Happy Valentine's Day
One family in Jesus
CPC 2012 in Orlando
Get ready to smile!
Live in Concert #3 Update Dec. 10, 2011
It's the Most wonderful time of the year....
LIVE IN CONCERT #3 DVD UPDATE
From the Lips of Children and Infants
FINALLY, Our new site!!!
Joni and Friends Family Camp
Psalm 37: 4
New CD and DVDs available for purchase!
Praise and Worship Concert Fundraiser for Haiti
BIG PRAISE!!! The Live in Concert #3
Update - two new Music and Motions DVDs
UPDATE: October 27, 2010
Joni and Friends family camp
Drawings from Friends
VBS is amazing!!!!!!
Mother-Daughter weekend at Forest Home
Festival of Life Outreach festival
Our Africa Experience (Part 5)
Our Africa Experience (Part 4)
Our Africa Experience (Part 3)
Our Africa Experience (Part 2)
Our Africa Experience (Part 1)
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 by
Happy Summer, everyone!
Out here in Southern CA, we just started our summer late June. And for us, that meant swinging right into Vacation Bible School at Mariners Church. This year's theme was Polar Trek, and we had the joy and thrill of leading all the worship for the 3000 participants at this amazing VBS. There was a lot of prep (as you could imagine) and a lot of prayer that went into that week. But as is always the case with every VBS around the country, it was a HIT with the kids, and God did just amazing things all week long! If you would like to get the "big picture" perspective, visit the church's website for daily updates and dozens upon dozens of wonderful photos.
There was so much going on all around the campus (crafts, missions, Bible, games, first aid!). And from our perspective in the worship center, I can tell you, that WOW, was it amazing! Imagine the joy and energy in a room filled with 1000 leaders and 2000 kids! It's difficult to capture this on film without a wide angle lens...this photo shows about 1/3 of the crowd! It was just a taste of heaven to hear all these joyful kids (white shirts) and leaders (blue shirts) praising our King of Kings!
Kids invited neighbors, new friends and deeper connections were made, $30,000 was raised throughout the week for an orphanage in Haiti! Over 400 made public decisions to follow Jesus Christ, dozens of kids got baptized, and who could even describe or calculate the joy, the worship, the encouragement that happened all through the week.
My family had so much fun--Ron, I, and the band leading worship, lunches and sleepovers, serving with the amazing staff at Mariners. The kids who helped me lead worship all week were just amazing! They were selected by the church...with the addition of my daughter, Chandy and her friend Sophia! We all worked hard for a couple of months learning the motions to dozens of songs, and finally getting up there was such a joy. For all of us on the worship team, there was one very special addition this year: Reo (pronounced "Leo").
I ran into Reo on Mother's Day at church. Seeing him reminded me of this boy and his mother's amazing joy and love for the Lord. They encourage me so much! Reo has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound. But I just knew he belonged on the Worship Team (the church calls these kids "The Groove Team") with us! So, I asked him to join us. He was delighted, and worked super hard on the motions. The other kids on the Groove Team were so sweet to him, especially one boy named Elliott, who kept reaching out to Reo, making sure he was taken care of. Well, the two sessions that Reo led worship with us on the stage at VBS were priceless! People hooted and hollered for him when I introduced him, and he just beamed! So did his mom. Here is one of my favorite photos (Elliott, Reo and me singing "Its SOOO good to know...").
Very few dry eyes, I tell you.
Another favorite element of the week involved a dear friend, Tim Timmons. He has been the worship leader for VBS the past few "odd" years ('09, '11) and the kids just adore him. He is so loved, so funny, so real and positive, even in the midst of having a rare form of cancer in his liver, which has recently resurfaced. Once again, I think the Lord planted this thought in my heart--to ask Tim if we could bless the kids and leaders at VBS with a surprise visit from him. I was so thrilled when I realized it was going to work out. I swore the handful of people who knew about it to secrecy. My own kids didn't even know. On Thursday morning, there came a moment when we heard a guitar playing the opening riff to one of Tim's songs, which was obviously NOT coming from my guitar player (Tim Neinhuis). Then, out came Tim Timmons, to the delight of 3000 people! What a blast it was to watch him lead, to see the tears of joy in many eyes, to just watch this unfold.
You can see the love and emotion on peoples' faces! What a blast.
Okay, and now one more.....SETH!
At the last main session of VBS, we all got another gigantic blessing from God....in the body of a little almost 3 year old named Seth Erre. Seth's mom, Justina had told me that her son, who happens to have Down's Syndrome, knows and loves our music, and does the motions in front of their tv all the time. I asked her if she thought Seth would be up for coming on stage with me...kind of having my doubts. Most 3 year olds would run for cover at the sight and noise of all those people. But when I invited up Seth, he just bounded up there fearlessly and full of joy and passion. His favorite song is called "God's Masterpiece," which is from Ephesians 2:10. The words of that verse and the song say, "We are God's masterpiece created anew in Christ Jesus so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago." Well, little Seth sang with such joy and passion, and did those motions better than any 3 year old I've ever seen. It tore us all apart. Justina was on the stage next to him, sobbing, his dad (Mike) was in the seats filming the whole thing, beaming at his boy, and who knows how many tears of joy were shed all around that sanctuary! For that moment, through that boy, the message of that song was abundantly, crystal clear....that we are God's masterpieces, created by Him, and He has wonderful things planned out for us to do. We were all struck with that clarity, the joy, the power of that moment. This photo is a shot of what was on the big screen. I love how you can see Justina in tears behind her beloved boy, and you see Seth punching the air with the motions to the words you see on the screen, "God can do amazing things in me and you."
Wow, even now this brings me to tears!
A week later, I'm still recalling so many wonderful things from the VBS week. And this is just one VBS.....there are tens of thousands of them going on all over the US, the world! I know that God will do amazing things for His kingdom every moment of every one!
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