DiM | “Great Are You Lord” by One Sonic Society

Evangelical Worship Edition.

July 7, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Great Are You Lord” by One Sonic Society which currently sits at #20 on 20theCountdownMagazine.

Though this song is on the top 20 CCM list, it was very clearly written for corporate worship, so we’ll treat it as such and address its use over the radio. I heard it on the local CCM radio station a couple of weeks ago and thought it was a bit seeker-worshipy. I really didn’t expect it to break the top 20, but I was wrong. Is the song bad? Well, there isn’t anything bad in the lyrics. But the song isn’t particularly aimed at teaching or enforcing doctrine or the Gospel of Jesus Christ, nor does it specify the “You” or the “Lord” to whom the song is being sung. While the lyric is generic, it’s how the song is put together and performed that bothers me the most… it’s not aimed at worship, but at stirring up emotion. Emotion != worship.


One Sonic Society VEVO


Lyrics (via Essential Worship)

You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken

Great are You, Lord

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise, We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only

You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken

All the earth will shout Your praise
Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing
Great are You, Lord

Chords and lyrics provided by EssentialWorship.com


Verse 1+2. There is nothing distinctly Christian in this message. Sure, there are some general truths about God being alluded to, but try as I might I cannot think of any false religion that couldn’t make the same claims for their false gods. Buddhism perhaps, since there is no central or chief deity in that odd system. Point being, if we are going to worship the King of kings and Lord of lords in song, we can do much better than this vague stanza. To give this verse its best construction, I’d have to say that the author(s) attempted to identify the “You” of the song by covering several attributes of God. What ends up happening, though, is each attribute is glossed over thinly. The focus of the first verse is in the “restoring of the broken heart”. That’s the goal, that’s the punchline, that’s the focus. The aim of this song isn’t Worship, it’s creating an emotional experience of feeling like your broken heart is being mended.

Pre Chorus. This refrain is oddly set apart from the rest of the lyric. I wonder why it was set apart from the verses and chorus. Probably to allow plenty of instrumental build in the song, or endless repeats to give the impression that the Holy Spirit is leading the band. Again, the lyric isn’t bad, it’s how it’s being used that bothers me.

Chorus. Okay, so God breathed life into Adam’s nostrils when He created man. That same breath is what grants us life today. But we also are born into Adam’s death. There’s no mention of that truth in this song, not in any way. The closest we come to acknowledging our sin is the mention of our broken hearts. Though not necessarily an essential element of every corporate worship song (though I see no reason to avoid it) I do think it is vital in a CCM song purportedly intended to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s how CCM identifies itself as a ministry. That’s half the chorus, by the way. The other half indicates that since it’s God’s breath in our lungs (life) we pour out our praise to Him. Again, no mention of sin or regeneration or faith. The unbelievers have breath of life in their lungs, but are dead, spiritually and cannot offer praises to God. They cannot worship Him. If we alegorize the breath of life to mean the regeneration that comes by Grace through Faith in Christ, then why not point to our forgiveness as the motivation for praise? I fear it is because forgiveness is by faith alone, and not an emotion, the lyric would rather focus on the senses. Breathing, repetitive singing, focusing on “healing our broken hearts”, and then giving it a spritual context works very well at creating that warm and fuzzy feeling that seeker-sensitive mysticism aims for and calls “worship”. This chorus also focuses completely on the singer.

Bridge. Overall, this is truish but vague. It’s meant to serve as a climax to the emotional frenzy of the song. When will the earth shout His praise? On the Last Day? In Eternity? Not sure what the reference is here. Up until now, the singer has been pouring out his praise to the Lord because God’s breath was in his lungs. Not sure what is being referenced in this line. Our hearts will cry and these bones will sing. The emotional connection to the heart has been the focus of this song all along, but the addition of bones singing is interesting. In modern-day evangelicalism we see a lot of references to the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14). They eisegete themselves or their local church body into the prophecy as the dry bones that need “revival”. Nevermind verse 11, where God makes clear the interpretation of the dry bones:

Ezekiel 37:11 (ESV) Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’

Context. It can be a major buzzkill sometimes. That’s not to say that it doesn’t point us to something, because it does. It points us the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are all born dead in sins and tresspasses, cut off, without hope, without faith, condemend.

Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV) | By Grace Through Faith
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

The prophesying that Ezekiel does to the bones and to the breath points to the preaching of the Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power of God to Save.

Romans 10:11-17 (ESV) For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Indeed, by Grace through Faith in the preached Word of Christ we are saved out of the kingdom of darkness and granted the Hope of Salvation in Jesus Christ our LORD.

Romans 1:16 (ESV)For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

So, I know I went on a bit of a side track there, but I wanted to make the Gospel of Jesus Christ the clear focal point of the Scriptures.


This song is ill-suited for CCM Radio play. I wouldn’t recommend it at all for such use. As for this song being appropriate in corporate worship? There is nothing blatantly wrong in the lyric, but there is also no clear, Biblical objective of the song either. Emotional revivalism is pointless manipulation of the masses. The song doesn’t serve any purpose within a church service, it doesn’t teach or reinforce sound doctrine. Now there are many who will read this who truly believe that the point of worship is to feel emotionally moved toward God. That is not how the Bible defines worship. This song was written to evoke emotion, not worship. I’m sure many folks will like the song, and consider it helpful in “getting them into an attitude of worship”, but those are not Biblical arguments, they are fleshly.

Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV) Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

DiM | “Live On Forever” by The Afters

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship
(2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

January 12, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Live On Forever” by The Afters which currently sits at #16 on the 20theCountdownMagazine top 20 chart.

Today we get back to working through our original context for DiM, that of the casual listener playing CCM radio in their home, work, or vehicle. Today’s song was a bit of a disappointment, I was hoping we could get an “approved” song before we start having to “disapprove” songs for 2016, but this one simply couldn’t be avoided. There is nothing in this song that is particularly Christian in any way. Christianity is not the only religion that holds to an after life, or a heaven. It’s an eerily spiritual/mystical song with a gnostic feel to the lyric. I don’t like it, and I’m concerned that it is on the top 20 chart.

The Afters VEVO Official Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLove)

Live On Forever

Dark days are gonna go away
They won’t have the final say
These bones were always gonna fade
Cause we were made for another place
The moment of our final breath
When all our fears are put to rest
Every tear will disappear
Heaven is real

We’re gonna live on forever
We’re gonna live on forever
We are not where we belong
We have a hope that we’re going live on

Breathing air we have never breathed
We’ll see colors we’ve never seen
Every sound like a symphony
Rising up as the angels sing
The arms of grace are open wide
The face of love before our eyes
Where every tear will disappear
Heaven is real

Our hearts have been set in motion
For something more, for something more
Than we could ever imagine
There’s so much more, there’s so much more

Publishing: The Secret Parade / Simply Complex Songs / Songs From The Indigo Room (SESAC); Nashvistaville Songs / Light The Night / Songs of the Casbah (BMI); Vistaville Music / Bad Nacho Music / Music from the Casbah (ASCAP); Sony/ATV Timber Publishing / Open Hands  Music (SESAC)
Writer(s): Josh Havens; Matt Fuqua; Jordan Mohilowski; Dan Ostebo; Jason Ingram


There is no mention whatsoever of Law and Gospel, Sin and Grace, Repentance or the Forgiveness of Sin.  There is no mention of God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit. The song simply tells the listener he/she will live forever… which is true… but it doesn’t say why, doesn’t indicate there are 2 options, eternal Life or eternal punishment, and doesn’t in any way point to the Gospel of Jesus Christ… not even in part.

Verse 1. So, yes, Heaven is real. So is Hell. It is true that everyone will die, and then comes the Judgement.

Hebrews 9:22-28 (ESV)

22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. 23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

John 3:16-18 (ESV) | For God So Loved the World

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

The first verse is odd and empty. For those without Faith, death will not put to rest their fears, they will become unfathomably increased for they will be judged without the LORD Jesus Christ as their advocate, their covering, their Savior.

Chorus. There is nothing of value here. These are half-thoughts repeated in a bit of a chant. Again, not being where we belong is too vague to be a truth. Unbelievers are born into this world under common grace, so that they might hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, come to Faith and be born-again. At birth, we are dead in sins and trespasses, we “belong” to be judged, but God’s grace delays the judgement and He grants Grace upon grace in opening our eyes and ears to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, washing away our sins, and creating in us a new creature, an adopted child of God. The saints of God, those who are of the household of Faith, do not belong to the world, are not OF the world, this world is not our home, but God has us here by His Will, for His purposes, and for His Glory. Christianity is not spiritual escapism from an ugly temporal existence.

Verse 2. While some of this imagery might hold true if it were connected to the Gospel, as it stands here it is whip cream piled on a plate with no dessert on it. Just whipped cream… no pie, no cake, no fruit, nothing. This imagery is sugary fluff. Nothing more.

Bridge. Melodically interesting change, still utterly lacking in substance. It’s not like being born again is like we’re a wind-up toy being released into a completely foreign world to figure things out on our own. Such nonsense. We are awakened to new life IN CHRIST. It’s not some blank-check “so much more that we can never fathom”… we are brought to life IN CHRIST, to grow IN CHRIST, to be the Body OF CHRIST, the Church.


I won’t listen to this song. I’d rather go channel surfing or turn off the radio to listen to the road noise in my ’02 Elantra. Careful, now… don’t covet my awesome ride, lol. It grieves me that this song is on the top 20 charts… it truly does. Sure, if you like the song it’s because you’ve poured in your own meaning for the song and are somehow encouraged by it. How long does such effort last? The song, on its own, has no value.

Romans 16:24-27 (ESV) | Doxology

25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

In Christ Jesus,

Friday Sermon | “They Went Out from Us” with Dr James White

frisermonMusic has been the theme of this week, and will likely be the theme of 2016. For our first Friday Sermon of 2016, we’ll be going to the last episode of the Dividing Line with Dr James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries.

Dr. James White is the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, a Christian apologetics organization based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the author of more than twenty books, a professor, an accomplished debater, and an elder of the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church.

They Went Out from Us: Jahaziel’s Excuses for Abandoning the Faith


What Dr James White is responding to:

Jahaziel’s Announcement via Christianity Today

Here are some screenshots from Jahaziel’s Facebook page.

jahaziel's announcementjahaziel's announcement 2 jahaziel's announcement 3





The self-proclaimed “music ministry” is in trouble. It isn’t producing mature Christians. It’s time to return to Sound Doctrine.

Jude 24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present youblameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,

DiM | “Gospel” Grammy Nominations 2016

trebleclefDecember 8, 2015. With yesterday’s Billboard release of the Grammy Nominations for 2016, I thought we might take a look at the songs being nominated under the “Gospel” category. We’ll be taking a break on the DiM posts for the rest of the year. We’ll jump back into our DiM posts in January, 2016. I’m sure there will be lots of new songs on the top charts.

Billboard Grammy Nominations 2016 (link)

Billboard Grammy Results 2016 (link)

Best Gospel Performance/Song

Okay, so in this first category of Grammy Nominations, I only recognize one artist, Kirk Franklin. We haven’t covered any of these songs in our DiM posts, and I think that is because I don’t really follow the “Gospel” genre that is more of a style of music completely divorced from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the power of God unto Salvation.

Worth [Live]
Anthony Brown & Group Therapy
Anthony Brown & Group Therapy; Anthony Brown, songwriter
Track from: Everyday Jesus [Live]
[Tyscot Records; Publisher(s): Key Of A Music/Tyscot Music]

Video / Lyrics. DiM Comments: The focus of the title and the song is on our worth. The song begins with the idea that everything God did for us was based on what He thought we were Worth. We believe that sort of philosophy to be inconsistent with what the Bible teaches, and it flies in the face of Soli Deo Gloria (to the Glory of God alone). The “power” of this song (and the genre of “Gospel Music”) is in how it’s sung/performed, not really in its lyric… though self-esteem boosting is a common lyrical theme.
DiM Verdict: Disapprove.

grammy-statueWanna Be Happy?
Kirk Franklin
Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin, songwriter
[RCA Records/Fo Yo Soul Recordings; Publisher(s): Aunt Gertrude Music Publishing admin. by Universal Music-Brentwood Benson Songs and Irving Music, Inc. admin. by Universal Music Publishing]

Video / Lyrics. DiM Comments: This song dilutes the message of the Gospel down to an Osteen-like question of happiness. The question the listener is told to ask themselves is “do you wanna be happy”. The listener is told to let Jesus take the wheel… and at some points told to just say “yes” to Jesus… but nothing clearly stated. Apparently the listener isn’t happy, but that’s because they are in the way and apparently haven’t been asking themselves the question, or something. The song is worthless.
DiM Verdict: Disapprove.

Travis Greene
Travis Greene; Travis Greene, songwriter
[RCA Inspiration; Publisher(s): Greenlight InternationalVNavidavi Music]

Video / Lyrics. DiM Comments: Okay, so at least this song is slightly better than the other two. But seriously, the whole song consists of 2 Christian ideas: Be anxious for nothing (Phil 4:6a); God works all things for good (Rom 8:28). There is a third idea (seriously, the whole song is repetition of 3 thoughts) that God is Intentional. This is odd wording and its goal is to allude to the Sovereignty and Goodness of God while suggesting that whatever is going on it’s because God is doing something good for you in it. That concept can lose traction and flip sideways very quickly. One plus in the song is that it acknowledged that sometimes the hard times are indeed allowed by and even sent by God. That’s a good truth to hold onto, but it isn’t always for your good… it’s ALWAYS for His Glory, and there is not greater good than God’s Glory. The repetition in this song is absolutely mind-numbing.
DiM Verdict: Listen with Discerning ears, hearts, and minds.

How Awesome Is Our God [Live]
Israel & Newbreed Featuring Yolanda Adams
Israel & Newbreed Featuring Yolanda Adams; Neville Diedericks, Israel Houghton & Meleasa Houghton, songwriters
Track from: Covered: Alive In Asia [Live] (Deluxe)
[RGM Newbreed/RCA Inspiration; Publisher(s): Integrity’s Praise! Music, RGM-Newbreed Publishing, Sound Of The New Breed, Aaron Lindsey Publishing, CCMG Publishing, Neville D. Publishing]

Video / Lyrics. DiM Comments: As far as what is in the lyric, if you can get beyond the repetition, (… I mean… it’s bad… which goes to show that “gospel music” is all about the singing and musical crescendo and frills… the lyrics are just a means for hearing the voice) the song is a legitimate song of praise and thanksgiving from the regenerate Christian to the God who Saved them. If sung/performed within the context of faithful believers, I believe this song could serve as fitting worship and thanks to God when sung by each believer, regardless of their musical ability.
DiM Verdict: Listen with Discerning ears, hearts, and minds.

Worth Fighting For [Live]
Brian Courtney Wilson
Brian Courtney Wilson; Aaron Lindsey & Brian Courtney Wilson, songwriters
Track from: Worth Fighting For [Live]
[Motown Gospel; Publisher(s): ACER/Aaron Lindsey Music/Capitol Christian Music Publishing admin. by Capitol CMG]

Video / Lyrics. DiM Comments: Okay, have you ever heard of a “humble brag”? It’s when someone goes on and on about how humble/meek/undeserving they are in such a way that actually serves to brag about their accomplishments. That’s this song. It’s all about the singer’s worth, potential, destiny, purpose… but it’s cloaked in a sort of pious deference to God’s acknowledgement of the singer’s worth. It was so bad I stopped the audio after the first verse and just read the lyric without music. Nope.
DiM Verdict: Disapprove.

So, if there has to be a winner in this category, my vote would be for How Awesome is Our God by Israel & Newbreed Feat. Yolanda Adams.

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song

Okay, so this category we are well acquainted with. In fact, I’m happy to report that we’ve already covered each of the songs nominated for a Grammy. None of these songs are DiM Approved, so as long as one of the flat-out disapproved songs doesn’t win, I’d consider that a small victory.

grammy-statueHoly Spirit
Francesca Battistelli
Francesca Battistelli
Track from: If We’re Honest (Deluxe Edition)

DiM | “Holy Spirit” by Francesca Battistelli
DiM Verdict: Disapprove

Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains)
Crowder; Ed Cash, David Crowder & Seth Philpott, songwriters
Track from: Neon Steeple (Deluxe Edition)
[sixstepsrecords/Sparrow Records; Publisher(s): sixsteps Music/worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Songs/Worship Together Music admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com/Alletrop Music]

DiM | “Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains)” by Crowder
DiM Verdict: Listen with Discerning ears, hearts, and minds.

Because He Lives (Amen)
Matt Maher
Matt Maher
Track from: Saints And Sinners
[Essential Records/Provident Label Group]

DiM | “Because He Lives (Amen)” by Matt Maher
DiM Verdict: Listen with Discerning ears, hearts, and minds.

Soul On Fire
Third Day Featuring All Sons & Daughters
Third Day Featuring All Sons & Daughters; Tai Anderson, Brenton Brown, David Carr, Mark Lee, Matt Maher & Mac Powell, songwriters
Track from: Lead Us Back: Songs Of Worship (Deluxe)
[Essential Records/Provident Label Group; Publisher(s): DATAMAMA MUSIC, Thankyou Music, Sony/ATV Tree Publishing, I Am A Pilgrim Songs]

DiM | “Soul On Fire” by Third Day
DiM Verdict: Listen with Discerning ears, hearts, and minds.

Feel It
Tobymac Featuring Mr. Talkbox
Tobymac Featuring Mr. Talkbox; Cary Barlowe, David Arthur Garcia & Toby McKeehan, songwriters
[ForeFront Records; Publisher(s): Achtober Songs/Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing/D Soul Music admin. by CapitolCMGPublishing.com/Castle Bound Music, Inc./We Be Pawtying]

DiM | “Feel It (feat. Mr Talkbox)” by Tobymac
DiM Verdict: Disapprove.


I had hoped to work through the remaining Album categories, but that’s a lot more work than I have time for at this point. We really don’t do much in the way of Albums because they fit a different context from what concerns us. These days I think it is rare that folks listen through a whole album in a sitting. I could be wrong, but I think most folks just buy the songs they like on iTunes and throw them into their mixes. I’m not happy with the current state of Contemporary Christian Music, and pray every week for a reformation to take place. We need to wake up and acknowledge the importance of discernment in what we hear repeatedly and set to a tune. Most Christians spend far more time listening to this music than reading their Bibles… that’s also something that should change.

Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV) | Prayer for Spiritual Strength

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Amen, indeed.
In Christ Jesus,


Podcast | Week in Review 21-25 SEP 2015

Today is Saturday, September 26, 2015.

Welcome to our “Week in Review” Podcast. With this podcast, we hope to provide a summary of our CTT, DiM, Gospel Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday Sermon posts; however, it won’t be a mere reading of our posts. We will share some background information, commentary, post-publishing insights, and perhaps even answer some email. I am battling a cold, so I ask for your patience and forgiveness if I fail to edit out coughs and sniffles.

Podcast Audio

Links to This Week’s Posts


This is a new feature for us here, so I’m interested in what you think of this feature. Until then, may the Lord Bless and keep you.

Romans 11:33-36 (ESV)

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,