Something A little Different This Week: Worship On Wednesday

 

Worship on Wednesday, a time to honor and be refreshed in the Lord. #singanewsong #worshiponwednesday

Welcome back to Worship on Wednesday (I didn’t post last week). Monday I wrote about my visit to Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Arkansas for the Be. Loved. Women’s Conference, well I decided to stay overnight and attend their weekend service.

How Contemporary is the Question

Sunday morning I pulled up to CBC with its impressive stately columns and prepared myself mentally for a traditional service. A friendly lady had informed me the evening before that they hold one traditional and two contemporary services in the main sanctuary. Know this, I attend a non-denominational large church with awesome worship teams. This was going to be somewhat different for me.

To be honest I wondered how contemporary was their version of contemporary. I know that sounds narrow minded, but to me those stately columns loudly declare traditional to the core. There is nothing wrong with traditional, worship after all comes from the heart not the style of music. However, having been brought up with traditional hymn singing, I now prefer contemporary…just saying.

Finding Refuge

Two women at the conference steered me to attend The Refuge, a service CBC holds in the gym at the same time as the main sanctuary holds theirs. They knew nothing about my preference in worship music, so it intrigued me that they would guide me there.

The gym was transformed by pipe and black drape, though the basketball hoop was evident you didn’t feel as if you were in gymnasium. People of all ages gathered while the worship team arranged themselves on the low stage at the front.

After opening in prayer, the worship team struck up the first song (withholding song title for now). Though I’m familiar with the song they sang, I have never heard it played as part of a Sunday service before…heck I’ve not heard it played in any service before this one. I will and do however sing it loudly in my car when it comes on K-Love radio station.

It’s a Heart Issue

It just shows you can’t judge a church by its stately columns. Neither can we judge each other by our outward appearance; It’s what on the inside that counts. When Samuel was looking to anoint the next king, Jesse had line up all bar one of his sons. When Samuel saw Eliab, he thought this must be the one, but he wasn’t.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16.7

How’s your heart doing today?

So, what is the name of the song that I have never heard sang in any church service?  Drum roll please….Lift Your Head Weary Sinner: David Crowder. It’s not a quiet gentle song so you may want to turn the volume down if you don’t like your music too loud. Otherwise go for it.

Helena

If you have a worship song recommendation let me know in the comments.

Photo Credits: Daisy Photo; Unsplash.   Main Sanctuary, Refuge Sign and Refuge Meeting; Helena Davies (me).

Enjoy.

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You Purchased the Conference Ticket: Now You Feel Like Backing Out.

You were excited about going when you bought the event ticket. Now the time has come you are having second thoughts. I've had those thoughts too. My reasons may be different from yours, but the end result is the same...we stay home. What's a girl gonna do? In my blog post I tell you what I did.

Impulse Buy

I was beginning to wish I had never purchased the ticket. In January it seemed like a wonderful idea, now April was here I wasn’t too sure. Just two weeks to go for the Be. Loved. Women’s Conference and I felt like backing out.

I am quite happy to fly internationally on my own, though the journey is tiring, I find airports fascinating. Each airport has its own personality, its own vibe. Even LAX airport didn’t seemed as intimidating in daylight hours as it had appeared at midnight.

But don’t ask me to drive solo for more than thirty minutes. You see anywhere I want to go locally is no more than a thirty minute drive. I always buy my gas at the same location, I know how to operate their pumps, so the thought of having to figure another companies pump doesn’t thrill me. I guess I’m comfortable in my routine.

The Stretch

It would be a little over two hours drive to the conference. Not far, but definitely out of my driving comfort zone. But it wasn’t just the stretching of my driving miles that bothered me.

Over the years I have backed out of many local events at the last minute. “Why?” you may ask. For the same reason that some of you back out; no-one-to-go-with. As women we love company, friends to share the moment and make memories with.

But hey, just because you or I are interested in an event doesn’t mean others are. So what is a girl to do when none of her friends are available?

We have a choice. We could stay home and pity party (done that), or we could go to the event (starting to do that).

Talk to Me

With Google Map set to give me directions I headed out into the dark of early morning and towards the freeway. I was glad I had written the directions out as the lady on Google Maps did not speak to me. Not a Word!! Having not used her for directions before I figured I must of missed a step to hearing her sweet voice.

I made it to Jonesboro with prayer and written instructions, but, Where. Was. The. Church? A helpful employee of McDonald’s fixed my Google Map problem and gave me verbal directions. In just a few minutes I arrived at my destination of Central Baptist Church. The McDonald’s lady told me I couldn’t miss it and she was right…this place was huge!

Though a large building it was not intimidating as volunteers were everywhere to help. Once seated I was soon joined by an elegant woman and her friends, we struck up conversation and I felt at ease. No feelings of sticking out like a sore thumb as if every woman there was eyeing the only woman who came on her own (me). I’m sure there must of been others who came without company. Somehow, we feel as if we are the only one.

During lunch I met a woman and her mother who use to own the meat market just half a mile from my home, and now lives within my thirty minute radius. Small world!

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

There comes a time my fellow, no-one-to-go-with sisters when we have to decide to stop making excuses and go anyway. I was not alone on my journey. Jesus didn’t leave me after my thirty minute drive. No. He was with me ALL. The Time.

He Meets my Every Need

When I needed direction, He was there to alert me to the roadside sign. When I needed Google Maps, He provided someone with technical knowledge. When I needed company, He provided several women. When I needed gas, He walked me through it, and when I needed a restroom and lunch on my return journey, He provided one at the right time. Yes ladies, I ate lunch on my own in a restaurant…now, that is something most of us women don’t cherish doing. But I did it, and I was fine.

Time for us to take back what the enemy has stolen; our God given confidence. Use Godly wisdom as you travel, have fun, be adventurous, meet new people, see new places and know you are never alone.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Not having someone to go with has held me back many times. What is holding you back (other than funds) from attending events whether they are church related or not? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Photo Credit: Pink Roses; Alina-Sofia on Unsplash.   Church photo; Helena D

 

 

Hidden: Worship on Wednesday

Worship on Wednesday, a time to honor and be refreshed in the Lord. #singanewsong #worshiponwednesday

A New Chapter

I felt the stirring in my heart, the uncomfortable feeling of a change about to happen. Have you experienced that too? My church was gearing up to launch their eighteenth campus, and while I was happy for the other seventeen, I in no way felt a prompting to volunteer to help; there was plenty to do in my own campus.

To cut a long story short campus number 18 is now three months old. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the larger campuses, nor do we have our own building. Instead, we set up and tear down pipe and drape, chairs, audio equipment, welcome table, coffee table and children’s rooms every Sunday in an elementary school cafeteria.

It’s definitely nothing like my former campus. I grieved for what I knew, what I had come accustom too. My friends, would they soon forget me? Would I just be a distant memory to them? And what about the guest speakers who come through? No way are they likely to visit campus number eighteen. Fear of missing out (FOMO) plagued me and I wondered why the Lord had put it on my heart (and my husband’s) to change campuses.

Not Just a Face in a Crowd

For the first two months I kicked and questioned the Lord’s intentions. I mean, what is He thinking placing me (my husband loves it there) in this tiny country town. As the people of the town and surrounding neighborhood have come in, as I have welcomed them there in my volunteer position as a greeter I have got to know them by name, they are no longer faces in a crowd.

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 5: 5 & 6 Msg

Over and over I hear the Lord encouraging me to trust Him. Trust that He knows what He is doing. Trust that He has good plans for me. Trust Him with my future. Could it be that I would actually miss out more by returning to my old campus than choosing to stay at the new one?

It’s hard when the road ahead is not clear, when we don’t understand the plan. It’s then that faith and trust in our Heavenly Father becomes a reality.

I have chosen Hidden: United Pursuit as this week’s worship song. These words speak to me, if you are in need of encouragement I hope they speak to you too.

Now I am hidden in the safety of your love

I trust your heart and your intentions

Trust you completely

I’m listening intently

You’ll guide me through these many shadows.

 

Prayer: Father you know the path you have planned for us. Help us to trust you when we can’t see or understand. Your plans are good. Your heart is good and your intentions are good. Help us to lean in and listen to your directions. Amen.

Helena

P.S. I had been doing the Jeff Goins 500 word daily challenge, pop on over to Grace Lace and Polkadots Facebook page and check out some of my posts. We are only on day 10 of 31 (Help!!) so still a way to go. Some of Jeff’s writing prompts I keep private, while others are on the Facebook page. Join me, I need your encouragement.

 

Celebrating Jesus at Easter and Beyond

Victories, we all have them, but do we take time to celebrate? Lessons I learn while climbing a mountain.

I Need to Join a Gym

We made it to marker 3 without incidence. It wasn’t an easy climb, the steep path twisted and turned through trees whose roots protruded above ground while rocks acted as stepping/tripping stones. Pausing, we turned to look to the valley, but no view was to be seen as the trees blocked our line of sight; still, we appreciated how far we had come.

Onwards and upwards my grandson and I climbed, the higher we went the more rocky it became. I’m telling you I don’t remember the climb being so rocky, but then it had been twenty years since I last climbed Pinnacle Mountain. My out-of-condition thighs were starting to feel as wobbly as jelly, a few more rest stops were going to be needed before we would reach the summit. At each marker we celebrated our progress.

Standing in Awe

Somewhere between marker 6 and marker 7 I stopped to look back at hikers a few steps behind us. The were quicker at climbing than me and I wondered if I needed to let them pass. I wondered no more, when my eyes fell on a beautiful picturesque scene of tree covered rolling hills framing a calm lake in the valley below. Together, Nana and grandson stood in awe of God’s handiwork. I love how my 5 year old grandson appreciates the beauty of nature.

My fatigued legs finally reached marker 10E. Woohoo! We had arrived. We had reached our goal. We had conquered the mountain, and we sat there perched on the rocky crest with our birds eye view of the Arkansas River winding its way down towards the Mississippi. And we celebrated!

Easter Celebration, Not Just For Easter

Easter weekend, for those who know Jesus as their personal savior is a time of remembering and celebrating what Jesus accomplished on the cross and through His resurrection. Although Easter is a wonderful time in the church calendar, I am glad we are not restricted to one weekend a year to remember and celebrate His victory.

 

Because Jesus is victorious; we are victorious.

 

As we journey with Jesus through this thing called life may we take time out to pause and celebrate what He has done in our lives. Celebrate the small and the large steps forward. Celebrate even when we can’t see for the trees. Celebrate when a clearing appears and stand back and admire His handiwork of grace. Celebrate each victory, each hurdle overcome. Each lie renounced. Because Jesus is victorious; we are victorious. We don’t fight for a victory, we stand in victory with Jesus.

 

“Though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:24

 

I love how the Lord never leaves us but stays close by on this path we call life, how He holds our hand in smooth and rough terrain. We are His and His grip is secure.

I pray you have a wonderful Easter celebrating Jesus. Feel free to Brag on God in the comments and share a victory He has done in your life.

What is your favorite Easter candy? Mine is Cadbury Mini Eggs.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His radiance.

Photo Credit: Laura Vinck: Unsplash

Into The Deep: Worship on Wednesday

Worship on Wednesday, a time to honor and be refreshed in the Lord. #singanewsong #worshiponwednesday

 

Dry spells in our Christian walk are not uncommon, I have experienced those times myself on more than one occasion. Times when the joy of the Lord seems to have evaporated into thin air. Times when praying feels more like a conversation with the ceiling, than talking with my Heavenly Father. Times when church was a place to attend, rather than being part of the body of Christ. My dry spells occur when my focus is not on the Lord. When I’m caught up in doing things for Christ rather than abiding in Christ.

“When my hands stretch out towards the sky you never let me run dry.

When I dive into the depth of you my heart is made anew Jesus in you.”  (Into The Deep: Citipointe)

When we dive into a relationship with the Lord, the living water of His love refreshes us. Being immersed in His love will result in no more dry spells. Are you ready to dive headlong into His love? I am.

Father, we long to go deeper to be immersed in your presence. Take us deeper Lord. Amen

I give you Citipointe singing Into The Deep; enjoy!

Helena

 

 

 

When We Hurry Our Quiet Time

When We Hurry Our Quiet Time

Photo: Mitchell Orr, Unsplash

It was a quiet I had not experienced in all my years in church. It was different from the kind of quiet where you write the shopping list in your head or hope someone would say something; anything. Just break the awkwardness please kind of quiet.

When they said, “Let’s go to the house of God,” my heart leaped for joy. Psalm 122:1

The small Welsh chapel stood at the bottom end of town, it wasn’t fancy but it was a well known landmark. When asked where one went to church, it was suffice to say, “Jerusalem.” They knew you didn’t mean the city in Israel.

Singing in tune is not a requirement to worship

It was common practice during prayer meetings for whoever felt led to start up a worship song; singing in tune or music was not a requirement, yet somehow it was usually a beautiful sound that lifted from the people up past the rafters on its way to heaven.

Different members would stand unprompted one after another bringing their requests before the Lord, while those around voiced their Amen and Yes Lord. A moment of silence between prayers and singing was an opportunity for the next person to stand and join their voice with those who had prayed before them.

This particular prayer meeting the silence was different. It had a sweet rest about it, I could feel myself relax as if bathed in peace. No one uttered a sound, no-one dared break the silence. It was beautiful. Without anyone explaining I knew I was in the presence of the Lord. I for one was not in a hurry to leave and it seemed neither was anyone else.

I don’t know how long we sat in the sweetness of His presence, in the quietness of His spirit, maybe it was only a few minutes. Time had lost its importance, all that mattered was being with Him.

One Thing Remains

Many years have passed since that prayer meeting, a lot of life has happened bringing with it changes. Yet, one thing remains the same and that is the sweet presence of the Lord.

So often we come before Him in prayer, a quick thank you to show our gratitude for who He is and what He has done before we unload our next list of needs ending with a quick ” In Jesus name” and an even quicker “Amen.” Then we run off to our next task having checked off our Quiet Time.

Worship requires us to be fully present in His presence

We enter the courts of the throne room with praise, not lip service, not even our favorite song if it is not offered from the heart. Once in that’s where worship takes over, that is when we are lost in adoration for the One who sits at the right hand of the Father; Jesus.

Worship Requires Us to Be Fully Present

Photo: Word Swag

We cannot know the sweet rest of His presence, if we are not fully present in His presence. And we will never be fully present if we are in a hurry.

Slow down. Enter. Stay awhile.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.

If this post has blessed and encouraged you feel free to share it with a friend.

 

 

 

NLC Worship song Thankful: Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Wanted to share the song Thankful from NLC (New Life Church) worship album Our God and Our King with you today. Though not all who read this post live in the USA and so will not be celebrating the holiday of Thanksgiving. We can all say thank you to our Heavenly Father for His daily provisions no matter what part of the world we live in.

As fellow believers in Christ, lets raise our hearts in thanksgiving not only for the day to day provisions of our physical needs, but also for our mental and emotional needs.

He has set our feet on solid ground through Jesus. Let the praises to the One and Only begin. Or to put it another way…get your praise on!

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance