Be who He’s called you to be; Do what He’s called you to do.

Striking the Balance of Harmony Within the Body of Christ

Musically speaking, a chord is a set of three or more notes you hear as if they are all being played together, although they do not have to be played at the same time. Harmony is the use of these chords simultaneously. Typically, harmony is referred to as vertical in nature whereas the melody, what drives the movement of the song, is seen as horizontal. In Western culture, we know what sounds pleasant to the ear. There is a balance that is struck within the composition of these notes thus creating the pleasant connection with the listener. An imbalance with the notes is referred to as dissonance. It clashes.

We are chords. We are harmony. We must balance and create connection with our listeners, for we have a magnificent calling to share a special kind of music…the gospel of Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 1:10 tells us that by His name, we are to be in perfect harmony and in full agreement, with no dissension, factions, or divisions among us. It tells us to be united in common understanding, opinions, and judgments. These tactics of the enemy (dissension within the body) cripple us, throw our song off balance, and render futile efforts toward Kingdom building. Talk about clashing! We cannot achieve unity in the flesh, but we can in the Spirit, hallelujah!

Unity is a global topic of debate. The world contends that those of us who do not condone, accept, practice, or admonish what seems to be the “current, cultural norms and practices” are disingenuous and part of the disunity, ironically, within society. Many of us actually take that bait, and we conform or stand idly by not wanting to cause discord. After all, we want to fit in. But, because we were made to be part of something magnificent and eternal, we strive in the flesh to fit in to a space we were never meant to fit in; we strive to be a part of something that is only a cheap imitation of the “body” we were meant to be part of and serve. We become less bold, immobilized, weak, and ineffective for the Kingdom.

We can view the body of Christ as the melodic movement, or horizontal movement, helping to facilitate and deliver the message of the Cross.  However, each person has a part to play in the vertical movement of this music. These are the day in and day out opportunities we have to grow, connect, build bridges, serve, love, walk alongside one another through suffering, bear sweet aroma of grace and mercy, edify, be accountable, and so on.  We are created uniquely and individually to play in the larger Spirit-led, Spirit-filled symphony that carries the gospel message all over the world. Each “note” is irreplaceable in bringing honor and glory to God.

How does being unified practically play out? Matthew 18:19 assures us: If you agree/harmonize/make a symphony together about anything, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven. John 17: 22,23 says: I have given them glory and honor which you have given Me, that they may be one as we are one, I in them and You in Me, in order that they become perfectly unified that the world will know and will recognize that you sent me and that you love them as you have loved me. When we are unified, God moves. Things come to pass. His honor and glory are upon us, and the world recognizes the One who sent us and that they are loved by Him.

At the end of the day, every boat sits on it’s own bottom, so my Momma still tells me. We are responsible for ourselves only. One day, those in Christ will stand before the Father with opportunity to lay crowns at the feet of the one who ALONE is worthy. Will we have anything to offer back to him? Which crown(s) will we be able to lay at his feet? This propels me in the faith and in sharing my faith, even when I feel alone. I want to offer him all I can with all my heart. I do not want to fall before Him empty handed.

We cannot hide or pass blame. We must be in the Word seeking hard and pressing deeply into the Father’s plan over our own personal lives. Are we praying over our “harmony?” Are we diligently seeking ways to balance the body with who God has created us to be?

We will never be able to achieve harmony or unity unless Matthew 6:10 is at the forefront of our mind: “Your Kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.” Unity will never take place as long as we are looking to please self, rather than make ourselves surrender in obedience to Christ. As my brother, Andy, always says, “Peace is not the absence of some THING, but the presence of some ONE.” If we really want unification, we must concede that it starts with our individual lives being opened up and poured out for the Lord.

Our outlook should always and forever be eternal. Keep spiritually minded. Be obedient to Christ, and give your all to the One who alone is worthy. We are most unified as a body when we are dead to ourselves and alive in Him! The irony! I fully believe as we press hard into His word and in relationship with Him, the Holy Spirit will move us in supernatural melodic direction.

Let’s be who He’s called us to be. Let’s do what He’s called us to do.  On that day, may we have crowns to lay at His feet and say, “Thou, Oh, Lord, are worthy!” It will be worth it all! May the literal, moving power of the Holy Spirit fall fresh on us, moving us onward for our good and His glory.

Rebecca Chaney

Worship Choir, Alto

Just Say Something – God Will Use It

When we leave a store, depart an event, or encounter a friend we’re usually compelled to throw out something positive, or at least non-offending, like: “see you later”,” good to see you”, “love this cool weather!”  Or the standard “have a good day!”

But couldn’t we do more with some opportunities?  Are we missing divine appointments?  Maybe we could try to do “something rather than nothing” to share our faith sometimes.

Life is busy, it’s hard to get just a few seconds to talk – especially to strangers. This makes witnessing a challenge.  Besides, many of us are a little insecure about sharing our faith.  Here’s an easy way to be doing “something rather than nothing” about sharing our faith.

Next time you walk away from an encounter (the grocery checkout, the plumber at your house, wherever) try asking:

“Hey, you DO know Jesus, don’t you?”

The responses might surprise you:

  • Some say “yes”, but you might cause them to re-examine their faith, and that’s good.
  • Some say “yes”, and it’s a lie to shut you up.  But you’ve planted a seed and the Lord can grow it using another faithful follower.
  • Some will say “no”, and you can give them a tract or invite a conversation.

Any of the above scenarios might create an opportunity to talk further (e.g., to confirm theirs isn’t a works-based faith, which is often the case).  We should pray for courage, and the right words, when opportunities for deeper discussion arise.  But regardless, with that simple question you have done “something rather than nothing.”  Try it just one time – it will leave you encouraged, excited, satisfied and emboldened.  You’ll want to do it again.

You might wonder how this relates to our “stronger together” theme.  I would contend that our group’s strength, character and success are determined by the faith, obedience, and discipline of each of us individual Christians in our daily walk.  Being “stronger together” isn’t about what the group does – that mindset allows subconscious reliance on everybody else doing their part.  How strong we are together depends on what each individual commits to do in their life.  And for Christians, that should include sharing our faith.  Consider these convicting verses:

Acts 1:8 –  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

2 Corinthians 5:20 –  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf:  Be reconciled to God.

Psalm 107:2 –  Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe.

Psalm 107:42-43 –  The upright see and rejoice, but all the wicked shut their mouths.  Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.

 To summarize, these scriptures tell me:

If I have the Holy Spirit, I will be a witness.  I’m supposed to be acting like an ambassador, allowing God to make His appeal through me.  If I’m redeemed I should tell my story.  I should be rejoicing and not keeping my mouth shut.

Personally, I’ll be looking more for opportunities to share, or at least plant seeds, and have the Lord work through me.  I know I could do it more, but I’m stepping out in faith more than I used to – and I plan to continue stepping out and growing.

Come join me.  I guarantee it’ll be exciting, and God will bless our efforts – both individually and as a group – making us Stronger Together!

Sherry Stegall

Composite Strength

Concrete is a great building product. It can be compressed to support incredible weight, and is basically a “liquid rock” that man can freely form to fit his needs. Unfortunately, concrete does not do well with tension – you cannot pull on it. Steel, on the other hand, is great in tension but not in compression. When these materials are used together, the composite material is stronger together than when independently used. Using this analogy in the First Baptist Jackson Music and Worship Ministry, each person with their individual strengths and talents (choir, technical, drama, instrumental, administrative) combine to form a composite that is stronger together than we will ever be with as individuals.

Concrete + Steel
Concrete + Steel

Let’s talk about another “composite.” Christ – God on Earth, our Savior and Lord. Perfect Redeemer.”  God’s “Composite” if you will, is the answer to the sin introduced to the world through Adam and Eve. God chose to send a part of Himself to be our Savior, and in doing so, Jesus was fully God and fully man. Through Jesus, a bridge is re-established between us as sinners and the perfect, flawless, holy God.  So what do we do with this Composite, this Jesus? This God, that became man to save us?  In our roles in the composite that is the Music and Worship Ministry, we reach out to the community weekly and during special programs like Carols to lift Christ up and share with others what He gave us. The question is, do you believe what you are sharing, this story of Christ’s redemption of us?

Last year we began intentionally refocusing Carols as an evangelical outreach event. As we present Carols, our goal is to tell how Christ redeemed us. His birth (Christmas) without His death, burial, and resurrection (Easter) is just another great story. This Story requires that the individual telling it believes it.   What does your faith look like? What is your story in relationship to “His Story?”

In Numbers 23:19, we find this:  “God is not human, that He should lie, not a human being that He should change His mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?”  God’s provision is complete and whole through Jesus. God promised us redemption, and delivered, though it cost Him his only Son.

As you go through today, think about what you believe.  If you don’t live like God can meet all your needs each and every day, can you really believe that God will give you eternal life?  One is so much harder than the other.  God knows what we need physically, but even more, what we need spiritually – we need Jesus. “Test God in this” as Malachi 3:10 says and watch Him do what He has promised.  But first – you must know the perfect composite – the God-man, the Son of God, Jesus – truly believe in Him and His Resurrection and have a personal relationship with Him.

God has given each of us gifts and talents to use for Him.  Each skill and talent is important – it takes the parts to make the whole. But, if you don’t know Jesus and can profess Him personally, it is like trying to build a bridge or a building using only steel or concrete but not both. The strength comes from knowing Jesus personally. With Him, we are Stronger Together.

Robert Polk

Technical Team (lights, set designs)



By now, you have heard about NEXT, our discussions at First Baptist Jackson (FBCJ) concerning God’s plans for our church. You may think this is just “one more thing” that FBCJ is sponsoring, or worse, that no one truly wants your input so why bother. Neither of these viewpoints could be further from the truth.

The FBCJ Leadership Committee prayerfully determined that we needed to examine our corporate heart. “Corporate” per means “united or combined into one,” a definition that resonates with Stronger Together, our Worship Ministry theme for this year.

Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV) – Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

These verses speak of unity – being on the same page with the Spirit. Being like-minded with Christ is key to understanding His plans for our church and our roles in them.

Psalm 78: 5-7 (NIV): “He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.”

This passage reminds us that we have a responsibility to the next generation, and we would infer, to our community. If you read the entire Psalm, Asaph describes what the children of Israel repeatedly did not do, and yet how God redeemed them when they would turn back to Him. As we consider what’s NEXT for FBCJ, we must consider where we have focused on our own desires rather than on what God desires. Confession and seeking forgiveness are, we believe, part of what’s NEXT.

 Hebrews 11:8 NIV – By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

 In pursuit of God’s NEXT for FBCJ, we very likely will be called to obey and go/do without having any idea of the outcome. Like Abraham, our faith and faithfulness will be tested. To do nothing is not an option. Apathy or fear is evidence that our faith is weak – – or worse, that our relationship to Christ and His Church is a cultural thing, not a personal thing. That’s a hard thing to hear, but think about it.

Philippians 2:14-16a – Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.

Determining what God has NEXT for us requires investment from us. Pray. Study God’s Word. Engage. These things require time, a precious commodity, and frankly, courage, to step outside the box and share your heart and what you personally are discerning from God with others. This is not about confrontation. It is about vision and finding the place where God wants us to be.

So what do you need to do? It’s simple. 1. Pray for this effort. 2. Participate. Attend one “listening session” facilitated by former First Baptist Jackson Executive Pastor, Jim Baker. Our discussions will center on our unique local opportunities, capabilities, missional passions, and specific hopes and fears about FBCJ. Together, as a church body, we will prayerfully discern what God has NEXT for us.

Here is the link to the NEXT listening session schedule. We encourage you to choose the earliest date that works for you to participate:

You are valued. And your input is crucial.

Stronger Together

Catherine Sledge & Cille Litchfield

One Voice

The Master's Voice
The Master’s Voice

Imagine a choir consisting of a sole soprano, or just one tenor, or, forbid the thought, just one bass, or even just one section of basses.  Imagine an orchestra with only a solo violin, or just one lone clarinet, or only a bass drum.  First of all, these wouldn’t really be a choir or an orchestra, but simply soloists trying to make music on their own.  There would be little chance of harmony, not much intensity of sound, and, in most cases, little interest in the music.  The music that comes from the whole of the group is stronger, more melodious, and more interesting than a sole a cappella performer.

Consider then that the Body of Christ is in many ways like a choir or orchestra.  We all have different spiritual gifts, different abilities, and different motivations, just as the members of a choir or orchestra have different roles in making music.

1 Corinthians 12 (NKJV):

4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

Just as the human body is made up of many organs that have different functions and the orchestra and choir are made up of many voices and instruments, the Body of Christ consists of diverse members with different talents and gifts.  We all serve the same Lord and it is He who works in us.

Continuing in 1 Corinthians 12(NKJV):

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Not everyone in the choir or orchestra has the same musical abilities, just as not every member of the Body of Christ has the same Spiritual Gifts and not every organ in the human body may function at the same level.  It is unity of the whole that allows the work to be effective, in music, in human physiology, and in the Body of Christ.  As we follow Him and listen to His Voice, we become One Voice.                                                      

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1 (NKJV)

Fred Rushton


“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬
noun: unity
  1. the state of being united or joined as a whole.

It’s a pretty simple word with a pretty simple definition. It’s actually not a word we give much thought to most days. With this being the week of “Stronger Together: A Night of Unity”, it’s a word I’ve been thinking about a lot. Our country needs unity. Our state needs unity. Our children need unity to thrive. Our church is in desperate need of unity. Unity, a condition we have taken for granted, has morphed, unfortunately, into disunity. It’s all around us. We see it in the news daily. Our children are growing up in a world where disunity is “the norm”… it’s simply what we expect.

Christians not only are splintered into a variety of beliefs and associations, but within our churches, the differences between each believer can often be harsh and can even cause irreconcilable rifts. And this happens while the world is watching. Unity must occur within the church and its body of believers. Once the Body of Christ is unified, we will find final victory. The world will see our victory and we, the Body of Christ, will be stronger than ever.

Unified, our sole purpose should be to glorify God. As a body of believers, we must always stand guard and remember satan wants nothing more than to cause disunity in our world, our churches and our relationships. He wants to divide and conquer. Thankfully, we serve a God who wants to heal such brokenness. He longs for unity among His people.

The solution to disunity is quite simply to be found  in Christ alone. Within unity we find strength…and are stronger together. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:15-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Carrie Thames

“I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble….” (‭Psalms‬ ‭121‬:‭1-3‬ NLT)

Keep Calm and Sing On

Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. (2 Chronicles 20:2-4, NIV)

In 1939, as World War II was breaking out all over Europe, the newly formed British Ministry of Information was tasked with creating a number of propaganda posters. Three posters were printed. The first two posters were hung all over the British Isles to boost the morale of the citizens. The third poster (KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON) had a somewhat different purpose. The plan in place for this poster was to issue it only upon the invasion of Britain by Germany. As this never happened, the poster was never officially seen by the public. Presumably, all of the pre-printed posters were to be destroyed after the war. While only a few of the original posters remain today, the slogan (with all of its variations) continues to inspire people.

Don’t let the simplicity of the ‘Keep Calm’ poster mute the impact of its message. There are three things we can use to gain perspective:

  1. The Crown – This singular embellishment, the crown of King George VI, was a constant reminder to the citizens of Britain of who their true leader was. No matter influence of an invading army, the kingdom remained.
  2. KEEP CALM – The presence of the invading enemy within the most intimate areas of our lives, marching through the streets of our neighborhoods and affecting our friends and loved ones, is no time for panic.
  3. CARRY ON – This is a clarion call for the survival of a people. Britain would only remain a nation so long as its citizenship remained in the hearts of its people. [For example, the modern day nation of Israel could not have been established in 1948 if there were no Israelites to become citizens of the new nation.]

Today, God’s Church must understand that it is also at war. We have to deal with bombings, gunmen, an anti-Christian culture, and murderous Islamic jihadists. It has been stated that 80-90% of all religious martyrs are Christians. However, there is an equally real battle within us. We are constantly invaded with ideas that Creator God is not enough. It is a fight waged against doubt and fear; a war against our own flesh. Unfortunately, all too often we go into survival mode and try to fight this war as lone soldiers.

Given these two battlefronts, what is the proper call to action? Look to King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles, chapter 20. In response to a vast invading army of Moabites, Jehoshaphat declares a nationwide fast. The final line of his prayer reveals the king’s dependence on God: We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. (v. 12)

God, who never forsakes His children, replied through his prophet Jahaziel:

‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s… You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’ (vv. 15, 17)

Because Jehoshaphat humbled himself before God, and he took the time to hear God’s Word, he was able to go into battle with the Lord’s provision:

After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

 “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”

 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. (vv. 21-22)

 We are called to battle! Often, we will be called to stand stronger together and lead the charge. Therefore, we must cling to God’s Word and always be prepared to answer the command of God to lead, to encourage, and to go out. Our hearts must reflect complete dependence on our King. Through spiritual maturity and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we must KEEP CALM. And finally, we have been called to a ministry of leadership in worship, just like the Levites of old. Therefore, we must SING ON.

I love you choir, orchestra, and media team!

For Christ and His Bride,

Brad Moreman

One Mind

Romans 15:5-6

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As musicians, we all realize that sound travels in waves. I don’t remember much from the acoustics section of physics class, but as I was reflecting on the theme Stronger Together, the interesting illustration of the benefit of unity in the way sounds waves interact came to mind.

Interference is what happens when two (or more) waves come together. Visualize with me: A wave has peaks and troughs – and depending on how those are matched together, those waves can add or amplify each other or even cancel each other out completely.

Aptly termed, constructive interference means that two waves are in the same direction with the same oscillations come together as another wave, and this resultant wave is much larger than the amplitude of an individual wave.  For 100 waves of the same amplitude interfering constructively, the resulting amplitude is 100 times larger than an individual wave, and 500 waves are 500 times stronger!

On the other hand, destructive interference occurs when two waves come together in a way that completely cancels each other out. If there are more than two waves with different amplitude, they all combine in some way to produce zero amplitude.  We can see the effects of both acoustical principles in the way ensembles can sound incredible as well as the way sound canceling earphones work.

The top wave in the picture is an example of constructive interference and the bottom is an example destructive interference.

We might sing or play an instrument in unity for emphasis (think volume) and add harmony for color and richness of sound. Either way, being on-pitch is important, as a chord with one note out of sync can turn music into noise, displeasing to the ear.

In the same way, we are all part of the body of Christ. While we all have different gifts and talents, different opinions, different views on theology and politics, we can cancel each other out if we are not unified. Or maybe even worse, dissenters can sound like noise or clanging cymbals. Jesus spoke of unity often in the Gospels, because the people causing the warbles or dissonance were the religious leaders of that day… and Paul echoes the importance of unity of believers in nearly every epistle, so that we may amplify the love of Christ.

In times of transition, uncertainty, political elections, and change, picking apart perceived problems and voicing opinions on what is wrong is taking the easy road out. If we are not emanating a unified sound in voice, in action, and in our treatment of others (including each other), we are simple noise that can potentially even cancel each other out completely. Does Jackson see our church as a silent building in the middle of a city/state/world of unrest?  Echoing Micah Fries’ sermon Sunday, August 2, are we truly living as exiles in this world, unified in one voice for Christ? Or are we so preoccupied with what is going wrong with the world, with politics, with other cultures, with each other that we have lost sight of what Jesus calls us to do in this world?

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then…I will know that you stand firm in One Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the Gospel.” Philippians 1:27

Imagine what could happen if the Metro Jackson area saw First Baptist Jackson as a people united in mission and purpose?  What if they saw our entire church and individual lives marked by a continuing pursuit of unity?

We know we are Stronger Together. Let’s get on the same wavelength and amplify Christ’s love.

In John 17, Jesus prayed for all believers to be “brought to complete unity…then the world will know”.

Meredith Warf


The Body of Christ

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.  Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many…  But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be… Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12: 12-14, 18, 27 NIV

In the above verses Paul refers to the church, those of us who are believers in Jesus Christ, as the body of Christ.  The church is made up of many parts and every part plays a vital role in God’s plan. Each one of us has been given talents and abilities that God intends to be used for His glory in His church. Some are called to preach, some to teach, some to serve, etc… Whatever role God intends for you to play in His church can only be accomplished by your obedience to Him. He has chosen you specifically.

Just like the church is the body of Christ, our worship ministry family is part of the body of Christ.  God has a calling for each of us and we all play a vital role in that family. (Remember verse 18 again; “just as He wanted them to be.”) Your calling may be to play in the orchestra, run lighting and sound, sing a solo, etc… Whatever it is, there are no small roles when it comes to serving God. When each of us obeys God’s calling on our lives, the stronger we are together.

Emily Agent

Stronger Together

Of Three Strands
Of Three Strands

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NASB

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

Stronger Together. What does that mean? In this silo’ed world where so often it is “all about me” and where many (most?) of us try to stand apart, how do we interpret this?

In the early church not long after the Ascension, Acts (1:14 NASB) records: These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. Jesus gathered the disciples together and told them not leave Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came upon them. And the Holy Spirit did come as Jesus promised opened their hearts and their minds and they fellowshipped together as they shared the love of Jesus and how He cleansed the people from their sins. They were Stronger Together. 

Wise Solomon experientially knew that one man alone could not stand against those who would try to take them down. He offered that two are much stronger – one can lift the other up, keep him warm, minister to his needs. But add the third strand – and I choose to believe in Solomon’s proverb that this third strand is none other than God – and the cord is not easily broken.  God, if you will, binds the cord in such as way that unraveling it is extremely difficult. Stronger Together.

As we kick off the new church year, and choir and orchestra ramp back up, I challenge each of us to look for ways to lift each other up. Worship is not about the anthem or who is playing what instrument this week or if the call to be a soloist does not come. Worship is about Jesus. About honoring Him. About standing in the gap for His people. About telling our story about our relationship with Him to others and inviting others to come in with us to worship. Stronger Together. It is about new opportunities for worship, about vocalists and instrumentalists working together as a unit, about nurturing and mentoring students who will join us for the first time in the orchestra as a new part of our ministry and all of us reaching out to them, adopting them, loving on them, telling them the Story of Jesus.  Stronger Together.  It is about praying for our church staff, church leadership, and for the man God has identified to be our next Senior Pastor. Stronger Together.

As hard headed and independent as I am, I realize that I am no good alone. I am grateful for my friends and family who stand along side as my encouragers and prayer partners. And most of all, I am eternally grateful that the third strand anchors me – I have no doubt about that. Jesus lives in me because I answered that question long ago when I invited Him in and asked Him to forgive my sins and make me whole. Have you done that? If not, let’s talk about it soon.

Stronger Together and Still Choosing Joy!

Cille Litchfield