It's Friday ... so it's time to pour yourself a cup of your favorite brew and join me for a couple of thoughts. 

1. In case you missed it, yesterday was National Coffee Day, and some places were giving away free coffee! Why celebrate coffee? Why not? Is there a better beverage out there? Coffee hot or cold can't be beat. And not only does it taste great ... but it is chock full of great health benefits. So if you missed the fact that yesterday was National Coffee Day you may have missed a free cup. But given the upside of coffee drinking, coffee is worth every dollar you have to spend on it! Oh ... and by the way, today is National Chewing Gum Day. Since people have been chewing gum for several thousand years ... why not celebrate with a chew of your favorite brand? 

2. Long time Los Angeles Dodger baseball fans will no longer enjoy the voice of Vin Scully when they tune in to listen to Dodger games next season. After SIXTY-SEVEN years, Scully, known as "the Voice of the Dodgers," broadcast his last game this week. Scully is one of the most beloved baseball voices of all time. Even non Dodger fans loved listening to him (I know I did!). Among the many tributes that poured in this week was this one: "He makes Los Angeles a better place to live."  That tribute got me thinking. Is Lancaster a better place to live because of me? Is Grace Church a better church in which to worship and fellowship and serve because of me? Is my family a stronger, healthier family because of me? And what about YOU? Are those around you better because of you? For all of us who claim allegiance to Christ, let's be more intentional about being the fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)! 

3. I recently read an article titled, Are We Seeing the Death of Congregational Singing in "Contemporary" Worship? One of the statements made by the author referenced the volume of the worship band in many churches. He wrote, "Often the congregation can't hear itself sing because of the sound level of the 'professional' singers and instrumentalists. So people don't sing." Now that may be true of other churches, it is not true of the church I am privileged to pastor. On one recent Sunday, during our "contemporary" service (which is led by a worship "band"), I stopped singing. Not because I could not hear myself sing, but because I wanted to hear our congregation sing. In fact, on the last verse of the song, the band stopped playing ... and oh, how beautiful was the music being made by a chorus of human voices! Here at Grace Church, our philosophy of music includes this dictum: If the congregation cannot be heard singing ... then the worship band is too loud. Maybe that won't work for other churches, but it sure works for us! 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

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