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Worship Ministry - August 2023

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Rop tú mo baile 

Twelve hundred years ago, an Irishman penned the poem “Rop tú mo baile” in a language neither you nor I could read or understand, seeking God’s protection and wisdom. This man probably didn’t think that hundreds of years later, in 1905, Mary Elizabeth Byrne would take his poem and translate it into English. I’m sure he didn’t have in mind that a few years after that, a lady named Eleanor Hull would then set that English translation to a melody and give us the hymn “Be Thou My Vision.” Yet, God used the faithfulness of that Irishman to speak to future generations and encourage them to seek God. 

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light 

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one 

Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise
Thou mine inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only first in my heart 

High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art 
High King of Heaven, my victory won
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's sun Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, O ruler of all 

 As we have been going through Psalm 119, we are reminded of God’s faithfulness. God sustains and satisfies. God is a provider and comforter. God is present in our lives and He is faithful to the end. This wasn’t just true for the psalmist who penned Psalm 119, nor is it only true for us reading it today, but was true to the 8th century Irishman who was seeking the presence of God.  This is true for all generations! 

“Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.” Psalm 119:90

It is easy for us to be burdened with the trials of the world around us, and struggles we have in our own lives, and for that to cause us to forget God’s faithfulness. We think we are the first and only to ever have experienced this situation, this sin, or this hurt. We forget the millions that have gone before us, who experienced the same hurt we have, similar burdens we have carried, and completely different heartache; and yet the testimony of God’s faithfulness and the Good News of Jesus Christ continues to bring salvation to the world. 

This doesn’t mean that all our hurt magically goes away, but it should offer us hope. A hope that we aren’t facing this world alone, but are surrounded by other Christ followers. A thankfulness that God has given us great examples of men and women throughout scripture who have endured at great cost for the cause of Christ, and we can look to them in our time of need. A hope in the strength of God and that He will be with us till the end of our days.

“Whatever befall(s)” us in our life, whatever hurt, whatever pain we are enduring, may we still seek the vision and wisdom of God. May we desire God and His righteousness above all, knowing He is worth it all.

I love you and mean it!

Lyric of the Month
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, O ruler of all

2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.

Posted by Evan Gray with

Worship Ministry - July 2023

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The Love of God 

I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity of having my father as a great ministry mentor.  He has served the local church for thirty-five plus years, most of which was in music ministry. I am thankful that I can call him at any moment and have the ear of someone who has “been there and done that.” He is a great father, a great friend, and a great mentor. 

One phrase that my father says when wrapping up choir or band practice that has stuck with me through my ministry was, “love you and mean it.” This is a simple phrase and there is nothing new or profound about it; however, by just adding two little words to a phrase we all use every day, “mean it,” deepens it.

Loving people is messy. Loving people takes work. Saying “I love you” is easy, meaning it is hard. It isn’t necessarily in our nature to give ourselves away, to sacrifice, or to put
others before ourselves. It is much easier for us to say “I love you” than it is to live it out in a tangible way. 

Blackaby writes this in “Experiencing God”

Love assumes the best about others. If someone inadvertently offends you, you choose to believe the offense was unintentional. If someone seeks to harm you, you “bear all things,” forgiving unconditionally. If a positive light can be shed on a difficult encounter, you grasp it. If someone continually provokes you, you “endure all things.” You never lose hope in the ones you love. You practice the same unconditional love toward others that Christ gives to you. God loves us and He means it! 

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

God, due to His abundant love for us, sent His son to earth to take on the punishment we deserved. If that isn’t “meaning it,” I don’t know what is! God forgives “unconditionally” when we surrender to Jesus' authority. God is immensely patient with us and “endures” when we fail Him. God is our hope in our greatest times of need, our hope every day. It is through God’s love that we find life! 

So, as children of God, what are we to do? How can we not only tell God and tell people that we love them but also mean it? We endlessly strive to love people like Christ first loved us! We sacrifice for others, for the glory of God. “You practice the same unconditional love toward others that Christ gives to you.” 

Mark 12:30-31 - 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”

Lyric of the Month
For God so loved the world that He gave us
His one and only Son to save us
Whoever believes in Him will live forever

Psalm 119:11
7 Love bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.

Posted by Evan Gray with

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