Rescued People Sing Better

We (Trinity Baptist Church) are preparing for our Tuesday Thanksgiving service which has typically highlighted the ministry of the Trinity Rescue Mission and Rehabilitation Farm. This afforded me the opportunity to go down to “the farm”, as it is so affectionately called, and “lead” my brothers there in worship. However, what I received was far more than I could have ever given. My soul was refreshed from the authentic worship that flowed out of these men (though my body is exhausted from constant Christmas preparations, oh and did I mention their chapel is at 7am!).

I’ve made an observation before, having worked with other urban and rescue ministries in the past, that rescued people simply sing better. Of course, it’s not necessarily about the singing (and I didn’t even say they sound better), but it is about their worship. What most of us often fail to realize is that we have all been rescued. No matter what your background may have been before you met Christ, you have been rescued (Ps 40:2; Titus 3:5).

You see, this morning, the style of the music wasn’t an issue at all. We poured our hearts out to God together singing everything from “old” camp-meeting style songs to what many would consider a more “cutting edge” styling. All that mattered to these men was singing, speaking, and listening to the “Voice of Truth” that would keep them on solid ground so that they might live in obedience today. All was sung with the same conviction and strength.

Much like when a fireman is on the ladder and in the fire pulling people from the flames, it is not the time to debate on whether or not the ladder being used was a good choice. All that matters is that the people are rescued. When the debate does come, it is usually from those standing in safety and comfort, far from the front lines, who take the time to criticize those that care enough to take the risks–to get their hands a little dirty (Mark 7:1-15).

As you go about this day, take the time to remember how Jesus has rescued you and remember the “risks” that He has taken to call you His own. I don’t know about you, but I often remember the times that I have failed, and how that God, even knowing this, chose to rescue me anyway. When I take the time to listen to “the Voice of Truth” and remember where and how God rescued me…I sing better, too.

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What the church can learn from Disney

Our family had the privilege of going to Disney World in Orlando, Florida on vacation a couple weeks ago. As I was there, I couldn’t help contemplating some of the things that Disney has done probably better than any other institution in modern times. It was my first visit in almost 17 years. I was amazed at how much had changed as well as how much had stayed the same, but all the while with the same level of excellence. Below are just a few thoughts that I had while there.

1. Music that touches the masses still touches the masses (I saw every possible generation having a great time and no one was complaining about the music).
2. Family atmosphere is still a major attraction
3. Excellence matters
4. People will pay good money just to see someone’s creativity (there are bigger and better roller coasters, but no one attracts more visitors than Disney World).
5. Nothing is more important to people than their kids (I was amazed at how long people will stand in line for a 4-minute experience and pay $5 for a hotdog!).
6. An incredible tradition coupled with great innovation bring the same people back year after year (or month after month…that’s for you, Melissa!).
7. Disney has created a culture of “yes” and “why not?”. (when guarded with biblical truth, this isn’t a bad idea for most churches–many in our culture have associated the church with “no” or “smite” (that’s for you, Paul), and we wonder why people don’t come).
8. People don’t merely want to “attend”, “see”, or “observe”, but they want to experience.
9. Everyone there has been taught how to make everybody esle feel like a million bucks (I guess that’s because they convinced me to leave mine at the gate…ouch!).
10. While they do everything thoroughly with excellence, they still allow room for the individual’s own sense of wonder and imagination.

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