The following post are the notes from speaking last night at our Church, Point Of Mercy in Nashville, TN. I was privileged to be asked by our Lead Pastor and friend, Pastor Denny Livingston to speak. The lesson was called, The Together Sound.
“1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come,they were all with one accord in one place.”
The word symphony comes to us via Latin from the Greek sumphōnia, from sun- ‘together’ + phōnē ‘sound.’ Simply put, the Together Sound. Today I found myself thinking about our theme for the year, Rhythm, in the form of a symphony orchestra. Especially since our Pastor, the conductor of our local assembly is ill. It was an image that I couldn’t get away from, especially once I saw this definition.
This is what God wants to convey to us as a Church, especially for this year. It’s the message of the early Church of Acts 2:1. They were all in one mind and in one accord. I want to view it tonight through the lens of an orchestra. The interesting thing about a symphony is it’s both the definition of a musical composition, and the body that performs it. In other words, when performed well, the two are one. The orchestra is the very music it plays.
We know the role our Pastor plays in this, he is the conductor. As Point Of Mercy’s conductor he, as he did those two Sundays with powerful anointing and skill, set the tone for us this year. It’s something he does every week, day in and day out. He won’t say this about himself, but tonight I can.
I’ve been in this all my life, and in the ministry 20 years, and he’s one of the greatest Pastor’s I’ve ever known. I’m sure you feel the same way. I don’t just say that to make him feel better, or to honor him. I say it because it’s the truth. It’s in our welfare to realize the gift that God has given us in a wonderful leader and his family.
I’m very protective of our Pastor, and our Church. I don’t deny it. I’m not ashamed of it, in fact I’m very proud of it. The reason for that is, I know who and what we have. I know his, and his family’s lives. I’ve seen great leaders attacked by people who have an agenda. I do not like nor support anyone that would start a fight with God’s Leaders, but that’s not the only reason I feel this way.
A conductor doesn’t just keep the tempo, he schedules the rehearsals. He makes sure that the orchestra is staffed properly. He plans the pieces, in many cases he composes them. When he’s sick, it creates a vacuum.
No matter who fills the podium when our Pastor isn’t here, his absence is felt. That’s not by the Pastor’s design, but by God’s. The Lord never intended for His people not to have a Leader.
In the beginning, it was Adam. We know that before Noah built the ark, Enoch walked with God. Jude tells us that he also prophesied to the people. The voice of the Leader is the very metronome we saw Sunday.
What God did intend, was for the people to follow His Leader’s example of faithfulness. The danger is, while we are to follow, it can be very tempting to just float by. Like an orchestra that takes a conductor for granted, so can a Church a Pastor. Israel did it with Moses.
The Lord Jesus said that “A Prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and among his own people.” If we’re not careful, we can take The Man Of God for granted. Truth be told, most churches do. The reason that it’s important isn’t only for his sake, but for ours.
The example of our Pastor isn’t meant to be the one we put all our weight on, but the one we follow after as we mirror his example. In other words, when God calls him to sacrifice in an area, we should fall in step behind in it. Three ways we can do that, which I want to talk about tonight, are in prayer, study, and in our mindset.
The danger is that we are human, and it’s easy to allow ourselves to lose sight of what we plan to do. How many days has my plan for a thirty minute prayer time turned into five minutes before bed? How many magazine articles can I quote in a conversation, but miss the second line of The Lord’s Prayer?
I’m talking about myself tonight. I must put the time in to carry my weight in The Kingdom Of God. Too many times, just because we can justify to ourselves not accomplishing something, there is still a cold hard fact to contend with.
That fact is, no matter why, what we planned to do didn’t happen. Much like the wonderful musicians we saw Sunday, we must put in the time to make the music happen. They all played their part, they all completed what they were supposed to do.
Each of them did something different, but they each did it well. That’s what Pastor was showing us that day when he, Bro Anthony, and Bro Koda were on the platform. The Lead Pastor was playing his role. Bro Anthony doesn’t speak from a podium, but if you know him, you know he’s committed to our Church. He fulfills his commitments.
Bro Koda, the youngest of the three, may play a different role in life than Pastor or Bro Anthony, but he was ready. He’s not a speaker, he’s not a husband or a father yet, but as part of a younger generation, he’s doing his part. If we all play together, we can accomplish something just as great.
No matter what your circumstances, age, or background, there is a role for you to play. I don’t have to play your part, and I don’t get mad when my part isn’t prominent. In an orchestra, the triangle player is as needed as the violinist. There is a space for all of us to fill, we learned that last year. This year it’s about filling it to the best of our ability.
I’m not called to make the decisions or set the pace, and I’m very okay with that. God never called His body to be the brain of the Church. God called The Pastor to lead the Church. The Lord has a plan, He’s shared it with The Man Of God, and our Pastor has shared it with us from the Pulpit.
Although we have a Leader who welcomes input, my responsibility isn’t to interject my opinion. My calling is to put my back into the work, and I love that. It’s my job, to listen, to learn, and to lift. Listen to the direction, learn what I need to do, and lift the burden when I can. That’s what the Together Sound is all about.
How do we do that? Pastor covered the first area the last three weeks. He has taught some of the greatest lessons on fasting I’ve ever heard. If you’ve missed them, you need them.
Another area is prayer. Tonight, our Pastor needs prayer for his physical body. Every day though, we should be praying for him and his family. I can also be praying for favor for our Church. We can ask God a very simple question, “What could I do for you today?”
That one simple, practical question, will change your life. If it’s witnessing to that person you never thought would accept Christ, go ahead. Consider it a personal favor to The Master Composer who put us in the orchestra. Prayer isn’t like some new age meditation, it’s a practical application of your relationship with God. As Andy Griffith would say, “Call the man!” Or in this case, “Call On God.”
Notice it says “If my people will humble themselves and pray …”, not if my leaders will. God’s leaders have always prayed and sought the face of God. The problem was getting His people, as a whole, to do the same.
Part of the Church, as a whole’s problem in prayer, was our view of it. When you stop viewing prayer as a one sided obligation, and start viewing it as two way communication, it takes on a whole new form.
Contrary to popular belief, most of Elijah’s prayers didn’t involve calling fire down from Heaven. They involved stoking the flame that burned in his soul. Which is why Paul told Timothy, “to stir up The Gift that was within him.” The Bible says that he “was a man of like passions as we are.” In other words, he had hang ups, but he got the job done.
Little Ava Wilson did her part Sunday. By her simple act, countless souls were inspired. What caused her to do it? Faith and passion. Faith to believe in The God she learned about, and passion enough to carry it out. We adults have the faith, but we’ve allowed our passion to wane. It’s time to stir the fire!
Our trouble is we often don’t practice enough to play the instrument. Great musicians still practice every 24 hour period of their lives. Bro Lucian says they spend at least 2-3 hours a day. That’s 12.5% of of a 24 hour period.
Prayer is the skill that teaches you how to use that black backed sword known as The Bible. Prayer is something that is meant to be tied to other things, prayer and fasting, prayer and reading God’s Word.
I was privileged Sunday morning to listen to a conversation in Harvest Cafe. Bro Josh, Sis Jennifer, and Sis Yolanda were discussing their favorite versions of the Bible. We all need more conversations that originate in connection with The Word.
When you read it, you’ll think about it, and when you think on it, it will manifest in our conversations. David said he meditated, or spent time thinking about God’s Word. Do we do that enough? When’s the last time, outside of service, you discussed God’s Word?
I know we may not be able to spend 2-3 hours on each one, but would the time we spend on everything spiritual in a day amount to even 10% of that time? It can, if we sure up the third thing that I want to focus on tonight. It’s all about our mindset.
How we think about our Christian walk will reflect in how we approach the practice of it. A lot of people say they don’t plan out their day. I submit that they may not plan out their entire day, but they plan out what they view as important in their day.
We all got dressed this morning. We’ve all ate some form of food. Most of us went to work, school, or somewhere. If you’re a coffee drinker like me, you’ve had at least one cup.
The point is, you purposely did this. If we will begin to view each day as a personal responsibility, and to attempt to put our all into every service, we’ll truly be playing together. That’s what rhythm is, that Together Sound where each of us does our part to the best of our ability.
A Russian composer wrote a piece called Peter and the wolf to teach children an appreciation for classical music. In it, each character was represented by a different musical instrument. God knows that our leaders, people like Pastor, Sis, Pastor Jason, Sis Brittany, and others are skilled. Now He is calling us to commit ourselves this year, to double our efforts, to play our part.
We can accomplish everything that God wants us to this year. The way to do this is not easy, but very obtainable. We must work to listen to the pattern, to learn the beat, and to lift our walk with God to the level He wants us to go.
Each of us, as individuals, must work to elevate our personal relationship with God, our Leaders, each other, and finally our world. Only then, can we be a part of that Together Sound that is the Rhythm of our Church.