My wife and I have been watching the PBS film by Ken Burns: Country Music. It’s a documentary of the origins and history of that music genre. Much of it covers the early time of country music that I just love. At the onset A.P. Carter of the Carter Family would go through the hills of Kentucky and Tennessee collecting the family songs passed down from one generation to the next. Those simple songs seemed to pour out of the hill country. The same is true of the Spirituals that rolled out of the cotton fields of the south and the Mississippi Delta. When I was in college, (long ago) I wrote a couple of research papers on the Grand Ole Opry. One of which was entitled, Why Do They Return? What I found was exactly what Ken Burns talks about over and over in his film: The music speaks to everyday, hardworking, down-to-earth, real people. Why? Because those simple songs came from the heart of poor, impoverished, sometimes illiterate, down-home, down-to-earth, hardworking people. Those are the people I love, and in Jesus’ time here on earth, those are the people he hung out with the most. There is no “putting on airs,” or pretending to be something we’re not. These folks (including me) are, “We are who we are,” “What you see is what you get,” “We don’t dress to impress” kind of people. We want to be accepted just as we are and here at Faith, and we are doing our darndest to let you know we will take you “just as you are.” When we sing and worship on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings, I can genuinely imagine, A.P., Sara, and Mother Mabel Carter singing up there with us. I can see the old car outside, loaded with “stuff,” ready to head down to the next church for an all-night singin’.
Psalm 5:11 New International Version (NIV) 11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
I am absolutely thrilled about our new youth program here at Faith! We’ve got a snazzy new name for the whole program: Faith 180! We’ve got fun new names for each age groups: The Mustard Seeds, The F.B.I. (Faith’s Bible Investigators), Power-Up, Encounter, and Revolution! This little church has produced an on-going Awana youth program for the last twelve years. This year we’re heading off with a brand-new and exciting program! Bible, crafts, games, food, and fun! Our goal here at Faith is to be a place of stability and life-change here in our community. We are striving to reach outside the walls of our church, get into the world around us, and bring the love of Christ to everyone! Our mission/vision statement says Faith Christian Church is a place where all people can be loved as they are, transformed by God, and empowered to serve others with Christ-like love. We are encouraging all the parents of our youth to join us every Wednesday night at 5:30 pm for a meal before our youth program. This program starts on October 9th! We are a “come as you are” kind of church and we want you and your kids here!
Every once in a while, I will look at my little car, a 2014 Mazda 3, and think…”I would love to have a really nice, bigger car.” I bought this little vehicle because it gets excellent gas mileage and I have a pretty long commute to and from the church. It has been a learning experience for me in that my last car was an F250, ½ ton, crew-cab truck that rode like a lumber wagon and got 12 miles to the gallon. As a taller guy, I have had to learn how to get in and out of my little Mazda without injuring my knees or banging my head on the door frame. I love this little go-cart, but sometimes discontentment kicks in when I see a beautiful BMW M8 convertible pass by…It goes away quickly when I remember that I could, literally, buy ten or twelve of my little cars for what that, fully-loaded M8 would cost! Makes me love my little car even more. The things of this earth quickly pass away. The brand-new beautiful of today will be the old worn out of tomorrow. To paraphrase Dr. Tony Evans: It doesn’t matter if you live in a one-room apartment, a beautiful 3-bedroom house, or a giant mansion with a pool and a spa. It’s all temporary housing! We are only here on this earth temporarily! Put your heart, your head, and your love to work for God’s Kingdom today! It’s where you’re going to live for a long, long time!
Matthew 6:19-21 New International Version Treasures in Heaven 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I absolutely love to be outside. When I mow the lawn, here at the house, it takes me between 1-1/2 to 2 hours with our riding mower. It is a great time to put on my headphones and listen to my audiobooks. As I mow, my dog, “Lulu” loves to follow me around the yard and hangs out where she can keep track of me. Being a smart dog, she usually plants herself in the shade of a tree and occasionally takes a dip in her pool. (A small stock tank on the patio.) When we’re finished with the mowing and everything is put away, I get something to drink, and we sit together on the back patio. All I have to say is “Chair Time!” and she immediately heads for her chair. We each have a chair; I sit in my red chair, and she sits in her blue chair, just to my right. I have learned that our chairs have to be very close together so she can get her ears scratched. If they are too far apart, she will get down, come over, and sit in MY chair…with me. – It’s difficult to read a book with a two-year-old, wiggly dog in your lap. I love our chair time. We sit together, watch the chickens pass by, listen to the birds in the trees, and just enjoy the day. It is…peaceful. – Until Michelle comes home. Now it’s “Michelle Time” and Lulu is done with me. How much “chair time” do you spend with God each day? Each Week? If you’re like me…probably, not enough! God is loving and relationship-based. We find that throughout the Bible. We are too. Why? Because we are created in His image. God profoundly wants us to spend as much chair time with Him as we can. We need to spend loads chair time with Him. It’s that intimate relationship that keeps us Christians in balance. It keeps us rooted in the one thing that truly matters – our commitment and devotion to Him.
Philippians 4:4-7 New International Version (NIV) Pauls’ Final Exhortations 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Worship This weekend, (Aug. 31st) we are starting our new Saturday Night Roots & Bluegrass Worship here at Faith. I have been spending a lot of time thinking about worship.
What is worship? I think that we have pushed so hard to make music key to our services that it’s easy to get the sense that it is the only part of a service that is actually worship. In fact, it is not. Every piece of any worship service is “worship!” From the cleaning of the sanctuary to communion prep, to the hospitality of our people.
Individually, everything we do, every minute of the day, every day of the week should be a form of worship. Even things we just can’t stand doing can be worship if we do those things for God. If you just don’t like to paint, but someone in need has painting to be done, tackle it in the name of Jesus! Sing praises to Him as you clean the rollers and brushes! Turn your life into a worshiping life!
My Thought for Your Week: “The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service.” ~ Billy Graham
Psalms 150: Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!