Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘music’

Madison Valley Woman’s Club


I am the inspirational leader for the women’s club in my town – the appointed “Chaplain.” The club is part of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC), known as the Madison Valley Woman’s Club (MVWC). This week we kicked off our new year with a meeting of more than 50 ladies (our town has a population of less than 1,000 – so fifty is a sizable number for our little community). For the inspiration this month, we featured M&M’s = Music and Movement.  I explained that the M&M’s on the tables were not just a sweet treat, but a reminder to add Music and Movement to their lives for a fuller, healthier existence. Then, clapping along to the accompaniment of my accordion, the ladies joined our “Sing-Along”  to the tune of “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountains.”

ImageGet up, stomp your feet, clap your hands and sing along with me:

 

We’re the Madison Valley Woman’s Club, you know.
We are women in the flow and on the go.
We work hard at Nearly New –
Donating hours (quite a few),
As we give and sell and buy and work and grow.

We don’t have to work at Nearly New it’s true.
But some do it to be helping me and you
Earn the money for our giving,
Providing others a better living;
We give scholarships – and donations, too – Woo-hoo!

We have interests that are as varied as we are.
Some attend a church or garden or sit at a bar.
We are philanthropic souls, though;
We accomplish many fine goals, oh –
We cook, play bridge, fish, hike, sew, paint, golf near par!

We’re the Madison Valley Woman’s Club, you see.
We live here and love to be in this valley.
We tell others how we groove it,
Finding ways we can improve it.
Join us, friends, and you will smile contagiously!

Our Madison Valley Woman’s Club returned more than $50,000. back into the community in the 2012-13 fiscal year! Those were the profits realized from the sale of “Nearly New” items at our local thrift shop. It is owned and operated by the ladies of the GFWC-MVWC. Amazing, isn’t it? So much good comes from the donation of time and talent and “stuff” that people don’t need or don’t want anymore. If you’re anywhere near Ennis, Montana, come by and see us! You, too, won’t be able to help yourself – – – you’ll find a bargain for a few bucks – – – buy it, knowing it is for a good cause – – – and leave the shop smiling contagiously!

Tune in tomorrow for a list of to whom or what those funds were donated 🙂

 

A Crippling Spirit


Sunday’s Sermon Notes
Based on Luke 13:10-17
Rev. Carol Shellenberger, guest minister

“We don’t do that here!” the Elder scolded.
“But I’ve got religion!” the vocal praiser replied.
Well, you didn’t get it here,” the Elder frowned.
“No, I guess not,” the rebuked man sighed.

Are we the Elder type who covers praise
With a snuffer of scorn and frowns?
Or have we “got religion” here
That celebrates the King of Crowns?

Jesus crowns the vocal spirit.
God rewards the spirit-loving and the free.
Traditions and laws have their place,
But they’re not to squelch God’s love in me!

Jesus told the disgruntled crowd –
The folks who objected to His healing touch –
That the Sabbath is holy, and so’s the act of healing.
Obey the laws, but regard the Lord’s example as much!

The condition of our heart and spirit counts more
Than the pious adherence to laws and tradition.
What matters most is the way we act in love
To follow Christ’s example, to improve another’s condition.

Lord, call forth in me the power of Your Spirit.
Help me lift up my neighbor and love with compassion.
May I find balance in love, law, and tradition –
Freeing myself and others to “Do that here” in Christ-like fashion.

After the sermon, my friend, Jim Groshong, and I presented some special music. We sang “How Great Thou Art” to the accompaniment of his guitar and my accordion. Ordinarily in our church, the response to special music is silent smiles and occasionally a group “Amen” (when invited by the pastor to vocalize). The congregation has been reminded on more than one occasion that clapping is not an appropriate response. “We don’t do that here!” because it is a worldly form of recognition to the performer(s) rather than a worshipful response that recognizes the gift as an expression for the glory of God.

Well, today’s sermon was delivered by a guest pastor. The congregation must have been listening to her message as carefully as I did! They took it to heart. When Jim and I finished singing, our Presbyterian congregation (sometimes known as the “Chosen Frozen”) burst into spontaneous applause. No one chastised them. No one said, “We don’t do that here!” Hallelujah – the Holy Spirit sang through us, touched the tear ducts of some, and moved others to applaud – to the Glory of the Lord. Wonders never cease!

Amen?

Amen!! 

Ask and You Will Receive


Sermon notes – July 28, 2013

Yes, Pastor Jean Johnson got my attention with the first sentence here:

Do you whore yourself out?
Do you worship false and tempting gods?
In Hosea, the people turned their backs.
God named them “Not My People” and “No Mercy.”

(This part of the message was based on the scripture, Hosea 1:2-10)

God scattered His people, punishing Israel
For turning their back on Him.
In our baptism, we return to God.
He renews His covenant with us.

(Next we had beautiful music by Andrew Scruggs on his cello
      – Amazing Grace –
while we reflected on the message and prepared for the next
scripture – Col. 1:1-14)

We wrestle with questions and struggle to find
Assurance in God’s Word.
We sometimes create God in our own image.
But God created us in His image; He is our Father.

God is a better parent than we’d ever hope to be.
He gives us the Holy Spirit.
All we need to do is ASK.
Ask in Faith and God will allow us to see and use His gifts.

(Andrew played “Blessed Assurance” on his cello
while we thought about the message – and reflected on
the Good News that spread all over the world with great success.)

God gives us life, love, friendship, companionship.
God gives us the Holy Spirit – His presence to guide us.
God gives us faith, light, hope, inspiration, transformation.
Take courage and comfort in God’s steadfast compassion.

(Luke 11:1-13, which includes the passage
“Ask and you will receive,
Search and you will find,
Knock and the door will be opened for you”
was read by Liturgist Judy Bleu.
Andrew’s cello sang “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
We marveled at God’s grace, assurance,
and faithfulness. And all God’s people said,
“Amen!”)

God is good.

All the time!

Amen!

 

Beautiful Listening


My devotional time this morning focused on Psalm 16:8 “I will keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him on my right hand, I will not be shaken.” It was an appropriate scripture for the day after I kept my eyes closed for what was actually only a little more than a half an hour, but in some ways seemed like triple that time. I was squished inside an MRI machine. Have you ever had to go inside one of those tubes and bear the clings and clangs and knocks and noises of whistles and whines? No fun! Some MRI machines come with a musical experience… headphones and your favorite CD or radio station. This one didn’t, so I provided my own! With my eyes closed (who needs to see the inside of a claustrophobic tube?), I kept my eyes on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I was not shaken. I sang my favorite hymns, cowboy songs, old R & B favorites. I hummed and smiled, and the tiny space I occupied didn’t seem confining at all.

Where do you focus your attention when you are in a difficult situation? When you’re in a tight spot, do you pay attention to the walls that are closing in on you, or can you tune in to your inner music and allow what is important in your life to be your focus? Widen the walls of worry and woe. Call on the Lord and be a beautiful listener. Be attentive to God at your right hand, and (as the Psalmist reminds us) you will not be shaken.

Practice that same kind of focused, attentive listening when you are in the company of friends and loved ones, too. Instead of listening to your inner music, and tuning them out, take your clue from the One at your right hand, and tune in fully to the conversation with your companion. That’s what Jesus did. He looked directly into the eyes, into the soul of His companions. He heard with His heart. God does that when we pray to Him. As if you were in an MRI tube, with no visual images to distract you, focus on what is before you. Let your mind center on the moment. Be attentive! Be a beautiful listener.

Beautiful listening is
Empathetic listening. It’s an
Acquired skill – It
Takes practice;  It
Takes caring; it
Especially takes knowing that
Nothing is more important
Than the one speaking
In this moment. Listen
Vividly. Be fully present.
Enjoy the moment.

As Ashley Kappel prayed in this morning’s Daily Guidepost 2013, let us pray also, “Lord, remind me today who is important in my life and allow me to focus wholly on them, if only for a moment.”

Love One Another. Amen?

Let Us Pray


In the wake of the horrendous events in Newtown, Connecticut yesterday, the Rev. Jean Johnson in Ennis, Montana sent this prayer to her friends. Thoughtful and well-written, it is worth sharing.

Let us pray…………
Loving God,
you are nearest when we need you most.
In this hour of sorrow we turn to you,
trusting in your loving mercy.
Your love cares for us in life
and watches over us in death.
We bless you for our Savior’s joy in little children
and for the assurance that of such is the kingdom of heaven.
In our sorrow,
make us strong to commit ourselves, and those we love,
to your unfailing care.
In our perplexity,
help us to trust where we cannot understand.
There are days when the burdens we carry are heavy on our shoulders and weigh us down,
when the road seems dreary and endless,
the skies gray and threatening,
when our lives have no music in them,
and our hearts are heavy with pain
and we have lost courage.
Flood the path with light,
turn our eyes to Your promises,
tune our hearts to brave music;
gives us a  sense of companionship and community;
quicken our spirits
that we may be able to encourage all who journey with us on the road of life.
Write Your blessed name, O Lord, upon my heart,
there to remain so indelibly engraven,
that no prosperity,
no adversity,
shall ever move me from Your love.
Be to me a strong tower of defense,
a comforter in tribulation,
a deliverer in distress,
a very present help in trouble
and a guide  through the many temptations and dangers of this life.
In the name of Jesus the Christ we pray………….   Amen.

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