Monday, February 29, 2016

The Healing Hands of God

I am going to be perfectly honest.  I had absolutely no idea what I was going to write about for this blog. But after much mental deliberation, one topic kept springing back into my head.  I really feel God calling me to share this story:

This past year was not the best.  In fact, it was very difficult.  I went through a trial in my life that made everything hard to bear.  I was perplexed and I searched for answers even though I hadn’t the slightest idea as to how I would find them.  I was very down, and to be honest, I allowed it to take away my joy.  Notice, how I said I was very down.  Yep, I learned how to conquer this issue thru Christ, rather than it being the other way around.  I am so incredibly grateful for people who never fail to extend that extra bit of kindness and for a heavenly Father who is so kind and good!  God used this thing I viewed as a catastrophe to draw me into Him and to make me much stronger, emotionally and spiritually!

Do you want to know how He did it?  He did it through my worship.  Without even knowing it, I was being restored through my worship.  He helped me overcome my burdens with something that was a part of my everyday life. And do you want to know the most wonderful part?  My joy was restored! (I’m proud to say I’ve had it back for a while now;))  Music and worship are the best parts of my life, but now; they are dearer to my heart than ever before!   I remember praying so hard that God would alleviate my burden by sending me something I could use for His glory!  Looking back, what I needed was right there in front of me. (Literally my instruments were right in front of me.)  I look forward to Sundays so much because I can just get lost in the worship.  See, that’s how I found my peace in the midst of mass confusion. When I get lost in worship, I find myself in God’s presence.  If you’ve ever experienced it, you also know that there is no logical way to describe it.  It brings you profound joy, but also peace…It humbles you.

God works so mysteriously, but I couldn’t be more thankful for how He worked in my heart.  I believe that music was meant for worshiping God, and that He can use our worship in ways that specifically blesses us.  I consider the peace found in worship to be a blessing; that is why I love music so much!  If we pour ourselves out in total worship to Him, and we humble ourselves before Him, He can and will heal us!  Think of worship as a way to bless God and find something like “Holy Help.”  1 Chronicles 16:29 says “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness!”  When we worship Him wholeheartedly, our focus shifts from ourselves and our circumstances to Jesus!... Just to Jesus!  And that is the type of healing you will not find anywhere else.  God’s own hands can heal our souls, if only we ask. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For, everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”  ~Matt. 7:7-8

Maddie

Thursday, February 25, 2016

He Has Won

With this week’s blog post, I want to introduce a new song to everyone that we will be learning at church next month.  It’s called “He Has Won” by Vertical Church Band.  With Easter quickly approaching, I believe it will be a wonderful song of triumph and celebration of Jesus’ victory over death and the grave.  The lyrics of the chorus are:

He has won
Death is swallowed up in victory
Through the Son
The grave has lost its sting and its grip over me
Yes, He has won

Jesus is victorious and because of that, we are victorious as well.  But as I really started learning this song, the words of the 1st verse have come to mean the most to me.

To all who are the tired and the heavy laden
Hope has come
To all who feel the weight of the broken spirit
Hope has come

I don’t know about you, but there have definitely been times recently where I have felt tired, heavy laden, and have had a broken spirit (just ask anyone involved with this year’s Passion Play).  But when I feel that way I just need to go to Jesus and He will give me rest, peace, and hope.  As Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest”. 

So, I hope you like the song and I look forward to singing boldly that He (Jesus) has won!

Here’s the video:

video


Worship Big!


Brad

Monday, February 15, 2016

I Think I'm Getting Old!

Well this is it, the week that many people dread; I’m turning the BIG Five O!  It’s no big deal. I still have my hair, my teeth, and most of my mental faculties (some might say I have never been right).   I really mean it when I say it’s no big deal!  The older I get the older “Old” gets, so in my mind I’m not there yet.  I use to tell people that when I had to start wearing diapers that it was time for the good Lord to call me home, now I just say if I can’t change my own diapers it time to go home. 

Life really is a blessing and if we are living then we are getting older.  My father passed away when he was 39 years old so I have already lived 11 more years than he did.  I tell people that I’m not afraid of dying, it’s the “getting dead” that worries me this comes from Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor thing to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”  As a Christian death is nothing to be scared of.   Last year during this week I buried a dear friend of mine who was killed in a car accident and he was 49 so I am excited that I have made it to 50. 

Getting older is a blessing from God and there are many references to this in the bible.  Deuteronomy 5:33 says “Follow the whole instruction the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live, prosper, and have a long life in the land you will possess”, 1 Kings 3:14 says “If you walk in My ways and keep My statutes and commandments just as your father David did, I will give you a long life”.  These verses do not mean that you are guaranteed a long life if you live for the Lord but they just affirm that old life is a blessing from God. 

As I am getting older I am starting to question when is it time to “retire” from the Praise Team here at MPBC?   I don’t believe that the bible describes for us a Christian retirement plan (except for the Levites who served in that capacity until 50 and then became mentors). So, I am not planning to stop serving the Lord, but I’m not sure that I should still be in the praise team when I’m 70.  Hopefully, I have a few years to make that decision.  I still enjoy leading in worship, so for now, I still feel I can serve in this capacity. 

The bible indicates that there are some good things that come with age.  Titus 2:2-3 states “Older men are to be self-controlled, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance”.  I pray that this verse will be lived out in my life for as long as the Lord will grant me breath and my challenge to you is that you will enjoy life and serve the Lord with the talents that he has given you. 

Geoff


Monday, February 8, 2016

Agape-Selfish Love?

As we head into the over the top, chocolate riddled, commercialized holiday known as Valentine's Day, the topic of love is most definitely in the air.  The Bible teaches us about 4 different types of love:

Eros - love between husband and wife
Songe - love shared within the family
Philia - love between brothers in Christ
Agape - sacrificial and selfless love

Let's take just a moment to discuss the love displayed by one particular man.  This particular man did whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted despite what others wanted.  Rather selfish if I say so myself, nothing like the love that we would expect from someone who claims to love us.  The number one focus in this man's life was to achieve his goal at the specific moment that he had chosen to achieve it.  It was, however, this man's goal that made all of the difference in the world!  

Who other than Jesus Christ to display such a selfish love?  Uh, selfish?  Wait a minute, Jesus displayed Agape (selfless) love toward us...right?

Yes He did!  He selflessly came to earth humbly before man in order to show His selfish love for us.  He selflessly came to save you and me, and nothing was going to stop Him from doing so.  He ignored and spoke against the religious authorities of His day as He selfishly loved and served others when the Law clearly stated not to.  He didn't care. He knew who He was and had a message that He was going to deliver whether they liked it or not.  In a matter of fact, Jesus' love is so selfish that He refuses to let go of anyone who has ever called upon Him as their Savior.

Today's society claims that Christ is selfish, egotistical, intolerant and unloving, but had He not selfishly come to serve others before Himself, had He not selfishly displayed His love, had He not selfishly wanted us more than Himself, we could never understand just how unselfish, humble, tolerant and loving He truly was.  Had He not stretched His hands out wide and had He not given His life in order for us to gain life, we would all be hopelessly and utterly lost. 

Now, I don't know about anyone else, but this Valentine's Day, it is my prayer that we all become just as selfish as Christ in our love for each other!

Have a blessed week!

Scott


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Is There Ever More Than This?

This is a question that I've had deep in the back of my mind for some time now.  Until last week, I didn't know if there was a correct answer, much less how to go about beginning to answer it.  It's really something that I've been back and forth on several times and I would imagine that we all have this same thought to some degree.  

For me, this thought came after beginning our latest album project. The thought just came to me, "will there ever be more than this?"  More as in something more exciting, something more important, something more fulfilling? Will there ever be more?  Parts of my job require me to study other music ministries; some of which are absolutely massive.  I look at the people within these ministries and sometimes wonder if that could be me.  Could I be a part of an awesome music ministry, no matter where it is?  Will I get to move off somewhere else and do something great?  Do I have what it would take? Do I even have the talent?  All of these thoughts flooded my mind all at once. 

However, here is one thought that didn't cross my mind until much later:  "Is it Spirit-led?"  I had no idea where these thoughts were coming from.  It would be one thing if I didn't like my job, or didn't feel important here, but the opposite is true.  I love my job and feel that what I do is imperative to our mission at MPBC.  I honestly can't think of anything else I'd rather do!  There's just something in me that has always been curious to what else is available.  I think there is a part of all of us that possesses the same curiosity.  

After thinking about this for quite some time, I came to the realization that I may always be asking myself "Is there more?".  No matter what I'm doing, how big or how small, or how young or old I am, I may always be wondering.  But, there is a verse that has presented itself to me throughout this entire thought process that put my mind to rest:
  
"I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."  
 - Psalm 16:8-11

"You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy." To me, that sums up contentment.  Where I am right now is exactly where I am called to be and I wouldn't have it any other way.  So is there ever "more" than what I'm doing right now?  I don't think there could be...

Peace,

Justin