Thankful for Both Hands: Nov 21st - 27th

This Week & Beyond...

Good day everyone!!  I'm happy to see that you're taking the time to read this post!!  

Coming up this week....
- Tony & Lisa leading worship
- Rob bringing the Word
- Greg leading the service
- Sunday evening Team Night #2!!  If you're going, and would like to invite a person or two, please let me know.  We have a little room this time.

Children's Ministry...
No, this isn't a call for volunteers, rather, a call to pray.  Christmas time creates such a great opportunity for chaos in our children's ministry.  General excitement, extra sugar, and the trials of kids having to actually sing, are all cause for extra noise and confusion upstairs.  As the Lord brings it to mind, let's be in prayer for our Matt and the ladies leading the ministry, as well as the volunteers and children.  Pray for peace and the Holy Spirits inspiration in drawing a kids to Jesus.  That the practices and Christmas program would be an anointed time of meeting with the Lord.

Annual Budget Approval Meeting
While it's pretty easy to joke around about the Annual Budget Approval Meeting, the truth is, it's an important evening.  We are so thankful for God's continued faithfulness and provision for us at Calvary.  Year after year the Lord uses our small congregation in supporting financially, trusting Him, and meeting each and every budget.  So good!!  I want to encourage you to come out that evening and be a part of what the Lord is speaking for 2017.  To bring encouragement and/or questions.  To help pray us into the new year as we desire to come into everything the Lord has for us!

That's all folks!!

Devotional...

Thankful for Both Hands
By Carlene Archer, Chatsworth, Georgia

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 9:12b)

The gift of making music is a heady thing. Being able to produce music sets you apart in a way that society admires greatly. It is a gift not given to all, and one that many people desire. It is a unique gift because it is so visible when used. It takes a special sort of person to have the nerve to stand in front of people and exercise this gift.

For those of us involved in worship ministry, all of this comes together to create both a means to do God's work and an opportunity for us to grow. Every time we do well we honor God and His people, ourselves included. It feels good when we play or sing well in a service. Using our gift in the setting God has placed us in is exactly what we should crave to do.

Still, we must be careful to not just pay exclusive attention to our musical gift. As with our physical bodies, we also have more than one spiritual "hand." While our musical hand may be strong, there is always something else within us that is every bit as weak as our musical gift is strong.

In the Gospel according to Matthew, a story is told where Jesus went to the Temple in Jerusalem. There Jesus saw a man with a withered hand. Desiring to heal him, Jesus said, "Stretch out your hand." The man held his weakened hand out for Jesus to see, and Christ healed it. Are we that quick to hold our weaknesses out to Christ? Perhaps the man would much rather have hidden his withered hand and only allow his strong, beautiful hand to be seen.

My gift of music is strong. I have perfect pitch, which means I can tell what a note is with no reference point. I just have to hear a song and I can reproduce it. I also read music very well. I have been known to say to friends who try to argue with me about a note or a chord, "Argue with me about anything else, but don't argue with me about music." I just don't tend to be wrong.

There is a dark side to my strength, though. It is too easy for me to convince people that my way of playing or singing a song is unquestionable. As a praise team leader, I missed many opportunities to make songs better and give my team members a chance to grow, because I declared things to be a certain way musically. I refused to even acknowledge their ideas. My "withered hand" was a desire to take the easy road and travel my musical route because it was simpler, less stressful, and more efficient.

Just like the man's withered hand, my weakness was certainly ugly. I didn't like looking at it. Actually, I didn't even want to admit it existed. But once God showed it to me, He was ready to begin healing it. Over the course of a year, He taught me to listen to team members that He had so carefully placed around me. I found that using their ideas not only made the music better, but it also built them up in their walk with Him. It also honed both my musical and leadership skills.

Looking back, I thank God for my withered hand. Though ugly, it was a part of me, a part that He could make beautiful, but only after I was willing to hold it out. It was a way for Christ's strength to manifest in me and show me -- and my praise team -- that He can do things in me that I could never do alone. Had I not confessed my weakness before Him, His strength could never have been made perfect in me.

This Thanksgiving, let's be thankful for both "hands"... our strong one and our weak one.

GOING DEEPER:
1. Have you ever considered before that you might have a "withered hand"? (Someone once said that identifying a weakness is halfway to overcoming it.)
2.Although we may all have multiple "withered hands" would you be willing to identify just one to the rest of the group?
3.Having recognized one another's weaknesses, perhaps you should take the timeto pray for one another right now.