What happened on the way to being single

[Music that Matters Radio Announcement]

John Fischer Presents: Music that Matters Radio — a presentation of music like you’ve never heard before. Forget about styles, genres, and generations. This is music from only one category: music that matters. If it matters to the heart, to the soul, to the mind or to the spirit, we’ll play it.

Anchoring the station will be a selected blend of Jesus Music from the 1970s, with personal appearances by many of these artists. But this music will merely set the stage for the transparency, honesty, and spiritual passion to be found in the rest of Music that Matters Radio. We are blending music of the boomers and the music of the millennials (and everything in-between) and finding a synthesis. Because of this our song list will be anything but static. It will grow as we find the music, as we remember it, and as it is currently written. And as you catch the wind of what we‘re doing, you can add your suggestions.

So welcome to a truly unique selection of songs you love, songs you’ll wonder about, and songs you’ve never heard before, but most of all … songs that matter.

We are live now at http://musicthatmattersradio.com . (Note: you can download the Live365.comapp and take us with you. Just open the app and search for “Music that Matters.”)


Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. (1 Timothy 5:1,2)

On August 5, 1973, while serving as a ministerial intern at Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California, I brought a message to our Sunday evening Body Life service titled “A Single Person’s Identity” on being single and single relationships that was in immediate demand as to its popularity. It was first “mimeographed” and later printed as part of the print ministry of that church, and finally, as demand continued to grow, it was made into a pamphlet and distributed by the non-profit publishing company associated with the church. Without any promotion whatsoever, orders began to flow in from all over the world. Many came in bulk. “Send us 100 copies for our singles group in Des Moines.” “Send us 300 for our Bible college.” On and on it went for at least a couple decades.

I never had a clue this would happen. I was not a single person’s guru; I was only a 26-year-old single man trying to work out my own relationships in keeping with the scriptures. I obviously struck a nerve.

After first establishing singleness as a gift, not a curse, or a long stop on the train to nowhere, I began to explore the clash between the biblical idea of being brothers and sisters in Christ and the cultural model we all grew up with of dating for the purpose of eventually ending up with a mate.

The crux of the argument was around the relationship between love and marriage. If love and marriage really do go together like a horse and carriage (and they do), then to put marriage first is to put the proverbial cart before the horse. Marriage is the servant of love, not the other way around. Love, not marriage, is the big deal. If you pursue love (agape, meaning selfless, unconditional love) in all your relationships, you will always find a home for every relationship. If you pursue marriage, you will only be successful once. And in the process of finding that one relationship where the cart and the horse line up, you will most likely leave a long trail of failed relationships, broken dreams and heartaches along the way. That had certainly been my experience.

My excitement and motivation for presenting this message was that I had found another option, and that option was permission to have a relationship between mature single adults that was not necessarily pursuing marriage but pursuing building each other up in the Lord, pursuing unconditional love.

The cultural landscape has changed and the millennials have a much different reality than our generation had at their age, but the basic argument remains. All healthy relationships are build on unconditional love and trust. We are not limited to marriage for deep relationships. Relationships can go as far as trust can protect them — trusted relationships with the Lord working through them. This is possible for all of us on either side of marriage.

What I realize I did was change the rules on the dating game. I do believe now that it was this that made this message so popular. It set people free to merely have relationships in the first place. I have even received numerous comments down the years from married couples who credit this message as giving them permission to begin a relationship that later turned into a marriage.

Healthy, affirming relationships are possible on both sides of marriage where the Lord is Lord, and we are open to His presence.

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4 Responses to What happened on the way to being single

  1. Having just listened to a few samples of the songs on Music that Matters Radio I was taken back to a time and place of affirmation and comfort.
    Like you, John, I too was a young man trying to figure out my relationships, my experiences, and my life’s purpose(s). Life was never a “bed of roses” and the struggles of discovering who I was and the multiple directions that lay ahead of me were more akin to prickly thorns growing in a pile of smelly manure rather than of soft fragrant petals blooming from a flowerbed.

    But, through it all, music provided an inviting and calming stability that enabled me to press on even though I didn’t know where I was going or wasn’t sure if life was even worth living. Friends, family, acquaintances, mentors, and leaders came and went but the music always remained.
    When nothing made sense, when thoughts of despair, loneliness, suicide, mistrust, and hatred seemed to gain the upper hand in my life… music prevailed in the end.

    Not that things were particularly easier back in our time, John, but I think we had it pretty easy compared to todays youth who are constantly bombarded with distractions of every kind 24/7. Things seem so much more complicated and hopeless nowadays, and it breaks my heart to read about the growing numbers of boomers, millennials, and teenagers who have totally given up to the point of ending their own lives – or taking the lives of multiple others.
    By all appearances, there seems to no longer be a firm foundation where anyone can establish the sense of security, peace, and acceptance many of us believed we saw on the horizon – and even embraced – back in the 70’s and afterwards.
    For many like myself, music was and is a healing balm.
    While I admittedly am not in touch with most of today’s tunes or popular artists, I sincerely hope and pray that there are songs currently out there that can touch listeners to their very souls regardless of the format or genre.

    While music can never be a substitute for our Lord Jesus, I do strongly believe that He uses it as one of His many instruments of peace, comfort, and even entertainment – ultimately drawing all of us to Him, the True Firm Foundation. And, it doesn’t even have to be music categorized as faith-centered. God uses it all, we just have to open our ears, minds, and hearts to hear Him.

    “Music is the universal language of mankind.”
    ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    “Music . . . can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.”
    ― Leonard Bernstein

    “To live is to be musical, starting with the blood dancing in your veins. Everything living has a rhythm. Do you feel your music?”
    ― Michael Jackson

    “Music can change the world because it can change people.”
    ― Bono

  2. Gary says:

    I think, learning to meditate, in many ways, begins with music. It can help center your being. Opening your soul to the Loving and Living God we are seeking. The Word of God gives music it’s most useful purpose humans can live in.

  3. jwfisch says:

    Amen. Thanks. Spread the word about Music that Matters.

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