Sometimes getting a song stuck in your head isn't all bad

I attend church pretty much every Sunday. It's not because we have to, but we enjoy church and the people God brings through the doors each week. I also lead a worship team at our church once a month. I choose the songs and lead the congregation in singing. I really enjoy it as a ministry and also as one of my favorite parts of the church service.

Sometimes there are songs from the church service that follow me into my week. I'm usually glad about it but I know there are people who don't like having songs stuck in their head. All you want to do is move on and think about something else but that campy worship song from the 1960s is right there with you when dropping the kids off at school or as you type or put the dishes away. So you turn on some other music and for a time the song is replaced by your current tunes. But, later that night as you try to fall asleep, or maybe in your morning shower, there it is again! It's back and often it's only two or three lines of the song because you don't have all four verses memorized, just bits and pieces. I get it. It happens to me all the time. But, I've learned that the song I am remembering is often the song that helped better tie in the message of the sermon. Or it's the song that tugged a bit too tightly at my "heart strings" and I need to work on that area of my life. So now, when that song just won't go away, I try to embrace what the lyrics are saying and apply it to my life.

There is a song recently that we sang at church about two months ago and it has been off and on in my brain ever since. I can remember singing it at the previous church we attended when I was a kid and I also remember singing it - maybe once a year - since I've attended our current church. The song is named "They'll know we are Christians by our love." It was written by Peter Scholtes in 1966 or '68 (and yes, it sounds exactly how I imagine Christianity in the 60s to sound.) Admit it, you are probably humming it right now after reading the title. Well, I chose this song for our church service today because I think the words are so powerful. As I was reading the words and preparing to lead worship this week, I realized that the words are exactly how we, if you are a Christian, should treat others. However, it is written in such a way that by the second or third verse it is so easy to get lost in the sound of the song and miss the lyrics. Now, I'm not sure if that happened to some people at our church this morning; but, hopefully, they will have it stuck in their head this week and God will use those words in spite of the "swaying melody" of the song. 

Pastor Terry is preaching a sermon series on the book of Philippians. Today he spoke on chapter 1:27-30. I chose most of the worship songs based on verse twenty-seven. 

"Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel," Philippians 1:27 

Unity of the believers and one mind is what Paul prayed the church in Philippi would have. He wanted to see it with his own eyes, or at least hear about their unity from others who visited him in prison. I pray the same for our church in Ogden Valley and the greater Church in the world. I desire to be a people who walk with each other and guard each other's dignity. I want us to praise the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And I want other people - inside the church and outside - to know that we are Christians because of our love. The way we love is important!

In the sermon today, Pastor Terry used an illustration of a waiter's relationship to a restaurant. If you have a waiter at a restaurant that gives you terrible service, you don't say, "I'm never having that waiter again!" Some people would say, "We are never coming to this restaurant again!" It is important how believers in Christ behave because it could lead to people being "turned off" to Christ and the church by one single person. Now, honestly, you cannot control how other people feel. And their actions as a result of an encounter with you may not be justified. I am not saying we should be perfect because that is impossible for us to do because of sin. (Romans 3:23) Plus, it is Christ who draws a person to His love. I am a part of their story but I'm not the one who saves them. Christ has (atoned) paid for our sins and we are a new creation in Him. Because of His death on the cross, all the work has been done and we are able to give out His love to others. We are also able to apologize when we've wronged someone and hopefully reconcile the relationship. The gospel truly is good news! 

Look at the lyrics of the song with the main message stated more as a poem or verse. It helps me to see the lyrics and not the "campy 60s feel" of the song. May we strive for unity this week and may we be known by our love and may the praises be given to God alone. 

"We are one in the Spirit. We are one in the Lord. And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.
 And they'll know we are Christians by our love. 
We will walk with each other. We will walk hand in hand. And together we'll spread the news that God is in our land. 
And they'll know we are Christians by our love. 
We will work with each other. We will work side by side. And we'll guard each man's dignity and save each man's pride. 
And they'll know we are Christians by our love. 
All praise to the Father from whom all things come, and all praise to Christ Jesus his only son, and all praise to the Spirit who makes us one. 
And they'll know we are Christians by our love. Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love."

Ogden Valley Community Church

I am thrilled to report, a few weeks ago, we finally held our first worship service in our new church building! The process has been long (over two years of actively going through the building process) and filled with many unknowns and waiting but the Lord has provided a wonderful place for us to gather as a church and worship His name! 

"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."

I have so many pictures of the building as it was being built and someday I'll make a link to an album instead of a blog post for those. These pictures are from our first Sunday service. I was able to sing on the worship team the first week and it was so amazing to see the many faces I know as well as the many who were visiting and curious. Whatever reason they chose to join us that morning, I pray they saw our desire to make God known and experienced His love and left our church encouraged. We serve a God of grace and truth and we want to give His grace and truth to others. 

  "Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood."

So, let me take you on a tour - it's not of the whole building, simply the places of which I took pictures. There are also some unfinished areas of the church that you may notice - we're still working on some things. 

Chairs and stage set; ready to start the service
View from the stage. 
My dad, in the sound booth - a place he enjoys and has been serving for most of my life. 
Attempted panorama of people getting ready to worship
During the welcoming by Jen. Photo credit: Zach Campbell
So many cars! It let us know we need to be better prepared for winter snow. 
More cars and the beautiful benches that James made for his Eagle Scout project!
Nursery Room for our kids that are two years old and under
Preschool Class
Elementary Class
More elementary kids and helper

Not pictured: A photo of the youth group class. They meet at 9:30 am (while I was in music practice) 

Pastor Terry, I am so thankful that God brought his family to Utah and to our community. 

My prayer for our church, as we continue ministry in this valley where we are established, is that we will seek the Lord and His ways. May our hearts desire to follow His leading and seek out ways to show His glory to those inside our church and out. That we will be known for our love and desire to show God's greatness. I want to be used for God's kingdom and to be seen as a peaceful help in the body of Christ. I am praying that God brings us the lost and hurting and they can find rest and peace for their souls. May our light that comes from the Holy Spirit shine in the communities around us and may our gentleness be evident to all

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good  for his steadfast love endures forever!"

Ogden Valley Community Church  for address and additional information

The Company We Keep

Every month, I attend a book club comprised of women from my church and a few other churches around our area. We meet for a few hours and discuss the book we chose for the month. I love meeting with these ladies. I have found that I learn best by verbally processing the information I've taken in. So if I read a book and walk away, never to discuss it with any one else, then I won't remember as much as if I told someone about what I liked and what I still didn't quite understand. Which is why I have loved the book club aspect of reading books. I get to discuss the book with ladies who also read it and may have a different perspective to offer.

I have been trying to read more books over the past few years. The kids and I finished two book series: Little House and Chronicles of Narnia. They were so good for me to read because I am drawn to books that are "self-help" in nature but focused on Christ - in that we don't "help ourselves," we trust in Jesus' work on the cross to do that. The books I read can be overwhelming, often taking me deep into my habits and relationships, attempting to draw out the best of Jesus in my life. I know some people don't enjoy or desire books like that, but I do. I want to live my best life in Christ, not merely "getting by" in life. My desire is for Him and for His name to be known.

The book we chose to read for October was refreshingly short but still extremely eye-opening. If I am spending a month to read through a book, I want it to be "worth it" however that is measured. The book is called The Company We Keep: In Search of Biblical Friendship. It consists of six chapters - and I enjoyed it very much. I have always had friends but I have always desired for those friendships to be amazing! The "quality" of my friendships has been determined by differing scales throughout my life - all designed by me. I determined if the friendship was "good" or "enough" and that isn't necessarily wrong but it certainly isn't fair to myself or my friend. That is why I was excited to read this book. It gives a more Biblical perspective on friendship and what our friendships can look like with Christ as the center. Obviously, any book I read, outside of the Bible, isn't going to be the "be-all-end-all" of the issues in my life. This book is no exception but it does offer a good direction on the next step in many of my friendships.

This is a quote from the first chapter. It talks about the difference between friendships in the world and a friendship with Jesus at the center.

"For not only is he the center, he also gives us the power to follow his example and befriend others. This embodied friendship, centered on Jesus, flows out into every area of life. Friendship ceases to be primarily something we do, and instead it transforms into something we become as we follow Christ." - Holmes 

I am encouraged that my focus in friendships should be Christ and following His example and I watch Him do the work through me. What a great blessing to be reminded yet again that there is nothing I have to do to earn favor in this life. Jesus has already paid the price I was meant to pay and now I trust Him and obey. The gospel is good news.

So, to my friends who are reading this, thank you for your love and friendship and for you listening ear as I verbally process life! I am so thankful to be walking life with you.

If you desire more direction in your friendships, please read this book. When you finish, contact me and we can talk.