God’s Fingerprints on Our Services

I love being in music ministry!  One reason is because there are times in planning the worship schedule when it’s obvious that God’s fingerprints are on the service.

Flute and Music

Here’s what I mean.  There is a tension in music ministry that exists that every music minister is aware of.  (By tension, I don’t mean something negative, but I mean two principles that exist at the same time that could be thought of as opposing principles, but actually exist in harmony).  It is the tension between good planning and God’s providential hand.

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How to Use an mp3 Player to Grow Spiritually

image courtesy of bigstockphoto.com

Over a year ago I was in the market for an mp3 player.  On the day after Thanksgiving, I purchased a simple mp3 player, but it didn’t come for a couple of weeks.  I called the company I bought it from, and they had oversold.  I cancelled my order, and kept my eyes open for other deals on mp3 players.

I thought buying an iPod was beyond my budget, but as I kept watching the deals, I realized that for not much more than the other mp3 players, I could get an iPod Nano.  Then, the jump from a nano to a touch (at that time 3rd generation) 8 GB was not too much more, especially for the extra power the iPod touch has as a handheld device.

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Because of Joseph, It Seems More Real Now

“Willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8

I grew up with his older brother. We would invite each other to the other’s house in order to stay up all night playing video games. Sound like a waste of time? To us it was the essence of fun!

When I was younger, my friend had two older siblings, a brother and a sister. Everyone thought that this was how the Shank family would always be. Then, a surprise came!

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Moving to WordPress

I’ve had a blog on blogger (markjmartin.blogspot.com) for several years now.  I’ve heard of the benefits of a wordpress site, and it seems to me to be better than blogger, so I’ll be in the process of migrating my posts over here. In the meantime, I’ll post new entries here at this site.  Hope you enjoy the reads!

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Plan to Put Him First

So… It’s here!  Already! 2010 has passed like a lightning bolt, and 2011 is moving forward quickly and picking up steam.  Soon, we’ll be saying the same thing about 2011 and 2012.

Since life moves by so rapidly, we can’t afford to approach our Christian lives “shooting from the hip” (if nothing else, that sounds kind of dangerous).  We are told in Ephesians 5:16 to “redeem the time, because the days are evil.” To make the most of the time God has given us, we need to plan and live on purpose. God wants us to live for Him, and that doesn’t happen by accident.

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Lessons from 2010

As this year is coming to a close, I look back over the year and see some distinct lessons which God has taught me this year. I would like to share them with you.

1. The necessity of planning priorities.

Before the start of 2010, God used several different sources to encourage me to plan based on my priorities. 1) Podcasts by Pastor Paul Chappell 2) Blog posts by Pastor Cary Schmidt and 3) Gordon MacDonald’s book Ordering Your Private World. As one who has historically been a last-minute “by-the-seat-of-the-pants” planner, I can say that I’ve learned a lot about the value of planning ahead (even though I have a long way to go yet). It has greatly reduced family stress, increased productivity and brought about growth in several areas of ministry. I can say that God has changed me drastically here. I pray that I will continue to improve in 2011.

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Why Did Only Some People Notice?

Life in the 21st century is anything but quiet. We race from one activity to the next, barely stopping to catch our breath. Noise is constantly going on around us. From the noise of cars rushing down the highway, to the sound of the busy shoppers in the mall, to the constant hum of electronic devices, America is truly a noisy place.

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