Friday, November 28, 2008

Friends - Old and New

Day 6 of a week of Thanksgiving.

Philippians 1:3 - Show Context
I thank my God every time I remember you.
2 Thessalonians 1:3 - Show Context
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.

I put up one of my Christmas trees yesterday. (Cheryl says I can only put up one since we are trying to sell the house.) I have so many wonderful memories that I'm reminded of each year as I hang the ornaments on the tree. And I'm reminded of all the friends I have been blessed to know and love.

One of the joys of being in full-time Christian vocation is that you get to meet a lot of wonderful people over the years at a lot of wonderful churches. As I hang ornaments I'm reminded of friends who gave us ornaments.

This snowman playing the violin is a brand new ornament I got from Brenda. I hung it first.

These pines in front of the Rockies was hand-painted by Alan in Denver.

Here's another hand-painted one by Ruby in Spiro, Oklahoma. We had chickens in Spiro. Ha! The big city kid had moved to a small town and those cute little chicks you used to be able to get your kids for Easter grow up! Who knew?!

These Lyndel and Cheryl snowmen were given to Cheryl by friends at LifeWay.
So Christmas and Thanksgiving are times I am reminded over and over again of how blessed I am - not just with things (house, car, clothes, food, etc.) - but mostly with wonderful relationships: family, old friends, new friends, co-workers... by YOU!
I thank God each time I am reminded of you.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Jas 1:17 - Show Context
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

Ps 7:17 - Show Context
I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.
Ps 9:1 - Show Context
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A High Calling

(a week of Thanksgiving - day 4)
I went to my favorite Bible study and search program. (I like the classic view better than the new one.) and I did a search for "thank*" (with the asterisk allowing it to find any word that begins with thank but maybe ends with and "s" or "ful" or whatever) and found 140 verses. Sounds like being thankful is an important thing.

Here's on that caught my eye.
2Ch 31:2 - Show Context
Hezekiah assigned the priests and Levites to divisions--each of them according to their duties as priests or Levites--to offer burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, to minister, to give thanks and to sing praises at the gates of the Lord's dwelling

You figure if there were whole divisions of priests and Levites (a whole tribe of Israel) assigned to these things that they must be important to God. I'll just focus on the last two. "to give thanks and to sing praises."

If you are involved in the worship ministry of your church (Hilldale or one of our many readers from around the world) you are following the high calling of the priests and Levites to give thanks and sing praises. How cool is that? It was a full-time job for those who led in worship - even those in the choir.

One of the things I am thankful for is a great group of committed musicians, singers, tech and sound crew, media crew, instrumentalists - did I leave anyone out? - who week by week help us lead in worship as we give thanks and sing praises. THANK YOU for being a part of our worship ministry at Hilldale.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Psalm 136 - a Thanksgiving Model

A week of Thanksgiving day 3.

Here's something fun you can do with your family for Thanksgiving or any other time. It's important for your family to realize together all the wonderful things God has done for you, your family, your church, your country, etc.

Take Psalm 136 and read the first few verses to get you started.

This is from John Milton's Metrical Psalms written in the mid 1600's.

Psalms 136 - Study This Chapter

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.

2 Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.

3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.

4 to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever.

5 who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever.

6 who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever.

7 who made the great lights-- His love endures forever.

8 the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever.

9 the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.

Notice that there is a short phrase telling something of God's goodness or greatness followed by "His love endures forever." (Other translations use the phrase "His lovingkindness is everlasting" or "His love is eternal" or "His mercy endureth forever.")

Then it's your turn. Take turns saying your own first half of a verse (make up your own) and then the whole family says together "His love endures forever." Spend some time and you'll be amazed at what your family comes up with - especially if you have younger children. They are great at seeing God's goodness.

Then you can sing along with Michael W. as a nice ending to a good time of family worship.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Week of Thanksgiving - Day 2

Since this is Thanksgiving week, I thought it would be nice to have a week of Thanksgiving posts.

I suppose I should have started with day 1, but I was a little busy on day 1. It was a great day by the way. The music in the services was great and gave everyone a chance to sing their thankfulness.

Then last night we had our first huge Thanksgiving meal together as a church family in our new Family Life Center. It was sooooo cool seeing almost 500 people around round tables with room to spare! I want to put up some pictures, but I forgot my camera! If you took pictures last night send me some.

Last night showed many things that we as a church can/should be thankful for. So fill in the blanks for yourself for day 1.

So many people say, "I just want to know what God's will is for me." They are usually wanting to know about a career move or college choice or something like that. I know that God cares very much about those kinds of things, but I also know that He also cares a great deal - probably more so - about WHO we are. God's will for us in that regard is very easy to find. He comes right out and says it as plain as day. Here's one example.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

So it is God's will for you and for me that we 1. always rejoice, 2. pray without ceasing and 3. give thanks in everything.

I found this picture here (I thought I should credit the work.)

"In everything give thanks." That's God's will? Yep. Says so right there. Easy to say, not so easy to do.

It all comes down to your personal theology. If you believe that nothing happens without God allowing it to happen, then you can thank Him, knowing that He works all things together for good to those who love Him... Ro 8:28

Hmmmm, well, I'm just thinking as I type. This could be worked out into a much better little devotion/sermonette/Bible study. But I have Christmas sets calling "Lyndel.... come paint...."

If we can learn to be thankful in the not-so-great times of life, I see two things happening. 1. We become more like Christ as we learn to rely on God and rest in Him and - well there's a whole bunch of things. I can't do everything for you - think about it. and 2. the world sees a great testimony of God's grace and how knowing Jesus in a personal way really makes a difference in our lives. In other words - you're a witness! Be a good one.

Sorry. You'll have to do the rest. I'm off to paint.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Music and Missions

Mission work through music is a wonderful way to spread the Gospel. Music opens mnay doors that cannot be opened any other way. I've seen this over the years through youth choirs going places, through singing groups traveling to other countries, and now most recently, our very own Mike Ritter went on a mission trip to Cuba with "Global Mission Project."

Mike adds to our music each week with his trumpet and conga playing. I don't have a picture of him to add, but I'd like to encourage everyone to not only see a picture of Mike but also read a great article about him and his trip to Cuba that was published in Clarksville's paper The Leaf Chronicle.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The "Star" of the Show

It's Wednesday, so as usual I'm here blogging - hoping to inspire the faithful, prod the undecided, and inform the masses of all the exciting things happening through the Worship Ministry of Hilldale.

So...... here we go!

Our drama cast is doing great. Last night's rehearsal showed what a great cast we have. Oh, by the way, I've never official announced here (the choir knows) who the leading man is in our little drama.
He's the former collegiate star of such renown shows as "No, No Nannette",

he's on TV every week, he sings, he acts...

It's funny. I "googled" his name to find a picture and here are some of the ones that came up.

So I added "Dr" in front of his name to narrow down the choices and got this picture.

(You don't get quite so many different people when you google "Lyndel Littleton.")

So I asked around the office and found this picture.

You'll want to be sure and tell all of your friends to check out today's blog, because I have a feeling I may have to delete this post when he gets back from visiting the hospital...
So, in case you haven't figured it out by now - or if you are one of our faithful readers from around the world - the star of this year's Living Christmas Tree is our own wonderful pastor, Dr. Larry D. Robertson.

He and Mrs. Beth, his lovely wife, even sing a duet in the program. I hope you are making plans to attend.
Performances are Dec. 12&13 at 7:00 and Dec. 14 at 3:00. Come early to get a good seat!
This post is not what I had in mind when I started, but I've had fun with where it ended up!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Wow! We're getting close to 25,000 hits on our worship blog! Check the counter at the bottom of the page and see if you are visitor number 25,000. If so, leave a note. I'll come up with a prize for our 25,000th hit.

If I was in Suriname I might could get you one of these! (Suriname is in South America for those of you wondering)

Advertising Poster

I tried sending an e-mail to everyone in choir. I guess since there were several people on the list and since I had an attachment (the poster) that Charter thought I was SPAM. So as a result, all of the charter addresses were not delivered.

Here's the poster. You can print one up for yourself or you can copy it and send it to family and friends via e-mail.

Rehearsal Calendar

Here's the rehearsal calendar from now until "the tree."

Print one up or copy the link where you can come back and check it often.

Oh, and even more than that... be at all of your rehearsals! Thanks.

See you then.
If you click on it you'll get a larger version.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Power of One

I was just working on the orchestra music for this year's "Tree". (side note - I know you're supposed to put the period inside the quote, but it doesn't seem right to do that if the whole sentence isn't a quote. "Tree." "Tree". Any English majors want to help me with this??)
Anyway - I've distracted myself.
I was working on putting folders of music together and I remembered one of my favorite things to say. "It only takes one violin to turn a band into an orchestra!" Of course that is one of my favorite sayings since I'm a violinist.

But I think you could make the argument that anyone one of us can make a change in whatever area of life we find ourselves in.

Have you noticed that it just takes one complainer to sour an entire office (or choir or Sunday School class)?

Or if one person comes in to work in a terrific mood that it picks up every one's day?
Personally, I'd rather spend time with the one who changes things in a positive way.

And here's something cool to know - You don't have to learn how to play the violin to bring about positive change. (although it is an awesome power rush to know you can step into a room full of band players and turn them into an orchestra!)

You make a difference wherever you go. The question is - do you build up and lift up the organizations you are a part of or do you tear them down? Are you part of the problem or part of the solution. The choice is yours.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sunday's Music - Nov. 16

We had a great rehearsal last night and a good number in choir. Thanks to everyone who was able to be there.
Sunday's choir anthem is "Refiner's Fire"

The congregation will sing

Rejoice, The Lord Is King – a nice peppy version from Word music's "Hymns for Praise and Worship" followed by Sing to the King

The second set of songs is
Here I Am to Worship
My Jesus, I Love Thee and
My Hope

It will be a wonderful morning of worship. If you aree in Clarksville I hope to see you at 9:00 or 10:30. If you live somewhere else I want to encourage you to be in church where you live.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Singing with the Chorale

I haven't posted anything this week because I've been out and about. (I'm sure you've really missed it. hahahaha)

Anyway, I've been singing with the Tennessee Baptist Men's Chorale at the Tennessee Baptist Convention and at a pre-convention concert.

Why do I sing with the chorale? It's good for me and for my congregation. That probably sounds a bit strange to say it is good for my congregation, but here's why.

1. The fellowship with other Worship Pastors (we used to be called Ministers of Music - well, actually, most still are) is very refreshing, which gives me a great boost in my work at my church.

2. It makes me a better musician as I sing challenging music with 80 other men.

3. It reminds me that we are all in this together - that worship leaders all across our state are working to lead their people in worship, Sunday by Sunday, and to build effective Music and Worship Ministries. And that we all struggle with the same things is encouraging: to know that others have times when half the choir shows up or when budgets are tight or lead a wonderful time of worship only to have someone complain about it. (not that that ever happens here.......)

4. In rehearsals I'm reminded of all those nice "choral" things that I need to help my choir with. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to get things ready to sing on a Sunday that we forget the vocal production kinds of things that we all need to work on.

Sunday night after the concert at Springfield, Cheryl (my lovely wife) and I went to O'Charley's with some friends. I stopped by the restroom to wash my hands. Some guy came in and began washing his hands at the sink next to me. He looked at me there in my tux and said, "What? Was everything else in the laundry?"

Hahaha. Nope, just trying to bring a little class to Springfield.

Here's a picture of us singing at the Schermerhorn Symphony Hall in Nashville last summer. That's me on the end of the third row.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sunday's Music - Nov. 9 - updated

We'll begin Sunday morning's worship with
Come Christians, Join to Sing - Alleluia! Amen!
followed by
He Reigns (oops, had the wrong song here earlier)

The choir will sing
My Redeemer Lives with Traci singing the solo.

Later in the service we'll sing
Lord, Reign in Me for the welcome

The next set of songs begins with that old gospel song I'd Rather Have Jesus paired with Who Can Satisfy? (which we were going to sing last week, but we cut it to save some time.)

Sunday night the music you'll want to hear will be at Springfield Baptist Church in (duh) Springfield, TN.
At 7:00 the Tennessee Baptist Men's Chorale will be in concert. OOooooooOOooo. They are so good (I know I'm a bit biased. OK, a lot biased. and I'm the President of the Chorale this year - but just until we elect new officers Monday night.)

You realllllly aught to come over and hear us.

I'll be looking for you all Sunday! 9:00 or 10:30 at Hilldale and 7:00 at Springfield.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Christian's Response to the Election

Beth Moore's blog post today is excellent. You should read it.

It's easy to start criticising the person you didn't vote for before he even begins his job, but as Christians we need to support and pray for our president-elect. Paul's instructions to Timothy apply to us in 2008 too.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 Read This Chapter
First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

We need to begin praying today for Senator - soon President - Obama.

The results of this election may seem disappointing for a "social conservative" who doesn't want the government changing the definition of marriage or telling preachers what they can or cannot say from the pulpit or who may impose ungodly values on our children through the school system,

but changes in the morality of our nation are not the realm of government. The only way to bring about moral change is through the change of the hearts of men and women across our nation. That is the work of God.

2Corinthians 5:17 - Show Context
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

We - those who have found a new life in Christ - must be faithful witnesses to a world that has lost it's way. Our nation is not far behind the great nations of Europe who now have beautiful but empty church buildings. If we are not sharing the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ we will join them in being irrelevant to our culture.

Notice the little video right over there on the top left of this blog. It's called "Sent". It's not even a minute long. Watch it. God calls each of us to share the Good News of Jesus.

Romans 1:16 - Show Context
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God's power for salvation to everyone who believes

Does this mean we don't need to be involved in politics? Nope. We still must be watchful and pray and let our views be known - in a kind and godly way. We must be "salt" and "light" Matthew 5 We must remember that it is through Jesus Christ that we are saved and through Jesus Christ that our nation will retain (or regain) it's greatness as we turn our hearts to Him.

Well.... I suppose that's enough preaching for today. I have many Christmas things to do today and rehearsals to prepare for. I'll be looking for instrumentalists and singers tonight. "The Tree" will be here soon!!!

See you tonight in rehearsal!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Supreme Choice

It's election day! You need to vote if you didn't vote early.

I voted early. I wore my purple shirt.

How do you decide who to vote for if for some reason you haven't made up your mind? What should be your main criteria?
Here's a good guide that compares issues that are important to me.

Many people vote based on the economy and their own financial situation. I certainly understand that. But the economy is going to go up and down because of many reasons. and the actions of congress have as much to do with the economy as those of the President.

I decided my vote on something with much longer consequences than the ups and downs of the stock market. There are nine people who make very important decisions that last pretty close to forever. And these nine people are also around pretty much forever. And three or four of these people may retire in the next four years.

Here they are.

So the question to me is who do I want choosing two, three or even four supreme court justices? I want someone who will not appoint liberal judges like the ones in California or Massachusetts who overturn the will of the people and say that gay marriage is OK. I want justices that won't legislate from the bench. I want justices who will follow Micah 6:8

Mic 6:8 - Show Context
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
If you aren't sure who would appoint constructionist justices rather than legislating justices give me a call and I'll help you figure it out.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tennessee Baptist Men's Chorale in Concert

Coming to a church near you! (If you live near Springfield, TN)
You won't want to miss an incredible evening or music and worship as the Tennessee Baptist Men's Chorale is in concert at Springfield Baptist Church in (duh) Springfield, TN this coming Sunday night, November 9.
Here we are at FBC, Huntingdon. Notice the dashing, young violinist!

The concert is at 7:00, so people who attend worship services at Hilldale will be able to join us. Since yours truly (where did that saying come from) is the President this year it would be really great is there were a lot of people there from Hilldale (and if anyone out there is from my former church, FBC, Joelton, you all are invited too). The chorale is only in this part of the world every three years when we are on our way to the Tennessee Baptist Convention, so this is a rare opportunity for you to hear one of the best men's choirs in the country.
Here we are at FBC, Millington.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

All Saints Day

The day after Halloween is All Saints Day. I wrote about it last year.

So have you been living like a saint? Do you remember day by day that if you are a follower of Jesus Christ you are a new creation and a saint?

Well, if you don't, you need to read my post from last year again.

I have a shirt that someone gave me a few years ago. On the front it says, "No fear."

On the back it says, "Live your life so that the preacher doesn't have to lie at your funeral." I wore it last night for Halloween. I wish I had taken a picture of it.

If you remember that you are a saint and then live a life worthy of that name you won't have to worry about what the preacher will say when you join the saints in glory.

Now... go live what you are.