He said to me, "You are my servant, Israel,
and you will bring me glory."
I replied, "But my work seems so useless!
I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose.
Yet I leave it all in the LORD's hand;
I will trust God for my reward."
And now the LORD speaks—
the one who formed me in my mother's womb to be his servant,
who commissioned me to bring Israel back to him.
The LORD has honored me,
and my God has given me strength.
Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
I waited patiently for the LORD to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the LORD.
Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD,
who have no confidence in the proud
or in those who worship idols.
1 Corinthians 1:4-9
I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
"After 10 years as voluntary praise service music minister for the First United Methodist Church in Saranac Lake - and at a time when I'm told there would only continue to be a Praise Service if it is run voluntarily and entirely unsupported by the Church - I have decided to accept a position as Music Minister at a non-denominational service held every Sunday 10AM at St. Joseph's Addiction Treatment & Recovery Center in Saranac Lake. St. Joe's was founded by the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and is Roman Catholic. The service, however, is non-denominational and INCLUSIVE, under the Roman Catholic Womanpriests initiative (http://www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org/). The worship is being led by ordained Christopher Courtwright-Cox and is offered for St. Joseph in-patients and open to the outside public.
I welcome this position as an opportunity to pursue my calling in music and ministry in an open, supportive environment. I've served as guest minister at St. Josephs on several occasions, so I know the power of the Holy Spirit moving in a room of souls crying out for a greater closeness with God. It is regrettable that for most of the years I served the First UMC, the Praise Service was rarely treated as a legitimate part of this Church's ministry. Nevertheless, I took my role seriously, spent many hours each week preparing for each service, and maintained a high standard as a UMC CERTIFIED LAY SPEAKER. While some may think that certification is just a title, it represents a certain level of discipline and study undertaken by the individual, as well as a vote of confidence by one's home church and peers.
I value the friendships I have made, and the experience gained while serving. I wish you all well. I hope that you will take the time to come check out our service one Sunday. Perhaps, too, I will be back as a guest musician or minister at YOUR church some time in the future. And, lastly, this might be an opportunity for this Methodist Church to examine its priorities and actually develop a coordinated worship plan. I'd be happy to participate in such an effort."