Protected: What Kind of Throne – Alto

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Protected: What Kind of Throne – Bass

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Protected: What Kind of Throne – Soprano

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Protected: What Kind of Throne – Tenor

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What comes next?

I’m going to share something about me that most of you do not know.

I used to be in a chess club. (I’m sorry if you were expecting something more shocking or exciting). You’ve probably never heard me speak about it, because it was a long time ago (middle school/junior high at Skycrest Christian School) and I don’t have any good stories. Although I enjoyed the game, I was never that good. No matter how many matches I played, it seemed that there was always someone one step ahead of me. In fact, in the middle of matches that I thought I had figured out, I would be rudely awakened by the reality that my opponent was seeing things I had missed. (Checkmate!)

Perhaps checkers is more your game. You know the feeling of a successful move. You eye the board’s layout. You spot the unprotected piece of your opponent. Confidently picking up your marker, you jump your opponent’s, and smugly pick up his captured piece.

Uh oh. Why does he have a grin on his face? Before you know what’s happened he is click-clacking another piece across the board picking up your pieces as he goes. Who knew that many consecutive jumps were even possible?

You never saw it coming!

And, thus, you learned the importance of looking ahead to your next move.

Imagine the situation facing the disciples. At Easter, we examine the reality and importance of the resurrection from our perspective of history. We read the Scriptures and examine the evidence. He rose from the dead. By faith, we accept it as fact. However, for the women who came to the tomb on the first day of the week, the experience unfolded moment-by-shocking-moment. For Peter and John, they first acted only on the testimony of those women. For Thomas, it was all hearsay for a while.

Plans were turned upside down. Fear seemed to strain at their faith. Doubts nagged at their hearts. Excitement was tempered by a measure of uncertainty. Sights and sounds wrestled with feelings and emotions.

For us, it is easy to read the Gospel narratives.

Resurrection. Appearances. Meals & conversations. Promises & assurances. A Great Commission. Ascension.

For those disciples, many of their next steps were unknown until they arrived. They were left to believe and obey what they had in any given moment. The same thing is true for us. We cannot see tomorrow. While we rest confidently in the promises and directions of God, there are still unknowns throughout life. Our is to trust and obey.

What’s next for you?

You made it to church on Easter. Great. Keep it up and make it a part of your regular schedule.

You’ve been challenged about the reality of the resurrection and the need for others to hear it. Super. Now share it with someone. Watch what God will do with your obedience.

There is something on the horizon that introduces a bit of fear or doubt to your life. Tackle it with the confidence that wherever God directs you in this life, He also equips you and goes with you!

That’s Good News for God’s children.

I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper…

With all of the hype and misguided nonsense taking place today, might I offer the words of Patrick, missionary to Ireland. Recalling the captivity of his youth, he proclaimed in his Confession:

“And there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance. And he watched over me before I knew him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and he protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son.
Therefore, indeed, I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper, so many favours and graces has the Lord deigned to bestow on me in the land of my captivity.”

May each of us who have received salvation through Jesus Christ feel that same burden to share with others what God has done for us. May we never be silent about His wonderful grace and transforming power.

To God be the glory, great things He has done.

Ring it out!

Last week, Maribeth and I had the opportunity to attend an orchestra concert at Carnegie Hall that we enjoyed very much. During one piece, I noticed one of stan_head_1the performers in particular. He sat on a stool in the corner of the back row along with the other percussionists. However, for most of the song he did nothing. Finally, his moment came and he picked up his triangle and struck it several times in rhythm. It lasted for but a few measures of the lengthy song, and just as soon as he had started – the piece was finished.

In contrast, the percussionist in the center of that top row had five timpani before him. His part began in the first measures and lasted throughout the song until its thunderous conclusion. He was responsible for producing the percussive foundation for every other instrument that was being played. You could not help but notice him as his arms rose high above his head and the mallets came crashing down rapidly. At some points, his arms appeared as just a blur, and the sound of the drums hit you in the chest (even in the balcony). Others in that back row had bells, snares, cymbals, and even a gong.

And on the end was the tiny triangle. “Ting, ting, ting…”

One of the things you’ll discover is that percussionists interchange instruments for different pieces. The performer who begins on the bells may smoothly transition to drums or cymbals on the next song. So, our overlooked triangle ringer was fully capable of performing skillfully on any of the other instruments, and did so throughout the night. But for that one piece he had what was arguably the least important job of the entire orchestra. (I apologize to anyone who only played triangle in your school’s orchestra.) Perhaps overlooked and underappreciated.

But not by the composer.

As he crafted the music, a concept was in his mind. He labored expertly to transfer mood to melody, convey ideas through tempo and rhythm, and voice emotions in instrumentation. For the composer (and later, the conductor) each part for each instrument is important. If it is missing (or performed thoughtlessly or with little effort) the entire piece suffers. The music does not accomplish what the composer intended.

And so it is in our Christian walk and ministry for the Lord. He is the one who calls us and assigns our parts. He equips us and instructs us. He is the One with a plan to accomplish His purposes. He adds us to His church and orchestrates our service.

Sometimes, that includes work that is full of flourish and fanfare. It is recognized by almost everyone, and we receive heavy doses of appreciation and thanks. Other times, it is a job that is noticed by only a handful of people, and esteemed by even fewer. We feel like an overlooked and underappreciated triangle player in an orchestra.

A few biblical thoughts should help us with this. First, in everything we do, our service is ultimately done toward God. Second, He never misses even the least aspects of ministry done for His sake. Third, He is the great rewarder. Finally, although the job may seem insignificant, it can be a part of His masterplan for our lives, His church, and its work on this earth.

Colossians 3:23–24 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

So, if all you have to offer is a cup of water, share it with someone in the name of Christ. If your audience is just one person or a full stadium, give them the Gospel with prayerful enthusiasm. If you serve “behind the scenes” while others labor in the spotlight, do it for the Savior’s sake, and know that He is pleased.

If all you find to play is a triangle…Ring it with all your heart!