Friday, December 21, 2012

Fun with Bro. Tim

Bro. Tm and I have had a lot of fun together over the years.
Of course there is always VBS week.
Here's the year he tied me to the railroad tracks! I'm sure it was totally unprovoked actions.
 And of course there a lots of pictures of the two of us getting pies in our faces.
I'm not sure how I get pulled into that every year.
We had a lot of fun with the Kingdom I don't remember the name Children's choir deal.
Some people say we are twins (think Jacob and Esau). We looked more like twins when I grew a beard last winter.
I don't know what he said... (Golden Granny Awards)
Sometimes I have to lay down the law and threaten his life so he learns his lines or doesn't mess up important things like the Passion Play.
Tim is always willing to lend a helping hand or shoulder. Here we are uncovering the exit signs after the Passion Play. Rather than pick me up twice, he just carried me across the room.
It's great having such a good friend to do ministry with.
Oh! I almost forgot. The reason this all got started was because of all the fun we had in this year's Living Christmas Tree. (Click the picture for a bigger view.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Do You Hear What I Hear?

From The Living Christmas Tree - A Christmas Celebration
Hilldale Baptist Church
Dec. 7-9, 2012

Click on the pictures to get a larger view. Be sure to enlarge the collage at the end of the post to see more pictures. Thanks to Raeann Winn, Janet Winchester and Paula Williams for taking great pictures!

"Said the night wind to the little lamb, 'Do you see what I see?'"

"Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy, 'Do you hear what I hear?'"

"Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king, 'Do you know what I know?'"

""Said the king to the people everywhere, 'Listen to what I say.'"

Trio - Jesse and Megan Landsford and Traci Koon.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Weeping because they were no more...

We were reminded again today that the world is a wicked place. We already knew that, but we have grown accustomed to fighting and random shootings at 2:00 in the morning just outside a rowdy bar. The civil war in Syria doesn’t really affect us. Even the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are something we aren’t happy about, but we’ve grown callous.

Now, after the horrible tragedy in Connecticut, we are painfully aware of how wicked man – mankind – is. There will be calls for new laws or stiffer penalties or tighter security, but when someone is intent on doing harm to innocents none of those things will make a difference.

What the world needs, what this nation needs, what each person needs is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

The world we live in isn’t that much different from the world at the time of Christ.
Matthew 2:18 NASB
'Massacre of the Innocents', Matteo di Giovanni, 1482

(Satan, the prince of this world, through Herod, tried to kill the answer to the world’s wickedness – Jesus Christ.)

But the world can change. The wicked can become new.

In 1 Corinthians 6 the Apostle Paul says “do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God?” (v.9) He then gives a list of examples of unrighteousness followed by these words

11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (NASB)

Did you catch these words? “Such were some of you.” Former adulterers, thieves, swindlers all washed, sanctified and justified through Jesus Christ.

He says it again this way in 2 Corinthians 5:17( NASB)
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

The only answer to the wickedness of the world – in the hearts of men – is for each person to be changed by the Spirit of God as they become followers of Jesus Christ.

As we search for answers to the tragedies of this world we can blame many things, but ultimately the only answer is for hearts to be transformed.

We will weep for many days to come. I have cried several times while watching the news, while writing this blog, while thinking about parents who - for now - can not be comforted. I've also wept for our nation that keeps moving further and further away from God. My prayer is that this tragedy will spur us on to be bold in our witness that Jesus Christ alone is "the Way, the Truth and the Life."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rehearsals for December 2

It's time!! "The Tree" is next weekend and there are a lot of rehearsals this week.

The main rehearsals where we will work out (review) where you stand when you move and those kinds of things are Sunday, December 2.

Here's the schedule:

Rehearsals for Sunday, December 2, 2012

2:30 – Wise men and attendants and banner carriers (walk through and costume assignments)

3:15 – Shepherds (walk through and costume assignments)

3:45 – Call for choir

4:00 – Choir in “the Tree”

4:45 – What Will You Do with Jesus soloists

5:30 – Opening song 
            Reindeer, carousel riders, Broadway dancers, shoppers, etc.

6:00 – Cowboys and girls and cloggers (handbells know their part so they can miss this rehearsal)

6:30 – Do You Hear What I Hear? (dance and costume assignments)

7:00 – A Baby Changes Everything

Tuesday night, Dec. 4, the orchestra rehearses at 6:00. Soloists are invited to come practice with the orchestra. We will start at the beginning and play straight through, so if your solo is toward the end of the program you could come a little later than 6:00.
Choir members can come sit in the pews and sing along if they would like an extra singing time.

The first Dress Rehearsal (without orchestra but with choir - straight through, no stopping - is Wednesday, December 5, at 6:00. All actors should be in costume that night.

The Full Dress Rehearsal with orchestra is Thursday night, Dec. 6, at 6:00. Choir members should be ready to load the tree at 5:52.

Send me a note on facebook or an e-mail or call or text if you have questions.

Share this info with those you know involved in "the Tree."

See you Sunday!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christ the King Sunday

Baptists don't typically follow the traditional liturgical calendar with all of its festivals and prescribed readings and prayers. We expect our local church pastor to preach the Word as God speaks to him each week. I'm happy to say that I have a Sr. pastor (preacher) who faithfully delivers a message from God week by week. There is nothing wrong with following the liturgical calendar. We just as a general rule don't - probably because of its roots in the Catholic church and our Baptist forefather's desire to make sure we were NOT Catholic.

But we do follow the traditional liturgical calendar to some extent: we celebrate Christmas and Easter. Many of us make sure that we at least sing songs about the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (7 weeks after Easter) and in the last 30 years or so many Baptists have discovered the joy of anticipating Christmas by to some form or another observing Advent. For that matter, even more recently, many Baptists have begun observing Lent as they prepare for Easter.

Another festive day that I personally have observed for many years is Christ the King Sunday. My congregations don't know it, but they have been observing it too! Surprise!

In the church calendar Advent is celebrated or observed for the four Sundays before Christmas. The first Sunday of Advent is considered the first Sunday of the year.

What most of us don't know is that the Sunday before Advent (therefore the last Sunday of the year) is Christ the King Sunday.

Here are some verses from the New Testament that refer to Jesus Christ as King. (this was taken from wikipedia)
The name is found in various forms in scripture: King (John 18:36-37), King eternal (1 Timothy 1:17), King of Israel (John 1:49, Mt. 27:42, Mark 15:32), King of the Jews by Romans and Magi (Mt. 2:2, Mt. 27:11, cf. John 18:33-37), King of kings (1 Tim 6:15; Rev. 19:16), King of the ages (Book of Revelation 15:3) and Ruler of the kings of the Earth (Rev. 1:5).

So on Christ the King Sunday I like to lead our congregation in singing great songs about Jesus Christ as King.

Tomorrow at Hilldale we will sing:
Rejoice, the Lord Is King with Sing and Rejoice! (this will be on our new CD)
followed by
Sing to the King

Then our choir will sing Psalm 24 which is a great song taken from (duh) Psalm 24. (also on our new CD)
" Lift up your head,
 lift up your voice,
 lift up your heart
 come rejoice
 that the King of Glory may come in"

We'll end our congregational singing with
All Hail King Jesus
You Are My King

I hope you'll join us tomorrow in singing praise to Jesus Christ the King of kings.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rehearsals for Sunday, November 25

Some of you may be out of town for Thanksgiving, but for everyone who is in town, here are the songs and group rehearsals for this Sunday, November 25.

4:30 - A Baby Changes Everything - dancers
5:00 - "The Tree" Choir
6:15 - Cowboys and Cowgirls, homeschool handbells, soloists and choir
6:30 - A Christmas Celebration
7:00 - Wise men, attendants, shepherds
7:30 - Do You Hear What I Hear? dancers

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rehearsals for Sunday, November 18th

Rehearsals for November 18

3:00—Do You Hear What I Hear?

Middle School Actors and Dancers
3:30—What Will You Do with Jesus?
Lynn B and elementary soloists
4:00—Adult Choir

4:00—A Baby Changes Everything

H.S. Dancers

5:00—Sing Noel! Sing Hallelujah!

Angels—elementary age through adults

Thursday, November 1, 2012


It's time to sign up for parts for "the Tree!"
These two pictures give a sumamry of most of the parts needed.
Send me an e-mail and let me know which part your child is interested in and then plan on bringing them to church THIS Sunday afternoon, Nov. 4.
Click on the pictures to enlarge them and make them easier to read.


Links to Posts about Saints

Today, November 1, is All Saints Day. It is every year. So I searched through my blog posts for "Saints" and found several posts over the years about "saints."

I've re-posted this one several times.
Today Is Your Day

At the end of that post I mentioned the special "Saints hand signal" that I figured we all need to learn.
Here's what I found out about the special "Saints hand signal."  Saints Update

I also ran across one of my favorite posts about Family Television (I mentioned "saints" in that post.)
It is one of my favorite posts because it's actually about worship, not TV. If you only read one of these posts I hope it will be this one. Family Television

My first thought of how to end this post was to say, "Have a blessed day as one of God's saints." But instead I think I should turn it around.

Go be a blessing to someone today because you are one of God's satins.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reformation Day for Baptists

Baptists - as a general rule - don't really know about Reformation Day, but it is a VERY important day in the story of Christianity. In was on this day that Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenburg Castle Church on October 31, 1517.

There is too much to tell about Reformation Day or the impact of the Reformation. You can read about it on wikipedia here Reformation Day

So what about today? Is there a need for Baptists (and all people of faith) to consider the Reformation or what happened then? Yes. But I would encourage us not to learn history for the sake of knowing about about it, but as a reason to examine what we do now.

Anytime an emphasis on works replaces the gospel of Grace we need a reformation.

 Anytime we replace the teachings of scripture with popular culture we need a reformation. 2 Timothy 4:3

Anytime we see worship as "that's the kind of music I like best" instead of as a time to come humbly before our great God and King to worship Him we need a reformation.

Anytime we say (or think) "Thank you, God, that I"m not a sinner like that man" see Luke 18 we need a reformation.

This - of course - is not an exhaustive list. Do your own soul searching. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you have need of reformation.

A tradition of Reformation Day is to sing Martin Luther's great hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." Here's a version I think you will enjoy.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Checking the MIrror

This is a repost from a post dated in July of 2010. I just saw it again and laughed again. Thought you might enjoy it.

On Tuesdays the pastors go to lunch together. It's always a fun time as we relax a little and just get to spend a little time together talking about the church and our families and a little bit of everything.

This last week we ended up going for breakfast instead of lunch. We went to Shoney's for the breakfast buffet. Yummmm.

While we were sitting there a young couple got out of their car across the parking lot and headed toward the door. About half-way across the parking lot they stopped. The young lady decided that it would probably be a good idea to check and see if they had any money before they ordered - at least that is what I was guessing. She was looking all through her large purse for something.

The young man was a stocky sort of guy in shorts and a muscle shirt. While his wife was looking through her purse he noticed his reflection in the windows of Shoney's. He turned a little bit sideways and flexed his arm. Mmm. Looked good. So he puffed up his chest and flexed a little more.


Meanwhile - oblivious to her husband, the wife kept pilfering through her purse. He didn't mind her taking so long because he was lookin' good!

"Hey look! I said, This guy is checking himself out in the window!" He had a bigger audience now and didn't even know it. Probably wouldn't have cared if he had known.

Another flex of the left bicep, a tilt of the shoulder and that "lookin' fine" look on his face; he could have stayed there all afternoon.

Ah! Found some money. They can go in.

But no! First he had to pull the leg of his shorts up and flex his leg in the mirror window. I'm not sure his wife was as impressed as he had hoped. She's probably seen this routine at home more than she wants. haha.

I told Bro. Tony, "I guess if I had leg muscles like that I'd check myself out in the windows too. haha"

Tony said rather dryly, "No, you wouldn't!"

I suppose he's right.

On our way out the door I decided I needed to check how I looked in the window. Hmmm, just as skinny as I looked that morning at home. I guess my muscles couldn't show through my long-sleeved shirt and dress pants. The other guys wouldn't look at themselves. They said they were afraid they were just as big as they were before - maybe bigger after the breakfast bar.

A little self-inspection and a look in the mirror really isn't a bad thing. After all, you don't want to scare little children as you walk around town.

The same is true for your spirit too. But what do you use as a mirror? Looking in the bathroom mirror or the windows at Shoney's will help you know if your hair is sticking up or not, but to look at your heart you need something other than yourself to compare with. The scriptures say

"The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick ; Who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9 NAS

It is only as we allow God to show us what is in our hearts that we see the true picture. I can compare myself to a lot of different people in the news and think I am doing really awesome. But when I compare myself to what God has asked of me - well, that's different.  Psalm 139 has this prayer from David "23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way."

So how do you go about that? You have to spend time each day in the Word. That's where you'll find truth and direction and strength and more. Memorize scripture. Hide it in your heart.

"But it's impossible to live up to a standard like that" you might say. Yep. Impossible. Thankfully God's Spirit works through us and helps us live as new creations.

There's a lot more that could be said here, but I'm late for a meeting and if I don't hit "publish" now it's not going to happen today. Please finish this little sermon on your own. Im guessing that this isn't something you haven't heard before. This was just a little reminder and hopefully an encouragement for you.

See you at Shoney's!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Recording the Congregation

If you haven't heard, our choir is making a CD. Some of the songs are songs you have heard before - either out of the hymnal, a choir number or one of the new songs we sing along with a hymn. Some of the songs we have been singing for a few years here and we decided the choir shouldn't have all of the fun. You should get to be on the CD too!

Bro. Paul will be leading the Pastor's Bible Study on Wednesday night, October 17, since Bro. Larry will be gone with the Sr. Adults . Bro. Paul said we could take a little of the prayer time and a little of the Bible study time to record the congregation so you all can be on the CD too. How fun is that?!

Here are the songs we'll record.

Tell Me the Story of Jesus
Prince of Peace (we sang it this past Sunday, so you should be ready to go)
Resting in Your Love with 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
Sing and Rejoice with Rejoice the Lord Is King (we first sang this when Bro. Paul was preaching his series through Philippians)

It looks long, but each song is only 3-4 minutes long.

If you usually miss Wednesday nights for some odd reason, maybe you can join us this one week - October 17, 6:20, Main Campus Worship Center.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Are you serious?!
He did what!?

A little over five years ago I started getting e-mails from . It wasn't spam, I actually signed up for them. My Senior Pastor, Dr. Larry D. Robertson told me that he got them and not wanting to be behind or outdone :-) I decided I should get them too.

Each day Merriam or Webster or someone who works for them, I suppose, sends me a word with it's definition, pronunciation and then a section called "Did you know?" (which is my favorite part) which tells about where the word came from (usually Latin or Greek).

Well, today's word was "interrobang." Really?!
Long story short, it is a punctuation mark that was made up in the 60s. Ha! Of course it was. It's a combination of an interrogative/interrogation mark (a question mark - ?) and an exclamation mark ! which printers call a "bang."

Here's a picture of one.

Here are some other variations.
So why am I bothering telling you such things? Well, first off, maybe I've inspired you to subscribe to word of the day. Click the link and sign up there. A mind is a terrible thing to waste and it will get squishy and lazy if you don't use it.

But actually I'm thinking of starting a campaign with Dell and other computer keyboard makers to include the interrobang on keyboards. We need them ALL of the time.

For instance:
"The Tree" is when and we're missing how many Wednesday nights between now and then?!
New York City schools can give birth control and "morning after" pills to 4th graders without their parents knowing?!
The crazy President of Iran is addressing the United Nations and will once again call for the elimination/destruction of Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish year!?
Gas is how much?! Even at Walmart!?

I'll be the first to admit that some of the sentences above are much more serious than others, but in each case an interrobang fits wonderfully. Perhaps with comments on this post you can add some good sentences that need interrobangs for punctuation.

More importantly, we each should seek ways we can correct the above sentences. I've worked on the first one by adding Sunday rehearsals (see an earlier post Tree Rehearsal Schedule)

What interrobang is God asking YOU to address? Who, me?! Yes! You!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fall Rehearsal Schedule for "the Tree"

Since my QR code goes to this post I'm adding to it in addition to creating a new post.
Here is the rehearsal schedule for Sunday, November 18th.

Rehearsals for November 18

3:00—Do You Hear What I Hear?

Middle School Actors and Dancers

4:00—Adult Choir

4:00—A Baby Changes Everything

H.S. Dancers

5:00—Sing Noel! Sing Hallelujah!

Angels—elementary age through adults


We have a few weeks this Fall where we aren't able to have a choir rehearsal. And there will be a week or two (or more) where we need to record songs for our CD. This puts us short on the number of weeks we have to get ready for "the Tree."

We also have a few choir members that - for right now - are needing to work in other areas of the church on Wednesday nights.

With these two things in mind, we have added some Sunday rehearsals to help us get ready for "the Tree." These rehearsals will be at 4:00 on Sunday afternoons. This allows time for a nap after lunch but doesn't keep you here so late that you miss supper.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Kids Singing Project


We have a fun project your child can be a part of (grades 1-5) (well, if you have a 6th or 7th grader that really wants to sing, bring them too).
Our adult choir is making a CD. Two of the songs need children singing on them. This Sunday afternoon at 2:00 we’re going to learn the two songs and then record them – a one afternoon project. We should be finished before 3:30.


The CD has several purposes.

1.      It’s fun to make a CD and get to hear yourself (your choir) singing on it for years to come.

2.      Our church family will enjoy listening to our music, but more importantly

3.      Our CD will be something people can use to tell others about Hilldale and give them a chance to share their testimony.

4.      Proceeds from the sale of this CD will help a mission team going on an international mission trip next summer.

So as you can see, besides being a fun project for a Sunday afternoon, the message and ministry of the CD has the potential to reach many people for Christ for many years to come.


If you have any questions, call the church office and ask for Donna.

Standing for what is Right...

...even though the crowd is against you.

I was a bit surprised to hear that Cardinal Dolan gave the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention. Don't get me wrong. I know that there are many good Christian people who are Democrats, but as a whole, the party has not been supporting Christian ideals. The party of "inclusiveness" and "tolerance" shows the most intolerance to those who defend the rights of the unborn and defend a traditional (biblical) view of marriage.

Cardinal Dolan was not originally scheduled to pray. But after his announcement that he would be praying at the Republican Convention some more moderate Catholics put pressure on the DNC to ask him to speak/pray at their convention also.

I don't know if there were any behind the scene negotiations of what Cardinal Dolan could or couldn't say, but he obviously wasn't going to let the politics of the Democratic party influence how he would pray. In his prayer he said this!

“Grant us the courage to defend life…waiting to be born, welcomed and protected,” he said. He also prayed for “life, without which no other rights are secured.”

Here's his entire prayer if you have 5 minutes to listen.

I won't quote any of the profane tweets that went out the "left" after his prayer. Needless to say, the "tolerant" left showed their true colors as they said many unholy things about this man of God.

As a Southern Baptist Pastor there are a few theological differences I have with the Catholic Church, but I stand along side of them in their defense of life, their defense of marriage and their defense of religious freedom (as in their lawsuit against the Affordable Care Acts requirements that violate their religious beliefs.)

So thank you Cardinal Dolan for your unwavering public stand before a somewhat hostile crowd. May all of us of faith follow your example.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What Adoption Has Taught Me About God

Well... maybe not taught me new things, but helped me see again some wonderful truths about our heavenly Father. While visiting my newest grandson in the hospital, I realized that the emotions I was feeling and the thoughts I was having are what God sees when he looks at us. We are his adopted sons and daughters when we know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Here are just some random thoughts about adoption from an earthly grandfather thinking about his new adopted grandson. Notice what they tell you about God and His adoption of us.

  • I totally love my adopted grandchildren as much as my non-adopted grandchildren.
  • I love this tiny baby boy and he doesn't even know who I am.
  • His heart is all messed up but I love him anyway.
  • I love him because he was chosen and loved by my daughter, not because he can do something for me.
  • I'm all worried about him and want the best for him even though he doesn't even know what he may need.
  • I talk to him when I am with him so he will know my voice when he's able to see me. (He's in a drug induced sleep right now while his heart mends.)
  • I took up an offense for him and my other adopted grandchildren when I heard that a stupid preacher said you shouldn't adopt children because you don't know what problems they may have (Pat Robertson - earlier this month Read about it here
I suppose the list could go on and on. (Add to it your own thoughts. Or better yet, post them here as a comment.) I think you see what I am saying here. All the things I give to my children and grandchildren are for ALL of them - adopted or not.

I love it when at the adoption proceedings the judge says something like "all the rights and responsibilities of the family, including inheritance are granted as if the child was a natural-born child." And they say something like "and these can't be taken away".... I guess I should have called Christy to double check how this is all worded. Oh, and this makes a great case for the "Baptist" doctrine of "once saved always saved." But that's another post.

I'll close this post with this beautiful verse from Ephesians. (notice the phrase "kind intention" - wow!)

Ephesians 1:5 NAS

He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Corporate Worship

Here's a sneak preview of what I wrote for the front of the bulletin tomorrow. It actually would be better for you to read it tonight rather than during Bro. Pauls' sermon. (I know you won't be reading your bulletin while we're singing. hahaha)

Corporate Worship – you may not have heard that term before, but if you are here in a worship service you are a part of Corporate Worship. Simply put, Corporate Worship is all of us coming together to sing, pray, give, hear God’s word and respond – together. “I can worship just fine at the golf course.” Yes, you can, but you will miss the blessing of sharing together what God has done in our lives. When we are in a worship service we celebrate together the mighty acts of God, we share each other’s sorrows, we pray for each other and encourage each other, we lift our voices together in testimony and praise; we demonstrate to the world and each other the love of Christ – together!

Singing and worshipping together gives us an opportunity to live out Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” In Corporate Worship Grandma sings a new song she doesn’t know (and maybe doesn’t like) because she knows it speaks to her grandson. Grandson sings an old hymn that he may not know (and may not really like) because he loves grandma and knows that she likes it. Both are living out Philippians 2:3.

This is an exciting month in our music/worship ministry:
We began a High School Handbell Choir that will travel on mission next June to Portugal,

Our Adult Choir and Praise Band will record a CD in August and September, and today, August 19, our Adult Choir is having our annual Christmas Preview Party for this year’s Living Christmas Tree. (5:00, Youth Building A) It’s not too late for you to plug into our music/worship ministry as part of our choir, working a camera, running sound, etc. And EVERY week is the perfect time for you to live out Philippians 2:3 as we worship together.

No matter which service or which campus you worship in, “consider others as more important than yourself” and let Hebrews 10:24-25 be your guide: “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.”

It’s a joy being your Worship Pastor.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Missed a Whole Month? Here's an Update

Wow! I knew I hadn't blogged in a while, but I had no idea that my last post was in June!

Rather than explaining why that may have happened, let me tell you the exciting things coming up in our music/worship ministry.

1. We started a new Youth Handbell Choir made up of older teens that are in band or play the piano or for some other reason can read music. We will be going on mission to Portugal next June!

2. Our choir is recording a CD in September. I have spent a LOT of time over the last few weeks getting music ready for that.

3. THIS Sunday night, August 19, at 5:00 in Youth Building A our Choir is having our annual Christmas Party Preview of the music for this year's "the Tree."

Now is the perfect time for you to get involved in our music/worship ministry.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Threefold Truth

There is a hymn that was written in 1980 by Jack Schrader, text written by Fred Pratt Green titled "This Is the Threefold Truth." It's hymn 355 in the 2008 Baptist Hymnal. I really like the first verse.

This is the threefold truth on which our faith depends,
And with this joyful cry worship begins and ends:
Christ has died!
Christ is risen!
Christ will come again!

We celebrate Christ's death all year long as we sing songs not only of His death but of our redemption. We, of course, celebrate the Resurrection at Easter, but in reality, every Sunday as we gather together on the first day of the week (don't even get me started on these new calendars that lump Saturday and Sunday together at the end of the week).

This Sunday we will celebrate with great hope and anticipation the third truth in this threefold truth on which our faith depends.

We'll begin our service singing "Days of Elijah!" "Behold He comes riding on the clouds, shining like the sun, at the trumpet call!"

The choir will then sing my new favorite song "The Great Day!" I don't have the words here to describe what a fantastic song this is. Andrew and Calli Smith will sing a duet on this song accompanied by the choir. The song is off of the CD "The Story." Wow! The entire CD is wonderful! Check out "The Story" here "The Story" is "God's story of love and redemption from Genesis to Revelation told in 18 new songs."

Artists who sing on "The Story" include Mark Hall from Casting Crowns, Bart Miller from Mercy Me, Nichole Nordeman, Amy Grant, Chris Tomlin, Natalie Grant, Michael W. Smith, Mac Powell from Third Day, Dan Haseltine from Jars of Clay, Mandisa and more!

So, I got distracted, anyway, I get all choked up and teary eyed every time we sing it. It is AWESOME!

Then we have a medley of some great songs about the 2nd Coming and heaven including "Soon and Very Soon," "I'll Fly Away," "When the Role Is Called up Yonder,"Shall We Gather at the River" and "I Will Rise."

It should be a great time of worship and celebration as we sing together THIS Sunday at 8:30 and 9:45. I hope you're planning on joining us. (If you're in the choir, listen to your rehearsal CD and sing in BOTH services if you can. You KNOW you want to really sing out when we sing the phrase "He will be King! Yeah!!")

Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly! Revelation 22:20

Monday, June 4, 2012

I Missed Pentecost

Actually, I missed Pentecost TWICE! How is that possible? Pentecost was May 27. I was visiting my Mom and her church didn't sing any songs about the Holy Spirit that Sunday. Hilldale enjoyed the music ministry of Geron Davis (and he is Pentecostal) so maybe that counts as a "Pentecost" service.

Then yesterday, as I was driving to church I was listening to the classical music station and noticed that the songs they were playing had the phrase "spiritus sanctus" in them. There were several short pieces in a row and each had that phrase. Now, I'm no Latin scholar, but I DO know that "spiritus sanctus" means "Holy Spirit."

You may not know this, but the Greek Orthodox Churches and I think maybe the Russian Orthodox Churches often have a different Sunday for Easter - which therefore dictates that they have a different Sunday for Pentecost. So when I got to church yesterday morning I "googled" "date for Orthodox Pentecost" and sure enough - it was yesterday.

So I missed Pentecost twice! I would have sung songs about the Holy Spirit yesterday. I think it is important. Southern Baptists seem to have a knack for ignoring things they don't want to deal with or that make them appear to be followers of a different denomination. We miss out on many good church traditions that other denominations enjoy so we won't look "too Catholic" or whatever.

We end up ignoring the Holy Spirit so we won't look Pentecostal - afraid people will then expect us to speak in tongues.

We should not do this. The Holy Spirit is the One who is God's presence and God's power in us.

I love these verses that talk about how we are sealed in Christ by the Spirit.

"who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge."
2 Corinthians 1:22 NAS

"In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation -having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,"
Ephesians 1:13 NAS


If you allow the Holy Spirit to actually work in your life then we will see the Fruit of the Spirit in you too.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control ; against such things there is no law.

I hope I don't miss Pentecost next year. I'm glad I don't miss out on the work of the HOly Spirit in my life every day.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

150 Days of Psalm comes to an end - Psalm 150

First words and last words are important.

Genesis 1 "In the beginning God..."

Malachi 4:5 "Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. 6 "He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse."

Matthew 1 1 The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah

Rev. 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Psalm 1 "1 How blessed is the man who..."

Psalm 150
1 Praise the LORD ! Praise God in His sanctuary ; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. 2 Praise Him for His mighty deeds ; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. 3 Praise Him with trumpet sound ; Praise Him with harp and lyre. 4 Praise Him with timbrel and dancing ; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. 5 Praise Him with loud cymbals ; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. 6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD !

The final words of the Psalms begin with "Hallelujah!" Praise the Lord!" It is obvious from this psalm that using instruments in worship is a good thing. I've mentioned in a few posts here how our friends who attend Church of Christ churches have an entire doctrine against using instruments in worship. They say that there is no mention of instruments in worship in the New Testament and that they only do what the New Testament says. I always say, "They don't mention air conditioning in the N.T. either." but that is a rather smart-aleck remark, so let me address this seriously.

I won't even bother with the ridiculousness of throwing out the Old Testament. It's too easy of an argument. When the Apostle Paul said, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16 NAS) The scripture he had was the Law and the Prophets (The Old Testament)

When Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets ; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill." (Matthew 5:17 NAS) He wasn't talking about the book of Acts. He was talking about The Old Testament.

Oh, I guess I addressed it after all.

But for sake of argument, let's base my assertion that musical instruments can and should be used in worship on New Testament words.
There are two verses that again, are too easy of an argument, but I guess sometimes you have to point out the obvious.

Ephesians 5:19 NAS

speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord ; (my emphasis)

Colossians 3:16 NAS

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (again, my emphasis)

What "psalms" could Paul have been referring too? The Psalter of course - all 150 psalms. If there was a "problem" or "sin" of using instruments in worship wouldn't Paul have mentioned that? "Oh, by the way, when you speak to yourselves in psalms, don't use the last one or any of the ones that mention instruments since God hates instruments now." Uh, I don't think so.

If we go with the assertion that we still can't use The Old Testament (again, a rediculous argument) then let's just look at the word "psalm." According to Meriam-Webster here is the origin of the word.

"Origin of PSALM

Middle English, from Old English psealm, from Late Latin psalmus, from Greek psalmos, literally, twanging of a harp, from psallein to pluck, play a stringed instrument"

Shooting fish in a barrel.

Well... it's hard to believe we've come to the end of our study of the Psalms. I have thoroughly enjoyed this study. I hope you have too. And even more, I hope it has inspired you to continue studying the Bible each day. Maybe after VBS

Hallelujah! Sing praise to the Lord. And accompany your singing with all kinds of musical instruments.