Teaching Series
Grounded in Love
Wednesday—Our Community

Series: Grounded in Love
Message: Our Community
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Mark Witas
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Jenniffer Ogden
Live Beyond: Andrew Jones
Live Purpose: Emily Ellis
Editor: Becky De Oliveira

Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Ephesians 5:1-21 in the New Testament for Everyone (NTE). Note 1–3 insights or questions. 

Reflect: Ephesians 5:19-20 says, “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.”

I don’t do it intentionally. I really don’t. But I constantly have a song in my heart that often spills out of my mouth. I’m constantly hearing phrases or seeing things that remind me of a song and I start singing it. On the golf course, in the office, while I’m driving down the street, I’m singing. I grew up in the ’60s and ’70s so my song catalogue comes largely from that era.

When I was principal of a K-12 parochial school I’d be sitting in my office working away, not realizing that I was singing aloud in my own personal jam session, when I’d look up and see my office administrator standing at the door, hands on her hips, giving me the stink eye. “How am I supposed to get any work done when you are singing ‘Hey Jude’ at the top of your lungs?”

I didn’t even realize I was singing. I thought it was all in my head.

One evening I was driving from Vancouver, B.C., to Northern California. I like driving at night. As I approached the area north of Seattle along I-5  that was my old stomping grounds, each exit I passed reminded me of a person or a situation that brought a song to mind. I sang my way all the way past Tacoma. (Winslow, Arizona, was a part of that particular song memory.)

As much as singing my memories puts me in a happy place, there is nothing that brings me to the throne of God like music that seeks to honor Him well. Often, in church, I’ll be singing a praise song with the congregation and get swept away with emotion. I’ll have to sit and just listen because if I keep expressing my love for Jesus in song, I’ll just start weeping with love. Usually at the end of one of these songs I have to preach. Walking up to the pulpit in tears is probably not the best way to start a sermon.

Singing and making music to the Lord (as Paul suggests in the above verse) is one way to get close to the heart of Jesus and have Him stand up in a place of prominence in our own hearts. That’s why I feel it necessary for every generation to “make music” and “sing” to Jesus. New music, old music, all music that comes from the human experience of worshiping the Creator should be recognized and celebrated in churches around the world.

Recalibrate: What song, when you hear it, brings you to the heart of Jesus? What songs bring you to your happy place?

Respond: Choose a song and sing it to Jesus as a prayer. If you don’t sing, play it aloud as a prayer to Jesus.

Research: Here’s a great article on the benefits in participating in a musical life.

Remember: “You are God’s children whom He loves” (Ephesians 5:1, ICB).

Mark Witas is the lead pastor for the Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church in Portland, Oregon. He is a regular contributor to the Daily Walk.

Try out this song and this song. One for you and one for your little one. Each song reminds us of who we are in Jesus’ name. Remember that you are loved beyond anything that we can ever measure. Sing of His love for you and your love for Him.

Find a song that reminds you of Jesus’s love for you and sing it today with your family at worship or dinner time. Why do you think we sing love songs to express what we are feeling and thinking? Share your ideas after you sing the song you chose!

We all know that God loves us with His whole heart; He even sent His son to die for us. That’s pretty awesome love. I have a challenge for you today: I want you to write a list of things you love. I’m not talking about things like your Xbox or your favorite shirt. I mean things that you deeply cherish. Things like your mom, dad, siblings, your close friends, your pets, your school, or even your church. After you’ve written them down, I want you to tell the people on your list how you feel. It feels good to share your feelings and it will make them feel good in return. Try it out!

At a young age, I started to play the piano for praise services. When I got to high school and college, I continued to play the piano for worship and I would even occasionally sing for church and vespers. Playing the piano and singing for church is one of my favorite things. It’s a different way for me to connect with God, and I’ve found the worship songs I sing and play are like guided prayers. They aren’t just songs, but they are my songs to God. When I don’t have the right words to say, the worship songs give me the words to give praises to God. I’m the type of person who will lift their hands in worship and even sometimes cry because of the power of these songs. Even when I might not feel God’s presence, the songs allow me to open my mouth and praise Him anyway. What are some songs that you connect with? What does worship mean to you?

Zan Long is GRC director for faith development groups. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Jenniffer Ogden serves as the children and family pastor at the Walla Walla University Church in College Place, Washington.
Andrew Jones teaches grades seven and eight at Vista Ridge Academy in Erie, Colorado. He is originally from Oregon and attends Boulder Church.
Emily Ellis is a junior studying theology at Walla Walla University and interning at the Eastgate Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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