At my church, we have been going through the book of Exodus on Sunday mornings. I’m excited to introduce a song that I’ve known for some time now because it fits perfectly with the message of the Torah. Check out Jude Doxology by Ghost Ship.

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Five Ways to Love the Widow

Christmas isn’t the most wonderful time of the year for everyone.

I remember calling a close friend a few years ago around Christmastime. He is a fellow preacher and I was looking for some advice on a sermon introduction. I don’t remember much of the conversation, but what I do remember helped me broaden my perspective on the Christmas season. He said something like this: “For you, Christmas is a happy season because you had a wonderful family growing up. For me, Christmas brings a lot of painful memories because I come from a broken family.” His comment helped me realize (shockingly) for the first time that some people are hurting during this happy season.

Imagine how a widow feels during Christmas. I would wager that many widows struggle this time of year with feelings of sadness, grief, and loneliness. That makes December a perfect time for us to take action and begin to practically love the widowed members of your faith family.

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Five Ways to Love the Orphan

I remember a sermon my dad used to preach when we were on furlough from the mission field. He would ask a simple question, “Why were you born in the United States?” He would explain the responsibility that the fortunate have to bless and minister to the unfortunate. His argument was simple but profound: those who can bless others should.

I preached from Deuteronomy 10:12–22 on Sunday. In the text, we saw the compassionate concern God exercises for the orphan, the widow, and the sojourner. We also saw that God commands His people to mimic His compassion for the positionless and marginalized. During the sermon, I suggested some practical ways to serve orphans, widows, and sojourners. I presented five categories for engagement: we can pray, give, support, serve, and/or go.

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Sing Like a Child

After worship last Sunday, I stopped to talk with a family with four darling little girls. The mom told me a cute story. 

Every week, I post the songs we are planning to sing on Facebook as well as on our worship page. The reason for this is simple: I want our people to be ready to sing during corporate worship. I did not know this, but every week this family full of little girls “practices” the songs before coming to worship on Sunday morning (good job, Mama!). But one of the songs escaped their practice session this week. When the band played this song during the worship service, the oldest of the little girls looked at her mom and said, “We didn’t practice this one!” 

What. A. Bummer.

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SONG SPOTLIGHT: You Never Change

How about 2020 so far, huh? Yikes!

Every day, we find a new catastrophe or scandal in the news. I cannot remember, in my brief lifetime, a more polarizing and divisive time in this country. A scroll through my Facebook news feed is flat-out exhausting. Unsubstantiated opinions everywhere. Outrage and vitriol overflowing. It’s tempting to be overwhelmed by it all, isn’t it? And don’t even get me started on COVID-19, right? The information, guidelines, and data provided to the public seems to change every hour. The foundation of this sin-sick world is shifting sand.

Praise God that He never changes!

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I have only been this excited to debut a song at church one another time.

The last time I was this hyped about a new song was when I first led Andrew Peterson’s masterpiece (and still my all-time favorite song) called “Is He Worthy?“. (I wrote about that song back in 2018).

As a church, we have been studying through John’s Gospel. And we have now come to the most painful part of the book: the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. 

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Why We Sing

It was sometime around 1998 or 1999 when I was introduced to the cinematic masterpiece entitled Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. (I’ll spare you a boring synopsis, because you really should watch the film in all its mid-90s glory). It was the music in the movie that gripped me. I remember being captivated by Ahmal’s voice (played by Ryan Toby) as he belted out the high notes of the old spiritual “Oh Happy Day.” I remember being enthralled by the hip-hop rendition of “Joyful, Joyful, Lord We Adore Thee” in the finale. And, most impactfully, I remember being totally enraptured by the duet between Tanya and Rita. When Rita (played by the legendary Lauryn Hill) sat down at the piano and belted out the lyrics to “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” goose bumps covered my arms and I immediately developed a full-fledged musical crush. My pre-teen world had changed completely.

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