Sunday, March 25, 2012

Make a Joyful Noise

Music has been around since the dawn of time.

As God created the universe, an angelic choir sang praises and shouted for joy (Job 38:4-7). Early humans invented string and wind  instruments like the lyre and pipe (Gen. 4:21). And the young shepherd David was skilled at playing the lyre (1 Sam. 16:16).

Whenever God’s people made pilgrimage to Jerusalem, they sang (Pss. 120-34). A whole book of the Bible is an ancient song book (Psalms). Another is a love song (Song of Solomon). And yet another is a funeral song (Lamentations).

In the New Testament, we hear Jesus and His disciples singing a hymn right before His betrayal and arrest (Matt. 26:30). Paul urges the church to sing songs, hymns, and spiritual songs (Col. 3:16). And best of all, heaven will be full of joyful music and songs of victory forever (Rev. 5:8-14).

The April edition of our church newsletter is hot off the press and all about music and worship. You can pick up a copy during our worship service this morning, or click here to subscribe to our online edition. We hope you enjoy it, and that it inspires you to make a joyful noise to the Lord (Ps. 95:1)!

 Photo credit: anitakhart

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March Ministry Update

Here's a church update I shared last Sunday afternoon during our quarterly business meeting...

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD, or declare all his praise?” (Psalm 106:2-3).

God is doing mighty deeds and showing us many reasons to give Him praise at First Southern Baptist Church.

Our Sunday worship has taken a giant leap forward with the addition of Ryan H, Chris P, and Annie R. assisting Janet and our choir with music ministry. I’ve heard many comments of how uplifting the music has been recently. If you have a musical gift and would like to join the team, please speak with Janet.

During our Bible Study time, I’ve been preaching on the spiritual gifts and love from 1 Corinthians 12-14. If you would like to exercise your gifts and get more involved in ministry, please let me know so we can help plug you in. Sometime after Easter, we’ll launch into chapter 15 on the resurrection and answer some common questions about heaven, hell, and the afterlife. Thank you for your hunger for God’s Word and your desire to know and obey the Lord.

We’ve been blessed to have three young ladies get baptized, and are now getting ready to start another membership class in the next couple weeks with several people who are interested. Please continue to be welcoming to visitors, and be sure to invite friends to church. These are some of the simplest ways to be a witness to those God has brought into your life. For your convenience, we have church invitation cards on the sound booth. Please take a handful and pass them out throughout the week.

By the grace of God, our Sunday attendance and giving are steadily increasing. You will notice in the stewardship report that we are almost running a balanced budget. Please continue to give generously so we can meet the rest of our financial commitments and continue to expand our ministry. We are also making progress in our capital campaign. A brand new preschool playground set has been donated to the church and will be assembled in the next few weeks. We are also researching a our new front sign and audio equipment.

Our church photo directories finally arrived and look fantastic. Thanks for your patience. If your information is incorrect, please contact the church office so we can update our records. If you have just started attending or do not have a photo, we hope to have another photo shoot sometime in the next twelve months for newcomers. Lifetouch will do another photo shoot and print a directory addendum if we have a minimum number of new families to add.

Lastly, a Membership Review Committee was formed a couple years ago by the congregation to review our membership roll and follow up on inactive members. You’ll notice in our Church Clerk report that our membership is over double our regular attendance. Many of these members have been inactive for years, so we are eager to make contact with them, let them know what has been going on at the church, and to encourage them to return. Please be in prayer for this committee.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Coach Wooden

If you like sports and want to see a down-to-earth example of how a dad can influence his son, you may enjoy Coach Wooden by Pat Williams. It’s free on Kindle today only.

At first glance, the book does not look expressly evangelical. It belongs more in the category of wisdom. Like in Proverbs, a father is training up his son, pointing him in the right direction, warning him of danger, and leading by example. The book description says, ‘Through powerful stories and advice, this book shares the wisdom that made Wooden happy and successful, not just in his career but in life.’

Wooden's seven life principles include:
  1. Be true to yourself
  2. Help others
  3. Make friendship a fine art
  4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible
  5. Make each day your masterpiece
  6. Build a shelter against a rainy day by the life you live
  7. Give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day

We should be cautious of self-help language like ‘believing in yourself’ and ‘achieving your dreams.’ But we can still rejoice when a good story elevates fatherhood and spiritual disciplines like reading, love, serving, and prayer. John Wooden is one of the most respected coaches in the history of basketball, and there is something we can all learn from his life.

New Blog

Today I'm closing up shop and launching a new blog called Pinch of Clay. You can visit it by clicking here . Please stop by and...