In our day, some parts of the church are experiencing a resurgence of interest in the book of the Song of Solomon. Instead of bearing the stigma of an obscure book about love and marriage from the Old Testament, the book is increasingly being understood as an allegory between Jesus and His bride. Though this was probably not the primary reason for its inclusion in the canon of Scripture, the wisdom of the Holy Spirit is evidently seen in its resurgence as it undergirds the New Testament truths of Jesus as a bridegroom and His body as His bride (Matthew 9:15, Ephesians 5:32, Revelation 19:7).
The Song can be enthralling for some because the short phrases and affectionate language can be mined for meaning. Though there is enormous devotional value in the words of the Song, we must remember to hold it in its rightful place as we grow in friendship with Jesus.
Because friendship is based on relational knowledge, we can never grow in friendship with someone solely by reading an elaborate poem written about them. Once we get to know our friend, poetry may bring to remembrance the words and actions of our friend and help us appreciate them more. But the poem itself is not what made us be their friend initially, nor do the words of the poem come to mean more to us than the words from their own lips. No matter how beautifully expressive the writing is, a poem can never replace the presence of the person when it is a person we actually love.
Today I'll be continuing my interview with David Whitworth, a drummer at IHOP-KC. If you have not yet read part 1 of David's interview, be sure to read it here.
Josh: Hi David, good to have you back for a few more questions! I know the first round of your answers really encouraged some people. Let's jump right in and hit a somewhat controversial topic for Christian musicians - secular music. Do you have any thoughts on it? What is your personal experience?
David: I remember when I was back in Texas playing drums for my church, I would always find myself in a paradox. I would spend most of my week listening to anything and everything. Then I would come into church to play and my spirit would feel dull. It never occurred to me that I was feeling this way because of what I was listening to. When I came to IHOP I felt the Lord invite me into a season of consecrating my ears. I remember so clearly my "iTunes D-Day" 4 years ago. I deleted all of my secular music from my computer and immediately felt something lift. I felt a nearness from the Lord. From that point on I have experienced so much more of the Lord's heart while playing. I feel so much more clarity and boldness when I play. It has enabled me to prophesy with confidence. I know that the Lord is raising up singers and musicians who are doing the same thing - consecrating their eyes and ears. They are ones that would cultivate their gifts before the Lord, ones that would commune with the Holy Spirit and not get influence from the world but from Heaven.
It's been several years since I've interviewed some of the other musicians here at IHOP-KC. In the past I've had the privilege of hearing from Jordan Vanderplate, electric guitarist, Cassie Campbell, bassist, Francisco "Paco" Arteaga, drummer, and Gabriel Hancock, also a drummer. Today's interview is with David Whitworth, the drummer for Cory Asbury's worship team at IHOP-KC. I hope David's answers encourage and provoke you musicians and singers!
Josh: Hey David, I really appreciate you sharing with us! Before I jump into some questions, give us a little bit of your story.
David: Hey Josh! Well, a little about myself… I grew up in the small farming town of Bastrop, Texas. It's about 20 minutes from Austin. I was raised in a Christian home. I lived on a farm with goats, cows, dogs, chickens… the whole deal. Drumming for me started at a fairly young age. When I was a little 6 year old I would run around banging on tables, counters, pots, pans, basically anything and everything. My mom got me a small drum kit so I would stop taking the kitchenware. I never took drum lessons growing up, I just started and figured stuff out. I found myself in my room practicing for 4-5 hours a day. I would figure out the drum parts for all the Hillsong United albums. I was so drawn to worship music early in life because I would always encounter the presence of the Lord listening and practicing to those albums. At that point in my life all I wanted to do was play in Hillsong United or be in the NBA! I started playing full time with my church at the age of 12. After high school I went to the University of Texas at San Antonio for two years studying music technology. At the Christmas break in 2006 my friend invited me to a Onething Conference in Kansas City. I had a life changing encounter with God and have been on full-time staff at IHOP for almost 5 years now.
In Galatians 6:14, The Apostle Paul boldly asserted that his only boasting should be in the cross of Jesus. In Philippians 3, he proclaimed that everything he had used for his own gain had been counted as loss for the sake of Christ. It does not take much to see that such confessions from a believer have a prerequisite of heart surgery from the Holy Spirit.
In our sin, we use our God-given breath, strength, finance, or wisdom in order to make much of ourselves. But the fruit of the Spirit in the life of a believer is evident when what was once used for selfish gain is now used to make much of Christ and His cross.
Along these lines, I wanted to share a provoking excerpt from the January 22nd entry from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening devotional (my emphases added). May the Holy Spirit help us to see how foolish it is to boast in anything else but the cross of Christ!
Sin, Satan, culture, and even a well-meaning church have all challenged the biblical understanding of God as a tender Father, sovereign King, passionate Bridegroom, and jealous Judge. We’ve believed lies to one extent or another, which has caused us to approach prayer like we would approach a vending machine. Our quantity of prayer and zeal in prayer become two sides of the coin we insert into the vending machine called “God”. Almost automatically, we believe when we press the right combination of buttons by praying with the right scriptures and fasting a large number of days, God is required to dispense an answer because that is simply what He is programmed to do.
After over 6 months in the making, today I'm very excited to announce the launch of a redesigned, reorganized www.joshuahawkins.com!
This is more than just a cosmetic facelift. I have also:
- Uploaded new resources from various IHOP-KC teachers and others, including some hard-to-find teachings.
- Made all of the resources easier to find by series, by category, by scripture reference, and by date.
- Made it easier to share your favorite articles, teachings, and blogs with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
- Updated my list of recommended resources to help you live a life worthy of Jesus and His cross.
The modern new year is an interesting phenomenon. Millions and millions across the world gather to celebrate the changing of a number. Calendars, mobile phones, and checks for the next 364 days will now prominently display a "2" at the end of the date. Somehow this man-made milestone gives permission to so many for a drunken revelry followed by new "resolutions" to change eating and workout habits, most of which have no real impetus and never see any real fulfillment.
However, Jesus is not reevaluating His life, His words, or His plan for the days ahead. With so much babble in and out of the body of Christ about 2012, we must not allow ourselves to become entangled in cords of confusion. Our hope as believers is that Jesus will return, raise the dead, and rule all of the nations in righteousness from Jerusalem. In light of this hope, the Bible constantly exhorts us to live soberly and expectantly, eagerly waiting for that great Day:
Earlier I was reading this article on Voice of the Martyr’s persecution.com, a website dedicated to assisting the worldwide persecuted church. The article briefly described how a 30-year old Indian Christian was deported from the Maldives simply for possessing a Bible in his home.
Upon reading more articles from the site, I was struck afresh with the normalcy of suffering to the Christian life. The circumstantial ease of the West has contributed to a false understanding of suffering, persecution, and martyrdom for the sake of Jesus. Because of a lack of persecution, we often have the notion that saying “yes” to Jesus means a steady incline of favor or blessing in personal and domestic affairs. One brief look at the book of Acts or the book of Hebrews shows that this idea is completely foreign to Scripture.
Undoubtedly we’ve all had a memorable teacher in our lives at one point or another, whether in school growing up, on the job, or at a later point on our life. Teachers, instructors, mentors, and tutors all serve a common purpose – to make the seemingly complex and difficult into something tenable, simple, and attainable, and then to see their students be successful in what they’ve learned.
In writing to Titus, the Apostle Paul spoke of a teacher that every Christian who has trusted in Jesus for salvation has available to them - the grace of God:
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”
(Titus 2:11-13 NKJV)
One of the highest expressions of God’s love is His meekness and servanthood. As the glory of God is seen plainly and perfectly in the face of Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:6), we are beckoned in to see God’s meekness, humility, and servanthood throughout every moment of His life. Jesus was fully satisfied in taking on flesh and emptying Himself of so great an exaltation (Philippians 2:5-8). It was not something He resentfully or grudgingly achieved. He never had nor will ever have regrets about becoming poor for our sake (2 Corinthians 8:9). From the most mundane of days to the climax of His death on the cross, out of Him proceeds the raging torrent of God as a servant.
One of the lesser spoken of but most stunning acts of Jesus in His life overflowing with humility is found in John 13:
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”
Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.””
(John 13:1-8 NKJV)