The Secret to Shaping Culture

When you release your sound, heaven and earth will respond.

He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.

Psalm 40:3 NLT

Think about your favorite song … or any catchy tune. I bet you could recite all the lyrics on command. Right?

Songs tell stories. The good ones, anyway. They proclaim a testimony through words, rhythm, melody.

Songs get stuck in our head. They affect our emotions and even our physical body. That’s the power of music!

(Side note: I need to give credit to Ray Hughes for some of the ideas I’m sharing here. Check out his resources on worship, art, and faith. He carries wisdom and revelation we need in these days.)

A Unique Sound

When we think of a song, we probably think of a 2-minute musical composition. Something we listen to. Something we sing along to. Something we consume.

Biblically speaking, however, a song is so much more than music and lyrics. If you dig into the Hebrew, to sing (Strong’s H7891 & H7788) refers to the concept of a “strolling minstrel.”

In Mr. Hughes’ own words, šîr (to sing) means “to walk about as a strolling minstrel releasing the sound of who you are into the atmosphere.”

Interestingly, the origin of the word “minstrel” traces back to the idea of service and ministry. This word covers the creative occupations of singers, musicians, and poets. 

It’s these people — the artists, the creatives — who truly shape culture. They use beauty to captivate and communicate certain ideas and images. These concepts in turn shape the way we think, which then influence the decisions we make and, ultimately, the way we live.

A Drought of Truth

There’s a war on truth right now. Recently I’ve heard multiple pastors and prophetic voices saying the same thing: There’s a famine of the word of the Lord. With so much noise and information sources available, people can find and feed on whatever they want to hear.

In biblical history, I think of the time of the judges, when “everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” The people turned away from the Lord and fell into idolatry. We’re living in strikingly similar days. There’s darkness and deception. There’s a drought of truth and a famine of God’s words.

We’re (over)due for a revival! We need another great awakening!

Consider the lack of biblical literacy today and the rise of “deconstruction” and progressive Christianity. Think about the attack on our freedom of speech in America. Think about the censorship that’s happening online and the muzzling of certain voices through intimidation, slander, coercion, and fear.

Our courts oppose the righteous,
    and justice is nowhere to be found.
Truth stumbles in the streets,
    and honesty has been outlawed.
Yes, truth is gone,
    and anyone who renounces evil is attacked.

The Lord looked and was displeased
    to find there was no justice.

Isaiah 59:14-15 NLT

Yikes. Sounds familiar. So what’s the appropriate response?

It’s time for truth to permeate and penetrate the airwaves.

Cue the minstrels! We must create from a place of intimacy with Jesus. You and I are here to broadcast the beauty of Jesus through our creativity. We’re here to speak and write and sing worthy words born from above. This takes courage. This takes a village.

A New Song

It’s why you’re reading this blog right now. You have a testimony. You have a story. You have a song. You have a unique sound to release on the earth.

We’re so used to consuming songs. We’re so used to spectating. But what if we dare to participate? To write our own songs? To release our sound? 

When you release your SOUND heaven and earth will RESPOND.

The Hebrew word for SOUL is “nephesh.” This word literally means “throat.” It’s through your throat that you release your sound, your song, your voice.

Your soul has to do with the deepest level of your life. It’s who you are in all your complexity and uniqueness. The systems of this world want to silence your sound and steal your soul.

Jesus said: “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matt. 16:26)

Don’t sell out. The secret to keeping your soul safe and vibrant is found in the greatest commandment: to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and strength.

Only God can restore your soul. Then when you speak, sing, and live from this deep place — this well of who you are — it will carry the power to pull the atmosphere of heaven (God’s glory) to the earth.

This is the secret to shaping culture.

Creative Activation

I heard someone (maybe Ray?) say that songs make up 1/3 of scripture.

These songs make up our history as the people of God. We can pray them. We can sing them. We can claim them and incorporate them into our own stories. They carry prophetic power for today.

1. Explore a song in the Bible — What stands out? What phrases can you claim and incorporate into your own song/story?

  • Song of Moses and Miriam (Exodus 15:1-21)
  • Song of Deborah (Judges 5)
  • Hannah’s Prayer of Praise (1 Samuel 2:1-11)
  • David’s Song of Praise (2 Samuel 22)
  • Hezekiah’s Poem of Praise (Isaiah 38:9-20)
  • Mary’s Song of Praise (Luke 1:46-55)

2. Draft a few sentences/stanzas/lyrics that capture a snapshot of your life, or a specific situation, BEFORE and the results AFTER Jesus intervened.

Challenge: Release your words publicly. Someone needs your story!

You can read my story (in the form of poetry) right here: The Exodus

Save the date!

Did you enjoy this teaching? It’s adapted from a Worthy Words workshop on Sept. 23, 2022. Our first workshop of the new year is set for Friday, Feb. 3, 2023! Sign up for more info and event reminders: worthywords.co

Hope to see you at one of our events in 2023!

love, Chelsea

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