Levi Lusko - Batteries Die, Birds Don't
And turn with me to the book of Colossians chapter 3 for a message that I'm calling, Batteries Die, Birds Don't. Batteries Die, Birds Don't. Colossians chapter 3. Paul writes in verse 14 and following, "But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 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. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him".
In just a moment I'm going to read verse 16 again. I wanted to give the whole paragraph so we could get the flow and sense here. But this is Paul writing to the church in Colossae. A real city. A real place. A place he cared about greatly. A place that he never got to go. This is a church that he planted indirectly. They are the offspring of his children in the faith. He led some people to Jesus, and those people eventually went on and started this church in Colossae. We know he cared about them a lot because he considered them his grandchildren. Being a grandparent, I can only imagine, is awesome. I'm looking forward to the day. I've already planned out what my grandkids are going to call me. They're going to call me G Daddy. Whether they like it or not, that's what they're going to call me. I cannot wait. And I see that in Paul. Paul writes to the Colossian church, and he's like, it's G Daddy Paul. I care about you. A grandparent just cares so much for their grandchild.
So Paul's encouraging them. The use of the phrase, above all, shows how important this all is. He's been telling them some things. But he says, above all, put on love, which encourages me to know that love is something that can be put on. That is to say, you're going to be in instances where it's required and you don't feel like you have any. And in those moments you get to take it and put it on. So you don't have to feel that love comes from you, that you have to conjure up the love, right? Just like you would put on a costume. The Bible says you can choose to put on love, like a garment, that you can wear for the situations when you need it. How do you need to put on love? You get into a situation where you don't feel like you have any. And in those moments you say, God, I need to put on some love here. And in all that He says, verse 16. Let's read it again. It's our theme for today's sermon. 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.
And Father, we ask that You would help us this day, and every day, to remember You. To not forget You. To not forget that You are with us, and You care about us, and You have plans for us. Thank You for Your love that we can put on, which is the bond of perfection. We ask that You would help us to see You differently, to see You clearly, to see You better. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Canary in a Coal Mine. That's the title of this series that we're in, these messages together. Our team tracked down, on the internet, what a miner would take into the coal mine with them. This little box with a little canary in it, this little yellow bird, represents our canary. It is not a real canary, but it does kind of look real. And he's sitting here on this little paddle, his little perch, his little stoop. And we said that ever since 1890, when Scottish oxygen expert John Scott Haldane figured out that a canary's lungs were more susceptible to CO2 poisoning, to a dangerous lack of oxygen, that miners began to bring canaries with them in boxes just like this where the lid would open up. And the Canary would be put on this little thing. Basically, if the canary died and the canary kicked the bucket, or fell over, the miner knew it's not safe for me. Because a canary's lungs are more sensitive, because of how they breathe CO2.
If the canary is in trouble it's time to get out of this mine. It's not safe. But they became much, much, much, much, much more than a tool. They became pets. They became friends because the miners, eventually, didn't even have to look over to know that the canary was alive. They knew that as they would sing to the canary and whistle to the canary as it responded, that everything was OK. I feel like I can relate because in my house, come on up here buddy, I have a little canary who's constantly hanging out with me. His name is Lennox. Here's my little dude. Come on. So Lennox is sort of like, Hi, buddy. Hi. He's like my little canary because he loves music. What's your favorite band? The Beatles, he said. OK. So he loves The Beatles. Do you have a favorite song? Which one? "Let it Be"? Wait, what? Oh. "I Want to Hold Your Hand". That's a very good song. OK.
Can I hold your hand? Here, you can stand up. You want to stand or sit? OK. Either way is fine. So Lennox has this fun thing where he's really sensitive to music. And even if he's playing with Play-Doh or playing with LEGOs, any kind of music, especially whistling, he'll respond. And Lennox's whistle is really unique because he has a very, very, very high range. It's going to go away, buddy. It's going to go away, 13, 14, somewhere in there, 17. It is what it is. They call me a late bloomer, buddy. I'm sorry. I gave you all my genes. But whistling. His whistle, it's not like, let me just show you. Yes. Very good, buddy. Can you believe that? It hurts me just listening to it. I'm always whistling little songs, and I always know if Lennox is nearby because he won't even look at me. It's just, all the time. Thank you, little canary. I appreciate it. Thanks for your help. All right, Lennox. Let's go, everybody. All right.
So I can tell if he's in the room because I'll just whistle, and he'll just whistle back. And that's just his way of telling me, I'm still here. And that's the kind of relationship that the miners eventually developed with their canaries. They would whistle to them. They had this bond between them. Each miner would work with a different canary, and they would bring them in. Many of the miners were just heartsick when technology allowed the development of tools that gave each mining company, after they filed a purchase order. This was in the 1980s. I think the final canaries were decommissioned, they were in England, in 1996 because the mining companies purchased a number of what were, at that time, called electronic noses. Now we call them CO2 detectors. But electronic nose is actually much more punk rock, honestly. But the miners had mixed feelings about them. In fact, some of them said, I don't like it. I don't trust it. I like my canary. You can't whistle to an electronic nose. It wasn't their friend.
And one miner, we found this in the newspaper, he said, no. I don't like it at all, because it "often enters your mind that batteries can fail, but canaries don't". I could have an electronic nose with dead batteries. Maybe it didn't get charged properly. I'm putting my life into the hands of something that, the battery can die. He said, my canary, its batteries don't. Batteries die. Birds don't. We're using this amazing tidbit from recent history. I mean 1996 is not that long ago. And we're using it to illustrate that it's important in your life that you have advanced warning of problems. That if something's wrong you need to know about it. And I began the series just a few weeks back by talking about how I was at the dermatologist. They told me I was needing to have a little skin sample sent in to see if it was OK. And they put it on me like, do you want us to test and see if this is cancerous? Chances are it's not, but would you like us to tell you? And I was like, yes, please.
I'm happy to report I got a phone call this week, did not recognize the number, answered it. And, Mr. Lusko, we are pleased to let you know that tissue sample came back not cancer. And I was like, yes! Now, I didn't think it was. And they didn't think it was. But it's wonderful to hear that. Because if it was, the sooner I know about it, listen to me, the sooner I could do something about it. Now spiritually speaking my concern, and the reason that we're having this series when we are, is so that all of us could just ask the question. Is my canary still singing? As I'm whistling, is it whistling back? And this week we want to talk specifically about the place that songs play in telling us the health of our souls. The sermon in a sentence. When God's spirit is on you, His songs will come through you. You can know that God's spirit is on your life like He wants to be. Like as Jesus illustrated for us when He came up from the waters of baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a bird. Like a dove. God's spirit wants to come upon you as well.
Jesus said to His disciples, it is to your advantage that I go away because, if I go away, the helper will come. Many people talk about the Crucifixion. A lot of people understand the Resurrection. But many people fail to realize the spiritual import of the Ascension. When Jesus ascended to heaven he talked to the father, and they then sent the Holy Spirit days later as he came upon the church at Pentecost. And Peter, on the day of Pentecost, said, this day has come. The day when God's Holy Spirit is poured out upon every single believer. On young and on old, on rich and on poor. No matter who you are, if you have Jesus, you have access to the Holy Spirit. He wants to fill you, and come upon you. And one of the ways you can know that he is on you like he desires to be on you, is that there will be a song coming out of your soul. A song coming out of your heart. So is your canary singing? Paul tells the church at Colossae that we can know that we're walking in love. We can know that we're walking in the Holy Spirit. And there's a connection by the way.
Colossians 3 has a sister passage. You might want to jot it down. It's Ephesians 5. And in Ephesians 5 verse 19, another detail is added to this whole concept that we're reading here, in this passage, about what it looks like to be walking with Jesus. What it looks like to be healthy. What it looks like to be at a spot where there's not a dangerous lack of oxygen, or combustible fumes, that could be explosive. If you're at a good spot. If you're at a spot where all systems are go, then you're at a place where the Holy Spirit is upon your life. And Ephesians 5:19 says, don't be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit. And there's a connection with this whole idea of what it looks like to be drunk, versus what it looks like to be filled with the Spirit. Because in Acts 2, when the Spirit did come after the Ascension, what did people think that the church were doing? They thought they were drinking. So you guys are all drunk, why? Because when you're drunk you're courageous, and you're full of joy.
And that's, of course, an artificial courage when you're drunk, beer goggles. When you have the excitement and strength that comes, the sense of joy and euphoria that comes, it's artificial. Because it's not real. There's no real power in you. You're just sort of dimmed. You've sort of numbed yourself to the pain of life. And that's what being drunk is. And he says, don't be drunk with wine. That doesn't give you real power. That gives you an artificial, frothy, everything's wonderful kind of joy. But it's not real and it doesn't last. But when God's Holy Spirit comes upon you there is courage. There is joy. There is true camaraderie. There's not just an I love you, man, you're the best, that you're not going to remember in the morning.
So I'm on an airplane a while back, there was a guy just so clearly over served. And the whole flight, I mean he got on this flight turned all the way up. And he was sitting next to me. He kept going, tapping me on, my wife was laughing so hard. He kept tapping me on the elbow. What are you working on? I'm writing a message, man. And, he said, what's it on? Joseph. And like three minutes later, tap, tap, tap. What are you working on now? Still that. So I took a moment, talked to him. And he's crying, and talking. And I'm buying rounds for everybody, everybody. And so he calls the lady over and she's obliging him. Giving, and I'm good, it's still good. Still got the last one you got me. Thank you, stewardess. And still Joseph, and the whole flight. And he was like three, four, And I got off the plane last. And I said to the flight attendant, how were you still serving him? She was, I was just giving him club soda. It's like, oh my gosh. I have his number in my phone. I want to call him. I don't think he's going to remember me. I'm going to say, it's still Joseph. That's what I'm going to say.
Peter said, when you're filled with the Spirit it's a strength. It's emotions, but it's real. It's not frothy. There's a substance to it. There's an immortality to it. There is an invincibility to it. And here in Colossians chapter 3, Paul says, there's a soundtrack to it. There's a sound that, you can tell the sound of heaven upon a soul. I don't have to look up to know if Lennox is in the room. He's going to whistle back to me. The canaries were whistling back to the birds. Even in a dark mine they could hear to know the canary was well. And so can you. Because when God's spirit is on you, His songs come from you. We're going to look at this from three different perspectives. The first being, your heart, His home. Jot that heading down.
Let's talk under the heading of your heart, His home. My thesis statement, so to speak, is that you should live a life of worship and praise. There should be a sound of praise that comes from the speakers of your soul, and the speakers of your life, and the stereo of your car. I'm not saying you can't listen to other music. This isn't a burn your non-Christian CDs message. Some of you came up in the 80s when that was, like, a thing. I burned multiple CDs over and over again. I think I bought Metallica three times, right? Because I kept getting hyper convicted, and I actually like Dave Matthews Band. I actually enjoyed a little Nirvana here and there. It is what it is. I'm just saying there should be a theme of worship, a theme of praise, not just from your stereo but from your soul. He says here in this text, psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart. He's just saying he's covering all the bases of music, and all the different expressions of song. Your heart, His home.
Why should there be a theme of worship to your heart? Because if Jesus is in residence there you should play what He likes. My wife has the most incredible gift of hospitality. She has a lot of gifts, but I think that is among those that God gave her, the biggest heaping portion of when he gave her her gifts. She's always, day in and day out, thinking, what are guests of this church going to feel like? What are they going to experience? How can we bless and honor when we have people come and stay with us? She thinks, what do they enjoy? She'll do investigative reporting figuring out, what do they like? What would they like to eat? What's a little thing we could put in their room? She just labors over and cares. And I've always watched that. It's just an amazing thing. She cares so much that someone coming in to be in our home what they experience is what they like. Y'all, when you give your life to Jesus, He comes to live inside you.
I know we referred to the church as God's house, but that's only because you and I are in it. When we are out at home, and at work, and at school, this isn't the church. If you call me on a Tuesday at 7:30 and say, where is your church? I'm not going to say, well, it's this building in Billings. It's this building in downtown Salt Lake City we set up and tear down each week. I'm not going to say 120 2nd Street East, Kalispell, Montana, 59901. I'm going to say, well, the church right now, they're probably headed to work. They're probably walking into first period. They're probably at the gym right now. I'm telling you, it's not a building. We are the church. He lives in us. He lives in you. Revelations says, I stand at the door and knock. If any man opens the door I shall come in. He lives in you. And his Spirit wants to come upon you. And one of the things that facilitates Him coming upon you for power, coming upon you for comfort, coming upon you for service, as He's supposed to, is the sound of praise. We should play what the guest of honor likes in our heart.
The songs coming from our soul should be that which glorifies, and exalts, and magnifies, like Mary said, the name of the Lord. In fact, the command to sing, listen to this. The command to sing to God is the second most frequently given command in all of the Bible, second only to prayer. Which the case could be made that when we sing, we are actually praying, still. It's just a prayer set to music. Because prayer is just talking to God. And when you sing you're just speaking to God in song form. But 100 times in the Bible, Jesus followers, God's followers, are commanded sing to God. Here's one of them. Psalm 149 verse 1. "Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord," What kind of song does He want to hear? "A new song. And His praise in the assembly of saints". The case could be made that if you only sing hymns, like, I know that's something. Like, oh, the church should play hymns. We should. Colossians said sing hymns, which are basically just old songs. Psalms.
We have a bunch of those, psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. God says, but I want to hear a new song, too. We would be disobeying God if we weren't singing new songs, writing new songs. Why? Because He's doing new things. And our praise is always for what He's done. So if we only sing old songs we're only reminding ourselves of how awesome He was back then. But He's doing a new thing today. He's still working now. He's bringing streams in the desert. He's making the wilderness flourish like a rose. He's taking our desert places and bringing new life. He wants to take what is toxic and make it healthy. And when God gives something great we should sing to Him in response to that. So God's living in our hearts. And He has told us to play some soundtrack that He enjoys, some songs that He enjoys.
So let's talk about it. Why does God like music so much? Because it's very clear that He does. He doesn't tell you 100 times, hey, sing to me. Sing to me. Sing to me, and then not like music. Here's why He likes it. Because He's always had it playing. It's always been around. This is a crazy verse. Job 38 verse 7. Jot that down. When God created the world, He did so accompanied by the sound of angels singing. It's a dope verse. Because we get to go back and experience, what scientists describe as, the Big Bang. What the Genesis account says was God speaking. The vibration power of his words transforming molecules and creating something out of nothing. And I don't have any problem with that language of Big Bang. I bet when God spoke, and all of a sudden stars, Milky Way, sun, planets, were there. It would be loud, right? A big sound, probably like a bang. That was big, right? And when that happened Job 38 says, "When the morning stars sang together", at that moment, "And all the sons of God shouted and exclaimed for joy".
Proverbs 8 gives us another camera angle when it speaks about Jesus personified as wisdom. And it declares that during that creation account, when by the power of Christ, God created the world through the word. Because in the beginning was the word. The word was with God. The word was God. Jesus is the word. And how did God create the world? He spoke, thus by the power of Jesus. And the Spirit hovering over the waters, the world was framed at that moment. Jesus Christ, the Son, sang for joy as well. Back to the miners. They can whistle while they work. So did He, right? So Jesus was whistling and singing as the world was created. What that means, then, is that we have an explanation for why music moves us the way it does. Music can change your mood. It can lift you up. It can bring you down. It can take you back. Music is powerful. And in a way that is very difficult to explain, music has an impact on us. But now we kind of figure out why. Oh. When the world was created music was hardwired into it all. As things were being formed, music was there at the start.
So at the heart is a sympathetic resonance. We're all like Lennox to some degree. Aware musically, touched sonically. That's how God built it. But it's not currently, the whole creative world, as it would have been then. Because we're told that when God restores all things, just, know this. Everything that's broken, damaged, hurt, dying, is not going to stay that way forever. For Jesus Christ is going to come back and renew the world. And renew your body. And there's not going to be death. There's not going to be sin. There's not going to be crime. And all of us on the inside, whether we have language to put around it or not, have been longing for that our entire lives. As exhibit A, I would just encourage you to think about the first time you interacted with death. The first time you came to understand it, and how much you must have recoiled at the thought of it. You know, in a secular society, more and more, death is like, oh, it's just sleep. It's peaceful. It's wonderful. It's natural. But I think on the inside all of us know that's a lie.
There's nothing natural about death. That's why we recoil in a rage at the prospect of someone we love dying, at a hearse passing us on the freeway. There's just a foreignness to it. They can call the cemetery a memorial garden, and put all the nice language on it, but it is ugly. It is our enemy. And the Bible says we are not to accept it, or love it, or like it. We are, too, like God. Look at it as the enemy that's going to be defeated. That is how we are to see death. But God has promised something different in the future. When his kingdom comes what we pray for, like kingdom come thy will be done. At that moment Isaiah 55 verse 12 says, we "shall go out with joy, and be let out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you. And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands".
Awesome. Trees growing hands. Hills having lips. This is sensual language. This is a preview of coming attractions. Now, it's above my pay grade, all right? But it would seem, Because what he's doing in that moment is waking up the world from the slumber it's been in ever since we poked our needle on the spindle. Right? The Rumpelstiltskin kind of analogy. The moment we ate the poisoned apple, right? Ever since then, a great death has fallen over this world. Now, it's still beautiful. The Grand Canyon, or, as it's been called, the great ditch, will blow you away when you see it. But I think if we are honest with ourselves, there's always something missing when we stare at a beautiful vista. There's something inside of us that just wishes it could just be one level more. Or we could engage it in one fuller way. I got up at 3:00 AM last night to try and see the aurora borealis. Did anybody see it? Anybody at all? Supposedly it was showing up last night. Thanks, Jeremy for that text. I did not get much sleep. I'm always mad when I hear about it afterwards.
So I really did appreciate that, right? And people who post about how amazing it was, but didn't text me. Like Chris, last time it happened? It's fine. No, it's good. It's right. It's OK. I'm not holding a grudge. The reality is, though, The one time I did see it, as moving as it was, I know deep down there's a sense in which it's not all it will be. Because there's going to be some dimension unlocked to what creation is, and the way it sings, and the way it gives God glory. That Romans 8, read that this week. Romans 8 says, is currently now only a groan. Creation was meant to sing, but currently it's just groaning. Groaning because it knows what it could do. It knows what it should do. It knows. You can make a case for why children just take it in stride when, in a fairy tale, the animals can talk. Maybe there's some sense in the childlike wonder, and whimsy, and curiosity, that knows that's how it was supposed to be. But maybe they did grow mute and lose their ability to speak.
When the curse came over all of creation that man was steward over. And man forfeited to the prince of the power of the air, and the death, that has robbed everything of its vital essence. And all of that God has promised to overcome, and renew, and resurrect. And in the meantime, since the world has lost its song, here's the beautiful thing. As the Resurrection people who are the followers of Jesus, the first fruits of the coming Resurrection. We, who have been awakened in spirit, can do what the hills, and the trees, and the forests, and the animals, and the auroras, and the ditches long to do. And that is we can sing forth God's praise. We can lift up God's song. And when His spirit in us, that always is seeking to glorify and exalt the majesty, the wonder, and the reign of King Jesus, God's son, There are some ways in which we are fulfilling our God given destiny and doing what we were born to do. And somehow, some way, we joined in the song that creation longs to sing.
Did not Jesus, when He was being worshipped by His disciples on the Palm Sunday victory parade, When the Pharisees, the religious elite of that day, And, by the way, religious people do not come off well in the gospels. Over and over again, He knocks the shine out of their halos on the regular. All right? And they were like, teacher, You should forbid the disciples from praising You. He says, if I tell them to stop, the rocks will probably worship me. I wish He would have told them to stop. Peter, cut it. Right? And the rocks would cry out. The rocks would grow lips. And that is perhaps some tease of life in God's kingdom. The devil is the one who came up with a boring heaven. The devil is the one who wants you to think heaven is you, just sitting on a cloud, strumming your harp. I'm telling you heaven is creation on a level in which you can't even imagine it today. It's participating in it. It is everything that life was ever meant to be, minus all the things that bring pain, and shame, and guilt, and sorrow. And Jesus Christ will cause the lion to lie down with the lamb in that day.
Between now and then, there is before God's throne, perpetually praise. Not only the angels which cry out, holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. But the redeemed, the souls of all those who have died and gone to sleep in the Lord, whose bodies have been buried waiting for the coming of our King. Their spirits are before the throne. Revelation 19. A great multitude. A loud voice. Alleluia. Revelation 19:1. "Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God". When we church, sing songs to God in obedience to what He has commanded. We are not only doing what creation wishes it could do, we are joining in with the song that is happening before God's presence. Your heart. God's home. Let's play the playlist that He enjoys in our heart and our souls. Second heading, your song, God's throne. Not only should you view your heart as His home to fill with his praise, but you should realize every time you lift up a song that exalts the name of Jesus. Every time you praise Him.
Every time you worship Him, which, by the way, And maybe we'll do a series at some point going through the words in the Bible that are translated as worship. For I know we just got the English one, just worship. Or, we have praise. We have a couple. But there are a whole golf bag full of clubs to grab when you worship God. And not everyone says the same thing, or expresses the same thing, any more than you would grab your driver to do some putting. Or grab your putter when you're in the sand trap. When you're in the rough you need the tool for that. And so, spiritually speaking, God has given us the right form of worship, different ways to worship. And sometimes, perhaps, we don't feel worship is doing for us what it's meant to be because we're grabbing the wrong form of it. Or we're missing out on the opportunity to take it to another level with the right tool. But whenever we sing to God we should realize the picture that scripture paints for us, Is that we have set up a throne, in that moment, for Him to sit upon as ruler, as King, and as sovereign.
Psalm 22 verse 3 puts it this way. And I love Psalm 22 because it comes before Psalm 23. In Psalm 23 you know, The God of green pastures. The God of still waters. The God who anoints your head with oil and prepares the table before you in the presence of your enemies. Psalm 22 has been called the psalm of the cross. Psalm 22 gives, perhaps, one of the most vivid pictures of crucifixion that's anywhere to be found in the Bible. By the way, hundreds of years before the method of crucifixion was invented, He prophesied, and spoke, a picture. In fact, Jesus quoted from Psalm 22 when He hung on the cross. "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me"? is the very first verse. And then He goes on and describes being poured out like water, His bones out of joint. Which imagine, if you were hanging from nails to your hands and feet, how your bones would be pulled out of joint. Dislocated, perhaps. He talks about people mocking Him, surrounding Him. And, of course, Jesus died on the cross with enemies down below saying, if you're really the Messiah come on down and we'll believe you. Not knowing that it was only because He was the Messiah that He did not come down.
Well that same song, which is forged at such great cost. In the third verse it says this. "But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel". Another version puts it this way. You are the God who inhabits the praises of Your people. Someone said that if you linguistically unpack it, Any chair God sits on is a throne. But what this verse is trying to communicate is that our song is so enticing to God, He pulls up a chair to come close. That sense of He's not just standing there. In our song it gives Him a chair, and He settles in and makes himself comfortable. He is enthroned in the praises of His people. Not only is your heart His home, so our song should be that which He likes. And He likes music, too. And that's why He told us 100 times to sing to Him. But as we sing we enthrone Him in circumstances. And it's oftentimes an act of defiance because we feel like everything's out of control. But by declaring, He is God anyway. He is King anyway. He's going to bring life out of this death anyway. He's going to bring power out of this pain anyway. We are enthroning Him in our song, in that moment.
CS Lewis said, "it is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men". Which is why it makes sense now. God doesn't command us to worship Him because he needs anything from us, but because He knows we need everything from Him. We become like whatever we praise. You become like whatever you exalt. Whatever you lift up, you end up becoming like that. If your friends are the most important thing, if money is the most important thing, whatever you think about the most, that's what you're going to give your life over to. So when you worship God, you are exalting the one that it is in your best interest to become like. That's why He says in Colossians 3, let God's peace steer you and guide you. Let the word of God dwell in you richly. God is desiring to, but as we let our lives be lives of praise, and worship, as we let God's word set the pace for our heart.
As we live lives that are thankful which, by the way, he says clearly. This is God's will that you be thankful. You want peace. You want to experience God's love. You want to put on love, which is the bond of perfection Be grateful. Be thankful. Every time you're tempted to complain, foster the habit of gratitude. It will alter your attitude. What are you thankful for? What do you have to be thankful for? It will change you from complaining, to feeling triumphant. So His throne is wherever your song is. He's enthroned in your praises. That means then that wherever you feel like singing the least, is where you probably need it the most. Lift up a song. Let the words come out of your mouth. Put a praise song on. Let it rise up. In that act He pulls up a chair and comes close. We get to experience Him as we worship Him. I believe it's also how Hi guides and steers us. The text that we began with said, let God's peace rule. I think it's interesting that anywhere you wouldn't feel comfortable, or anything you're doing that you wouldn't feel comfortable singing a worship song, is probably not something you should be doing. Right?
If, as you're writing some horrible email telling off someone at work, or writing some nasty diatribe on Facebook or Instagram, If you couldn't, like, Way maker, miracle worker, Hate your guts, light in the darkness, My God. It's like, ahh, You see what I'm saying? You can't hear the canary anymore. And when you don't hear him singing anymore, the Spirit, you don't hear that reciprocating. If you whistle off your angry email to God, and He doesn't whistle it back. Oh. Ruh-roh. Right? In trouble. Where am I at now that God's peace is no longer there with me? We all know I don't hear that music anymore. That's, by the way, the answer that Paul McCartney gave when he was asked, when did you know that The Beatles were over? When did you know that it was the beginning of the end? He pointed to 1965. They wouldn't break up till 1970. Their last concert on the rooftop of that building was 1969. In 1966 their last ever tour stop in San Francisco.
But 1965 he said, that's when I began to I know, deep in my bones, it was over. He points specifically to New York, to Shea Stadium, to a sold out concert at a baseball stadium. And he said that the crowd was screaming so loud their little PA couldn't overpower the Beatlemania. He said, I knew it was over because we couldn't even hear the music anymore. But we were still playing. Ringo says that he couldn't hear at all. They didn't have in-ear monitors so they couldn't hear the band. Also he was sitting at the drums, and he had to watch Paul, John and George's butts to know where they were at in the song. Depending on how their butts were wiggling, he could tell what part of the song that they were at. They couldn't hear the music anymore. The Beatles couldn't hear the music. All they heard was the voice of man. When we can't hear the music anymore. When we're at a place where we couldn't worship, that's God's way of ruling us. And if we'll just continue to fight to hear the music, we'll be led by His peace. You can't worship and sin at the same time.
So any movement towards Jesus is, by default, going to be a movement away from danger. So ask yourself the question, do I still hear the music. That's why a daily quiet time is so important. It reminds you to hear the music. To hear the music of heaven. To continue to hear the music of the gospel. To not just be going through the motions, but, do I still hear the music. If not, get alone with God. Make a list of the things that He's done for you. Fight to hear the music. Fresh Life, we need to fight to continue to hear the music of the calling, and the passion, of God. What He's called us to, without vision, the people perish. And we have a vision. We want to see people who are stranded in sin find life, and liberty, in Christ. We got to keep hearing the music. When God's spirit is on you, His songs come through you, come from you. The third heading, and our final, we're almost done. We want to approach this from, Your infirmity. God's opportunity. Infirmity is another word for weakness, or running out of juice, or feeling like you don't have what it takes to keep going another second. Your infirmity. How does God see it? As an opportunity.
Isaiah chapter 40, it's one of the most beloved passages of scripture in the Bible. Tuck this into your heart for a difficult and dark day. "Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall". I've spoken to Liberty University, the student body there, this week. And I felt God wanted me to draw their attention to this passage. Because here they are, I said. College students, some 9,000 of you, assembled in the prime of your life. You have strength now. You have power now. Tragically you don't have too much wisdom yet, right? And that's the irony of life. You get older. You get a bunch of wisdom. You finally know what to do and you don't have any power. You're just too tired to do anything about it. And that's the beauty of the body of Christ, by the way. That we have people with wisdom and we have people still with strength. And our powers together form Captain Planet. Come on, somebody. And the old need the young, and the young need the old. And we all together focus on what God's called us all to do corporately. But even the youths shall faint and be weary. It's honestly a young man's greatest asset, strength.
So to be young and to fail? Life is tough and it will ground even the strongest of us into powder. It'll pulverize just about any of us. Even the young men shall faint and be weary. Young men shall utterly fall. But notice verse 31. "But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles". Batteries fail. Birds don't. Even when you feel like your power has been zapped, and your battery has been discharged and emptied, you can trust on the Lord, and wait on the Lord. Strength shall rise as we wait on the Lord, and call out to God. And you will find yourself in dark moments, in low moments, in moments of temptation. When you sing a song to God, even in the night watch, as God gives songs in the night. But we have to sing them. So He puts that lyric, He puts that chorus in. And again, you're going to only have stuck in your head, to sing in those seasons, the material that you put in. So what songs are you singing? What are you listening to? What's the soundtrack to your soul? Birds never fail.
The Spirit, who came upon Jesus like a dove, wants to come upon you like an eagle. And when your batteries fail wait on God, and He'll renew your strength. What I'm trying to get you to see in this is that music is medicine. Your melody unleashes a new ministry through God's majesty. Now the idea of music being medicine is not just something we find in this book. It is all throughout. But it's not just in this book. I spent way too much time this week on the website for Harvard, and Johns Hopkins University, and the JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, reading paper after paper, after study after study. My Google search is a fantastic mystery, every single week, where I go for you guys to find out that music lowers blood pressure, slows down your heartbeat. Music, because it touches to sing, If you're going to sing a song it touches the amygdala, the part of your brain that stores memory and emotion.
It's been effective in treating, and in giving alleviation of, discomfort to those who are afflicted by Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. It boosts the immune system through a boosting of the production of immunoglobulin A, which is known to fight viruses. So you have a better time overcoming, physically, illnesses you face through singing, and listening to, music. When your lips form words, and you sing, it lowers cortisol, the stress hormone. So literally it alleviates stress. The act of singing has been found to be able to help stroke victims regain the use of speech. And because it touches both the left side of the brain, lyrics, and right side of the brain, carrying a melody, it is found to be useful in helping people who are afflicted by depression and in struggles with mental health. Singing is amazing. And when you even just hum a song or, as the text says, make a melody in your heart to God, there doesn't even have to be words to it.
When you just let creations groan, and form the melody that you unleash to God in difficult moments. Through that melody God is giving you medicine, for your malady, for what you're facing. It's an incredible thing. I was almost crying listening to one TED Talk that talked about how there's been so many instances of people being helped out of comas through songs. One seven year old girl was in a coma. Doctors couldn't do nothing for her. We don't know when she's coming out of the coma. Mom said, I know what will work. And she began relentlessly singing "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele. And that girl sat up and finished the lyric in response to her mom's song. Google it. And that's just regular music. Adele is awesome. But when you lift up a song that gives honor to the King of all kings, the Lord of all lords. The One who the Bible says, no one can exalt as King unless they speak by the Spirit. That's how we call Jesus Christ, the Lord. When we exalt Christ the Spirit flocks to that. The bird flocks to that. The Bible says, Jesus speaking. When he comes, the Spirit, He will glorify me.
So how do we be filled with the Holy Spirit and not drunk with wine? Ephesians 5:10. We exalt Jesus Christ. We trust on God, wait on God. The Spirit mounts us up with wings like eagles, that is overcoming the failure of our batteries. And we have new power. We have new strength. Come on. The studies show even that premature babies, who if they are played a recording of their mom's singing voice, they will be discharged from the hospital, and be able to live outside of their incubator faster than the control group that does not have a song being sung to them. There is something inside your soul that resonates with music. And it comes from God, who sang as He created the world and knit you together, in your mother's womb. Music, then, Praise music, then, is what healing sounds like. And as we sing to Him, He heals our hearts.
And one last detail, and this is just so, so amazing. Oh, by the way, I'm really thirsty. Oh, very delicious. Bubbly, kind of flat. Worship is personal, but it's also a team sport. Scientists would tell you that something happened in your brain, while you watch me do that, by the way. You have something in your head called mirror neurons. And supposedly, when you watch someone take a sip of water, your brain experiences the sensation of you drinking water. Through watching me drink, your brain was activated in the same places as though you were drinking yourself. And sociologists tell us the exact same phenomenon has been proven when you watch someone else sing, even on a screen. Watching someone else sing, your mirror neurons fire. Which is why I want you to understand worship is deeply personal. But it is also a team sport. Which is why Psalm 22 says, God inhabits the praises of His people. Not just any one of us. But when we come together something happens that cannot be explained.
Listen. You could cut me open and find my vocal cords. And apparently they are very small. And you could analyze my lungs in an autopsy and know how much breath I'm able to get every time I breathe. And you could take into account my teeth, and exactly how wind passes over them. And as my lips form words you could understand, medically speaking, all of that. Because supposedly they took George Washington's teeth, which I saw in Mount Vernon on display. And it freaked me out to no end. And they said with his crazy dentures, that they analyzed them in a computer simulation, and were able to produce what his speech would have sounded like. And they said it wasn't pretty. It was not pretty. Which is incredible to think they could reproduce the sound of his voice by looking at his teeth.
And you could do the same for me, and I could do the same for you. But you would never, on pencil and paper, be able to understand the actual power unleashed when you choose to use all of that to lift up the name of Jesus. Because I can understand chairs in a room, and numbers on an Excel spreadsheet for attendance, and views on YouTube. But I'm telling you when God's people come together, not just by themselves, but when we unite in the name of Jesus, He is somehow, some way enthroned in our adoration. And His manifest presence is felt and experienced. And His power to save, and to heal, and to touch, is somehow opened up in a different way. And I'm not sure exactly how to get my head around it all. But I know that in Hebrews 2 verse 12, Jesus speaking. Jesus speaking, "I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You".
Seems to me that what Jesus is saying is when my people pray, and when my people praise. When they come together, as the church has been doing on the first day of the week, ever since Christ Jesus rose from the grave. And when we sing songs to God, Jesus is in the midst singing, through us, a song to His father. I'm told that when the last canary was taken from the cage, and they no longer had a job in the mines anymore, They didn't know what to do with them. Most mines had a dozen, 50. Some mines had 80 canaries on the payroll. They didn't pay them very much. They said the job's for the birds. They didn't want to release them because they had served an important job. They had served. So they decided what they were going to do is, they were going to open them up for adoption. Anybody in the city could adopt them.
And I was touched when I read that, nearly in every single instance, the adoption was fulfilled by the miners who served alongside of them. And I don't know why it just choked me up thinking about these rough and tumble dudes, dirty soot all over them, walking home with these little birds to introduce them to their family. I want you to meet, they would say, the bird that saved my life. When I could have died, this bird was standing between me and death. That's why we praise Him. Jesus, as we sing to Him, He's singing through us. He's singing over us. He's singing a song to His father. And as we sing back we are participating in something bigger than we can understand. Worship is what healing sounds like.
So Father, we thank You. We thank You for what we were invited to participate in. And it's a mystery. It's magic. It's too wonderful for us. So I pray, God, for any today who would say the sound has grown dim. And I want to hear that music again. The music of joy and rejoicing, the music that lifts us up out of the pit. Gives us face in times of sorrow, gives us hope in times of grief. Gives us peace in times of worry, gives us strength in times of trouble. Pray that song would get loud in our hearts again, louder than the voice of man.
If that's what you're saying as we pray together would you just raise up a hand? Just let God know. Could it just be for a moment. I want that sound. I want that music. I want there to be God's song released through me.
God, I pray Your blessing, and Your peace, and Your favor, and Your love upon Your children. We need You. We love You. We're lost without You.
You can put your hands down and, as you do, I just encourage you, pick three or four things that you're thankful for. And tell your Father about them. Just say, God, I'm thankful for, and then you fill in the blank. For some of you, this is what God brought you here for. Just to unleash the power of gratitude that will alter your perspective. I'll add to the mix, God, how thankful I am for this church, for these who have come today, to bring You praise, to seek You. I pray You would keep adding to the church those who are being saved.
Now with every head bowed, and every eye closed, I want to give space and time to any who have come in today. And you're, as the Bible says, without God, without hope in this world. No sense of confidence of what's waiting for you beyond the grave. No sense of I've been forgiven of my sin, because you haven't been. You're guilty. And I speak as a dying man to dying men and women. And I hope you know that you're going to stand before God to give an account of your life. And on that day, Jesus said, he who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son does not have life. Good people don't go to heaven. Forgiven people do. But you could be forgiven. That's why Jesus hung on the cross. He put himself between you and the grave by going into the grave. He took the hit so you could live forever. And He rose from the dead, and is able to offer resurrection to anybody who calls on Him. So I'm going to pray a prayer. And if you would want to give your heart to Jesus, pray this prayer with me. Pray it with the desperation that a drowning man would grab for a life preserver. Say this out loud. Mean it in your heart. God will hear you. Today is your day of salvation. Church, say this with us.
Dear God. I know that I'm a sinner. I can't save myself, but I believe Jesus can. Because He died, because He rose, thank you for new life. I give You mine. In Jesus' name.