Posts Tagged The Freedom School

Leading Us In Paths Of Righteousness

On the heals of my 33rd birthday, I’m following the Good Shepherd as he faithfully continues to lead my family and I into paths of righteousness.

  • My kids are completing their 3rd week of school and I have never been more thankful for the work of righteousness being fulfilled  at the Freedom School.
  • Last week, I was able to share music at the wedding of a former drug dealer and gang-banger who is now walking in faith and living in grace.  He requested one song in particular, “What’s Gonna Make Me Long” by my dad.
  • On Sunday, my wife had the first of what we hope will be many dinners with our Music Team volunteers. She hopes to have everyone on the team over for dinner in groups of 3 or 4 until we’ve hosted all of them. We are so thankful for the work of righteousness that God is doing through the NCF music ministry.
  • On Monday, we met with our friend Emily Nienhuis, who works for One Heart Family Ministries.  The Lord seems to be leading us back into the world of foster care. As a family, we have been through a lot of disappointments in the past 2 years. It’s been so hard to trust our Good Shepherd in the “valleys” as well as in the “green pastures”. More and more the Lord is bringing us to a place of complete dependence and trust for daily grace. We are going to get re-licensed to foster hopefully in the next two months. We plan to complete 9 weeks of training in 6 weeks, so there’s that to look forward to.
  • On Tuesday, my wife and I went downtown to buy the empty lot next to our home at a land tax sale. This process has brought a deeper sense of community with our neighbors who purchased the other half of the lot. It’s also given me a new appreciation for my neighborhood and the works of righteousness that God is doing in the great city of STL!
  • Yesterday, I led a group of NCF musicians who shared their gifts at the St. Louis University School of Public Heath Convocation. We had a great time, and it stretched us all to play our music in a different context. I’ve already said it, but I am so thankful for my team!
  • What’s next? Choir rehearsals start next weekend as well as NCF’s 20th Anniversary Celebration.
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Quick Blog Update

I’m too busy to blog, but I want to share some cool stuff briefly:

The Freedom School Spring Program is tonight at my church. It’s going to be very good. It’s going to be a good time. I’m not just saying that because my kids are singing in it, or because I’m playing in it, or because I’m paid to do this kind of stuff, or because one of my songs is featured prominently in the program. I’m saying it will be good because of Mandy Koch’s hard work and the addition of Marty Keys on the piano (one of the best piano players I have ever worked with).

Everlasting God is a new song that I’m introducing to our church this weekend. I know that a lot of churches have already played this tune to death, but it will be new to us. I settled on the Lincoln Brewster arrangement because I like the more driving tempo. However, I’m tempted to swing the tune like Arcade Fire’s tune “Suburbs“.

Mark your calandars because our South city worship site is hosting Aradhna in concert on Saturday May 19 and they are also doing a clinic on contextualized worship on Sunday May 20 after church. 

I just returned from the funeral celebration for the passing of my grandfather, Rev. Samuel Smith Ward. It was good to see all my cousins and aunts&uncles. It was good to remember the grace that God demonstrated in the lives of my grandparents. Grandpa was 99 years old when he died.  

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Light of the World: 2010 New City Fellowship Black History Celebration

artwork by Carrie Jones

Please come join us to worship Jesus on February 20, 6pm at 1483 82nd St. This service is a celebration of Black History by sharing the grace renewal stories that have come from African Americans. Our theme this year is “Light of the World” because we are going to highlight the particular work of missionaries from the Black church. Jesus is the light of the world, and he has made his light shine in our hearts before others. We are going to have music from the NCF choirs as well as a few special ensembles, the Freedom School and NCF Praise Dance Teams and a homily from our associate pastor, Tony Myles. The service will be followed by a dessert reception and the “Dear Children Art Project” Sale to benefit children in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I always look forward to this special service even though it’s a lot of hard work and a lot of long hours. It’s worth it to see all the people in our church coming together, sharing their gifts, and inviting their friends.

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A lesson for kids about worship

These are my notes for my talk at the Freedom School this morning.

I want to share a few bible verses from the book called Psalms which tell a story about what it means to worship God. This is a story was written by King David, (like David and Goliath) who was a strong warrior and also a harp player (which is kind-of like a guitar) who wrote hundreds of worship songs. David loved God so much, but he also made a lot of big mistakes in his life and did a lot of sins that would make you really ashamed. But even though David was a sinner, he knew that God was going to forgive his sin. That’s why David wrote this story in a song that we have here in the bible. Let’s read it one phrase at a time.

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.

The first thing that David did was cry out to God for help. He knew that he was in big trouble. He was so scared but he waited for God to rescue him. What kind of waiting is this?

Is it like waiting to see the doctor?
Is like waiting for school to end?
Is it like waiting for Halloween or Christmas? Read the rest of this entry »

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Hangin’ with Mr. Baker: my morning with The Freedom School

The Freedom School is a pre-K through 6th grade school that my church has created. Their principle, Timothy Baker, asked me to come in today and do a chapel with the kids about worship. There is also a small worship team made up of 6th graders that I met with to teach them a few of the songs I’ll be doing this morning. The worship team meets at 7:45, and the first chapel is at 10:30, so I now have hijacked the receptionist’s computer to write a blog post to kills some time.

Here’s a quote lifted from their website of what the school is all about:

The Freedom School is a Christian elementary school with grades Pre-K through fifth grade, committed to a racially and culturally diverse educational environment where both Christian and non-Christian young people from a diversity of backgrounds can obtain a quality education together under the grace of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Scriptures.

We do this through a challenging, Christ-centered, elementary education. We welcome all, as we intentionally partner with the urban poor, immigrant, and refugee.

I was just wondering what I would do if a child actually came into the office needing something, and lo and behold, in walks a kid with a stomach ache. I went to get Mr. Baker who asked him, “Have you had any breakfast today?” The child said, “No, but I had some chocolate yesterday.” These are the things you learn in elementary ed; I would have given him some Pepto and sent him home. It’s a good thing that I don’t work here.

I am here to do my job: lead some worship. I will be also sharing a little bit from Psalm 40 about what worshiping God is all about. It’s cool to try to take a subject as massive and complex as the worship of the one true God and boil it down into something that a child can understand. It’s a good thing that Jesus reminded us over and over of the importance of children and child-like faith otherwise big people might exclude kids from the process. (Unfortunately, a lot of churches do exclude kids from worship. Bummer.)

When I get back to my office, I will post the notes from my talk on worship.

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