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Monday, April 26, 2010

Sermon on Pentecost, God's Story, the Holy Spirit, and the Church

There were so many gems in last Sunday's sermon at our church, Grace Fellowship. Scott is preaching through Acts right now. This sermon was on Acts 2:1-20, which is about Pentecost.

(To save it in iTunes, click on this link and scroll down to the "It's a Spirit Thing" on the bottom of the page. Right click and scroll down to "save target as". )

Scott examined a topic that has been very confusing to me—baptism of the Holy Spirit. What I appreciated the most about what Scott taught was that he explained it from the Scriptures—not from experience he has had, not from some other book he has read, not from his favorite theologian, but straight from God’s Word.

Here are some rough notes from Scott's sermon that moved me:

Scott gave this as an example of "faith training vs. "knowledge training" in our churches:

"Our culture says, 'Women, your value basically depends on your beauty'. God's story says your value is you are a created image-bearer of God...Are we living in God's story or the culture's story and are we acting like that? we treat women differently based on their appearance, or do we treat everyone as a valued image bearer of God?"

He explained how most Christians "know" that we are all image bearers of God, but do we really BELIEVE that every person is an image bearer in such a way that we ACT like it in the way we see and treat others. Scott emphasized his desire is that we have “faith training” at Grace, not just “knowledge training”, meaning that we believe God's Word as Living Truth that is shaping the way that we live and act and make decisions and treat each other.

Scott said, "[The Book of] Acts is there to tell us where we are in the Story of God. This is God's Story. This planet, this race of human beings on this planet, this is God’s Story. In this solar system, He is the sun and we are the planets. We tend to live the other way around. I am the sun and everything revolves around me.”

Scott explained that “Pentecost is the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to send the Spirit.” (See John 13-16, where Jesus tells the disciples that he is leaving. The disciples are confused and troubled. Jesus tells them that He does not leave them orphans, but that He is sending the Spirit to bear witness about Him to them. According to Jesus, the Spirit will teach them, guide them into all truth, bring Jesus’ Words to their remembrance, convict them and the world, help them, comfort them, and glorify Jesus. Jesus even says it is to the disciples’ advantage that He leaves because then the Spirit will come to them!)

“When Jesus was here present physically, he was one guy in one place. When the Spirit is poured out on the church the Spirit is now God Omnipresent able to be everywhere working in and through everyone. And He will have a world-wide ministry of conviction. As we bear witness to Jesus Christ, where does the power come from for that to have any impact whatsoever? The Holy Spirit—He convicts the heart.”

“Pentecost is about baptizing the church with the Spirit.”

Scott explained that the word “baptize” means to immerse. Scott showed us how John the Baptist baptized with water and Jesus baptized His people with the Holy Spirit. This was made possible through the Cross.

“Being baptized with the Holy Spirit simply means that God is going to pour out His Spirit on you.”

“The Spirit has been active in the Old Testament, of course He has. But there is a sense in which the Spirit is going to be given in the new work of God that begins with Jesus Christ.”

John 7: 37-39 “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

Acts Chapter 1 is about Jesus ascending in glory and Acts Chapter 2 is about the Spirit being poured out onto the Church.

As John 7 explains, people will believe in Jesus and then His Spirit will be poured out on them. Pentecost is where that starts.

What does a person have to do to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit?

Acts 2:37-39 “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ 38 And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.’”

“In the NT, we are commanded to be filled with the Sprit, we are commanded to walk in the Spirit, we are commanded to keep in step with the Spirit, we are commanded not to quench the Spirit, we are commanded not to grieve the Spirit. Nowhere are we commanded to be baptized with the Spirit. We receive the Spirit. The Spirit has been poured out on us when we put our faith in Jesus Christ.”

As we have received the Spirit, the Book of Acts goes on to show how we get to participate in God’s work—we are part of His story that has been unfolding from the beginning of time and that has been played out all through the Old Testament and the New Testament.

“Pentecost is about empowering…you and me for the mission that Jesus has put us on.”

“The Holy Spirit is power for the mission….The state of our faith is displayed in the way we live, not in the theology we speak. The words that we say are not the measure but the way we live. So if we say that the Spirit is the power for the mission, but we are prayer-less, never seeking the filling of the Spirit. Or we trust in our methodologies. We think that our ability is what makes a church grow or be effective….you can grow a church (attracting a larger customer base) and not grow the kingdom at all. You can get a larger group in a building and have zero new Christians, or you can get a large group in a church and have some percentage of them coming to know Jesus and fail to disciple them and equip them.”

“Did Jesus say find the people with star-power and say 'go build my kingdom'? Is that what He said? You know what’s the problem with doing that? It becomes the cult of personality. Jesus said ‘listen, you’re going to receive the Spirit—you uneducated fisherman—are going to receive the Holy Spirit and you are going to testify of me and there is going to be power there to change lives.”

“What is Pentecost? He says it very clearly here, ‘you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.’ Now the burden of my heart when I talk about this particular point is I know what we instantly—including me— because we live in this culture, what we think power is in a ministry: rapidly growing numbers—that’s the evidence of God’s blessing and power at work. I am not saying it can’t be that God is working, and God does choose some to work through in large ways… Chuck Colson said the work of God is done primarily through God’s little platoons. Where is the church of God exploding?... Africa…India…Latin America,....through regular guys...It is the Spirit of God who is the power that accomplishes the work of God”

Zechariah 4:6 “Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.”

“We want to be about Kingdom-business, not just Grace Fellowship growing, in the power of the Spirit.”

“If all you can see here is speaking in tongues in Acts Chapter 2, you are missing the point! The point isn’t about tongues. Tongues are just a sign of the point. The point is the end of the ages has come! The fulfillment of the promises has begun. The Scriptures are being fulfilled right in front of your eyes! Everything you’ve longed for and hoped for is coming!”

I’ll let you listen to the rest. It was very good.

Here is Acts 1-2.

Acts 1:1-11 “In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, ‘you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now’. 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7 He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’ 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’”

Acts 2: 1-20
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine. 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him,

“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,

Sit at my right hand,
35 until I make your enemies your footstool.’
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.”

More reading: Isaiah 32 & Ezekiel 36:22f

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Doing Nothing Equals Something

I am signed up for an email newsletter called, “PeaceMeal” by PeaceMakers Ministries ( I thought today's newsletter was very insightful and convicting and brought up a helpful point in the theme of my “Taking Reconciliation Seriously” post. It is easier for me to recognize my sins of commission in conflict (or in anything really), but it is harder for me to recognize my sins of omission. Jesus calls us to much more than simply putting off sinful behaviors. He calls us to a heart transformation that results in fruit like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control. He doesn’t just call us to refrain from harming others, He calls us to actively do good to others—even those whom have harmed us and even when doing good inconveniences us or costs us and even when there is no affirmation for ourselves in it!

Lord, Jesus, please show us what active good you are calling us to do in the situation of our lives! Wake us up where we blissfully slumber or look the other way! Provide us with grace, courage, discernment, with the resurrection power of your Spirit to obey with fruit that supernaturally proceeds from Spirit-wrought genuine love—the very love of Christ. Let scandalous, pursuing, sacrificial, active love be our worship of you!

Here is the newsletter post from PeaceMakers Ministries:
Doing Nothing Equals Something

"Forgive us our debts..." Matthew 6:12

In fact, we can sin against God by omission -- by doing nothing. As James 4:17 tells us, "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." Therefore, if we are involved in a conflict and neglect opportunities to serve others (by failing to bear their burdens, gently restore them, etc.), we are guilty of sin in God's eyes.

Adapted from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict

by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 119.

Food for Thought

By neglecting to do good, we end up neglecting God.

Have you ever been in a situation and you just knew you were being asked to do something good, say something good, be something good -- but you didn't do it, say it, or be it? No doubt we all have. In the wake of those moments, we often feel like we've neglected someone. But how often do we live with the awareness that we've neglected God in those moments?

When we do something unto the least of our brothers or sisters, we're doing it as unto the Lord. And when we don't something unto the least of our brothers and sisters, we're not doing it unto the Lord. Omission by another name is neglect. And neglect in God's eyes is sin. Sincerely confess it to God, and ask him to help you to "do good" in that relationship in the future.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wrestling with the Trinity

Billy Graham saved my life. Well, more accurately, God saved my life through Billy Graham. I was 14 years old. My dad and uncle took my cousins and my sister and I to hear Billy Graham’s 1991 Seattle Crusade in the old Kingdome. I remember we were sitting way in the back. I remember the bright lights. The funny thing is that I don’t even remember much about Billy Graham---what he sounded like, what the program was like, what he looked like, or what he was wearing. What I do remember is the experience of God turning a light on in my soul as I heard Billy Graham speak the words I had heard many times before and even committed to memory:

“John 3:16, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

When these words rang out in the Kingdome, they pierced my heart. I finally saw that I could be with God Almighty forever (starting right then!) because Jesus made a way for me. I finally understood that my sin separated me from the Perfect God of the Universe and that I could never repay that debt. I understood that Jesus, God in flesh, lived a perfect sinless life and was worthy to repay my debt. I understood that Jesus did in fact repay my debt by dying on the cross and enduring separation from God the Father. I understood that Jesus is Lord of All and King of Kings and that I needed to submit to Him as Lord and King of my life—and that I wanted to as I saw His character and His worthiness! I understood that life with Him was mine through faith--and faith was not just head knowledge, but it entailed a trusting, following, willing submission  to him kind of belief.  I understood the treasure I gained in this transaction--through no merit of my own--was relationship with the Living God Himself and that nothing else in my life mattered more than this. During the alter call that night, I felt God's compelling call to trek down the many flights of stairs and onto the field below. When I did, Billy Graham led the huge crowd of us in prayer. After he prayed, there were volunteers who prayed with us and talked with us. The volunteer who found me was a young woman who was probably in her 20’s. She gave me some literature and her address and told me I could write to her if I had questions. I stayed up all night that night reading. I read all the literature and the book of John, and God met me that night. I corresponded with the young volunteer for a while as well. I was so encouraged by the words God gave to her to encourage and teach me. I remember writing to her about my many questions—most of them were about the Trinity.

I've been thinking of this night. This past Sunday night, Kristian and I had dinner with a delightful family in our church. They had also invited a friend over who is struggling with whether the God of the Bible is real and can be trusted. One of this man’s main questions about Christianity is with the Trinity. I can certainly understand why he has questions. The Trinity is such a marvelous, mysterious concept. How can there be One God in three Persons? Almost 20 years after becoming a Christian, I still find this to be such a mystery. Yet, I also love to plumb the depths of Scripture for insight into this mystery. God has met me in His Word.  What I find there is solid, profound, and transformational. Still, I know what I see now is a dim reflection of what I will see next year, which will still be an even dimmer reflection of what I will see one day when I am face to face with the Savior. But as I walk with God and seek Him out in prayer, Bible reading, study, and by listening to faithful teaching from gifted teachers, God has opened my eyes in increasing measure to His character as Triune God, and also to what that means for my relationships as an image bearer of God. Two resources that I have been particularly helpful to me are: 1) Jonathan Edwards, “An Unpublished Essay on the Trinity”; and 2) Bruce Ware’s book, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Roles, Relationships, and Relevance”. Edwards’ essay is available here:

Here is a short article by John Piper that summarizes Edwards’ essay well and so eloquently hits on the beautiful mystery of the Trinity:

Love Seeking Understanding
A Meditation on the Trinity
By John Piper February 6, 1984

Human language is never wholly adequate to communicate personal life. How I feel when I look at four sons leaving their childhood behind cannot be wholly carried by words. But we still try. We stammer. We use metaphors (it’s like throwing things overboard on a voyage). We write poems and songs. The inadequacy of language is only surpassed by its indispensability. What else have we got? Inadequate does not mean useless. Language may not carry all there is, but what it carries can be true and valuable.

So with talk about the Trinity. No doubt it will always exceed our full comprehension. No doubt our language is inadequate to carry this deep reality. But the depth and value of the Trinity is precisely why we must speak. You don’t throw out the love poem because it falls short of the love. It is precious nonetheless. So is the doctrine of the Trinity.

In a nutshell (following Jonathan Edwards), I would describe the Trinity like this: The Father is God existing in the primal, unoriginated, most absolute manner. The Son is God eternally generated by the Father’s having a clear and distinct idea or image of himself, so much so that his image or reflection of himself is God—the Son. The Holy Spirit is God existing as the infinite Spirit of love and delight flowing eternally between the Son and the Father.

The Father has always existed. And there never was a time when he did not have a perfectly exact and full Idea or Image of himself. This is the Son who therefore is equally eternal with the Father. “God’s idea of himself is absolutely perfect and therefore is an express and perfect image of him, exactly like him in every respect; there is nothing in the pattern but what is in the representation—substance, life, power nor anything else…But that which is the express, perfect image of God in and in every respect like him is God to all intents and purposes…” (Jonathan Edwards, An Essay on the Trinity, p. 101). Biblical passages that point to this understanding of God the Son are 2 Corinthians 4:4; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3.

When God is said to “be love” (1 John 4:7, 16), we must think that there has always been two Persons in God between whom love could flow. And the Scriptures teach plainly that the Father loves the Son (Matthew 3:17; Ephesians 1:6; John 5:20; 17:26) and the Son loves the Father (John 14:31). God’s infinite love for his own glory (Isaiah 48:11) was satisfied from eternity in his beholding and enjoying his own glorious Image in the person of his Son.

Therefore, the Father and the Son never existed without an infinite delight and love flowing between them. It was not possible they could be indifferent to each other’s glory. 1 John 4:12-13 shows that the love that God is (v. 7) is the Holy Spirit: “If we love one another God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him…because he has given us of his Spirit.”

The Spirit of God is the river of love and delight flowing between God the Father and God the Son. The Holy Spirit is the esprit de corps of the Godhead. In responding to each other’s infinite glory, the Father and Son put all that they are into the act of love. And therefore the Spirit is all that they are and exists as a Person in his own right, yet one with the Father and the Son.

We grope. We stammer. We reach for ways to say the mystery. Why? Because something has gone before. Falling in love always precedes the love poems (no matter how bad they are).

Claritas quaerens intellectum,

Pastor John
Dear Father, Thank you for giving me life and breath and for inviting me into your precious and mysterious fellowship between Father, Son, and Spirit. Thank you, Jesus, for paying the price for me to enjoy fellowship with you, the Triune God. Thank you, Spirit, for walking with me daily and revealing truth to my heart. God, I pray that you would continue to open my eyes to the glories of your character and to your relationship with Yourself—Father, Son and Spirit. I pray that you would show me how you are calling me to image you in relationships and how the Trinity plays into that. Show us how to love like you do—with delight, affection, sacrifice, headship and submission. I pray this for your Church—that we would know you in increasing measure and that we would worshipfully reflect you in our lives so that you would be exalted and many would come to have joyous fellowship with you. In Jesus Name, Amen

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Ephesians 5:15-21 "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."

To get a laugh one day, my sister once covertly tracked the amount of time it took me to tie my shoe before we headed out the door somewhere.  Embarassingly, this simple task took me several minutes.  This was not because I somehow failed to master the bunny and the hole shoelace trick that most kindergarteners are taught, but rather it is because I do not always make the best use of time.

Have you ever thought of the things for which you make time and the things for which you never seem to have time?  Too often, I can more easily make time....
  • for watching television than for calling a friend in need
  • for surfing the internet than for reading my Bible
  • for eating than for exercising
  • for a coffee date than for housework
  • for listening to the news than for listening to my husband talk
  • for shopping than for budgeting
  • for seeking advice from others than for praying
  • for texting than for being present in a conversation
It is not that there is anything wrong with these things that I am more easily prone to do.  However, sometimes, these choices simply are not "the best use of the time" for me--particularly given that my heart's desire is to live my life with the drive and purpose of : 1) knowing, enjoying, loving, worshipping, following, trusting, depending on, and submitting to God; and 2) loving others in a way that images the sacrificial, scandalous, pursuing, transforming love of God through the gospel in a way that brings glory to the God who is Perfect Love.   Don't get me wrong, television, internet, eating, coffee dates, listening to the news, shopping, seeking advice, and even texting can all be used to towards these two ends.  Take television for example, there are times when television brings me an insight into an aspect of God's character, or God's story of redemption, or human nature or the culture around me.  Or sometimes I see beauty in television through dialogue, storylines, acting, cinematography, education, etc.  Or sometimes, my mind is challenged and sharpened by something I watch.  Or sometimes I connect with my husband while watching a movie and cuddled up next to him on the couch.  Or sometimes, I simply get to enjoy laughter as a gift from a good God.  But there are also times when television is mind-numbing, purposeless, detrimental, and distracting me from loving God and loving others.  The point is, how many times do I stop and consider whether what I am doing is beneficial or detrimental to my life's drive and purpose?  I want to be intentional about my time.  I want to reflect on the motives, means, and effects of what I do, and I want my motives, means and effects to be in line with God's will.  

How do we understand God's will?  Here's a hint:

Romans 12:1-2 "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

If I want to understand God's will, I must actively seek the renewing of my mind so that I do not drift along in the current of this world's philosophies and perspectives and my own fleshly whims.  My fallible inclinations and instincts need to be tested against God's perfect Word.  This means, I must study the Word!  This means, I must be in fellowship and accountability relationships with Christians who can help instruct me in the Word and can help me identify areas where I am more conformed to the world than I am to God's Word.  This means I must pray and ask God to reveal His truth to me and give me spiritual eyes to see His truth.

Ephesians 5 gives us more clues about God's will for us.  He wants us to be filled with His Spirit.  Just as too much wine has a demostrable effect on us, God wants His Spirit to have a demonstrable effect on us!  He wants us to speak truth to one another through songs, hymns and spirtual songs.  He wants us to sing His praises through songs, hymns and spiritual songs.  He wants us to be filled with thanksgiving, which brings us joy and brings Him glory.  He wants us to walk in humility, submitting to others--submitting to their interests and humbly allowing others to speak into our lives with the truth of the Word.  As the rest of Ephesians 5 goes on to show us, God's will for us is to image the gospel in relationship--with our spouses, our children, our church families, our co-workers, our authorities, etc. 

Given that this is God's will for us, how does the way that we spend our time factor into making the best use of time?  In what way is God challenging you to reconsider the "best use" of time?