Making Music

– Pastor Brandon’s article from the June 2016 Newsletter

This morning I rolled out of bed and reached for my phone.  I know, I have a problem.  I admit it.  I need help, but I’ll save that discussion for another time.  Here’s the truth:  I rolled out of bed, and I reached for my phone.  I don’t typically start my day with silence or quiet time to think on life and the day ahead.  That kind of reflection comes after William is out the door to daycare.  In the hustle and bustle of the busy mornings, I have been in the habit of consuming media.  I check Facebook feeds, news and sports sites, videos, radio, podcasts, you name it.  I’ve done it all, and I probably have an addiction issue.  But today, at least,  I did something a little different.  I reached for my phone, tapped the Pandora icon, and began the morning with worship music.  It may have just changed the course of my day.

Music is powerful and has become part of our daily experience even if we’re not fully aware of it.  From radio, to commercials, to movies and beyond, we are inundated with sounds and rhythms.  These musical themes grab our attention and communicate messages that go beyond mere words and ideas.  They have the ability to evoke emotions.  Have you ever watched a movie clip with the background music removed?  We may not notice it until it’s gone, but when the soundtrack is missing, the video is flat and empty, almost lifeless.  Music is used to create a sense of excitement, suspense, sorrow, celebration.  It pumps us up.  It calms us down and helps us relax.  Music moves us.

We make music all the time.  No matter what our talent level, who among us doesn’t enjoy belting out our favorite songs, especially when  no one else is around?  We make up silly songs to entertain ourselves and our children, and we also sing to express our thoughts and feelings regarding the deep things of life.  Music helps us to convey the heights of our joys and the depths of our sorrows.  It is a powerful tool for the human heart and an incredible gift from God.

Scripture is full of encouragement regarding the use of music in the praise of our creator and savior.  One of my favorite comes from the letter to the Ephesians:

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:15-20)

In this passage, we are encouraged to watch our lives closely and to walk according to wisdom.  Time is short in this life, and we ought to make the most of the what God has given us.  Our goal is to please the Lord and operate according to his will.  Paul goes on to describe what it looks like to live a life full of the Holy Spirit.  He says that when we yield to the work of the Spirit, our lives will be filled with praise and thanksgiving.  This goes beyond mere words; the Holy Spirit prompts us to break out into joyous song as we reflect on God and his work in us.

Worship music has played a vital role in my walk with God.  I find that it helps me connect with God on a deeper level.  During these times of singing, I am much more in touch with the emotional aspects of my being, and I am able to open up to God and pour out my heart to him.  I express myself more freely, and I hear God’s voice more clearly as I allow the Holy Spirit to move me closer to God.  I find it easier to tune in to what God is saying as I focus on him in these moments of praise.

Worship changes my life and enhances my relationship with the Lord.  I experience incredible times of celebration, confession, intimacy, adoration, and praise as I stand in awe of my God and his love for me.  This morning, as I began my day with worship, I was awakened to the presence of the Spirit and his desire to walk with me in this life in a fresh way.  I needed this more than any other thing the world had to offer, and I thank God for drawing me to him through music and song.  So, take a moment to reflect: In what ways do you incorporate this type of worship into your own life?  How is the Spirit moving you to sing and make music from your heart to the Lord?