Grace-Full: Jan 9th - 15th

This Week & Beyond...

Well, happy new year everyone!!  I trust you all had a great Christmas, filled with Jesus, family, relaxation, and of course, plenty of food!  Michelle and myself had a great time being with the kids and having ZERO gatherings.  I know, crazy hey?  We're totally missing out!

Team night #3...
Just a quick note regarding this months team night.  It is going to be moved to the last Saturday of this month, January the 28th.  We will be joining the Prayer & Fasting wind-up prayer night.  I envision that the night will look much the same from a musical stand point(with the exception of mic's), and, the addition of corporate led prayer items.

As per usual, please feel free to come out and play as on the previous nights.  Where there are multiple musicians, trade on/off as the evening progresses, and be led by the Spirit.  We will be meeting at the main building, however, the instruments will be arranged in the middle of the sanctuary, with chairs in groups positioned around us(this could be subject to change).

If you have any questions and/or comments, please let me know.  Other than that, be sure to respond as to your availability at your earliest convenience.

Blessings to you!!
Gregory

Prayer & Fasting...

Just a reminder, January 15th-29th is our annual congregational prayer & fasting time.  What are you fasting from?

I wanted to encourage you to take full advantage of this time.  While it's important that fasting is part of your regular prayer life, we rarely get to partake as a larger body of Christ.  Please take some time and ask the Lord how He's calling you to participate.  The Lord has things He wants to do and communicate.  As we intentionally take some time to "turn off" noise around us and lay down things important to us, we will hear!

Devotional...

Grace-Full
by Luane Guyton, St. Louis, Missouri

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

It was Sunday morning and I was serving on the worship team and playing the lead keyboard. The music in our congregation has a contemporary feel. It's not that we only do new songs, we don't. There is often a hymn incorporated into our song list; however, it is usually done in a contemporary style. This Sunday would include one of those hymns. Right after the welcome, we were set to do the Promise Keepers' version of "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." It is contemporary but begins in a very traditional way. It starts with a big pipe organ intro.

Our keyboard offers the flexibility of having four banks of sounds queued up and ready to go. Each bank has a separate volume control which allows the player to quickly switch from one sound to another. I had prepped prior to the service starting and had my sounds ready: acoustic piano sound, strings, electric keys, and pipe organ.

When we finished the opening song, one of our pastors came up to give a welcome and encourage people to greet one another. In our congregation, whoever plays lead keys often "doodles" during transitions as well as while pastors and worship leaders speak. It is filler music to help the service flow more seamlessly. So as he began to speak, I began to "doodle." There was only one problem. I had already switched out of a piano sound and into the organ sound... the big, huge pipe organ sound.

There it was, my mistake, right there for everyone to hear. It was one of those awkward moments. There was no way around it. Everyone in our sanctuary clearly heard it. The filler music designed to help the flow of the service turned into a big noisy blunder.

Our pastor glanced my way, gave me a smile, and covered my mistake with his words. To be honest, I don't remember exactly what he said, I just remember that his tone was light-hearted and his words broke any tension in the room. My mistake was covered by grace.

Grace. It is by grace we have been saved... (Ephesians 2:8) Hallelujah! That is good news. We are saved by grace -- not by works, it is a gift of God. Jesus, the Word made flesh, came to this earth and dwelt among us. And He was filled with grace. (John 1:14)

We know these verses, don't we? Many of us have them memorized. But I wonder, are we "known" by them? Are we marked by them? Do people look at us as musicians and think of grace? Do they know us by how graciously we treat one another? Would others use the word grace to describe us? Are we, like Jesus, full of grace?

The next time something doesn't go as expected, think grace. When someone hits the wrong note, let's see how quickly we can respond with a smile and cover for one another. When strong words are spoken, why not attempt to turn a potentially tense situation into a light-hearted one. When someone messes up, let's see how quickly we can demonstrate grace. For if we do -- if we are "grace-full" people -- many will see Jesus and the Father will receive glory!

GOING DEEPER:
1. Share about a time when you were treated with grace.
2. What would need to happen in order for people in your congregation to use the word "grace" to describe the people in the worship ministry?
3. It's significant that John 1:14 describes Jesus as being full of grace. Why do you think that's an important statement?