September 12, 2019
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This week in worship
Closing the Gap with Music

Nothing seems to stir our emotions quite like the music selected for worship. Over my twenty-three years plus of ordained ministry this is the one area where I have witnessed followers of Jesus either be at their best or at their worst. By “best” I mean those times when the congregation is fully engaged in singing before the Lord, whether that be a traditional hymn sung to an organ accompaniment or a new song written only weeks earlier sung with a band composed of guitars, keyboard, and drums. I still get chills when I remember processing into Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska during Annual Conference to be ordained, hearing over twelve hundred people sing loudly “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing.”  Likewise I recall the same passion and the same sense of God’s Spirit - in the same space -when the praise band from Denver lead the closing worship service at Annual Conference two years ago. One was organ music and “traditional” hymnody; the other was modern band and “contemporary.” Yet both brought me to a place before God that was amazing and beautiful because each instance of worship kept God as the primary audience - not the congregation gathered in Stuart Auditorium.
By “worst” I mean music where God is not the focus and not the primary audience for what is being offered. I have heard lackluster efforts that are rooted in personal preference instead of an attempt to offer something to the Lord. At issue is where our hearts are, not the skill of the musicians or the style of music. This has been the case in worship for all time - God’s ultimate desire is what is on the inside.  “You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart ” (Psalm 51:6 -NRSV). Worship music is directed towards this audience of one - it is meant for God as an offering from His people. Music in worship is always about God first and last; it is not about our individual likes and dislikes.  

This is not to say that music preference is not a big deal because we all know that it is! But if we do not come into worship with an open heart the type of music will not matter one way or another. The style of music offered for worship is often the subject of much debate and contention in churches. This is not a modern issue either as we have been fussing about music for a long time. Consider this quote I found in an article by Dan Kimball who recounted a letter a pastor received criticizing the choice of Sunday morning music:

“I am no music scholar, but I feel I know appropriate church music when I hear it. Last Sunday’s new hymn - if you can call it that - sounded like a sentimental love ballad one would expect to hear crooned in a saloon. If you insist on exposing us to rubbish like this - in God’s house! - don’t be surprised if many of the faithful look for a new place to worship. The hymns we grew up with are all we need.” This letter was written in 1863 and the song they were concerned about was the hymn “Just As I Am.”

Music matters. It stirs our souls and speaks to the deepest parts of our being and is a true gift from God that is meant to be offered back to God. We will not all have the same preferences or the same appreciation for what is chosen each Sunday. Some of us will choose to worship in a “traditional” music style, some will choose “contemporary”, and some want a little of both. This is all well and fine - and this is crucial - as long as we remember that we are not first and foremost singing for ourselves and seeking to meet our own needs. We sing our praises before God, from our hearts toward the very heart of God. When we do this we can join the Psalmist in proclaiming:

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
   praise him in his mighty firmament! 
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
   praise him according to his surpassing greatness! 
 
Praise him with trumpet sound;
   praise him with lute and harp! 
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
   praise him with strings and pipe! 
Praise him with clanging cymbals;
   praise him with loud clashing cymbals! 
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 150


Pastor Todd will be preaching this Sunday. My family and I will be traveling to First UMC Norwood where I served as Pastor from 2003 - 2008; I will be their preacher for Homecoming. I’ll bring back a bulletin to prove I went to church! Worship well this Sunday, sing well, make God the audience and offer Him your whole heart and see what happens. I know God will certainly bless worship this weekend.  

Blessings, 
Pastor Steve
Early Service Time Adjustment and Communion Service
After hearing from our Sunday School leaders that changing the Early Service from 8:15 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. has negatively impacted Sunday School participation we are changing the service time back to 8:15 a.m. This will begin on Sunday, September 22nd. Also on that date, we will begin convening a Communion Service immediately after the 8:15 a.m. service concludes. All are invited, those who attend worship at 8:15 a.m. and who wish to receive communion weekly will simply remain in the Sanctuary. Anyone who is coming for Sunday School or 9:30 a.m. worship who would like to receive communion are invited to participate as well. Generally, the communion service will begin at 9:15 a.m. and conclude by 9:25 a.m. This service will not be available on the First Sunday of the month as we will have communion at all three services on those dates.
Discipleship
Belize Missions
The DUMC Belize Missions team has completed the building of the Medical Center, and it is now time to gather equipment and supplies. We have an opportunity to ship a container to Belize in early October. Please reach out if you have access to any medical or dental equipment and supplies that can be donated. Contact Wendi Popoff at Wendi.popoff@yahoo.com for more information.
Prayer Shawl Ministry
Knitters and Crocheters are invited to join our Prayer Shawl ministry which will meet the last Thursday of every month in WAB 101 at 10:00 a.m. All experience levels are welcome. We make shawls of comfort to distribute to those who are suffering for any reason, to give them hope and to let them know others are praying prayers for them while we knit. You may knit/crochet at home and bring the finished shawl to our meeting and it will be blessed, and given out by the ministerial staff. Yarn is available at the meetings, so come with your hooks and needles and enjoy yourself while doing something so worthwhile. For more information please contact Maggie Kessler at 704-947-8557 or mjkessler@bellsouth.net.
Walk for Heartbeats
(Pregnancy Care Center) Denver
Join our DUMC Team at the Heartbeats Walk on September 14, 2019. Registration opens at 6:00 p.m. and the Walk begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Pursuit Church parking lot 3618 North Highway 16, Denver, NC 28037.
Psalms 137:3 Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from Him.
S.O.A.P. Sunday School (Scripture, Observations, Applications and Prayer)
Small group Bible study of Genesis. This group meets weekly on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. in WAB 101. We use a commentary study guide and encourage discussion of scripture and its relevant application to daily life. Contact Steve Stephenson at sgstephenson5@gmail.com for more information.
Women's Ministry
Congregational News
Table Talk menu for September 18th
Join us for Table Talk on September 18th! Next week's meal will be coming from Daddy K’s! We are having ¼ Chicken, smashed potatoes, coleslaw and toast. Meals will cost $5 per person or $20 max per family. We hope you will make this a priority, as this is essential to our communal life here at Denver. Use this time together to connect with other people who worship alongside you each Sunday. If you are interested in starting a Life Group, please contact Pastor Todd to learn more about the design and process of our Life Group ministry. Click on the Life Groups logo to register for childcare during Life Groups.
Photos
Over the next few weeks you will be seeing Sandy, our Director of Student Ministry, taking photos during worship services and activities. Photos of congregation members during worship services and weekly activities bring our website, newsletter and social media pages to life. They provide a window into the vitality and friendliness of the community that gathers here. If you do not want your personal photos used in any sort of media, please let a staff member know. Thank you!

Children and Youth
Children’s Ministry (Harbortown)
Who is the strongest person you know? They’re probably pretty strong, but have they ever killed a lion with their bare hands? Probably not. Okay, have they ever caught 300 foxes and tied them all together? No, again? Our story this week (found in Judges 16) is about a man who did these things. His name is Samson, and you won’t BELIEVE what took his strength away.
Youth
Hello church! The Youth meets on Sunday nights from 6:00-8:00 p.m. and we are in need of a few people to help serve the meal that will be cooked and to help clean up afterwards. If you would be willing to volunteer to help in any capacity, please follow this link below to sign up! It would be an amazing opportunity to serve and we would be grateful! https://bit.ly/2ki0Hcg.
Stewardship
Staff Contact Information