Shape

shape

We’re entering the season of graduations. Whether kindergartener or high schooler, undergrad or graduate, each student has grown and changed.

But how have they been shaped?

Maybe by their parent’s expectations and experiences with friends, teammates, and coworkers; maybe by the consequences of their own choices. A teacher, coach, boyfriend or girlfriend may have played a role in how they’ve been shaped.

These graduates aren’t the same as when they started. They’ve grown, shifted, changed.

They’re bigger, brighter, stronger; delicate, fearful, hopeful.

So how have they been shaped? The prophet Isaiah said, “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

Job during his suffering said to God, “You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.” (Job 10:12)

Those graduating have had many forces shaping their lives, some good and others bad, but they will continue to be shaped. It is our responsibility to point them to the life-shaping power of the Gospel of Jesus, which grants life and love.

Encourage them as they begin their next stage of life and point them towards the hope found in Jesus, and inspire them to shape others.

SPRING HAS SPRUNG

Spring has sprung and even with the ever-changing weather one thing remains the same, we have hope eternal in Jesus Christ and the Easter Egg Hunt is on it’s way! Mark your calendars folks: Saturday, April 15th at 10am we will have over 200 hunters and their families participating in fun, excitement, and activities across our parking lot. Please be in prayer for how this event will touch the lives of our community and bring families closer to Christ.

Be on the lookout for Easter Egg Hunt fliers in your Sunday School folder on how you can help with this event: donating pre-packaged candy, baking a cake, pie, or cookies for the cake walk, or volunteering at a station. This is one of the biggest events we have for the community so your prayers, support, and dedication are needed and appreciated in making this event a success.

With chocolate covered eggs, cute bunnies, and jellybeans that make children and even some adults excited, it is easy to miss the importance of this holiday. We serve a risen Savior and whenever I get busy with planning or organizing for our Easter Egg Hunt, I begin humming a familiar hymn:

“ I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today,

I know that He is living whatever men may say.

I see His hands of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,

And just the time I need Him, He’s always near.

He Lives, He lives, Christ Jesus Lives today,

He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.

He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!

You ask me how I know He lives?

He lives within my heart.”

May we always remember that we serve a RISEN Savior and that our actions reflect that He lives within our heart

Because of Christ,

 Abby Hathcock

Children’s Minister

 

Good Neighbors

Our church has the pleasure of being in the Rountree neighborhood and sitting a stone’s throw from Rountree Elementary. UHBC has volunteered with the school for years (probably longer than I’ve been alive) and continues to look for ways to be good neighbors.

I get to partner with them by taking on chauffer duties for the fifth graders once a month. I take a small group of students and an administrator to Missouri State where they give the Rountree News Update on KSMU.

Rountree fifth graders have been partnering with KSMU on the News Update for around 20 years. The students write their news pieces about events happening at the school then record them with the help of the wonderful staff at the radio station. They learn that it’s ok to make mistakes and see how a rough audio recording is edited into a polished package that airs several times during the month.

Over the past four years I have gotten to see many fifth graders hearing their recorded voices for the first time. Most can’t believe how they sound and even a few have put their hands over their ears, though they quickly remove them when they hear their classmates’ voices.

It has been fun to be involved in just a small part of the life of our neighborhood students. I strive to set a Christ-like example in the 45 minutes that I’m around them and hope, if nothing else, that they see UHBC as a good neighbor.

Trey

Be Still

As I’ve been reading through The Bible Project’s Read Scripture plan, I came across Psalm 37. It’s a long psalm that King David wrote, but the part that stuck out to me was these four commands near the beginning.

Trust in the Lord…

Take delight in the Lord…

Commit your way to the Lord…

Be still before the Lord…

I have struggled with each of these at different times in my life and I have focused on different ones at different times. This year I’ve begun reading through the Bible from start to finish and I’ve found myself concentrating on being still before the Lord.

Working with teenagers and church media tends to be fast paced and my nature pushes me to work hard with little thought as to the reason for my work. Reading several chapters of the Bible each day followed by a Psalm helps me slow down and be still.

I feel connected to God in the stillness. He calms my racing mind and lets me concentrate on what’s important: my relationship with Him (love God) and my relationship with people (love others).

Christmas is behind us and Easter is before us; we need to trust, delight, and commit to the Lord, but let’s also be mindful to slow down and be still before the Lord.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
   trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord
            and wait patiently for him.

                        Psalm 37:3-7

 

With love,

Trey

The Gift of Love

Love is in the air folks! Hint, hint fellas... Valentine's Day is coming.

Typically with this special celebration of love, sweet and thoughtful gifts are close to follow. Not speaking for all lovely ladies in the world, but practical gifts aren't always the key to our hearts; you can never go wrong with a  personal, heartfelt gift. 

Our Heavenly Father sent us the most personal, thoughtful gift of all: Jesus.

The gift of Jesus is always something to celebrate. Please take time around this holiday to thank God for all that He has done in your life and for sending Jesus as your savior. 

"And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love."

1 Corinthians 13:13

With Love,

Abby

The Bible, a Unified Story

I stumbled across The Bible Project while I was doing my morning quiet time with God. They posted their Torah video series to the Youversion Bible app and I began watching to see if it would be something I was interested in.

 

After seeing their creative way of explaining the first five books of the Bible, I immediately looked up their website to find out more. Tim Mackie and Jon Collins had a dream to change how people read and use the Bible. They believe the Bible is a unified story that points people to Jesus, and can speak for itself with wisdom for the modern world.

 

The Bible Project offers an animated video for every book of the Bible that explains the themes, context, structure, and how it is part of a unified story. There are also videos that explore key themes found throughout scripture, like the Kingdom of God, Holiness, the Messiah, and others.

 

I have been using their read-the-bible-in-a-year plan on the Read Scripture app. Their daily readings include a Psalm after each set of chapters to allow you to spend time worshiping God. The app also provides an explainer video for each book as well as theme videos to help you comprehend what the passage means when it talks about atonement, the law, covenants, etc.

 

Our youth group will spend this semester going through the Old Testament and next semester going through the New Testament led by The Bible Project’s videos; we’ll discuss the major themes and how God’s plan of reconciliation through Jesus Christ started in the Garden of Eden.

 

I am so thankful for The Bible Project’s dedication to building God’s kingdom and helping us learn that God’s character has never changed.

 

 

The Bible Project is a non-profit organization that gives away all of its resources for free. If you would like to help sponsor their amazing work, visit www.thebibleproject.com to make a donation.

Trey

Building God's Kingdom, Not Our Own

There's something about seeing churches realize that they need to focus on building God's kingdom and not their own that gets me excited. 

I've had the opportunity to build friendships with local youth pastors over the last four years; these friendships have led to partnerships that make tangible differences in our community. A group of youth pastors created the summer mission project Serve Springfield with the goal of partnering youth ministries together to do some good for the Kingdom of God. This will be the fifth year for the event, and recently we had a meeting to share the vision with other youth pastors.

Inline image 1

Serve Springfield has become the most anticipated event our group does because it is so much more than the typical mission trip. Our students work with kids from their schools, sports teams, and music groups to help local organizations that are making a difference in Springfield. They can see the long term benefit of what we do. 

When churches stop seeing their neighbor down the road as a rival and instead see them as a partner, great things will happen for God's Kingdom.

These youth pastors from all over Springfield and the surrounding areas come from different denominations and backgrounds but have decided that it is more important to reach the people of Southwest Missouri with the Gospel of Christ than it is to build their own numbers. 

I'm thankful for our church and its desire to partner with others to see God's Kingdom grow. 

"Ceremony of Carols"

FROM THE MINISTER OF MUSIC

A Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten is an oft performed work consisting of several modern settings of medieval carols.  And, much like Britten 'borrowed' these old texts as his inspiration for this work, I have 'borrowed' a set of excellent program notes written for a performance in San Francisco in 2008. I hope that these well-written notes will aid in your understanding and appreciation.

Perhaps the most enchanting and haunting feature of Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols is its simplicity. What could be more sublimely austere than medieval carols in middle English, sung by robed choirboys, accompanied by the plucked strains of a lone harp? The picture and the sound evoke the hopeful, watchful sense of the days leading up to Christmas.

All of this goes a long way to understanding A Ceremony of Carols' enduring popularity, and the piece is indeed all of these things that it appears to be. But as is often the case with much-loved music -- particularly when much is known about the composer's life and times -- there is more to the story. Britten wrote Ceremony in 1942 while crossing the Atlantic aboard a Swedish cargo ship -- a dangerous proposition at any time, but much more so during wartime while German submarines prowled the ocean. (Britten actually intended to use the month-long voyage to complete what would become his well-known Hymn to St. Cecilia, but these early sketches were confiscated by customs authorities who feared that the music was in fact a secret code.) Britten had departed his native England at the outset of the war in 1939 and headed for the United States, where his fame was growing quickly, and where, it must be noted, he was unlikely to be conscripted into the British army. After several years abroad, he found it time to return home, and embarked on this voyage not knowing if Britten's return home would be greeted by admiration for his boldness, anger at his flight, mere indifference, or -- as it turned out -- a mixture of the three.

Shortly before departing the U.S., Britten had received a commission to compose a harp concerto, and in the meantime he had begun to familiarize himself with the instrument. This provided the basis and probably the inspiration for his choice of harp to accompany the vocal parts in Ceremony. Although the first published edition of the work recommended that boy sopranos -- not an uncommon lot in Britain -- sing the three treble lines that comprise the chorus, Britten's early manuscripts show that he originally conceived of them as women's parts. Some years later, Britten authorized an arrangement of the piece for four-part mixed voices (possibly at the suggestion of his publisher). To be sure, Britten's notion of exactly who should sing the piece was not as concrete as contemporary practice has borne out.

A Ceremony of Carols consists of eight polyphonic settings of mostly anonymous 15th- and 16th- century poems, which Britten had discovered in a handbook called The English Galaxy of Shorter Poems that he found in Nova Scotia while the ship was in port. These eight carols are bookended by statements of the Gregorian chant “Hodie Christus Natus Est” ("Christ is born today"), and midway through the set is an astounding interlude for harp solo that features this same plainchant tune. The carols themselves show a remarkable diversity of styles, from the jubilant exultations of “Wolcume Yule” and “Deo Gracias”, to the pastoral solos of “That yongë child” and “Balulalow,” to the to the martial urgency of “This Little Babe's” expanding canon -- and whose vivid "holy war" between the infant and Satan must surely have been inspired by the real-life world war. 

Merry Christmas!

Chris Brammer