What A Difference A Year Can Make

Tonight, I was called to be the Youth and Education Director at Sharon Baptist Church in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  The people there have been so very friendly and welcoming, and we feel our hearts already connected to theirs.  We feel very privileged, and very humbled, to have been called to serve them.

One year ago today, Nola and I drove back to Austin, after being in Oklahoma City for 3 weeks over the holidays.  It was not like going home for us; those days in Austin were over.  We knew that we would, at some point, be saying good-bye to very dear friends we had known for nearly 8 years, and that it would be very hard.  It was, and we still miss them every day.  We did not know what the future held.  There was so much that, from our perspective, was uncertain.

This has, without question, been the most difficult year we’ve ever experienced.  We’ve learned valuable lessons, about the danger of putting too much trust in man, and of not putting all of our hope in God alone.  Yet, during the last 13 months, God has proven Himself faithful over and over again.  We’ve been abundantly showered with His grace and goodness, and are thankful for each lesson learned.  We consider them preparation for the trials that He has ahead for us, which are part of His conforming us into the image of Christ, for our good and His glory.

Please continue to pray for Nola and me as we look for a place to live, and for a job for Nola.  Our desire is that she will be able to find employment that would be Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, unlike the retail hours she has been working.  This would “free up” her evenings and weekends, making it possible for her to be more involved and available in the life of the church.

And please pray that our work there would strengthen the church, and that many would come to know Christ through the ministry of Sharon Baptist Church.

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Tim Hughes on Effectiveness in Worship Leading

This is from Tim Hughes’ (writer of “Beautiful One”, “Here I Am to Worship”) session at the WorshipTogether.com LIVE tour, in Oklahoma City on March 28th, on being a more effective worship leader. He said there are six questions that are beneficial to ask:

In Preparing to Lead:

1. Where are we leading them to?
* Find a balance between being prophetic and pastoral
* Consider the context you’re leading in when picking keys, songs

2. How are we preparing?
* Both technically and spiritually
* Authentic worship is more caught than taught
* Mix substance with simplicity

While leading worship:
3. Where are we going?
* There is a difference between a songleader and a worship leader
* The Holy Spirit is the Chief Worship Leader

4. How are people responding?
* Be attentive and flexible
* If they’re not responding, resist “beating the sheep”

After leading worship:
5. Where do you “recharge”?
* Don’t be defined by how things went

6. How am I developing?
* We should aim for perfection, but settle for excellence
* 4 additional questions for Monday (or the day after):
    1. What were the highlights of my week?
    2. What were the low points of my week?
    3. What is one lesson I’ve learned?
    4. What is one action point I can take?

WorshipTogether.com LIVE

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Saturday, March 28th

Emmaus Baptist Church

Oklahoma City, OK

Go here for more information

What’s the Best Way to Invite People to Your Church?

Ed Stetzer writes about some research done by Lifeway Research and the North American Mission Board, where they surveyed over 15,000 people about their receptivity to evangelistic contacts and outreach from a church.  The most effective method was a personal invitation from a family member or friend.  Less effective were outdoor billboards and newspaper/magazine ads.  And the least effective method?  It will probably be no surprise, but you can find out by reading the article here.

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