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God and Country Music

January 19th, 2020

Minoh International Church
Bradley Mawer

7 How precious O God is your constant love! We find protection under the shadow of your wings.

Psalms 36:7

7 ああ神よ。尽きることのない愛を、心から感謝します。あらゆる人が御翼の陰に身を隠します。

詩篇 36:7

3 The Lord appeared to us in the past saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

Jeremiah 31:3

3 それは、かつてイスラエルにこう言ったからだ。わたしの民よ。わたしは永遠の愛をもっておまえを愛してきた。あわれみの綱でおまえを引き寄せてきた。

エレミヤ書 31:3

Let me tell you a secret about a father's love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us,
He said Daddy's don't just love their children every now and then
It's a love without end, Amen

Chorus from the song ‘Love without end, Amen’ by George Strait

What’s your favorite type of music? Do you have one particular genre that you enjoy or do you enjoy different genres depending on the mood you are in? It’s an open question so would anyone like to share what type of music they like?

My favorite type of music is Country music. I grew up listening to it and it’s something that I still enjoy very much. In fact, one of my favorite things to do is to play some country songs on YouTube and dance with my son Theo, who seems to enjoy country music as well. And George Strait or uncle George as I often call him is our favorite.

So why do I enjoy country music?

I enjoy country music because of the lyrics of the songs. Most of the songs have really deep meaningful lyrics that speak of life and love and relationships. Things that are easy to relate to. Keeping it real, so to speak.

In case you are wondering, Country Music is not the same as Gospel music. Someone once described the lyrics of country music songs in this way.

“It’s about partying on Friday and Saturday night, drinking or looking at girls in tight jeans, all the honky-tonk, but still going to church on Sunday and pounding the Bible. They’ll still acknowledge God and providence.”

Mark Wills, a country artist with 16 top-40 hits, says the real-life focus of country music provides ground for spiritual themes.
“In everyday-based music with real people, it will involve faith in God.”

I agree with Mark. Whether it is music or art, or anything that we do, when we shake off the ‘desire’ to please the world and focus on what truly is ‘real’, it will undoubtedly lead us to question our faith in God. And brothers and sisters, it is when we understand the one, true God that ‘real’ life begins to make sense. Country music very often touches upon those ‘real’ issues, so only naturally it gets us thinking about God.

Does anyone here know the song ‘Three Wooden Crosses’ by Randy Travis? It has been covered by other country artists as well.
ランディ・トラヴィス氏の「Three Wooden Crosses 」と言う曲を誰かご存知ですか。これは他のカントリーソング歌手にもカバーされています。

It’s a song I heard for the first time about a month ago and it left a big impression on me. So, this morning I’m going to use this song as the base for my message.

The song describes four passengers – a farmer, a teacher, a hooker and a preacher, on a mid-night bus traveling from the United States to Mexico.
What do you think they were going to Mexico for? Anyone?

Quiz time: Who was going to Mexico for what reason?

Well, the farmer was going on vacation, the teacher for higher education, the hooker and the preacher were going to ‘Save lost souls. Yes, friends sometimes it’s the saved lost souls that do more to save others than those who have never experienced being lost.

The bus is involved in a fatal accident due to the bus driver not seeing a stop sign only to be hit by an 18-wheeler truck. Now, there are 3 wooden crosses on the sideway where the accident happened.

So, the question is why are there 3 wooden crosses and not 4? (The song focusses on the passengers so we don’t know what happened to the driver. Poor guy!)

Anyway, is it because only 3 people died and 1 survived? Is it because all 4 died but only 3 deserved to have crosses laid down for them? What do you think happened and what do you think they left behind when they died?
とにかく、3人が死に、1人が助かったからでしょうか?それとも、4人全員が死にましたが、その内3人にしか十字架が建てられなかったからでしょうか?皆さんはどう思いますか? その事故で何が起こり、そして死んだ人達は何を残したのでしょうか。

The song goes on to share what exactly happened – the farmer died leaving behind a harvest and a son who loved farming and would follow in his dad’s footsteps, the teacher died leaving behind knowledge in the hearts and minds of the children she taught. The preacher died leaving behind his bloodstained Bible in the hands of the hooker. The hooker survived! So, that solves the mystery of why there are only 3 wooden crosses.

The song goes on – This story of the 3 wooden crosses was being shared by a preacher at a Sunday service and as he shared this story he takes out the bloodstained Bible for everyone to see and he tells his congregation – ‘The preacher left this Bible to my Mama who gave it to me’.

A simple Country Music song! Let’s take a few minutes to listen to this song before I continue with the message.

So, we can learn a few things from this song.

First, as the saying goes ‘Never judge a book by its cover’. Listening to the first verse of the song, we can so easily allow our preconceived opinions of people get in the way. It is something that we do all the time. At school, at work, on the bus, in the train, in our conversations, in our gossip. We judge people! Let us stop doing that because there is only one judge.

11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[a] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

James 4:11-12

11 皆さん。互いに悪口を言い合うのをやめなさい。それは、「自分を愛するように人を愛しなさい」という律法を批判し、律法をさばいているのです。あなたがたのなすべきことは、律法の良し悪しを言うことではなく、それに従うことです。 12 正しくさばくことのできる方は、律法を定めた神おひとりです。神だけが、私たちを救ったり、滅ぼしたりすることができるのです。それなのに、あなたは何の権威によって人をさばいたり、批判したりするのですか。

ヤコブの手紙 4:11-12

Second, what we do, each and every one of us, is important. It’s important not because we want to get a degree or a doctorate, or earn more money or become successful. It’s important because what we do and how we do determine how well we are serving God.

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Colossians 3:23-24

23 人に対してではなく、主に対してするように、何事においても心からしなさい。 24 報酬を下さるのは主キリストであることを忘れてはなりません。キリストは、所有しておられるものの中から、有り余るほどの相続財産を与えてくださいます。あなたがたは、この主キリストに仕えているのです。

コロサイ人への手紙 3:23-24

Finally, what we do has an impact on the people around us. We leave a footprint for people to follow. How we lead our life directly impacts our family, our friends, our colleagues and even the strangers we come in contact with on a daily basis.

The farmer left his love for farming in his son. The teacher left her knowledge in the hearts of her students. The preacher left his Bible in the hands of the hooker, who gave it to her son who ended up becoming a preacher. What are you leaving for people to pick up? Is your life and the choices you make, based on self-interest or is there a bigger purpose to it all?

As Christians we have a bigger responsibility than everyone else. Our responsibility is to point people to Jesus. Our mission is to save lost souls. We don’t do what we do just for the sake of doing it. We are here and we do what we do because God has put us in this position to serve a higher purpose.

God has a plan and we are a part of that plan- the plan to show others the way to him. Very often we lose sight of that purpose and when we do that, everything becomes stressful and worry and anxiety tend to pile up. We get so caught up in saving ourselves all the time that we forget trying to save others.

Have you been in such a situation? Are you in such a situation now? Can you see the purpose of your life? If you can, praise God for showing it to you. If the picture is hazy and you are unsure or you have no idea as yet then ask God to show you what his plan and purpose for you is?

In the song, each person served a purpose; the farmer, the teacher, the hooker and the preacher. It’s the same with us. It doesn’t matter how trivial or how important our jobs might be, each and every one of us has a purpose.

At the start of this New Year, let us take the time to understand how God wants us to serve his purpose this year. Spend time talking to God, seek clarification for your doubts, offer praise and thanks if you already have clarity and then go out and live for God.


Teach me, Lord, the ways of truth,
So I may not abuse my youth
In idle things that will not give
Instructions in the way to live.
Bless me with a godly mind
That I may walk and be most kind
To all of those who may not know
The Christian way in which to go.
Teach me, Lord, in my old age
To see your goodness in every page
Of my Bible as I read
Of how you'll meet my every need.
Please teach me, Lord, this prayer
I pray To serve you now in every way.