Inspiring Our Kids to be Singers

Happy Monday, friends! And happy Music Monday from me ūüôā

I just returned from a wonderful weekend in Kansas City, MO, where our church participated in Heart of America’s Leadership Training for Christ (LTC). 3rd-12th grade students participated in a variety of events, including Bible reading, song leading, choir, drama, art, and more. Through the process, they learned how to apply their talents and serve God and their communities in positive ways. It truly was a ministry of encouragement and as a musician I was especially encouraged by the voices I heard lifted in praise to our God.

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Music Mondays

As you can tell from the name of my blog, I like alliterations. So today is my first “Music Mondays” post! I want to start sharing¬†about music most Mondays (there’s an alliteration for you…) because I am a musician and it plays a huge role in my life. Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of bloggers have a “thing” that guides their writing and appeals to their¬†audience, so hopefully this can be¬†something I do on a regular basis.¬†I might be sharing videos, thoughts about music and worship, ideas that stem from music education, or interesting insights I learn as I start my Master of Music degree in August. If you are a musician (which I believe all of us are/can be), please tune in to see what’s in store!

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A Heaven I Can Imagine

Last night I had a life-changing experience, I think. I don’t always recognize them in the moment, but this one hit me instantly. It changed the way I see my faith, my Christian family, and my eternity.

My reader Sherry and I were discussing the second coming of Christ, and let me tell you it was all getting very confusing. Acts 1:11 reads, “You saw Jesus carried away from you into heaven. He will come back in the same way you saw him go.” The idea of Jesus coming down from heaven in this way is hard to imagine. Where is heaven? What does it look like? How far away is it? Can we put heaven into words, into pictures, into dreams? Will we see him riding in on a cloud? Soaring from the sky like a bird in flight? ¬†Exploding into our lives like a firework? After a lot of talking, I admitted I did not have the answers and Sherry agreed we could not fully know what to expect from heaven or from the return of Jesus.

We moved on in our lessons and I forgot about the heaven discussion. Quite a while later, we were reading Acts 2:42-47, which describes the selfless ways in which the believers lived. They shared food, money, and time. They sold belongings to give the proceeds to the needy. They opened up their homes to one another and shared everything (v. 42). It says, “They were happy to share their food and ate with joyful hearts,” (v.46). Sherry and I were struck by this idea of a fellowship of joy. We discussed how different our modern churches look from the gatherings of these first believers. We questioned how we could be more like them. We spent stretches of time in silence, each of us pondering the implications of this passage in our lives. Eventually, Sherry said something to the effect of this: One day, we will live in complete joy. We will all share our lives with one another, united in Christ. And then she said, “That’s the kind of heaven I can imagine.”¬†

I tried to hide the tears that were welling in my eyes, only to see that Sherry was crying as well. We were both moved by our longing for this heaven, this joyful fellowship, this selfless unity. We laughed a little and she apologized for being sensitive, but I know our tears were a genuine reaction to what we had just experienced. We had glimpsed a future that was beautiful and full of promise in a world that often feels so lonely and dark. We had rediscovered the goal of Christian love and unity. We had realized that heaven might not be a place we can see with our eyes just yet, but it is a place we can feel with our souls.

Until Christ returns or calls us home, let us set our sights on things eternal. Let us strive to live like the first believers, giving up all we have to serve God and others. Let us invest in our faith, instead of in worldly possessions. And let us unite in joy instead of clinging to the problems that separate us.

I know this is easier said than done, but let us be transformed by the hope that heaven isn’t so far away after all.

Blessings

I am very overwhelmed by the amount of blessings I have experienced in the past two days! I’m not the best at summarizing events, so instead of giving a play by play, I just want to make a list of things I am truly grateful for.

1. Meeting June, a woman close in age to myself, and bonding over our love of British accents, a Capella music, and the word of God.

2. Learning how to properly cut a mango thanks to Julia! And I’m just thankful for all of the new fruit we’ve been given to try.

3. Having Sherry order food for us and actually knowing what we were eating…

4. Praising God, praying, and singing in two languages, but with one heart.

5. Pineapple cake and hot and sour soup. Mmmm.

6. Cute kids on the subway!

7. Walking to and from the church everyday and appreciating the sights, sounds, and people around us.

8. The opportunity to spend time with new friends and go on adventures tomorrow and Tuesday (more to come on that later!)

9. Learning that laughter is universal and creates bonds of friendship faster than words.

10. Truly understanding the meaning of having a family in Christ.

I am so grateful to be in a beautiful place with beautiful people having the experience of a lifetime! Thanks for all your prayers!

 

Dumplings and iced coffee with tapioca!

 

Playing pictionary!

Some readers and church members!

 

Intentions

Good morning! (Good evening, America!)

My first reading session last night was nothing short of beautiful. I spent two hours getting to know a wonderful woman, Sherry, as we talked about our lives, read the gospel of Luke, discussed really insightful ideas, and asked/answered questions in a way I have never experienced before. As a Christian, it struck me how few opportunities I have had (or rather, taken) to share my faith with other people. Until last night, I have never had an in-depth Bible study in which Jesus was so thoroughly depicted and so clearly present. It was an awe-inspiring occasion and I am looking forward to many others as this trip goes on.

I receive¬†daily quotes via email and last night’s made me think about what we are trying to do here:¬†“It is quite possible to perform very ordinary actions with so high an intention as to serve God therein better than in far more important things done with a less pure intention.” ‚ÄĒ Jean N. Grou

With that quote in mind, I am hoping my team and I¬†can see this trip as the incredible opportunity that it is. We might not see immediate results or know the impact our work does (or does not) have. We might never know the outcome of our reading sessions in the lives of our readers. Nevertheless, I hope we can make genuine friendships and invest our time in others. If our intentions are always set on God, then our acts will point towards him, no matter how “ordinary” or “important” it may seem through human eyes.