Poetry With A Mission

...a thought provoking poetical exercise.

"Guard your steps when you go to the house of God; to draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know that they are doing evil" (Eccl 5:1, RSV).

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of God” (Gal 1:10, NIV).

“ ‘No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to the one and despise the other...’ ” (Matt 6:24, ESV).

“All the leading priests and the people also were exceedingly unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations; and they polluted the house of the Lord that He had consecrated in Jerusalem. The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent persistently to them by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising His words, and scoffing at His prophets...” (2 Chron 36:14-16).

“And said to him, ‘Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of those who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it. Cut down old men, young men and young women, little children and women, but touch no one who has the mark. And begin at my sanctuary’ ” (Ezek 9:4,6).

“I the Lord do not change…” (Mal 3:6, NIV).

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” (Heb 12:28, NIV).

“God is greatly to be feared [reverenced, respected] in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him” (Ps 89:7).

“...Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?” (1Cor 5:6, NIV).

“Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps [their worship was unacceptable to the Lord]” (Amos 5:23).

“Abstain from all appearance of evil [lest you misrepresent God]” (1 Thess 5:22, KJV).

Should I Go Or Should I Stay?

If any wrong ever occurs, Lord, when I’m in Your sanctuary,
Should I still remain inside the church or simply wait outside with Thee?
That I would find You waiting outside, Lord, seems more like the case to me,
Because I just can’t imagine that I would find You where wrong would be.

Now, perhaps it might upset some people should back out I choose to go,
But could I by remaining in there, an acceptance of some wrong show?
And so, I can’t help feeling certain that upsetting some folk would be
Far better than staying inside and maybe more so upsetting Thee.

I admit that it's also crossed my mind that to stay inside might be
Better than to go back out lest those involved take it personally.
But would I thereby be endangering, through a form of compromise,
My very own belief and practice, Lord, which might lead to my demise.

The Scriptures say that a little yeast will leaven a batch of dough,
And so it is with compromise, for here too, a little sees more grow.
And so, could we if we give an inch soon find that we have lost a mile,
And thereby, even more so, Your set apart sanctuary defile?

I know that a church is simply a building, but we’re there to worship You,
And anywhere that we do worship You, it’s a sacred thing we do.
For You're a God who’s very Holy, and thus whose righteousness requires
A worship that’s in line with everything a Holy God desires.

We’re effectively in Your very presence, Lord, when we worship You,
Along with any Holy angels who're joining us in worship too.
Therefore, would these angels who adore You, remain if You’re offended,
And thus should any Christian either who’ve their life to You surrendered?

You see, Lord, these things that need avoidance can occur so frequently,
And especially that laughter that in Holy worship shouldn't be.
And along with this, Lord, there is clapping, certain music, skits and clowns,
That compromise saw creep in 'till it now in church and worship abounds.

You showed Your great displeasure when Your appointed temple priests of old
Took what You had sanctified, set apart, and wrong with it tried to mould.
By mixing the secular and Holy, the strong lesson they soon learned
Was that content  certainly is an issue as far as You’re concerned.

But though it’s content that offends, even churches too one should respect,
For they’ve been dedicated to Holy usage, that You, Lord, expect.
And rightly so, so nothing that’s not sacred should occur within at all,
For each church is a Christian witness that You upon this earth install.

The Scriptures show that where there is any wrong, Christians shouldn't remain,
For oft through remaining, folk embrace such, or end up with some stain.
However, where there’s wrong in worship, surely less so one should stay,
As here, offence gets very personal, for with You Yourself, they play.

And therefore, surely Your displeasure, oft seen before, is just as strong
 When any content surfaces that in Your own time and house is wrong.
Such incurred Your wrath before, and we know that You certainly don’t change,
And that Your principles of worship, are hardly ours to rearrange.

And I’m very aware that who I please, Lord, should first of all be Thee,
Especially in worship, lest there, I offend You personally.
Hence the following question, (given that it's You I wish to obey):
Where any content may well offend You, should I go or should I stay?

By Lance Landall

This poem was upgraded on the 9 May 2016.

2.  And All That Jazz

The other day, Lord, and within a church, I saw a pianist, he singing too,
The song a Christian one, but he playing jazz, a genre that I’ve oft listened to.
Yes, I know it well, Lord, but wouldn’t dream of such in a church-cum-sanctuary,
And the reason why being, because it’s so worldly and affects me sensually.

What do I mean, Lord? Well, it draws my attention to a cosy fire and soft lights,
Female company too, hence why anything but the spiritual’s in my sights.
And that is why it concerns me, Lord, I trying to focus on You come worship,
And hopefully not distracted by what’s entertaining, kind of smooth, cool-cum-hip.

Otherwise, Lord, my mind will still be caught up in the world, from which I’m to depart,
Only love for You and all that is heavenly beating in my sanctified heart.
Not some fusion that has more to do with confusion, and that waywardness of man,
That way back in Eden, and come those ego stroking words of the devil, began.

Yes, there he was, Lord, where each pastor’s meant to impart Your will-cum-sound instruction,
A stained glass window and pipe organ at odds with his seductive introduction.
And I imagining Satan grinning like before, and shouting, “Another success!”
He having muscled in again on Your territory, Lord, man having said, “Yes.”

Thus no lofty praise ascended, but some concoction at odds with a night club too,
For there, no one wants to hear songs about You, the air oft hazy, boozy and blue.
And he, almost caressing the mike with his lips, singing as if to some female,
One that he fancied, and I thinking, “When will godly wisdom once again prevail?”

And will it, Lord? — for such surely can’t be right, and thus most displeasing in Your sight,
As doesn't such war with the heavenly, for what has darkness in common with light?
And though jazz appeals to me, it belongs to that pop, Rock and country family,
Each of its members born on Earth, they the creation of fallen humanity.

And given how much we love music, Lord, we suckers for whatever pulls our strings,
And given we’re fallen, more so that which is earthly, which we call groovy-cum-swings.
All why jazz in a church or come worship worries me, for You, Lord, are so Holy,
And surely why things should be very different come some church-cum-sanctuary.

By Lance Landall

"Much of the singing in certain types of meetings has in it more of romance than it has of the Holy Ghost. Both words
music are designed to rouse the libidinous. Christ is courted with a familiarity that reveals a total ignorance of who
He is.
It is not the reverent intimacy of the adoring saint but the impudent familiarity of the carnal lover"
A. W. Tozer

3.  God's Not Into Cocktails

Take sacred music and add to it the usual rhythms of a drum-kit,
And you’ve a fusion, the sacred having been diluted, and it now unfit.
’Cause at the end of the day, the sacred is supposed to be the sacred, and,
It therefore something set apart, kept untainted, free from any straying hand.

And surely that makes sense, the sacred either sacred or not, and if it’s not,
Then there’s something about it that isn’t right that even non-Christians can spot.
Something that’s familiar to them, the sacred’s difference not as striking,
But more just religious, than anything, from which more secular vibes can spring.

Take a cup of pure water, tip some Coca-Cola in it, and pure it’s not,
Because just like God’s Holy Word tells us, a little leaven affects the lot.
And so it is when that body stirring beat machine is strangely employed here,
It acting corrosively, so at odds with worship that Holy angels share.

And this why,

God has drawn a line of separation between the Holy and unholy,
Lest the distinction between the two be lost sight of, sadly, soiled or muddied.
And this also why those biblical distinctions should be carefully studied,
God’s Word never about blends, cocktails, but clear demarcation lines lest one offends.

For just like Coca-Cola offends the body with its sugar and caffeine,
So too worldly rhythms offend the body of Christ, He who shuns the unclean.
And unclean both worship and sacred music becomes where drum-kits share that scene,
For they belong to Earth alone, Heaven knowing nothing of that beat machine,

Those forbidden cocktails.

By Lance Landall

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light and light for darkness;
that put bitter for sweet, and set sweet for bitter!” (Isa 5:20, KJV).

4.  Biblical Worship Principles

We go to church for Christ’s sake, He alone worthy of worship, not any man,
And Christ also a Holy being, musical cocktails not part of His plan.
Hence why He said, “Don’t be ensnared by copying pagans, for their ways aren’t Mine,”
And why biblically He has drawn a very solid demarcation line.

Therefore, worship music shouldn’t copy worldly styles, sounds and lyrics, nor
Should it draw attention to singers or musicians — it God we’re to adore.
All why that croony, mike kissing, affected singing, and body stirring beat,
Should never be heard or seen within any church, for such is how God we cheat.

God hardly wants Christians reminded of the world when they’re engaged in worship,
Hence why when it comes to the Church He’s head of, He wants it run like a tight ship.
In other words, each church and every member adhering to set guidelines,
Biblical worship principles designed to sanctify carnal hearts and minds.

And you know, some instruments standing out like sore thumbs in God’s sanctuary,
Their crass, worldly and corruptive associations sneering devilishly.
And the devil is well pleased by such, for corrupted worship and heresy
Are everything he’s into, hence those drum-kits and rock guitars we now see.

Yes, such embodying the spirit of rebellion, that back seat rock ‘n’ roll,
All why we’re told that Babylon’s musicians are digging themselves a hellhole.
And this why worship principles apply wherever worship is conducted,
For not just that set apart building’s soiled, but worship itself corrupted.

When it comes to the world and God, it’s really all about difference, you see,
Hence why we’re told to come out of the world, copying it thus hypocrisy.
And more so in that set apart time and building where God’s given the glory,
Though what we’re seeing today is often conveying quite another story.

This also why we shouldn’t try to reach folk via means that aren’t biblical,
Our trust being in God and His Word which the Spirit will convict of and sell.
We thus not using the theatrical, the entertaining, nor clapping too,
For such belongs to worldly, immoral venues where seekers of the flesh queue.

Bear in mind that Babylon stands for confusion, a Holy, unholy mix,
Something that’s gone astray, hence those generic words, sexy twangs, loin-stirring sticks.
Yes, Christians too long in the world, their discernment blunted, their path more hellbound,
And why within each church, only that which uplifts and not reminds, should be found.

By Lance Landall

"So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence...And the sound of
harpers and minstrels, of flute players and trumpeters shall be heard in
thee no more..." (Rev 18:21,22, RSV).

"Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, 'Come out of her [Babylon], my people,
lest you take part in her sins,
lest you share in her plagues' " (Rev 18:4, RSV).

5.  Music's Not Amoral

If one thing’s clear, it’s that music isn’t amoral, such nonsense having been plucked out of the air, sadly,
Yes, it more falsehood courtesy of liberality — so, what’s with that argument to the contrary?
Well, that’s all it is, an argument — in other words, not fact — for even sense says that such couldn’t be fact,
Hence the music we hear that’s been designed to create a certain atmosphere, or that’s behind those who act.

Sure each single note may be innocent —do, ra, me, fa so, la, ti — but they don’t stay innocent for long,
Given that they’re mostly strung together, emphasised in some way, and more often ordered around some song.
Hence all those combinations, those cords, changes of key, and different rhythms — mood changers, effectively —
Which have folk feeling this way or that — and where the devil’s concerned, we’re largely talking sensuality.

Oh yes, how he loves to appeal to the loins, how he loves to arouse those feelings that are low and earthly,
For such draws our attention away from the heavenly — thus enter same music in the sanctuary,
And no surprises here, for Satan’s not happy with sacred music, music dedicated to our Lord,
Hence why within Christian worship there have been striking changes in instruments, and in rhythm, key and cord.

Oh yes, no surprises here, for as God’s Word predicted, most Christians have become increasingly worldly,
And as a consequence of their lowered standards-cum-tastes, have demanded such within the sanctuary.
Such paralleling the apostasies of ancient Israel, they adulterating holy worship too,
Which wasn’t right then and isn’t right now, for holy worship is exactly that, and a holy God too.

Hence why Christian music should have a certain sound, an appropriate rhythm that is free of loin type beat,
Yes, a combination-cum-melody that’s wholesome and uplifting, and lyrics that God’s approval meet,
They not generic, but Scripture-cum-God focussed and based, and they free of those vain repetitions as well,
Or to put it another way, music that via its sound and words shouts that it’s Christian, and thus seen to gel.

Hence why it’s time folk stopped misinterpreting Scripture, a prime example being Psalms one hundred and fifty,
For there, David’s conveying nothing about instruments or venue, but just speaking figuratively.
His point? That God’s deserving of the praise of everything that lives and breathes, anytime, anyplace, and everywhere,
Which we know is true, but not sullied praise — a holy and unholy mix — for such God refuses to hear.

And once again, sense conveys this, for God has His demarcation lines, lines that are seen all throughout His Word,
But no, come the modern-day Christian, and just like with ancient Israel, certain departures and blends are preferred.
Yes, a stubborn people He called them, too used to their Egyptian ways, and only prepared to go so far,
They wanting both Heaven and Earth, like most today, hence why in worship we see that drum-kit and rock guitar.

By Lance Landall

6.  It's Not Just The Lyrics But The Sound

Yes, rock music wise, it’s not just the lyrics but the sound, it anti-Christian,
A sound that belongs to the realm of demons who love any kind of sin.
And therefore, there is no such thing as Christian rock, such but an oxymoron, and
A serious effrontery to God who the unholy in church has banned.

Yes, it’s not just the lyrics but the sound, earthly as it gets, the flesh on speed,
Rebellion having exchanged beauty for ugliness, and how it sows its seed.
The world awash with it, it recognisable to all, and why it shouldn’t be
Backing Christian lyrics, nor coming from within a church built for the holy.

And with its rebellious sound, instruments designed to oblige, purposely made,
And used to maximum benefit too, when out in the world they should have stayed.
But no, in they come, along with whatever else pleases the Constantine crowd,
The blenders of the holy and unholy, their blasphemy both bold and loud.

And Satan hysterical with demonic glee, a sight that he’d hoped to see,
Too bad about not drinking from both the devil’s cup and the Lord’s cup, sadly.
The Israelites did it, the Constantine lot, and now it’s Christians at it too,
They not content with just the one Master, but so obviously courting two.

And the world can see this, it wondering what’s going on, Christians selling out,
Because shouldn’t there be a difference, and thus why the change that’s come about?
Yes, and many Christians wondering too given that the Bible’s clear enough,
But not to the liberal set who’ve been far to busy reading other stuff,

Like what he’s got to say, or she’s got to say, everyone an authority,
Or nodding their fickle heads and saying, “Yes, that makes a lot of sense to me.”
That “me” always being the problem, thus what’s outside the church, they want within,
And why instead of a holy exercise, there’s but a smorgasbord of sin.

Can’t Christ have something that is His alone, certain things how He wants them to be,
Or do we always have to rain on His parade, settle for apostasy,
That copycat mentality, those excuses that have all been heard before,
And how rock is offending the Rock, it’s rebellious sound worldly to the core.

By Lance Landall

7.  Satan's Puppet Musicians

"So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence...And the sound of
harpers and minstrels, of flute players and trumpeters shall be heard in
thee no more..." (Rev 18:21,22, RSV).

Whether Babylon be the world, or it representative of denominational apostasy,
Or everything that’s false and corrupt, we’re told via Scripture that it’s musicians will not see eternity.
And the reason why they won’t is, because both they and Babylon are going to be destroyed very shortly,
Which is why Christians are being warned to come out of this Babylon, its musicians fuelling its anarchy.

In other words, its rebellion, for it’s clearly in opposition to God’s will, and it a parallel,
For it’s akin to that Babylon of old where all were forced to worship an "image" — remember Daniel?
And such we’ll see again, for we’re told that another power will shortly force all to do the same, foolishly,
It also using Satan’s puppet musicians, they like little drummer boys, fuelling its apostasy.

And as I understand it, they being those Christians who’ve adulterated any Christian sanctuary,
They defiling worship with their ungodly drums and rock guitars, sounds that are anything but heavenly.
In other words, a beat that appeals to the physical, stirring the loins rather than the head and the heart,
Or to put it another way, a contemporary music that when it comes to worship is worlds apart.

Yes, musicians that boogie down, rap it, jazz it, cabaret-like croon it, or anything else it, sadly,
They clearly ignorant of what a holy, righteous God desires and requires, or such choosing not to see.
They only interested in a worldly version of worship of which God won’t have a bar of, hence their end,
For such a self-pleasing worldly-cum-corrupted form of worship can only but our holy God offend.

And why I personally believe that Babylon represents apostasy within Christianity,
An apostasy like that which occurred within ancient Israel, once a holy, righteous theocracy.
That being, as opposed to worldly nations with their mixed multitude, and all manner of abominations,
Many of them now being found within the Christian Church, with its forbidden political aspirations.

And that is where the forced worship of Revelation’s “image of the beast” will come in, eventually,
Fuelled by those puppet musicians, they like those on the plains of Dura, paganistically bold and brassy.
And hence God’s coming wrath, for Babylon-cum-the “image to the beast”-cum-the “false prophet” will be destroyed,
But not before Satan’s worldwide counterfeit religious movement and persecuting measures are employed.

Yes, the connection with ancient Babylon is unmistakable, musicians busy at work there too,
For Satan appeals to the senses, has Christians going by their feelings rather than God’s Word, which they’ll rue.
Well, eventually, that is — when their hollow, false and corrupted worship is exposed for what it is,
For had they truly consulted God’s Word, they would know that any power behind their workings isn’t His.

Though God does attempt to bring good out of bad.

No, when it comes to worship, what’s done before our holy God must be in accordance with the heavenly,
Which translated means: Music that’s untainted, its lyrics, style and sound far removed from that which is worldly.
Such being plain common sense, as we live in a fallen world that we're told to come out of, and very quickly,
For according to God’s Holy Word, those who don’t are doomed, they puppets and slaves of our old adversary.

By Lance Landall

“Rock has always been the devil’s music, you can’t convince me that it isn’t. I honestly believe everything I’ve said—I believe rock and roll is dangerous. … I feel that we’re only heralding something even darker than ourselves.”
David Bowie (1947-2016)
Rolling Stone, February 12, 1976, p. 83

"Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, 'Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues' " (Rev 18:4, RSV).

"Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the second coming] will not come unless the apostasy comes first..." (2 Thess 2:3, NASB).

"Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe" (Heb 12:28, ESV).

" You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the Lord and the table of demons" (1 Cor 10:21, RSV).

"And He taught, and said to them, 'Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations' " (Mark 11:17, RSV).

Note also Ezek 9:4,6; 22:26; Amos 5:23; Isa 56:10; 2 Chron 36:14-16; Rev 7:11; 5:14; Deut 12:2-4,30,31; Ps 96:9; 5:7; 89:7; 95:6; Hab 2:20; James 1:7.

Also note Revelation 19:20 and chapter 13, especially verses 11-18.

8.  An Organ Please

I love the piano, but give me an organ any day,
That is, when it comes to my church and my weekly worship day.
For organs have a depth and warmth more befitting such a time,
Where heads are bowed in reverence and praises upward climb.

Yes, the reason why I have a problem with a piano,
Is because they’re far too carefree, bright, even somewhat shallow.
Sure how they’re played can make a difference here, but even so,
That sound that aids the Holy those well-played organs better know.

By Lance Landall

9.  Just Bricks And Mortar?

A church is just bricks and mortar, they say — oh, how wrong they are! — for it’s a symbol in an evil world, and,
One that should fly like a flag — yes, a Christian witness that should dot every town and city throughout each land.
Yes, badges pinned upon Earth’s green breast, pennants amidst the pagan hordes, and there, pointing to the Creator,
And hence those attempts to silence their proclamation — such engineered by a devilish operator.

One who wants to see them somehow removed, or exchanged for a common building, hence those arguments we hear,
And those worldly sounds and activities now coming from churches, that once, folk would never dream of or dare.
For where else is respect for the sacred learnt — that is, in a tangible way, and far more so children wise,
Thus, is it any wonder that less respect for sacred times, and certain set-aside-things, is on the rise.

Yes, our God’s a jealous God, who desires that certain things be set aside just for Him; thus making things clear,
That being, that there’s a time and a place — and such being, worship and that churchy building-cum-certain atmosphere.
And nothing aids such more than a quiet sanctuary, a “house of prayer,” one that’s architecturally designed,
That is, with our God in mind, hence those stained glass windows and so on, that focus and keep the sacred in mind.

Yes, it’s only when a church looks different that it stands out, just like a mosque does, so obvious to all,
And by that I’m meaning, unmistakably so, thus most unlike a commercial building, a house or hall.
Such don’t display a distinct sacred purpose; a place where only spiritual exercises should occur,
Thus ensuring that some wrong mixture, or common building, our purpose, witness and identity doesn’t blur.

Just bricks and mortar? No, light-years from such.

By Lance Landall

10.  Don't Foul The Sacred

There’s nothing in the Bible about worship being fun, unless one’s getting confused with some celebration-
Cum-festival, as such events were part and parcel of the ancient and religious Israelite nation.
So where did the idea of introducing fun into worship come from? Certainly not the apostles,
But rather, the modern money changers, they effectively taking their cue from Satan — hence all those ills.

You see, wherever there is wrong, you’ll find Satan, (whether folk realise this or not), and hence the need for care,
Especially when it comes to worship, for oh, how he likes to interfere with that sacred atmosphere.
And he does so via the likes of those who think that worship should be fun, they introducing what’s not holy,
And such being that which has no place in worship-cum-the dedicated to sacred exercises sanctuary.

Yes, such is what worship and churches are all about — holy exercises — nothing more and nothing less,
Hence why in regards to either, there’s no mention of fun in the Bible, for such God can’t condone nor bless.
No, worship and fun are world’s apart, and likewise a church, hence why halls are often attached, which all makes sense,
As worship is a holy affair, and God a holy God, who at such disrespect here, takes great offence.

A church wasn’t meant to be a theatre, concert venue, or entertainment centre, and rightly so,
As such detracts from worship’s purpose, blurs critical distinctions, trivialises and cheapens, and wrongly so.
For both worship and church are for God-centred adoration, (and not for self-centred gratification),
They both being a time and place for serious but joyful praise, study, instruction, prayer and quiet contemplation.

We need to remember that God hasn’t changed, and should be worshiped as if we’re in His very presence, and
That wherever worship takes place, the same principles apply, and that angels are no doubt close at hand.
Thus, whether in a field or church, worship is worship, and we there to do just that — yes, worship and not play —
Which harks right back to creation where God rested on the seventh day and then hallowed that very same day...

A day He set apart as holy, one that wasn't for work or play, He having given man the other six,
And so it is with worship, for it’s His time, and not our time, and why His things and our things we’re not to mix.
And to be honest, only the selfish would, (not to mention the errant), for we’ve got our own time and place,
Not that we should err there either, for we’re His ambassadors, who only what’s right should pursue or embrace.

When the Israelites mixed heathen elements into their worship, they incurred God’s wrath, and so will we too,
As such results in a blemished offering, we acting like Cain rather than Able, and like Satan too,
For Satan loves to mix error with truth, defile all that is sacred, and deprive God of any glory,
Of which he has been very successful, thanks to that selfishness-cum-rebelliousness of humanity.

So no, don't foul the sacred.

By Lance Landall

"Oh, how unlike the complex works of man
Heaven's easy, artless, unencumbered plan!
No meretricious graces to beguile,
No clustering ornaments to clog the pile,
From ostentation, as from weakness, free,
Majestic in its own simplicity."
William Cowper (1731-1800)

11.  There Once Was A Church

A church on Earth was built for Jesus, and dedicated to Him, He its head,
It a Holy house of worship where a reverent flock was prudently fed.
Yes, it set aside for a jealous God, praise and repentant prayers ascending,
Nothing worldly, self-centred, egotistical or corrupted offending.

And Christ was pleased, that little flock richly blessed, a godly spectacle to all,
Stained glass windows and a steeple not confusing their church with a common hall.
And come each worship day, each member was dressed as if they were meeting a king,
And clutching a treasured guidebook, its Author the way, truth and life, everything!

Thus they a very discerning people — Bereans, in fact — moral and true,
Their uncompromising stand, love and good deeds legendary, thus nought askew.
All why others were drawn to those same church doors where refrains were sweet and lofty,
Where the continuity and cumulative witness of Scripture spoke clearly.

However, something changed, though not all of a sudden, but incrementally,
A few not happy about Christ having it all His own way, effectively.
So come their worship time and that church built for Jesus, and changes were soon seen,
Worldly sounds, acts and things where only heavenly sounds, acts and things should’ve been,

And thus the distinction between the fallen and unfallen no longer seen.

And all Christ had asked for was a house and day — the latter a tenth of the week,
So to speak — where His followers would forsake their things and Him and His things seek.
And this, in a building that shouted Christianity, it clear and distinct,
It set apart from the world, and thus the Holy and unholy not being linked.

And Jesus having every right to expect such, He being righteous and Holy,
And their creator, their life in His nail pierced hands, they dependant on His mercy.
And hey, weren't they living and breathing due to Him? And thus He due the glory,
Glory expressed via the total surrender of self — and such once the story.

But now — schisms — many good folk leaving, unity disrupted by desire,
And thus that love that had once burned no longer there for onlookers to admire.
But rather, a form of godliness, a counterfeit moving of the Spirit,
Where an oft trance-like state and shallowness assaulted that parish once close-knit.

And now, where once there was a thirst for truth, selfless prayers and quiet meditation,
Far less Bibles were seen, and folk more prone to some faulty interpretation.
In other words, feelings rather than God’s Word having gained the ascendancy,
And those in attendance now justifying their sins, they rougher and rowdy.

And in time, up went a For Sale sign, the churchy feel having lost its appeal, and,
Something far less churchy was purchased; choirs and organs being swapped for a band.
And folk having turned their old church into a house, laughter and parties within,
And thus that building that once was Christ’s now bearing the hallmarks of Satan’s grin.

Oh, how Satan loves to take that which is Christ’s and soil, alter or remove it,
Convincing some that the apostles got it all wrong; hence how they dig their pit.
For God has told us that He doesn't change, that His disciples were Spirit led,
And that those who proclaim another gospel are cursed, and they not Spirit led.

As for that new place and errant people, who knows? Food and costumes in and out,
Folk entertained more than informed, and they drifting further from the truth, no doubt.
And Christ feeling betrayed, Holy angels no longer moving amidst the aisles,
But demons dancing to the beat of a different drum, and full of smiles.

No, can’t drink from both the cup of our Lord’s and that of the devil, believe me,
Which God tried to teach His rebellious people long ago, but what do we see?
Yes, Christians repeating history, many blindly fulfilling prophecy,
And why Christ will have no option but to one day say to them, “Depart from Me,
Ye who work iniquity.”

By Lance Landall

12.  Why Liberal Churches May Appear To Do Well

It’s simple.

They downplay God’s requirements, fudge that "Go and sin no more" — yes, hold certain things back,
And adopt worldly ways, sounds and means — enter the broad road and not Christ’s narrow track.
Belief in Christ sufficient, so in come many with things they should’ve left behind,
And why in time a polluted, sloppy, errant church and man-made worship we find,

Satan thus having gained access, and sound doctrine and holiness far from his mind.

And therefore within, many a green Christian, uninformed, lulled and unaware, who,
Were they told the truth about all God’s requirements, would run out shouting, “No thank you!”
Well, most of them, no doubt, God’s gift of grace being fine but righteousness less appealing,
And hence why each church should be upfront, the Christian walk an act and not a feeling.

And churches not entertainment centres, but houses of prayer and deep devotion,
They set apart for a jealous God who has always condemned self and commotion;
Yes, those scenes where a hunger for truth is missing, and heartfelt obedience too,
And where rather than reverence, there’s a casualness that is rude and askew.

Yes, on the surface things look fine, community deeds ensuring warm fuzzies too,
But God not amused; and under the sun, (Cain’s flawed offering in mind), nothing new.
It clear that man has a penchant for repeating the past, thinking that he knows best,
And why much that is going down in churches today isn’t what the Lord has blessed.

Hence why liberal churches aren’t into the straight word, certain truths being hard to sell,
Thus they settling for what will go down much better and their congregation swell.
And here they displease God again, He who wants all to know His truths, ways and will,
Whether such be received with thanksgiving or shunned by a voice that’s caustic and shrill.

Yes, God's into quality, not quantity, the numbers game being a travesty.

The upshot of this being that many in churches aren't looking at eternity,
But a very sad "Depart from Me," and this, despite their hard out activity.
And the reason being that God knows they'll fail the acid test, that "I surrender all,"
Sin and man's way still having a say; their self-focussed liberality a gall.

Yes, the commitment of many Christians only goes so far, and tread on their toe,
And oh, how they behave so un-Christ-like, and out of their church may be seen to go.
For oft their spiritual muscles are weak, or they just there for the ride, the fun,
And why the Father's given the role of judging to the head of the Church, His Son.

By Lance Landall

“Many [Christians] will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?’ And then will I profess unto them, ‘I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity’ ” (Matt 7:22,23, KJV).

13.  Dressed Up For Man, But Dressed Down For God

When we come together to worship God, we should dress and act as if we’re in His presence, and thereby,
Conveying the importance of the occasion, the being we’ve come to meet, who, via such, we magnify,
And also show how much He means to us, how He comes before anyone and anything, period,
Certainly in our lives, though He should in the lives of all, 'cause He’s the King of kings, the great I Am, GOD.

If only this was the way all Christians behaved, they dressed in their very best, and appropriately,
But no, far less so these days, hence that drop in standards that’s seen within most churches-cum-sanctuary.
Oh, that casual air, reverence replaced with clapping, clowns, drama, carnal beat, the trite and worldly,
All of which suggests an everyday occasion and an equally common personage, sadly.

Yes, these same ones dressing up for a meeting with an earthly king, but not for the righteous King of kings.
A president? Yes. A prime minister? Yes. A night out? Yes. But God? No, which very badly rings.
Yet all earthly kings being of pagan origin, and past kings of Israel too, effectively,
'Cause such was demanded by those jealous Israelites, and God reluctantly agreed, generously.

It seems most are more interested in that which comes from a pagan source, and not a heavenly one,
They hankering after the things of Earth which have a greater hold on them than the Father and Son.
“I want to go to heaven,” they convey, snatching at grace, but meantime are revelling in sin and mankind,
Thus showing a lukewarm condition that sickens God, a spiritually schizophrenic mind.

Yes, a divided loyalty, but is it such, given man’s getting more attention than our Saviour,
A foot in God’s camp, leg in man’s, the observer assuming hypocrisy given such behaviour.
Hence that fading and tarnished witness come worship, that casual attire, those golden calves, hoots and laughs,
And in time, those eternal graves-cum-tombstones-cum-those “I never knew you: depart from Me” epitaphs.

Yes, dressed up for man, dressed down for God, and such getting worse by the day, a selfish liberality,
Which shouts that God’s not worth the effort, excuses coming thick and fast, part thanks to new theology.
Well, last I knew, God was still “Holy, Holy, Holy,” unchangeable too, so what’s the problem with man,
Forever learning but not coming to an understanding — “Sorry, God, but we’ve got a better plan.”

And that plan's at odds with every worship principle enshrined in God’s Word, 'cause worship is worship,
Hence why “Lord God Almighty” we sing — oh, such Holy majesty, which we've no right to reduce or strip.
All why those who shame God so, and Christianity, have reason for concern, 'cause Christ will soon appear,
A God whom angels fall at the feet of, so how much more should we, showing due respect-cum-healthy fear.

By Lance Landall

This poem was upgraded 22 February 2020.

" 'I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are luke warm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth' " (Rev 3:15,16, NKJV).

“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?’ And then will I profess unto them, ‘I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity’ ” (Matt 7:22,23, KJV).

"Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe" (Heb 12:28, ESV).

"God is greatly to be feared [respected] in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him" (Ps 89:7, KJV).

"And He taught, and said to them, 'Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations' " (Mark 11:17, RSV).

“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God; to draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know that they are doing evil” (Eccl 5:1, RSV).

"But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. 'We want a king over us' "
(1 Sam 8:19, NIV).

14.  Like Or Unlike Angels Do?

Given You’re a Holy God, and to be honest, thinking things through logically,
And oh, not to mention Your majesty, Your right to be treated with dignity,
I just can’t help but draw the strong conclusion that when it comes to worshipping You,
Such shouldn’t be tainted by the wishes of any who are sitting in a pew.

Unless, of course, their wishes are in line with Your own, Lord, for they’re worshipping You,
Not man-cum-themselves, and thus anything other than Your wishes shouldn’t pursue.
And such why we need to know exactly what You desire come that worship of You,
Lest any self focus or improper activity see such going askew.

And hence why I question much that I see and hear, Lord, given that You’re so Holy,
And thus surely deserving of reverence, nothing that smacks of frivolity.
Nor anything that would remind us of or draw us to that which is worldly,
Be that via certain sounds, ways, presentations, or that which looks fallen and earthly.

Some examples? Drum-kits, Rock guitars — surely pigs in a synagogue — and there’s more,
For mixed with the beat and those sharp twangs that stir the flesh, and that one’s eyes downward draw,
Are those claps, (even gyrations), puppets, theatrical performances, laughter,
And those American Idol, Broadway or cabaret sounds, that here, surely err.

I mean, be worship in a church or a paddock, don’t same principles apply here?
And they being, those that should govern how we worship — respectfully-cum-Holy fear?
And surely You wouldn’t want anything to detract from Your serious Word, Lord,
And why it’s surely only the uncommitted who when it’s presented, get bored.

Hence why I’d much rather dwell on Your Word and bow in prayer come my worship of You,
And raise my voice in praise, my words deep and sincere, no repetitious ballyhoo.
No, no shallowness in my song choices, it clear what I believe and Whom I serve,
For You, dear Lord, only the finest, purest, and that which is free of self, deserve.

All why I’m no follower of the crowd, that confused and even rebellious scene,
That contemporary Holy and unholy mix that in churches is now seen.
And why’s it so, Lord? For aren’t You the same God, deserving of reverence and awe,
And are folk repeating history, for haven’t we read of this happening before?

Some seek to refine what they surely shouldn’t introduce, Lord, and which sounds to me
Just like a smoother-cum-more sophisticated and modern-day idolatry.
In fact, it almost seems acceptable, but knowing those worldly sounds like I do,
I can’t help but pick up on them, and why one’s mind isn’t always fully on You.

So what should I do?

By Lance Landall

"...Take care that you are not snared into imitating them..." (Deut 12:30).

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man,
I would not be a servant of Christ” (Gal 1:10, ESV).

“Guard [watch] your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools,
who do not know that they do wrong” (Eccl 5:1, NIV).

“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of
 demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy…” (1 Cor 10:20-22, ESV).

"...they [the angels] fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God” (Rev 7:11, NIV).

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Prov 14:12, NIV).

"Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable
worship, with reverence and awe" (Heb 12:28, ESV).

"So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence...And the sound of harpers and minstrels, of flute players
and trumpeters shall be heard in  
thee no more..." (Rev 18:21,22, RSV)

15.  Music Versus The Word

All those musical items during worship are somewhat bothering me,
It hardly like this in the early church, synagogue or Sanctuary.
Such purely a contemporary thing — yes — just a modern creation,
That some people are calling a Laodician accommodation.

After all, don’t we go to church to study, to hear the Word of God preached?
And with some not studying at home, perhaps that’s the only way they’re reached.
But it’s also a house of prayer, we are told, a place for meditation,
Where every Christian should humbly kneel and pray in Holy consecration.

Quite often worship seems a talent show, a concert where people applaud,
And where singers and musicians — I believe — take the spotlight off the Lord.
They’re quite entertaining, make folk feel good, create a certain atmosphere,
And I am sure that is why in the apostolic church such did not appear.

I hear some say, “Make worship relevant to the modern generation,”
But have the apostles or our Saviour given such authorization?
Should musical items or other, compete with the Word, replace the Word?
I certainly don’t think so. Such, it appears to me, is simply preferred.

By Lance Landall

16.  My Dear Young Christian

Tough if church is boring, (not that it should be), but we go to church for Christ’s sake,
So surely you can handle such given what Christ did for you, and not just take.
And hence that need to learn to live with things, we all changing what we can, but rightly so,
For church is where we're all meant to be, but never the inventions of our foe.

So don’t stay away, for that’s what Satan wants, and boredom a small price to pay,
For eternity can soon be ours, and God having set aside just one day.
And who’s at church all day, anyway? So stifle that discontent, young Christian,
Lest Christ not receive the worship He’s due and the old devil once again win.

It’s true that poorly organised worship can turn one off more than turn one on,
But from that set-aside sanctuary God doesn't want any person gone.
For it’s He who’s the head of the Church, and that means every congregation,
Given we’ve been told to come together, honour due the God of creation.

So don’t seek fanfare and razzle-dazzle, because that’s not what a church is for,
But study, prayer, praise and quiet contemplation, and why reverence I’d underscore.
It all about attitude, we there to please God and not ourselves, so please mind,
For any moaning and absence will displease God, all of which Satan’s behind.

And by the way,

Those who let anything, (or anyone), get in the way of their salvation,
Are the biggest of fools, and thus eternal loss being of their own creation.
So go where you’re meant to, nowhere else, and remain there even if it’s boring,
And thus rather than any contemporary fad, true worship restoring.

By Lance Landall

17.  Ever You, Lord

Not my will but Your will, Lord, come church and worship, I not seeking my own way,
But happy to abide by that which lifts You up, for otherwise I would stray.
For You’re what church is all about, Your house there for us to learn at Your feet, pray,
And we also praising You in song, for You’re our Creator, we made of clay.

So restrain my personal desires, any pride, envy or ambition,
That I may humbly seek Your presence — Your will alone, our sacred commission.
And I not wanting to err, Lucifer’s folly being more than clear to me,
And I but a mere mortal, unlike You, Lord, immortal, righteous and Holy.

By Lance Landall

18.  Thoughtfully, Please

Dear church organist or pianist, I value my hearing,
Thus, playing rather softly will show me that you’re caring.
You’re meant to accompany — not compete with — the congregation,
Lest you assault their ears, displease God, provoke irritation.

Accompanying instruments should be chosen carefully,
And particularly so when dealing with the Holy;
A saxophone, as a case in point, may sound too sultry.
But whatever’s used shouldn’t clash with the voice, cause injury.

Singing should always come FIRST — it’s the WORDS God wants to hear,
Thus, nothing should drown them out, they should be heard, firm and clear.
Instruments should simply aid, enhance unobtrusively,
Not clamour for attention, nor act somewhat exclusively.

And please don’t get carried away with your ability,
Lest eyes soon be drawn to you, depriving God of glory.
After all, you’re there to help shine the light on Him, Him alone,
For it’s His time, His territory, and where self we dethrone.

Even the congregation should exercise some restraint,
And with an appropriate volume themselves acquaint.
For it’s fervour, not loudness that registers with our Lord,
Plus, even with that which is good, one can go overboard.

Often mikes are used, or some other amplification,
That ups the sound of instruments, then the congregation.
Such isn’t always needed, can overpower unpleasantly,
Thus, one can struggle to hear their own voice, upsettingly.

When musicians or congregation put balance in jeopardy,
Quality and integrity soon become the casualty.
And reverence suffers too, hence the need to take great care,
For when we meet for worship, the angels our worship share.

By Lance Landall

19.  The Sound Of Music

If we were to take the most exciting, grand, lush, polished and musical orchestra that is in this world, and then,
Wed it to the most beautiful, unaffected and awe inspiring voice that could be found amongst women and men,
And then, were to add to both the most incredible melody, harmony and rhythm, (creative tapestry),
And which was being played by the greatest musicians in the world — there’s one thing that I could say categorically:

We wouldn’t have even come close to that which is found in Heaven, as there, such sounds surpass anything that’s found here,
For our God is the originator of music and song — which we via creation only but dimly share.
Yes, His musical skills and spellbinding voice must be something to behold indeed, and why I can’t wait to be there,
For even the little taste I’ve had here on Earth has beguiled me, and that Heaven’s music will beguile more, is clear.

Oh yes, what joy there is in music, but that joy should only come from music that is in harmony with our Lord,
For any music that isn’t so, is music that Satan’s had a hand in, music that we simply can’t afford.
And oh, how Satan knows how to use such, having injected it with that which appeals to the carnal heart and mind,
Which is why within such, an unhealthy overemphasised beat, and very earthly sensual rhythms, we find.

Yes, Satan’s very clever, knowing how to blend the wholesome with the carnal, making wrong seem more acceptable,
For after all, he’s the one behind the taking of the pure grape and turning it into a befuddling brew, come ill.
This being why we shouldn’t succumb to his tricks, but enjoy music, (and the likes of grapes), the way that God intended,
Which, by the way, means keeping sacred music sacred, and more so in worship, lest God personally be offended.

By Lance Landall

20.  Action! Cameras!

And that about sums it up, given the activity
That so frequently occurs within the sanctuary.
What am I referring to? The photo taking antics
That have more in common with the cinema, theatrics.

Such paparazzi activity seems perverse to me,
Given worship’s holy nature and its territory.
After all, churches are dedicated to God, (entirely),
Therefore, within them, Christians should act appropriately.

Instead, there’re those clicking, flashing cameras that one sees,
Those scanning video cameras — yes, all intrude, displease.
And even if such were okay in the sanctuary,
Haven’t folk heard of discretion, acting in harmony?

I just can’t imagine the disciples acting this way,
Even had cameras been available in their day.
Nor our Lord running about with a camera in church,
Or scanning the congregation via some tripod and perch.

Yes, it doesn't seem right to me, not in the sanctuary,
It all seems rather common — yes, far too ordinary.
From a peep hole, or from the back with a zoom lens, maybe,
But not left, right and centre please, nor right in front of me.

Come weddings or baptisms, such activity increases,
Including things in general that respect decreases.
That is, respect for God’s house, for it’s still His sanctuary,
A place set aside for a jealous God, and one should be.

Yes, God deserves something that’s His alone, that’s set aside,
A special place where the secular and holy don’t collide.
A place that’s free of activities that mimic what’s worldly,
And where the members aren’t acting like the paparazzi.

By Lance Landall

21.  Elementary, Dear Watson

If some fellow members don’t want drum-kits coming into their church, but you do,
Then forget that drum-kit, because love would, and not that divisive path pursue.
Better those members still there, and not that drum-kit in their place, a crime indeed,
Because unity within the fellowship should come first, drum-kits not a need.

So, forget any arguments, they’re not worth the time of day, but simply say,
“I’d like my own way,” and such being contrary to Scripture, cause for dismay.
For just as those who want to come first will come last, so too those who injure here,
People more important than things, distinctions too, the church not a worldly sphere.

And it may be, that despite their disapproval, they will remain and not go,
But oh, your success being their constant discomfort, from which less good will flow.
That drum-kit in their sight and mind, conversations and prayers, when it needed be,
But sadly, all because your own wishes were put before love and unity.

By Lance Landall

"A drum-kit in a church is as much out of place as are bagpipes in a children's nursery."
The Author

22.  Due Thought

When a pastor is preaching, conveying the sacred Word,
Nattering, and other irreverent sounds, shouldn’t be heard.
One should listen thoughtfully to what preachers have to say,
Otherwise, the God we worship will view such with dismay.

Yes, when pastors are preaching, too much goes on in the pews,
Things that aren’t acceptable, things that God cannot excuse.
In fact, it’s often shameful, proving a distraction too,
Not just to preachers, but members, who also such hear or view.

Such is neither the time or place for loving canoodling,
And even more so where a couple aren’t sporting a ring.
Thus, arms around another’s shoulder, heads on shoulders too,
Aren’t what a couple in the sanctuary should pursue.

Nor is it the time or place for those cell phones people own,
That disturb the sacred precincts with some secular ring tone.
And even worse if folk are texting a message or two,
Or responding to one, as so many are prone to do.

No, church is no place for doodling, daydreaming, fooling around,
For where there’s worship, such disinterest shouldn’t be found.
Nor such a casual air that’s not helped by dressing down,
For upon such behaviour a holy God could only frown.

Yes, due thought for preachers, others and God, is in order.

By Lance Landall

23.  Please Don’t Preach Too Long

All who preach should be thoughtful, they bearing in mind certain things lest they annoy,
And via such, the beauty of a succinct sermon and time with Jesus, destroy.
For longwinded people put folk off, who, stay away next time, or leave early,
And often for various legitimate reasons too, understandably.

Their spouse may not be a believer, their lateness home causing friction, you see,
And then there’s that restlessness of children, though most don’t like sitting long, frankly.
And it true that our attention span is somewhat short, our minds drifting off, and
Those thoughtless, droning, drumming words from the pulpit ending up in no man's land.

And what must visitors think, such hardly attracting them, they not returning —
Well, possibly — and why that longwinded foolishness is rather concerning.
And God hardly pleased, so much pertaining to Him being presented poorly,
And it dear oh dear, ’cause those who preach often should have detected this, surely.

It’s all very well to say that if folk were committed they wouldn’t complain,
But people can get sore sitting, and the elderly more prone to aches and pain.
And much that’s said in an hour could be better said in twenty minutes or so,
Some folk just rambling on, repeating themselves, and their delivery is slow,


By Lance Landall

24.  Been Asked To Preach?

It’s very flattering when we’re asked to preach, an ego stroking exercise,
Or at least it can be, and thus Lucifer-like pride coming as no surprise.
And this being why one needs to pause when asked, and why one may have to say, “No,”
For we shouldn’t preach where it’s not sound for us-cum-where angels are loath to go.

“But I’ve heard that when someone asks you to preach you shouldn’t turn such down.”
Oh dear,
Where does such silly nonsense come from, for Jesus has made something very clear:
We shouldn’t be found where there’s any error, and more so, outright heresy,
Including forbidden worship practices, a lack of healthy, godly fear,

Hence their different path, they fragmenting and weakening what they shouldn't dare,
The Church God Heads.

Haven’t we learnt from history, ancient Israel’s folly, their erring?
Obviously not, it appears, given how the same problems are still occurring.
We not to keep company with those who cause divisions, but to avoid them,
For they’re creating obstacles contrary to the doctrine that we've been taught,

So such we must condemn.

Yes, it wouldn’t be so bad if our preaching was to reprove that errant lot,
But not if our preaching just tickled their ears, for learn and repent, they would not.
And thus we appearing to condone what they’re up to, we a stumbling block too,
And so, better their derision than God’s condemnation, we faithful and true.

We sticking with the apostolic teachings and practices, not veering,
But shunning those worldly inroads and the new theology we’re hearing.
And also avoiding those who’re all about changing God’s Church, which they shouldn’t,
And if they were truly committed to love, truth and unity, they wouldn’t.

By Lance Landall

"I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them"
(Rom 16:17, ESV).

25.  Shame It Needed To Be Said

She was on holiday and called in to your church to worship, but oh dear me,
No friendliness was shown, so after the service she left immediately.
She wasn’t impressed, and no doubt God wasn’t either, for it's His church, you know,
And His church isn’t exclusive, so back again she’s hardly likely to go.

She had the whole day to kill, could’ve done with an invite to lunch, some friendship,
But no one seemed to care, and why back out the front door she was soon seen to slip.
And no one feeling guilty — some witness, I must say — so why’s anyone there?
Well, for the little good they're doing; and I thought that Christ we’re supposed to share.

Oh, she visited another church to worship. Was it yours? Fared better there,
Because at least one person responded, maybe you, but I still thought, “Oh dear.”
Only one person? And how many others were there? Yes, what a tragedy,
So I guess they might as well shut shop, for why would Christ want to be there? Or me

By Lance Landall

You may also like to read the following poems:

"Trojan Horses, Golden Calves",  "Keep It Neutral", "Food For Thought".

26.  Spot The Difference

When my son was younger, and I, liberal to some degree,
I took him to a concert in a church somewhere locally.
And there on the platform stood some Christians equipped with backing,
Which the sacred and dedicated precincts soon were sacking.

That didn’t seem to bother too much, but something else began to,
For something had happened to my son sitting in the same pew.
His face was flushed with excitement, his body roused by the beat,
And he sat there enthralled, transfixed, and on the edge of his seat.

Yes, he appeared as if overtaken by something — captured,
He was clearly smitten, a fan with new idols — enraptured.
Thus, what I saw and heard that night, created concerns that grew,
And the wisdom of attending such, I began to review.

It wasn’t the lyrics, but the backing that had drawn my son,
Yes, the physical, and not the intellectual, had won.
And the call of the stage, the limelight, had cast its worldly spell,
Hence why I couldn’t help thinking that something just didn’t gel.

Except for the lyrics, the rest was only Christian in name,
Yes, a backing that clearly didn’t have the same heavenly aim.
It appealed to one’s former life, drew from the secular realm;
A musical fusion; two forces locked in battle at its helm.

Yes, not just its affect on my son bothered me, but that mix,
One that didn’t gel, and that was giving my conscience sharp pricks.
Given that fusion, that Christian and worldly blend, what was what?
And such alarmed me, for shouldn’t there be a line one can spot?

Yes, “Spot the difference between Christians and the world,” I thought,
As echoes of hypocrisy (which fitted me too), I now fought.
Yes, in the world but not of the world, was ringing in my ears,
And a question: Isn’t it Satan who compromise engineers?

By Lance Landall

“...Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?” (1 Cor 5:6).

“… ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house
divided against itself will stand’ ” (Matt 12:25).

“ ‘No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else
he will be loyal [devoted] to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve
God and mammon [there is no neutral position]’ ” (Matt 6:24, NKJV).

“ ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost it’s taste, how can it’s saltiness be restored?
It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled underfoot [if we have become
part of the world and are living by its principles we are no longer salt. We have become a
part of the problem rather than the solution]’ ” (Matt 5:13).

Psalm 150 was written and composed by David, the founder of the Temple’s music ministry.

27.  The Misused Psalm

“Praise the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness. Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with tambourine and dancing, praise Him with the strings and flute, praise Him with the clash of cymbals, praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” (Ps 150:1-6, NIV).

Psalms One Hundred and Fifty has very frequently been misused.
The result?
Inappropriate music in our worship is now being excused.
Yes, misinterpretation so often leads many folk astray,
Hence why before we start studying, we for wisdom need to pray.

We shouldn't take literally any text that we’re not meant to,
For some are figurative, some symbolic, hence research we must do.
Yes, the psalms can be a mixture — therefore, we should tread with great care,
Lest we misinterpret them, and as a result, off track soon veer.

Now tell me, have you ever heard animals, reptiles, fish or birds
Ever praising our God above via squeaks, grunts, barks, chirps, squawks or words?
Of course not, yet in this misused psalm, everything that breathes is told
To praise Him who is worthy, when how could such creatures such uphold?

Psalms One Hundred and Forty Eight commands mountains to praise the Lord,
And even the sun and the moon and the stars are likewise implored.
But we know that they can’t praise, so we don’t take that literally,
As some things conveyed here, are simply expressed figuratively.

And in a similar manner,

Psalms One Hundred and Fifty also poetically conveys
That our God is deserving of everything’s continuous praise.
Thus, some folk read far more into it than its author intended,
Which is why things like drums in church get vigorously defended.

But this psalm isn’t specifying what instruments we can use
Within church or our worship, nor saying that any we can choose.
Therefore, Psalms One Hundred and Fifty we shouldn’t use to okay
Any style of worship or instrument, or we will simply stray.

Tell me, why would David contradict the instructions that he gave
Regarding how the musicians at the Temple were to behave?
For only certain instruments would David let those Levites play,
And in a certain manner too, which they were always to obey.

Tambourines were not employed, and nor did any dancing occur
Within the earthly Temple, as many people wrongly infer.
Hence why the only time a cymbal clashed, with a short sharp ringing,
Was when it marked the end of a stanza, or the end of singing.

As for the use of any trumpets, their use was limited too,
For they just signalled things that the choir or congregation would then do.
Otherwise, only the lyres and harps accompanied the Temple choir,
Until the last cymbal clash ended the singing, the harp and lyre.

"Hang on!" you say, "What about dancing that’s mentioned in this psalm too?"
Well, dancing is disputed, as it mightn’t be right, scholars argue.
It seems the original word might actually apply to
Simply another instrument, one that a musician blows through.

"Didn’t David dance?" Yes, he did, though not in the sanctuary,
And bear in mind, David didn’t always act appropriately.
Although he knew what was right and wrong, David sometimes went astray,
Acting impulsively, or very badly, much to God’s dismay.

Yes, between the secular and holy, God has drawn a clear line,
Knowing that the secular and the holy one shouldn’t combine.
Even though we’re not the Israelites, this principle still remains,
Which is why the prudent worshipper, all earthly desire restrains.

By Lance Landall

28.  I Like It, But...

Dear Father up in Heaven, there is something that is bothering me,
Which I'd really like to share with You, as I kneel on each prayerful knee.
I’m looking for an answer, which I am hoping that You will provide,
Lest it be that I am enjoying what a Christian shouldn’t abide.

Here, I'm talking about certain music, music that I really like,
Music that's cruisie, slightly jazzy, cabaret style, lips near the mike.
It’s kind of romantic, lights down low type, which appeals to the senses,
And it really arouses my feelings the moment it commences.

Sometimes it’s just instrumental, and other times it is orchestral,
And it often has a rhythm that I guess is somewhat ancestral.
I’m referring to its beat — mind you, this beat is extremely refined,
Yes, it's very sophisticated, though sort of sensual, I find.

It’s also like that which I grew up with, when crooners were all the rage,
And when some had their own TV show, big band or orchestra on stage.
Yes, back in the fifties and sixties, such music really ruled the day,
And today — that very same music — I still on my stereo play.

I hope that You approve of such, Father, and if You don’t, please tell me,
As what I listen to — and Heaven — should always be in harmony.
But what is actually bothering me is, whether it’s okay
To use the same music in order to some heavenly things convey?

You see, that type of Christian music (which sounds really cool to me),
Leaves me with such mixed feelings — they being, both heavenly and earthly.
For on the one hand, I think of You, on the other, I think of man,
But mostly though, I am thinking of man, and that previous time span.

Yes, certain desires and feelings are stirred that are very much earthly,
For it’s a real mixed bag, and one that sits somewhat uncomfortably.
Such is the best of both worlds, one could possibly say, but I wouldn’t,
Because listening to such might well be something that Christians shouldn’t.

So please tell me, Father, is it sin given respectability,
Is it really just an unlawful mix — an oxymoron, maybe?
For after all, what does one call Christian, and what is called secular,
Or doesn’t it matter now, or could it be that things have gone too far?

Could it be that Christians have strayed, wrongly gone where angels fear to tread,
Possibly gone backwards, and not come out of Babylon like You said?
For the words may very well be Christian, and some tunes also, maybe,
But it's that backing and that style, Father, that's really concerning me.

Yes, there's something that keeps saying that this mix isn’t acceptable,
And that this sound and style — mixed with the sacred — may be questionable.
Oh yes, it certainly appeals to me, but is it acceptable?
Could it be that in Your eyes, it’s actually abominable?

Could it be that we are being fooled, Father, given that it isn’t rock,
Or something of a similar nature that is easier to knock?
For it just seems so tame, it’s real laid-back, has a subtle pleasing beat,
And it’s so smooth, dreamy, beguiling, it can be beautiful and sweet.

But has it crossed a line, Father, one that You have drawn biblically?
Has it wrongfully bridged a gap between the secular and holy?
It’s so like what I’m used to, hence why it makes me feel at home here too,
And that's why it bothers me, as surely Christian music shouldn’t do.

By Lance Landall

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true [all that is morally and spiritually sound], whatever is honorable [worthy of respect], whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute [those things that harmonize with Christian ideals], if there is any excellence [moral excellence] and if there is anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things [let them play an active part in your life]” (Phil 4:8, NASB).

29.  Glory For Who?

Were the Jews entertained in their synagogues and sanctuary
Via the likes of Bill Gaither type singing groups (stars, arguably)?
Did the likes of such appear in the apostolic churches, maybe,
Backed by musicians enjoying the same great popularity?

Oh, and also drawing on the secular genres of the day,
The ancient equivalents of jazz, country, rock, rap, cabaret?
And were they applauded too, given standing ovations as well,
Advertised to the joy of Christians who church premises would swell?

Were concerts the order of the day back then, like they are today,
Or did all this start to happen when the apostles passed away?
Was there a shift in thinking, perhaps a degree of compromise,
An influx of unconverted converts, a desire to customize?

Why do I ask such questions? Well, it’s because something’s puzzling me,
For when I read the Scriptures, the likes of these things I do not see.
That is, there’s nothing there confirming such, no record, testimony,
Nothing showing such took place in a church, synagogue, sanctuary.

Yes, there were musicians in the temple, accompanying a choir,
But nothing like we see today, designed it seems, to feed desire.
No. Back in those days, the musicians and choir didn’t entertain,
But rather, praised God in a very solemn and reverent vein.

So how did the Bill Gaither type groups, or the Carmans, come about?
Well, certainly not apostolically — of that, there’s no doubt.
And before then, there was that rebellious people who constantly erred,
Thus, I wouldn’t draw too heavily on them, but rather, God’s Word.

And the Word of God says that He’s to be worshipped reverently,
That self has no place here, nor entertainment, inadvertently,
That glory belongs to God alone, not singers or musicians, who,
Don’t seem to be doing things as God planned, bathing in glory too.

One only has to look at their following (their fans), and the billboards;
That is, all the hype that surrounds them, not to mention those awards.
Plus the photo shoots, the image, hardly humbling, sanctifying,
For though they sing of Jesus Christ, who else are they glorifying?

And I guess that’s why we do not see the likes of such in Scripture,
Which as I mentioned earlier, conveys a different picture.
No church concerts there, nor applauding, and no one’s name up in lights,
Unless one’s confusing some activities of the Israelites.

Glory for who? Yes, that’s the question, isn’t it, an important one,
And as I understand things, the answer to it is clearly the Son,
And why Bill Gaither type groups, and the Carmans, aren’t seen in God’s Word,
And why in churches, synagogues, and the sanctuary, such weren’t heard.

Now, don’t get me wrong, for I like the Bill Gaither type groups, truly,
It’s just a case of whether such is right in church and generally.
And as far as I can see, neither appears right Scripturally,
Given the glory factor, and that the worldly’s mixed with the Holy.

Yes, seems the glory’s being shared, and the Holy adulterated,
Contrary to what both God Himself and Scripture have mandated.
Hence my questions and concern, as I, God’s warnings don’t wish to spurn,
Either stubbornly or unwittingly, lest His displeasure, I too earn.

By Lance Landall

“The apostles had hardly died ere the spirit of deception thought it could easily break into the churches as into an empty house left without a guard...It may be conceived that in this second century originated nearly all the heresies which afterwards raged in the Church.”
The Magdeburg Centuries, chap.1, p, 2.

“Toward the latter end of the second century, most of the churches assumed a new form, the first simplicity disappeared; and insensibly, as the old disciples retired to their graves, their children, along with new converts, both Jews and Gentiles, came forward and new-modelled the cause.”
Ecclesiastical Researches, chap. 5, p, 51, edition 1792.

“A number of people in today’s Church like to set about repairing some sections of the Word of God because they feel they are not in line with modern culture. But it is not that the Bible is out of step with culture; it is that culture is out of step with the Bible. Culture changes, Scripture never changes.”
Author unknown.

Question: Are the ‘music changers’ of our day any different from the ‘money changers’ of Jesus’ day?

30.  "...And Begin At My Sanctuary"

Satan whacked the doors open with his heel and then turned to enter the church, the splintered doors smashing against pews and sending hymnals from their sacred perch, the building empty, it a dedicated sanctuary (until he burst in), where all should bow reverently aware of God’s awesome majesty (hearts repenting of sin), and holy angels in attendance too, “For where two or three are gathered…” but what’s that hullabaloo?
A growling truck screeched to a halt, its content about to assault and the world and Satan exalt, hence its sudden reverse in the church's direction and the emptying of its tainted collection, such carried by the willing, mistaken and misled-cum-satanically fed, an entertaining people pleasing troupe, a laughing, jesting, noisy-cum-money changing group, and who the wrongful contents of that truck would employ, rock guitars and drum-kits replacing velvety mellow organs and saintly choir boy, and that thereby, principles of Holy worship would destroy, and as for dressing up, no thanks, not in their ranks, but jeans, high skirts and low tops — oh, how some Christians like to toy.
Yes, no heavenly-focussed and God credited “Amens,” but that earthly-focussed and man-applauding clapping that offends, for a church isn’t just bricks and mortar, but a set-apart place for Christ’s bride, not the devil’s duped son or daughter, the latter indulging in pride and spiritual slaughter, and each a self-serving worldly importer, for “Don’t mix the holy and unholy” God said, but what do they do instead?
Enter anything but an architecturally witnessing church, warehouses and who knows what wresting steeples from their perch, and installed within what amounts to sin, separation from the world a thing of the past, that once clear distinction they unable to grasp, or simply choosing not to see, and then there’s heresy, all being an effrontery, and they thus far more guilty, for haven’t they the hindsight of ancient Israel’s apostasy?
Satan pondered on the pulpit. “No, I’ll leave that there, for such could prove to my benefit, I getting speakers to say what I want folk to hear, and this, midst subtly discouraging deeper study and prayer, ensuring that sermons on Christian conduct not reach the ear, hence those New Age gurus that warm fuzzies ooze, those positive thinking engineers, and pastors prepared to yield to itchy ears.”
Oh, how the Church would rock (excuse the pun), watchmen having let intruders pick its lock, dishonour the Son, truck after worldly truck circling each block, and within each church, a titillated, adulterated, penetrated, hibernating and devilishly vaccinated flock, many in for a shock, for we’ve a soon returning Saviour, one who hasn’t changed, just many a Christian’s behaviour, and yes, they not having deeply studied, but having believed those who’ve Scripture muddied, and why many will have no excuse, which is very easy to deduce, for no Christian’s to drink from both the devil’s and God’s cup, such showing one who’s clearly mixed-up, and God the looser, Satan sharing His glory — yes, that old deceiver and accuser whose “Anything goes in church” is just a story concocted by that abuser.
“Yes, Christ won’t come until the apostasy’s been,” Satan laughed, he quoting Scripture where it speaks of such an End-time scene, an ought to be remembered picture, for it tells of a “lawless one,” a “rebellion,” an assault on both the church and God’s Son.
And with that off his puffed up chest (he no God-respecting guest), and having overseen what would curse rather than bless, Satan strode back past the splintered doors leaving others to clean up the mess, they few in number, sadly, a faithful remnant-cum-minority who Satan’s sought primarily, and who their need of Christ confess, as only His return will sort the mess.
And meantime they sighing, “They just don’t get it, Lord, the narrow way forsaken for the broad, which You, Lord, have never said You’ll bless.”
Oh, how sad it is when Christians do things their way, not God’s way, and hence those golden calves that enter each church and see it lurch man’s way, not God’s way — yes, ego, ambition, people pleasing and worldly things gaining sway (and schisms growing too, by the way), the aisles oft a catwalk, and prayerful contemplation having given way to talk, banter and fidgeting at which angels must balk, not to mention the theatrical — puppets, clowns and skits adding to all the ill, and dancing, if you will — as if folk had come to worship man, such hardly God’s plan, but that He be exalted, focussed upon, and not insulted via such unbiblical carry-on.
Yes, another idolatrous rabble!

By Lance Landall

“And the Lord said to him, “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it. Kill old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary"…” (Ezek 9:4,6, ESV).

Note: That "mark" is symbolic of character and parallels the seal of God that's spoken of in Revelation 7:3.

“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17, ESV).

“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy…” (1 Cor 10:20-22, ESV).

"So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence...And the sound of harpers and minstrels, of flute players and trumpeters shall be heard in thee no more..." (Rev 18:21,22, RSV).

"A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats."
Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)