Music Monday: Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots

If you are like most of my readers, you’re probably not a huge fan of Twenty One Pilots. And to be honest, neither am I.

But, also like me, you probably know someone who likes, or even loves,  Twenty One Pilots. I first heard about Twenty One Pilots a few weeks ago from one of my 7th grade AWANA boys and didn’t even know it was them the first time I heard their new single, Stressed Out.

So why should you care about Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots? Because you can use this song to share God’s story.


There is Nothing New Under the Sun

We can use the song Stressed Out to Share God’s story because it points us to the book of Ecclesiastes.

What exists now is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing truly new on earth. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

The NET Bible says “there is nothing truly new on earth.” You may know Ecclesiastes 1:9 this way: “There is nothing new under the sun.”

Regardless of the translation, the point stays the same.

Twenty One Pilots puts it like this.

I wish I found some better sounds no one’s ever heard
I wish I had a better voice that sang some better words
I wish I found some chords in an order that is new
I wish I didn’t have to rhyme every time I sang

This longing for something new, for something unique, is not new and it is not unique to Twenty One Pilots.

It actually sounds a lot like Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes!

Sharing God’s Story with Stressed Out

Here is how I used Stressed Out to share God’s story with my AWANA kids.

I asked them questions about the song. Why did they like it so much? What does it mean to them? Why do they feel that this song “speaks to them,” or “speaks for them?”

I let them get to the point of Ecclesiastes first before I brought it up.

I basically let them agree with the Bible (in this case Ecclesiastes) before I bring up the Bible.

Once they got there, I read Ecclesiastes 1:8-11 and helped them see that Twenty One Pilots is singing about the same stuff, the same ideas, that Solomon wrote about!

All this monotony is tiresome; no one can bear to describe it:

The eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear ever content with hearing.

What exists now is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing truly new on earth.

Is there anything about which someone can say, “Look at this! It is new!”? It was already done long ago, before our time.

No one remembers the former events, nor will anyone remember the events that are yet to happen; they will not be remembered by the future generations. (Ecclesiastes 1:8-11)

Whether you like this song or not, we can use it to share God’s story – in this case with Ecclesiastes – with our kids and students.

But don’t end with simply agreeing that Stressed Out sings about Ecclesiastes; do what Ecclesiastes does and point your kids and students to God!

Having heard everything, I have reached this conclusion: Fear God and keep his commandments, because this is the whole duty of man. For God will evaluate every deed, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

Yes, life if vanity, life is futility. It goes on and on. We are here and we will eventually be gone, but life goes on. I don’t mean to sound morbid, but that is the case that Ecclesiastes makes. And I know now this is true in my life. When our son died we were shocked that life went on. The day-to-day was still the day-to-day.

So yeah, we desire to be unique and creative, but fail since there is nothing new under the sun.

As Ecclesiastes shows, this should drive us to God. Fear God and obey Him.

It is in God that we find our true identity and our true purpose.

So, how can YOU share God’s story with Twenty One Pilot’s Stressed Out? Do you have a kid or student who really likes this song? If so, you have an easy “in” where you can share God’s story!



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Music Monday – New Order’s Restless

The only thing I may enjoy more than movies is music.* I even work to music. I am one of those people who has a soundtrack to my day, to my work day, to my life, going at almost all times. I often answer questions or respond to comments with a song, or at least with a lyric from a song. I get music. Music moves me.


My newest musical obsession is the newest New Order release, Music Complete.

The whole release is amazing (assuming you like New Order and their kind of music) but Restless stands out to me as a fantastic musical Reel Parable.

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Yeah, I really like the music. But more importantly than that, Restless is an AMAZING look into the book of Ecclesiastes.

Restless basically addresses Ecclesiastes 1:2:

“Futile! Futile!” laments the Teacher, “Absolutely futile! Everything is futile!


What can you buy
That lifts a heavy heart up to the sky?
What makes your day?
What miracle of life
Has come to stay?

These are hypothetical questions and, in the context of the song, the answer is nothing. There is nothing we can buy to truly make us happy or to make the miracle of life stay.

This sounds a lot like Ecclesiastes 2:10-11.

I did not restrain myself from getting whatever I wanted; I did not deny myself anything that would bring me pleasure. So all my accomplishments gave me joy; this was my reward for all my effort. Yet when I reflected on everything I had accomplished and on all the effort that I had expended to accomplish it, I concluded: All these achievements and possessions are ultimately profitless – like chasing the wind! There is nothing gained from them on earth.”

I don’t know what Bernard Sumner (the lead singer and songwriter) means by this, but here is how I hear it. There is a certain “miracle” to life. We often talk about the “miracle of childbirth.”

Life *is* special.

But life leads to death.

As you may know, my wife and I have lost a son to brain cancer. (I wrote about it during Lent 2015.) Life is amazing, but death is inevitable. What is the best part of your day today? No matter what it is, death will (eventually) impose on your life.

It did mine.

It will to yours.


A taste of love
So sweet, so real you can’t let go

And how does it feel?
It feels so good…

But how much do you need? How much, how much do you need?
How much do you need? How much, how much do you need?


Yeah, sex is powerful, awesome, wonderful, amazing, complex and occasionally complicated. But sex is ultimately temporary.

Not only is it the basis of the “world’s oldest profession,” but even King David, a man after God’s own heart, succumbed to its pleasure.

But at the end of the day, sex is so very temporary. No one ever has a sexual experience that leaves them so satisfied that they never want to have sex again. Just as Ecclesiastes 2:1-2 tell us:

I thought to myself, “Come now, I will try self-indulgent pleasure to see if it is worthwhile.” But I found that it also is futile. I said of partying, It is folly,” and of self-indulgent pleasure, It accomplishes nothing!

So how much do you need? More than could ever truly satisfy.


I want a nice car
A girlfriend who’s as pretty as a star
I want respect
As much, as much as I can get

But how much do you need? How much, how much do you need?

How much do you need? How much, how much do you need?

Bernard wants stuff – a nice car –  a pretty woman, and as much respect as he can get. Who doesn’t, right?

Ecclesiastes 7:1-2 even says that our reputation (some translation say respect) is better than precious perfume.

 A good reputation is better than precious perfume; likewise, the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birthIt is better to go to a funeral than a feast. For death is the destiny of every person, and the living should take this to heart.

How much respect is enough?

It doesn’t matter. Those who are respected and those who are not all end the same way – death comes for us all.


Restless, I feel so restless

And in this changing world

I am lost for words

I feel so restless

Ain’t got no interest
I couldn’t care less
Can’t be a success

So what does all this wanting and feeling lead to? Restlessness.

No matter what he gets it is not enough. No matter what he does, it is never enough. He is – and we are – never satisfied.

All this monotony is tiresome; no one can bear to describe it: The eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear ever content with hearing. (Ecclesiastes 1:8)

We are restless.

We are left wanting.

Nothing we know of – or can get – can truly satisfy.

Due to current studies

The fiscal climate isn’t looking good
Get out of town
The streets are running rivers full of blood

Life – and this world – is full of worry. As I write this there is a shrinking Middle Class. We are still coming out of the most recent recession. Most of us are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Even if you are doing great financially, we always seem to be on the brink of war. Most recently it was Paris and San Bernardino. Who knows where it will be tomorrow.

Life is hard. Who much his enough? I don’t know. It seems to me that no one is really satisfied with what they have.

The more I see
The less, the less that I believe
The more I hear
The less, the less that I perceive

Restless, I feel so restless

And in this changing world

I am lost for words

I feel so restless

Ain’t got no interest

I couldn’t care less

Can’t be a success

Having heard everything, I have reached this conclusion: Fear God and keep his commandmentsbecause this is the whole duty of manFor God will evaluate every deed, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

Fear God and obey Him.  Pursue God and not simply pleasure.

Or, as the classic kid’s song goes:

Trust and obey

For there is no better way

to be happy in Jesus

than to trust and obey


So, you can be restless or you can rest in God. Take your pick.

If you think you would like this, go check out New Order’s Music Complete!

PS: If you don’t know about New Order you may still know Blue Monday. This was their biggest song

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PSS: I like New Order so much that I have told my kids that I want their song True Faith played at my funeral.

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*This is, of course, a comment on entertainment and pop culture and not a comment on my faith or my family. Yes, I love God and my family more than music and movies.

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