH.

The various brands of Christ-based worship which may occupy organists from time to time are simply a faint reflection of the fact that, during the formative days of the church, local congregations became sharply divided over debates and differences; since then this distancing has never failed to keep growing.  We organists come upon a staggering number of denominational sects, clans, and creeds each having arrived at their own self-perceived summit of theological purity.  Even though the apostle Paul and others worked day and night to prevent it, many from the crowds in various 1st century cities who heard the gospel of grace preached fell prey to error and positions of imposture to where a fair amount of the good work he and others had started in the name of progressive revelation from God, sadly, was undone.  From city to city these believers became imperfectly joined, lacking the same mind and judgment for which Paul pleaded for them to keep (1Cor. 1:10). 

NOTE:  Rightly dividing the Word of truth tells us when the church [twice born members of the body of Christ] Jesus said He would build first began.  The gospel of grace which saves today was kept hidden until AFTER Christ had recruited one of His biggest haters (Saul of Tarsus, later the apostle Paul) by knocking him down and blinding him on the Damascus road [c. 34 A.D.].  The term Churchianity refers to Christ-based denominational religion governed by various man-made institutions -- each one being an organized, integrated whole -- which promote their own tenets and insist that there is no religious truth outside their own membership.  The term Christian Bibliology encompasses the understanding that the church Jesus is building is a spiritual organism made up of twice born believers in whom the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, indwells from trusting and believing on the Son of God and which places God's Word rather than denominational doctrine as final authority in all matters of Christian faith and practice.  Those in the body of Christ are people saved by Paul's gospel who take up the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:13-17), give freely out of a cheerful heart to others in need, define fellowship as two or three gathered together in His name, and teach no means of salvation or justification apart from Christ Jesus alone.  And so, with all of this variance at play, we organists can expect those worship centers where we spend our time publicly practicing our art on the instrument at hand to be all over the map when it comes to which parts of faith are focused upon, the ways congregants are taught to live out their beliefs, and the ways they choose to set up their individual governance and outreach, including their music ministries.

We organists can also experience at times what amounts to a largely unexpected and aggressive move within churchianity to erode differences in order to establish a false compatibility between the Bible on the one hand and worldly acceptance on the other.  The boxing up of hymnals and disuse of the organ in some quarters has contributed to the implosion of certain congregations against their chief asset, which is the Word of God rightly divided.  Pastors and teachers entrusted with the spiritual care of the body of Christ, when examining Scripture, are charged to separate truth from truth in order to come to a correct understanding of Christian bibliology and to be bold in this current climate of religious correctness against any conjoining of the messaging.  God is always the same, His nature and moral code never changes, but over time His instructions have.  In following Christ today Paul instructs us in the Word of God to join with those who in his day followed his [Paul's] pattern and example (Phil. 3:17).       

It's a disturbing fact that a fair number of pastors today cannot admit that all of the timeless truths found in the Bible can be applied to contemporary life and faith.  People employ EISEGESIS when they interpret biblical passages according to what their feelings tell them and what THEY want those passages to mean.  The trouble with this is, feelings can change over time, and the timeless and objective truths found in the Word of God never change.  A mind truly illuminated by the Holy Spirit would know from His Word that God's instructions may change, but His eternal truths never do.  Without employing some personal process of EXEGESIS (taking the time to examine biblical passages in context for intended meanings) any verse from Scripture can be taken out of context and used to build an argument around feelings no matter how preposterous it is, SUCH AS -- love is the God we seek, Christ was a horse thief, the Holy Spirit is a cloud with a mouth, the Jews are Christ-killers.  Such inferences as these are blatant lies.  Our HERMENEUTICS in choosing any interpretation method for Scripture should be evaluated carefully, prayerfully, and honestly, as it impacts how we understand the holiness of God in general and end time events in particular.

(CON'T) ... Some theologians and scholars may not want to hear it, but the fundamental bibliology on which every Christian congregation can hope to stand, music and all, is rooted exclusively in the Word of God rightly divided, not within the claims of churchianity.  When God's Word is reduced to inclusiveness alongside worldly interests, preferences, and acceptance we also find congregations ignoring the relevance of being separate from today's culture, one which has pushed God, Christ, and the Bible to the edge of society and out of the public square.  When we also take into consideration that immotive disagreement has been going on in Christian circles since the early 1st century and that somehow we organists need to find a way to rise above it to do our best work for our congregations, we're led to conclude that somewhere along the way we ourselves are going to need to come to grips with what we think of all this and how much of it we can accept.  It costs nothing to share our concerns about this or anything else with our Creator through the connecting link of prayer.

  Organists these days are having to ply their art within a very unique and peculiar work environment.  Many churches are struggling for attendance and having a hard time meeting expenses.  The organ itself is not dying, people still love it, but more churches are closing than new ones are appearing, job openings for organists for the most part are disappearing, and the pay, if any, offered to musicians is ridiculously low.  The main forces driving this state of affairs are: 1) the biblically predicted abandoning of faith among some in these latter times (1Tim. 4:1), and 2) a pervading movement within the churches that intentionally undermines fundamental bibliology by eroding differences in the gospels, nurturing a compatibility inconsistent with the biblical mandate for separation.  In time God will remove such a church from its existence in the ministry which ignores this or any other injunctions of His [Rev 2 & 3].  Fundamental bibliology is not rooted merely in a denominational clan or creed; it is realized exclusively in the Word of God rightly divided, a reference to keeping disjoined such things as the kingdom gospel from the mystery gospel of grace, Israel from the church, Mosaic law from belief on Jesus, works of the law from faith-perfecting works, circumcision from uncircumcision, belief in a coming King from faith and trust in Jesus and His cross, and water baptism from dry baptism (Holy Spirit).               

Steven Pressfield, in his book The War Of Art, discusses another natural inhibiting force he calls resistance [See blog, The Book].  His book explains how, in contemplating our next creative project, resistance is not simply out to discourage us from trying but is hell bent on killing our interest, that it operates with presumed, bogus, pseudo-authority, falsely and brazenly posing as an indefectible, sham-phoney absolute.  But since it feeds on fear it can be controlled and rendered ineffective simply by denying it the fuel that feeds it.  Thus the thing to do when resistance tells us to play it safe at all costs is to use it as a compass.  The moment we sense the winds of resistance blowing in our faces telling us to avoid setting out on that new creative path because it's just too uncertain to undertake, we need to deliberately ignore that voice even if it's screaming in our ears, do a 180 degree about face, and head directly into it with confidence.  The resulting discoveries and unexpected successes we can thereby experience explain how the most unlikely people have been able to achieve some of the most singular and creative accomplishments.  They did it by taking the bull by the horns, showing fear the door, and having the courage to forge ahead, sweep their minds free of misgivings, and send resistance packing.  More than any other single thing, ATTITUDE determines our attainment.  By turning the tables on resistance like this and by continuing to acknowledge the heavenly realm as the wellspring of our wisdom and strength we position ourselves to be supremely poised to discover new and surprising things about ourselves, capabilities we thought we never had.  Guaranteed.

Members of praise bands are sometimes surprised to learn how closely their instruments correlate with biblical instructions given to worship musicians.  In the book of Psalms (Ps. 149:1-5, Ps. 150:3-5) God's people are instructed to praise His name and rejoice in Him in the assembly of His people by means of singing and musical instruments, specifically the a) lute, harp, and other (plucked) stringed instruments, b) trumpet, c) timbrel (a framed hand drum or tambourine), d) crash cymbals, and

e) pipe (i.e., wind-blown air columns, translated "organs" in the KJV).

It seems plain from these passages that in future ages all subsequent inventions based upon the same physical means of producing sound (and any modern equivalents of those instruments of antiquity listed in the Book of Psalms, if appertaining) are to be substituted.  What isn't all that plain is that the same kind of focus expected of the "Chief Musician(s)" in ancient times is also demanded today.  The modern church musician's feet during worship are planted symbolically on a steeper incline than ever before, a slope or lean made more tilted by a contemporary, amusement-driven, easily bored society cursed from childhood with a short attention span.  It's easier than ever for the things musicians are doing during worship, if they're not laser-focused on purpose, to slip off center and go sideways.  A congregation will be sustained if and only if it maintains a water tight separation from worldliness (obsession with financies, prosperity, self-congratulation, self-promotion, self-indulgence, etc.) and remains in a relationship of oneness and centeredness, receiving regularly what it needs to hear from the Word of God and not the world.

Whatever people may think of the newer contemporary Christian music with its praise songs it should not be forgotten that what's inside the hymn book which in times past has been a pillar of strength and hands of comfort has lost none of its effectiveness.  The spiritual health of a congregation is directly tied to its quality of participation in worship which ends up forfeiting a great deal when the older traditional hymns that people know are no longer ever heard or sung.  The music ministry as purposed by God can be quick to leave its lane when it begins to satisfy the same worldly glitz, glamor, decibel gain, and hyperexcitable beat for which the world at large seems to have such a large appetite.  This is not to say that what is commonly referred to as "theater organ style" which takes in silent movie accompaniment isn't a thrilling and serious art form -- this style of playing is truly captivating, legitimate, and a creative lifetime study all its own.  Learning this specialized study of the theatre organ demands a great deal of devoted, concentrated, technical learning and practice not to mention a finely tuned imagination to master and has more than earned the respect of an adoring public.  What we organists do in a worship setting however is not theatre; it is not drama and emotionalism; it is not amusement; it is not about riveting the attention of listeners with rapid ear-catching changes of key, color, and pyrotechnics meant to entertain onlookers, admirers, and devotees with inventive and gripping arrangements, flashy stage presence, spotlights, footlights, brand name logos, or signature mannerisms; it has nothing to do with rim shots on the drums during communion or any other self-promotion, neither is it about stealing the clock to where sufficient time for Christ to be lifted up in singing praise from the pews and the Bible read from the pulpit must of necessity be drastically curtailed; it is not a platform for fueling a seeker strategy targeted to appeal to people who like staged, over-amplified songs, lure in a crowd from the outside, and keep them coming back. 

It's NONE of that.

God works from the inside out, not the other way around. 

As organists this specialized ministry of ours is grounded just as much in prayer and teaching as it is in performance.  Every time we sit at the console we are addressing God in adoration and providing a learning experience.

This is what teachers do.

They provide learning, change lives, and make a deep impression by educating, not indoctrinating.

 Teaching is as much a calling as it is a career.

The music ministry with which we organists are connected is far more than the skill sets involved in being a performing instrumentalist; it's a vehicle or agency that beckons us with a sense of mission to help carry forward the pastor's work with prayer and teaching along with whatever else God may have called us to do within the body of Christ, a Pauline term for the entire corpus of saved believers.  It means understanding that our apostle today is Paul, that Acts 9 should change the way people read their Bibles, that FAITH + NOTHING = SALVATION.  As stated, FAITH ... taking God at His Word ... does not come by works; it comes by HEARING SOMETHING.  My friends, there's no work in hearing.  If that isn't so, and being saved, sealed, justified, and forgiven depends upon faith plus anything else, then Christ died for nothing (Gal. 2:21).  Our Lord treats us each individually and treats each one of us very specially in His love.  He divides to every person severally, as He wills.  Still, there are characteristics of His presence that share commonality.  As He leads organists and church musicians into this calling of ours it's a step at a time, and once we feel his loving presence vividly we don't want to let it go even though we can't always see where exactly all of this is heading.  This is because the Holy Spirit wants to be at our side with each step and not four or five steps ahead.  This restlessness, this calling, is of God's making and is evident both to the person being called and the elders of the congregation of Christian association with whom (s)he is automatically connected.  It will feel very different and a great deal more than our wordly relationships with others.

(CON'T) ... This often-quoted meme is attributed to the 16th century Dutch reformer John Calvin who, along with his followers, called for the express removal of organs and other musical instruments from churches.  Religious men have been in dispute for centuries about how music is to be employed in Christian worship.  The only thing that seems to change is which worship style people happen to be arguing about at the moment.  In the midst of these mini-battles and contentions something that needs to be rightly divided are the important differences between performance music and worship music.  Some clear lines indeed need to be drawn between music that is worship-based and what is performance-based.  In performance the focus is entirely on the musician(s), the performer(s) might be the only ones singing, the melody or tune is supreme, the words support the melody, any personal integrity of the performer(s) is of secondary concern, any virtuoso musical flourishes inserted can be attractive, and the performers are expected to be musicians and nothing else.  In worship the focus should be entirely on Christ, everyone should be singing along, the words or lyrics are supreme, the melody supports the words, the personal integrity of the musician(s) is of proximate concern, any virtuoso musical flourishes inserted can be distracting, and the performers are expected to inspired confidence in God with every note they play.  When the focus is on the musicians instead of Jesus it isn't worship, no matter what people decide to call it.  The lyrics must lead the music.  Leading people in worship means that we ourselves should strive to live a life of faith and integrity; worship leaders can't be expected to effectively lead their listeners along any road that they themselves are not traveling.

Thus the body of Christ, while NOT an audience to be entertained, can be compared to an army -- a beautiful one to be trained and empowered by Scripture correctly translated.  This is not as easy as it sounds.  In the celebrated KJV, for example, the harpist is instructed in Ps. 33:3 to "play skillfully with a loud noise."  This literal, word for word, wooden translation DOES NOT MEAN to continually blast away at ear-splitting volume, something a 10-string harp cannot even do.  The NKJV has a more accurate rendering of the thought of this verse:  "play skillfully with a shout of joy," in other words, "play masterly, with happy rejoicing."  Now, wondrous variety in music is important in worship, it reflects what God loves, He is still anointing composers and song writers, and all classic hymns were at one time new songs as well.  But because of their doctrinal integrity, their durability, and a whole generation of saints who love them have paved the way, paid the bills, kept the church doors open, and have been blessed by them and want to hear them, there still needs to be found a place in worship for the old traditional hymns.  In the drive to keep churches current and relevant in this modern day the sacred hymns of the past really should not be swept away for fear of running away the young people; young people in fact prefer to discover on their own the answers to faith, and many of these answers are embedded in the wording of our time-honored hymns.  It demonstrates just how far afield some congregations have drifted away from the use of the organ in worship; their members also can be unthankful, ungrateful, and indifferent if not openly hostile to benefactors willing to donate a large and well apportioned organ to the sanctuary.  Many worship teams seem to be perfectly satisfied performing before a congregation when supported by strobe lights, high decibel levels, swinging and swaying, and words projected on a Jumbotron, organs and hymn books totally excluded.  Once again, the people attending a worship service are NOT an audience and are out of place being treated like one.  The worship musician's only audience during worship is God Almighty.


(CON'T) ... God does not save our listeners in this age by legalism or philosophic wisdom; He saves them by grace through faith in Christ and the work of His cross.  The fact is, any preaching from the pulpit which lacks some kind of reference to the cross of Christ misses its mark.  The denominations typically "ordain" or invest with their own brand of ministerial authority only those individuals who have completed their own prescribed course of instruction and have pledged to comply with and remain within the bounds of its own specific practices, ritual, and system of legalism when

It is God, NOT MAN,

Who ordains a minister.

It is God's indwelling Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, Who implants in someone's heart the impulse to join with the ministry in whatever He calls that person to do.  When the enormity of this calling lands on us musicians finally, and that it seems to have pleased the Lord to select us for it, it's normal to feel profoundly unworthy of it.  In this, we are in the best of company.  The Old Testament prophets felt it.  Even Moses felt that unworthiness.  The apostle Paul wrote of the same thing, in his way of saying it.  We are never worthy of it, on our own.


A false "prosperity gospel" is being preached today which teaches that those who turn to God are poised to experience thriving success in this world RIGHT NOW.  Jesus was very clear that following Him in this world means traveling a rough and rugged road of grief, difficulty, and hardship, NOT PROSPERITY.  Congregants however would much rather hear from the pulpit about seasons of divine favor in store for them than hearing about the default position of hell.  Whole ministries, a form of godliness while denying the power thereof, have been built on this faulty premise, the presumption that, if people only reach out to God, then worldly success will be theirs.  God has already reached out to them in the form of Christ's sacrifice, HIS blood, HIS righteousness, and HIS victory over sin, death, and the grave.  As for making God first in one's life, no one can even come to Jesus unless the Father, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, DRAWS them (John 6:65).  

No, Salvation isn't about wordly achievement or making a good person into a better person; it's about life and death ... it's about making a person who's dead in their sins alive in Christ.  Jesus warned the crowds that those who did not believe that both He and His message came from God would die in their sins (John 8:24).  A whole branch of theology called apologetics having to do with the defense of the divine origin and authority of God in providing fallen humanity with a Saviour in the form of Christ the Lord has in fact sprung from this warning of Jesus.  While Paul writes that salvation is NOT tied to works of human merit about which one might boast (Eph. 2:8-9), it IS tied to faith working together WITH works (Jas. 2:17-26).  James, whose audience was the Jews, had a different kind of works in mind than Paul did, the "faith-perfecting" kind which challenges believers to work out and reflect their commitment to Christ in their day to day activities.  

One CANNOT place their faith in Christ for their own salvation going forward without first having a change of mind about sin.  Repentance is not "penance" (prescribed tasks as discipline for sin) or "penitence" (feeling sad or guilty for one's sins), which are religious definitions.  It's more than being sorry for our past sins which have separated us from God; it's more than tears falling for not being able to put into words the sorrow and regret we're feeling over it; it has nothing to do with following through with acts of contrition, self-inflicted or otherwise.  It's about God using our conscience to change our mind, to shift our way of thinking and living, and to follow and serve Him moving forward no matter the cost.  Repenting was not only a required step for Israel to be saved according to prophecy (kingdom gospel) but Paul also told the Athenians that God now calls all people everywhere, Gentiles and Jews alike, to repent of their sins (Acts 17:30, Rom. 2:4) and to be saved according to the mystery of grace.

Almighty God in His wisdom has chosen to manifest His plan for man's redemption in divided ages and programma.  The dry baptism of the Holy Spirit quickens, activates, and makes alive man's otherwise inactive spirit, thus opening a channel to revelation from God, and reveals His 2 dockets, which are:  1) Israel [kingdom gospel, Mosaic law, circumcision, belief in a coming King, repentance, water baptism, endure to the end] and 2) body of Christ [gospel of grace, repentance, belief on Jesus, faith and trust in Him and the cross, dry baptism (Holy Spirit), Pauline epistles].  During His earthly ministry Jesus preached only the kingdom gospel, and only to Israel; He kept the mystery of the gospel of grace a secret and chose to reveal it ONLY AFTER his ascension to heaven by progressive revelation and special stewardship to the apostle Paul.  Paul was further instructed to "flip the script" by carrying it to the ENTIRE known world, first to the Jews who rejected Jesus and then to the Gentiles.  When Jesus, the Person of the King anointed by God, stood before and was rejected by the Jewish nation, Israel's kingdom gospel also was rejected.  That same kingdom gospel is destined to be taken up again by a Jewish apostleship once this present church age concludes, but not until.  Striving to enter the kingdom of God therefore is NOT for today -- THAT kingdom, with the King currently exiled in heaven, is now in abeyance until such time that God directs Jesus to return one day to remove (rapture) His bride, living and dead, to His Father's house in fulfillment of His promise (John 14:1-3).  There they will appear before the judgment seat of Christ (2Cor. 5:9-10) for their rewards and then enter into the covenant Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:1-10).  Until then, what God is doing now is dispensing grace, reconciling the world to Himself, and building up the body of Christ.  

(CON'T) ... There are devout people within Christianity convinced that there is a rift between the words of Jesus and the words of Paul.  The earthly ministry of Jesus was strictly to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; His words [shown in red-lettered editions of the Bible] were directed only to the nation, i.e. the Jews.  It's important to understand that what Paul had to say in his letters, being directed to Jews and Gentiles alike, cannot contradict Jesus because they aren't Paul's words; they are the words of the risen Lord Jesus Himself as revealed to Paul concerning the unfolding of a new dispensation [rules] of grace for the forgiveness of sin.      

NOTE:  This little word SIN refers to: 1) any individual act of disobedience to God's moral code in thought, word, or deed, and 2) the generational condition under which ALL people find themselves blemished with its guilt and controlled by its power by virtue of being descendant from Adam who fell from innocence.  This sinful human nature of ours with which we're born coupled with (a) this world and its ways and (b) the malevolent spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, Satan the devil, is one of man's three deadly enemies, the one which has caused everyone's fellowship with God to be broken from birth throughout every age.  God Himself, through His grace, provided the sacrificial Lamb without blemish in the form of Jesus Christ as an acceptable blood sacrifice for the sins of man, once and for all; thus ALL OF US (not just the Jews), due to our sinful state, had a part to play in sending Jesus to the cross.  Our sins were not forgiven AT the cross however; people are saved, sealed, and forgiven unto the day of redemption when they believe on Jesus and His finished work on Calvary exclusively through His resurrection and the gospel of grace, the only gospel that saves today.  This takes the believer out of Adam and places them "in Christ," a seal which they can NEVER lose (Eph. 1:12-14).  This plan of redemption in Christ is THE ONLY WAY sinful man can escape the default position of the unsaved.  Hell was never created for man; God will never send ANYONE to hell.  If man goes to hell, he goes by his own free choice.  And God has done everything within His Power to keep us out.  He even sent His Son to die on a cross to keep us out.

Salvation by grace through faith in the Son of God is a good bit more than simply being saved from the same judgment reserved for the devil and his angels.  While that's certainly involved, its benefit lies not just in being a fire escape but also in having the knowledge and day by day assurance that WE ARE HIS, AND HE IS OURS, a relationship that is IRREVOCABLE (Rom. 11:29).  In this present dispensation of grace those in whom the Spirit of Christ dwells and lives can be confident of their continual preservation in the household of God.  If this were not so, and if somehow those saved in Christ were subject to losing salvation, then a) the new creation in Christ could not continue and would have to be destroyed, b) God Himself would have to revoke His purchase of man at the cost of Christ's death and His precious blood, c) God would have to go back on His Word and "undeclare" what He had previously declared about the sinner being justified in Christ, those absolved of guilt would have to be tried again and found guilty, and He would have to reverse the sentence handed down from the divine bench, d) eternal life itself would have to be redefined, since all the saved are promised to live forever, e) God would have to erase the mark of the Holy Spirit given at conversion, cancel the deposit, break His promise, revoke the guarantee, keep the inheritance, forgo the praise, and lessen His glory, not to mention abandoning many Scriptures as fake, and f) God would renege on His Word, become a liar, break His own law when He cannot lie, and Christ would have died in vain.

God has made it so simple to receive Christ that even a child can receive Him, a person of any race, nationality, or language, the blind, the deaf, the dumb, the lame, the illiterate, ANYBODY no matter who they are, what they've done, or how badly they've messed up, can receive Him.  All we have to do is BELIEVE.  Now that little word "believe" means a little more than what some people think.  It isn't just being convinced with certainty about the identity of Jesus as the Son of God; even Satan and his angels know that.  It means commitment to Christ.  It means surrender to Christ.  It means certainty in our heart of His resurrection and TRUSTING HIM ALONE for our justification and sanctification.  It means having supreme confidence (faith) that the moment the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, indwells us, our name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life and we're prepared to meet God in heaven.  Believing thus takes in repentance.  Believing also takes in "faith-perfecting works," the kind which reflect Christ living His life within us day to day, without which our faith is dead and cannot justify anyone (James 2:17,24).  It's one thing never to be shown or exposed to the truth of God in Christ and His cross; it's quite another to have been shown it, to know Who Jesus is, but then fail to live it, to deliberately ignore God's gift of grace, or to suppress it and dishonor Him by unthankfully continuing just as before, a situation for which there is no excuse (Rom. 1:18-20).  Now, in the earliest stages of our walk with Christ, as we organists are exercising and growing stronger in our newfound faith in Him and are taking our first new steps being twice born, it's possible that old deeply engrained sinful habits may cause us to take a spill.  We may be momentarily caught off guard and slip into sin just as a toddler might take a tumble without meaning to when first learning to walk.  Our old sinful soul, the potential seat of evil within us, has been around for a long time and, at first, isn't about to be lectured to by this new upstart of a human spirit now marked with the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit however does not cast away from His presence those of us who are twice born believers; He is grieved over and convicts us of any such sin, we will feel tremendous remorse over it, and God responds by purging and renewing our spirit (Ps. 51:10). 

  Once the Holy Spirit has marked us like this and is firmly bound to our spirit, we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ; from then on, when our heavenly Father looks at us all He sees is the holiness and purity of His sinless Son.  This is God's pledge to us, a deposit placed in our hearts sealing His commitment to us.  Being under grace we are no longer under the precondition of the law; sin starts to lose its allurement; the veil on our minds is lifted to where we can truly understand the knowledge of God; we are no longer held to account for what the books of heaven had recorded about us for disobedience and rebellion against God and His moral code.  Our past record of debt to God for every prior sinful word, ungodly wrongdoing, and thought of the heart is totally expunged through the grace of salvation.  God remembers it no more, He forgets every sin we ever committed, and our name is entered into the Lamb's Book of Life.  The indwelling Holy Spirit also causes us to sense a new explosion of power to resist the temptation to sin moving forward and is there to convict us of any future transgressions, should they come.  By repenting and praying over any sinful stumble we may take in the early going of being saved in Christ we find forgiveness through the grace of relationship.  Over time, as we continue growing in grace and truth, we get to loving the Lord so much that we won't want to sin.  Being twice born members of the body of Christ also means that we will be spared God's wrath to be poured out upon a rebellious world and that we share that same personal relationship with all of our other brothers and sisters indwelt of the Holy Spirit, automatically.  We are united, not divided, in the big picture serving a living Christ, not a dead Christ, Who lives His life in us, and we in Him.





"Rightly dividing the Word of truth," as Paul instructed Timothy (2Tim. 2:15), was a practical memo NOT to mix together what God has separated in order to carry out His will.  This refers to keeping separate such things as prophecy (Old Testament revelation) from mystery (truth unknown in Old Testament times), law from grace, Jewish earthly kingdom of Israel from the body of Christ, works of the law from faith-perfecting works, etc.  Denominations are the creation of religious men who wanted their own convictions and traditions codified and legitimized.  If right division were universally embraced within churchianity, and if Paul's apostleship were universally accepted as absolute, then whatever convictions and traditions which did not imitate Christ through Paul (1Cor. 11:1) would beg to be revisited and any official doctrine redefined.  When it's explained to church-goers what they would need to renounce or abandon when the official stance of the church they're supporting is unabashedly compromised with something in the Bible, they get jostled.  In their minds they're already following exactly what God would have them do, they equate loyalty to IT with loyalty to God, and they sincerely believe that Christ died for the sake of just one church ... THEIRS.  When exposed to any contradictory teaching straight from the Bible they tend to see it as an infringement of proper instructions, their emotions become breached, their consciences get pricked, they may even see it as devilry, and they close their minds to it.  In so doing they claim to be following Christ, not Paul a mere man, all the while following men leading their denominational governance making Paul's warning in this age of grace of no effect (Titus 1:14).  Public excoriations of Paul are in fact becoming very common on social media these days, and anyone coming to Paul's defense biblically can find themselves unfriended within minutes.  This is partly traceable to our seminaries, some of which teach that the apostle Paul was flat out wrong about a few things, dismissing the fact that when they and others stand before God to be judged it will be according to Paul's gospel, and no other (Rom. 2:16). 

Among a great many of our listeners the totality of understanding of God's plan and timing derives entirely from basking in the glow of their parents' religion.  They tend to shy away from any biblical exegesis of their own for fear of maligning their deceased loved ones or risking loss of fellowship with the rest of the congregation.  Considering these losses people prefer to remain tethered to their denomination, not being deliberately dishonest but just obdurately refusing to deviate from its norms.  An example of this is water baptism.  This was a step of faith for Israel and part of the kingdom gospel which Ananias brought to Paul in Damascus (Acts 9:18).  After he was water baptized Paul admitted to baptizing a few more saints (1Cor 1:14-16) before leaving for Arabia where the full mystery of grace (Eph. 3:2) was revealed to him from heaven by the risen Christ Jesus.  Upon returning to Damascus and from there to Jerusalem Paul stopped baptizing with water (Acts 16:29-31, 1Cor. 1:17, Gal. 1:13-18), but during Paul's lifetime most Gentile believers turned away from this revelation of grace; verses from his epistles [Romans through Philemon] were cherry-picked, mixed with paganism, and regional doctrines and practices in disagreement with Paul's gospel and with each other developed among the various churches in Asia (Rev 2, 3).  Passages from Paul's epistles and other New Testament books also came to be alleghorized and lost their clear, straightforward meanings and symbolism.  The simplicity of Paul's gospel sans water baptism continues to create a stir (1Cor. 1:10), and pastors are still not of one mind on the subject.  Some, far too many in fact, reject the idea of Pauline dispensationalism, remain tethered to Israel's kingdom gospel, keep their water ceremony, and end up siding with Jesus over Paul, blaming the very apostle hand-picked by the risen Jesus to share the gospel of grace for being wrong (Acts 9:15).  In this they follow in the same steps of those during Paul's lifetime who, to their shame, also opposed Paul's message (2Tim. 4:14-16).

Believers today are subject to Paul's gospel which says that we live by the Holy Spirit and are saved SOLELY by grace through faith in the Son of God, His death, and His resurrection to life.  Evidently the first person, the sole exception known before Paul, to be saved this way was the thief on the cross.  Until Paul it was officially kept secret, a mystery from the foundation of the world largely so that Satan would know nothing of it in advance and do nothing to block the crucifixion of Jesus, since it was the cross that purchased the body of Christ.  Until Paul the cross was never preached in connection with the gospel of grace; we know that the Holy Spirit never disclosed this mystery even to the Twelve because they didn't understand what was about to take place when Jesus spoke of His death.  The kingdom gospel proclaims Jesus as the prophesied Seed of David, the Man raised up and anointed by God to literally reign as King over Israel.  This gospel had to be postponed because the nation rejected it in all its phases, had their King crucified, and persecuted His apostles.  It refers to a literal kingdom [Ruler + subjects + territory + laws] and reign of Christ yet future, commonly known as the Millennium and beyond.  Preached by Jesus and the Twelve (exclusively to the Jews, with very few exceptions), it was always associated geographically with Jerusalem, and, as Jesus replied to the Pharisees, it is "among you," or "in your midst," referring to Himself.  Now that the Jews are restored to their land and are again become a nation in this modern age the Bible teaches that immediately prior to "the Day of the Lord" (the subject of the prophecy of Joel) this kingdom gospel will again be preached at a future time by a Jewish ministry, a revived apostleship proclaiming to the nations that God is about to deliver His people Israel (more aptly Jew or Gentile), set His King upon His holy hill of Zion, and execute judgment upon His enemies.  The home of lowly mankind, earth, is destined to become the centerpiece of God's kingdom, and heaven will be filled with glorified human beings saved by grace through faith.  Both gospel dominions will be gathered together in Christ in the future but for now are separated.

NOTE:  God is a consuming fire [Deut. 4:24, Heb. 12:29]; light emanates from fire, and heat emanates from the light and fire; fire is seen because of the light, and without heat there is no fire.  Fire is not of human construct, it's a mystery man cannot explain exactly, but its operation is evident and can be sensed.  The Bible's revelation to man of the triune Godhead [one God, three Persons] works the very same way, and without acknowledging it there could be no salvation from sin in the biblical sense.  God the Father [Fire] Who lives forever and sits enthroned in heaven [Rev. 4] fully revealed Himself in the Person and ministry of the Son [Light] Who was slaughtered as a Lamb [Rev 5].  If this had not happened, i.e. if there had been no incarnation of God in Christ Jesus [1John 1:5-7], then there would have been no Saviour, and without a Saviour there would have been no atonement for sin and accordingly no salvation for the Holy Spirit of God [Heat] to apply [John 4:24]. 

We know that the one true God of the Bible is merciful.  We also know that He is just.  By "merciful" we know that He loves us and does not want to punish us ... by "just" we know that God must punish us for being transgressors.  The question then becomes, how can He be both merciful and just at the same time?  That's the reason for Jesus Christ.  Jesus took our place to voluntarily suffer all the hunger, thirst, torment, ridicule, bullying, searing pain, bruising, bleeding, dislocation, mutilation, and hell WE deserve, so that, by us being in Him and Him in us through faith, God's justice is fully satisfied while His grace is extended at the same time through His sacrifice on the cross.  Legions of heavenly angels were readied with drawn swords during those awful hours to rescue Jesus, annihilate his executioners, punish the nation, even destroy the planet if commanded, but Jesus CHOSE to stay on that cross.  He took in His own flesh every whip, every thorn, every scrape, every piercing nail.

























 ON A VERY PERSONAL NOTE:  My friends, in ministering to and kindly forgiving others as Christ taught us to do, don't forget to be patient and gentle with yourself.  You're human.  Some days we're at the top of our game and don't always show it.  Today we may be extremely tired or not feeling well; an undiagnosed medical problem may have developed; a newly prescribed medicine we're taking may cause unexpected muscle weakness, muscle soreness, upset stomach, or other distracting signs and symptoms; there can be a miscommunication with the celebrant, choir director, or lecturn -- the hymn we were told would be sung that day and the one we practiced beforehand may not be the one announced; we may have to start playing only from vague memory, perhaps in the wrong shoes or glasses, without the sheet music or hymn book in front of us, in a hurry and in poor light; we can yield to haste, start off with the wrong fingering, and send motor memory careening off the rails; we can find something malfunctioning or maybe not working at all with the instrument only after we begin playing; we can be further distracted by people standing alongside who may want to shake our hand while we're playing or perhaps are shouting at us to turn our head and smile for a photo all the while we're trying to sight read from the page.  And on and on.

In such rare situations, if and when things go awry, discouragement can come down on us like a ton of bricks and get us to thinking if the main reason we became an organist was because we desperately desired the disapproval of others.  Moments like these recall the biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan. 3:12-30), that, after these three men of God were thrown into a fiery furnace by the king of Babylon, Almighty God didn't rescue them by putting out the fire.  He Himself is a consuming fire (Deut. 4:24).  He simply put the Son of God in there with them, and they came out alive, whole, and unharmed.  Once again, how we end up isn't about how bad things look for us.

It's about WHO'S in it with us. 

BOTTOM LINE:  Wherever we organists are expected to serve a worship congregation or similar group, even if part-time, what we do for them is a ministry which sits squarely upon a biblical foundation.  Such foundation occasions, if not demands, a modicum of understanding of its immutable principles no matter where our playing manages to take us.  This is because the devil has his own flock of miscreants in sheep's clothing who happen to occupy pulpits where they promulgate their own brand of biblical eisegesis and/or legalism, making the simplicity of Paul's gospel of no effect (2Cor. 11:13-15).  These individuals may be seminary adepts, they may be attired in clerical robes, they may be standing behind a sacred desk, they may speak with authority and confident reassurance, but much of what they're promoting does not in fact square with what's in the Word of God.  This includes such things as:  the prosperity gospel, universalism [ALL people will be saved], replacement theology [the church has replaced Israel as the people of God], fake "scripture" super-added to the Bible, tampering with biblical wording, forced tithing, money required as tithe, selling Christ door to door, no triune Godhead, no pre-existent Christ, Jesus died on a pole not a cross, no sinful nature from birth, the human soul is mortal, worldwide revival in the end times, the church is appointed to wrath [no rapture], salvation depends upon works, salvation in Christ can be lost, multiple recitation of prayers, performing penances, praying to intercessors, praying for the dead, sins were forgiven AT the cross of Christ, love is "the God we seek," and Paul was wrong about some things.  Not a few well-meaning organists are knowingly (or unknowingly) tangled up with a very great deal of this and owe it to themselves to take a step back, consider what their music-making is helping to make meaningful, then examine themselves whether they be in the faith, and notice how closely their music ministry, as currently exercised, serves the inerrant truths found in the Bible.  When Christ begins to live His life in us, and we in Him, we will sense His presence within us without question, God will speak to us through the pages of the Bible like never before, and much of the veil in our understanding will be supernaturally lifted, but, whatever comes,

we should never ever, repeat NEVER, give up playing


Any musical aptness or talent someone has 





We should never equate our purpose for being here

with goal-based achievement.

Our achievements may be many,

but ultimately

it isn't our achievements that count...

it's our heart and character development.

When we use that God-given interest of ours

with kindness, compassion, and love,

reflecting the faith that lives within us,

we're already aligned with our true purpose as it is revealed in God's Word.