My Beloved | Crowder

As if you haven’t been able to tell, I’ve been listening a lot to this band lately.  This version is a bit different from the version on Neon Steeple, but I like it – a little more bluegrass influenced than the CD version.

Sunday Night Thoughts

Sunday Night Thoughts

Look out friends, it’s Sunday night!  It’s late tonight – writing this at about 9:30 in the evening.  What an incredible weekend – so many thoughts rolling around and I’ll try to contain them all and write about it.

First, I would ask for your prayers.  Friday afternoon, Pam and I submitted a resume and we are really praying that this is where God would have us.  Actually, we are seeking God’s direction where ever that may be.  It has been a real roller coaster ride over the last several months.  I am so thankful to family who has been encouraging to us and to our church family, many who I call friends and I think that they would call us friends back.  It’s hard to believe that we have just two weeks left at Parkway.

Some of you may ask, “What is in the immediate future?”  This week I start full-time at Chick-fil-A.  I have been working there part-time for almost four years.  That will be interesting – 40 hours on my feet.  We have Shenandoah District conference in two weeks.  So at this point, that is what we know.

This has been an incredibly emotional weekend.  The youth and musicians threw us a little picnic last night.  That was incredibly sweet and this afternoon, we were taken out to lunch.  We have a few more of these outings planned.  Looks like running off the food will be in my future.

This morning was one of those mornings that God showed up in a powerful way.  The music spoke to me as I led and we worshiped our hearts out this morning.  The team did a great job in leading the music.

This afternoon, I did manage a quick nap – and then I headed up to church to help out in a support role for Vacation Bible School.  For the last six years, Pam and I have been the “hosts” so it was a much different role.  I had a good time hanging out with my good friend Allen and we even talked a little church history and theology.  I love it!

I am currently waiting for Anna to get out of work and then go to bed.  I think that’s about all I have.  I encourage you to Seize the Week!

Sunday Set List

Sunday Set List MainJune 28, 2015
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Welcome and Announcements
Call to Worship/Invocation
Lamentations 3:22-26
Songs of Worship
Happy Day
Glorious Day
Whom Shall I Fear
Worship Through Prayer
Songs of Worship
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
Worship Through Giving
Worship Through God’s Word
Song of Commitment
Give Us Clean Hands

Prayer for the Week

Prayer_Banner_22-760x176Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Running Update | Week 4 of June

84652-oThis was a good week on the running front with one little glitch yesterday.  Still I was able to get in 21 miles this week, most of them slow and this next week will be a challenge since I’ll be increasing my hours at Chick-fil-A.  Fortunately, the way my schedule is, I’ll be able to run in the mornings on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday next week.  If I can get a short run tomorrow morning before church and a decent run on Monday, I will have cleared 100 miles for the week. All in all my running feels stronger, the hills don’t feel as hard and I think as that happens the rest of it will get stronger and faster as well.  Pressing On!

Hope in the Lord

hopeblock1Proper 8 (13) (June 28, 2015)

  • First reading and Psalm
  • Second reading
  • Gospel
    • Mark 5:21-43

      From the depths of despair, O Lord,
          I call for your help.
      Hear my cry, O Lord.
          Pay attention to my prayer.

      Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
          who, O Lord, could ever survive?
      But you offer forgiveness,
          that we might learn to fear you.

      I am counting on the Lord;
          yes, I am counting on him.
          I have put my hope in his word.
      I long for the Lord
          more than sentries long for the dawn,
          yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.

      O Israel, hope in the Lord;
          for with the Lord there is unfailing love.
          His redemption overflows.
      He himself will redeem Israel
          from every kind of sin.

      This is a wonderful passage.  It probably comes as no surprise that Pam and I have been struggling of late.  It seems like forever ago that we resigned our current church.  We had an initial interview in Rochester, NY and then after a few weeks we found out that door had closed.  In the meantime, we’ve had several doors presented to us.  In the last week or two, one of those doors closed.  Sometimes when you are in the midst of things, it’s hard to see the hope.  Pam and I have been praying (a lot) lately.  One of the things that I have been praying for specifically is the hope – something that we can hang our faith on to.  I pray what David has prayed – I am counting on Him – I am putting my hope in His word.  There are days (especially lately) – I will readily admit – that I don’t see that light at the end of the tunnel – or maybe if I do – I think it is the headlight of an oncoming train.  There is the constant “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” that we do to ourselves – the self-doubt.  Did we make the right decision?  Did we hear from the Lord correctly?  I’ve had these thoughts and more.  I am so glad to be part of a supportive church family.  This has been tough on them as well.  There are several in our congregation who have been so supportive of us and are praying every day that God opens up the doors and that we will walk straight through it.

I really haven’t wrote much about this whole process – partly because I didn’t want to upset our current church family (because they have been so supportive of us and quite a few didn’t want us to leave and still don’t.) But they have seen that it is all in God’s plan.  This has been a tough season and this is the first time that I have had a blog during a transition where we didn’t know where we were going when we resigned.  We took a leap of faith – following God’s call.

It’s really been amazing on Facebook, especially the last couple of days.  Friends have posted inspirational quotes and photos – not specifically to my timeline, but to their timeline for all to see – and not directed at me or Pam, but God has used those – post after post after post.  I am so thankful that God gives us hope, just as He gave David hope.

As I close, I give you part of verse 7 “hope in the Lordfor with the Lord there is unfailing love.”

The Insufficiency of Our Calls to Worship – Seedbed

CalltoWorshipThis is a great article about what a Call to Worship is and what it is not.  Steven Bruns writes “When Eastern Orthodox Christians begin their worship service, the Divine Liturgy, the priest loudly proclaims, “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages!” This is a way to remind everyone who is gathered that they have stepped out of the regular world, and at that moment, when they are all gathered together in the Name of God, they are truly in the Kingdom.”

The Insufficiency of Our Calls to Worship – Seedbed.

He reminds us that preparing our hearts for worship doesn’t begin at the opening of the service, but long before that and gives us some helpful hints how to get there.

10 Traits of Top Worship Songs

number-10-clipart-number-10-mdBy Marty Nystrom

CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International, Inc.) releases a semi-annual list of thetop worship songs sung by churches throughout America.

A similar list is also published in Europe, Australia, South Africa, and the other far-flung locales where CCLI works with churches to “encourage the spirit of worship”. Each list is an indicator of the songs that have crossed not only denominational boundaries, but also the sometimes fuzzy lines between worship styles in different regions.

As a songwriter I’ve studied this list closely through the years. Not only have I watched it for worship trends but also for song elements that have remained consistent regardless of changing musical styles. Here are my “Top Ten Traits” that are important in the success of these favorite worship songs.

1. Universal Theme

A successful lyric will be an existing sentiment in the hearts of worshipers from a broad audience. A song on the top of the CCLI list is there because its theme remains true to worshipers regardless of age, denomination or cultural background. Lyric phrases such as “How Great is Our God” and “Your Love Never Fails” are relevant and honest expressions for all believers. A lyric should not require an in-depth Bible study before it can be appreciated.

2. Lyric Consistency

A strong song will have a theme that remains consistent through all of its sections. The lyrics in the verse will support or build on the topic stated in the chorus. A strong song will not wander from idea to idea. The second section of “Open the Eyes of My Heart” begins with “To see You high and lifted up.” This is an effective transition tying the sections together. The verses of “Blessed Be Your Name” bring more understanding to the message and encourages us to sing the chorus with even greater passion. A good question to ask is, “Can the theme be stated in a word or short phrase?”

“Prosody in song writing refers to the perfect marriage of music and lyric.”

3. Prosody

Not only should the music and lyrics compliment each other but should ideally bring out the best in each other. When heard alone, does the music incite the same emotion or message that the lyric expresses? Does the pitch, rhythm, tension and energy in the melody naturally fit with the lyrics? “Everlasting God” is an example of effective prosody.

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Nearness of Relationship

Via Facebook friend: Josh Lavender

“When we sing, ‘Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,’ we are not thinking of the nearness of place, but of the nearness of relationship. It is for increasing degrees of awareness that we pray, for a more perfect consciousness of the divine Presence. We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.” – Tozer, The Pursuit of God