He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him. Psalm 40:3
Don and I went to hear music’s tonic the last two Saturday evenings. Free concerts are offered all summer at Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center. Located in the Santa Cruz mountains, the center is surrounded by stately pines and spreading oaks.
We listened to three groups. Michael O’Brien was my favorite because he led me/us in worship and touched my spirit the most.
MUSIC’S TONIC TOUCHES MY HEART
I’ve often thought teaching, sermons, touch my mind. But music touches my heart.(https://www.carolloewen.com/set-free-by-music/)
O’Brien came onto the stage, engaged us with some humor, then within five minutes had us all worshipping. He says “When asked if I still enjoy doing this, my usual response comes from the movie Chariots of Fire. “I feel God’s pleasure when I’m leading God’s people in worship.” And he did! My spirit needed that renewing. (https://michaelo.org/)
Michael shared his love for the Word of God as well as his testimony. Growing up in Miami, he tended bar while attending college, got involved in the drug scene and desperately wanted to escape it. One night he walked into a church and said “How do I get out of this life?” And Jesus changed him.
Michael was lead singer with Newsong from 1999 ‘til 2006, when he went solo.
MUSIC LED US TO WORSHIP
What I loved was not O’Brien’s fame or status or performance. It was that he led me to worship my Lord Jesus Christ. To sing along with some of the old familiar songs – hymns as well as songs like Andre Crouch’s “Through it All”, so familiar from my years ministering in the LA ghetto – and some of Michael’s own compositions.
HOW DOES MUSIC TOUCH YOU?
I have been more relaxed, less stressed recently. These songs repeat in my mind and heart and remind me there is One who is in control, no matter what chaos I see, no matter what political struggles occur, regardless of what may come. And they remind me to pray for those who are hurting, hungry, persecuted.
MUSIC ON A BRACELET
Something special happened this week. After my first husband passed away, a dear young friend made me a bracelet that spelled out “It is Well With My Soul.” Somehow in the moves since then I had lost it. I asked her to make another for me, and received it yesterday.
When peace like a river attendeth my wayWhen sorrows like sea billows roll Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say It is well, it is well with my soul
The song was written by a man who had just learned that his wife and four daughters had been lost at sea. His trust in God was unwavering, despite his grief.
Tonight Don and I talked about meaningful songs. His daughter-in-law had challenged us to write down what we want for our memorial services (neither of which we expect any time soon). The first favorite Don mentioned was “It is Well With my Soul.” He remembers his father singing it often. It touched my heart that this song, meaningful enough to me to have the bracelet re-made, was also his first choice, and that our discussion was just a day after I received the new bracelet.
PRAISE HIM WITH SONGS
King David wrote many of the Psalms, which were put to music. In them he expressed the gamut of emotions. Fear, triumph, joy, living in hiding from King Saul, the king before David, who tried to kill him. David expressed his weakness, his sorrow over his sin, his praise for a righteous God who forgave.
Along with scripture, I encourage you, and myself, to praise God with instruments and song that draw us closer to Him.
…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 5:18b-20 NIV)