Sally will be ministering in concert this evening. Come worship the Lord!
Sally will be ministering in concert at Adat Shalom tonight. Come worship the Lord with her.
Sally will be ministering in concert this morning for two services:
The first at 9 AM and the second at 11 AM
Come and worship the Lord with Sally in these Sunday morning services.
So the message of the LORD spoken through Jeremiah was fulfilled. The land finally enjoyed its Sabbath rest, lying desolate until the seventy years were fulfilled, just as the prophet had said. —2 Chronicles 36:21 NLT
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There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. —Hebrews 4:9-11
When Bonnie Joy was very young, she asked me, out of the blue, about the Sabbath. She wanted to know why we didn’t observe it and rest. Since that day, all thosemany years ago, I have wrestled with what it means to enjoy the Sabbath. For me, as a Jewish believer, who is also a music minister, many Saturdays I “work.” Therefore I like to think about it as ministry—but it is also work. And in the last few years I have often told myself, Jesus said “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:12) And if healing a man’s crippled hand is a good thing to do on the Sabbath, what about a broken heart—or broken soul? I believe the ministry that we do is a good thing. And yet… I often wonder what it means to truly remember the Sabbath and keep it holy?
I first heard about the passing of my dear friend and mentor, Annette Louise Grable, on November 13th. Both she and her husband, Kevin, meant so much to me as I entered college. She was a huge part of organizing so many of the fun and ministry events at the Valley Vineyard, our home church in Reseda, California while I was growing up. Looking back at the many times she touched me, there are two in particular that stand out.
The first is when I was looking for someone to help me with my writing. She introduced me to Jarre Fees, a woman at church. Jarre and I became fast friends. She saw potential in me and, with patience, helped me become a better writer. When Jarre passed away in May of 2014, Annette was one of few people I felt comfortable sharing a vision God gave me in the midst of my grief. I saw Jarre, the way I last remembered her: elderly, short gray hair, bent over and using a walker. Then she stood upright; her walker was gone, she grew younger, and her hair became blonde and long. This revelation fascinated Annette and, far from questioning the vision, she appreciated that I shared it with her.
Dear Friends of Improbable People,
Sally and I have a couple pretty big announcements to share with you today. The first is earthquake-sized. Let’s call it a 6.5 on the Richter Scale. Maybe a 7.1 . Anyway–it’s gigantic. It’s disruptive. It’s . . . 7.1 FER GOSH SAKES!!!
What more description do you need? It’s get-under-your desks-the-crystal-chandelier-is-going-to-fall-on-you kind of big. It’s a take-as-long-as-you-need-to-digest-this information-but-if-you-do-the Earth-may-open-beneath-you-and-swallow-your-house-whole type memo. [Read more…]
So . . . I am about to go into the studio and begin recording some of my songs for our 8th album. As I look back on earlier days of our ministry and listen to my voice in its prime, I appreciate it more than I ever valued it then. I struggled with so much insecurity in myself as a human being—let alone as a singer. And now that I am older, my voice has a lot more ups and downs. In my fleshly self—in other words, ego—I wrestle with all of that, wanting it to be so different.
I see how vastly different is the Lord’s measure of me than my measure of myself
But God, who knows our humanity from the inside out, continues to show that sometimes in the weaknesses and imperfections He can speak more loudly than in my polished moments. This has been true throughout the three-plus decades of Improbable People, but even more apparent in these days. I see how vastly different is the Lord’s measure of me than my measure of myself and, unfortunately, of others at times.
When I was a kid, the world came in two shades: black and white. Something was or it wasn’t. An idea was right or wrong. You avoided wrong and bad things while participating in right and good things. That’s just how it was, and anyone who didn’t understand the world like I did and then behave accordingly confused me to no end.
One of the things I grew up believing was that words matter. If you say you’re going to do a thing, you’re going to do the thing. There’s grace for forgetfulness and unforeseen circumstances, but you do the thing you said you were going to do, and if you’re not really interested in doing the thing then you don’t ever commit to it out loud.
I grew up as a Vineyard kid—that is, one of the many non-denominational Christian churches under the umbrella of Vineyard, USA—and among the many worship songs we sang, there was a particular one called Surrender that never sat right with me. The first verse and chorus goes:
I’m giving you my heart, and all that is within
I lay it all down for the sake of you my King
I’m giving you my dreams, I’m laying down my rightsx
I’m giving up my pride for the promise of new life
And I surrender all to You, all to You
And I surrender all to You, all to You
Click on picture to listen to Mark James sing Surrender
Words matter to me, and “all” is an awfully broad, unspecified category.
I have been thinking back to when I used to fight with my dad all the time. Our arguments could go as long as 4 hours—literally. I clocked it a couple times. By that I mean I happened to look at the time when we sat down starting to talk, and again when I got up and it was over. Minutes and then hours flew by because all the anger I had accumulated from past wrongs—real and perceived—had reached a maximum saturation point and just came spilling out of me with the least provocation.
Such are the times we are living in. It is my observation that objective truth—as much as we are capable of recognizing it—has very little weight in this season. What matters to so many is the emotional truth—the wrongs and injustices done, both real and perceived that, having not been adequately addressed have accumulated over years.
It was the same with my dad and I. He only had to speak one small statement I disagreed with, and it would trigger all the previous words and injustices, real and perceived. I could never get my fill of hurting him back verbally for all the times he hurt me and my brother with his rage, creating complete fear and distrust.
EDITOR’S NOTE: From the beginning we promised this blog would be as free of political discourse as possible. But this essay by Bonnie, like Sally’s recent post, brings in the political world in order to make a greater point. We hope you will agree this is a fair exception to our rule because it does not proselytize for any candidate or issue.
Before I remove myself from Facebook for a while—thanks 2020 Election—I’d like to share my heart and thoughts about it.
I don’t hate the election. What I have always hated is the treatment I’ve been seeing Democrats and Republicans give one another online. Another reason I was glad to leave California was because while there I was under peer pressure to vote one certain way from my friends. Even while I was in high school my teachers encouraged me to vote, no questions asked, for certain candidates and propositions. I didn’t do as they wished in 2012, because I found the policies at odds with what I believed. On top of that, I believe it is better for school authorities to state facts and encourage students to think for themselves rather than being led like sheep.
I’ve been careful to not share too many political views on Facebook. I’d rather not face so much anger and wrath. But then again, proclaiming my faith in Jesus rouses offense too. So why should I be afraid?