Thursday, August 3, 2023

For God Alone

 


I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. ~Psalm 9:2


One of the most gratifying experiences Danny and I share as a couple years ago is singing together in our praise band, Crossroads, at Kennesaw United Methodist Church.  When we are assigned a new pastor, the last thing we expect is to get asked to step down from our positions.  Well, not in so many words, but the writing on the wall is loud and clear.  Se don't know to this day why or how we rubbed the pastor the wrong way, but we decide to leave without casting blame or badmouthing her decision.

When I first arrive at Shiloh Methodist (pictured above), before Danny starts attending with me, it isn't long before I'm telling folks what church I used to attend, and how we were involved in the music ministry.  Shiloh is too small of a congregation to have a choir, so much of the music is led by our amazing lay leader, Sandy, at each service.  When I tell her about Danny, she doesn't hesitate to jump on the opportunity to ask him to participate in the music on a rotating basis.

This coming Sunday will be our debut!  Danny has selected the song, "How Great is our God," by Chris Tomlin.


It is one of my favorites, and I'm so blessed to be able to sing harmony with him on this number.  During our practices, all the joys of singing God's praises with him come flooding back to me.  I'm overcome by emotions I haven't felt in way too many years, and I'm so grateful to God for the gift of song to honor Him with the praise He deserves.

Oh, and why are we practicing in what we call our "middle room?"  Because it is sparsely furnished and uncarpeted, the room mimics the great acoustics found in our church sanctuary.  It allows Danny and I to develop a better feel for what the real experience will be like.



In the pre-electronic days when our little church was originally built, sound had to carry all on its own, allowing everyone to clearly hear the hymns of joy and worship, receiving the Word of God with unmistakable clarity.

When I look back on those years of wires, ear buds and microphones, I sense that our desire to draw closer to God and His people was hampered by the illusion of performance.  That's antithetical to the concept of worship, even when our outward signs would have us thinking otherwise.

I pray that we will know this coming Sunday that our presence in that holy place is for God alone and for His faithful people.

Amen!

61 comments:

  1. Well done Martha and Danny. Will you be posting a recording here soon so we can sing along with you? I do not know the hymn you mention.

    God bless.

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    1. I do know this particular rendition won't be recorded, Victor. I do appreciate you asking! We have a recording from years ago, but it would involve me putting up the entire music website and you having to search for that particular tune. I'll see what I can do.
      Love and blessings!

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  2. It warms my heart to read this, truly it does. Wishing you a beautiful day friend.

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    1. I'm so glad to know that this post cheered you, Linda.
      Love and blessings!

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  3. In our family, Tomlin's "How Great is Our God" is known as "Cameron's song." Our oldest grandson started singing it when he was four.

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    1. How cool is that, Glynn? I'm going to start calling it Cameron's song, too! That makes it even more personal.
      Love and blessings!

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  4. Dearest Martha Jane,
    Happy for you both that you can again praise God by music and song!
    It is hard to understand why some people tend to abuse 'power' and don't allow others to contribute... One day they will have to answer to their final Judge.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Amen, Mariette! We will all have to give account of our actions when we come before God. But there have been good things that came from that, too. Danny and I were freed up to tend to both of our mothers as they were aging. What could have been better than that? I do so love how God works!
      Love and blessings!

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  5. Martha Jane: All I can say is 'Praise the LORD'. It is wonderful that you and Danny will be able to serve God in this way. A dear friend used to take her cassette recorder to church with her and record the sermon until that church's sound system got updated. Peace and blessings to you and yours.

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    1. We are thrilled by this opportunity, too, Cecelia! I will second your "Praise the Lord." He is so good!
      Love and blessings!

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  6. Worship and music go together. I'm glad you and Danny will perform together this coming Sunday for God alone and His faithful people.

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    1. Music and worship do go hand-in-hand, Duta, that's for sure. We are so honored and humbled to be a part of this upcoming service.
      Love and blessings!

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  7. What a wonderful turn! Curious! I don't know exactly what transpired, but our good friends Cindy and Frank used to perform their music ministry before each service. Several weeks ago all that stopped, and I suspect Pastor Janet's husband, Andy -- the music director -- got his nose out of joint for whatever reason. (*sigh*) We, too, are too small a congregation to have a real choir, so will be content (?) to listen to him singing. I wish I might hear y'all in person, but sending praises in advance!

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    1. I guess those kinds of things happen from time to time in all churches, Myra. I do hope Cindy and Frank are not too crushed by this move. Sometimes, we just have to take a deep breath, accept the consequences and simply move on. God always has something better down the road.
      Love and blessings!

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  8. What a wonderful opportunity you and Danny got. Best to you both on your debut. I'm sure God will enjoy hearing your voices once again singing praise to him.

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    1. Thank you so much, Bill, for your kind and thoughtful words and well-wishes here. To please God with musical praise is certainly something we've missed, and I'm so grateful for this door He's opened for us.
      Love and blessings!

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  9. You did a good work during this years singing in the church and doing more things. This kind of good activities are great, for you and for others.

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    1. Thank you so much, J. S.! I do hope and pray that those years of service produced much fruit.
      Love and blessings!

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  10. Oh, Martha! How wonderful! Can you somehow record it and share it with us here? I would love that. I'm sorry to be so long in commenting. I have fallen behind and am trying to catch up. It was so nice to visit with you today. God bless you, sweet friend.

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    1. There is no way to record it, Cheryl, but as I mentioned to Victor above, we do have a music website; honestly, I still have to look up the web address and will put it here. It's been that long since I even visited it, so not even sure if it still works. Yes, you've been missed here, but no worries about catching up!
      Love and blessings!

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  11. A few of you have asked if we are recording the song this Sunday. There is no convenient way to do that at Shiloh, but here is the link to all the songs we've recorded in the past: https://dannymorlando.wixsite.com/theway
    Once there, click on the "Listen" button, and scroll to "How Great is Our God" to hear our recording from 2013. While you're there, you can check out any song you'd like to listen to.
    Thanks so much, my friends!

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  12. https://dannymorlando.wixsite.com/theway/listen

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  13. Oh, I love that song, and I am so pleased to hear that you and Danny will be singing together again! I am happy you have found a happy place to worship...one where God's presence will truly be felt I am certain, as you lift your voices to Him in praise. I can imagine that your little church is much like ours. I will be praying for you and you sing for the glory of the Lord!

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    1. What's not to love about that song, Pamela? I'm glad you like it so much, and we are so grateful for this opportunity to share our music with our new church family. God is so good!
      Love and blessings!

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  14. Dear Martha, it's good to hear that God gave you the desire of your heart. Isn't that the sweetest thing, how he knew all along that your desire is to honor him with praise?! Enjoy your new gig!

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    1. Thanks so much, Debra! God certainly knows our needs before we ask, and we are so thankful for this fresh opportunity to share with a church that truly feels like home.
      Love and blessings!

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  15. My heart rejoices with you and Danny as you join your voices together to praise God and faithfully display the gifts He invested in you. When Diane and I are able to work together as a team in any kind of ministry activity, I feel a special sense of privilege that's different than when I'm by myself. In another week, we're heading off on a trip back to VA where we'll be presenting some of the things God taught us during our pilgrimage to Israel last year. As i read your heartwarming post, I enjoyed the anticipation of our own partnership in that endeavor. Thank you for not only sharing your gifts with the church, but also for allowing us to join you in praising Him in advance for the blessing that will accompany it.

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    1. I'm so delighted to learn that Diane and you are also able to work for the Lord as a team. You are so right to say that there's something extra special about serving Him together, no matter what the ministry. Prayers for you both as you travel to VA and may many be moved by your presentation!
      Love and blessings!

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  16. Good on you, me I can't sing, I sound like a cat in distress

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    1. We are truly happy and grateful that God is using our talents again. You might not be able to sing, Jo-Anne, but I'm sure God has blessed you with many varied gifts to use for Him.
      Love and blessings!

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  17. How I wish I could be there to hear you and Danny sing!! Please do tell us about it next week!! I know it will be wonderful for both of you AND for the congregation! xo

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    1. I wish you could be there, too, Terri! There's a link above in the comments to our music website that was active until 2016. You can click on the link, then click on "listen." You can scroll to any song you like!
      Love and blessings!

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  18. Glad you are singing in your new church! -Christine cmlk79.blogspot.com

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  19. Can't wait to hear how it all goes. Blessings all around I think

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    1. Thanks, J. D. I'll be sure to let you know!
      Love and blessings!

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  20. Beautiful church, Martha. And I love that song by Chris Tomlin. Praying that tomorrow will be a glorious experience praising the Lord in song. God bless. Karen Friday

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    1. It is one of Chris Tomlin's best, Karen, and is wonderful to sing. I'm glad Danny chose it for our debut song! We feel so blessed!
      Love and blessings!

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  21. Hi Martha Jane, just listened to one of the songs on the web site you put up, very nice, will keep it there to listen to more. When you said about being stopped from singing in that church gathering it reminded me of a time I was in one church and the pastor asked the Holy Spirit to come. I knew the Lord was asking me to share something from the scriptures so I started to share it. The pastor asked me to stop talking and sit down, he said 'I am in charge here. ' I said 'You are not in charge, God is'. I opened my Bible strait to the scripture that says that if you are not accepted by someone shake the dust off your feet. My friend next to me said she opened to exactly the same scripture. We left that gathering and went where the Lord guided us. I wrote a letter to that pastor saying exactly what we had opened to and put it through the letter box of the church, hoping that it would convince him that it is none of us who are in charge, but each must share what we have been given to share. God bless you and Danny as you share what has been given you to share.

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    1. Speaking of sharing, Brenda, the story you've shared here gave me "God-bumps!" You were spot-on in challenging that pastor, because you were letting God speak boldly through you. That's Christian courage at its best!
      I'm glad, too, that you took a moment to listen to the website. Hundreds of songs there to enjoy.
      Love and blessings!

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  22. So delighted that God has opened up this opportunity for you, Martha. I know you'll be singing with gratitude, praise, and joy--sure to impact the hearts of those worshiping with you!

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    1. Nancy, our singing today was truly a blessing that went both ways. And Danny officially joined Shiloh! We are official now :).
      And we have been put in the music rotation, so we will be able to contribute to the music ministry at least once a month. So excited!
      Love and blessings!

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  23. Great songs: Silent Night, O Holy Night, Mary did you know, Jingle Bell Rock, How great is our God and many others.

    Thanx Martha. God bless.

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the songs, Victor! By the way, I wrote the new lyrics to Jingle Bell Rock. The congregation really enjoyed that one!
      Our song was a winner today at church, and we are so eternally grateful for the warm reception we received. God is truly at work!
      Love and blessings!

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  24. Replies
    1. Oh, thank you so much, Crane! I'm glad the music struck the happiness chord in you. Thanks for listening!
      Love and blessings!

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  25. I've just read this Martha and it is Sunday morning. 5:35 to be exact so I'm sure you and Danny have not led worship yet. I will be praying for your worship this morning. A great song about a great God. It is good that you "feel" again.

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    1. Thanks so much for your prayers, Bill! They must have been working because everything went off today without a hitch.
      To top it all off, Danny committed his membership with Shiloh! And we are now an official part of the musical rotation. God is so good!
      Love and blessings!

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  26. I'm glad you found a place where you can use your gift of music. I was in the choir at our last church, but I started feeling too "old" and voluntarily stepped down. Nothing was ever verbalized that the church had a preference for young people on stage, but it was pretty obvious. How wonderful that you and Danny have found a worship outlet at Shiloh!

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    1. We are absolutely thrilled about this development, Lisa, and feel so much welcomed and loved at Shiloh. Isn't that the way it should be in a Christian community? Sorry to hear you felt you had to step down from and step out of the choir at your church. With such a large aging population in this country, one would think that participation in worship in our age group would be wanted and appreciated.
      Love and blessings!

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  27. "How great is our God, [I sing with you], how great is our God...." I do like that song and hum it to myself (and to Jesus) often. I trust the experience in this new church is favorable as you lead in worship.

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    1. It is more than favorable, Barbara. We are feeling so blessed!
      Love and blessings!

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  28. We are too, Christine!
    Love and blessings!

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  29. Bom dia, Marta
    Que bênção você e Danny ter a oportunidade de louvar ao Senhor, usando o talento dado pelo Mestre Jesus, é gratificante servir ao Senhor com alegria, linda igreja, um forte abraço.

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    1. Yes, Lucinalva, to honor and worship our Lord with the talents He has given us is always the best.
      Love and blessings!

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  30. It's fantastic that you and Danny will be able to serve God in this way.
    Music and worship are truly intertwined.

    Hugs and blessings, Martha

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