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2BC BLOG

Page 15 of 49

"When in Our Music, God is Glorified" by Don Brown

A Catalyst Testimony

I believe it was 2004 when Helen and I decided to work with the Middle School Handbell Choir.  We realized the group did not have a leader for the coming school year.  Grandson Stewart was entering Middle School, and we wanted to make sure he had a handbell choir to join. A couple of years later, granddaughter Emily joined us. Stewart and Emily are way past Middle School age, but we have continued to enjoy working with this exciting and challenging age group.  Fortunately,  Don Long soon joined us as a co-director of this group.  His experience and expertise working with young musicians, and his genuine love of students, make him a vital part of this leadership team.

Some may not be aware of the music education program going on in the church.  Each Sunday choral groups for young children through high school, as well as handbell ensembles, train children and young people not only in musical skills but also in the value of music in worship.  Students in these ensembles become worship leaders as they prepare to sing or play in our services.  They also learn the value of teamwork, coupled with individual responsibility.

 While leaders (including choir accompanists) of these groups are volunteers, the Catalyst resources enable us to purchase the music and supplies we need to sustain these programs.  Without that support,  we would not be able to function.  We are grateful to our congregation for their support of the music ministry and other vital ministries of Second Baptist. 

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote Soli Deo Gloria (to God alone be glory) on each of his compositions.  We may not always be successful, but that is our goal and purpose in the music ministry of Second Baptist.

at Saturday, November 25, 2017 | 0 comments
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Coffee with the Pastor, Helping Others Belong by Becky Gossett

I'm one of the fortunate ones; I haven't "church shopped" for about 30 years. Second Baptist is only the third church I've ever called "My Church."  Because I've helped host our Coffee with the Pastor, many times over the past several years, I've learned that those who are in the market for a new church bring a variety of thoughts, feelings, and expectations to the process.

Several times each year the hospitality team hosts Coffee with the Pastor. It is a special time for those who are visiting Second Baptist to sit with Pastor Jason in a comfortable atmosphere and learn more about our church.  Visitors can ask important questions and share their stories. 

Sometimes the discussions involve interesting perspectives on theology. Other times, the discussions are about the church's history or purpose. Almost always, the discussions involve the stories that lead people to look for a new church home... and I am grateful to hear these stories. 

Some people have relocated to our area and happened upon our church, but there are also people who bring pain or frustration with previous church life. Some haven't been part of a church in the past and have hesitations about joining us. And then there are the best stories about the ways many of our guests have begun to make connections as they get better acquainted with our very special church family. 

Often, Second becomes a place of healing and community for these wonderful new friends. Jason and I hear about such simple ways our church family helps bring visitors into our life together...through a genuine smile, a warm touch, a listening ear. 

I'm happy that I don't have any plans to "church shop." Through Coffee with the Pastor, many visitors can come closer to ending their church shopping and finding their new home. 

 

at Friday, November 24, 2017 | 0 comments
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Celebrate Our Differences by Eric Zahnd

I guess he would be surprised.

Twenty-five years and two teenagers later, my wife Tracy and I remain happily married.

That’s not what he predicted. He said we would never make it, and we should just hang it up.

He was wrong.

He was a couples counselor at Glorieta Baptist Conference Center in New Mexico. Tracy and I had gone there on a college retreat in 1989.

We were dating at the time, and one of the workshops was geared toward couples. The counselor administered a personality test to the group and then held brief individual counseling sessions with each couple.

Tracy and I scored as polar opposites on every axis of the inventory. She is an extrovert; I am an introvert. She likes to sense things; I am more intuitive. She feels; I think. She perceives; I judge.

When he met with us, he told us in no uncertain terms that our relationship was doomed.

“Someday,” he said to Tracy, “you’re going to need Eric, and he won’t be there for you. You would be better off accepting that now and moving on.”

He was a fool.

I’ve never seen the movie, and I’m given to mocking its famous line, but Jerry Maguire offers more soundly Christian advice than the supposed expert at Glorieta.

“You complete me,” Jerry utters to his true love in the film.

That’s true of Tracy and me. Her strengths compensate for my many weaknesses, and vice-versa. Although we sometimes have to work hard to reconcile our different ways of approaching the world, we ultimately make a great couple—with a healthy and lasting marriage to prove it—largely because of our differences.

This is also true of a healthy church and a healthy Christian. One of the things that continue to draw me to Second Baptist Church is that we embrace diversity, particularly diversity of thought.

Unlike many churches—on both the political and theological left as well as right—Second Baptist Church has decided to embrace diversity of thought. Too many of our Christian brothers and sisters—again on the left just as often as the right—have instead adopted a theology of exclusion borne of a dangerous arrogance that they have God figured out.

Too many churches and Christian leaders today neglect the Christian virtue of accepting the ambiguity that comes with humbly acknowledging that God is infinitely bigger than any of us can imagine. Too many Christians today want to believe that they somehow have captured what God would have us to believe and how God would have us to act in very complex circumstances. They disregard the doxology from Romans 11:33-36:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

    How unsearchable his judgments,

    and his paths beyond tracing out!

“Who has known the mind of the Lord?

    Or who has been his counselor?”

“Who has ever given to God,

    that God should repay them?”

For from him and through him and for him are all things.

    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

In my marriage as well as my church, I know no one will try to force me to approach a personal, political, theological, or moral issue from a certain vantage point. Instead, I humbly accept with those closest to me the reality that we see only “through a glass, darkly.” I Corinthians 13:12.

The humility required to celebrate differences has sustained Tracy and me through more than two decades of marriage. That same sort of humility has enlivened Second Baptist Church for nearly 175 years.

So the next time a supposed Christian couples expert or a strident voice from either Christian extreme insists to you that you have it all wrong and divergence invites defeat, I suggest you do what my wife and I and the people of Second Baptist have done:  stick with one another and rejoice in the strength that comes from our differences.

at Monday, November 6, 2017 | 0 comments
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