The Lord Has Chosen You

I love this message to the priests in charge of worship:

The Lord has chosen you to stand in His presence,
to minister to Him, and to lead the people in worship
and present offerings to Him. ~ II Chronicles 29:11

ii-chronicles-29-11

If you are leading worship in your congregation on a regular basis, chances are it is because God has chosen you for that role. He has given you the skill and desire to do the job. So keep growing, keep learning, keep seeking the Lord. It is a sacred calling. Don’t take it lightly. How we lead, the songs we chose and the teams and musicians we develop have a huge impact on our churches.

But, keep your priorities right. Our first priority is to minister to the Lord: to lift our personal worship to the King of Kings, to live a life worthy of His calling. Never neglect your personal worship times. Spend time reading your Bible and spend time worshiping the Lord in your personal times with Him.

It is a high privilege to lead our congregations in praise and worship to the Lord. Let us never take it lightly.

 

Check out my new book: ‘Leading Worship: Notes from a Grand Adventure‘. This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life! Pick up the Kindle version for only $3.99 and the paper back for only $13.30.

 

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Dealing With Criticism

Dealing with criticism positively is an important life skill. At some point in your life you will be criticized. Sometimes it will be difficult to accept – but that all depends on your reaction.

how-to-deal-with-criticism

You can either use criticism in a positive way to improve, or in a negative way that can lower your self-esteem and cause stress, anger or even aggression.

There are two types of criticism – constructive and destructive – learning to recognize the difference between the two can help you deal with any criticism you may receive.

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving. ~ Dale Carnegie – How To Win Friends and Influence People

When challenged by another person, it is common to react in a negative manner. Consider how negative reactions make you look – and more importantly how they make you feel.  The way in which you choose to handle criticism has a knock-on effect in various aspects of your life, therefore it is better to identify ways in which you can benefit from criticism and use it to your advantage to be a stronger and more able person.

Constructive and Destructive Criticism

The difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism is the way in which comments are delivered.

Although both forms are challenging your ideas, character or ability, when someone is giving destructive criticism it can hurt your pride and have negative effects on your self-esteem and confidence.  Destructive criticism is often just thoughtlessness by another person, but it can also be deliberately malicious and hurtful.  Destructive criticism can, in some cases, lead to anger and/or aggression.

Constructive criticism, on the other hand, is designed to point out your mistakes, but also show you where and how improvements can be made. Constructive criticism should be viewed as useful feedback that can help you improve yourself rather than put you down.

When criticism is constructive it is usually easier to accept, even if it still hurts a little.  In either scenario always try to remember that you can use criticism to your advantage.

A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. ~ Proverbs 28:13

Dealing with Critical People

Some individuals are critical by nature and do not always realize that they are hurting the feelings of another person.

If you know a person who is critical of everything, try not to take their comments too seriously, as this is just part of their character trait. If you do take negative comments to heart it can create resentment and anger towards the other person, which could damage the relationship.

Remember, people who criticize everything or make scathing remarks to be hurtful are the ones that need help – not you!

The lips of the godly speak helpful words, but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words. ~ Proverbs 10:32

How you physically react to criticism will depend on the nature of the criticism, where you are and who the criticism is coming from. The key thing to remember is that whatever the circumstance is, don´t respond in anger as this will cause a scene and create bad feelings – and possibly a bad image of you.

Try to remain calm and treat the other person with respect and understanding. This will help to defuse the situation and potentially stop it from getting out of hand.  Show that you are the stronger person and try not to rise to the bait, do not use it as a reason to offer counter criticism.  If you challenge the other person you may start an argument that is probably unnecessary.

Taking the Positives Out of Criticism

We all make mistakes all the time, it is human nature.  As we go through life we have plenty of opportunity to learn and improve ourselves. Therefore, no matter what kind of criticism is aimed at you, analyze it to find something you can learn from it.  In material matters at work, school, church or social clubs for example, try to take criticism on board to help you improve.  When somebody is attacking your character it is hard to accept, but that does not mean you should ignore it.

Also bear in mind that the criticism aimed at you may not make sense at the time. Generally speaking, there is usually some truth in criticism, even when it appears to be given out of spite and bitterness.  It is often the case that a slight on your character is a fair reflection of how another person sees you at that point in time.  Take a step back and try to see things from the other person’s point of view, perhaps ask a friend for their honest opinion – use criticism wisely and as a learning experience.  See if it is possible to learn a little about how others perceive you, you may be able to use criticism to improve your interpersonal skills.

We all learn by making mistakes, and learning how to deal with criticism positively is one way that we can improve our interpersonal relationships and life skills.

Adapted from ‘Skills You Need‘ ~ Author Unknown: The original post is here

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With All Your Heart

I was reading this morning about a very loved and successful king in the Bible… and this phrase caught my attention: ‘a man who sought the Lord with all his heart.(II Chronicles 22:9)

With all your heart

There are numerous men throughout the Bible who are remembered with that phrase.  Great men like David, Jehoshaphat & Josiah come to mind.

Moses said, ‘What does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases Him, and love Him and serve Him with all your heart and soul.’ (Deuteronomy 10:12)

Joshua told us to ‘love the Lord your God, walk in all His ways, obey His commands, hold firmly to Him, and serve Him with all your heart and all your soul.” (Joshua 22:5)

Jesus said, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ (Mark 12:30)

So my simple question to you today is, are you following after God with all your heart? Can you say like Paul did, ‘I serve God with all my heart.’

I don’t want it to be said of me, ‘You don’t love Me as you did at first!’ (Revelations 2:4)

My desire is check my heart, renew my passion and be known as ‘a man who sought the Lord with all his heart.And that is my prayer for you today, ‘May you be known as a person who loves and follows God with all your heart.’

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15 Great Reasons To Read The Bible Daily

Studies have shown that the single most powerful catalyst of people’s spiritual growth is personal Bible study and reflection. Here are 15 great reasons to spend time reading God’s words daily.

Read your Bible

  • To be rid of anxiety and have peace  (PSALM  119:165)

Those who love Your instructions have great peace and do not stumble. 

  • To set things right when life is out of control (PSALM 19:7-8)

The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lord are right,
bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
giving insight for living.

  • To have direction and know God’s will (PSALM 119:105)

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
and a light for my path.

  • To experience healing and deliverance (PSALM 107:20)

He sent out His word and healed them,
 snatching them from the door of death.

  • To grow in the Lord  (I PETER 2:2)

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation.

  • To have strength comfort and hope (PSALM 119:28,50,114)

I weep with sorrow; encourage me by Your word. Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles. You are my refuge and my shield; Your word is my source of hope.

  • To shape yourself and your life correctly (PSALM 119:11)

I have hidden Your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against You.

  • To be able to see clearly (PSALM 119:130)

The teaching of Your word gives light,
so even the simple can understand.

  • To know what’s really in your heart (HEBREWS 4:12)

The word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

  • To build faith (ROMANS 10:17)

Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

  • To have joy (PSALM 16:11)

You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of Your presence
and the pleasures of living with You forever.

  • To understand God’s power (JOHN 1:3)

God created everything through Him,
and nothing was created except through Him.

  • To have more life in this life (JOHN 10:10)

I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.

  • To distinguish good from evil (PSALM 119: 101-102)

I have refused to walk on any evil path,
so that I may remain obedient to Your word.
I haven’t turned away from Your regulations,
for You have taught me well.

  • To understand God’s love for you (JOHN 3:16-17)

For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.

Here is a link to some great Bible reading plans.

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Worship Leaders: 10 Things For Us To Work On

No matter how long I have been leading worship, there are always areas that I need to improve on. When you are doing well, it is too easy to get comfortable. But the truth is, none of us ever arrives. My prayer is that this list challenges you, like it challenges me, to move ahead with what God has called us to do!

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 9.30.24 AM

1. Never stop growing

  • Are you practicing your singing and playing on a daily basis?
  • Are you taking lessons and improving your craft and leadership?
  • Are you changing and growing with the new trends, styles and songs?

2. Develop your organizational and admin skills

  • Are you writing (or buying) great charts for your band?
  • Are you running organized and productive rehearsals?
  • Are you creating timely schedules for your musicians and planning ahead on the church calendar?

3. Keep working on a good relationship with your pastor

  • Do you have a regular meeting with your pastor?
  • Are you supporting your pastor in private and public?
  • Have you ever had your pastor and his wife over for dinner?

4. Take time to mentor new leaders

  • Are you looking for and developing the potential leaders on your team?
  • Are you giving room for new leaders to lead a song or worship time?
  • Jesus spent over 3 years developing His team, are you following His example?

5. Develop a great team

  • Do you have a system for bringing along new musicians?
  • Are you developing multiple musicians for each position?
  • How are you helping your team grow spiritually?

6. Learn to pick great worship songs

  • Are you teaching your congregation the great songs from around world?
  • Do you ever go outside your preferences in musical styles?
  • Are you developing a balanced repertoire of fast, medium and slow songs?

7. Increase your passion for worshiping God  

  • Are you keeping it real? Be authentic, are you the same on and off the stage?
  • Are there areas in your life that are holding you back from God’s richest blessings?
  • Do you love the Lord with all your heart and are you a passionate worshipper?

8. Love the church like Jesus loves the church

  • Are you building God’s kingdom or yours?
  • Do you love the people you are leading?
  • Jesus laid down His life for us, are you willing to lay down your life?

9. Love your spouse and family

  • Are you carving out regular time in your schedule for your spouse and family?
  • Are you taking one day off per week?
  • When is the last time you had a date with your spouse?

10. Love and spend time with God daily

  • Are you reading your Bible daily?
  • When is the last time you memorized a Bible passage?
  • How is your prayer life? Are you praying and obeying?

Here are some related posts:

Check out my new book.. “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

 

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My NEVER AGAIN List

By Don Gossett ~

Never again

First ~ Never Again will I confess “I can’t,” for –

“I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13.

Second ~ Never Again will I confess lack, for –

“My God shall supply all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19.

Third ~ Never Again will I confess fear, for –

“God has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – II Timothy 1:7.

Fourth ~ Never Again will I confess doubt and lack of faith, for –

“God has given to every man the measure of faith.” – Romans 12:3

Fifth ~ Never Again will I confess weakness, for –

“The Lord is the strength of my life.” – Psalms 7:1

“The people who know their God shall be strong and do exploits.” – Daniel 11:32

Sixth ~ Never Again will I confess supremacy of Satan over my life, for –

“Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.” – I John 4:4

Seventh ~ Never Again will I confess defeat, for –

“God always causes me to triumph in Christ Jesus.” – II Corinthians 2:14

Eighth ~ Never Again will I confess lack of wisdom for –

“Christ Jesus is made to me wisdom from God.” – I Corinthians 1:30.

Ninth ~ Never Again will I confess sickness, for –

“With His stripes I am healed.” – Isaiah 53:5

Jesus “Himself took my infirmities and bare my sicknesses.” – Matthew 8:17.

Tenth ~ Never Again will I confess worries and frustrations, for –

I am “Casting all my cares upon Him for He cares for me.” – I Peter 5:7.

Eleventh ~ Never Again will I confess bondage, for –

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” – II Corinthians 3:17.

Twelfth ~ Never Again will I confess condemnation, for –

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1.

The original post is here.

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Worship Teams: Moving From Good To Excellent

How do we as individuals, leaders and worship teams go from good to excellent? How do we take from the past and learn from the present to lead our congregations in passionate worship of the Lord? Here are four main areas that we can grow and work on.

Excellent-good-average

1. Love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength

Loving God with all our hearts must be at the center of all we do. Here are two of the main ways we can grow in this area.

a) Reading God’s Word daily: I am passionate about the power of God’s Word to change and transform lives. That is because I have seen God’s Word transform my life. If you are not reading your Bible on a daily basis, I want to encourage you and help you make that an important daily habit in your life. Please check out my Bible Reading Challenge.

b) Praying daily: Jesus spent daily time in prayer.  Praying and spending time with God needs to be one of our top priorities. Only God, working though us, can change the hearts and minds of the people we minister to.

2. Love each other 

Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”  Two of the main ways we do this are:

a) We serve each other:  Jesus said it this way: 

“You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.  But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Two of the main ways we show our love is by serving each other and laying down our lives for each other.

b) We are kind to each other: We should endeavour to have God’s Spirit working through us in all our actions. The fruits of God’s Spirit are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness. (Galatians 5:22). None of us get’s it right all the time. But our heart should be to love our fellow believer and be forgiving, just as Christ has forgiven us.

3. Grow as passionate worshippers of God

Two of the main ways we do this are through are attitudes and actions:

a) Attitude is everything: We need check our hearts and spirits and come to worship God with great attitudes: The Biblical attitudes of worship are: thankfulness, honesty, reverence, faith, humility, joy and with our whole heart. (The Attitudes of Worship). If we come with those attitudes, God is pleased and something powerful happens in our worship time.

b) Actions speak so loud: People will believe your actions before they believe your words or the lyrics of the song you sing. I believe we should use the Biblical actions as our standard for worship: Throughout the Bible, the people of God have worshiped Him through singing, playing instruments, lifting of hands, clapping, shouting, dancing, bowing down, standing and giving (their whole lives). (The Actions Of Worship). Let us never to content to do things the way we have always done them. Let us raise our worship to the standard of God’s word. 

4. Work on becoming excellent singers and musicians

There are four main ways that we can do that:

a) We work hard: Becoming excellent at anything takes hard work. If you are not willing to become disciplined and put in the time and energy, you will not improve.  

b) We are faithful: Teams only improve by consistently working together. We need faithful people who will go the 2nd mile to be on time and be faithful to their responsibilities.

c) We accept correction: We can all improve and we all have blind spots. Each of us needs people and leaders who can challenge us and speak the truth in love.

d) We keep learning and growing: None of us has arrived. There are always new things to learn and areas to improve in. If you are not growing, you are growing stale. We all need to be pushed beyond our comfort zones to new levels of excellence.

What area is God speaking to you about? Where do you need to move from good to excellent as an individual and as a team? May we never be satisfied with just going through the motions. May we always be passionate worshipers and lovers of God.

 

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Celebrating 450,000 Reads: Top 10 Posts

This blog recently reached over 450,000 reads from 188,000 visitors from over 190 countries. It has been such a joy to share with my readers. Here are my Top 10 posts in reverse order:

Top-10

10. Singing: 7 Keys To Improving Pitch

There are few things that ruin singing more than being out-of-tune. If you are a singer or working with singers, here are 7 keys to help improve musical pitch…

9. Worship Leading: 7 Keys To Becoming Invisible

Strong worship leaders know that worship is never about them, it’s about putting our gaze and attention on Jesus. Here are some keys to leading people toward Jesus in worship…

8. 10 Keys To Improving Your Singing

I have worked with average to great singers on the road, in the recording studio, in church and other musical settings for many decades. Here is what I have learned so far about helping singers improve…

7. 10 Tips On Improving Your Worship Band Rehearsal

Over the last 40 years, I have had rehearsals with orchestra’s, choirs, marching bands, studio sessions, vocal sections, brass & string sections and worship bands in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Caribbean and North America. Along the way I have picked up a few ideas on how to have a good rehearsal. Here is what I have learned so far…

6. 10 Tests Of A Good Worship Leader

How are you doing as a worship leader? How do you know if you are a good worship leader? Let me suggest a few guidelines that will help to quantify your leadership…

5. 12 Keys To Picking Great Songs For Worship

Picking great songs for worship is one of the most important skills a worship leader needs to learn. There are many different kinds and levels of worship songs. Some songs are written about God, some songs are written…

4. Guidelines For A Strong Worship Team

In any quality organization there are codes of conduct and concrete expectations. A number of years ago I attended a worship conference at Gateway Church in Dallas and was totally impressed by their worship team. Based on Gateway’s code of conduct and my own experience, here are my standards and guidelines for my worship team…

3. 10 Commandments Of Great Worship Team Members

Sometimes I lead the worship band and sometimes I play in the band. Both are important roles and have specific responsibilities to do them well. As both a leader and a player/singer, here are my ten most important rules as a team member…

2. 8 Tips On Taking Your Sunday Morning Worship To The Next Level

I love leading God’s people in worship. I have been blessed to have led church worship teams at home and around the world for over thirty years. Here are a few things that I have learned along that way…

1. Strong Worship Leaders: The 18 Things They Avoid

Strong worship leaders develop good attitudes and habits. They keep their heart, mind and spirit right before God and man. Check out these things that strong leaders don’t do, so you can grow and improve…

Check out my new book: “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure’. It is now available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

Posted in Church, God, God Adventures, Jesus, Leadership, Music, Wisdom, Worship | 2 Comments

10 Keys To Success That Require Zero Talent

By Wayne Duggan ~

It’s hard not to be envious of extremely intelligent and talented people.  After all, talent goes a long way.

However, Tristan Walker, founder and CEO of Walker & Company brands, recently Tweeted a list of 10 keys to success that require no talent whatsoever.

Here’s a rundown of his list.

keys to success

10 Keys To Success That Require Zero Talent

1. Being On Time

Many of these behaviors seem like no-brainers, but showing up late to meetings, rehearsals or even walking into work at 9:10 a.m. instead of 9:00 is disrespectful to superiors, coworkers or partners.

2. Work Ethic

Not everyone can naturally be the best at his or her job, but everyone has the ability to out-work others in their field.

3. Effort

The easiest thing in the world is to give up. Not only will effort often produce results, it always demonstrates to others that they can rely on you to do everything you can to make things happen.

4. Body Language

Confidence and success can be contagious. When you believe in yourself and present positive body language to the world, others will (often subconsciously) pick up on it and will begin to believe in you too.

5. Energy

When are you more productive at work? When you drag in hung-over after two hours of sleep or when you show up after a healthy breakfast and full night’s rest?

6. Attitude

Not everything in the business world is pleasant, but unpleasant things must be done. If you approach everything with a positive attitude, you will earn a lot of respect.

7. Passion

It’s often easy to tell when people are passionate about their kids, their favorite TV show or the local sports team. If you can make your career your passion, the path to success won’t feel like such an effort.

8. Being Coachable

Stubbornness and pride are two major roadblocks to success. If you are willing to be flexible and handle constructive criticism and guidance, you will be the type of partner or employee that everyone in the business world dreams of having.

9. Doing Extra

Going the extra mile” often requires much less effort than it seems. You’ve already devoted 10 hours to putting together the presentation; why not take 10 more minutes proofreading it one more time? Your boss wanted 10 ideas for the new client. Why not come up with 12? Just because you were told to do something a certain way, think about whether there is a better way to do it. The Jesus principle of going the extra mile is the easiest way to stand out above the majority of people who always do the bare minimum that is asked of them.

10. Being Prepared

Preparation is an excellent way to demonstrate work ethic, effort, passion and going the extra mile. Walking into a situation knowing you’re fully prepared for anything that might happen also works wonders for your body language and confidence.

By Wayne Duggan , Benzinga Staff Writer (the original post is here) – slightly edited by Mark Cole for a Christian perspective

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A Simple Way To Spend 45 Minutes A Day With The Lord


By :

There is nothing more important than spending regular time with the Lord.

In John 15, Jesus said:

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (4, 5)

Reading the Bible

I have to have my devotions first thing in the day or I get too distracted. Find a time that works best for you and try to establish a consistent habit. Give this little system (or some variation of it) a try and you will find you can easily spend 45 minutes with the Lord. If this seems like too much start with one small part but try to do it every day. For example, try to read the Bible five minutes a day. It may not seem like much, but if you do it consistently you will really benefit from it. Ok, here’s an easy way to spend 45 minutes a day with the Lord:

5 minutes – Scripture memorization
20 minutes – Read or listen to 3 chapters of the Bible
5 minutes – Write things you’re thankful for
15 minutes – Pray

Ok, let’s elaborate:

5 minutes – Scripture memorization. There are many ways to reach memorize scripture. You can listen to scripture set to music (e.g. Hide the Word). Or write down a Scripture on one side of a 3 x 5 card and the reference on the back. A good way to memorize is to focus first on key phrases rather than every word. For example, Ephesians 3:20-21 says:

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,  forever and ever. Amen.

Here are the six key phrases:

far more abundantly
ask or think,
power at work
glory in the church
Christ Jesus
throughout all generations

Focus on key phrases first. As you do, the other words will fall into place. Spend 5 minutes at the beginning of your devotions reviewing a scripture or two. If you do this every day, it won’t be long before you will have a lot of scriptures memorized.

20 minutes: Read (or listen to) 3 chapters of the Bible. At 3 chapters a day, you read almost the whole Bible in a year (there are 1189 chapters in the Bible. If you divide this by 365 it comes out to 3.26 chapters a day). There are a couple of chapters of names of ancestors and allotments of land to Israel’s tribes which you could skip if you want to listen to the whole Bible in a year.

5 minutes: Write things you’re thankful for. I use a moleskin journal and a nice fountain pen and write a single page of things I’m thankful for. I write it out in prayer form, e.g., Lord Jesus, thank you for another day. Thank you for the gift of sleep, and for your protection during the night, etc.

15 minutes: Pray. Often I use prayers I’ve written out in various categories, e.g. my family, God’s kingdom come, our nation, the persecuted church, etc. I may pray for one or two categories a day. Though I don’t restrict myself to using my written prayers, I’ve found that by referring to them it helps keep me on track. I hope to elaborate more on this in a future blog post.

There you go. Devise your own plan and try to make it a habit. Again, start small if 45 minutes seems too long. Spend 1 minute on a Scripture, read 5 minutes, etc. The key is to try to be consistent. Nothing satisfies or yields more joy than spending time with Jesus.

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.

The original post is here.

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