By Pastor Tracy Lunceford 

“… was a bullfrog!”
Do you remember that song? I sure do. The year was 1971; the group was Three Dog Night; and the song, “Joy to the World”, quickly rose to number one on the Top 40 charts and stayed there for what seemed to be an eternity. As soon as I heard it, I quickly obtained the ’45’ and played that tune over and over and over. I knew it by heart ….. the words and the complete piano score, including that cool Wurlitzer electric piano introductory riff.
But you know, as fond as I was of that song …… as many times as I heard it (literally hundreds that first year), “Joy to the World” never affected me one way or the other. It didn’t make me love animals more fervently (especially bullfrogs). It didn’t entice me to drinking “mighty fine wine”. And it didn’t make me want to “… throw away the cars and the bars and the wars…”, though the song seemed to advocate that. No, ….. I’d have to say that other than grant me extreme listening pleasure, that song did little else for me. After all, it’s just a song …
Then in 1978, another song hit the charts that I found to be fabulous; Barbra Streisand’s rendition of “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”. I know, … that’s a ‘woman’s song’. Maybe so, but I found the song’s lyrics to be enlightening and Streisand’s passionate performance of it inspiring. After all, Natalie and I were newlyweds and I needed any help I could get.
But again, as fond as I was of that song, …… it never prompted me to bring Natalie flowers, nor sing her love songs, …. as the song suggests I do, if I wanted to maintain a vibrant relationship with my wife. It may have gone better for me if I did what the song said, but it was just a good song ….. with profound words ….. and a talented artist performing it. It’s entertainment ………..
So what does this have to do with the Christian life? In Ezekiel, we find this ;
  “As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that comes from the Lord.’ My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them, you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words, but do not put them into practice.” (Ez.33:30-32)
    Ezekiel had been warning the people of God to stop committing spiritual harlotry, … to put away the foreign idols; … for the priests to return to serving the Lord God exclusively; … for the prophets to speak the truth of the Lord instead of the lies they were feeding God’s people. Ezekiel’s dire proclamations and harsh prophecies were not ridiculed by all of the populace, ….. in fact, some looked forward to hearing them. Like a popular song that’s well performed, they knew the words; …..they even admired the passion that ‘Zeke put into ‘singing’ them. But, to God’s people, it was just a ‘song’; … it was entertainment. And the words?, They did “…not put them into practice.”
Recently, I was listening to a Christian speaker talking about the responses he gets when he speaks to large crowds. “Man, that was great!”; …”You hit the nail on the head!”; … “The Spirit of God is all over you!”; …. the accolades were abounding. Then he said something that caught me off guard. He stated that he hated hearing that ‘stuff’ about how good his sermons are. What he really wanted to see was changed lives. But sadly, he said, …. that was not happening. Hoards were flocking in to hear him speak, …. laughing, crying, and applauding, … and then leaving the venue uplifted and satisfied, … but fundamentally the same spiritually as when they came. It was to them, Spiritual Entertainment; not the Word of God, which is to be obeyed and applied.
“All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness ….”II Tim.3:16). This is what His Word should do …….

Pastor Tracy