My name is Chris Thomas. I’m a fortunate husband, a father of three and Dad to five. I’m an advocate of foster care as an expression of the gospel. I’m a pastor at Raymond Terrace Community Church, a regional church based in the Hunter Valley, Australia. I mostly write about the gospel and how it informs both work and rest.

Four Reasons To Sing Louder This Sunday

Four Reasons To Sing Louder This Sunday

I love to sing loud. My children love me to not sing loud. This Sunday, I will sing loud regardless.

We live and worship in an age where congregational singing is a dying art. I realise that may be a gross generalisation, but it has certainly been my observation that the volume and participation of everyday church members has slowly been drowned out by the ‘professionals’ on stage. And while consumerism in the church deserves its own post, here are four ways that you can add your voice to the conversation—four reasons to sing loudly this Sunday regardless of whether your worship leader is a guy with tats and skinny jeans, or Auntie Jean with crescent spectacles balancing on the bridge of her nose.

Singing rehearses the gospel

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,  that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.  For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,  and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,  “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”  And again it is said,  “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”  (Romans 15:5-10 ESV)

The covenant community of faith is a community formed in response to the gospel. Actually singing, not just listening to others sing, is a way that we rehearse the great truths of God’s grace extended to sinners through Jesus Christ. Doctrine is meant to give birth to devotion, orthodoxy to orthopraxy, gospel truth to gospel response. The gospel should make us want to sing but not perform, worship in wonder but not put on a show. When you join me in singing loudly this Sunday, you join me in rehearsing the gospel and proclaiming eternal truths in temporary spaces. I can’t wait to hear your voice.

Singing reminds me of the gospel

I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:  (Psalms 22:22 ESV)

My problem is, I’m forgetful. Your problem is, you are too. I need you to sing loudly beside me this Sunday because I’m prone to forgetting the glorious realities of grace and salvation. I need to know that it works for people like me, not just those beautiful people on stage, so I need you to tell me. I need to see losers and strugglers, who can’t sing in tune or hit those high notes, reminding me that Christ is sufficient for my messy life. We often think that singing is for God’s benefit, and maybe it is, but it’s also for mine. So please, sing loud this Sunday, for my sake.

Singing aligns my heart and my head

What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.  (1 Corinthians 14:15 ESV)

It is possible, in fact, likely, that our heart and head may exist out of alignment. This is a problem. So when Paul addresses the mess the Corinthians had got into with their pursuit of spectacular Spiritual gifts, he throws in this gem about the relationship between our spirit and our mind. Singing truths cement them in powerful ways into our conscious life, which means that we must be mindful of the sort of songs we sing. But it also means that a powerful discipling strategy is singing, and singing often. The melody of truth layers down on the fabric of our mind, with our spirit within adding a harmony of praise that captures realities worth holding forever. So sing loud. Sing to know. Sing to remember.

Singing is a window into eternity

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from ever tribe and language and people and nation,  and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”  (Revelation 5:9-10 ESV)

Singing, as poor and ordinary as it may sound now, is a brief taste of heaven. Proclaiming praise in these dark days gives us eyes of faith to see beyond, into the bright morning of a new city. Joining my faltering voice with the single mum beside me, and the ex-drug dealer behind me, and the corporate high-flyer in front of me, and that old saint who always seems to come in one bar too early—this ragged choir is a grand display of the power of the gospel, and a beautiful grace from our Father to see what will fill our days in eternity. This vapour we call life will soon pass, but the road is often hard, often lonely, so sing with me please. Help lift my soul to heavenly places, to throne rooms above where our only vision will be that of a lamb that had been slain, but has overcome.

That’s worth singing loudly about.

In Defence Of Deep Friendships

In Defence Of Deep Friendships

Weekend Wandering (26/5)

Weekend Wandering (26/5)