The Story of One Authors Method of Outreach

The Story of One Author’s Method of Outreach

My brother follows the Dave Ramsey school of finances – which means among other things; no credit cards.  So for the third time Bob asked me to order another case of 24 of his books of Christian poetry.   I finally asked why.   “What are you doing with all these books?”

Bob is a social worker holding down two jobs.  In the course of his day he sees lots of challenged, troubled and broken people, many of whom do not know their Savior.  You guessed it, Bob has been handing out copies of his book to his clients and employers.  It’s his way of sharing his faith and the good news of saving grace that only Jesus can bring.  With the gift of his book, Bob is offering a hope and an introduction to the most important thing in his life – His savior Jesus Christ.

Paying it Forward
There’s one more thing. The cover of Bob’s book depicts a wooded scene. This a photo of his favorite place to walk, and he does so almost daily. Every now and then Bob has been leaving a copy of his book at the entrance to this facility and as he exits, he looks to see if anyone has taken it – which is his hope.

I pray that the Holy Spirit uses Bob’s unique outreach to do miraculous things.  I pray that numerous lives are saved and that non-believers are converted into believers.

Seated Above, the Journey Continues…
Bob has a big heart and has just finished book #2 and my guess is that he is doing this so that he can give more books away to the people that need it most.  This is his ministry and his calling and I applaud his humble efforts.

If you read Bob’s first book, you might have been asking yourself “What in world is he doing with all these poems about the months, the seasons, the holidays and the weather?” I know that I did. But Bob had a method in mind. You see, he was writing for an unchurched audience and he did not want to scare people away with his faith but wanted to slowly move the reader into his myriad of poems that I think illuminate the scriptures beautifully.

I am pleased and excited to announce that his second book has just been released in E-Book format. The paperback will soon follow.  It’s a deeper book than the first and is titled: “Seated Above, the Journey Continues -The Deep Calls to the Deep.” His two books are now tied together into a series.

Buy Book #2 and Get Book #1 Free!
The new E-Book is being introduced at $2.99 but to celebrate this event, the first E-Book in the series is being offered for free but you need to act quickly as this is only in effect for today only.  As always, a review on Amazon is greatly appreciated!

Link to Preview Bob’s Newest Book: 
Bob’s New Book

Link to Download Book #1 for Free:
Download Book #1 for Free

Link to Bob’s Amazon Page to see both books:
Bob’s Author Page

Energized!

Lord, grant us faith to energize our words
Thanksgiving to energize our prayers
Mercy to energize our lives
Peace to energize our actions
Hope to energize our thoughts
Forgiveness to energize our happiness
Healing to energize our well being
Patience to energize our relationships
So that we live in comforting trust knowing that You are in control 
and let faith and peace displace our worries
Amen!

From New England to New Zealand – God’s Word is Shared!

A book promoter living in New Zealand promoted my book on his website and social media sites last week.  Isn’t it amazing how God’s Word is being spread all over the world – even through this little book?

Promo Site: 

http://beezeebooks.com/lifestyle-worship-poems-prayers-and-ministry-resources/poems/

Thanks Michael!

“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” – Habakkuk 2:14

I would also like to invite everyone to check out my new FaceBook site for the book:

http://www.facebook.com/LifestyleWorshipBook

It’s God’s Will

What is God’s Will for you?

The Fool on the Hill
Don’t be a fool – You need to know what God’s Will is for you.

“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” – Ephesians 5:17

For Your Own Good
It’s quite simple, God’s Will always aligns with scripture.
God’s Will is meant for your highest good.

Pray for the Best!
“God, may your Will be done” is a great prayer.  It is not a “cop-out” as some suggest. Because God always has your best interest at heart. You need His Will in your life.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

When you ask that God’s Will be done – you are praying for the best.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. – 1 John 5:14-15

How to Sing in the Church

How to Sing in the Church

Go ahead, Pull out all the stops
Sing like it’s your last day on this glorious earth
Even if you don’t have the chops
Praise is the main reason for your own wondrous birth

So crone with lot’s of emotion
Sing like no one else is in the cavernous room
This is part of your devotion
Let your heart-felt emotive praises fully bloom

Stay on pitch and remain in time
But also with controlled heavenly abandon
Play close attention to those rhymes
From the first alleluia to the final amen

That ought to do it.
Just Sing!

Promises for Worship Leaders and Pastors

Promises for Worship Leaders and Pastors

– When I am anxious about leading worship through song, I remember…
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. — Isaiah 41:10

– When I am questioning my ministry or calling as being useless and empty, I fight this unbelief with…
So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. — Isaiah 55:11

– When I am feeling weak, I battle unbelief with the promise of Christ…
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  — 2 Corinthians 12:9 

– When I am battling burnout, I turn things around knowing…
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. — Psalm 32:8

– When I am anxious about facing opponents, I find reassurance with the promise…
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? — Romans 8:31

To The Sun

by Bob Brown
 
This is one of my favorite poems from Bob’s upcoming book.
 
Come again and bring the spring
Make the birds and bards to sing
Come and bring your golden glow
Show the grasses, melt the snow
 

Bring an end to the dreary night
Loosen us, from winter’s blight
Bathe the land with heated sound
Make the flowers split the ground
 

Bring the bees and tiny things
That sail along on easy wings
Bring us warmth, bring us song
Make the rivers rush along
 

And with your might and your power
Bring us to a better hour
Spread your beauty across the sky
And make the poet’s pen to fly
 
#NationalPoetryMonth
 
 

Link tfor Seated Above, Looking Below

Steadfast Believers

Steadfast Believers
by Steve Brown and Mike Westendorf

A few weeks back, Mike posted an article on FaceBook from a Pastor who was quitting the praise band for a variety of reasons. This article was ultimately met with a rebuttal from another Pastor who won’t be quitting the praise band anytime soon for a different bunch of reasons. In between these posts was a plethora of worship gold voiced by believers.

The following excerpts from the FaceBook comments show a fraction of the beautiful faith that exists within our fellowship as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit in and among us.

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“We make a big mistake when we try to limit the Holy Spirit to our way of thinking.” – PB

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

“Just because it’s contemporary doesn’t make it bad, shallow, or irreverent.” – SB

Psalm 40:3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.

“In reality, everything we humans bring before God in worship is a filthy rag and only made pleasing by the blood of Jesus!” – SB

Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. 

“I leave those services (contemporary worship) humming many of those songs all week.” – SA

Jeremiah 15:16 When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.

“I believe the Holy Spirit worked in my heart through this (contemporary) music to strengthen my faith, it has completely changed me!” – PE

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

“If you disqualify all Christian radio, you are doing what the devil wants you to do. He wins!” – PE

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 

“In the last ten years… the way I worship Jesus has changed. I don’t just worship Him on Sunday or for ten minutes a day. I try to worship Him in everything I do. That includes the type of music I listen to and sing and play.” – DRS

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

“I believe that the Lord has given us this music (contemporary) to reach those people who may not be able to connect with traditional four part harmonies and hymns.” – DRS

“Music is a method of communication and we need to be able to speak everyone’s language. If it’s an organ for you, great, but what about an electric guitar roaring like the mighty power of God?” – SA

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law though I myself am not under the law, so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law, so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings.

“I would still rather listen to a Contemporary Christian radio station singing about Jesus even it’s not perfect then a pop station that plays music about stuff that goes against everything I believe.” – DRS

“But for God, worship is a matter of the heart not a matter of form.” – SB

Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.

“We should have services that you can bring a friend to that’s never gone to church and they should feel comfortable and be able to connect with the service. Musically speaking a language that they’re familiar with helps a lot.” – SA

“It was contemporary Christian music that the Holy Spirit used to bring me to faith, and gave me the desire to go to church in the first place.” – SB

“I guess I would say… a feeling of fullness with the Holy Spirit.” – RP

Acts 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

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Steve’s Conclusions: So you might be wondering, why do these people, that place a value on contemporary Christian music; worship in a traditional, liturgical, confessional and hymn-loving setting? The answer is quite simple. We are in agreement with the doctrines and biblical interpretations of this denomination. This is where God wants us to be. We are one body and we commune with one another in unity. Our fellowship is defined by our biblical beliefs based on the absolute inerrancy of scripture. The Gospel is the glue that binds us together and we realize that musical style should not even make the list of fellowship discriminators.

In essence, these responses do show that contemporary music connects on a heart-felt level with some people in the same way that hymns do with other people and this involvement of our hearts is crucial for our worship. The big issue is that there needs to be a Christian relationship based on love that understands and accepts the need for these stylistic differences because the adherence to scripture and doctrine can be maintained, and in the end our objective is to share God’s words in whatever methods that works best.

Yes, we differ in things like musical taste in the same way as we do in our choice of clothes, but this is just part of being the diverse body of Christ that God intended us to be. In the end, we may not be steadfast Lutherans, but more importantly, our hope is to be steadfast but humble believers and followers of Christ.

Simply stated, “Christ’s Love is Our Calling!”

Mike’s Conclusions: As I read the comments of the two viewpoints from the original pastoral blog posts and the responses that we see from many people, it continues to reinforce the idea of effective “communication” and “language” within our worship settings. A simple way to define worship in our settings is that “God comes to us (word and sacrament) and His people respond to Him (praise) and one another about Him (proclamation)”. Another thought about worship is that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Regardless of what your worship preference is, “the mountaintop”, the best ever worship experiences will always include all four of these elements. Lastly is the idea that communication is much more than the words we say, but it also is the way we say them as well as what people see when words are said and what the overall “environment” says within the context of those words.

When I read these comments and the scripture passages that Steve beautifully related, it continues to reinforce the notion that people receive the communication of God’s Word and the stories of His faithfulness differently. When they respond to God, they long to have the words and melodies that allow them to praise and proclaim Christ that involves the heart, soul, mind and strength. We want to communicate back to God and back to others about our God who has been faithful to us and to me personally.

Because we are varied people, we speak different languages in worship and certain styles and environments of singing, songwriting, and yes – even listening, engage people differently in worship. If we truly desire that people hear God as He comes to us with the fullness of the Gospel message, and if we truly desire and hope that people can and joyfully respond to God through praise and proclamation, then we must realize the beauty that contemporary worship can offer, especially when it is birthed out of the biblical understanding of Jesus that we joyfully preach in the Confessional Lutheran church with songs that have a powerful effect similar to the way as traditional hymns do.

God paints in beautiful colors, I love it when our worship includes the languages, environments and communication styles of traditional, blended, contemporary and modern worship settings married to our understanding of the true Gospel message.

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1 Corinthians 12:15-20 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

A Toolbox for Worship Leaders, Pastors and Musicians

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