Every one of us influences someone else, be it a sibling, friend, employee, or parishioner. Sometimes we don’t realize the impact we have over those around us. The question, though, is how are we using that influence?
Since my family returned home from church yesterday evening, I’ve had a certain song running through my head. We sang it in church on Sunday morning and I enjoyed it. Those who know me and live around me are well aware of my musical choice. My favorite radio station is 89.7 PowerFM (“The Christian Rock Station”); my artists of choice include Disciple, Pillar, Skillet, Thousand Foot Krutch (TFK), Kutless, Decyfer Down, Jonah 33, Day of Fire, Red, Kids in the Way, and other Christian rock and hard rock bands. I’m not known as one who listens to ‘contemporary Christian’ artists because that style of music is not what I enjoy.
About a year ago some of my co-workers played music by Dennis Jernigan and asked me what I thought. I said it wasn’t to my taste. In fact, I found his style the most intolerable of all. Most contemporary praise and worship music drew the same reaction from me: cringes. It wasn’t the lyrics that I didn’t enjoy; I didn’t enjoy the music style.
Over the past year, especially since March of this year, I’ve found myself enjoying more and more contemporary artists. I still prefer the rock and hard rock music and Disciple is still my favorite Christian group, but there are contemporary songs I now enjoy, including some by Dennis Jernigan.
What brought about the change? A major influence has been the music leader at Union Hill Baptist Church where I pastor. She selects a wonderful blend of contemporary and traditional music. She uses Jernigan’s music among others. After hearing the songs, they began to grow on me… she was having an influence on my musical tastes.
Another major influence was the man who ran the music at Hope Community Fellowship Church in Columbus, Ohio where I’ve preached two revival services, including this past March. His selection of contemporary praise songs influenced me greatly in that short time period.
However, the most powerful influence came during the revival services in March while in Ohio. God moved in a very powerful way at the church and, as a result, the Holy Spirit changed my perception and appreciation of praise music. I recognized a beauty I was previously blinded to.
God knows what influence he has had on my life. However, I’m not sure if the two music leaders know how much they’ve influenced me in a very powerful and positive way. Their dedication to Christ and the gospel, their desire to use music to bring people closer to God, and their wish to glorify God by serving others has influenced my life.
Earlier I mentioned that a song has been stuck in my head ever since I returned home from church. I don’t recall the name of the song (which is by Dennis Jernigan), but I do remember some of the lyrics (this is from what I recall, so some may be incorrect):
Lord, I thank you for all you’ve done for me
And I thank you for always loving me
And, Lord, I’ll praise you for all eternity
Lord, if this is life then what is heaven?
Face to face with you forever
Thank you, Lord, for giving life to me
By the way, if anyone knows which song this is, please leave a comment with the title and, if you know it, what album I can find it on.
However, back to the main point of this post: our influence over others. What influence do you have on others? What are you influencing your children, friends, co-workers, employees, and siblings to do? Are you influencing them to seek God or to live like there is no God? Are you influencing them to glorify and serve Christ or to ignore him?
You have influence, so how are you using it?