What’s on your Spotify playlist? Or in your CD player?
I’ve been listening to a lot of music this week as I’ve been in Nashville helping out with the Sing! Global Conference sponsored by modern hymnwriters Keith and Kristyn Getty who wrote the hymn In Christ Alone as well as several other hymns we sing at church.
The conference has featured messages from Joni Tada, Alistair Begg, Paul David Tripp, Ligon Duncan, HB Charles and many others. There have been helpful workshops on a wide variety of topics related to how we worship together in our local churches.
And along with the messages and workshops, there has been a lot of singing. A lot of music. And as much as my heart has been encouraged and strengthened by hearing the messages I’ve heard, I’ve been buoyed by the songs, both familiar and new.
Music is more powerful in our lives than most of us realize. It affects how we think and how we feel. It touches our mind and our emotions in a way I don’t think we fully understand.
Martin Luther understood the power of music. We still sing his best known hymn A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (we’ll be signing it this Sunday). Luther was a leader in bringing congregational singing back into corporate worship.
“After theology, I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor,” Luther wrote. “As long as we live there is never enough singing… Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.”
“Music is one of the fairest and most glorious gifts of God, to which Satan is a bitter enemy; for it removes from the heart the weight of sorrow, and the fascination of evil thoughts… Music is a discipline, and a mistress of order and good manners, she makes the people milder and gentler, more moral and more reasonable… Satan hates music: he knows how it drives the evil spirit out of us.”
“I have no use for cranks who despise music, because it is a gift of God. Music drives away the Devil and makes people joyful; they forget thereby all wrath, unchastity, arrogance, and the like. Next after theology, I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor.”
And as only Luther could say it, he wrote “A person who does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God, must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs.”
We’ve all been told we are what we eat. I think we are what we listen to. So don’t be a clodhopper. Find music that tunes your heart to sing God’s praise. And crank it up.
School is back in session. UCA won their opening football game this weekend. While all of us continue to make health and safety a priority, we’re also doing what we can to keep the essentials of life happening.
Worshipping together is one of those essentials. I’ve been grateful during this season for the technology that has enabled us to gather virtually and to be under the regular preaching of God’s word. I hope you haven’t allowed the pandemic to divert your focus from the essentials of soul care and spiritual growth. I hope you’ve been making it a priority to be part of our worship services and to stay connected to one another as a church family.
While we continue to pray that the COVID rates in Arkansas will come down, we want to continue to encourage everyone who is coming to our church building for worship to keep practicing appropriate social distancing while you’re there. We ask that everyone continue to wear a mask as we enter and exit the building, while we sing and anytime we are within six feet of another person.
We have some in our congregation who very much want to be with us as we get together each Sunday, but who, for very good reasons, want to remain cautious and vigilant as they come. There are others who have been coming regularly who have found it hard to keep a mask on for the entire worship service.
So here’s what we’re asking for now: If you are able to keep your mask on the whole service and prefer that level of precaution, please plan to sit on the left side (the south side) of our worship center each week. Those who might want or need to lower their masks during the sermon, assuming you are six feet from people other than family, plan to sit on the right side (the north side) of the sanctuary.
And anytime we’re interacting with one another inside the building, make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep one another safe. The pandemic will be with us for some time. Let’s not become weary in well doing, and let’s make sure we’re looking out for the good of others as we gather.
NURSERY TO OPEN
We are making plans now to reopen our nursery to care for children ages 0-3, beginning in October. Jen Gurney has begun to put together our plan for safely reopening the nursery.
You can download the guidelines by clicking here.
For those who have toddlers and elementary aged children, we want you to know that we are fine with squirmy noisy kids in our service! If you need to take a child out during the service, that’s fine too. We’re a family. We get it.
We will be setting up the Living Room for overflow viewing. If our Sunday morning attendance exceeds our safe capacity, we’ll do all we can to make other arrangements for being at church.
Let me stress again: If you are having any symptoms related to COVID, please don’t come to church. If you are at risk because of age or pre-existing medical conditions, please consider staying home. We don’t want to put anyone at risk for COVID!
If you have questions about reopening the nursery or safe practices during worship, reach out to Jen or Matt or me.
And here’s a great word that a friend of mine shared on Twitter today:
RCC WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY
Have you been wondering about plans for Women’s Bible Study this fall? Here’s an update for you:
Psalm 19:7-8 says:
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple
the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart
the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Our souls need reviving and we need wisdom every day and our hearts need more joy and our eyes need light to know the way we should go!
Where do we find all of these but in the Bible. So, let’s seek the Lord together in His Word!
Our plan is to do things a little differently this fall due to the current community health situation. Instead of one large group study, we want to do several smaller groups that are more discussion based. We believe this format will be more effective, especially for those that meet virtually. And it will allow more interaction, connection, encouragement of one another as well as time and opportunity to pray for each other about the truths from God’s Word we are learning together.
First, we will tell you a little about the study we have chosen and then about the different options you may choose to join the study.
Rahab, Tracing the Thread of Redemption
|This 6 lesson Bible study is from the Revive Our Hearts Women of the Bible series. It contains 5 days of personal Bible study (about 15-20 minutes a day) for each week/lesson as well as memory verses and group discussion questions. As we look at the life and redemption of Rahab, we will grasp more fully the beauty and wonder of the grace of God throughout history and in our own lives!|
Meeting Options – Please select one that best suits your needs
We will offer virtual and in person as well as evening and day. So, consider the times below and, when you sign up for the Bible study, indicate which meeting you chose. Then we can see how many groups we need and if there is enough interest for each option.
Monday nights 7:00pm
IN PERSON AT REDEEMER
Masks and social distancing will be used according to current church policy to protect and serve others.
Tuesday afternoons 1:30pm
Virtual using Zoom
Tuesday nights 7:00pm
Virtual using Zoom
START DATE: September 14/15
FINISH DATE: October 26/27
BOOK COST: $5.00
This a small investment of money and only a 6-week commitment of time
but the rewards will be great.
SIGN UP – 2 EASY STEPS
1. EMAIL Terry Morledge ~ firstname.lastname@example.org -or- TEXT: 501-517-1566
2. CHOOSE the time you plan to attend from the table above. And feel free to invite friends!
Will you pray and consider if you should join with other women this fall to see and hear the Lord? God gives grace through His Word but also through His people. In these days, where we are less connected with one another, come be together as we study RAHAB, another woman, like you, rescued by God.
RCC MEMBERSHIP MEETING
Saturday, September 19 from 9:00 am until noon, we’re hosting our next church membership class, either in the RCC Family Room or in our Worship Center, depending on how many of you attend.
If you’re interested in learning more about membership at Redeemer, there is some reading we ask everyone to do in advance of the September 19 get together. Email Pastor Matt and he’ll get you what you need so you can be prepared. Mattgurney77@gmail.com
Where do we go to find rest and peace when what we see on our screens and devices is unrest and turmoil? This Sunday, we’ll pause our study of John’s gospel to look at how we can find the kind of deep soul rest that Jesus offers to all who come to Him.
See you (in person or on line) Sunday!
Soli Deo Gloria!