Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Masi Choir - Living Hope In South Africa

The journey began in July of 2004. Karla and I boarded a plane for Cape Town, South Africa at the request of our Missions Minister, Scott Harris who had introduced us to a man named, John Thomas. John's story is amazing, and his vision, leadership, and compassion for the people within walking distance of his home and church (who suffer in poverty and many with HIV/AIDS) is extraordinary. You can (and should) read about Living Hope HERE Karla and I led our first team of musicians to Living Hope in Cape Town in March 2006. We led seminars for local musicians/worship leaders, and we worshiped at the Masiphumelele Baptist Church, led by their (small in numbers, but powerful in spirit in sound) Choir! From the very first time I met John Thomas, it was his dream for someone to help this Choir record a new CD. The next year - March 2007, we took our second team to Cape Town with the primary purpose of recording this Choir. God led Steve Hindalong to us (Steve wrote the ever-popular worship song, "God Of Wonders"), and his passion for this group (as Producer of this project) was evident from the first time we walked into their tiny church building.
Between March 2007 and today, so many different people have stepped up at just the right time to do whatever needed to be done to help The Masi Choir and Living Hope. John met (3) significant Christian artists who all visited Living Hope and told John they would do whatever they could to support Living Hope, so through a series of what could only be called small miracles, we were able to record Dan Haseltine from Jars Of Clay, Mark Hall from Casting Crowns, and Michael W. Smith - each doing one song on this CD.
Dan Haseltine from Jars of Clay recorded his vocal on the song, LORD BLESS AFRICA - The South Africa National Anthem. Mark Hall re-recorded his song, IF WE ARE THE BODY - adding The Masi Choir singing backing vocals. Michael W. Smith recorded a new song (written by Steve Hindalong and Jeremy Johnson), WE SING - about the people of the community of Masiphumelele - who after their beloved Pastor of their tiny church was murdered in his own church - they still sang, and they will always sing.
So - tomorrow night - THURSDAY, APRIL 26 - we will gather in the Worship Center of Brentwood Baptist Church as part of the Worship Leader Magazine Song DISCovery Creative Conference and celebrate all that God has done and is doing, and part of that celebration will be for people to hear more about the work of Living Hope, and to launch the release of this CD - The Masi Choir - Living Hope In South Africa.
We will hear from John Thomas, be greeted (via video) by Dan Haseltine and Mark Hall, then hear Michael W. Smith sing his song from the CD and share of his experience of visiting Living Hope. Worship Leader Magazine Song DISCovery Creative Conference NIGHT OF WORSHIP Thursday - April 26, 2012 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm - Brentwood Baptist - Worship Center - FREE - Doors Open @ 6:00pm
If you cannot attend, please watch via "live" webstream on your computer or mobile device - CLICK HERE

Friday, April 06, 2012

Bridge Building

I have lost count of how many of these I have built. Actually, it’s probably only 3, but it could be as many as 5.

If you know our neighborhood, one of the things we love about it is the common ground behind our cul-de-sac that connects the backyards of homes on other streets.

Between those yards and common ground area are varying degrees of ditches where water flows (sometimes like a raging river) ultimately into the Harpeth River.

After 22 years of water flowing, you can imagine that some of these ‘ditches’ become pretty deep. So at some point several years ago, after watching many a kid using my backyard as a short-cut to get home in time for dinner, I decided to build a bridge to allow easier access for said kids. After all, I don’t want to be responsible for a kid being late for dinner because he drove his bike into MY ditch!

So, my simple combination of pieces of lumber to form an 8x8 bridge became just that - a structure spanning and providing passage over a gap or barrier.
By now, you may be asking why have I built so many of these in my backyard? Well, I never dreamed that water would flow so furiously that it would carry my bridge away, but it has - frequently.

Karla loves this bridge, and we have been without one for several months now, so this week I decided we needed the latest version.

I chose this week for another reason.

Today is Good Friday, and (3) years ago on Good Friday, we had my Dad’s Memorial Service.

One of the amazing things I shared with my Dad over the last 20 years of his life was the opportunity and privilege of building something together. He taught me many things about building stuff. I am not the craftsman of many of my friends, but I have many wonderful reminders of my Dad’s handiwork in and around my home.

So, as corny as it may be - I proudly dedicate this latest version of the Worley Bridge to my Dad - in memory and honor of you, W.J.

Thanks, and I miss you - you were a true bridge builder in the way you lived your life.