There’s nothing I enjoy more than a good, old-fashioned, sing-a-long around a campfire. I was able to enjoy that experience last Sunday night with our youth group. As several moms and dads and young people sat around the campfire, we began to sing to the accompaniment of an acoustic guitar. The longer we sang, the farther back in time we reached until we were singing songs we had learned as children in Sunday School. Most of the adults (myself included) had not sung those songs in years. How about decades! And yet the words came back perfectly.
We remember words put to music that ordinarily we would forget. For example, finish the following lyrics from this well-known song: “Come and listen to a story ‘bout a man named Jed…” Now try this one: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…”
See what I mean? This is one of the reasons why Christians sing. Of course, we sing to worship. But we also sing to learn and remember. How did you learn your “ABC’s” as a child? I learned them by singing the little song, “A, B, C, D, E, F, G…” Likewise, one of the most effective ways to learn and remember the great truths of the Christian faith is to sing about them.
Singing is also a great way to memorize Scripture. If I were to ask you to quote Psalm 97:9, could you? That might be a little difficult. But I’m sure you would get it if I asked you to finish this line: “For Thou O Lord art high above all the earth…” The popular chorus, “I Exalt Thee,” is Psalm 97:9 put to music. You know it because you have sung it.
There are many reasons why Christians sing. Most of all, we sing because God has put a song in our hearts. Jesus has given us something to sing about. So lift up your voice and sing! Declare with the psalmist, “I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being” (Psalm 104:33).
Pastor Todd Weston
I want you to consider two common instruments and their implications concerning our spiritual lives. The first is a thermometer which measures temperature. The second is a thermostat which controls temperature. A thermometer is used to report temperature while a thermostat is used to regulate it.
So, which are you? Do you respond to the spiritual climate of your surroundings like a thermometer, or do you set it like a thermostat? I will tell you right now, it’s much easier to be like a thermometer. As such, your spiritual setting rises or falls with the immediate atmosphere. In church or at some other spiritual event it runs pretty high. It’s very easy to be a Christian at church. But when you find yourself in a purely secular setting or with people whose lives are devoid of faith it runs very low.
Jesus calls us to be spiritual thermostats. In the Sermon on the Mount He put it in terms of salt and light. Jesus commanded believers to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” Salt and light are agents of influence. They’re not affected; they are effective. They change their environment rather than being changed by it. That is because they are stronger than that which they are to influence.
Remember that the next time you come face-to-face with spiritual darkness. As a believer inhabited by the Spirit of God you can set the tone. You can establish the spiritual climate. You can be a game-changer! Regardless of the atmosphere, as a man or woman of God you can affect the temperature in a positive way. This is absolutely true because, “Greater is He that is in you, than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Here’s to being a thermostat-Christian!
Pastor Todd Weston
Mark 8:22-26 tells the intriguing story of a blind man healed by Jesus. The location was the city of Bethsaida – a city marked by Jesus for its unbelief. The gospel writer tells us that Jesus led the blind man out of town. I find it significant that before doing a miraculous work in the man’s life, Jesus separated him from an attitude of unbelief.
As the story goes, Jesus touched the man and asked how he was doing. The blind man said he was doing a little better. So Jesus touched him again and made him look up. I can see Jesus putting His hands on either side of the man’s head and redirecting his gaze upward.
Why do you think Jesus did that? Maybe when the complete healing didn’t come with the first touch the man dropped his head in discouragement. That happens, you know. Disappointment can crush you if you let it. The man had stopped looking up. So Jesus redirected His gaze and the healing came.
It’s important where you look. As someone once noted –
This story teaches us that no matter how bleak the outlook, we should never lose hope. As the Hebrew writer said, “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward” (Hebrews 10:35). No matter what happens, faith never stops looking up. The answer is in the upward look.
Pastor Todd Weston