Last evening, I attended an excellent concert at Mount Baker Theater with my daughter and her fiancée. It was a wonderfully entertaining evening of energized and beautiful music put on by Flamenco guitarist Jesse Cook and his highly gifted band. The performance was of such quality that it drove the audience to call for four encores, which the gracious band gladly honored. As we were leaving I told my daughter, “That was an excellent concert with no pyrotechnics.”
Indeed, there were no fireballs, no laser light shows, no flashy or bizarre costumes, no gimmicks whatsoever. So many bands today must to add to their musicianship (or lack thereof) for the concert to be enjoyed by the audience and considered successful. This concert was able to stand on its own merit simply because the musicians were of the highest caliber. They didn’t need to add anything to their own excellence.
The apostle Paul said in Romans 1:16, “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.” The power is in the gospel itself. It is not in our songs of worship, the audio-visual presentation, the dramatic presentations, or any means we use to try to dress it up and make it more “powerful” or palatable. It is as though we think God needs us to help him make his saving message more potent. Are you kidding me? Gene Brooks says trying to “dress up the gospel” is like pouring ketchup on a prime rib.
Don’t misread what I’m saying here. I’m not saying any specific thing is bad in and of itself. I’m looking, rather, at what our focus and motivation is. What are we presenting to the lost and dying world? Amidst all the glitz and glitter, was the gospel message communicated? In all our efforts to make the message of Christ appealing to the lost world, in some cases, I think the message itself has been pushed from the line of sight.
1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I resolved to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
Victoriously in Christ!