The week of June 3-7, “NEW WORLD GENERATION”, the youth choir of Hendersonville First United Methodist Church, (led by Ivalene and moi) is “singing and serving” on the mission field of Middle Tennessee through our outreach called “GLOCAL”. We have a music bootcamp in the early part of the day followed by outreaches in the afternoon / evening.
It’s a very intense event! Here’s a few pics from the first two days. The outreach continues through Friday. Wednesday night we’ll sing and serve in the chapel service at the Nashville Rescue Mission.
I was glad when they said, “Let us go the house of the Lord” Psalm 122:1
How was worship at your church this weekend? Ours was wonderful. Sunday’s are very long and full days for Worship Dude and Dudette. We are so blessed to serve the Lord in music and worship. After a full morning of worship services, we prepared for our youth choir “Glocal Outreach” happening this week and had rehearsal in the afternoon.
Here’s the songs and a little shop talk.
Praise to The Lord The Almighty
Wonderful, Merciful Savior (Choir Anthem)
Message: The Grace of Giving
(At The Cross, Nothing But The Blood, O Sacred Head)
Oh Master Let Me Walk With Thee
Lord You Are Good
Open The Eyes of My Heart
Your Love Never Fails
Message: The Grace of Giving
Lord I Give You My Heart
Have Thine Own Way Lord
Lord I Need You
You Are I Am
Hold Us Together
We had a beautiful moment in the Traditional service during communion. John G. Elliott, our accompanist, is such an anointed psalmist! He weaved together a medley of hymns during communion and God’s presence was strong – the choir and the congregation began to sing along spontaneously. Very cool indeed.
The Contemporary service, as always, was a fun place to be, especially for young families.
Worship Team new song workshop at Travis & Erin Birch’s house. Fun!
Team Leadership Tip. Friday night Travis Birch (the contemporary leader) hosted a “new song workshop” at his house. That was a blast We shared a meal, talked a little shop, got to hang out and worked on three new songs.
This was a great solution to a the challenge of scheduling rehearsals with everyone’s busy lives. The team shared the fruit of that effort on Sunday introducing two new songs. Excellent.
And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony…Acts 2:44 [Sunrise May 22 2013]
Epilogue: Where Do We Go From Here?
43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity- every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful,47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. People in general liked what they saw. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. Acts 2:43-47 (NLT / MSG)
We began this series the day after Resurrection Sunday with the question, Now What?
Now 50 plus days later, and after the spectacular outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday, we ask – “Where do we go from here?”
This passage from Acts 2:44-47 describes the next move of the believers who were living it in real time.
They embraced a completely new, counter culture lifestyle.
Here we get a glimpse of what Christian community could and should look like. And for a brief window of time, it’s beautiful.
I remain an idealist for the possibilities of Christian community, despite all the garbage of church history and the baggage of modern day church-ian-ity.
What if we could live going forward in that same spirit of fresh revelation? What does a transformed community look like? How is the church supposed to represent Christ?
Acts 2 shows the first fruits of Christian community were:
Reverence, awe and respect for who God is, and what He was/is doing
Powerful demonstrations of God’s love released through the believers
Harmony amongst all the community
Generosity from and for all
Worship that is celebratory, exuberant and joyful
Praise that is attractive and God centered
Favor amongst all people
Growth and increase
This was the model of a happy, wholehearted, worshiping community.
Encouraging wholehearted worship has been my mission for a long time now. Only God through Jesus Christ can heal, restore and renew each of us from our broken, lost and ignorant condition.
He takes our shattered hearts and makes them whole. He takes our brief lifetimes and makes them significant.
Our response to the work of God in our lives is worship.
May the Lord bless you as you read this. May He release a fresh revelation and outpouring of His presence in every aspect of your life.
May we all be transformed as those first friends of Jesus, and may we bear the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit changing us for His glory.
Each day during the Easter season (the 50 day period from Resurrection Sunday to Pentecost Sunday) I wrote a fresh devotional thought with my sunrise photoof that morning, commenting as the Spirit inspired.
My plan now is to compile and edit these devotionals and assemble them into a proper book. You can see below one idea for a book cover, but I think I’ll solicit more options.
So expect to hear more from me on this project!
Book Cover Idea #1 What do you think?
I invite you to pray with me. Today’s prayer is a benediction from Colossians 3:15-17
May the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
May the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Would you like a sample of my devotional book “From Easter To Pentecost?
You show the way of life, you fill me with the joy of your presence. Acts 2:28 [Sunrise May 20 2013]
Day 50 Joy Is The Secret Sauce
32 “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. 33 Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. Acts 2:32-33
Who is Jesus?
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit released fresh revelation of exactly who Jesus was and helped make sense of what God was doing.
Peter’s spontaneous sermon was inspired by the Spirit filing Him and those around at a greater level than they had ever comprehended before.
During his earthly ministry, the identity of Jesus as God was not obvious to all. Even when Jesus was there in the flesh living and talking with them, they often didn’t get what He was talking about. And some rejected Jesus even when it was plain He had to be the promised Messiah.
This whole thing is mind blowing when you go there.
In this first gospel proclamation, Peter quotes David from Psalm 16:11
You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’ Acts 2: 28
Here, I believe, is what is intrinsically attractive about the gospel, about following Jesus Christ as Lord and master.
Jesus shows us the “way of life” and fills us with joy.
He fills the huge gap we all have in the human experience, namely, finding true true meaning and joy in this earthly existence.
“Religion”, understood as doing “the right things” just doesn’t cut it. Neither does “success” – attaining a degree of money, power, prestige. Nor does the pursuit of “pleasure” – doing whatever feels good when you feel like doing it.
These are the means people employ to experience joy, pursuing happiness by the logic of human nature. It is folly.
The followers of Jesus discovered something far superior, they were filled with joy in his presence.
My friends, the joy of His presence is the secret sauce of a life in God.
Joy is the benefit of worshiping Father, Son and Holy Spirit in sprit and truth.
This group in the Upper Room, these resurrection witnesses – were not motivated by pressure, coercion, guilt trips or any other mechanism of man.
In the presence of Jesus they found love, joy, peace, hope. Their passion was real.
They had been transformed.
Inspired by and motivated by supernatural love, they shared their stories of how Jesus had changed their lives. Nothing could stop them.
And that’s what proclaiming the gospel is – telling your God story, and leading others to enjoy the wonderful truth of knowing Him personally.
May the joy of the Lord be your strength today, and always!
I invite you to pray with me today.
“Jesus thank you for your life your death and your resurrection. Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit. Fill me with your Spirit today. Fill me with a new anointing, a fresh outpouring. Thank you for the joy of your presence. Empower me to do Your work, Your way. For the glory of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
According to the historical church calendar, the Easter season is the 50 day period from Resurrection Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. I’ll post a fresh devotional thought with my sunrise photoof that morning, everyday through Pentecost, commenting as the Spirit inspires. Check out the rest of the series here.Invite your friends. If this series is helpful to you, please forward and share with your friends through e-mail, Twitter, Facebook – whatever, just click the share buttons on this page. Join us on the journey from Easter to Pentecost! Would you like more devotionals like this?
May every tongue declare the wonders of God! (see Acts 2:11) [Sunrise photo: Archives 3-15-13]
Day 49 The Significance of Pentecost
When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them. Acts 2:1-4 (MSG)
This is the Sunday we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the Church.
This chapter in God’s story is as significant as the Creation, when God created the heavens and the earth; the Incarnation, when God became a man; and Redemption, when Christ atoned for the sins of the world.
Now the work of Recreation is fully released – through Christ we can be new creations, all things are made new.
“Broadly speaking Pentecost brings understanding to the followers of Jesus, empowers them in ministry, establishes the church, and points to the end of history when the kingdom of Christ will be established over all the earth.” Robert E. Webber Ancient-Future Time (p. 161)
That’s all I have time for today, we’ll finish up this series tomorrow.
The Lord be with you! Celebrate Pentecost.
I invite you to pray with me. It’s a compilation of Pentecost prayers, feel free to borrow and adapt.
Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit.* Fill your church with power, kindle flaming hearts within us, and cause us to proclaim your mighty works in every tongue, that all may call on you and be saved,** through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.*
According to the historical church calendar, the Easter season is the 50 day period from Resurrection Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. I’ll post a fresh devotional thought with my sunrise photoof that morning, everyday through Pentecost, commenting as the Spirit inspires. Check out the rest of the series here.
Invite your friends.
If this series is helpful to you, please forward and share with your friends through e-mail, Twitter, Facebook – whatever, just click the share buttons on this page. Join us on the journey from Easter to Pentecost!
Pour out your Spirit Lord, on your people! (c) Tom Lane [Sunrise photo May 17 2013]
Day 47 Pour Out Your Spirit Lord
As I write this, Pentecost Sunday is just a few days away. This is the day the church was birthed, with a dramatic and spectacular manifestation of the Holy Spirit, unlike anything ever known before on earth.
The audio track must have been deafening, a sound from heaven, like a tornado – a mighty roaring violent wind. The tongues of fire, the ecstatic cacophony of every language declaring the wonders of God – all this drew a quite a crowd, and the audience was blown away, utterly “thunderstruck” (MSG).
“Amazed and perplexed they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?” Acts 2:12
Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in Him! Psalm 112:1 [Sunrise May 16 2013]
Day 46 Signs, Wonders and Miracles
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.17 And these signswill accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons;they will speak in new tongues;18 they will pick up snakeswith their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands onsick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16:15-18 (NIV)
The signs that Jesus says will accompany those who believe is pretty radical stuff.
Driving out demons
Speaking in new tongues
Picking up snakes (Say what? But that’s what it says!)
Drink poison with no ill effects
Heal the sick by the laying on of hands
Although this may seem fantastic and unbelievable, all these signs are recorded as being fulfilled in the historical record. And I have personally witnessed some of these signs myself.
We worship a supernatural God, afterall, not a religious cultural institution.
“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” Matthew 28:20 [Sunrise Photo May 15 2013]
Day 45 Lo, I am with you always…
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:18-20
These are the very last words of Jesus recorded by Matthew. This scripture has been a great comfort to me, as I’m sure it was to his disciples. He transferred leadership of his mission to his successors, as unlikely as they were.
The presence of Christ, his Spirit – the Holy Spirit, would be with them, to give them hope and courage. And Jesus promises to do that for us today.
We are not in this life, this mission, this fight, this journey, this story – alone. To all who believe, Jesus is right there beside us, “guarding, guiding all the way.”