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Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas!
For those not at choir practice, we had our 2017 Christmas program reveal last night. We had refreshments, food/snacks, all kinds of good things to eat and drink. We passed out CD’s of the music. We sang through the whole program, and even had two (2) pianos accompanying us. There was a good time had by all!
On December 17, 2017, the night of the program, we will have four (4) pianos and a keyboard/organ on the stage as well as the orchestra, children’s choir, students, and ladies ensemble! It’s going to be an amazing night! A once in a lifetime experience!
This Sunday, the Choral Call to Worship will be “We Have Come into His House” from the hymnal with the orchestra. The Choral Message will be “Amazing Grace.”
See you Sunday! Come and let us worship together as a family!
PS: I am not the only person who struggles or frets when choir members are absent or late to rehearsal. It is a troubling thing, especially when you have a difficult song that you are working on.
PSS: For my PS to make sense you need to read the Devotional “Together With One Voice.”
Together With One Voiceby Mark Sooy, Hopkins, Michigan, MarkSooy.com
May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5-6) It seems very simple to me: the rehearsal starts at a specific time. Each member of the worship team knows what time that is and has the responsibility to be ready to start at that time. Simple. Straightforward. Clear. Yet, it happened again. Band rehearsal started with only the keyboard player, the drummer, the bass player and the tech guys. As we worked through the first set of songs the rest of the worship team trickled in. Some were apologetic, others confused about the time, still another offered a lame excuse.Well, being the compassionate, others-focused leader that I am (in case you missed that, I was being sarcastic!), I went ahead and unloaded on them. Now, I don't usually raise my voice, but when I'm irritated people generally get the idea. So, for the next few minutes I helped raise their awareness of the necessities of arriving on time so that the rehearsals could proceed and we could cover the necessary material.We continued our rehearsal and worked through each set of songs -- though we cut short some details because we had run out of time. There was tension in the air, and the irritation bounced from person to person like a super bouncy ball in a concrete room.I know my reaction was wrong. Yet as a leader, it is necessary to look at not only my actions, but everyone involved. So as I've reflected on this incident, I've considered the self-centeredness of each one of us and how that shaped our view of the situation. Those of us who were on time felt inconvenienced and disrespected, while those who were late felt wrongly accused. They were never really given the chance to explain their situation. From each person's perspective, there was validity in their feelings.Considering the verse quoted above, however, there was a breakdown in the "harmony" of our group. God has granted that we could "live in harmony with one another," but we failed to walk into the reality of His gift on that morning. We were selfish -- each of us -- and that focus on ourselves and our own inconvenience and excuses caused the breakdown. We may have performed together that day, but I have a hard time believing that we were "together with one voice."When we deal with these situations, and the differing personalities and life habits that team members have, there are better ways to resolve the issues that arise. It seems that those who are late could consider more carefully the stress others feel because of time constraints and details that must be overlooked. Those who are normally early must be willing to see the people and their needs first, before assuming others don't care about the task at hand. Either way, the focus must move from "self" to "one another."If you notice the opening verses again, you'll see that the point being made about unity is expressed in musical terms. To sing in "harmony" and with "one voice" we must be aware of what is happening in the lives of the other members of the team. We must be willing to listen, forgive and pray. We need to pursue opportunities to help each other do better at managing our time and expectations.The whole point, after all, is to glorify God. Glorifying Him is not just singing some nice songs and sounding pretty. Rather, it's about how we live with each other and how our love overcomes difficulties. Glorifying Him is holistic and encompasses each part of our life and relationships. May we do so with greater care for those around us.
A large company, feeling it was time for a shakeup, hired a new CEO. This new boss was determined to rid the company of all slackers. On a tour of the facilities, he noticed a guy leaning on a wall. The room was full of workers, and he wanted to let them know that he meant business, that he would not tolerate laziness! The new CEO walked up to the guy leaning against the wall and asked, "How much money do you make a week?"
Do angels sing? Didn’t angels sing at Jesus’ birth? Luke 2:13-14 say that a great company of the heavenly host praised God and said, “Glory to God in the highest.” It does not say they sang. In Isaiah’s vision of heaven, recorded in Isaiah 6, didn’t angels sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy”? Isaiah 6:3 says that angels called to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty.” It does not say they sang. Wait, but in the Book of the Revelation—5:11-12— “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’” Angels do sing!
Biblically, it is more common that people do the singing. Do you sing? Here at North Shelby Baptist Church, I was a member of the choir more than half of my years. I dropped out of the choir to cut back on some of my hours and to get to the pulpit quicker to start preaching. I usually sing along with the choir, though not loudly enough to detract, I hope.
My childhood church life did not include children’s choir or youth choir. We had a pastor but no other staff. We had a volunteer song leader (choir director), but no age group choirs. I am glad our church offers music training.
I sure hope your preschoolers and grade schoolers are all in Sunday afternoon choir. It’s free and fun and blesses the name of the Lord. A problem is that preschoolers and grade schoolers cannot drive; they are dependent on parents and grandparents. While the kids have choir, we adults have small group discipleship—5:00 to 6:00 each Sunday afternoon. The kids have choir to learn to praise the Lord, but we get to watch and listen about four times each year for their concerts or Sunday morning “specials.”
If you adults want to sing in the Church Choir, just show up for rehearsal each Wednesday night at 7:30. Since they let me sing with them, you are a natural.
I love you, Brother Allan
PS: Welcome Mark & Fran Lucas and Judy Allen (with husband Bill) into the membership of North Shelby Baptist Church! .
Good morning everyone!
Good practice last night and good attendance! Thanks!
This Sunday, the Choral Call to Worship will be “Shout to the Lord” from the hymnal with the orchestra. The Choral Message will be “Healing Is In Your Hands,” Soloist: Amanda Foree.
See you Sunday!
PS: Great devotion! Please read it; it will speak to you.
I Can't Notby Karen Morerod, Kansas City, Kansas
"I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do." (John 17:4)I sobbed on my bed, "God, I just can't do this!" My mind frantically raced, Why am I doing all this church work anyway? What am I really accomplishing? The world isn't going to fall apart if I resign from certain positions. I need to seriously think about quitting some of these jobs and get a life! After a sufficiently long pity party, I got up and washed my face. I went to my desk and opened up my email. A newsletter had come, and it was prefaced with a quote from the famous writer, Flannery O'Connor. Apparently Ms. O'Connor was asked, "Why do you write?" She promptly answered, "Because I'm good at it."She wasn't being arrogant. She hastened to add that she took seriously the parable in Matthew 25, where the Master rewarded his servants who invested their talents, and then severely reprimanded the one who didn't. She went on to say, "I am convinced that every person's talent is a gift, and each of us has a responsibility to use that gift as well as we can and return it to the Giver at least as large as ever -- possibly larger."The words slapped me back to reality. I had taught Bible studies on Matthew 25, yet I was receiving a huge lesson. God had given me certain gifts and passions; and now here I was with a stark reality facing me: I couldn't not do what I was made to do. I had a spiritual obligation to serve where God had given me gifts and talents.Don't get me wrong -- I wasn't commissioned by God to serve in every role, on every team or to save the entire world. However, problems do arise when I try to do too much. So my problem wasn't that I needed to quit because I wasn't good at what I was doing, but that I needed to realize my human limitations and focus on those things God had purposed me to do.Jesus appears to have faced struggles with His calling in life. In the Garden of Gethsemane, just prior to his arrest and crucifixion, he prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me..." (Matthew 26:39) Jesus knew the difficult task ahead, and poured out his heart to his Father. However, he totally gave Himself over to His Father's plan when He concluded by saying, "...Yet, not as I will, but as you will." See, Jesus couldn't not do what He came to earth to do.If you are part of your church's music program, hopefully you have realized you are called and gifted to do what you're doing. But, sometimes it's discouraging. It's tempting to give up. To quit. To throw in the towel. Maybe it's outside pressures or over commitment with doing things you weren't called to do. It could be obstacles that seemingly arise from nowhere or, as I feel sometimes, a lack of confidence.The good news is that God is there to help us. When we pour our hearts out to God (and yes, God forgives when it's self pity), He will help us focus on the gifts and talents with which He wants us to serve His Kingdom. When we properly invest the talents God has given us, He can multiply it over and over.He will help us know that we can't not do what we were made to do!
For some time we have pursued “intentional evangelism,” strate-gically planned opportunities to share the Gospel. In addition to Sunday preaching, with an invitation to come to Christ, and Sunday School, where the Bible text studied often clearly points to Jesus, and weekly outreach visitation, when we almost always talk about saving faith in Jesus as we share our personal stories with church visitors, and the annual revival, which is usually led by a “vocational evangelist” gifted to introduce hearers to Christ—we also host events, such as the Fall Festival and the Easter Egg Hunt and the Taste of the South (barbecue competi-tion), with the intention that all our guests see an evangelistic puppet show or hear an evangelistic message. We practice in-tentional evangelism.This fall and spring we are planning for “intentional disciple-ship.” Instead of the variety of courses we have taught through the years to interest and educate believers in the faith, this year we are even more intentional. It is our goal for every church member to be in weekly discussion with three or four other members, considering practical biblical truth and helping one another to put it into practice.Groups may gather when they will. To make it easier for many of us, especially those with children and those of us who love Sunday evening worship, we are focusing on Sunday afternoons at 5:00. While kids have choir and students have ministry train-ing, adults will meet and share with the same group each week, learning and praying and helping one another stay faithful.I plan to be in a group, whether I am needed as the group leader or fit better as a group member. To inaugurate this new inten-tional discipleship approach, we will meet next Sunday after-noon, August 27, at 5:00 pm, in Fellowship Hall. Come if you can, even if you are not yet sure this is for you.I love you,Brother Allan
Please remember we practice our Sunday Choral Message every Wednesday night. Your attendance is needed and wanted! We are one of the very few remaining churches offering a choir. Without your rehearsal attendance you could be voting to stop having a choir in our services, in my opinion that would be a travesty.
I want to welcome our two newest choir members, Judy Allen and Fran Lucas!
This Sunday, the Choral Call to Worship will be “Majesty” from the hymnal with the orchestra. The Choral Message will be “Open the Eyes of My Heart with Who Is There Like You,” Soloist: Susane Parsons.
This Sunday, two of the congregational hymns we are singing, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” and “Day by Day,” were written and influenced by the loss of life. I never thought that “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” was born during a time of grief. To me, it was a joyous and happy song. In 1887, a music teacher, A. J. Showalter, after dismissing his class returned to his rooming house in Hartselle, Alabama to find a letter from two former students, each with a similar story. Both men had lost their wives, and both had died on the same day. He began writing letters of condolence to the two students and the verse that kept coming to him was in Deuteronomy 33:26-24 “There is none like unto the God of Jerusalem who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in His excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (KJV)
Leaning, leaning, Safe and secure from all alarms; Leaning, leaning, Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Showalter wrote a letter to Elisa Hoffman a hymn writer in Pennsylvania asking her to write a hymn on that theme. Showalter suggested the Chorus wording. Hoffman responded quickly writing three stanzas and Showalter supplied the music. Thus Leaning on the Everlasting Arms was born.
Similarly, “Day by Day” and with Each Passing Moment, was written by Caroline Sandell Berg. Her father was a parish pastor in Froderyd, Sweden. She was twenty-six, and accompanying her father on a voyage to Goteborg, when the boat lurched and he fell overboard. The crew was unable to save him, and he drowned as his daughter looked on.
She was already a hymn writer but this tragedy inspired her to write “Day by Day.” At the loss of her earthly father she grew closer to her heavenly father, inspiring many more songs during her life. She wrote over 650 hymns during her life time.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9; 16 “We are troubled on every side, yet not distresses; we are perplexed but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; For which cause we faint not; but through our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” See you Sunday!
The Face of Love by Luane Guyton, St. Louis, MissouriIt was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. (John 13:1) Over the past three years the disciples have seen Jesus in many ways. They've seen him feed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish, quiet a raging sea with a word, heal ten lepers, give sight to the blind, teach as one who has authority. They've even seen him stand at a dead man's grave and say, "Lazarus! Come out!" Just a few days ago, they watched as crowds lined the streets, waved palm branches and shouted, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!" (Matthew 21:9) Now they've gathered around a table to celebrate the Passover, the great Jewish feast commemorating God's power when He delivered their forefathers from slavery in Egypt. Try to picture the scene. Imagine the aromas of a great meal. Listen to the banter of good conversation. Feel the excitement of friends enjoying a great celebration.It is at this very moment that Jesus does the unthinkable. He gets up, takes off his outer garment, pours water into a basin and kneels before one of His disciples. He then takes off the man's sandals and gently washes his feet. His disciples were assuredly stunned and amazed. If they had pins back then, you probably could have heard one drop. The King -- the blessed One from God -- is acting like a servant.We don't know which disciple Jesus knelt before first. It could have been Nathaniel or Thomas or James... any one of them. However, we do know that when Jesus looked at him, He saw someone for whom He was willing to give everything -- even His life. And when the disciple looked down at Jesus, he looked into the face of love.Each Sunday we stand before our congregations and look out into a vast array of faces. There are young faces and old faces, familiar faces and unknown faces, kind faces, stern faces, energetic faces and tired faces. There are faces that radiate joy and faces that reflect pain. There are even faces that show no emotion at all. When you look at them, what do you see? Do you see what separates you or what unites you? Do you just notice a crowd or do you see individuals to love?More importantly, have you ever wondered what Jesus sees? The answer to the last question is easy. He sees people He came to serve, people on whom He has compassion, people for whom He gave His very life.Next Sunday, ask God to help you see people in your congregation like He does. There is no one that God doesn't notice. There is not one He doesn't love. There is none He isn't willing to serve.Let the same be said of us.
In 1847, a boy named Homan Walsh went out to fly a kite. Homan was in a kite-flying contest, so he brought his best kite and plenty of string. He stood on the Canadian bank of the Niagara River, letting more and more of his string go out, and his kite kept going higher and higher and higher until it stretched nearly 1,000 feet. When a stranger on the American side of the Niagara Gorge grabbed Homan's string, the crowd that had gathered let up a mighty roar. For the first time in history, people on opposite sides of this great gorge were holding onto the same string. Homan won $5, the top prize in the contest.There was much more than $5 in play, however. Quickly the string was tied to a tree on the American shoreline, and a light cord tied to the Canadian end of the string. The cord was then pulled across the 800-foot span. A rope was tied to the cord, and pulled safely across. To the rope was attached a wire cable, and to the cable, a thicker cable was attached. It was the beginning of an engineering victory over one of the greatest natural barriers that had separated Americans and Canadians.Fifty-foot high towers were built on each side of the river, and more cables became a part of the picture. In time, people rode above the river in buckets suspended on cables, for $1 each. Later they walked across the river on a foot bridge, paying a quarter. Less than a year after Homan's kite first flew across the river, people were safely riding horse-drawn carriages across the Niagara River on a suspension bridge that hung 220 feet above the rushing water.Eventually, there were 15 bridges that spanned the Niagara, six of which are in use today. The thousands that cross the multi-lane high-speed bridges today think little about the bridges; they barely glance at the scenic view. They do not know that to achieve this modern-day miracle, a boy flew a kite. Zechariah 4:10 says, “Who dares despise the day of small things?” Do you think that you have little to offer God? He can take our little and accomplish great things.
I love you, Brother Allan
PS: We must pray for America to be godly and good and that God would protect and bless.
Thanks for giving for the Backpack Buddies ministry—over $1,000.