Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas Event

Well, it’s hard to believe but this is the week that it happens.  Many of you know what I’m talking about, it’s the MPBC Christmas Candlelight Celebration coming up this Saturday, Dec 16th and Sunday, Dec 17th.  Our church has not “put on” a Christmas show in many years so we are excited about this weekend and we have taken on the task of putting together a great opportunity for our church family and our community to experience the gospel in a unique way.  We have been preparing for this service for months now and after all of the practices I think that everything is ready to roll and we are excited to see how God moves this weekend.  Through the work of well over 100 members of our church there is good music, good drama, special effects, you name it, but it is all being done to glorify God.  

I know that the Christmas season is very, very busy but I really hope that you come share in this service with us and that you will bring someone who needs to meet Jesus.  What greater gift could you give to someone than to give them the opportunity to hear about Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas?  Please pray for the services this weekend that lives would be changed and that God would be glorified in everything that takes place.  

I get excited when all of the work that is put into a project is finally completed and you “go live”.  No matter what goes wrong (and something undoubtedly will) you get to see the hand of God use our small efforts and see something GREAT happen.  For those of us who are in the program we will be exhausted but there is nothing better than being spent/used up for Christ.   John Wesley once said “You have nothing to do but to save souls; therefore spend and be spent in this work”.  I think he got this from Paul’s letter of concern to the church at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 12:15: “And for the sake of your souls, I will most gladly spend my money and myself.  If I love you more, will you love me less?"  I’m glad that I can be used for Christ! 

This past Sunday night we had our final dress rehearsal and I think everything went very well and we are ready for next weekend.  Please pray for us that we will have the energy and strength needed to get through four performances in 2 days and that God is glorified in everything that is done at MPBC.

Here are a few photos for dress rehearsal to get you ready.
Merry Christmas!  





In Christ,

Geoff

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Impossible...

Do you ever look at everything going on around you and think "This is absolutely impossible!" I know I do. I could make lists that go on for days of impossible tasks that I've got to face. Some range from, "Wow, I will never get all of this laundry finished" to "It feels impossible to forgive that person," and "Will that person ever be able to see Jesus?". It seems like there are lots of "impossibles" in our every day life.

I went to a Kari Jobe concert a few months ago and I've held onto this one thing that she said. She said, "An impossible situation is a set up for a miracle from God." That is a way I haven't looked at things before...and I know I am seriously guilty of being defeated before I even get the whole picture. So, this mindset has been a nice change of pace for me.

Now, when I see the broken and lost people that I felt would never experience Jesus, I just pray harder. I pray that God will move in His miraculous ways and make their hearts whole. When I look at my grandfather and see all of the devastating illnesses and ailments that he is going to have to overcome, I see God bringing our family closer in ways we never have been before, relying on and trusting in God like we never have before. I am taking my "impossibles" and handing them to Jesus, trusting that He will make them into miracles.

As Isaiah 43 shows us, God will always make a way. In those verses, Isaiah tells us over and over again how God's hand cannot be overcome, ever. We are reminded of the absolute power of our God. I think Isaiah 43:19 is my favorite though.. It says:

"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."

God is making miracles happen all around us, can't you see it! Every morning we are blessed with another breath, another day to watch Jesus turn our impossible situations into crazy awesome miracles.

Hopefully, this week you will be encouraged to let Jesus make your impossible situation His miracle. Be reminded that He will always make a way.

Love & blessings!

Savannah

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Mindset of Thanksgiving

Psalm 9:1-2 says, "I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praises to your name O Most High." 

To me, this verse sums up worship.  The part of the verse that gets me every time is "I will recount all of your wonderful deeds."  Something that we try to teach throughout our music ministry at Mt Pleasant (that I love) is that worship is about remembering.  Remembering the times that God pulled through for you.  Remembering the times the He proved His faithfulness.  Remembering what He has done for you.

On Thanksgiving, it's easy to think of the things that we're thankful for in our lives, whether it be our health, our friends and family, our church, etc.  All of those things are things we should definitely reflect on, but as of late, I'm also trying to recount God's faithfulness in my life.  Like worship, Thanksgiving is about remembering.  Instead of it being something we think about one week out of the year, try to let that be a mindset that you live in.  

As I recount all the things that He's done for me; my spouse, my children, my job, I'm reminded that every good and perfect thing is from the Father.  He is an extraordinarily good Father who brings what is needed when it's needed.  He has given me more than I'll ever deserve.  This Thanksgiving, just as David did in this Psalm, let's recount and remember together the Lord's faithfulness in our lives and give thanks for what He's done.

Peace,

Justin

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Jesus, My Rock of Ages

With this week's blog post I want to share a video of the Ladies Ensemble singing "Jesus, My Rock of Ages" with you.  It is an updated version of the classic hymn "Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me".  "Rock of Ages" is one of those hymns I grew up singing and I'm really happy that we get to share this updated version with you.  Maddie did a tremendous job leading it and the Ladies Ensemble sounded wonderful as always.  The guy playing piano didn't even mess up too badly😉.  So, enjoy!


Worship Big!

Brad

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Ever Be

With this week's post I wanted to share with you the video of the choir special last night at our monthly Worship Wednesday Service.  It's called "Ever Be" and they did a great job!  Brooke did a wonderful job leading it and I believe that you'll really like it.  The video link is below. Enjoy!



Worship Big!

Brad

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Constant as the Stars

Hi friends! So for this week’s blog post I have decided that I am going to be delving into the topic of change. I can't think of a better example of change than the seasons. Watching the world go by in its cycle of vivid beauty and wonder is ever so peaceful. I adore the seasons of Fall and Winter. To me, they are utterly mesmerizing. Watching the leaves slowly transform from their lush green into brilliant reds, yellows and oranges is a real treasure from my perspective. It is so peaceful to watch snow begin to fall softly to the earth and coat everything in a pure white blanket. Change can be spectacular, but there are certain instances in which change is not so pleasant. There are certain places where change is inconvenient, like... life.

I am a girl who likes her consistency. I have my days planned out and my routines in place. When my schedule is thwarted I have the tendency to get a bit frazzled. However, after spending some time asking God to give me fresh perspective, I have come to accept that everything in the world is continuously changing, even ourselves. The things that we build up and put in place really just exist for us to retreat to when we are trying to provide ourselves with feeble security. Everything in this world is susceptible to the effects of time, and to the effects of that dreaded word: change. But you see, that’s one of the things that I love most about Jesus!  In a world that is fallible, chaotic, and occasionally unforgiving, He is the one thing that remains constant! He stands outside of the mess we know as our world and sweeps down in our moments of need to lift us back up again. His Holy Spirit is with us always, dwelling in our hearts, and because of this, we are constantly being transformed by His goodness.

I have come to conclude that, in a world where happiness is circumstantial, the joy found in Jesus is ever radiant. In a world that is driven by pride and avarice, His goodness draws us to be humble and gracious. In a world where love is sometimes conditional, His love is unending; it is as constant as the stars shining in the heavens. There is nothing like the peace that is found in Jesus Christ!

I was sitting down with the hopes of producing the makings of a song one night, and I was just burdened by the instability of the world. It was then that God impressed these comforting words upon my heart. Though the song is still a work in progress, the chorus goes a little something like this:

No love so sweet
No mercy pure
Could still my heart
Or calm my storm
Here in You
I remain secure
Here I’ll stay 
Forevermore

Sometimes, when I am troubled by change, I am reminded that there is no refuge so reassuring as the loving arms of Jesus. The peace of Jesus is freely extended to us, and is always accessible. His peace is found in His word, through prayer, and (my personal favorite), through worship. Singing to Jesus is almost indescribable. The way it ministers to and heals a person, words fall utterly short in attempting to justly describe it. His presence is so evident whether it be one person, or an entire body seeking to praise Him. It is my belief that congregational worship has this idiosyncratic ability to revive the soul. There is just something so profound about a body of like-minded people gathering together for one purpose: to glorify the Savior of the world. 

I am being absolutely literal when I tell you that singing is how I get through life. I sing to praise God for all that He has done for me, and I find comfort in that. It helps me cope with all the change in this life when I forget the world and focus my endeavors on the fact that the One who spoke the entirety of the world into existence, the One who holds the past, present, and future in His hands, the One whose sheer might goes light years beyond anything that I could possibly begin to comprehend, calls me His own! 

All that I have said comes down to this: We need not worry ourselves with the change of the world. We can accept it with hearts wide open because of the ever-constant nature of Jesus!  I would like to leave you with one of my favorite passages of scripture: “Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.They will perish, but You will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but You are the same, and Your years have no end. The children of Your servants will dwell secure.” Psalm 102: 25-28. 

Keep Smiling,

Maddie :)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Worship and Theology

How much do your read and study your Bible?  I ask this, because as a musician and worship leader, I know how easy it can be to spend all of your time preparing for worship musically and very little spiritually.  Now, this isn't a slam on musicians or worship leaders/teams/choirs.  It's just the truth.  We get so wrapped up in the "experience" of worship that we neglect to spend time with God in Bible study and prayer.  And I get it.  Music is what moves and motivates us.  It's an emotional experience.  But there is a difference between being moved emotionally and being changed spiritually.  

In Matthew 22:37 Jesus said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind."

When we only focus on the emotional experience of worship, we put all of our focus on our "heart".  But Jesus also wants us to love God with all our "soul" and all of our "mind". To do that, we've got to spend time with Him in Bible study and prayer.

One of the things that I believe that musicians and worship leaders need to understand is that worship and Bible study (or theology) go together. They are not opposites.  They work together to make us better followers of Christ.  The more we know God through His Word, the more genuine our worship will be.  And the more genuine our worship is, the more we'll desire to seek God in His Word.  It's a circle.



To take it a step further, I believe that our "experiences" help solidify and strengthen what we study in the Bible and what we believe to be true about God.

In 2 Peter 1, the Apostle Peter is writing about the "experience" that he, James, and John had on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus.  Jesus' true glory was revealed, Moses and Elijah showed up, and God spoke from heaven.  If ever there was a worship "experience", this was it.  And here is what Peter wrote about it in verse 19:

"Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets."

Because of their "experience" they believed the message of the prophets (Old Testament/Bible) even more.  And the same holds true for us.  When we worship God in Spirit and in Truth, not only should we experience the presence of God, but it should also reinforce what we have learned about God through our study of His Word. 

So, this week, don't just prepare musically.  Make sure that you are prepared spiritually as well.

Worship Big!

Brad