We showed this at our men’s group at Calvary Chapel of Crook County on Saturday, 5-8-10.
The ending really hammers it home, but you have to watch the whole thing for it to really have it’s full impact.
This past Saturday morning we kicked off our first Men’s Group of the year. We’ve done things like this in the past, but we really feel like there is a clear direction from the Lord with this latest one. Myself and one of the elders, Kevin Vaughan, are heading up the group, and treating it as a sort of “Man School”. Our intention is to steep the men in the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and let the Holy Spirit use us to get to the heart of the matter with the men in our church.
We are breaking things down into short series’, usually less than 6 weeks long. Our first series is called, “The Reason for Man”. We took the idea from the first question of Westminster Shorter Catechism, which asks, “What is the chief end of man?”, then it answers, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” After a great men’s retreat the weekend before where we looked at worship and idolatry through the lense of Romans 12, we felt like this was a great place to start with our men.
So many men today, especially in the church, don’t have a clear reason for their existence. If asked about their reason for being, they would probably each answer with something a little different, and “God” probably wouldn’t be in the majority of the answers. It is our desire to point our men to the truth of their existence as found in scripture, and see them changed by the grace of God.
Well, Christmas has come and gone. Children everywhere have demoted last year’s toys and gifts in place of this year’s. Many parents have spent money they don’t have to buy gifts that their kids want but don’t really need. Most people avoided burning down their house with the tree that they bought from a guy trying to make a few extra bucks in order to afford gifts for his own family, or maybe just to pay off the gifts from last year so he can repeat the cycle again.
But in all seriousness, I had a very nice Christmas. My wife’s family came up from Arizona to celebrate with us. It has been a good visit. I have about a week and a half off from work, with the exception of our usual service times. It’s a funny thing; we always say we want to take a little vacation from work, but when we get one, we don’t really know what to do! If one is just hanging out around the house, trying to avoid spending money that one doesn’t have, one begins to realize how much they rely upon money to keep themselves adequately entertained!
One of our small indulgences was to see a movie yesterday. We packed the van that my wife’s family brought and headed out to the movies. Most of us saw “Seven Pounds”, but two of the kids saw “Bolt”. I must say, “Seven Pounds” was quite an emotionally gut-wrenching movie. Without giving it away, I’ll just say that it might challenge the way you think about self-sacrifice for the good of others.
If you have a Christmas story from this past Christmas, we’d love to hear it!
Well, our Christmas service at church has come and gone. I have to say, it was better than last year. You see, last year we hadn’t moved into our new building, and we were having two services, but for Christmas we wanted to have only one service. So, we decided to hold the service at the middle school, where the church used to meet back in the day. Well, we had to haul all of our gear and sound equipment in, and set up everything, and it just wasn’t the greatest service we’ve ever had. There were a few hiccups here and there, to say the least.
BUT, this year was quite enjoyable. Ironically enough, we ended up having two services, and both were pretty full. I’d say between the two services there were probably about 275-300 people. We had three of the children’s classes each sing a song, which of course is always entertaining. As Ryan put it (the pastor), “It’s fun to watch the kids because you can see bits of their parents in them”. How very true that is!
I ended up borrowing a medley from the Relient K Christmas album, “Let it snow baby, let it Reindeer”. I know what you’re probably thinking, “Aren’t they a punk band?”. To which I would answer, “yes”. However, they are actually quite talented when it comes to switching up styles and going for something more mellow. They have harmonies reminiscent of the Beach Boys, and their musical arrangements always have a flavor of jazz influence in them.
For our set list, we did:
- Hosanna (by Paul Baloche)
- O Holy Night
- Silent Night/Away in a Manger
- I Celebrate the Day (great original Relient K christmas song)
then at the end we finished up with:
- Come Ye Sinners
Musically, I think the additional band members we added just for this service were a nice touch. It filled things up a little more. My wife and another lady in the church did an amazing job leading “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night”. I hope to do more three part harmonies like that in the future. (I was singing the third part, in case you were wondering)
So I curious, for those of you who drop by on occasion and read my blog, how have your holiday services gone so far? We still have two more services; Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. We’re praying that the Lord would use each service to bless people, but especially to bring Him glory.
Let me know how your holiday services have been going.
I have something to confess: every year, right around the end of November, I begin to get just a little anxious about Christmas. Particularly, the Christmas service that we have at our church. And, just to be a little more specific, the worship music. More specific still, the Christmas music.
Yes, I begin to frantically search for Christmas songs that are actually worshipful, familiar, and theologically relevant to Christ’s birth. And so the mad campaign ensues. I begin searching the web for Christmas songs; I search places like iTunes for newer versions of classic Christmas songs. Even with those tools, I still feel like I’m left with just a handful of decent songs, and I wonder if I’ll be able to find some more so I’m not doing the exact same songs I did the year before.
Can anyone else relate to this? Does anyone else out there share my dread of Christmas songs?
Don’t get me wrong, I actually like many of the Christmas songs that are truly relevant to Jesus’ coming. It’s the arrangement process that can drive me mad. Most Christmas songs are quite old, so consequently, their musical arrangements don’t lend themselves to a more modern style, and the accoustic guitar. For Me, trying to perfom Christmas songs in their original form on the guitar is the musical equivalent of slapping yourself just for fun. Sure, you can bring yourself to do it, but it just doesn’t pack the same entertainment value as it would if you were watching someone else do it.
So, all that to say: What are some ideas you might have to share with everyone else to lend them a hand in their Christmas service preparations? Maybe you have some song arrangements that you think just blow the socks off of their originals. I want to know!