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Heaven Listened and Joined In

Well…life has picked up speed! I am meeting myself coming and going.

I move to a new house next week while I am in Orlando (pray that all the details fall in place)…I am going for the Experience Conference which is the national conference for worship leaders. We are presenting, Fear Not Tomorrow, a Worship Experience. As I mentioned we premiered it last Sunday night in Knoxville at First Baptist Church Concord. It was amazing! About all I could say was, “Wow”! It was such an incredible experience. They had about 4500 people in the church, 250 in the choir plus a full orchestra and we raised the roof with praise for the God is always there. I cannot describe how I felt – and much of the time I was just plain teary. I was overcome with emotion. It was a powerful experience.

The music writer, Sarah Mentzer is amazingly talented, as is the lyricist, Brandee Vander Griff and arranger, Tim Paul. Everyone involved is precious and not self-seeking. We had wonderful support from Robert White Johnson, Al Denson and Randall Bayne. A fabulous team!

The  church was very gracious to me and the pastor, Dr. Sager and his wife, are so authentic, so transparent. The whole church is an authentic community – like I have been talking about with The Transparent Church. First Baptist Concord is a great example. The folks there are real with God, each other and yet lovingly so. And what can I say about the music director, Jeff Lawrence? What a gem of a man. He never seemed to stress – he never yelled at his choir or even used a harsh tone. Always a smile on his face but very serious about his craft. There didn’t seem to be any backbiting or jealousy about who got to do what solo. And even when he jumbled them up putting sopranos next to altos and basses, they all rolled with the punches. And the sound they made was heavenly.

As a matter of fact, I am quite sure heaven listened in and was very pleased with the offering of worship. I think they joined in! (Now don’t anyone fuss that I am being presumptuous. I don’t know what happened in heaven but I do know what happened in that church.)  I was humbled by the experience. That someone had the vision and talent to put my words into music and for it to be so worshipful just made me want to worship the One who has never left me and is in my tomorrow with its packing and upheaval. He has prepared a place for me!

12 replies
  1. Danny Nicholson
    Danny Nicholson says:

    Ruth,

    What an experience!! I was deeply touched and so happy our Carson Newman kids were a part of it!! They could not quit talking about it all over campus. Thanks for taking the time to visit with our folks before it started…..you went way out of your way!! We love and appreciate you so very much.

    God Bless and enjoy Orlando!!

    Danny

    Reply
  2. Kay O'Brien
    Kay O'Brien says:

    It WAS a wonderful experience! I loved every song and the message of hope was so real I felt I could hold it in my hand. Must tell you, though, that Randall and I both agreed our favorite song was “Fear Not Tomorrow, God is Already There” — simply unbeatable!

    Thanks so much for the time you invested in meeting and welcoming our Carson-Newman alumni and friends and for allowing our students the special treasure of being a part of this worship event. They are so looking forward to being in Orlando. Wish we could be there in person but will be remembering all of you in prayer. Blessings! Kay

    Reply
    • ruthgraham
      ruthgraham says:

      I agree wholeheartedly. It was a joy to know that some of the C-N students were there. They added so much and I am sure there expereince was very positive.

      I loved meeting the C-N folks – ya’ll are like family now!

      Reply
  3. Robby Martin
    Robby Martin says:

    What an honor to be there with you! And, what an honor to be involved in something that God CLEARLY has His hand of blessing on! Can’t wait to lift Him up again next Wednesday!

    Reply
  4. Donna McNeilly
    Donna McNeilly says:

    What a wonderful experience being part of the choir for this. The spirit the last few months has been nothing but God’s presence every moment. We’re exciting that we get to again share this at the “Experience Conference” in Orlando – Disney World next Wednesday evening. How glorious!!! Thank you Ms. Ruth for your witness that made all this happen. You are so loved.

    Reply
  5. Pat Sloan
    Pat Sloan says:

    Ruth,
    I so enjoyed meeting you at the CN alumni gathering at FBConcord. The entire experience of that night of worship was wonderful. I bought the CD and can’t seem to get enough of the music. I worship all the way to work and back. I have been through many trying experiences with my adult son during the last year. His drug abuse over the years has led to mental and emotional instabilty. My husband suffers from depression and is physically disabled as well. We have been waiting for a year for disability to be approved and are now in the appeal process. My son’s girlfriend is now pregnant and the future is very uncertain for them. Your book and the music of Fear Not Tomorrow Have been so uplifting and encouraging. My faith is strong and I have peace in the midst of the storm. I will continue to pray for your ministry and for the changed lives that will result from Fear Not Tomorrow: A worship experience.

    Pat

    Reply
  6. Nell Tiller
    Nell Tiller says:

    Dear Ruth,

    What an inspiring description of a celebration of Christ would have been wonderful to attend. Fortunately for those not so “lucky” as you to be in such an experience, there are still evidences of God’s presence in small places!

    My prayers and best wishes will be with you and you and your household get moved next week. There is nothing like moving to bring one “down to earh.” I am sure you have helpers, but there are things only you can do.

    I would appreciate hearing how Gregg is doing. He is in my prayers quite often.

    Peace…
    Nell Tiller

    Reply
  7. Marianne McGill
    Marianne McGill says:

    All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you Ruth for choosing our choir for this wonderful experience. During this whole time we have been practicing for the premier,I have been going through breast cancer, and several of the songs really got me through what I had to go through! I praise God for His goodness and His heaing! He knew I would be going through such a time as this!

    Reply
  8. Yvette Justice
    Yvette Justice says:

    Wow!!!!! God has blessed FBC to be a part of something which will change people’s lives all over the world. This will be such a ministry to so many hurting people worldwide. We had two families which both had lost a love one that very weekend and both families were able to come Sunday night. That was just two I know of for sure that was hurting and had thoughts of what tomorrow would bring and with this awesome worship experience they have hope in Jesus Christ and that we should not Fear tomorrow because the awesome creator knows what is coming and he will carry us thru those trials. This was a reminder to me that although my family is having many trials right know there is no reason for me to Fear Tomorrow because he will take care of us. God has been working in my life over the last few months as in October my dad was diagnosed with Pancreas Cancer and God has used this to his glory and my Dad has beat every odd possible while fighting the cancer. The Thursday before we shared this awesome experience we found out my Mom is in early stages of Alzheimer’s and my grandmother is in late stages of Alzheimer’s and soon will have to make some difficult decisions on her care. God has used this time of what could have been giving up on God a time of showing others what God can do if you just give it all to him and live day by day remembering God is in control and with him we can face all things whether big or small. Thank you for allowing us to share this awesome time of worship and ministry with you.

    Yvette Justice

    Reply
    • ruthgraham
      ruthgraham says:

      What a wonderful testimony of God’s power through the music. I am sorry for the deep waters you are having to travel trhough but so grateful that you were at the event and that God comforted you through the music. I have been listening to it every day and have been blessed every day. It is God inspired. And I agree with you, it will minister to many. God bless you, Yvette.

      Reply

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