Friday, May 28, 2010

Knight Camp at Rock Kingdom

I've blogged about our children's musical. Today I'm just putting some pictures up here for you to see (in case you don't have me as a friend on facebook).

A Purple Heart - Memorial Day Reflections

Memorial Day Reflections

"Let it be known that he who wears the military order of the Purple Heart has given of his blood in the defense of his homeland and shall forever be revered by his fellow countrymen." - George Washington

I’ve always appreciated that we, as a nation, observe Memorial Day. I’ve always understood the need to remember those who have given their lives for our country. However, I don’t think I’ve ever actually known anyone – family or friends – who actually died in a war.

This year Memorial Day has taken on a deeper meaning for me. I still don’t know anyone who has died in a war, but I have many friends now who are deployed and a new, good friend, Jesse, who – without knowing it – gave me a fresh look at this day.
Jesse served in Iraq. While Jesse was there he and some guys from his platoon ran into an IED, a roadside bomb. Two of his friends died. Jesse lost his hearing in both of his ears. (Perhaps in another post I’ll tell how some great doctors made him a new eardrum to fix one ear and how God miraculously healed the other. Oh! I guess I just sort of did.)

Jesse told me that when he first went to Iraq that there had been 3,200 casualties of war there. ( I think I remember that number correctly.) In his own mind he thought how that wasn’t too bad compared to WWII or Viet Nam and other wars. However, after their vehicle was destroyed and two friends died he knew personally of two too many who had died.

It dawned on me one day after hearing his story that Jesse could have died that day too. We have been working through some Bible studies together and have really gotten to know each other. We just finished “Experiencing God” and are now working on the study “The Mind of Christ.” I don’t know for sure why God spared Jesse’s life that day in Iraq. (I'm very glad He did.) I see great things ahead for this young man who has a heart for God and wants to know Him more and more each day.

Jesse was awarded a purple heart.
According to Wikipedia, the Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military.
The original Purple Heart, designated as the Badge of Military Merit, was established by George Washington—then the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army—by order from his Newburgh, New York headquarters on August 7, 1782. The actual order includes the phrase, "Let it be known that he who wears the military order of the Purple Heart has given of his blood in the defense of his homeland and shall forever be revered by his fellow countrymen."

This Memorial Day I will personally thank Jesse for his service to our country. I’ll give his friend, Ethan, a call and thank him too. Sunday morning I’ll thank the men and women in our congregation for their service and we’ll honor those who have “given of their blood” for us.

Jesus said it this way, John 15:13 NASB

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

Of course Jesus showed an even greater love. Romans 5:7-8 NASB tells us, "For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
On this Memorial Day weekend I hope you get to eat lots of BBQ and get to spend time with family and friends.

I also hope you will remember those who have shed their blood for you – our friends and family who have and who are serving in the armed services, and 3200+ people I never knew who gave their lives in Iraq, the thousands who gave their lives in other wars, but mostly to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Let Me Be Your Servant

Sunday's music for May 30.

It's Memorial Day weekend, you know, but we'll only sing one patriotic song. I was thinking about how the men and women in our armed services act as servants to us as they defend our land. From there I traveled along the thought path of how we, as Christians, should live as servants to each other and how the world will know that we are Christians by how we love and serve each other.

So... here's how the service ended up.

May 30, 2010 AM

Days of Elijah

Choir Anthem – Revelation Song
     Solo – Ramona Ambrose

Memorial Day Recognition
My Country, ‘Tis of Thee

Fellowship Song – Redeemed

Because We Believe
They’ll Know We Are Christians

Special Music – The Servant Song - Bro. Lyndel

The text to the servant song was writtne by Richard Gillard (C) 1977 Scripture in Song/Maranatha! Music
They were adapted in the New Baptist Hymnal to go with the beautiful old hymn tune BEACH SPRING.
"We are trav'lers on a journey,
Fellow pilgrims on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
Speak the peace you long to hear.
Sister, let me be your servant,
Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant too.
Brother, let me be your servant,
Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant too.

Here's a video of a harp and handbell choir playing the tune BEACH SPRING.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Memory Monday on a Wednesday - What Are You Seeking?

Ha! Didn't quite make it on Monday this week. I took Monday off from work since I will be working Friday and then spent all of Tuesday in our Pastoral Staff meeting and visiting hospitals in Nashville.

A friend of mine and I are doing a wonderful study together called "The Mind of Christ." It's a thirteen week study to give you the biblical foundation, skills, disciplines etc. to follow Paul's words "Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus."

It is definitely something God will have to do in and through us. We're just on week two but I can tell it is going to be a wonderful study. It is my prayer that my friend and I will have the mind of Christ as together we study, pray, work, memorize scripture and more.

This week's verse for the two of us to memorize is Matthew 6:33 NASB"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

I already know this verse - and know a song or two based on it - but I think it is a good reminder to me and to all of us to seek God's kingdom first in ALL we do.

Are you seeking His kingdom? Are you seeking it first in your life or does God and His kingdom come in a distant third or fourth or tenth place? (This is the time when you do a little deep soul searching.) If you realize that you aren't seeking His Kingdom first in your life let me encourage you to take steps to change that. You know what you need to do. (I can't answer that for you.)

And then - bottom line - when you choose to seek God's Kingdom first you may have to memorze (and let God apply) another verse into your life. Romans 12:2

Romans 12:2 NASB "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Glorious Is Thy Name - music for May 23

Praise be to his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and Amen. Psalms 72:19 NIV

This Sunday we are singing some songs that we haven't sung in a while. I'm not sure why. Especially since "Glorious Is Thy Name" is one of my favorite hymns ever.

It was written by B.B. McKinney. It has a fantastic text and the tune is one you can really sing out on.

"Come, O come, Immortal Savior, come and take Thy royal throne.
Come and reign, and reign forever, be the kingdom all Thine own.

Glorious is Thy name, O Lord!"

May 23, 2010
Glorious is Thy Name with Glorious Mighty God

Fellowship Song – When We All Get to Heaven

It Is Well
I Will Rise

Special Music – Traci Koon

Message – Dr. Larry D. Robertson

Invitation Song – Change My Heart, O God

Offertory – Handbells - Glorious Is Thy Name

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Knight Camp at Rock Kingdom

Our children's choirs are presenting a really cute musical tonight called "Knight Camp at Rock Kingdom" from LifeWay. It was part of the LifeWay curriculum for children's choirs this year: Young Musicians, Music Makers and those kinds of publications.

I am playing the part of Herald. I get to announce all kinds of important things. I added a little to the script. some on purpose, some by accident. (I really should study my lines.)

The line I added on purpose?
I'm Herald. My friends call me Hark. Yes. It's corny, but I chuckle to myself each time I say, "My friends call me Hark."

The children have learned so many wonderful biblical truths through children's choir. That's LifeWay's goal as they write. For this musical they have learned all about the armor of God and about the importance of singing praise to God. They have learned many Bible verses too.

You'll want to be at Hilldale tonight to see "Knight Camp at Rock Kingdom."

Oh, in addition to my appearance as "Herald" you'll see Bro. Larry as the cell phone talking adult (yes, he was typecast), Bro. Tim as Grandpa Jubal, and a guest appearnce by Gladess Knight and the Grips.

The performance is at 6:30. Hope to see you there.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Georgia State Handbell Festival

A few weeks ago I had the priviledge of directing the Georgia Baptist's State Handbell Festival. I had a wonderful time!

The skinny guy up on the platform is me.
We had a fun Q&A time before the actual festival began. I love answering questions like that. Totally unprepared and off-the-cuff. It's one of my favorite ways to teach.

When all the groups played together it was wonderful. They had come prepared so we were able to work on more expressive things like dynamics, rubato sections, etc. and not just worry about getting the notes.

Here are a few pictures.

We met at FBC, Marrietta. We fit 22 (I think it was 22) choirs into the gymnasium there. Whew! That's a lot of people in that size space.

Here I am holding up the walking track.

You can see more pictures of this famous skinny conductor and the GA Baptist Handbell Festival on my Music Blog. Lyndel's Music Blog and more handbell festival pics (I realized it's been awhile since I posted there, so I put some up there.)

Memory Monday - Looking Out for Number One?

If you are following along then you know that I sidetracked myself - or chased a rabbit - last week. Click here if you missed it

The verse I would like to memorize this week is the one I intended to recommend last week - Hebrews 10:24.
Hebrews 10:23.Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful ;

24.and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

25.not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
We often hear verse 25 quoted - usually when we're talking about people who have gone missing from church and haven't been seen in a while. However, you really need to read all three of these verse together to get the full meaning and some good instruction.
The world is working overtime and extra hard to shape us into it's image - to long for the things of the world - to be distracted and caught up in worldly things. We all know people who at one time were living the Christian life only to be torn down by the world and fall away from a life of faith. That's why it is so important that we "hold fast" to our confession of faith and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. Unless we are watchful we too can be caught up in the world and become less than useful to the Kingdom work.
The key to holding fast is found in verse 24 - today's memory verse.
and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
as we encourage - stimulate - inspire - model love and good deeds we not only help others "hold fast" but we "hold fast" ourselves.
It seems now that the American way is to be selfish and "look out for number one" and all of that.
Looking out for Number One would be the antithesis of a Christ-filled life. (At least as long as number one is yourself.) (Notice the name of this guy's other book - "Winning Through Intimidation." Not exactly taken from Christ's words or example.)
When we take our focus off of ourselves and our own wants and instead look for ways to stimulate others to love and good deeds we will find ourselves acting like Christians! Imitators of Christ Himself who humbled Himself and gave Himself for us.
There are people in your life that you are in contact with every day - family, co-workers, classmates, friends. Will you take a moments and pick out two or three of these people in your life and ask God what you can do to "stimulate" them to "love and good works" ? It's not necessarily an easy assignment, but definitely a godly one. Think of the difference we can make this week if all of us are encouraging each other to love and good works. Wow! I think we would see the fulfillment of Christ's words found in John 13:35 NIV
"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

That takes us back to verse 25 - not forsaking the assembling together... If we are loving each other, and encouragin each other and helping each other with good deeds the "assembling together" is easy. We won't want to wait to see each other again in life and in worship. We'll get together not only on Sundays but during the week too. Not so much for formal times of worship, but just to be together because of our love for each other.
See you soon!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Justice for Nigeria

It has been awhile since I have posted something about the Persectued Church. Here is a message from Open Doors. I hope you will click on the link and send a message to the Ambassador from Nigeria.
I have.

Plateau State in Nigeria has long been home to many Christians. But they have come under increasing attacks in 2010. Many believe these attacks are part of a planned siege designed by Islamic extremists to bring Plateau State into line with the twelve northern states that have embraced Sharia (Islamic law).

In early March, ethnic Fulani Muslims attacked 3 villages near Jos which resulted in the deaths of about 500 Christians and the burning of about 75 homes. Eyewitnesses say the attackers used knives and cutlasses, while shouting "Allah Akbar" during their attacks on men, women and children.

In the face of these atrocities, we need to stand with our brothers and sisters in Nigeria to hold their government to account for failing to protect Christians.

Please send a message to the Nigerian Ambassador today (see form below), asking the Nigerian government to launch a thorough investigation of this incident, hold the perpetrators to account for their involvement in these crimes and ensure that the victims receive compensation for the crimes committed against them.

Stop Attacks on Christians in Nigeria

A Song in My Heart - Music for Sunday, May 16

The other day my granddaughter, Haven, asked Grani, "How come Papa has a song for everything we talk about?" I guess I just know a lot of songs and always have a song in my heart and in my head.
Fanny Crosby said it this way,
"I sing for I cannot be silent, His love is the theme of my song. Redeemed!"

Here's Sunday's music. We're singing a lot of my favorite songs.
Hmmm, now that I think about it. We do that just about every week. :-)

To God Be the Glory
Let the Worshippers Arise

Choir – Our God Saves

Fellowship Song – Rock of Ages

The Solid Rock
My Hope (I really love this song. Great tune and wonderful words. And our congregation really sings out when we sing it.)

Special Music – Angie Thomas

Message – Dr. Larry D. Robertson

Invitation song – I Give You Me

Offertory – Gena Tate

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

what you didnt see!

This is a good video showing some of the flood damage around Tennessee.
Another part of the story is that Southern Baptists through our Disaster Relief volunteers will help thousands of people as they clean up from the flood. There are training opportunities available at many churches this week. Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief These are classes for getting a certification in Disaster Relief
There are also training opportunities in response to the flood at these churches here in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Tuesday, May 11, 7:00-9:00

FBC, St. Bethlehem
2232 Wilma Rudolph Blvd

Wednesday, May 12, 6:00-8:00
Hilldale Baptist Church
2001 Madison St.
Room 301

There are thousands of homes and people that need help. Southern Baptists will be there not only meeting physical needs, but also sharing the love of Christ.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Memory Monday Ramblings

I've blogged before about how "church" is a family thing. I've mentioned how I like to use music that has been around for a while as well as the newest music. Why? Because grandma probably likes the music that has been around for awhile, some of the great hymns of the faith are too wonderful to throw out just 'cause they weren't written last weekend by a famous Christian artist and a lot of the new songs are really fine songs that will last for years to come. Grandma sings the new music because it's important to her grandchildren. The youth and children sing the old hymns because they love grandma and want to bless her too.

When did we all get so selfish that we will only sing the songsWE like and not care a thing about what others like? "Sorry. I don't like that kind of music, I'll go worship somewhere else." Makes my blood boil.

Well, that's not where I was originally going with this post. (Just the "family" part.)

A new trend that some people are jumping in on is attending church on-line. Wow! You get to pick your preaching and music and anything else you like, watch videos of Bible studies, have a a virtual experience with God. Where's the "family" in that? Where's the community? Where's the considering others more improtant than yourself?

Philippians 2:3.Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Hmmm... I was leading up to Hebrews 10:24 as our Memory Monday verse, but Philippians 2:3-4 would be good too.

OK. (Can you tell I'm thinking as I'm typing.) We'll do Philippians 2:3-4 this week and Hebrews 10:24 next week. (You can look ahead if you like.) Would you call this "rambling?"

And as always, LIVING the verses is more important than memorizing them. :-) Memorizing these verses is probably  whole lot easier than living them. Thankfully it's possible through the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. Let me know how you're doing!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hallelujah to the King!

Since we didn't get to have choir rehearsal this week you all need to sing along with this a few times between now and Sunday. This is what we are singing Sunday!

See you then!

Oh! And practice smiling and moving and gettin' excited! That's not our strong point.

This is our choir singing this song a year ago.
If you don't go to Hilldale and you like this song you can order it from Word music and your choir can sing it too.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spiritual Markers - Sunday's Music

In Joshua 4 you can read about the Children of Israel crossing the Jordan River on dry ground. They were on their way to Jericho to walk around the wall and knock it down. I'm sure you're familiar with that story.

But here's an interesting thing about the walk across the Jordan. Joshua selected a big strong man from each tribe and told him to go out to the middle of the dry Jrodan River bed and to pick up a stone - a large stone - put it on his shoulder, and carry it out to the Jericho side of the river.
The Jordan River

Why would he want 12 big stones from the center of the river? Joshua explains why.

4:20.Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal.

21.He said to the sons of Israel, "When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, 'What are these stones ?'
22.then you shall inform your children, saying, 'Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.'
23."For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed ;
24.that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever."

Through the years I have set up my own stones. Sometimes they have been literal stones, but most of the times they are just spiritual markers.

There was a time, 20+ years ago, when I was working for a rather stressful church. Many changes were going on and things were not like God intended for a church. During that time the church called a new pastor. Through a long series of events that I won't bore you with, and over a few months time, the new pastor changed out the rest of the ministerial staff. Which is a fancy way of saying that 8 or 9 of us lost our jobs. After our money ran out Cheryl and I packed up the kiddos and moved to Tennessee to live with my parents while we waited to see where God would take us next. Waiting is not an easy thing to do when you have no job, no home, car payments, etc. But we waited... and waited...

While we waited for a full-time position I led the music on the weekends at a little country church in Slayden, Mississippi. What wonderful people God had there. They loved us and helped us heal from the wounds of Denver. I also worked at FBC, Collierville. Here's a really funny part. I worked in their Family Life Center handing out basketballs and those kinds of things. If you know me at all you know that basketballs are NOT something I know much about. But there I was having two churches care about me and my family and show us God's love and provision.

Long story short (sorta) 10 months later on the first Sunday of May was my first Sunday at my new church, Central Baptist Church in Martin, TN. The people of Martin loved us and we loved them (still do) and we had a wonderful time of ministry there for 11 years!

And now, every year, on the first Sunday of May - now for over twenty years - I have led my congregations in singing "Great Is Thy Faithfulness." They haven't always known the story behind that, but Cheryl and I did and my children did.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father.
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

Great is Thy faithfulness,
Great is Thy faithfulness.
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy fiathfulness, Lord unto me.

Carving of the men taking rocks out of the Jordan River.
We didn't get to sing this great hymn last week however, even though it was the first Sunday of May. Sunday morning we sang "missions" music for our On Mission Conference. We would have sung it Sunday night, but we ended up cancelling Sunday night's services because of the whole flooding deal.

So... We're singing it THIS Sunday. I think it fits perfectly with the struggles so many will have over the weeks to come with the aftermath of the flooding in Clarksville, Ashland City, Nashville and around the area.

We'll begin the service with
"O God Our Help in Ages Past" - a great testimony of God as our Helper.

The choir will sing "Hallelujah to the King!"

Then we'll all sing
"Great Is Thy Faithfulness"
"Made Me Glad"

"And You have made me glad
and I'll say of the Lord
You are my Strength, my Shield, my Fortress, Deliverer, my Shelter, Strong Tower, my very present Help in time of need."

24.that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever."

If you don't have spiritual markers in your life you really need to set some up. And you need to tell your children about them. They need to see how God has worked in your life and how you have trusted Him so they can learn to do the same.

Sunday, come to worship with these songs on your heart and remembering your own experiences where God has been your "very present help in time of need" so we can sing His praises together and celebrate His goodness, mercy, love, provision, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

King of the Flood? - Memory Monday

Psalm 29:10.The LORD sat as King at the flood ; Yes, the LORD sits as King forever.

The point of this Psalm is not that God brought the flood. I'm not going to be one of those TV preachers that blames all natural disasters on God punishing the sins of America. But I DO know that these natural disasters sho God's power because He is more powerful than they are. He rides the storm, He is enthroned in the flood. His majesty and power are heard in the thunder and seen in the lightning.
And yes, these disasters need to show us our need for Him and bring us closer to God and make us turn from our sin.

So for Memory Monday this week I am memorizing Psalm 29:10 The LORD sat as King at the flood; Yes, the LORD sits as King forever.

There is more to this verse than what I have said here. Let God's Spirit show you more.

Here is the entire Psalm for you to read.

Psalm 29 (Holman Christian Standard)
A Psalm of David.

1.Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

2.Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name ; Worship the LORD in holy array.

3.The voice of the LORD is upon the waters ; The God of glory thunders, The LORD is over many waters.

4.The voice of the LORD is powerful, The voice of the LORD is majestic.

5.The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars ; Yes, the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

6.He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, And Sirion like a young wild ox.

7.The voice of the LORD hews out flames of fire.

8.The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness ; The LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

9.The voice of the LORD makes the deer to calve And strips the forests bare ; And in His temple everything says, "Glory !"

10.The LORD sat as King at the flood ; Yes, the LORD sits as King forever.

11.The LORD will give strength to His people ; The LORD will bless His people with peace.
Ah! The part you hoped for. With all of His power God still reaches out to His people and gives strength and peace! THAT takes power! 
Live as people of strength and peace!

The Dangerous Act of Worship

I've just begun reading a book titled "The Dangerous Act of Worship" which was recommended by Dr. Paul Clark, Worship Specialist, Tennessee Baptist Convention. I'm sure I'll end up blogging about some of the things I'll be reading.

Here's a great paragraph from the introduction.

"Nobody went up to Moses after the thunder, lightning and loud trumpet blast at the foot of Mount Sinai and said, "How come we're using trumpets now? What happened to Miriam and that tambourine song we used to sing crossing the Red Sea? I liked that song - it was peppy. This thunder and trumpet stuff is too heavy."
       John Ortberg in the introduction to Mark Labberton's book "The Dangerous Act of Worship." IVP books (I found it on Amazon and got it the day after I ordered it.)

Should be some great stuff in here. (Oh, by the way. This book is going in a different direction than you may think it is. Check back. Or get a copy yourself.)