Faith

faith-hebrews-11_6“Faith is so important and doubt is so detrimental that God places regular tests of faith in front of His children. These are not intended for our failure, but for our success. Faith isn’t something to add to your spiritual arsenal, it is the gun that fires the bullet! Faith is everything! Faith in a person is like water in a bucket—you find out how much water is there when you bump the bucket. When circumstances bump you, you spill what you’re full of. It’s one or the other: faith or doubt. Bumps are going to happen. You will be tested. The purpose of the test isn’t just to reveal your faith; it’s also to refine your faith. God doesn’t test your faith so He can know how much is there—He already knows. He tests your faith so that you can know how much is there and see it grow. Every good thing God wants to give to us comes through the funnel of faith. He refines our faith because He loves us and wants to bless us more and more.”

James MacDonald

Hymn Story: The Church’s One Foundation

samuel_john_stoneIn 1860, a volume entitled “Essays and Reviews” caused controversy in the Anglican Church. It questioned the historical accuracy of Scripture. A few years later this idea was furthered by John William Colenso (1814 -1883), the bishop of Natal in South Africa, who published The Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua Critically Examined (1862-63). This book denied that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, called Joshua a myth, called the books of Chronicles fictitious and disputed the accuracy of Christ’s statements about Moses.

The bishop of Cape Town, South Africa, Bishop Gray, supported by 40 other bishops deposed Colenso for his heresy. A battle ensued, as Colenso refused to submit. A court confirmed his deposition but Colenso appealed to a secular court, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and he was reinstated. This created a schism in the South African church that lasted until Colenso’s death.

During this time the Reverend Samuel John Stone, one of Bishop Gray’s supporters, was concerned about people saying the Apostles Creed in a perfunctory manner, saying the words without a clear understanding of what they were saying. He wrote a series of twelve hymns, each explaining a section of the creed and defending the fact of the inspiration of Scripture. “The Church’s One Foundation” explains the ninth article – “I believe in the Holy Catholic (Universal) church, the communion of the saints.” This series of hymns was printed in Lyra Fidelium (Lyre of the Faithful) in 1866.

The controversy between Colenso and Gray is referenced in this hymn in stanza 3, “Though there be those that hate her, and false sons in her pale” and stanza 4, “With a scornful wonder, men see her sore oppressed, by schisms rent asunder by heresies distressed.”

Originally this hymn had 7 stanzas. In 1868 this hymn was included in Hymns, Ancient and Modernwith 5 stanzas, omitting the original third stanza and combining the second halves of the sixth and seventh stanzas as stanza 5. Most hymnals use that version. In 1885, three more stanzas were added to the original hymn, giving a total of 10 stanzas, to be used for an ecclesiastical processional hymn in the Salisbury Cathedral.

Sunday Night Thoughts

Sunday Night ThoughtsMy Favorite Time of the Week

This may come as no surprise since I posted two articles about introverts in the ministry, but Sunday nights after 9 is my favorite time of the week.  “Why?” you may ask.  Because the house is completely quiet and now I have the living room to myself and I can finally recharge.  Quiet time is what I need – as an introvert – to get ready to face the world again.  Perhaps that’s why I like running alone.  It’s not that I don’t like being around people – because I do, but as an introvert, being around people drains you, not recharges you, like it does for extroverts.  It’s been an interesting week.

My Favorite Time of the Year

It finally is spring!  It’s been a beautiful week, with just the right mix of rain, clouds and sun.  The grass is growing like crazy.  I really need to get out and work on our flower bed.  It’s looking a little neglected.  I have to trim some trees in the back yard.  There overgrown from many years of being in the middle of a field.  In addition, the grass needs to be cut.  After yesterday’s race, there was no way I was going to cut the grass – I was exhausted.  I took a long nap in the middle of the day.  So, spring is keeping me busy on the outside of the house.

Personal Record

Like I said I was exhausted after yesterday’s race.  I put all I had into it.  I’ve already mentioned that I finished in 1:48:22, which is a new personal record.  Each time I have run a 1/2 marathon, I have improved my time.  I was able to beat the Danville 1/2 Marathon time by over 2 minutes which – as I think about it – is excellent considering the Park to Park is a tougher course.  Danville was flat and the Park to Park has lots of rolling hills, which a particularly tough final 3 miles.  My main disappointment was my inability to maintain a consistent pace – which varied over 40 seconds per mile with no rhyme or reason.  All that being said, I am happy with my finish – finishing 13th in my age group – not too bad for someone who only started running 4 years ago and was 100 pounds overweight.

One of the great privileges I had yesterday was to pray before the race.  That came about as a result of the Boston Marathon Bombings.  I was anxious – praying in front of over 600 people – but the Lord provided and I found out at the end of the race is that the directors would like me to do it again.  How cool is that?

Happy Day Irony 

We had a good worship service this morning.  Our handbell choir played and did an excellent job.  We have a talented group of people at Parkway.  The praise team did a great job in leading worship as well.  The only sad part – ironically – was that during the song “Happy Day,” somehow I lost my guitar.  It fell from my shoulders and went crashing to the ground – snapping one of the tuning pegs off.  I went looking for their replacements this afternoon and found that “you can’t buy just one.” You have to buy a set of six.  This got me thinking, “I wonder about checking on E-Bay?” I checked and found a set for $10 plus shipping.  I figure if they don’t work out, I’ve only lost $15 and then I’ll have to figure out another way.

I had also done some tweaking of our sound system.  Turns out that I over-tweaked.  I’ll have to fix some of that this week.  We are beginning to raise money to install acoustical treatment in our sanctuary, which should really cut down on the reverberations in our sanctuary.  I am looking forward to that being installed, especially so we can get a real feel of what our sound system sounds like.

That’s All Folks

That’s about all I have – it’s time to get ready for Local Church Conference next week at church following our worship service and also get prepare for worship next Sunday.  Until next week – pressing on!

 

 

Four Lies About Introverts

Another great article on introverts called into the ministry

I’m an introvert. Most people who don’t know me well wouldn’t guess this about me, but it’s true. On a practical level, being an introvert means I’m generally more energized by time alone than by time with people, and I have a preference for a less externally stimulating environment. I feel very alive in a quiet, empty room. On the introversion/extroversion spectrum I fall closer to the middle, but still lean decidedly toward the introverted side.

The process of understanding introversion and the way it’s expressed in my life has been both a tremendous relief and also an ongoing source of doubt and concern. My daily reality is people-intensive and externally stimulating. I’m married to an extrovert, we have four children, and we live in an urban setting. Our home and surroundings are fun and energetic—not exactly low-stimulus. My husband pastors a large church, and we’re involved with many congregations and ministries throughout the world; consequently, our social circles are large and complex. To complicate things even further, my spiritual gifts are often expressed publicly as are the (non-innate!) social skills I’ve managed to learn and practice over time. These realities, combined with my definite need for quiet and solitude, have often left me and others confused about who I really am.

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Picking Worship Songs 101

Here are some great thoughts about picking the songs we sing via EXCHANGED LIVING.

PICKING WORSHIP SONGS 101: LEAVING KARAOKE BEHIND

So you’re a worship leader/designer/planner and you have just picked up the latest album fromCool Guy Worship Collective and are wondering to yourself, “Self- which of these songs, if any of them, are worth doing at our next worship gathering?”

Great Question. No, seriously. You need to ask that question every time you hear an album or song. Why? Because not every song you hear should be lead in your church. And that’s not just because of time restraints; there are actually some songs that are better for your church than others.

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PICKING WORSHIP SONGS 101: GOD’S LOVE > MY LOVE

Picking worship songs for your church or worship gathering is an important task. In a previous post, I argued that we need to start to think about how we choose songs with a long-term vision of what happens when we gather together. The things we sing shape how we view God and what it means to live as the people of God. Our song choices need to function more like a grammar for the faith and less like sacred karaoke; choosing better songs will hopefully lead to a people who are better shaped by and better proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

So how do we pick better songs? Or how do we know if a new song is worth singing together? Today, I want to offer one of the questions I use to filter out what is better from what may not be: Who is doing what in this song? I know- what horrible phrasing and what an awkward question, right? Well, this is how I start to think about something grammatical people callagency. When studying the grammar of a sentence, the agent is the initiator of the action of the phrase or sentence. Agency is about who is doing what is being done in a text. Where there are verbs, there is agency, for every doing is linked to a do-er.

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Sunday Set List

Sunday Set List MainSunday, April 28, 2013

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Musical Call to Worship

Welcome and Announcements

Songs of Worship

Happy Day

Come People of the Risen King

Mighty to Save

Worship Through Prayer

Song of Worship

The Church’s One Foundation

Worship Through Giving

Offertory

Worship Through God’s Word

Song of Commitment

Refiner’s Fire

Benediction