What is the soundtrack of your life?

“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise” (Psalm 96:1-4)

This summer, I am preaching through selected Psalms, looking at how the Psalms help us to bring all of our emotions to God so that He can help us make sense of our life. Looking back on my life, if I listen closely I can hear a soundtrack playing in the background, like a movie, marking so many key points along my journey. I can see a very young Eric, listening to the Ghostbusters record, the first one I remember asking for and enjoying. I can see middle school Eric, staying up late on New Year’s Eve to listen to Casey Kasem’s countdown of the year’s top songs on the radio. I can see high school Eric, listening to Alice in Chains and Metallica on his Walkman on the bus on the way to basketball games, trying to get himself psyched up for the big game.
When I became a follower of Jesus in college, music began to play an even more integral role in my faith. I remember discovering the world of Christian music, which at first I did not like, until I found bands with styles I could relate to and lyrics that inspired me. I remember listening to worship music in my third floor office at South United Methodist Church as a new Youth Director, praising God and crying out for the salvation of the kids in the youth group. I learned to play guitar my senior year of college, and as soon as I could play G, D, Em, and C, I found that I could play hundreds of worship songs. Eventually I was able to lead worship for youth groups and for NewLife.

Over the years, I have landed upon certain songs that minister to me in the different moods and times of life and help bring me into the presence of God. When I go away on personal retreats, I often begin by lying on the floor and listening to a song called “My One Desire” from a CD made by The Worship Center of Hebron when I was in college. That song always helps me to lay aside everything else that competes for my attention and remember my longing to know God. When I am preparing for Sunday mornings, I often listen to a song called “Obsession” by the band Delirious, that brings me to a place of wanting to honor Jesus. There are songs that have gotten me through difficult times, like “O Love that will not let me go” by Ascend the Hill. And there are songs that help me to give voice to my joy and gratitude, like “Mighty to Save” by Hillsong United or “O Lord your love” by Caedmon’s Call.
Music is a gift given by God to help us to not only connect with God with our thoughts but also with our emotions. I hope that you have also found songs that help you bring your sadness and sorrows, your joys, your questions, and your longing to the Lord. This summer, I would love to have some of you share as guest writers in the Pulse about how music helps you connect with God, or about a specific song that particularly ministers to you. Email or call me if you would be willing to share!

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