Worship

Worship

Music

 

At my sister's wedding.
At my sister’s wedding.

 Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
~Psalm 100:2

We went to a beautiful wedding this weekend. It was in a small country church on the edge of the prairie. One of those places where farmland seems to stretch on forever before meeting the sky. One of those little white churches with a cemetery right next to it. The kind of country church you can find almost anywhere. The church was so full, there was hardly any room left to sit, and that pleased me. I’ve been to country church services, and there is always plenty of room. To see a church so full, filled my heart with happiness. The bride and groom were beautiful and happy. The families were all smiling and dressed up. The ceremony was wonderful, the message perfect… but what put me over the moon was the music. It was a beautifully simple wedding, and so was the music. A piano, a guitar, and one low voice leading the entire group of family and friends in familiar hymns.

Worship.

I just keep remembering those songs, and thinking how simple it was- but how it filled my heart so completely. Worship is for God, and for us. I love that God never purposes things for just one use. When He is at work, the good is multifaceted. He can use a wedding ceremony to bless a couple, a family, and a random cousin who was so excited about a full church and beautiful music. He uses everything for good. He uses the things we love, and even the hurts we suffer, for His Good. And so, He is worthy of our worship. And worship is good for our souls. So we should worship Him!

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe ~Hebrews 12:28

IMG_20150822_145250292
Why, oh why, didn’t I take a picture of the beautiful church!?* Instead all I have is these three stooges, dancing along the edge of the pews while waiting to greet the bride and groom. Never knew such goofy guys!

And now for a brief history lesson (because these things always interest me): One of the hymns we sang was All Creatures of Our God and King. The words were originally written by St Francis in the 1200s- that old! In the early 1900s, William Draper arranged the music and translated the words into English, making the song we know today.

All Creatures of Our God and King

All creatures of our God and King,
Lift up your voice and with us sing. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!
O praise Him, O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

May your heart lead you to truly worship the God who saves, the God who loves you, your Creator God. May your worship bring honor and glory to God, and may your heart be filled and healed as you worship the King of Kings! In Jesus name, Amen

~Lindsay

 *Why didn’t I take a picture of the church? Because I’m really not a professional blogger. I don’t think that far in advance. But what fun is a blog without pictures? (Answer: none.)

The Church is Beautiful

The Church is Beautiful

From the Authors
Grandpa and Grandson
Grandpa and Grandson

For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. ~Matthew 18:20

I’m sorry to mention moving again. But it is the season we are in, so it is what I’m always reflecting on. It still feels like we are in the middle of moving. Even though we officially ‘moved’ eight months ago. I should say we moved all our stuff eight months ago. But it takes longer to move your hearts. This weekend I went back to our old stomping ground and we went to the church we had been attending for ten years before our move.

I walked into that familiar building and thought to myself, “The Church is beautiful.” Not the building (though ours is nice enough), but the people. It was like coming home. Our church really is a church family. I walked in and was hugged and welcomed like a long lost daughter returning home for a visit. There are people in that church family that feel like spiritual mamas and papas to me. Friends that feel like family. And everything is familiar and comfortable. The place was full of love for me.

I had one moment, where a woman I really look up to, came over to say hello, and I nearly burst into tears. I think it’s because she’s one of those women who prays, and prays, and then prays some more. She looked at me, and I felt like God used her love and care for me to reach out and put His finger right on a sore part of my heart. I suddenly realized that after all these months of moving and adjusting and being so busy, I hadn’t really noticed how lonely I have been. Relationships take time to build, so I don’t think this is a problem that I’m going to fix overnight. But it was nice to return to the familiar and to know that I am loved.

This is the Church. People. God uses our hands and feet to accomplish His Work on earth. He uses our words and actions to set hearts into motion towards Him. He uses our thoughts and dreams to spur us on to greater purpose in Him. It’s amazing really. This almighty, all powerful God chooses us- the weak and lowly, the sinners, the misfits, the bumbling and confused. He uses us to accomplish His Work on earth. It is perhaps the most miraculous thing He does. He has already won*. He is winning**. His plan and purpose is moving forward***. And we are a part of that.

Now the reason I even wanted to blog about this is something my friend said to me. After sharing how I’ve been feeling with her, she said, “I guess that’s what makes community so important. Because wherever two or three are gathered, Jesus is in the midst of them.” We need community to help us feel close to God. God is always close to us. He is with us- Emmanuel; God with us. We are the ones who get distracted and discouraged. We are the ones who need others to encourage us. We are the ones who need community. We need the Church. And though we are not perfect, we, The Church, are beautiful. Because where two or more are gathered, God is in the midst of us.

today's blog post is all random summer pictures, because why not?
today’s blog post is all random summer pictures, because why not?
My Grandma and Great-Grandma. Before women could wear shorts?
My Grandma and Great-Grandma. Before women could wear shorts?
This is a summer vacation that is probably fuzzy in a few memories...
This is a summer vacation that is either completely gone, or a little bit fuzzy in a few memories… (Bahahahaha!)

Lord God, I thank you for your Church! I thank you for the people you have put into our lives that draw us nearer to You, and I thank you for the people you will bring into our lives who will draw us nearer to You. Please bless our hands and feet to do what You have purposed us for. Please fill our hearts and minds with Your Words, Your Love, and Your Thoughts. Help us to see the good in others, and to call out that good. Help us to be encouragers, to love people as they are, and to bless. For our friends and family, and even us, help us to be in community with the Church. That we would be in Your Presence, and our hearts would be in tune with Your Heart. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*John 19:30 “When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

**1 John 2:8 “Yet I am writing you a new commandment that is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.”

***Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

****What is up with these weird blog pictures that have nothing to do with the blog? Well, what kind of pictures would I have that would be ‘church’ pictures? I thought about how a church can feel like a family, and went looking for some family pictures. I wanted summer pictures, because it’s nice out and I thought the Christmas family pictures would be confusing… then I just kept finding summer vacation pictures that made me smile, so I put them all in the blog post. Because honestly, I’m the kind of person who looks at the pictures, but doesn’t always read the blog.

Snail Mail

Snail Mail

Activity Children

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. ~Deuteronomy 6:4-9

I know something simple my children really really love. Mail! They love getting a letter in the mail. It makes them feel special.

I know something simple I like to do to help my children learn. Write letters! Spelling, handwriting, stringing together thoughts and sentences, small motor skills, artwork… the list can go on and on. Having my kids write letters is a way I help them to learn and grow. And it is not just for educational growth. When they write thank you letters after getting a birthday present, we can have all kinds of talks about family and friends and generosity. Letter writing is a big deal!

I was never a big card person. Growing up, the birthday card was always optional. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just the way it was. But I had a friend that changed that. She was taught early on that a handwritten thank you was a necessity. Birthday cards were a must. And at Christmas, without fail, you sent out a letter. It took me awhile to catch on, but I finally realized (after receiving many letters and thank yous from her) that letters/cards were important to her. And if she is my friend, and it was important to her… than I guess it should be important to me too. So I started writing thank you cards to her.

My husband writes letters (I think… I’ve never gotten one since we were married*). Just little notes to encourage others, or to let someone know he is thinking of them. One day he told me he was going to try to write one letter a week. At least that was his goal, when he asked me to get him a lot of blank cards. Proud of him, I bought the jumbo pack. I think about 100 cards were in there. I don’t know if he has used them all, but it is a really nice thought.

Snail Mail.

I was just thinking about it because I mailed out a few letters today, and my kids were asking when they would get some mail. So of course I told them they would have to write letters first. And the only thing my daughter wants to put in any letter she writes is, “Please write back!” And I was laughing at her, but I got to thinking… is anyone sending mail to kids these days? Is anyone sending mail at all?

So if you have someone who needs encouragement, let me encourage you to write them a little card. If you haven’t thanked someone, then maybe you could send them a card? Or if you have a child in your life, then why don’t you go ahead and send them a card. (Just a note on cards to children: if you put a piece of gum, or some stickers in the card- you’re a hero for months to come! Mail is good. Mail and gum- can’t be beat!)

I don't have pictures of my kids writing letters, but this is a grocery list my son wrote for me... when I got to the grocery store and looked at it, I realized we were in trouble.
I don’t have pictures of my kids writing letters, but this is a grocery list my son wrote for me… when I got to the grocery store and looked at it, I realized we were in trouble.
And just for fun... I call this picture, "Can you spot the two-year-old?"
And just for fun… I call this picture, “Can you spot the two-year-old?”
If you found the two-year-old, then I'm assuming you are a professional at hide and seek? Obviously my children are not...
If you found the two-year-old, then I’m assuming you are a professional at hide and seek? Obviously my children are not… (but they are entertaining!)

May the Lord Your God write his love letter clearly upon your hear so that you will be a blessing and encouragement to others! In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*With the obvious exception of birthdays and anniversaries.

**Just a note to let you all know that while I was writing this a woodpecker decided to start knocking on the wall. Since I’m on the second floor and did not know it was a woodpecker, I kinda freaked out a little. So, if there are some disjointed sentences… it’s because I jumped ten feet in the air, and hit my head on the ceiling.

 

I Sing Because I’m Happy!

I Sing Because I’m Happy!

Encouragement Music

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. ~Matthew 10:29-31

this is obviously a microphone
this is obviously a microphone

Our neighbor recently had surgery, so he has been home in the middle of the day. I forgot about this when I walked outside loudly (very loudly) singing, “I sing because I’m happy! I sing because I’m free!”* Spotting him on his back deck, I froze in surprise. And embarrassment. So of course I did the adult thing… I pretended like I hadn’t seen him, and quickly high tailed it back into the house where I could snicker to myself.

My mom tells me that she can always tell if her children are doing well because we sing when we are happy. We really do. I want to get my brother the t-shirt that reads “I burst out into show tunes” for Christmas. (Don’t tell him, just our little secret) I can tell my daughter is happy because she sings and dances when she is in a good mood. My younger son is also a dancer, and starting to sing a bit. But my older son, while he sings sometimes, he’s not so much a singer. He can be very serious. But the other day one of my favorite songs came on the radio and he hollered, “Mom! Mom! It’s your song!” And then he turned up the radio and we had an impromptu dance party in the kitchen that surely would have won America’s Funniest Home Videos if we had taped ourselves. But I was so surprised that he was the one to start dancing. And I realized that he was happy. And with being in a new community and worrying about if the kids are okay, I felt really reassured.

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.*

The song is a good reminder of our response to Jesus’ teachings.  When things aren’t going well, to remember that God sees us. Even when no one else sees us, He does. When we are sad, lonely, hurt, and even happy- God sees us. And He watches over us and cares  for us. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (NIV) So He sings too! He sings over us- some versions say he sings loudly over us. He must be happy too.

I encourage you today to sing a song of praise to the God who loves you- even if the neighbors hear you! And if you don’t want to sing, then maybe try a dance party? But make sure to get that on video for us (hee hee hee).

IMG_20150714_185505613

Thank you, God, that you watch over us, and that you sing over us. Thank you that you do not leave us or forsake us. Thank you that you find value in who we are. Thank you that Jesus has made a way straight to your throne room for us, and that we can come before you day or night, happy or sad. You are good, worthy, holy, and happy! We praise you for who you are, and thank you for all that you have done for us. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*This is the song “His Eye is on the Sparrow” by Cillvia D. Martin. You should listen to it. I don’t think you could find a bad version.