Facing a Task Unfinished

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I’m writing this mainly to pass along some info to my church, but this is a rich hymn text. Worth taking a look, even if you’re not participating in the global hymn sing!

This Sunday, February 21, 2016, our church (Colonial Baptist Church, Virginia Beach) will be joining churches around the world (nearly one million believers in 63 countries and in 10 languages, so far) in singing the hymn, “Facing a Task Unfinished.”

If you’re interested in registering your church to join in, click here.

Please take some time to give attention to this hymn and be prepared to really join in as we sing this together on Sunday. I’ve attached links to some resources that may be helpful to you as you prepare. Even if you can’t read music, you can meditate on the lyrics or listen to the audio. And below is an excerpt from the Getty Music press release with some background information to the hymn.

Half-page Hymn Insert (melody only) | 2-page Full Hymn | Official Lyric Video (YouTube)

“Facing a Task Unfinished” was originally written by China Inland Mission (CIM) worker Frank Houghton in the 1920s at a time when persecution and even martyrdom of Christians in China was extremely severe. In the midst of this darkness, the CIM issued a call for 200 new missionaries over two years, and Houghton’s hymn galvanized the challenge in song. By 1931 there were 203 new missionaries on the field, and the number of Christians now in China is estimated to be well in excess of the millions.

OMF International (Overseas Missionary Fellowship, formerly China Inland Mission) recently celebrated its 150th anniversary and invited Keith and Kristyn Getty to re-visit and re-write Houghton’s much-loved and still timely hymn. The Gettys have given the hymn a new chorus of response to help serve a new generation of congregational singing. Royalties earned by the song from all sources and uses will be donated to OMF International in support of their continued work.

“Songs have the ability to unite and move us…” says Keith Getty. “Frank Houghton understood this… ‘Facing a Task Unfinished’ provided inspiration to a generation of missionaries when it was first written, and it urges us on still, even as we also live amid persecution and martyrdom… Into these situations the call of Christ and His Kingdom is our only hope. His gospel is the window of light pouring into the darkened corners of this world. He is the good news we must sing and bring.”

 

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Love Your Pastors!

As I’ve befriended and have been mentored by some of my pastors, I’ve come to realize that they probably hear more from the minority of people who are disgruntled than from the majority who really love and appreciate them and what they do. I suppose this is in our natures: the tendency to speak up only when we have a problem with something. Well, my wife and I have decided to be among a vocal majority who challenge that tendency, and we want to bring as many people with us as we can!

So I’m starting the “Love Your Pastors” campaign. Hebrews 13:7, 17 say this:

“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Obey…and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

I am appalled when I hear of all the petty complaints that my pastors have to deal with. I am distressed that my pastors sometimes dread opening their email inboxes on Monday morning (after pouring out their souls for us on Sunday) because of the “hate mail” (their words, not mine) that will be waiting for them. And I have a feeling that my pastors are not alone.

When is the last time you sent an encouraging email to your pastor or pastors? When is the last time you prayed for them? When is the last time you asked them how they are doing and really listened instead of just dumping your own problems? When is the last time you found them after a service and told them how much you appreciate the way God uses their gifts to edify you?

These are questions that I’ve been asking myself lately. And, quite frankly, my answers stink. But I have already started making a conscious effort toward change. Praying for our pastors should be a given. My goal is to verbally (or in writing) encourage at least one of my pastors every week.

My church has a regular weekly service attendance of nearly 1000 people. What if just ten percent of us regularly encouraged our pastors each week? How would their Monday mornings feel if the typical ratio of encouraging emails to “hate mail” were completely turned upside down? How would you feel if 100 people told you this week that they love you and appreciate you and are praying for you?

Remember that Disney/Pixar movie called Monsters, Inc.? The monster city (Monstropolis) was powered by the screams of children afraid of monsters in their bedrooms at night, but the city was facing a power crisis. By the end of the film, they discovered that a child’s laughter was a much more potent energy source, like nuclear fusion compared to a AA battery. Encouragement and love have a similarly empowering effect on others.

I know there are many people who are faithful encouragers, but there are also many like me who just don’t think about it. So, will you join us on our quest to encourage our pastors each week? Will you encourage others to join you? Spread the word! Let’s overwhelm our pastors with love! Let’s give them the honor they deserve!

Exalt CD for Utah church plant

My friend Jonathan Jarrett has just produced a worship album that I think you should buy for several reasons:

1. Buying the CD will donate to help him as part of a church planting team in Salt Lake City, Utah! Read more here.

2. It’s a great album! Jonathan’s artistry on the keys is brilliant and so is Brad Joiner on guitar. These fresh arrangements accompany congregational-style group vocals on most of the songs that will have you singing along. In fact, you can hear it for yourself here!

3. I had a small part in helping on this CD! Actually, that’s the worst reason to buy it…but if even one person buys it for that reason, I’ll be grateful for that small part I had in helping Jonathan!

As a composer and music-tech-dabbler, I love the fact that much of the album was recorded and mixed “in house” using Logic Pro. I added strings to a few of the songs using what I believe is the best instrument sampler for strings on the market, Vienna Symphonic Library. Listen for the solo cello in the last two tracks on the album (“Wonderful, Merciful Savior” and “How Sweet and Awesome is the Place”). Not a real cello. Ha! Fooled you! Well, some of you might have been able to tell that it wasn’t a real cello, but I think it’s pretty close for a sample instrument! And that gets a nerd like me excited!

So, anyway…buy it! Donate! Enjoy, and be blessed!