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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : Being the Presence of Christ by Gwen Phillips

Being the Presence of Christ

by Gwen Phillips

Leviticus 19:33-34: When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as you are native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.  

 Five years ago, several members of our church spent a weekend learning how to teach English to foreign adults and received teacher training certificates for 14 hours of training in English as a Second Language. Shortly after that, we officially began an ESL program at Second Baptist Church for anyone interested in learning English. Mostly, we have had friends from Mexico as students. However, we currently have friends from El Salvador and Guatemala. In the past, I’ve also taught women from Morocco, French-speaking Canada, Peru, and Korea. What a wonderful experience this has been for me!  The program began with nine men who worked at the Mexican restaurant on the Square. There has been much growth in their conversational English.  One friend, Leonardo, was able to promote from dishwasher in the back to server with the customers because his English improved so much!   

Over the years, we have enjoyed a variety of meaningful experiences with these new friends. Babies have been born, employment opportunities opened up. Some have returned to their homeland. One of my favorite activities has been working with mothers of little ones who want to read books to their kiddos in English. We practice reading in class, then the mom takes the book home and reads it to her child several times before returning that book for another.  I’ve been very proud of their hard work!   

Soon I will be sharing a new memory, this one with my Guatemalan friend, Lilian. Together, we studied hard on the 100 questions she needed to answer for her citizenship test and she has recently passed and completed her oral interview. This month, Lilian will go for her citizenship ceremony and she has invited me to come along. I can’t imagine the joy I will feel as she becomes a US citizen.  Lilian and her family love the Lord and continue to give thanks for this opportunity.   

Thanks to you, Second Baptist congregation, we are privileged to be the presence of Christ to friends from all around the world.    

“Treat them as well as you treat citizens and love them as much as you love yourself.”     

The world has come to us!  How can you respond to the needs of those knocking on our door?    
Posted by Terri Soper at Saturday, October 11, 2014 | 0 comments
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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : Praise the Lord With the Organ by Ann Posey

Praise the Lord with the Organ   

by Ann Posey  

Psalm 150:4b:  “Praise God with stringed instruments and organs.”   

The pipe organ at Second Baptist was originally built and installed by the Wicks Organ Company of Highland, Illinois, in 1928 at a cost of $12,000. The previous sanctuary also contained a small pipe organ which was destroyed in the fire that took the sanctuary as well.  Once installed, the organ had 5 divisions: Swell, Great, Choir, Pedal and Echo playable on a horseshoe shaped console with 3 keyboards and pedal.  

The church has used good stewardship in maintaining this initial investment throughout the last 86 years. The original specifications followed the English tradition. In 1969, four ranks were added – a 2’flute and a three rank mixture – giving more brilliance to the sound.   

In 1980 a generous bequest allowed the addition of 11 ranks which offered more opportunity for different colors and provided a new “state of the art” console. In 1993, the George Hoech family provided for the addition of the trumpet en chamade, mounted on the Echo organ, along with a later major renovation with additional ranks. The organ is now equipped with MIDI, transposer, master stop processor, piston sequencer, and additional pistons.   

With the recent Catalyst initiative, we have been able to correct the issues related to the 1980 work.  For about five years, we were unable to use five or six ranks (a rank is a set of pipes, one per key, of the same tone color) of the most colorful sounds. In recent weeks, my husband has commented on how much he is enjoying the additional colors of the instrument.   

Lately, I had the opportunity to play the organ in another local church. Although the instrument is in good condition, it is much smaller and is not as flexible and easy to use as the one at Second Baptist.  Having played the other pipe organs in Liberty, we are blessed to have an instrument that has a range of sounds useful in worship.  

 As with anything, human or mechanical that is 86 years old, some things wear out and need replacing.  At the time of construction, the Wicks Company was in a good period of work. Our instrument is tuned twice a year at a cost of $800 each tuning. Over the next four years, in addition to tuning, we should spend about $2000 a year for replacing parts that are wearing out.   

The pipe organ is not the only instrument appropriate for worship and we are blessed to have many pianists and other instrumentalists who generously offer their talents in worship.  The pipe organ, with its many colorful sounds does provide good  support for congregational singing as well as choral accompaniments and a variety of service music – some based on hymns, and some from the classic organ repertoire.  

As you worship through Preludes, Offertories, and Postludes, and singing hymns accompanied by the organ, thank God that through the first Catalyst we were able to do significant repair work to the organ.    

Posted by Terri Soper at Friday, October 10, 2014
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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : Thailand, Coffee and Catalyst by Bryan and Sabra Boyd

Thailand, Coffee and Catalyst

by Bryan and Sabra Boyd

Matthew 22:37:   Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”   

There are some things that just transcend the many differences that separate us in this world:  COFFEE is one of those things.    

Our language, ethnicity, culture, geography, and religion all seem to conspire to move us into our own little compartments of life where we feel comfortable and safe and with people who are like us. But get a few folks, no matter where they come from around a table with a cup of Joe, and conversation begins as you share the warm goodness and joy of that black brewed gold.   

I cannot help but think of coffee every time I think of Thailand.  We visited many a coffee shop throughout our mission trip in June. Our leader at the Upland Holistic Development Project (UHDP) Tui, knew where all the great coffee places were. In those coffee houses I was so profoundly reminded how similar we are as a human race. We all long for community and fellowship around the table.    

Starbucks has a special Thai blend of coffee that is named “Muan Jai” and this means “wholehearted happiness.” In all the places we ministered in Thailand and were ministered to, we were met with the wholehearted happiness of the Thai people.  Thailand is after all, known as the land of smiles.    

Our journey to Thailand was amazing, inspiring, convicting, and challenging (all in a good way!).  From our experience, we are centering in on living life wholeheartedly and looking expectantly to sharing a cup of Joe with new friends here in Liberty and beyond!  Thank you 2BC family for your gifts to the Catalyst initiative!           

What transcends the differences between you and others: coffee, a soccer ball, a bicycle?  Ask God to show you a way you can cross boundaries to be Christ’s presence in the world. 
Posted by Terri Soper at Thursday, October 9, 2014 | 0 comments
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