I don't spend too much time thinking about classical music these days.  The contemporary worship that is part of my daily life and ministry doesn't directly have much to do with Beethoven, Shumann or Liszt, and so the things I studied and practiced for the first twelve years of my music 'career' don't often come to mind.

But today as I was reading in Romans 14, it occurred to me that the Kingdom of God is like a Three-Part Invention by J.S. Bach.

Paul goes on at great length about the danger of criticism; the danger of thinking you have all the answers, spiritually, and other people need to just "get with the program."  He warns against flaunting your freedom or looking down on others because they do things differently.  He suggests withholding your rights for the benefit of the believer next to you who might be confused by your actions.  "If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God." (v18)

Two- and Three-Part Inventions are tricky to play. (Truth-be-told, I could never play a Three-Part Invention well!)  These types of pieces were composed more as an exercise than for their melodic sound, because it requires the pianist to give opportunity to 3 separate voices, working together, flowing in and through and around each other.  A Two Part Invention works a little easier, because the two parts come from your two hands, though it takes practice to have them work so independently of each other.  For 3 parts, each hand has their own part and then on top of that, they share the work of the third part.  The musician who can play this well (that would not be me), can give a strong voice to each part when it is their turn to play the lead while the other parts take a back seat, but are still supporting.

"So then let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up." (v19)

The disciplined disciple is sensitive to the needs and feelings of others and desires to see them flourish in their walk with the Lord.  It means not pushing our own ideas, insisting that our way is the only way.  It means extending grace to others and being willing to learn from others (for perhaps, they are also extending grace to you!).  The individual's relationship with the Lord is very personal - which is why we hold such deep convictions about the things the Lord has revealed to us; which is why it is hard to understand where someone else is coming from.  

When I was a teen figuring out my faith, I honestly believed that if every Christian (true Christ follower) just really prayed and sought God's will, we would all come to the same conclusion and the Church would be universally unified.  Scripture is clear that this will not be the case in the Kingdom of now-and-not-yet.  "Who are you to condemn God's servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord's power will help them do as they should."  (v4)

Part of being in the Church on this earth requires the skill and practice that it takes to play Three-Part Invention: knowing when to step forward and when to make room for others to step forward, and in doing so, we can "join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God." (15:6)

"So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you;
then God will be glorified."


the gift


{Jesus said}
 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." 

John 14:27



life rearranged

it's my first time linking up at liferearranged.com
for insta-friday.

one of the reasons i was excited to get an iphone was to use the cool instagram app.  i haven't taken oodles of pics, so here's some from the last couple of weeks.

the first picture i posted was of my co-worker (friend) Kent.
we see him alot standing right there. :)

this is our kids' elementary school - isn't it cute, like something out a old movie?

here's my hubby - i called this picture "evening Gav" because this is what he likes to do while i watch hgtv.  

my son and his buddy have an epic light saber battle - so cool in the dark.

my firstborn's 11th birthday....where does the time go?

usually when you step on lego, one gets very unhappy.  
this time i just smiled - how cute is this lego chicken?

when my feelings were (inadvertently) hurt this week, my husband brought me these beautiful flowers. it reminded me that he's always on my side.

this week has actually been a little rough for me, but looking back makes me realize how very much i have to be thankful for!



i have a tattered piece of paper that has been travelling around in my purse, bible and work bag for the last couple of months.  it has on it 3 verses that i scribbled down as i was reading in ezekiel  in my nlt worship bible. 
everytime i come across this scrap page, i am encouraged.

thought you might like some encouragement today, too.

"See I care about you, and I will pay attention to you."
ezek 36:9 

" And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you.  I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, repsonsive heart."
ezek 36:26


"I will make my home among them.  I will be their God and they will be my people."
ezek 37:7



the strangest thing is happening to me....

i literally don't remember when it last occurred...

i'm not exactly sure what has brought it on....

i'm actually getting excited about Christmas.

in november.

early november.

if you know me well, you'll know that i have a tendency to be a bit of a 'scrooge.'  i'm not the person that puts their tree up just after halloween.  i turn off jingle bells the second i hear the first jingle.  i'm not the person that delights in Christmas shopping and baking and parties and concerts.  i try to 'be of good cheer;' - jolly, and whatnot - because i am able to delight in my children's enjoyment of the season (i'm not that bad).

but this year, something is different.

is it because i'm almost half way through the gift purchasing or because we already have snow?

is it because i was forced to listen to Christmas music in july (in order to find choir pieces) and now i'm just conditioned to it?

is it because i'm excited about some craft projects i have planned for family & friends and have come up with many ideas to simplify the holiday hoopla?

whatever it is, i'm thankful.

it feels really bad to be the "only" one who isn't just itching to get out the crates of decorations while blasting boney m.

last year, i decided to have a family theme for the Christmas season.  this year, an idea came to mind as i was preparing for the Advent celebration we do each sunday at church that i've decided to use as our family theme as well.

Let every heart prepare Him room.

my prayer is that as i go about the routines and checklists of the season with an (unusual) smile on my face, my heart will be full of the promise and hope that only He can bring - through His birth and as each new day arrives.

What will you do to prepare room in your heart for Him this Christmas?


Sunday Setlist - Oct 30

I'm linking up with the Worship Community for Sunday Setlist again! 

This week at ACC, we continued our in-depth study of Colossians.  I was away for the kick-off of the series, so I listened to the sermon online as I was preparing for October 30th service.  Our lead pastor gave this descriptive phrase to sum-up the book Colossians:

Jesus Christ is everything
and only He can give you everything you need
so everything you do should be done for Him.
I contemplated these words as I browsed around the world wide web for music.  When I came across this song: Jesus at the Centre of it All.

We sang it as an offeratory, though people joined in especially by the third verse.
has anyone else done this song?  i think it's pretty new...

In addition to that, we sang:

Holy is the Lord (Tomlin/Giglio)
Everlasting God (Brenton Brown/Ken Riley)
Who is there Like You (Paul Oakley)
Jesus Paid it All (hymn)
Faithful One (an oldie, but an almost theme song for our people)

I'm always so grateful to feel the hand of the Holy Spirit in my planning, and continue to pray that He will use the gift of music for His glory!


We are renters.

(there, i said it.)

We've been renting for all 14 years of our marriage.

our first place was a one bedroom apartment in a 3 story walk up.  it didn't smell great, but it was so fun to 'set up house' together for the very first time.

a year later we moved to a two bedroom apartment in a different 3 story walk up.  the place was recommended to us by our friends (who later became our neighbours!) and we loved this little place.  it had a little brick corner fireplace that we used all the time.  it had a small chef's kitchen with a large pantry and a dining room i painted lilac.  it had a large storage room/closet that we transformed into G's "office" - complete with desk, bookshelves and a large office chair (that he often napped in).  we brought our first baby home to this place.

two years after moving in, we were expecting our second child, so we moved again!  this time it was a two-storey side-by-side with three bedrooms and one AND A HALF bathrooms.  major upgrade! :)  this home had a great fenced backyard and an eat-in kitchen large enough to have a kiddie table in one corner.  we threw down some carpet in half the basement and it became a great playroom for the two little ones.  we lived there for 3 years.

in 2005, we had our third baby and moved again...not because she came along, but because my husband had applied and was accepted to study at Duke University in North Carolina.  this move was a little different.  far - very far - away, into a new country.  we moved into a 3 bedroom, 2 bath townhouse in a lovely neighbourhood a block of the east campus.  the townhouse had large bedrooms and good space.  i tried to overlook the weird "miami vice" glass bricks that were a large (curved) part of our living room wall.  this home was special to us because it was where our family grew very close together, where we learned what it meant to rely on the Lord in a more significant way and where we had many visitors from back home.  a year later, we moved again.

this time we ended up in Mississauga, Ontario.  our rental was the main floor of a semi for the first year until we took over the rent of the basement as well.  this place had nice space, was walking distance to the kids' school and a 3 minute drive to our church.  we were very comfortable there and enjoyed hosting bible studies and small groups and family and friends who came for visits.  we had a separate guest room (and bathroom) and lots and lots of storage.

when we moved back to our home town 2 years later, we moved into a rental house that was a direct gift from God.  it answered little dreams of mine that i'd had for years and had all but stopped hoping for.  it has lots of character and yet has been upgraded in a modern way.  it has a nice sized deck for entertaining, a great old bannister for hanging garland and stockings, and is in a neighbourhood that we love.  our kids never want to leave this home.

i used to feel badly about the fact that we're not homeOWNERS.  like somehow we're not REAL adults.  it has been a lesson in contentment, in trusting in God's timing and provision.  i've been blessed by the nester who writes a blog called content to rent.  i guess we're not the only ones - who knew?

and even though i'm getting a little itchy to move again (we've now lived in this home longer than any other), i know that God's plans are best and i can enjoy what He has for me today even while i dream about the future.

here's a verse the Lord has used in my life over the last 14 years:

 Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.
proverbs 16:3

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