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November 2009
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The thread of God's amazing grace

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I have enjoyed a couple of weeks of being "somewhat unplugged" from social networking and blogging. The more that I embrace technology in my life, the more I find myself longing for times of "hiding" as I call it from the world and what is going on with it and everyone in it. Don't be offended :) but I have enjoyed not really knowing "what is going on" outside the four walls of my home!

The older I get, the more I long for reflection...space to breathe and think. When I was younger, I hated thinking about the past and would really force myself to not do it. I thought it was pointless and non-productive. As I approach my 15 year wedding anniversary in 2010 and 40 is not that far away, I have found such joy in thinking about how my past connects with my present and the future. I see the thread of God's amazing grace...all woven together into the tapestry that is my journey.

I heard a great communicator say that we live our lives between the moments God tells us about the promise and the actual moment He keeps His promise to us. The time between God telling Abraham that he would have a son and it actually happening was 20 years. David was anointed King of Israel many years before he actually became King...there was a thread of God's amazing grace.

I'm learning to see my life as a big picture comprised of many snapshots. I have enough years behind me to see seasons of tremendous struggle and seasons of great blessing. The snapshots of 2009 are some of my most memorable...

1. We purchased a home on HHI. This is our 3rd home we have purchased in our married lives, but this one was a "miracle" in so many ways...from the financing. to the down payment, to the timing of the closing...God's amazing grace ALL over it!

2. Sydney started Kindergarten. After waiting 9 years to have children, God gave us the most beautiful gift in Sydney in 2004. I would love to repeat the 5 years we have had at home together from her first year in Atlanta with both grandparents close...to our almost 2 year adventure in NYC...to her preschool and now school experiences here on Hilton Head. She is a reflection of God's amazing grace. I have so enjoyed the "one-on-one" time with Sean David...I cannot wait to see all that this little boy is going to become!

3. Todd beginning to speak most Sundays at our campus. This started in June of this year and I have been amazed at the gift that God has given him to share his heart and to teach God's Word. This has been a joy to be able to use my abilities to come alongside Todd in his Message prep each week (and it has generated some interesting "discussion" as well at our Thursday at 4pm run-throughs!)

There are so many more that I could share that all tie directly back to God's amazing grace in our marriage, our children, and our church. I encourage you to embrace the thread and see the whole picture of your life, especially over the next week as we begin a new year with new snapshots. If you would like to share one with me here, I would love to hear about it.

God's best in the New Year....


Sunday Recap - December Music

With this season being as "busy" as it is, I wanted to do a post about the three Sundays in December and share our song selections for these 3 weeks. I will do a separate post for our Christmas Eve services. There are certain songs I do every year and then I add a few new ones. I find that people LOVE the familiar at this time of year and when you throw in something brand new every now and then, it is received so much better. I try to have fun with the groove and arrangements of carols and let the band give input on that in rehearsal. We came up with a "Samba feel" on "Hark the Herald Angels" this past week. People couldn't help but move a little bit! "Winter Snow" was a hit...especially when you have a bass player that just bought an electric stand up! Love it, Davey dog! Our band is a lot of rock and roll guys and they have had a blast becoming jazz players this month. Randy the drummer bought some mallets, brushes, and even sleigh bells. It has been a nice "change" in our musical landscape. Don't get me wrong...we still rock it out, but it's nice to do something different. Here are our songs...

December 6th

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" - Russ Taff version from his Christmas record - GREAT record!

"Glory to God Forever" - Fee/Beeching

ADVENT  - WEEK 2 - LOVE - Romans 8

"Born in Bethlehem" - Third Day

"You Gave Your Life Away" - Kathryn Scott

"O Come Let us Adore Him" - Chorus

December 13

"Hark the Herald Angels Sing" - Samba!

"Glory to God Forever" - Fee/Beeching

ADVENT - WEEK 3 - JOY - Luke 2:25-35; Hebrews 1:1-2

"Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground) - Tomlin

"Winter Snow" - Tomlin/Audrey Assad - MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG THIS YEAR!

"Emmanuel" - Bob McGee (we went right into it - same key - people loved it!)

December 20

"O Come All Ye Faithful" - Third Day "feel"

"Go Tell it on the Mountain"

ADVENT  - WEEK 4- PEACE - Romans 5:1-11

"Do You Hear What I Hear?" - Third Day

"Glory in the Highest" - Tomlin

Meet me at Fred's for more Christmas music...


Evening in December Recap - Hear a sample!

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Our First Annual Evening in December Concert and Dessert was on Sunday night. I have been overwhelmed at the response from those that attended and from my team that pulled it off. I have dreamed of doing something like this for over a year at our Hilton Head Campus, and then I planned it for this year, but in my wildest dreams, I never imagined what happened. I say in my blog bio that I'm a wanna-be movie score composer because I love arranging and pulling off unique musical events ( my inner "David Foster!)

We did record it and it will be available NEXT YEAR for purchase. We just can't turn it around in 2 weeks (design, licenses...) and it be done right, so for those who have been asking...next year! And we WILL be adding shows so more can come.

We raised over our goal for Woodhaven Apartments and have brought more attention to the needs there as a result of this concert. Thank you so much to all of you who have e-mailed, called, text, or spoken to us about the concert. We are so thankful that you enjoyed it and we can't wait till next year!

Here's a little sample of the night for those of you who missed it...

CHRISTMAS CONCERT



Sunday Recap - The Advent Season

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This is the first year that I have made celebrating Advent a weekly part of the worship experience. I have enjoyed the time I have spent researching and learning about the meaning of Advent and then creating the space in the service to celebrate it. I chose 5 words that define what Christ's "arrival" on earth represents - HOPE, LOVE, JOY, PEACE, and LIGHT of the WORLD. I have the congregation read with me Scripture that supports these words. I found 4 great Advent video loops from worship films that I use on the screen for each week and then I had Lynn Jackson from Heaven Sent bookstore here in our area, create an Advent Wreath for the stage. If you want to read a great overview of the importance of Advent, read THIS POST today from Noel Piper, one of my heroes in the Christian leadership world.

We did a pre-quel to our Christmas series that kicks off this Sunday with a message called "Give Christmas Away."  Our Message Bumper was a couple of clips from "Charlie Brown Christmas" where Charlie Brown expresses his frustration with not knowing what Christmas is all about. Here was our service flow...

"Come Now is the Time to Worship" - Vineyard

Welcome/Announcements

"All Because of Jesus"

What is Advent? - WEEK 1 - The Hope of the World

"Jesus Messiah" - Tomlin

Video - Message Bumper

Message

Video - Wrap up - Linus - Luke 2

"Give This Christmas Away" - CLICK HERE to watch the music video

Todd ended his message with the video clip of Linus sharing Luke 2 with Charlie Brown. "Give this Christmas Away" is the Theme song for "Operation Christmas Child" this year. It was a perfect wrap up to Todd's message on how we need to do things different this year. The words say it all...

"What if I told you
You have the power
To give someone hope
Beyond their wildest dreams
What if I told you
It’s right there in your hands
In your hands

It’s hard to imagine
How something so small
Can make all the difference
Take down the tallest wall
What if December
Looked different this year
What if we all just

Give this Christmas away
If there’s love in your heart
Don’t let it stay there
Give this Christmas away
And your life will be changed
By the gifts you receive
When you give this Christmas away

It’s feeding the hungry
Serving the poor
It’s telling the orphan
You’re not forgotten anymore
It’s doing what love does
Even when no one’s watching you

Give this Christmas away
If there’s love in your heart
Don’t let it stay there
Give this Christmas away
And your life will be changed
By the gifts you receive
When you give this Christmas away
For God so loved the world
That He gave His only Son
So we could be
His hands, His feet, His love
His love..."

℗ (C) 2009 Matthew West Sparrow Records. All rights reserved

I'm ready for this Season! Are you???

Meet me at Fred's!