I did something today I had not planned to do.
I wanted to make some more gospel music videos. The response has been great and I have not only been blessed, but have truly enjoyed singing and playing again.
However, something is amiss.
I have spoken my heart about what I feel is going on in the music of the church today, sharing things I have heard and observed while surfing the Net and here on Facebook.
I will let that rest as it is. Something happened today while I was posting a thought in response to comments made by others along these lines. I did a real soul-searching….
I walked to the piano with only one thought in mind — I am going to sing and play a song for the Lord, just for Him and no one else.
I dismissed all the urges I had to get out the video camera and tape it. Sing to Him and only for Him, not for me or anyone else.
I started with one of my most favorites, “The Sound of Battle.” It was powerful. I felt a strength in it I have not felt in a long time with a deeper sense of the Spirit.
I finished and thought, “I think I’ll do one more.” The song that came to mind was another that I have loved and revered for most of my life, “Jesus Use Me.”
After only a few words into this marvelous old hymn, my voice began to break and I sung and wept at the same time. This, was a different feeling, a brokenness before God as the words came back to me.
“Jesus Use Me. Lord, PLEASE don’t refuse me.” Surely, there is a work that I can do.
I began to search my spirit. I was convicted by the next words, “And even though it’s humble, Lord help my will to crumble.”
You see, I have not made a music video in over a year now. Everything I’ve posted recently is a re-post — re-runs.
I came to grips once again with some issues I have dealt with in the past. I wish to share a small part, come confessions.
I have always enjoyed compliments. It has always felt good to hear people remark that they enjoyed my music.
Some people think that if you’re good, you don’t need to be told. They’re wrong — unless you really are an arrogant snob who thinks they’re the greatest.
Usually they’re not. There’s always someone better, more talented and more a master.
I had to ask myself with the utmost honesty today, “Do I sing first to God, above all else?”
Then can I sing to Him alone? No compliments, no self-appraisal, no lights or cameras and nobody knows but Him?
If no one else ever heard me sing and play, would I still do it, just because He likes to hear me?
As I got older, I never wanted to sing or work in a small church. I wanted to be successful and sing in camp meetings, conferences and large, well established congregations.
Ten thousand was the largest crowd I ever got to sing for. It was absolutely special and wonderful to be in that position.
I truly did sing unto Him with everything that I had. But it was something about that phrase, “even though it’s humble” that didn’t quite agree with what I wanted to be or where I wanted to go.
I was very successful in the years I taught music and played and sung in the Church. I tried always to follow the leading of the Spirit and to stay humble before The LORD and His People.
I loved it, I really did when I saw and felt the Spirit move and bless the people when I worshiped in song, even from the time I was a little boy.
In music, the way the people respond is the way you gauge how well you’ve done. But most of all, how did the Spirit react to it.
Was I really a simple earthly vessel that the Spirit could move through, a borrower of talents that were really not mine but given to me on loan?
I was often told my talent was a gift from God; that I should use it wisely and always to honor Him.
I did some singing in the world at times and I was actually pretty good. At least I thought so and so did many others. But my heart was really not in it.
I could have gone on to do professional music, but my heart kept dragging behind.
I knock no one who is involved in music outside the church. What you do with your talent is your business, it’s not for me to say. I’m just saying it did not work for me.
There is nothing like singing under the anointing of the Holy Ghost. I don’t care how the crowd raves or whistles or claps. Getting honor and a touch from the Giver of Life tops it all.
Hell itself has come against me since I started singing again. I don’t want sympathy. It’s the message behind my music that is causing such a whirlwind of negative events.
I dared to speak up about what really is the most important thing in our music services today, to re-define what our aim and goal is to really be.
To question our direction, where we have come from and where we are going has set off waves of resistance.
To publicly state that our people have been wooed to sleep with their music program and to even hint, that their musical performance is not anointed at all, has caused two things; the gates of hell to open wide, and a deathly silence from most on my friends list.
I make the following statement, not for pity, or to receive a sermon. Remember, I am searching my soul…..
Except for a small handful, the musicians and singers on my list, and there are many, have not one word to say.
It’s not about who they think I am, or what they know about me. It’s that this spirit of promoting ones self; who can put on the best show; who’s the best performer; how well you do and how good you are; how much the people think about you; has blinded them about what they really are doing and anyone who dares to question them, needs to be eliminated.
I am well aware that every word I speak here will be required of me by God. I must continually search my heart and spirit to be sure that I practice what I preach as we say.
The old Bob would have some choice words for some of these puffed up song birds and one-man orchestra outfits who have all but derailed the entire music department of the Holiness churches.
The success of some of these gospel stars has gone to their heads and what they are belting out now is hard on the ears, and a far cry from the anointing, people once felt from them.
God is giving our anointing to others, those we mocked and scoffed at, because He still requires that we worship Him, and not ourselves.
If I pass away this night, I have to say that we have forgotten that He will raise up stones to praise Him if we forget our place.
I am desperately trying to hold on to the reality that for me, it is not whether anyone receives this message or not. It is that I give it.
I’ve spent years trying to get a handle on that. It might come easy for some, but not for me.
My days are numbered on here, I know that. This media for open discussion, will not last forever. The time is short and what must be said must be said now.
Certain words must reach the ears of those who stand in the shadows, waiting for that certain sound, that spiritually coded message that it is their time to step forth and be counted, to proclaim what God has been preparing them for all these years in hiding.
It’s time for the unused, the untalented, the unheard of to lift a hand and say, “I will. I don’t know how to do it like the rest of these but I will do it if You help me and tell me what to do.”
I was reminded by someone today that only when I fully realize that I am nothing, when I have come to the end of my rope and fully concede that there is no more of my own strength left in me, then will the miracle happen.
I heard that scripture so many times, but I never wanted to fully know it or claim it.
“My strength is made perfect in weakness.” I will make more videos if He allows me to, but only if I am absolutely sure that it is first and foremost for Him, and not for you and what you might think about me.
It will be by His strength. I have none left of my own.
First published: July 7, 2011.
~ Robert Blackburn