Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Psalms Challenge

Last June I challenged you all to read a chapter from Proverbs each day during June. A lot of you followed along and some - (Yay Phyllis!) left comments.

Now I want to try something a little more demanding - a Psalm a day for 150 days! That's almost 5 months. It will be May 29 when we reach Psalm 150! Some Psalms will require some time to read (Psalm 119) and one (Psalm 117) is only 2 verses long.

I'm going to blog - this is the really demanding part that I will have to work hard at to accomplish - every day. Don't expect something like this.

The Treasury of David - a 3 volume set of commentary on the Psalms by Charles Spurgeon.

I'm not claiming that I'll write something profound every day, (something Spurgeonesk) but I do expect each day that God will show me something - about Himself, about myself, about worship in the local church, about how to live life - whatever. I'll write at least a little something every day (that's the plan) and perhaps a lot on some days. I hope all of you will read along with me and that many of you will leave comments as to how God spoke to YOU through that day's Psalm.

We'll start tomorrow! Are you with me?




Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas

The Lady and her True Love


On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me
a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me
2 Turtle Doves

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me
3 French Hens

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
4 Calling Birds

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
5 Golden Rings

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
6 Geese a Laying


On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me
7 Swans a Swimming

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
8 Maids a Milking

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
9 Ladies Dancing

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
10 Lords a Leaping

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me
11 Pipers Piping

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
12 Drummers Drumming

...

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Theology in Christmas Carols

There is some fantastic theology found in Christmas Carols.

O Little Town of Bethlehem
"Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight."

"No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will recieve Him, still
The dear Christ enters in."

O Come All Ye Faithful

"Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing!"

John 1: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (This one is just incredible)

"Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!"

""Christ, by highest heav'n adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a Virgin's womb:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel."

"Hail, the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
(Malachi 4:2
“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.)
Mild, He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth."

WOW!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pre-Tree Music

A very enjoyable part of "the Tree" is the thirty minutes before when we get to hear some of our soloists and ensembles singing "pre-tree" music. Here's the schedule for this year's "pre-tree.

Click on the schedule to see a larger view.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bethlehem Calls - Rehearsal Schedule

It's here! "the Tree" is being delivered even as I type. It will be put together Tuesday, greened up Wednesday, decorated Thursday and Friday.

Woohoo!!!

So here are some of the last minute rehearsals. Be ready for more (especially if you don't know your lines. haha)

Wednesday, November 30
Choir - 6:30 in choir room
Angels - 7:30 in the Sanctuary

Thursday, December 1
Homeschool Handbell Choir - 1:00
Homeschool String Class - 2:00

Saturday, December 3
CANCELLED - Moved to Sunday at 5:00
Sunday, December 4
12 Days Cast - 3:00  IN COSTUME
Biblical Cast - 4:00
Choir - 5:00


Monday, December 5
Evening reserved for rehearsing whatever parts need extra rehearsal

Tuesday, December 6 
Orchestra only - 6:00-8:00

Wednesday, December 7
Dress Rehearsal (that means IN COSTUME) - Full Cast - No Orchestra - 6:00-8:00

Thursday, December 8
Dress Rehearsal with Orchestra - 6:00-8:00

Friday, December 9
Choir Call - 6:30 (arriving earlier is better than later)
Orchestra Call - 6:40
Performance - 7:00

Saturday, December 10
Choir Call - 6:30 (arriving earlier is better than later)

Orchestra Call - 6:40
Performance - 7:00

Sunday, December 11
Choir Call - 2:30 (arriving earlier is better than later)

Orchestra Call - 2:40
Performance - 3:00








Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Favorite Psalm is Perfect for Thanksgiving Day

My favorite Psalm is a great passage for a day of Thanksgiving.

A Psalm of Praise, of David.


1 I will extol You, my God, O King, And I will bless Your name forever and ever. 2 Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. 3 Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable .
 
4 One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. 5 On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate. 6 Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, And I will tell of Your greatness. 7 They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.
 
 8 The LORD is gracious and merciful ; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. 9 The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works. 10 All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD, And Your godly ones shall bless You. 11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom And talk of Your power ; 12 To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
 
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations. 14 The LORD sustains all who fall And raises up all who are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all look to You, And You give them their food in due time. 16 You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing. 17 The LORD is righteous in all His ways And kind in all His deeds.
 
18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. 19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. 20 The LORD keeps all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy.
 
21 My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Christ the King - Sunday's Music

I'm a third or fourth generation Southern Baptist by birth and a Southern Baptist by choice. I am proud of our "free" tradition - meaning each church governs itself and weekly worship is decided by the local church's worship leader not by a Lectionary or a governing board somewhere. I'm not saying those things are bad, I'm just glad I can follow God's leading in my life each week.

A lectionary plans out Bible readings and hymns to go along with the church year. As Baptists, we only follow the church year to a certain extent. We observe Christmas and Easter and to a lesser extent, Pentecost. But there is much more to the church year and I like to include parts of it in our worship - even if I'm the only one in the room that knows. :-)

In the last few years at Hilldale we have observed Advent. The first Sunday of Advent is the first Sunday in the traditional church year. (I've posted about Advent in the past and will again.)

The last Sunday in the church year is Christ the King Sunday. I really like the fact that the church year begins looking forward to Christ's coming and then ends with us all proclaiming "Jesus Christ is King!"

So at our 8:30 and 9:45 services this week we will sing
Rejoice the Lord is King
Rise Up and Praise Him
and maybe one more I can't remember...

The choir will sing
All Your Promises Are True

However, it is also the Sunday before Thanksgiving, so we're singing a few songs of thanks -
God Is Good All the Time
Give Thanks
Made Me Glad



Monday, November 14, 2011

Rehearsal Schedule - Nov. 19&20

Rehearsal Schedule



Nov. 19

3:00 – Wisemen

3:30 – Herod, Priests, Herod’s attendant and wisemen


Nov. 20

3:30 – 12 Days

4:15 – Angels

5:00 – choir

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sunday's Music - November 13, 2011

November 13, 2011 AM


The Solid Rock
Everlasting God

Choir anthem – Revelation Song


Recognition of Veterans

Fellowship song – When We All Get to Heaven

You Are My King
The Wonderful Cross

Special Music – Angie Thomas

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bethlehem Calls - Hilldale's Living Christmas Tree 2011

All through the Old Testament we see that God's promise of Messiah wasn't meant for Israel alone.


"I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations,
Isaiah 42:6 NAS

"Nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.
Isaiah 60:3 NAS

This year's Living Christmas Tree at Hilldale tells the wonderful story of Christmas with an emphasis on the three wise men. God's promise of the nations seeing the light of Messiah began when He revealed to the wise men through the wondrous star that a King had been born.

Tickets to see "the Tree" are free. If you attend Hilldale you can pick up tickets at the Connection Center at the Madison St. campus or at our Family Life Center on Old Farmers Rd.

Tickets are a great way to invite a friend to come with you.

If you would like to bring a group, call our church office for ticket information. 931-648-8031

Performance times this year
Friday, December 9, 7:00

Saturday, December 10, 7:00

Sunday, December 11, 3:00

You'll want to come early for a good seat!
Approximately 30 minutes before each performance enjoy "pre-tree" music provided by soloists, instrumentalists and our children's handbell choir.

For more information about Hilldale please visit http://www.hilldale.org/

Click on the map to enlarge it.
Hilldale Baptist Church
2001 Madison St.
Clarksville, TN 37043
931-648-8031

Monday, November 7, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas - Cast Information



Our "12 Days of Christmas" requires a huge cast. Here is some information you will need if you are part of this fun song in"the Tree."

Next rehearsal - November 20 @ 4:00

What to wear.

Drummers - "African" looking clothes. Bright colors, animal prints, head pieces (if you have a drum that looks sort of African let me know)
Pipers - sweat shirt and pants in either gray (first choice), white, brown or black and a bright t-shirt and shorts (like the mice in Cinderella.)
Lords-a-leaping - sweat pants and shirt in green (first choice) or brown or some other froggy color
Dancing Ladies - I'm working on this part
Maids - black dress or black skirt and black blouse
Swans - white (top and bottom)
Geese - footy pajamas or flannel night gown
Golden Ring guy - vest, gold chains (lots of gold chains)
Calling Birds - red hat with a feather, purple dress
French Hens - shirt with horizontal stripes or a t-shirt stamped with the fleur-de-lis
Turtle Doves - white
Partridge - brown/purple/orange with "bling"

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Time Change - Some Options

Options? for Time Change Sunday?

I'm all about options so here are some I thought of for you.

1. Wait until after church services tomorrow morning to change your clock. You'll get to see what happens at church the hour before you normally arrive! I'm expecting a larger than normal crowd at 8:30 as all of the 9:45 service folks show up an hour early.

2. Set your alarm for 2 AM (the official time change moment) and fall back an hour then. At 2 in the morning you can really appreciate that extra hour of sleep.

3. Set your clock back an hour when you go to bed at your regular time and then come to worship all rested and ready to sing.

You can choose one of these options or come up with your own. Either way, I hope to see you in worship tomorrow morning.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Guy in the Next Booth - Let My Words Be Few


I was at a restaurant the other day and was totally distracted to where I could hardly eat. Not that I'm a really big eater anyway, but that's not the point of the story. There was a person in the next booth who NEVER stopped talking. His voice was a bit whiny and he was complaining NON-stop. "Well, she blah, blah, blah and I've tried to show her respect but she isn't showing me any respect and I think you should... blah, blah, blah, and then she, blah, blah, blah, and I want blah, blah and then she, and I think, and I , and I ... blah, blah..."
I almost got up and told him EXACTLY why he didn't get any respect and that a real man doesn't whine to get respect and that if he didn't stop talking I would help him finish his meal by...

Well, of course I didn't.

Sunday morning Andrew and Calli will join me in singing a beautiful song titled "Let My Words Be Few." I was contemplating what this scripture means since it is the basis for the song.

Ecclesiastes 5:1 Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. 2 Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.

How many times have I been like the guy in the next booth, whining and complaining to God and telling HIm what He should do and making promises of what I think I'll do for Him and on and on and blah, blah, blah.

I appreciate the fact that for several decades now we have emphasized how God is our Friend. John 15:15 NAS "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing ; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you."

But I'm afraid that in our efforts to help everyone understand that God loves us and that He is our Friend that we have forgotten that He is also holy and righteous and that His thoughts are not our thoughts. We treat God like our old pal with no respect or awe. Except for being redeemed by the blood ofthe Lamb why would we ever think we could start telling God what to do or our big ideas.

The guy in the next booth didn't even give the people with him a chance to say anything, much less have any input into his thoughts. Are we the same way when we come to a worship service? Do we have a list of things we want to say to God or do we come ready to listen to Him? Do we come whining about the week we've had? Do we come with a big list of ideas and things to say to God wanting His blessing? Or do we come with hearts waiting to hear from Him? Do we talk about God all Sunday morning or do we talk to Him and more importantly - do we listen to Him?

"You are God in heaven and here am I on earth,
So I"ll let my words be few.
Jesus, I am so in love with You."

Other songs we will sing Sunday include
Glorious Is Thy Name
Shout to the Lord
Power of the Cross - choir
Jesus Messiah
Grace Flows Down

I hope I'll see you in worship this week. Don't be the guy in the next booth. Let your words be few.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Saints Day

All Saints Day is always on November 1. If you don't read the entire blog, you should scroll to the bottom and watch the video of the great hymn "For All the Saints" and be sure to see the awesome text of the last verse. 
As a side note, it is why we have Halloween - All Hallows Eve - the "hallows" being the "holies" or, the Saints. And as is the case with other sacred days, over the years what was once a time of reflecting on holy things has morphed into a time of unholiness. (Mardi Gras before Lent is another example.)

The idea behind All Saints Day is to remember the men and women of faith who have gone before us and to let their lives inspire us to live lives of holiness before God serving others and following the Great Commission to make disciples in all the world.

Hebrews 11 is often called "the Roll call of faith."


In it we read about some rather famous people - Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Jacob, Moses and David. There are also some listed here that aren't quite as famous - Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jepthah.

Some saw miraculous things in their lives - 33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection

Others did not have happy endings to their stories - and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection ; 36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword ; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins , being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

But the writer of Hebrews tells us 39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.
I
I love these old paintings of the "Cloud of Witnesses."

By faith they looked forward to "the Promise." By faith we look back at "the Promise," that in the fullness of time God sent His Son.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I've blogged several times about All Saints Day even though Baptists don't really observe it.
All Saints Day post you should read...

The thing I most want to emphasize from the previous post is that if you are a follower of Jesus Christ then YOU are a Saint. (Aren't so sure about that? Go read the post. Click here to see why YOU may be a Saint



This is the dome of the Andrew Gerow Hodges Chapel of Beeson Divinity School (Samford University) in Birmingham, Alabama.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Special Guests - No Other Name

I'm really excited that this Sunday, October 30, we have the group "No Other Name" leading us in worship at all three services.


Bro. Larry will continue his sermon series through Acts, so it will be a great morning of music, worship and preaching.



No Other Name has been singing for the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meetings for the last few years. They always do a fantastic job singing and leading in worship.

Here is a link to No Other Name's web site where you can find out more about them.

No Other Name



They have a great heart for missions and sing for many International Mission Board functions too. Here's a wonderful missions video featuring No Other Name.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Beauty of Autumn - Sunday's Music


I think in corporate worship we need to sing about many different things. I worry about congregations who only get to sing songs that basically say the same thing indifferent ways. I'm not saying any particular songs are bad. I'm just saying that our faith has to include every aspect of our lives. If we sing about the cross every Sunday, when will we sing about the Second Coming? If we only sing songs of praise when would we sing songs of confession or repentance?

This Sunday we are going to sing about God's greatness - partly as seen in the beauty of Autumn.

How Great Thou Art is such a wonderful hymn. I usually have us sing the third verse "And when I think that God His Son not sparing..." But this week we are going to sing the second verse "When through the woods and forest glades I wander..." Behind the words will be some beautiful Fall pictures.

How Great Thou Art will segue right into
How Great Is Our God.

"Sing with me! How great is our God!"

The choir anthem for Sunday is called Great Is the Glory of the Lord

For our "fellowship" time we'll sing Rise Up and Praise Him.

The last set of songs will give us a chance to respond to the greatness and glory of God that we have just sung about.
My Jesus I Love Thee
and
For the Beauty of the Earth

Both of these songs let us express our love and praise to God in a personal way. I hope you will join us in singing and worshipping our great God this Sunday at 8:30 or 9:45.

"Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Lord of all to Thee we raise.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! This our song of grateful praise."
All of these pictures are from my yard!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Worship Music for Sunday, October 16, 2011

The apostle Paul said (I Cor. 14:14)
I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also;
I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.

I have typed out some of what I was thinking as I planned the music for this week's worship. Praying and singing in the spirit is iimportant, but it is also important to pray and sing with your mind. I think your worship is deeper and can have more meaning when you have reasoning and understanding behind what you do.

October 16, 2011 AM


There are a a LOT of songs with the title "Blessed Be the Name."
And with good reason. The psalmist said,


Psalm 113:2 NAS


Blessed be the name of the LORD From this time forth and forever .

Miriam Webster gives this definition of "blessed"
1a : held in reverence :
 b : honored in worship :
We'll begin our services Sunday singing two "blessed" songs
Blessed Be the Name – "O for a thousand tongues to sing..."
Did you know that when Charles Wesley wrote those words he wasn't saying a thousand people should sing God's praise. He was saying he wished that he himself had a thousand tongues to proclaim God's praise.
Blessed Be Your Name – "Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful..."

It's probably easier to sing "Blessed be the Name of the Lord" when things are going wonderfully. The true test of faith is if we can sing those same words when life has brought many troubles our way.

Matt Redman wrote this song using the words of Job in the bridge (the part of the song after the chorus)
Job 1:21 NAS


He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD."

As we gather together Sunday some of us will have had a nice easy "sunshiny" kind of week. But others of us will have had a week of sorrow or troubles. But together we will all be able to sing "Blessed be the Lord" as we sing with hearts of love and faith.
The choir anthem is a great follow up to these songs because it declares our faith in God. "I believe God. I believe His word is true for I've seen what He can do when I call upon His name."
Choir Anthem – I Believe God

Fellowship song – He Has Made Me Glad – "I will enter His courts with thanksgiving in my heart..."
After the "welcome" time we'll sing about God's wonderful Word.

Break Thou the Bread of Life – The last line of the first verse says, "My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word."

I hope that describes us as we gather together Sunday.

I love the last verse of this beautiful hymn.
"O send Thy Spirit, Lord, Now unto me,
That He may touch mine eyes, And make me see:
Show me the truth concealed Within Thy Word,
And in Thy Book revealed I see Thee, Lord."
Ancient Words –
Word of God Speak – We'll just sing the chorus -
"Word of God speak; Would You fall down like rain washing my eyes to see Your majesty?
To be still and know that You're in this place; Please let me stay and rest in Your holiness.
Word of God, speak."
Special Music – Paula McElroy

Message – Dr. Larry D. Robertson

Invitation song – Change My Heart, O God
Offertory – Bro. Lyndel with band – Great Is the Lord Almighty
Baptisms – both services

Friday, October 7, 2011

Music for Sunday, October 9

I've missed several weeks of posting what we're singing on Sunday. Maybe this will get me back into posting Sunday's music each week.

This week we'll begin our service singing some songs about the second coming.
Sing to the King
Soon and Very Soon
I'll Fly Away

The choir will sing How Great Is the Love

Then we'll sing...
'Tis So Sweet
Resting in Your Love
Offering

Of course the thing that makes congregational music the best is when we all come wanting to express our praise and love to the Lord. The condition of our hearts is much more important than the song selections. But hopefully these songs will give you reason to celebrate in the hope of Christ's return and then give you opportunity to express your love and give testimony to God's goodness.

I'm resting in Your love,
Trusting in Your grace.
Through the questions in my life
I long to see Your face.
In weakness You are strong,
Lord, live Your life through me.
All my hope is placed in You
I'm resting in Your love.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Does God Hate ..... Westboro?

Bless their hearts. The Westboro folks have come to Clarksville. They want to protest at the funerals of the five "Bikers Who Care" who died this week. This isn't Westboro's usual place. They usually protest at military funerals. They carry colorful signs with very hateful messages. Today they even "tweeted" directly to my Senior Pastor and told him some rather hateful things and where they thought they were sending him because they disagreed with some of the things he said - I guess about them.

So I am risking getting some hateful posts or e-mails since I am talking about them in this post. But, of course, my eternal destiny isn't up to some crazy people from Kansas (who obviously have too much time and money on their hands since they fly all over the country to make a nuisance of themselves).

First, let me point out that I don't use the word "Baptist" when describing them. They use it in their title, but they are not Baptists. Historical Baptist theology is nothing like the hate they spew. I also won't use the word "church" to describe them because what they do has nothing to do with the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, anyway, the Westboro folks like to tell everyone who God hates and they like to tell anyone who questions them where they should go (and I don't mean down to Sonic for some sweet tea). So surely God hates them for doing all of the things that they do.

The Apostle John had a lot to say about God and love. The most famous quote from John is John 3:16
Here it is in the Holman Christian Standard Translation.
"For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life."

Yes. God loves hateful, terrible people. He loves murderous dictators, those who persecute the church, those who make hateful fools of themselves at funerals, mean people, ugly people, big kids, little kids, kids who climb on rocks, fat kids, skinny kids, even kids with chicken pox (oops, sorry, a childhood commercial just popped in my head.)

But what about the Westboro crowd? My prayer is that they come to know Jesus for who He really is - that they see the truth of John 3:16 in their own lives.

John makes it rather clear who the true followers of Jesus are. Take some time and read all that John had to say about love by reading the entire book of 1 John. Here is a little of what he said found in chapter 4.

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

20 If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And we have this command from Him: the one who loves God must also love his brother.

These words are for us too. It's EASY to hate the people from Westboro because of what they do. It's not so easy to love them. The only way to do that is to look at them through God's eyes. 1 John 4:9-10 "God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Missionaries

Some people are missionaries as a vocation. Southern Baptist have the greatest missions organizations in the world. Check out the International Mission Board
Our missionaries don't have to spend time going back to the States asking for money. Our Cooperative Program  dollars given by our SBC churches pay their salaries, buy supplies, build churches, etc.


The Milams - Andy, Michelle, Micah and Ethan

This is our team taking a picture of the Milams.

Some are missions volunteers/partners on a short term project.

Group shot just before 6:00 on the morning we left for Porto.

Some are mission interns for a semester.





Hannah and Jennifer are here for the semester to work along side of the Milams.

All of us should be missionaries wherever we are: at work, at home, at school...



Put your picture here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Pot - More than a Souvenir

The Story of "The Pot."



We worked every day in Porto, but most of our times in the churches were in the afternoons and evenings.

So a few of the mornings we went sightseeing and of course had to buy a souvenir to remind us of our trip - and thus begins the story of "The Pot."

Missions in Portugal (and most of Europe) is different from what you may expect. You can't just invite someone to church and figure they'll show up. Missions in Portugal - and for that matter, sharing our faith in the States - has to be different. Missions is building relationships.

The Milams are building relationships all across the city of Porto. The Milams' Blog One of the people they have been building a relationship with is a lady who owns a pottery shop on the riverfront of the Douro River. She travels across Portugal and buys pottery from the different regions. She had a lot of beautiful plates, pitchers, tiles (which Portugal is famous for) and pots.

The Portuguese people love soup with their meals - or for that matter make a whole meal of a good soup with some pastries.

Well, Cheryl found a pot that she just loves (I think it's beautiful too). But I didn't want to buy it. It cost more than I wanted to spend and I couldn't figure out how we would could put it in a suitcase where it wouldn't be crumbs by the time we got home or carry it on the plane. So we said, "No. It's beautiful, but we just can't take it with us." The shop owner - of course - just left it out on the counter while we looked at plates with beautiful, traditional blue and white artwork.

Cheryl went outside to wait. (The shops are a bit small and there were a lot of us in there.) and one by one the ladies came over to me and said, "You know... Cheryl really likes that pot. You should get it for her." Michelle said, "She'll probably give you a deal on the pot."

So I told the lady we wanted "the Pot."

They wrapped it in paper and more paper and bubble wrap and then pretty we-bought-a-nice-pot-at-a-nice-pottery-store paper. What was once a big pot was now a HUGE pot. The rest of the day we lugged "the Pot" around from the store to the bus to the church to the metro to the hotel and all day long different ones of us would say, "Have we got 'the Pot?'" "Yep, we got 'the Pot'." (We were working on building our own relationships with each other.

Then we had to buy a bag we could carry on the plane that would hold "the Pot."

When we got to the airport there we all were with our luggage, my violin, our carry on bags and Cheryl's new "purse" that held "the Pot." The pot purse was on my carry on luggage and fell over and hit the ground. Of course we all panicked. "How's the Pot?"

Long story, so here's the end of the story. We had fun joking about the pot and the Milams were able to spend some time talking to a lady who knows that they care about her and bring shoppers from the USA to her store.

Here's a picture of the wrapping and Cheryl's new Pot Purse.

The pot is more than just a souvenir. Yes, it will remind us of Portugal, but it reminds us of the Milams, the Portuguese people and the fun we had with friends.When we see it in our dining room it will remind us to pray for all of them - the Milams, the Portuguese and our friends. When we serve soup we will use this pot and again will be reminded to pray that God will continue to bring people into His Kingdom through His people building relationships with others and then sharing the Good News of Jesus.
Here is "the Pot" sitting on a tablecloth from Germany from our daughter's missions trip, on an antique table from my grandmother that reminds me of the wonderful Christian heritage in my family, under some artwork from friends in other cities, and a plate from a mission trip to Mexico. They all remind me of God's goodness to me and how He is at work all around the world. All are a good reminder to "pray without ceasing."

What do you have at your house to remind you to pray and to go and to serve?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

That's What It's All About

You put your right hand in.

You put your right hand out.

You put your right hand in and you shake it all about.

You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around.

That's what it's all about!

And we've sung the Hokey Pokey all week. It's a really fun way to learn body parts in English.
We sang the Hokey Pokey with children, youth, adults and senior adults. We laughed - a lot - when we put our backside in and out and shook it all about. hahaha. What a fun time.

And through teaching English and through singing the Hokey Pokey we made new friends and developed relationships, and shared the love of Christ...

and THAT's what it's all about.

It has been a really good week!