During the week, I was asked by a man in the church if I could take him to a gospel quartet concert in Corona on Saturday night. He is disabled and does not drive, is 67 years old and lives alone in a senior citizen apartment complex near our church. I told him yes. There were four us of that attended the evening concert. The group that sang was named the Songfellows, a quartet that has been around for decades and had their own radio show 50 years ago. They sang some old gospel songs and hymns throughout the concert. I am a lover of hymns, so it was a good time of memories of old church songs that I grew up singing.
On Sunday morning, we had a wonderful time of worship. I had a family group come and sing. John and Nita Lopez, with their daughter and her husband (April and Caleb Brown) came and led congregational singing and then a short mini-concert. They led us in hymns, and we were blessed. We do not sing hymns anymore, as we use the contemporary praise songs that are current. I love the new Praise & Worship songs, but I do miss the old hymns that have so much theology and depth. So, I really enjoyed the hymns that we sang (Victory in Jesus, Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is All The World To Me) and the old choruses also (Yes Lord Yes, Glorify Thy Name, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus).
The four family members sang some special music and then April sang a solo of the old childhood chorus, "Jesus Loves Me" with a beautiful arrangement. She sang with such heart and passion. There were tears rolling down the cheeks of many individuals in the sanctuary that day. Before I started my message after that song, I spoke to the congregation about the power of music within the soul.
I told about my experience as a Pastor in San Diego some years ago. An elderly lady, member of our church with whom I was very close, was beaten and robbed and left for dead in her house. Because I was her pastor and for some other reasons, I was called by the police department and given notice that she was in intensive care and not expected to live. I was given a code to go to her special room at the hospital, as she was part of a crime scene investigation now and the police did not want her subjected to any further attack by the perpetrator. Sondra and I immediately went over to the hospital.
The lady was in a coma, unconscious and unresponsive. We prayed and talked to her, even with the difficulty of knowing she would not respond to us. Then, I began to sing "Jesus Loves Me" quietly. Even in her coma, she began to mouth the words of "Jesus Loves Me" in unison with me. She never regained consciousness, and she passed away. But I will never forget the power of singing "Jesus Loves Me' with a sweet old lady, laying there in a coma. In the deepest parts of our soul, we remember what God has put into our memory bank about Him through song!
In the middle of the time of worship, were were excited to have a baptismal service. Two individuals had come up to me a couple of weeks ago, professed their salvation experience and their desire to follow through in believer's baptism. Pastor Jack Shelton, newly ordained a few weeks ago, is a friend to both families and he baptized the two. It was a joy!
I preached on "Overcoming Fear" as we walk each day on our Christian journey. Fear paralyzes, defeats, demoralized, and even causes us to do things we never thought we would do. God said to Moses, "Fear not, stand still, watch and see my deliverance." When faith increases, fear decreases. When trust is strong, fear is weak. When belief takes control, fear loses control. So, we must trust in God totally, without reservation. When God does not seem to answer, stay true to him. Someone said, "When God puts you on hold, don't hand up!" God's ways are not always logical. God does not need your approval or your help. God's plans are not limited.
These things God has promised. He has said:
"I will never leave you."
"I will always protect you."
"I will strengthen you."
"I will provide for you."
"I will guide you."
"I will give you rest."
"I will forgive you."
We have no need of fear in this life!