More Grace In God

More Grace In God - August 2019

Linda and Dave McKechnie became friends several years ago when Dave served as an interim pastor at our church. Linda is a talented pianist and arranger and Dave is an outstanding preacher having served churches in several locations throughout the country.

For me, Dave's preaching was and still is like that of a combat surgeon. He gets in and gets out quickly but gets the job done, unlike other pastors who miss some good stopping places when they are preaching. Dave's messages are not long but they are power packed and he always has a great closer. His final thought is often worth the trip to church.

One of Dave's phrases that has stuck with me is, "There is more grace in God than sin in us." What a great thought! All of us are broken. We all fall short. We all miss the mark. And yet, God's grace is not only sufficient but abundant.

Growing up, I remember singing the gospel song "He Giveth More Grace," with a lyric by Annie Flint (1866-1932). She grew up as an orphan and developed rheumatoid arthritis in her twenties. Even through and maybe because of the pain, she endured and composed many great lyrics, poems and prose.

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,

He sendedth more strength when the labors increase.

To added affliction He addeth his mercy,

To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,

His power no boundary known until to men.

For out of his infinite riches in Jesus,

He giveth, and giveth and giveth again.

Whatever the challenge, whatever failure, whatever the disappointment, there is more grace in God.

Steve

Drain the Swamp

Drain the Swamp - January 2019

 Psalm 51:10-13 

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 

Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. 

Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.

The phrase "drain the swamp" has been firmly planted in our vocabulary. Virtually every day we hear the phrase on radio, television or the internet. 

 It's not just the government where things can become entrenched and embedded. Things take root in any organization or group and even in our personal lives. We become accustomed to the comfortable and the familiar. We are resistant to change.

We can expect two things to happen when a swamp is drained. First, those people or habits that live in the swamp fight more ferociously as their refuge begins to disappear and they are exposed. This is human nature. It's a fight for survival. I've heard it said that the best way to end a bad habit is to starve it. Take away its source of nourishment. It will eventually wither and die. Don't just try to end a habit cold turkey. Stop feeding it. Those habits or destructive things in our lives won't necessarily die easily but draining the swamp and exposing what lies below is part of the process.

Secondly, as a swamp is drained we need to be aware that what we find on the bottom probably won't be pleasant and it will probably smell. It's not just draining the swamp but cleaning up those things that have been hidden beneath the surface. This can take time as things that are mired in the mud and muck can't be extricated easily. It might require putting on some waders and manually prying them loose.

All of us have some swamp, some part of our life that needs to be drained and renewed. As with the psalmist, all of us should cry, "Create in me a clean heart, O God."

Steve

 

 

The View From The Hill

The View from The Hill - December 2018

The past ten days have been quite busy and I have more opportunities to sing before Christmas.

Last week, I was in Washington, DC for several events including a Christmas concert that was scheduled to take place in Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol.

About twenty-five years ago I met then Indiana Assemblyman Mike Pence and his wife, Karen. I was singing at an event for Overseas Council in Florida and the Pences were in attendance. I distinctly remember our meeting. Then in October, I saw Vice President Pence briefly at an event in Dallas and he immediately knew my voice as I was singing when he entered the room.

Kristine and I were honored to be guests at a Christmas gathering at the Vice Presidential residence at the Naval Observatory last week. During the party, Mrs. Pence asked if I would sing and I sang, "O Holy Night" for the assembled guests. That was the start of the week.

From there, God moved in some amazing ways. A group of folks from around the country were in Washington, DC for two days of activities and I was showing them a bit about my work on Capitol Hill. I had arranged

I had arranged several events for them to attend including the Carols in the Capitol concert for which I was responsible and some other meetings with members of Congress.

With the passing of President Bush, the arrangements I had made for events in the Capitol were cancelled. The Capitol was closed Monday afternoon through Wednesday evening to honor President Bush.

In spite of the closing of the Capitol, God allowed our group to have a phenomenal experience including visiting the Rotunda while President George H.W. Bush was lying in state and to meet with several members of Congress including Pete Sessions (TX), Gregg Harper (MS), Diane Black (TN), Virginia Foxx (NC), Jeff Duncan (SC) and Gary Palmer (AL). All of these men and women are followers of Jesus.

Our Christmas concert that was scheduled to be in Statuary Hall on Wednesday evening had to be moved to the World Stage Theatre at the Museum of the Bible. I cannot thank the Museum of the Bible and the staff enough. They were so gracious and accommodating. If you have not visited the Museum of the Bible, I highly recommend you add that to your travel plans.

Following some great days in Washington, DC I flew home to sing in two Christmas concerts at our home church, Bel Air Church in Los Angeles.

Following the second concert on Sunday evening, I took a night flight to New York City.  On Tuesday morning, I sang, "Mary, Did You Know" on the Fox & Friends television show. It was great to continue the Christmas tradition of singing for this program.

Following the Fox & Friends appearance, I flew to Las Vegas where on Wednesday, I sang for the opening festivities of the National Finals Rodeo. It's pretty amazing that this 10-day event opens each night with a word of prayer for safety of the cowboys.

Between now and Christmas I have several more concert events. Two of the events are outreach events where an opportunity to follow Jesus will be shared.

 Thanks for your support and encouragement in all that Amerson Music Ministries does to help build the Kingdom.

Steve