Students dialed into unforgettable lyrics at Monday Chapel

Josh Watt of Redemption North Mountain speaks about unforgettable lyrics during Chapel.

Photos by Ralph Freso Slideshow

By dropping the names of famed musical performers such as Morgan Wallen, John Lennon, Green Day, Tupac Shakur and Johnny Cash, lead pastor Josh Watt of Redemption North Mountain easily seized the attention of students during Monday’s Chapel service at Grand Canyon University Arena.

Watt recited specific lines of songs from those artists, referring to “earworms” – a lyric that persists in someone’s head.

“No musician wants to write a forgettable lyric,” Watt said. “They all want to write unforgettable lyrics.

“And God, in the book of Psalms, was no different. He did not write this to be forgotten. He wrote this to be remembered and to stick in your head ‘how do I know that’s true?’ ”

Watt elaborated on Psalm 34, which was read by GCU Pastor Dr. Tim Griffin at the start of the service.

“Psalm 34 has captured my imagination,” Watt said.

“Here’s what I think David wants us to sit with at GCU,” Watt said. “What’s the image he wants to give us? ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good.’

“He could have said, ‘believe, trust and accept Jesus into your heart.’ He could have been more academic.”

Simply, Watt was describing two of the five senses that bring a greater sense of closeness to followers. And he stressed throughout his 20-minute message that a poetic, beautiful lyric such as what David wrote “should get stuck in our heads.”

“The first thing songs do is get stuck in our heads,” Watt said. “And Psalms are no different.”

Watt said good music affects our emotions in three ways:

Josh Watt of Redemption North Mountain discusses the three ways music can change people.

“It changes our emotions,” said Watt, elaborating that "God the Creator designed music to work that way and is often designed to get you out of the mood you’re in.”

Second, he said, “(Music) reflects our emotions.”

“It’s kind of crazy. Christianity, the religion of joy. We know God personally, and the song track God has given us has so many songs about sadness. … You should be reminded God sees you. He knows you, He gets you. He gave us a sound book to help us.”

Finally, Watt said music is designed to amplify your emotions, as evidenced by those who use a workout mix to get amped up.

“Music helps me turn up what’s inside of me,” Watt said.

The Watt family currently listens to Green Day, and Watt recited “my shadow’s the only one who walks besides me” from their hit “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”

“What a great way to say, ‘I’m lonely,’ ” Watt marveled.

Watt, who believed the 1990s represented the greatest era of music, reached into the past to recite part of Cash’s signature hit “Ring of Fire.”

I fell into a burning ring of fire.

Went down, down, down,

And the flames went higher,

It burns, burns, burns,

The ring of fire, the ring of fire.

“That’s about love that all you guys are hoping to be in one day,” Watt said. “(Cash) is capturing the imagination.”

Students sing in praise with the Worship team during Chapel.

Lennon’s hit “Imagine,” however, did not resonate with Watt from a theological standpoint.

“But (Lennon) captures the imagination of a world without division, strife, and religious fighting in talk of heaven and hell that is punching people in the face,” Watt said.

X, formerly known as Twitter, represents Watt’s source of obtaining news. He read a story on aliens in Mexico and would love if there were aliens who could provide a fresh perspective on humanity and say, “this is what y’all are like.”

And what would Mr. Alien observe?

“Wherever I go, there is music. … It is right in the center of every human civilization that’s ever been.”

And why is music important?

A student is thrilled to get an M&M cookie from Canyon Activities Board staff following Chapel as CAB was out promoting their upcoming events.

“It helps us express ourselves,” Watt said. “It unifies a group of people around us. Think of the GCU fight song. It unifies us. It gives us something to be joyful about.

“On flip side it gives us something to grieve about or help us grieve.

“Music has the power to transform our whole being.”

GCU Senior Writer Mark Gonzales can be reached at [email protected]

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