But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
James 1:6 (NIV)
Once again, it is time for Carols By Candlelight. Beginning in 1970, First Baptist Jackson annually shares the Gospel of Jesus Christ through music and drama. Over the part few years, the Music and Worship Ministry has prayerfully and with intention refocused our attention to presenting the entire Story in a clear and convincing way in order to reach the lost in our community.
Since joining the Sanctuary (now Worship) Choir in 1981 just prior to Carols (talk about a “stupid sheep” – some reading this will “get that”), my commitment was and continues to be “all in”. Some years I am better prepared spiritually and mentally (and even physically) than others but my commitment does not waiver. I believe that is how God intends you to respond when He calls you to do something. I have wished, at times, He might call me to do something else. So far, through many ups and downs, He continues to reinforce that call to serve through this ministry.
About this time each year, I wonder about a lot of things. I go to bed and get up in the morning with Ring the Bells playing in my head. I have lists and then prompts for some of those lists. I love the other members of the Production Team, but we are brutally honest with each other. And we have worked together long enough to know how to get both in and out of each other’s way. I pray through issues that likely make sense to no one other than God, me, and others in that loop – stuff like light and sound boards, curtains, stage crew needs, protection from construction and rigging accidents, protection for the people, my friends, who will walk in the dark down steps with a lighted candle – things that most folks never know about or certainly don’t think about. And for those of us who “love logistics” or are similarly gifted, that is why we do what we do.
I generally have an “ah-ha” moment when it all comes together for me. I thought (hoped, really because of some other things going on in my life) that I would have it way before now – like when we recorded the album Glory Devine – Carols By Candlelight earlier this fall. Great experience but the “ah-ha” moment did not happen. It did happen today, however, when I opened the finished CD and started listening to it as I drove downtown. I was singing along (this IS the music we are singing next weekend) working on words and such and then I really listened to what I was singing.
The song was What Love Is This? The song, originally written and recorded by Kari Jobe, gets immediately to the heart of whatever is going on in our lives or in the lives of those around us. This line blew me away:
I see the scars upon Your hands,and hold the truth that when I can’t You always can.I’m standing here beneath the shadow of the cross,I’m overwhelmed that I keep finding open arms.
He never changes. He is who He says He is. The love He gives is absolutely all I need. He gave it all for me, and made a way for me to know Him. His arms are always open. He’s all I need.
Honestly this particular “ah-ha” moment took me back to that day in 1965 when I realized during Vacation Bible School that John 3:16 was talking about me. And while I know far more about the “world” today than I did then, I know He is still all I need, all any of us need.
My prayer as we begin Carols Week 2015, is that someone who needs that same assurance, whether they recognize it or not today, understands that Jesus is all they need, too.
Again, Choosing Joy!