The Worship Workshop


Articles to read and be blessed.

The Power of Music - by Colin Owen.

If you've read any of the other stuff I've written, you will be in no doubt at all as to my thoughts on music as worship. This does not mean that I am against music, only the improper use of music. I confess, I hate to see music debased, especially in the church. We play music while they come in, we play music while they go out. We use music in just the same way as the world does, a back drop, a silence killer, even a comforter. To me, this debases music, and puts it in a place where it doesn't belong. The back drop in church should be fellowship, and music can get in the way. Silence is a time of peace when God can speak to us, music can be a distraction. The Comforter is the Holy Spirit, music can't take His place. In all of these areas music is out of place. Music was created by God for His glory, it should only be used for such. He is the master musician (He does everything perfectly). He is the master composer or creator if you will. In Zephaniah it says that God sings over us! Now that's a song I'd like to hear, the tune must be incredible, and the words... One day... We often don't think of God in this way, but it's true, He invented dancing, rejoicing, celebrating, sex(!), and everything else you can possibly name except sin. God didn't create sin, it was "found" in Lucifer!

Ezekiel 28:12-15, NIV

12 "Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "`You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.

14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.

15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.

With these thoughts in our minds, can you imagine 'back ground' music in heaven? A nice little ditty to play as the angels come into God's throne room. And how about when they have their tea break? Surely then there's some innocuous, inane, tape churning out, praise Him on this, or, praise Him on that. Record companies have a "praise Him on" tape to cover all tastes! Record companies have lots of 'good ideas' on tape, well, good ideas sell don't they? After all, it's what the people want isn't it? What the people want is dictated by market forces, created by, yes you've guessed it, Record companies. There's fashion in Christian music just as in the world's pale imitation. Look back over the years and see just how many Christian artists have 'come and gone'. Fashions, styles, and messages have changed. Why are we so intent on imitating the world when the Bible clearly tells us not to?

Anointing or what?

What about anointing? God doesn't give 'good ideas', He gives anointing. Anointing can be recorded onto tape. So can drivel. I leave you to make up your own mind as to whether the "praise Him on" tapes are anointed or not. The problem is this, those who have an 'anointed' ministry in music are being buried alive in a sea of 'good ideas'. God given gifting is being lost to the body of Christ because of our determination to have music at any cost.

If you would stop buying tapes that were not anointed, they'd stop making them! They'd have to, because 'they' are motivated by, and driven by market forces, I.E. profit (mammon). Sad but true, take the money out of the equation, and the tapes stop, it's as simple as that. Faith plays very little part in 'their' strategy. I say this unrepentantly, they are not in faith for product, so how can they be in faith for finance. To have faith for product means seeking God for the music He wants to put out. It has nothing to do with market research or artist popularity. Market research can only try to predict what people want, but God knows exactly what people need. Regrettably, the two are as far as East is from West. Wants originate in the flesh, just like good ideas, but anointing originates in the Spirit, and it's in, and by the Spirit that needs are met, "the flesh counts for nothing."

Anointing explained:

It is something of a mystery this 'anointing' business. Many preachers will talk about the 'oil' running down Aaron's beard, and how it touches various parts of him, but how does that relate to 'real' life today? As always, the answer is simple.

Anointing is God's Spirit on (in) a persons life to enable them to do well, things they otherwise would be unable to do well, if at all. It is God's supernatural enabling. With this enabling comes another very important ingredient, permission. Yes! God given permission to function on His behalf is vital! Prophesy without God's permission and you're a false prophet. Lead worship without God's permission and you're a false leader. Pastor a flock without God's permission and you are a false shepherd. I hope that has just turned the light on, it's one of the golden rules of the Kingdom. God is only interested in working through those whom He has chosen to function for Him, all the others are just good ideas, without the sanction of God's Spirit and hence, in the flesh, which, I'll say it again, counts for nothing.

It's natural in the world for good musicians to make recordings, but it's 'supernatural' in God's Kingdom, for the not so good in the flesh musicians, to minister by the power of 'the' Spirit. The world runs on natural 'talent' boosted by pride. The Kingdom of God runs on 'weakness' boosted by God's Spirit. The cause and effect are totally different. Paul said, "I will boast in my weakness."

Spirit skilled!

Study the scriptures below. Read about Bezalel. See how God just gave him the skill he needed to function, and the gift was Spiritual, not physical.

Exodus 31:1-12, NIV

1 Then the LORD said to Moses,

2 "See I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,

3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts--

4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze,

5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship.

6 Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you:

7 the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the Testimony with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent--

8 the table and its articles, the pure gold lamp stand and all its accessories, the altar of incense,

9 the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand--

10 and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests,

11 and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them just as I commanded you."

Exodus 35:30-35, NIV
30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, "See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,
31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts--
32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze,
33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship.
34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. (Teaching is a God given gift)
35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers--all of them master craftsmen and designers.

Exodus 36:1, NIV
1 So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the LORD has commanded."

Note: Only the skilled! These guys had been slaves for 400 years, making bricks! Have you ever shaken hands with a man who works with bricks? Calloused fingers are not what's needed for fine inlay work, and embroidery! God can work with any material, but He chooses the most unlikely every time!

These scriptures make the point. When God calls He enables, and it's only His 'bit' that counts. That way He gets the glory, not us. Check your heart to see where the glory goes when you listen to your favourite albums!

So, how do you choose?

Go into any Christian book shop and look at the music section. You will see tapes and CDs galore. Which are the anointed ones? It's impossible to tell by looking. Only listening will tell you. You can't listen to all of them in the shop, and you certainly can't buy them all to listen at home, (that really would make the Record companies day). So you make a choice based on either the artist, the cover, the title etc. Having a favourite artist or strong musical taste is no guarantee of anointing, and titles and pictures only say what the designers want you to hear.

Anointing is discerned, but we have proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we, the church, have precious little discernment when it comes to music. The book shop wall full of the stuff is proof of that. Musical taste is no yard stick by which to judge anything. It is flesh based not spirit based. I sight the loss of some of the 'great' hymns as evidence of this, simply because of the 'ancient' sounding music. (Have you noticed how jazzing up the old hymns doesn't work? It only takes away their majesty.) Musical taste dictates. That's the problem, it should be the message (lyrics) that dictate not the music.

How to know the difference.

1.Anointing will always point you to God without compromise. The Spirit of God has no other message, or function. Whether live on the platform or recorded on CD, the anointing will take you into God's presence.

2.True anointing will use the name Jesus a lot, not something you see so much of these days in so called contemporary Christian music. Veiled messages are not from the Spirit of God.

3.Beware of religion that speaks about God (never Jesus), angels and the like, but doesn't lead you into God's presence.

4.Religion 'sings' head knowledge, anointing 'sings' heart relationship.
Flesh will tend to point to flesh, or to some abstract subject loosely related to God. "Spirit gives birth to Spirit, but flesh to flesh" John 3. The Holy Spirit will Never give you a veiled massage.

Heart change:

We desperately need a change of heart concerning music. The only things that are good for us, are anointed things. We wouldn't listen to non anointed teaching tapes, and yes, most of us can tell whether teaching is anointed or not. We've learned to discern teaching, but, up until now, no one has shouted out that we need to learn to discern anointing on music. Well, I'm SHOUTING!

The Word is supreme!

Our attitude has been, and still is, that 'the word' is sacrosanct. No one is allowed to 'mess' with 'the word'. I'm talking about the preach you understand, not "The Word", which can be quite a different thing. Pastors listen intently as 'the word' is preached, or testimony is given. They don't want anything false to be 'said' to the congregation, but those same pastors will allow almost anything to be sung by almost anyone!

The problem is we don't understand the power of music, and songs have 'words' in them! We tend to look on music as being benign, but it isn't, it's lethal. It has a power far beyond the spoken word, (not Word!), a power even without words to influence the mind. Music can very easily control the emotions. Imagine a Dracula film without any music, or the Jaws films without the now famous musical call sign of the great white! Play without the lyrics, "We'll meet again", and all those old enough will go right back to world war 2, and the memories will be as fresh as if it all happened yesterday. I tell you, music can be lethal.


Music has the ability to implant thoughts and ideas into the mind. It can also strengthen or weaken whatever is already there. You may have heard of the Ozzy Osbourne case in America, where a young lad blew his brains out while listening to Ozzy's song, "Suicide Solution." The parents rushed into the lads room to find him dead, with the record still playing. The parents sued, but lost the case, as well as a son. Music is lethal. The guy who shot John Lennon claimed that he heard voices on a Beetles record that told him to carry out the murder. He heard voices all right, demonic voices, and music was the vehicle used to penetrate his mind. That's a really good way of describing the power of music. It can penetrate the mind!

If you want someone to learn something, get them to sing it. This is a tried and tested truth. The Jews learn the Torah by singing it. What better way for the devil to introduce lies into people than getting them to sing them? You know he's doing it all the time, look at the pop charts. The only (slight) blessing is that you often can't hear the words, although it seems that young people can 'hear' or 'make them out' better than the older folk, something to do with being young, (counts me out!). The words carry the message, and music unlocks the door to the mind to let that message in. Wesley understood this very well. He used the popular tunes of the day to carry the Bible message into the minds of the believers. Get them to sing it and it will sink in!

The unexpected:

Music is used to manipulate people in everyday life. Go into your average supermarket and there's music playing. Always soft, gentle, middle of the road stuff. It's there to relax you as you shop. As you relax, you slow down, and as you slow down you see more produce and are tempted to buy more. This 'trick' is used in conjunction with the shelf moving 'trick'. Have you noticed how every few weeks or months they move everything around? They say it's to make the store more efficient, and in a way that's the truth. What actually happens is this. You can't find what you're looking for so you look harder, and hence, see more, and hence are tempted to buy more, which makes the store more efficient. At taking your money that is. Everything they say and do is motivated by profit, Mammon. There's no benevolence in business. The same is true of lifts (more so in America), planes, and other stressful places. Music is used as a calming influence.

Contrast that with young people's fashion shops. The music there is used to identify people types. In a way, the music they use acts as a barrier or filter. How many people over 30 do you see at raves? So, by using the same type of music in the store, they are identifying with a particular age group to the exclusion of others. Try going in one of those places and see how it affects you. You feel so uncomfortable that you leave quickly. Not so those who frequent raves, they feel right at home and so stay longer. The music matches the style of clothes they're trying to sell, and they know who will and will not buy them. It's like filtering out vegetarians from the meat section of a supermarket, you just know they're not going to buy anything.

Wining about it:

I recently heard of an experiment carried out by one of the leading stores. It was in the wine department. What they did was to stock the shelves equally with Both French & German wines. On day one they played 'German' music (whatever that is), and they noticed that the German wine out sold the French wine by almost two to one. On day two they played French music (allo allo). Guess what happened, yes, the French wine out sold the German wine by a similar margin. So, if you go into your local store and you hear French music playing, you'll know that they over stocked on French wine again. Well, it illustrates the point. Music has an effect on us full stop. You don't have to be listening to it intently. This is power!

Backwards masking:

I've included this for the sake of passing on as much information as I can. There's no doubt in scripture that Lucifer was created with music as part of his being. The Bible also tells us that he was anointed too! There are other facets of his being that give insight to what he is now, for instance, he was created bright, hence the name 'star of the morning', even shining one. He can masquerade as an angel of light, but his domain is now called darkness. God rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son He loves. He was created anointed, which translates as 'to cover' (it actually means 'with outstretched wings'!). So from covering, or being as it were, 'over' the throne of God, he is now beneath, (even our feet are higher than the devil). He was created by the Truth, to minister in truth, but has became the father of lies, for there is no Truth in him. I say all this to show you that the devil is the opposite of what he was created to be. Even his name, in Hebrew, Heyleyll, which means praise, has become opposite, Apollyon, the accuser. Accusation is the opposite of praise. One speaks well of you, the other doesn't! So, it's no surprise to find that the devil has reversed all that is godly. Hate instead of love, darkness instead of light, rebellion instead of submission, lies instead of truth etc. etc.

Apply that to language and you get what the Satanists do, they speak backwards! So, while the forward message on a recording may well be bad enough, the one in reverse will always be worse. Not every record has a backwards message of course, but some do. I've heard some backwards masking, both human and demonic, it does exist. There's a law in America now to prevent artists from putting backwards messages on their albums, and it's banned from advertising too. But the devil doesn't obey human laws. Neither does he need a studio to do the masking. The human stuff can be disregarded, it has no power at all, but the real stuff is dangerous. True, some folk seem to be more susceptible to it than others, but when it's there it's there for a reason, and that reason is demonic.

In the real stuff, the backwards words are not formed just by human speech being played backwards. It is formed by all the recorded sounds, hence the 'voice' if you will, has an eerie effect. It really makes the hairs on the back of your neck go funny. Also, the real stuff is always against God! And uses language that most rock band members wouldn't know (or be able to spell!). Also it speaks sentences, not just the odd word which would be impossible to fake. It really is language, not just haphazard coincidence.

Don't waste your time looking for this stuff. The devil really likes us to 'chase' him and his so called secrets. Just know that on some recordings it is there, and it does have an effect on those who listen to it.

Why go on about it?

Well, some Christians see nothing wrong in listening to 'secular' music. They don't seem to appreciate that the devil is having direct input into their supposedly sanctified minds. It's called the 'ear gate'. They obviously elevate their desire for music above their desire for God, because God said, "come out from among them. Touch no unclean thing....". And secular music is not just unclean, it's filthy. Its message is filthy, its intent is filthy, its originator is filthy, its purpose i.e. fame and fortune, is filthy. And don't limit your thinking to that nasty pop music! All music was pop music at some time. Classical, Middle of the road, Jazz etc. etc. It's all the same. It's the same spirit of the world in classical as in heavy rock. Ever since Adam and Eve's first bite that spirit has been loose in the world.

James 1:27, NIV

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 4:4, NIV
4 You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

1 John 2:15, NIV
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

I just thought I'd throw in a few scriptures to make a point. Having the devil as a friend doesn't compensate for having God as an enemy. On the other hand, having the devil as an enemy is no problem at all when you have God as a friend.

Getting back to secular music. There's absolutely no excuse for Christians to 'crave' secular music these days, because the Record companies have seen to it that every 'type' of 'secular' music has been copied in every detail for you to buy and flesh out on. Music was created for God's glory, full stop!

I did intend to write about the use of music in the church, but as usual the Lord has had His way. That means I've got to write another one now!

Praise God forever,