Always Keep a Song in Your Heart – What Our World Needs Now

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

This week, we have continued our series What the World Needs Now. Today we are talking about the heart of worship—music.

My father was a cement mason. He built schools and churches and loved to give his daughter words of wisdom. One of his best pieces of advice was to “always keep a song in your heart.” He couldn’t sing, but he hummed all the time. I have always loved music and lyrics. Songwriter/singer Eric Church’s lyrics “funny how a melody sounds like a memory” is a personal favorite.

I have so many wonderful memories that revolve around music. As a child, I remember listening to “Sunday Serenade” on the radio with my parents. It was a combination of Italian love songs from singers such as Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin. One of my favorite memories from elementary school was the whole school sitting in the gym singing Christmas songs, especially the song about a dreidel. In junior high, our choir sang songs from The Sound of Music, and I loved “Climb Every Mountain.” In high school, I loved “Born and Raised (on Rock-n-roll)”! But as a band nerd, I also loved playing the “Star-Spangled Banner” and our alma mater and fight song on Friday nights! College was Springsteen’s “Born to Run.”

As a newlywed, my husband and I bought a piano, took lessons, and listened to Piano Man, the symphony, the Nutcracker, and jazz. And we have always enjoyed “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “Cleveland Rocks.” As parents of young children, I remember songs about “What’s the number of the day?” and “Back to the Days of Christopher Robin and Pooh.” We encouraged our children to play instruments (until a music teacher told me I was wasting my money). Then, our teenage children introduced us to country music: Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” and Eric Church and his Church Choir. Recently, I have enjoyed the musical Hamilton, especially “My Shot.” As a grandma, I have gifted my grandsons with piano lessons, encouraged them to love music, and passed on my dad’s advice to keep a song in their hearts. Finally, I have always loved old church favorites, such as “On Eagle’s Wings,” “He Walks with Me,” “In the Garden,” and “Here I Am Lord.”

But most recently, two songs from last weekend’s service, “Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman and “Build My Life” by Bethel Music included some memorable lines that all of us can reflect upon, no matter our musical background or spiritual journey.

Given the recent pandemic, I found these lyrics from the “Heart of Worship” particularly meaningful:

            I’m coming back to the heart of worship
            And it’s all about You,
            It’s all about You, Jesus
            I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
            When it’s all about You,
            It’s all about You, Jesus

And I loved these lyrics from “Build My Life”:

            And I will build my life upon your love, it is a firm foundation

Questions:
Did any of the lyrics from these songs take root in your heart?

Next Steps:
Check your foundation and listen to your heart.

Prayer:
Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me that it’s all about you! Help me build a strong foundation on your love with my family, community, and nation. Remind me of my Father’s words to “always keep a song in your heart” and our Father’s words, especially those written in red! Help us to have fruitful spirits in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. But remember that the greatest of these is love. Amen.


This post was written by Pam Haynam. Pam is a writer for the LivingItOut Bible Study and a cook for the weekend worship band. She has a passion for education having served her community on a district school board and is currently serving on a board that sponsors charter schools across the state. She and her husband have three grown children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and five grandsons.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media
John Reading Plan


Kindness Dignifies – What Our World Needs Now

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Having firmly stepped into the seventh decade of life gives me pause to consider this profound Benjamin Franklin quote: “Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” As an “oldster,” I choose to step into this quote and add: “But it is never too late to embrace God’s wisdom and his undeniable power.”

I am positive knowing the exact number of “harsh meals” I have verbally delivered is something I would rather not know. This old soul suffers with the malady many are acquainted with—a razor-sharp tongue. Well, truth be told, my tongue is capable of being more machete-like than I care to admit. Sadly, it takes little to no effort for me to step into that. After all, being a quick thinker and quick processor of events, not to mention human interaction, are qualifiers for having a quick tongue.

The example of Jesus in John 4 portrays conversationally what many of us have longed for and desperately need. Jesus spoke truth to the Samaritan woman without the added condiments of ridicule, humiliation, judgment, criticism, shame, and blame. He not only spoke to her, he spoke with her. Jesus validated her with his loving interaction. He had an honest conversation with her, including the tough, questionable parts of her life.

Jesus’ example presents a real-life challenge to this Christ-follower. Possibly this truth fits you, too. Why is it, when emotions of past hurts rise in me, that I am quickly challenged to speak without the inclusion of the aforementioned “extra flavoring(s)”?  Acknowledging brokenness exists deep within one’s soul is never easy—especially for one who is 70ish in years. That truth comes out by itself when hurtful, damaging words spill out of one’s mouth. Clearly, uncompleted work by God remains within the heart and soul of one falling victim to making another a victim.

The weightiness of Proverbs 12:18 clearly differentiates hurting words from healing words: “Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.” To be a smart-mouthed, sharp-tongued individual brings no glory to God. Conversely, it damages the reputation of God if the speaker is one of God’s own. To speak healing words offers the recipient the privilege of honorable treatment in a respectful way. This is no small challenge in many situations. Yet, the capacity to treat every human being with dignity is within our power when we embrace the reality that we are in daily need of his power to flow in us and through us.

Questions:
Is there someone in your life whose dignity and self-worth hangs in the balance of your kindness toward them? As a follower of Christ, do the words you speak damage God’s reputation in the eyes of others? Do you take corrective action to own your shortcomings spiritually? Do you make an attempt to make amends with others?

Next Steps:
Pray that God will reveal specific personal relationships in need of damage control, relationships where genuine kindness has been absent. Seek understanding from God where personal brokenness exists. Choose to feel the feelings of brokenness, allowing grief to become a healing agent for your soul.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for always treating me with kindness and dignity—it often has been undeserved! Thank you for not giving me what I do deserve! Empower me to offer ample kindness and dignity to others no matter their lot in life. Please reveal to me the hidden sin that keeps me from understanding how others view me. As I lean into you each day, may your grace and your mercy be generously offered. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.


This post was written by Karen Peck. Karen retired in March 2018 from Lucas County Information Services. She has been married over forty years. Karen rejoices over God’s faithfulness and God’s patience in her life and in her marriage. Nothing matters more to Karen than her relationship with God and her entire family. Her immeasurable faith in Christ and His ability to restore the broken runs deep within.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media
John Reading Plan


Kindness Transforms – What Our World Needs Now

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

According to Merriam-Webster, metamorphosis is a “change in the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one by natural or supernatural means.” It’s a transformation from old to new. These changes can occur naturally in life, but sometimes, the person must want to leave the old behind.

Marriage brings about such a change, especially if you know you’re ready. I didn’t have any cultural preferences during my dating years. I didn’t know who my wife was going to be until five months before our wedding. Therefore, having a traditional African-American ceremony had never crossed my mind until my (forced) involvement in the planning. I like change, but I respect history. There’s something about certain traditions in all cultures that whispers to the hearts of our ancestors. It reminds us that their worth was priceless.

In keeping with tradition, “Jumping the Broom” had to be part of our union. The broom holds many meanings. It represents a couple’s new home or life together. The bristles signify the scattered African tribes/slaves, and the handle points to God who keeps us all together. Jumping the broom signifies the welcoming of a new beginning as the old parts that aren’t needed for your metamorphosis/transformation are swept away.

Our guest speaker, Pastor Ashlee Eiland, mentioned that God’s kindness is meant to transform our lives. So that we might see the truth about ourselves in light of who he is.

Romans 2:3-4
3 Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? 4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Emphasis added.)

The Message, which is a paraphrased version of the Bible, says it this way:

Romans 2:4 MSG
God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness, he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.

Pastor Ashlee detailed the renovation of a house as an example of transformation. When we see an old house, we think about what a mess it has become. Why not tear it down and start from scratch? Well, why not show a little respect and kindness to the architect. Sure the house is old and outdated, but that house has good bones. Sometimes, a good transformation requires a little kindness and some restoration.

In the African-American community, we have spent generations transforming, reinventing, and restoring our rich and not-so-rich history. Our ancestors jumped the broom because slaves’ vows weren’t legally binding. They used traditions of their homeland to transform themselves before God, for their humanity to be restored in his presence. Pastor Ashlee explained that this is the power of God’s kindness and what our kindness can offer the world. It is not a weakness. It is not a Band-Aid to life’s problems, but instead, it allows lives to be changed and restored. It allows you to return to him.

Questions:
What are you hoping becomes transformed around you? Why? Do you see the kindness of others as a weakness or an opportunity to return to your original condition the way God intended?

Next Steps:
Remember the kindness shown to you and humble yourself to do the same for others. Participate in Serve Day to show your community how kindness transforms. This year Serve Day takes place on  July 17th and the Project Directory opens on July 3rd. If you are a Group Leader, plan a project with your Group.  You can register your Group’s Serve Day project here.

Prayer:
Father God, thank you for speaking forgiveness into me. Learning to forgive others transformed me and restored my faith. It’s a type of kindness that turned me back to you. Although forgiveness now comes more easily, pride gets in the way, so humble me to remember that you blessed us with the best form of kindness in your son. Amen.


This post was written by Jaron Camp, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media
John Reading Plan


Kindness Preserves – What Our World Needs Now

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What is his problem? I kept asking myself this as one of my closest work friends just kept being derisive toward me, belittling me, and basically doing anything and everything he could to torment me at every turn while we worked. For a while, I just kept trying to ignore it, figuring it would stop. But it didn’t. Finally, I could take no more and walked straight up to him, looked him in the eyes, and said, “You’re being a real jerk today, and I don’t like it.”

Well, guess how much that solved the problem? Exactly, it only made it worse. Afterward, he seemed to have even more anger in his derisiveness toward me. Finally, at lunchtime, I approached him again—only this time in a non-threatening way—and said, “Hey buddy, I don’t know what’s wrong or what I may have done to upset you, but if there is anything I can do to help the situation, I would like to.”

At that point, he let out a big sigh and started apologizing profusely. He explained that I had done nothing. He had just had a tough night, and his morning hadn’t started well either. He also explained that he wasn’t happy with how our employer was treating him. I listened sincerely and told him I was sorry about his situation. I let him know I was there for him if needed. Amazingly, the rest of the day went great, and I felt a heavy weight lift off my heart. I imagine he did as well.

Ephesians 4:17-19
17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

My first reaction to my friend’s behavior came from a hardened heart, and his response was extremely negative. Last weekend, our guest speaker, Pastor Ashlee Eiland, shared that kindness is what the world needs now. Choosing kindness in stressful situations can not only preserve the hearts of others but also our hearts as well.

Ephesians 4:31-32
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

When I approached my friend with kindness, all bitterness dissolved, our anger went away, the truth came out, and our friendship was restored.

Ashlee left this question for us: “What is your heart preserving?”

Is it keeping bitterness and anger fresh? Or is it keeping space for kindness even in the face of grievous offenses?

Questions:
As Ashlee asked, “What is your heart preserving?”

Can you remember a time when someone showed kindness to you in a stressful situation? How did that make you feel?

Next Steps:
Take an honest look inside your own heart.

Work on showing kindness as a first resort instead of reacting with anger or bitterness.

Find a Group with whom you can share your problems and receive support and kindness from others.

Prayer:
Gracious God, you set the ultimate example of kindness through your Son, Jesus. Help us to learn from that example and be more like him by preserving kindness in our hearts and leaving no room for bitterness or rage to dwell. Help us to show kindness to those we meet in our everyday lives and to preserve our hearts in joy, love, peace, and kindness. In your holy name we pray, amen.


This post was written by Ned Miller, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media
John Reading Plan


Kindness – What Our World Needs Now

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I was so excited when I learned our current series would be on the fruit of the Spirit. I want to overflow with his fruit. Unfortunately, on my own, I am selfish and self-centered. It is easy to forget that the Holy Spirit fills us with his fruit. We can’t produce his fruit on our own. We try and try to be better, striving to improve ourselves, only to fail miserably. We can only produce fruit by knowing God and letting his Holy Spirit change us. We learn to know God through prayer, Scripture reading and memorization, and interacting with other Christians.

Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self control. There is no law against these things!

During this series, we have focused on a different fruit of the Spirit each week. Last weekend, guest speaker Ashlee Eiland, teaching pastor of Mars Hill in Grand Rapids, Michigan, introduced kindness. She shared that kindness isn’t niceness. Niceness can be accomplished within the limitations of our own strengths and resources. Kindness is born of the Spirit of God and is a power beyond our own. Kindness is generous, lavish, selfless, compassionate, and merciful. Jesus is the ultimate definition of kindness.

As I was writing this, I thought, “Who is the kindest person I know?” Several people came to mind, but then I thought of my dear friend Carol from my CedarCreek Group. Carol spent several years caring for her mom who was ill. It consumed most of Carol’s time, but she always found an opportunity to reach out to the ladies in our group. She is gentle, compassionate, warm, and loving. She listens intently and really loves and cares for others. She is a prayer warrior and has a gift of sharing the perfect scripture at the right moment. I have been stunned by the mercy she shows to people. She is a godly woman who bears much fruit, all because she has a close and intimate relationship with Jesus.

I don’t know about you, but I want to bear more fruit. We will look at the fruit of kindness over the next few days, something our world is in desperate need of. I challenge you this week to think about how kind God is to you. Praise him and thank him for being generous, lavish, selfless, compassionate, and merciful. Ask him to help you to be kind to others.

Questions:
How is kindness different from niceness? How has God been kind to you? Why should you thank God for his kindness?

Next Steps:
Memorize the fruit of the Spirit, and ask God to fill you with them daily. Journal about how God has been kind to you. Read the LivingItOut Bible Study (LIO) every day.

Prayer:
Jesus, I am so overwhelmed by all you have done for me, and all you will do for me. I trust you. I am so grateful for your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control. Change me, Lord. Fill me with the fruit of the Spirit. Help me to love others as you have loved me. Help me to bear much fruit. Amen.


This post was written by Marsha Raymond. Marsha has been happily married to her husband, Jeff, for 30 years. They have two grown sassy and fearless daughters. She loves spending time with God, her family and friends, reading, riding bicycles, yoga and walking.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media
John Reading Plan