“Always the Same” is a beautiful hymn by Ron Hamilton that extols how Jesus is unchanging. Recently, four of us from my church ministered this hymn as an oboe, cello, viola, and guitar quartet.
Archives For Mount Calvary Baptist Music Ministry
My ministry this year was greatly blessed by my beginning this year by reading the entire Bible in 59 days! I also made it through the NT this year a second time and read much of the Bible in Spanish.
This year was an especially fruitful year for me in ministering the Bible because I had two new teaching opportunities. I also had many other opportunities to minister, especially in teaching, music ministry, and writing on my blog.
Preaching, Teaching, and Scripture Reading
I had two preaching opportunities this year: prayer meeting at my church, Mount Calvary Baptist in Greenville, SC, and a Sunday morning service in a church in Georgia. Although I had already preached both these messages before elsewhere, preaching them again allowed me to improve both messages substantially.
Two new opportunities to minister were given to me this year in teaching at my church: teaching a combined adult Sunday school class and teaching a 16-week adult Sunday school class in the fall. In addition, I taught Sunday school once at a church in Georgia.
I did the Scripture reading for two morning services at my church. For the first time, I also read Scripture for a morning service in my church’s Spanish ministry.
I ministered with other instrumentalists in one opener for a service and in two offertories. I accompanied various people singing specials in our Spanish ministry four times this year.
Online, I was able to teach guitar to a developing guitarist overseas who has made encouraging progress in preparing himself for using the guitar for ministry. My teaching guitar this year also included instructing a few students personally.
I also sang with a group of men for a special in our Spanish ministry. I wrote one new Spanish hymn for children this year, “Dios es siempre bueno!”
Regular participation in neighborhood evangelism this summer and in Spanish evangelism at various times throughout the year afforded me many opportunities to minister Scripture to both believers and unbelievers. I also worked in registration for our annual Neighborhood Bible School.
Tutoring a Seminary student in New Testament Greek for several months this summer provided me with a good opportunity to teach elementary Greek again. By regular participation in two discussion groups on Facebook, I was able to give God’s truths numerous times to lost people and saved people.
I gave a brief devotional at the beginning of the workday nearly every Tuesday this year. I also frequently shared Scriptural truths with my coworkers.
I posted on my blog 77 times in 2016, counting this post. The majority of my posts shared biblical truths that God has given me over the years in my own study of Scripture, which has been the major focus of my blog from the beginning.
I praise the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness to me in allowing me to minister so abundantly in 2016!
I praise the Lord for many things that He has done for me in 2015 and for His many blessings to me so far this year! The following summarizes the Lord’s blessings upon me in some key areas.
I read the Bible through in English this year and am on target for finishing reading through the NT in Spanish by the end of the year. I also read the book of Revelation through sixteen times from mid-April to July!
The Lord blessed me with four opportunities to preach in February 2015 at Iglesia Bautista de La Fe in Greenville, SC. Although I have prayed for and would have loved to have had many more opportunities to preach, the Lord thus far has not seen fit to give me any more preaching opportunities this year.
This summer, I taught an adult Sunday school class for 8 weeks at my church, Beginnings at the End: Creation, Fall, and Redemption in the Book of Revelation. The series featured a thorough comparative analysis of Genesis 1-4 with the book of Revelation.
Guitar for Ministry
I had a number of opportunities to use the guitar in ministering to brethren this year. Along with a cellist and a violist, I played for three openers for the regular Sunday services at my church.
I accompanied a special for our Neighborhood Bible Class ministry on one Sunday this year. I also accompanied people singing specials on five Sundays in our Spanish ministry, and I ministered an offertory with a cellist on another Sunday.
I have had the privilege this year of teaching how to use the guitar in ministry on numerous occasions to some brethren from two Spanish churches. All of my students have made encouraging progress!
The Lord has blessed me by allowing me to participate in the Spanish ministry of my church every other week this year, including giving a testimony in January about reading through the Bible in Spanish in 2014, praying for the offering in the service on several Sundays, and playing the guitar for specials six times. I also participated in evangelizing Spanish-speaking people on many occasions this year through our church’s regular neighborhood evangelism program.
This year, I have posted 84 times on my blog so far, bringing the total number of posts to 808 since February of 2011. I am very thankful for the Lord’s opening this ministry avenue to me and allowing me to continue in it!
I got to participate in our church’s Good News ministry twice this year. In July, I helped each night with registration for our Neighborhood Bible Class ministry. On one Sunday, I did the Scripture reading for the morning service.
The Lord has blessed me with full-time work this entire year, including the privilege of giving a devotional every week at the beginning of our work day on Mondays. He has blessed me with several new guitar students this year, including my first online student!
Finally, although I have not progressed as much as I would have liked, I praise God for the substantial progress that He has allowed me to make this year in reading, speaking, and understanding spoken Spanish. I am especially thankful that I was able this year to make it through all the numerous free Spanish lessons at duolingo.com.
Blessed be the Lord who has continued His infinite goodness to me in 2015!
This morning, three of us (2 guitarists and a cellist) accompanied the singing of the Spanish hymn, “Por el Amor de Su nombre.” This glorious song is the Spanish translation of Chris Anderson’s hymn, “For the Sake of His Name.”
With permission from Chris, here is a recording of our ministry this morning:
You can download the sheet music for this hymn here.
Mrs. Esther Arnold from my church has written an excellent new song from Psalm 40. The music and an audio of my church singing the song are available here under the heading “Savoring Psalm 40.”
This morning, Ruthie Calvino, a young cellist in my church, and I ministered a simple guitar-cello arrangement that I put together of the hymn “Nearer, Still Nearer” (words and music by Lelia N. Morris). I strummed on the first stanza, picked on the second stanza, and used a new accompaniment style that I invented that I call a “finger roll” on the last stanza. You can listen to the audio below.
Nearer, Still Nearer
4-measure guitar introduction
Nearer, still nearer, close to Thy heart,
Draw me, my Savior, so precious Thou art;
Fold me, O, fold me close to Thy breast,
Shelter me safe in that “Haven of Rest,”
Shelter me safe in that “Haven of Rest.”
Nearer, still nearer, nothing I bring,
Naught as an off’ring to Jesus, my King;
Only my sinful, now contrite heart;
Grant me the cleansing Thy blood doth impart,
Grant me the cleansing Thy blood doth impart.
3-measure guitar interlude for modulation from C to D
Nearer, still nearer, while life shall last,
Till safe in glory my anchor is cast;
Through endless ages ever to be,
Nearer, my Savior, still nearer to Thee,
Nearer, my Savior, still nearer to Thee.
4-measure ending tag that repeats the last line
This PDF provides the music for the arrangement. Here is the audio from this morning:
“O Holy Night” is my favorite song of all time. Here is an MP3 recording of a guitar-cello duet of the song that a friend and I recently played for a service in our church.