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Year End Letter of Gratitude

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December 20, 2012
Dear Church Family, As we near the end of this year, I invite you to reflect with me for just few moments on what the Lord has done in our midst during these last months.I’ve been thinking about our beginning days of ministry together in the last week or so and just wanted to share my reflections with you.Diane and I are very grateful that you have opened your hearts to us and made us feel very welcome as new members of the church family.There is no question in our minds that God has led us here and that we are doing what we have been called and prepared to do.
Every week I ask the staff what they see God doing and if they sense God leading in any particular direction.Here are some of the things that I have seen in the last several months:
·I hear folks talking about “Living the Father’s Grand Story” and I am grateful for open hearts responding to God’s word through the book of Ephesians.
·Our attendance continues to grow.Through the fall our worship service attendan…

Spiritual Infrastructure

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Introduction This is the second Sunday of Advent – the Sunday of peace.We can get pretty cynical about peace in a world that is full of turmoil.Beauty contestants seem to always wish for “world peace” and we kind of snicker at their naiveté.Holiday gatherings should be a wonderful time of celebration, but as many families know all too well, they can also cultivate even more conflict in dysfunctional relationships.And personal peace?It can be hard to come by, especially in a season known for its hurry/scurry pace. Peace, frankly, sometimes seems like a pipe-dream. My battle with disillusionment There have been times in my life when peace seemed to be at hand and other times when unsettledness kept me awake or drove me to despair.I’ve always been a goal-driven kind of guy.I like to look into the future and dream about what could be.As a young man, I had lots of dreams.Some of them, I know now, were “delusions of grandeur.”Still, I need to have some positive vision for the future or I am l…
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View the Present Through the Promise
View the present through the promise, Christ will come again.
Trust despite the deepening darkness, Christ will come again. Lift the world above its grieving through your watching and believing in the hope past hope's conceiving: Christ will come again.
Probe the present with the promise, Christ will come again. Let your daily actions witness, Christ will come again. Let your loving and your giving and your justice and forgiving be a sign to all the living: Christ will come again.
Match the present to the promise, Christ will come again. Make this hope your guiding premise, Christ will come again. Pattern all your calculating and the world you are creating to the advent you are waiting: Christ will come again.
By Thomas H. Troeger, © 1994 Oxford University Press, Inc.
This coming Sunday is the first in the Advent season.In the midst of all the holiday hub-bub there remains a persistent sense of pessimism in many of the folks I know.Admittedly, most of my fri…

The Hope of the World

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I confess:I’m a conservative Republican.This morning I am disturbed by yesterday’s results that have Barak Obama reelected for a second term.I am deeply dismayed that the majority of people in our nation have embraced a party and candidate that militantly defend a woman’s right to murder her baby and the abominable idea of homosexual marriage.Though I do not buy the entire Republican rhetoric and platform, I believe that bigger government will not solve our problems but only make them worse.I think our current fiscal policies will bankrupt us.The Obama administration’s foreign policy, I believe, makes our nation less secure.
All of this, except for the pro-life and marriage issues, is debatable among Christians along party lines.I’m willing to grant that and understand there will be differences of opinion between God’s people.I don’t see, however, how any Bible-believing Christian can support the so-called “pro-choice” and homosexual agenda that the Democratic Party aggressively promot…

The Worship Music of Kenya

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The Worship Music of Kenya
Kenyan worship music is nothing if not joyous.It is always accompanied by movement and sometimes the dancing is quite vigorous.Generally, the women are better dancers, but some of the men are quite nimble and fluid. The singing is full-throated and frequently “call and response” where the leader will sing a phrase (sometimes quite lengthy) and the congregation will respond.This is not unlike many African-American spirituals.Here is a short video clip of some of the worship I participated in a small country church.You will notice the “call and response” between the female worship leader and the congregation.Also notice that the keyboard and sound system are powered by a car battery!This church was quite poor.But notice the joy.I was able to participate in similar worship almost every day. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86r5DY9aaJo&feature=BFa&list=HL1350479752 I will never forget the intensity of one woman who was a worship leader at Christ Favour Ministr…

Our Deepest Need

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I’ve been a teacher all of my adult life.I love to learn; I love to teach.One of the questions that good teachers always ask themselves is whether or not the student has really learned.“If no one has learned, have you really taught anything?”
There are some really smart people who never spent a day in a college classroom.And, believe it or not, there are plenty of folks with graduate degrees who can’t do some of the simplest things. http://www.condenaststore.com/-sp/I-know-so-much-that-I-don-t-know-where-to-begin-New-Yorker-Cartoon-Prints_i8542672_.htm
One of my most challenging assignments as a college professor was to teach a class on worship technology.Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m not a techie.Don’t let the PowerPoint presentations fool you.I know just enough to be dangerous.Ask me to teach piano improvisation from chord sheets and I’m your guy.Teaching students to conceptualize and craft a worship service?It’s one of the joys of my life.But when it came to teaching sound s…