Monthly Archives: November 2015

Thanksgiving for “First Fruits” of Time and Talent



The concept of “firstfruits” goes back in the biblical timeline to the book of Deuteronomy. You remember the Lord’s deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt to the promised land (Exodus).  One of the laws in Deuteronomy required the people to bring an offering of first fruits to the temple. Even though this was a law, the people did not consider it a tax, but rather as a gift of thanksgiving. They put their offering (maybe a sheaf of wheat) in a basket woven with gold and silver, presenting it at the temple with these words: “The Lord brought us out of Egypt with … signs and wonders; and he gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.   So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.”


They brought their first fruits from a grateful heart, giving back the first – and the best – from what God had given them.

This week I am celebrating and giving thanks for our music volunteers at Christ Presbyterian Church, those who give us their first fruits – the best of the gifts God has given them.


  • Our barns are filled to overflowing with the 50 volunteer musicians in our choirs, who freely offer their time and talent to prepare worship music like we heard from the Chime Choir, Children’s Choir and Sanctuary Choir Sunday, and the Chancel Ringers last week; like we will enjoy during the Christmas cantata in a few weeks; and like we experience every Sunday as our hymns and anthems tell our faith story.


  • Our barns are filled to overflowing with the 30 volunteers in our Joyful Noise Music Camp last summer who freely gave their time – over 500 hours – to the 60 children who came to learn about music and God’s appreciation of their joyful noise.


  • Our barns are filled to overflowing with volunteer teachers like June Gladding and Lindsey Smith, who give to our young people the gifts of skill and leadership God has given to them.


  • Our barns are filled to overflowing with young instrumentalists like Colin McLean and Keith Scroggs, who are always willing and eager to offer their musical gifts in worship.

Your first fruits of a giving and thankful spirit provide the soul of our music ministry. Thanks be to God!


Our barns are filled to overflowing!


Sunday begins the season of Advent.



Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedIn

Community Thanksgiving Worship

thanksgivingEnter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.

Psalm 100:4

Community Thanksgiving Worship

Sunday, November 22 at 6:30 pm

Join Christ Presbyterian, King of Kings Lutheran, Ox Hill Baptist and Pender United Methodist Churches for songs of praise and thanksgiving, the Lord’s Supper, and the Word of God.


PRELUDE                            Gather Us In                            Marty Haugen, setting by Paul Carlson

CALL TO WORSHIP       With Gladsome Heart                   Mark Patterson; Combined Choirs

HYMN of PRAISE           Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

ANTHEM                           Give Thanks to the Lord for He Is Good                               David Lantz                                               Combined Choirs; Susan Ferguson, flute

COMMUNION HYMN  All Who Hunger, Gather Gladly

SENDING HYMN          The Spirit Sends Us Forth to Serve

POSTLUDE                     Now Thank We All Our God                     Crüger; setting by Paul Manz


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedIn

Our Music This Sunday    


 No distrust made [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.      Romans 4:23


John Rippon pastored Carter’s Lane Baptist Church in London for 63 years, beginning when he was only in his mid-twenties.  During those years, he developed a vision for a church hymnal; the resulting volume, A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors, Intended to be an Appendix to Dr. Watts’ Psalms and Hymns, was exceedingly popular immediately: eleven editions were printed in England during Rippon’s lifetime, and an American edition appeared 1820.

“How Firm a Foundation” first appeared here.  No one knows its author; the line reserved for the author’s name just had the letter “K.”  Scholars attribute the composition to R. Keene, Rippon’s Minister of Music.  The tune FOUNDATION is one of many folk tunes that originated in the American south; it was originally aptly named Protection.

The power of this hymn is due to each of the seven original stanzas being based on biblical promises:


Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you…Isaiah 41:10


When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. Isaiah 43:2


For he himself has said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5


It’s no wonder this hymn was first published under the title,

“Exceedingly Great and Precious Promises”!

Can you find God’s promises in the stanzas we will sing on Sunday?


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedIn

Common Ground Christian a cappella sings at CPC this Sunday


cg wm sings Common Ground, founded in the spring of 1995, is the College of William & Mary’s women’s Christian a cappella group. Their mission is “to glorify God and our Savior Jesus Christ through music while providing a ministry to ourselves and to others on and off campus.”

The talented group sings a variety of contemporary and traditional Christian music including hymns, pop, and folk songs. They perform at William & Mary’s a cappella-wide events, as well as singing at benefits, services, and home churches of Common Ground alba sings

cg carols at wm night bookstore

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!”  Psalm 95:1-2


Music has always been a huge part of her life for Elizabeth Himes, a senior ateliz William & Mary and director of Common Ground.  Elizabeth has attended Christ Presbyterian Church since she was three years old.  Her first solo was Christmas Eve when she was only four.  She sang in the children’s choir for many years, and the adult choir through high school.

In 2002, Elizabeth got her first taste of being on stage when she performed at the International Children’s Festival at Wolftrap, alongside Bob McGrath of Sesame Street.








Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedIn