Because music is such a part of teens’ lives, let’s use it as a daily reminder to live their life as a praise song to God that will be heard by those around them.
For this youth Bible lesson have music clips of songs students should know for a game of “Name that Tune.” Optional: treats for winners.
Have at least one of the following songs (or another praise song) in instrumental version and song version for students to listen to.
These can be found @ YouTube.com.
Print the lyrics for Charlie Hall’s “Song of the Redeemed,” Casting Crown’s “Life Song,” or Chris Tomlin’s “Sing, Sing, Sing.”
Begin the youth Bible lesson with a round of “Name that Tune.” You can use a variety of songs – from old TV shows, hymns, oldies but goodies, pop music, etc. Make sure to include at the end though the instrumental version of a few popular Christian praise songs like Charlie Hall’s “Song of the Redeemed,” Casting Crown’s “Life Song,” or Chris Tomlin’s “Sing, Sing, Sing.” You may even want to give small prizes for those that guess correctly; make it fun!
Have students listen to the instrumental version of one of the above Christian songs (or praise song of your choice). Ask which one touched you more, caused you to feel God’s presence, set your focus on Christ – the one with just the music, or the one with the lyrics?
One of my favorite movie quotes is from the movie, “August Rush.” It is a movie about a boy who believes music helps him to find his parents. The quote is: "The music is all around us; all you have to do is listen."
It’s the same with our lives. God places within us and around us the music of life, but what is the “song” of our life? Does our life sing a song to Him and about Him or is our life just lip-synching?
The Bible is filled with songs! In fact the Book of Psalm is a whole book of songs! There’s also a book called Song of Solomon or Song of Songs. But for our youth Bible lesson today, we’re going to look at the life songs of three major characters in the Bible.
Play “Guess Who” to introduce each Bible character used in the youth Bible lesson. Give three hints and have students guess.
Although David wrote so many praise songs to God, they weren’t necessarily all happy songs. Yet even through the dark and sad times in David’s life, he chose to allow his life to sing a song of praise to God.
While running for his life from King Saul and hiding in a cave (1 Samuel 23:25-24:4), David penned Psalm 57. In verse 7 of this Psalm, David declares, “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.”
Psalm 51 was written by David after Nathan the Prophet had confronted him about his sin with Bathsheba. (2 Samuel 12:1-10) In vs. 10, David cries out for forgiveness, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
David’s life was not free from challenge – there was the battle with Goliath; Saul hated him and tried to kill him; there were threats of still other enemies. His life was not free from tragedy – his and Bathsheba’s first son died as a baby; another son, Absalom, tried to overtake the kingdom; his only daughter was raped by one of his other sons! His life was not free from sin – he committed adultery; he murdered; he neglected his family life. Yet in it all, David chose to let his life sing a song of praise to God.
Have students turn to Exodus 15 where it records a song of Moses. In verses 1-19 Moses sings a song to praise God and also cause the Israelites to remember God’s mighty deeds in leading them our of Egypt and slavery.
Turn to Luke 1:46-55 where it records Mary’s song of hope. There’s no telling the ridicule and disgrace Mary had to go through as an unwed pregnant teenager; yet, Mary focused on the hope of God’s promised and chose for her life to sing a song of trust to Him.
Now it’s all good and purposeful for us to know of these whose lives sang praise songs to God, but how can this become a part of our everyday lives.? How can we live it out?
First of all, God’s Word teaches us that before God’s music and song can be written on our life, our life first has to be made available to Him. God made a way for us to be forgiven. He made a way for us to know Him. He made a way for us to have the promise of Heaven and living with Him forever. Christ made the way, the only way, by His death on the cross and His resurrection from the grave.
Jesus said Himself, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) So the first note that must be played, the first word that must be sung is a resounding “YES” to Jesus!
After that, the Bible does give us several guidelines to help us, but even greater still, is that God Himself through the Holy Spirit comes to live within us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The Great Composer, Himself, begins to write a beautiful song over our life.
So why are we talking about music and songs in a youth Bible lesson? Why is all this important? Music and rhythm touch our emotions, but the words of a song affect our thoughts – our minds.
The Bible instructs us about our hearts and minds.
Matthew 22:37 “Jesus replied: " 'Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'”
How can we love the LORD with all our heart and all our mind if they are divided in their dedication and focus between Him and the world?
Have students get in groups and look up the following verses. Have each group determine what each verse says about the mind and the benefits of our minds being controlled by God.
Romans 8:6 “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;”
Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Ephesians 4:22-23 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your mind:”
1 Corinthians 14:15 “So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.”
Possible answers may be – when our minds are controlled by God it leads to life and peace; having our minds renewed, helps us know God’s will in our lives; when my mind and attitude are made new, others are able to see it; I can sing with my mind.
So how can we have our minds renewed? Philippians 4:6-7 tells us that when we pray and give God control, He will guard both our hearts and minds.
And then Philippians 4:8 goes on to tell us to think on, meditate, set our minds on good things.
The music we listen to, as well as the shows we watch, can help us or hurt us. If we listen to music that focuses our minds on good things, the things of God, it will renew our minds and bring us benefits!
Colossians 3:2 goes on to say to set our minds on the things above, not on the things of the world. The phrase, to set, brings with it the thought of a chosen action. It’s our choice!
The lyrics of an old children’s song warn – “Oh, be careful little eyes what you see, oh be careful little ears what you hear, … for the Father up above is looking down in love…”
*Here’s a cool fact – science says music and songs can leave you with earworms! James Kellaris, a psychologist, named this phenomenon after a German word, Ohrwurm, that’s used to describe a “cognitive itch” like when a tune or song gets stuck in your head.
So….what kind of earworms are crawling around in your head – those that draw you closer to Christ or farther away?!
Just like David, Moses, Mary and so many others, we can choose to fill our hearts and minds with things that glorify God and cause our lives to be a song for Him!
No matter what is going on in our lives – whether we’re facing good times or bad, we can choose to allow God through His Holy Spirit to make our life a song of praise, a song of victory, a song of trust, a song of hope. In all, our life can be a song of faith – Forsaking All I Take Him.
Distribute the lyrics to one of the praise songs discussed earlier. Have students underline any lyrics that they feel describe their life song.
Have students then write phrases that they feel their life song should be singing.
This youth Bible lesson will be nothing more than words you’ve heard unless you take it with you and apply it to your life.
1) This week, each time you hear a song, let it remind you to think about what your life is singing.
2) Think about the music you’re listening to. Does it draw you closer to God and put your focus on Him? What kind of earworms are crawling around in your head?
Visit Science of Music to learn more about earworms and other cool facts about music science to help you think more about it!
3) Take time to pray; God is the one that wants to actually write your life song for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you take steps this week to help you allow God’s song to be sung to others through your life.
If time permits, let students listen to one of the praise songs again before or as they leave. Or use this Youtube video of "When Our Hearts Sing" by Rush of Fools: