I love this true story… “The Women’s League” wanted to announce a new project for the church. The President announced the project on a Sunday morning to the congregation. After a brief description, she asked all of the ladies of the league to "march up to the front of the sanctuary" ~ a group was mostly 55 year olds plus…The pianist for the church took it upon himself to give the ladies a marching tune to encourage them as they came down the aisle. He started playing the children’s chorus, ’The Lord’s Army,’ In his mind he was singing the words, ’I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery...’ Unfortunately, everyone else was hearing the words of the original tune, ’The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be, ain’t what she used to be, ain’t what she used to be...’" The pianist said "When the surprised Women’s League President asked why I was playing that tune, I got so flustered, I couldn’t answer, so I just left through the side door."
Music how power to communicate, to inspire, to change…
This message is part of the ongoing series, “A Front Row Seat.” God gives all who commit their life to him a spiritual gift to be used for the body of Christ. God invites us to enter his Kingdom work as part of a team of believers. When you find your spiritual gift, and use it, it is like sitting on the front row of a musical that you so much enjoy, as you watch the work of the Kingdom unfold before your very eyes…if your gift is teaching, nothing inspired you more than teaching… Music is perhaps the greatest gift that is shared with others, effecting our heart through our ears…
Music is not listed specifically in the various Spiritual Gifts lists in the N.T, (every list is different, which means to me we were never intended to have an exact list). Even though Music not listed, many people consider it one of the gifts because of the high place through-out scripture. In the OT temple musicians, artists, dancers are set apart... Some people definitely have a gift, a passion for music and use it to lead the rest of us off-note people in finding peace in worship, praises of God, lift us to a higher plane... People who have a gift of music sing or play a musical instrument, and enjoy it… They have a special joy singing praises to God, either alone or with other people. They are able to help, inspire others to worship God and be a spiritual encouragement for others. I read Ps. 150 because it is such a beautiful example of the power of music. Psalm 150 equates Praise of God through music, the variety of instruments, the need for praise with music as the vehicle… (go over a few of the verses)
Col. 3:16 spells out more of the reasons why music is to be a part of our journey of faith. There’s something about music: music has the power to touch our hearts and souls like nothing else. Did you hear about the little boy who attended church for the first time and was asked how it went? He replied, "The music was nice but the commercial was too long."
I am NOT a great musician ~ like most of you, I need those with the gift of music around me to keep me in tune. This is spiritual gifts being used for the body. It’s like the gift of evangelism. We are all called in some form to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others and encourage them to be Christians. Those with the gift of evangelism are not necessarily better evangelists, but rather, their gift is used by God to keep the rest of us reminded about the imperative nature of evangelism…, I think of people like Mark Sullivan, Jeff Harrison, Linda Moe, I hear from them a constant flow of the importance of evangelism… Music is like that. If the world depended on me for music, we’d have a silent, dark off tune world…Those with the gift for music are to help the rest of us lift up our praises to God. Keep us in tune… poetry, rhythm is important…
Colossians 3:16, God is telling us WE, the body of Christ, need to USE the power of Music. God wants us to have a song to strengthen ourselves and encourage others. We sing and make music for the audience of one yet there are transforming riches. I included Col. 3:15 because I think music a very powerful tool to attain the peace of Christ READ. Music is the vehicle to praise God and find peace….
Something about music: Music can change my attitudes. In the Old Testament we’re told that, in the later years, King Saul turned away from God. An evil spirit came upon Saul. King Saul was driven to madness ~ an unholy restlessness. One of his counselors told him he knew of young man who’s singing might relieve his burden. David, the future king, came to sing in King Saul’s courts. 1 Sam. 16:23 tells us “…David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.”
Music can change our attitudes. It has the power to make us melancholy… or moody. During my young adult days I went through a depressive time. In that particular phase, one record was played over and over, it is really a tremendous piece of music that I know at least a few of you appreciate, but because of it’s associations with a dark period of my life, I would rather never hear it again, it stirs up too many memories, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone else, so I’ll leave it unnamed….
Music can change attitudes. Music helps create a spirit of gratitude (Col. 3:16). How many times do I read on Facebook somebody posting a video of a worship song with a notations something like, “Bad day… rocking out to [praise song] my spirits are lifted.” That’s King Saul all over again, that’s the power of music. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you… sing songs…” Eph 5:19-20 says something similar: “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Music not only changes me... Music can give me the power to take control of my circumstances. Ordinarily we don’t control our circumstances… they control us, or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. Life can get us down, and it’s not my fault! It’s true that people can be cruel. We can easily end up being imprisoned by circumstances. But we don’t have to…
Allow music to lift you up…In Acts 16 we read that Paul and Silas were in the city of Philippi. They had been preaching and healing and casting out demons, which upset the authorities. The town mayor had them beaten with rods, thrown into the inner part of the prison and placed in stocks. This wasn’t right. Acts 16:25-26 says “…at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.”
What had happened to Paul and Silas wasn’t fair. Conditions like these could have overwhelmed them so easily. But Paul and Silas were NOT overwhelmed… beaten down… defeated. What had happened to them wasn’t right and yet they refused to be controlled by those circumstances. They may have been physically inside a prison… but they chose to be mentally in the presence of their savior. This is the power of music… This is always a choice… Your singing and prayers always give you the power to rise above your circumstances.
When we to God…when we surround ourselves with music that glorifies God we are actively putting ourselves into the very presence of God. And God lifts us up and changes both us and our circumstances.
Something even more powerful can take place when we sing: Singing gives us a tool to teach and witness of Christ. Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
Paul and Silas were heard by the other prisoners. When you live through rough times with peace, others will notice. When you have a song on your heart, others will hear. the power of music: Change yourself, change your circumstances, impact others…
For his 27th Anniversary Program, Johnny Carson included a closing segment from one of his previous shows that he said had caught him off guard at the time, but which had actually “moved” him.
The previous year, Orel Hershiser had led his team (the L.A. Dodgers) to victory at the World Series and Carson had asked him what he did to calm his nerves between innings. Hershiser responded that he sang songs.// Carson then asked the Pitcher to give him a sample.
The song that this acclaimed World Series Pitcher chose to sing, that had such an impact on a basically unreligious man like Johnny Carson and had moved him so much that he selected that segment to close his anniversary special was a simple “doxology.” A song giving praise to God.
(SING) “Praise God from whom all blessing flow/ Praise Him all creatures here below/
Praise Him all of ye heavenly host/ Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”
Singing is a powerful tool for witnessing. Rather than preaching to others (in the negative sense), singing/music allows others to listen in on what moves your heart. Praising God is a window into your soul.
Music has power// to communicate/ to inspire/ to change. Maybe you are one of those people who don’t like to sing. You believe your singing is an embarrassment. Maybe you can identify with the 3 year old who sang “I love you Lord… and I lift my noise” I just have two words for you, one of the people who has inspired me… George Teshera…not a good singer at all, off key, yet he loves to sing…
In his book "Psalms of the Heart," George Sweeting illustrated a great truth from the experience of two Moody Bible Institute graduates, John and Elaine Beekman. God called them to missionary work among the Chol Indians of southern Mexico. The Beekman’s rode mules and traveled by dugout canoes to reach this tribe. They labored 25 years with other missionaries to translate the New Testament into the language of the Chol Indians. Today the Chol Church is thriving. More than 12,000 Christians make up the Chol Christian community. When the missionaries came, the Chol Indians didn’t know how to sing. With the coming of the gospel, however, the believers in the tribe became known as "the singers". "They love to sing now," Sweeting commented, "because they have something to sing about."
We need people among us who are gifted in music, not primarily as performers (although we are blessed with soloists and instrumentalists), but people who have a gift to lead us into praise and worship of the Lord. Music is powerful, changing our attitudes, changing our circumstances, allowing others to see what makes our hearts tick. The question is not whether we can sing… but whether we have something to sing about.... Do you? Loving the Lord is a reason to sing… our voices (no matter what WE may think of them) are the sweetest musical instruments known to God. Music leads to a life of peace as we focus on the Lord, creating an atmosphere of harmony. Amen.