Friday, October 31, 2008

Worship Matters

The "Worship Matters" website today had a great article. I've quoted part of it here. There are certain tensions that church musicians face.... "is it performance?" "is it 'just for church'?" "Do we do the latest music just because it's the latest music?" "Should we do music to "entertain" or "hook" people so they'll come back?"
This article so clearly expresses my heart (and my husband's) for our ministry.


"Let me be clear: we should strive for excellence for the glory of God. But competing with the world’s production standards should never be our ultimate goal. The world will almost always “out-WOW” the church in terms of production quality.

More importantly, our talent and expertise are not what we rely on to draw people to Christ. It’s the gospel, proclaimed and demonstrated through a group of ordinary believers who have an extraordinary Savior. It’s our humility, joy, servanthood, power, integrity, and love, all produced by our relationship with a risen Savior. As Paul put it, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” ( 1 Cor. 2:2-51 Corinthians 2:2-5 [2]For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. [3]And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, [4]and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, [5]that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (ESV)
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit to learn about the ESV.
). Ultimately, we don’t want anyone’s faith resting in the power of our performance or the creativity of our stage designs, but in the power of the gospel.

The Church As Production Company
The New Testament gives no indication that the church is responsible to put on lavish productions for the purpose of evangelism or edification. That’s because the church isn’t a production company. Performances, plays, and productions, despite the evident fruit at times, were never meant to be the main instrument of evangelism for the church. The main instrument is a body of believers who have been redeemed through the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ, and who have now been called to proclaim the excellencies of him who called them out of darkness into his marvelous light ( 1 Pet. 2:91 Peter 2:9 [9]But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (ESV)
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit to learn about the ESV.
). How do they do that? Primarily by preaching the gospel, by doing good, and by keeping their “conduct honorable, so that others may see their good deeds and glorify God when Christ returns” ( Heb. 13:16Hebrews 13:16 [16]Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (ESV)
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit to learn about the ESV.
; 1 Pet. 2:121 Peter 2:12 [12]Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (ESV)
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit to learn about the ESV.
). In other words, it’s more a matter of faithful living than lavish productions."

Read the whole article here: Worship Matters

I'd be interested to know your thoughts on this.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jesus Thank You

Week after week I put together songs for worship. Some weeks it just falls into place so easily. Other weeks it feels like nothing "fits". This was one of those weeks, until late this afternoon. I had finished looking through all 8 (2 inch thick) binders of music, as well as my file folder thingy, after which I went online to a website I use to scope out new music, and there I found it... a new song for Sunday. All the rest of the songs fell into place. The new song is "Jesus Thank You" and ties in perfectly to the theme of the message for Sunday. Just now, as I was typing this, I thought about how this song and finding it caused the rest of the service to fall into place is like our lives (my life). As soon as I focus on the cross and what Jesus did for me (and get my focus off all the other stuff) then things really do fall into place and I'm walking through the house singing "Your blood has washed away my sin, Jesus thank you. The Father's wrath completely satisfied, Jesus thank you. Once Your enemy now seated at Your table, Jesus thank you."
That pretty much says it all for me this evening.


A friend just tagged me in her blog. Now I'm tagging a few others.
Try to answer these questions with one word answers.

1. Where is your cell phone? purse
2. Where is your significant other? office
3. Your hair color? brown
4. Your mother? Eleanor
5. Your father? Robert
6. Your favorite thing? piano
7. Your dream last night? forgotten
8. Your dream/goal? transformation
9. The room you’re in? Den
10. Your hobby? Scrapbooking
11. Your fear? Kids getting injured
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here.
13. Where were you last night? Movie
14. What you’re not? thin
15. One of your wish list items? grand piano
16. Where you grew up? America
17. The last thing you did? Facebooked!
18. What are you wearing? clothes
19. Your tv? old
20. Your pet? 4
21. Your computer? Dell
22. Your mood? quiet
23. Missing someone? Mom
24. Your car? van
25. Something you’re not wearing? Fedora
26. Favorite store? Target
27. Your summer? hot
28. Love someone? Yes!
29. Your favorite color? Green
30. When was the last time you laughed? this morning
31. Last time you cried? yesterday


Sunday, October 26, 2008


I wrote about using "talents" to raise support for our missionaries. Our yard sale didn't yield very much, but I sold all 40 of my CD's! (with a request for more!).
One week from today we find out how much we all raised. I'm looking forward to that!
So far with our investment (as a family)of $100 we have earned $420 with the hope for more.

So far, so good.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Things That Last

We're having a yard sale today. We went through a bunch of stuff yesterday to get ready for this, including some very old things of my parents and grandparents. Things made or built 50+ years ago were really made to last. Things that are made these days I think are made to last maybe about 5 years (if you're lucky).

I was thinking earlier this week about things that last. My best friend called this week, we talked for 85 minutes! Our friendship has lasted 25 years already. My husband and I have been married 18 years and hope to make to at least 50 years (we were both older when we got married).

The Bible says that only 2 things really last forever... God's Word (the Bible) and People. This makes me ponder how I should be spending my time. Talk about investing long term... This is the best investment: Spending time with God (reading the Bible) and spending time with people, investing in their lives. I don't do either of these very well. I get "busy" with so many other things that don't last.

All this stuff we have out in the driveway today is just "stuff". What's really important is God's Word, my relationship with Him and with the people around me.
I know this, but want to live Lord, help me to spend wisely, on things that are lasting.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Preparing the Next Generation

Check out this article from Worship Matters. (I don't know how to do a "link" thing yet, where you post a web address and you can just click on it... so I guess you'll have to copy and paste this. OR - you can go the right side of this page and click on the Worship matters blog!)

This is an admonition to me particularly to prepare the next generation. Both my husband and I were trained "in church" to use our music "in church" and I want to do the same thing. We've done that a little but I need to do more of it.
This goes for other areas of life and ministry as well. What am I doing... what are we doing... to train the next generation to serve?

"Somebody's Got to Move"

I get a "devotional" every day in my email from Ron Hutchcraft (and also from Elisabeth Elliot).
Let me tell you... God DOES speak today. Yesterday's from Ron Hutchcraft was really timely about moving forward when others are saying it's time to "retreat" (quit). That sure is a temptation at times.
Today's email from Ron was also very timely. (And it's the same thing I've been "hearing" in a few other places lately) God is saying something to ME. Maybe someone who reads this blog (Ted, Maureen and Jim are the only ones I know for sure, but anyway...) maybe someone else who reads this will be encouraged/challenged as I was. Here it is:

"Closing. That's what they call the day that you sign all the final papers to buy your home. I remember it well. It was a long time ago, but, I know that you're finally allowed to start moving in after your closing. You see, we sat with the previous owner in the attorney's office and I got to write enough checks to wallpaper at least one wall! Now, they wouldn't let us move anything in until closing day. That's the law. It was still the home of the previous owner until that day. But as soon as we left that office the truck could roll, and it did. And all our stuff could get moved in. This all has to be carefully timed. One family has to be out before another family can move in, right? Sure! What if we had rolled up with our truck and the previous owners were still there? We can't both live there! One has to move out before the other one can move in.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Somebody's Got to Move!"

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Hebrews 12:15. God is showing us here that there are two things that can't live in the same house at the same time. Well, actually, in the same heart. There's no way they can co-exist. Here's what it says, "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." Now, with the stress you have you sure don't want to miss God's grace; you don't want to miss His sustaining love. But this says you can, you can miss God's grace! How do you do that? Well, by having this other guy living in your heart. It talks about having "no bitter root." If bitterness is living in your heart, grace cannot move in. One or the other has to go.

Could it be that part of your stress and part of your struggle is that poisonous root of bitterness in your heart? I mean, maybe you've been hurt, rejected, abused, maybe disappointed, and there's a growing resentment in your heart. Notice growing. It says the bitter root grows. Bitterness and anger never stand still. They keep growing, they start to "defile many," to spill over into our other close relationships.

Just last week a mother told me about how she'd been hurt some years before and how her heart, she said, had grown hard. She said, "Now my hard heart is affecting my husband, my children." You see, it was bitterness that turned it hard. The irony is that a grudge actually chains you emotionally to the person you dislike. "I don't like so and so, so I'll think about her a lot." That's what happens! Unforgiveness is like this emotional cancer and it eats you up inside. It may be costing you God's sustaining grace. They can't live in the same house at the same time!

Isn't it time to release that bitterness? Hasn't it done enough damage? It isn't hurting the person you're bitter toward. It's hurting you, and probably others you love. Bitterness can only be moved out by something called forgiveness. Going to the great Forgiver, the One who said of those who had just nailed Him to a cross, "Father forgive them," and you say to Him, "Lord give me the grace to release this person, to forgive them, to release them to You. Not to excuse them, but to choose to treat them not as they treated me, but as you've treated me, Jesus.

In the words of Colossians 3:13, "Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Forgiving is the beginning of healing the damage of the past. There's a truck full of God's grace pulled up in front. He's waiting to move that grace into your heart and your life as soon as the bitterness moves out!"

Lord, help me!

Monday, October 20, 2008

What I did on my birthday

What I did on my birthday:
Went to school to play for High School choir - they sang "Happy Birthday" to me (in various keys and tempos) then went to Wilson school for their choir. They also sang to me!
After lunch with my hubby and daughter at Home Town Emporium I went to the Doctor where I got to read my book for 45 minutes before seeing the Doc. It really wasn't wasted time... I got to read, found out that my carotid arteries are clear and good, got some migraine medicine samples and went home.
Once home my kids made birthday cake (they called it "Cabbage pudding" to try to trick me). They also made supper and set a beautiful table.... table cloth, beautiful placemats, nice dishes, candles, etc.
This evening I'm watching a romantic movie with my hubby while the kids clean up the kitchen. Ah.... this was a good one.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Talents" for Missions

Our church recently gave out $20 to anyone who wanted to "invest" it and return the increase in November. It's sort of like the parable of the talents in the Bible, where the master leaves and gives a certain amount of "talents" to his workers. Some invest it and return 10, 20 times as much. One man just buried his talent in the ground and didn't make anything. We're hoping to get back in even 10 times what we were given! This money will go to our missionaries, who we have not been able to support as much this year.

There have been some really creative ideas! One of them is a go-cart race (happening today!). Also, my daughter and a friend baked cookies and made bracelets and sold those. We're planning on using some of our money to advertise for a yard sale next weekend.
I decided to record myself playing piano (sounds really vain, doesn't it?). I borrowed a nifty recorder thing from a friend (it's worth about $400!!), shut myself up in my house for a few hours yesterday and played piano. My son edited it down to 1 hour (taking out page turn noises, sniffing, temper tantrums when I messed up, etc). Today we made labels and he'll finish burning the CD's.

I'll post back on here the results after our "Harvest Party" in a few weeks.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I opened my Elisabeth Elliot devotional this morning and found this... the whole post is really good. If you want to read it, check out the link in my list of blogs that I read. It's really good. (Also the C.S. Lewis quote for today on this page is excellent!!)

"The word humdudgeon is a new one to me and I like the sound of it. It means "a loud complaint about a trifle."Heard any of those lately around your house? One mother thought of an excellent antidote:all humdudgeons must be presented not orally but in writing, "of two hundred words or more." There was a sudden marked reduction in whining and complaining."

Things about which I am tempted to complain this morning (but it would be less that 200 words).
Our car needs 2 new tires
My 16 year old son has the chicken pox
I have a headache

Well, I guess it's really not that much. In the grand scheme of things these are really minor irritations (well, for Joseph it's more of an irritation than that I guess). I really am glad for:

orange juice
a week off from school
cooler weather
a house to live in
food to eat
clothes to wear
my family
and the list goes on and on and on....

There is much to be thankful for.
I think I'll choose contentment today instead of humdudgeons.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Time Passages

I remember when my boys took their first steps. It seems like yesterday. I just watched one of my twin sons drive off with his dad for "driving practice". I took my other son out yesterday to practice just driving around the neighborhood (right turns, left turns, right turns, left turns... no U-turns yet). I almost cried at the realization that this is yet another new phase in their lives as well as ours. It seems like they just started walking.... right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot. Before I know it they'll be out of High School and on their own. I don't know where the time went.
All that advice I heard when they were babies about enjoying every moment. They were right.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


We happened to be watching public TV tonight... Rick Steves Europe. He was talking about Poland and spent quite a lot of time talking about WWII and the Jewish Holocost. It's painful to watch and see what happened during that dark time of history. At the Auschwitz death camp approximately 4 million Jewish people were executed.

This made me think of something from the Presidential debate last night. There was a question about Israel (don't remember exactly what it was). Both candidates said that we don't want to have "another Holocost". I wish I could have asked a question of them both about abortion. I should have looked up the facts, but I think it's about 50 million babies that have been killed since 1973! One picture of the death camp in Poland showed a huge pile of shoes (to give a visual image of just how many people were killed). Imagine how many pairs of baby shoes that would be!

Coming up in a few weeks, on October 21st is "Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity". Please check out their website. I plan to participate in this, to speak up for those who can't speak for themselves.
Maybe someday the world will see the horrible holocost that has been going on for the past 35 years and do something to stop it!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"To Tell the Truth"

We have the Presidential debate on TV. My husband was just saying how great it would be if we could see a banner running across the bottom of the screen with the actual TRUTH, FACTs as opposed to what is being said (on BOTH sides!).

I do appreciate it when the candidates actually answer the questions directly. It doesn't happen very often. I just found this clip on abortion. At least on this issue it's pretty clear where they each stand.

Monday, October 6, 2008

God's ways or man's ways

I just finished book #2 in a series called "Chronicles of the Kings" (or something like that). It's a series based on the kings of the Old Testament. The book I just finished last night was about King Hezekiah. In this book he has just become king and decided to make major reforms in his kingdom. Judah had given herself over to rampant idolatry which had caused them to be slaves to another nation (Assyria). I'm finding so many parallels to our times (thinking of the financial crisis in particular).

Hezekiah committed himself to follow God's laws unswervingly in the face of opposition (and in the face of "common sense"). I am struck with how often (most often) God's ways simply don't make sense to us, but His ways are best (higher, greater, wiser). Throughout Israel's history God's ways don't make human sense, but when they trusted in Him and His ways, they were delivered. Think about the Exodus from Egypt, about Joshua facing Jericho (marching around the walls? C'mon! You gotta be kidding!), David facing Goliath, and the examples go on and on.

Toward the end of the book Hezekiah is faced with some choices as to how to defend his kingdom against impending attack from the Assyrians. Should he send tribute to them? Should he marshall his forces, build up his troops and weapons? Make sure the city's water supply is taken care of? God confronts him thorugh the prophet Isaiah, who tells him that first and foremost he should rely on God.... not on man's wisdom, not on military might, not on natural resources. He does this and the Assyrians leave!

I've been pondering all this today. I just read in Proverbs 3, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Don't lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Then in Jeremiah 17.... "Cursed is the man who trusts in man (then a description of the man who trusts in man... a dried up bush in the desert), but Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord (described as a tree planted by streams of water).

With our current financial crisis, with all the stuff we face, with "global warming" and so many other crises. What will I choose? What will we choose? Go with Hezekiah's God (and our God!) and be a tree planted by streams of water (bearing fruit, not withering) OR - Go with man's wisdom and be like a dried up bush in the desert?
I want to be the tree.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fancy concert duds

Here we are in our "concert duds". My son and daughter are in the concert choir at the High School and my son is also in the Madrigal choir.
The concert went well. *whew* Now we prepare for Christmas music. But, tomorrow I sleep in.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Concert clothes

My son tried on his tux tonight for our concert tomorrow. He's smiling, but really not very comfortable.