Finding God: Woodstock ’69 Vs Revelation 19:9

By Dianne Neal Matthews:

43 years ago today the music festival Woodstock drew nearly half a million people. How will it be different when God calls us to celebrate with him?

 

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” Revelation 19:9


Photo of a portion of the monument Peace and Music created by sculptor Wayne C. Saward

The most famous rock festival of the sixties, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, opened on this day in 1969 and lasted three days. Even though the three promoters who organized the event were inexperienced, they managed to sign major artists for the “Three Days of Peace and Music.”

The festival was almost canceled when the towns of Woodstock and Wallkill, New York, both denied permission. A farmer named Max Yasgur eventually offered his property in Bethel. Although few advance tickets were sold, approximately 400,000 people showed up. (Some sites state 500,000.) Most of the concert-goers demanded free entry and obtained it because of the lack of security.

For a few interesting facts about Woodstock, see 1969 Fast Facts: Woodstock. Also don’t miss the video at the end of this post about a different kind of music festival!

Let’s talk now about a different kind of celebration:

In one story, ­Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven to a wedding feast, telling this parable:

When all the preparations had been made, the king sent out the final summons, but the guests refused to come to the party. So the king had his servants go out into the streets and invite ­every­one they saw. The hall soon filled with guests, but when the king saw a man who had come without proper wedding clothes, he had him bound and thrown into the outer darkness (Matthew 22:1-14).

God is preparing a party for the end of the age, a wedding feast for his Son. Everyone is invited, but unlike the Woodstock festival, we ­can’t just show up when the time ­comes and demand free entry. We have to accept the invitation in advance. Like the wedding feast in ­Jesus’ story, we can ­only be there with proper attire. We must be clothed with the righteousness of God by accepting Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. God’s “festival” will be perfect in ­every­ way—an eternity of peace and music.

If you think you’d enjoy a Christian faith-focused music festival here on earth, check out the annual Creation festivals at creationfest.com:

 

Have you ever been to a Creation festival? How was it different from other music festivals? Tell us your stories!

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Finding God in a Convalescent Hospital

By Janet Holm McHenry:

 


Janet Holm McHenry plays the bass in her Four Church Band.

Finding God in our local convalescent hospital is a delight for me on a weekly basis. During the summers when I am not teaching high school English, I drag my huge standup bass and play in the Four Church Band. That’s my name for a group of four people who “take church” to the seniors who call Eastern Plumas District Hospital in Loyalton, California, their home.

We’re the Four Church Band, because each of us goes to a different church. That doesn’t seem to matter at all to us or to our fellow worshippers, who include my dear friend Sadie, an African-American woman who wears winter gloves even during the summer to fight off “Arthuritis.” I love her positive interjections every few words during the devotion, because they remind me of her younger days when she sat in the back corner in our white clapboard church and “amen-ed” her way through a sermon.

We sing the old time gospel hymns–all the verses–and the testimony of God’s love and provision and faithfulness shines through those well-penned lines.

The smile of God is also evident on the faces of the elderly believers. I always leave that place filled up with the joy that spills out of those lovely folks, with echoes of God’s Word from the old hymns, and with the peace that my friends and I have been able to fellowship with some dear old saints.

While some might find a convalescent hospital a dreary place, I’m finding God there every time I visit. Perhaps you would enjoy one of my favorite songs that we sing each week–“I’ll Fly Away”–in this version by Gillian Welch:

Janet Holm McHenry is a speaker and author of 19 books, including PrayerWalk and Prayerstreaming. When she’s not playing the bass or chasing her eight grandchildren, she teaches  teaching high school English and dreams up new books to write. Learn more about prayerwalking at www.janetmchenry.com, or Janet’s blog, http://janetmchenry.wordpress.com.

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Finding God in Musician Shelly E. Johnson (Interview)

By Laurie Winslow Sargent (with encouragement from Shelly E. Johnson):

I’m finding God in the lovely music ministry of Shelly E. Johnson, including her hit “All Things Beautiful“.

 

Shelly E. Johnson, Worship Artist. Click the photo to find the All Things Beautiful download on Amazon.

Shelly E. Johnson is a LifeWay Christian musician who recently signed with Maranatha.  I asked Shelly to share with us at Finding God Daily bit of her life story. I’d heard she’d felt a calling on her life to ministry as young as a teen, after her father died.

I asked Shelly how that tragedy impacted her faith in God. She wrote this heartfelt response:

“I’ve always been a very literal person, straight-forward, logical, practical.  I think about things in terms of black and white, what makes the most sense, and I was even more this way as a 14-year old.

” In those short fourteen years, I watched other people in my life go through difficult things. Some of those people became angry at God and turned their back on Him and ran as far away from Him as they thought they could. That never ended up being a good thing for them. It always seemed to make things worse. Running from God and depending on self only intensified their pain, their anxiety, their struggle.

“But the people I knew who faced difficult circumstances and, in those circumstances, chose to trust in God, to seek Him, to worship Him, those were the ones who found peace and comfort and were able to best cope with their situation.

When I found myself as a 14-year old in this awful circumstance of watching my sweet, strong, healthy daddy who I loved so very much begin to wither away to nothing right before my eyes, I did what made the most sense to me. I ran straight to the only One who had the power to do something about it.  I ran to Jesus and begged Him for a miracle. The entire 10 months my daddy was sick, I knew in my heart that God was going to work a miracle and heal him. That belief is what got me through those 10 months, as my daddy began to slowly wither away more and more each day.

“But then, when he died and I was overwhelmed by the reality that God had healed him eternally, but not earthly, that I would never see Him again this side of heaven… I went before the Lord again, this time with no words.  Not words at all. Just an aching heart.

“And it was in this moment, for the first time in my life, I felt God’s presence in the most tangible way. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He loved me, that His Word was true, and that He would always be faithful in everything. The best way I can think to describe it is that I felt God drawing me to Him. It was an unmistakable “pull” on my heart, a power greater than any I’d ever known, drawing me, calling me to come to Him, to trust Him, to follow Him.  So that’s what I did. It was the only thing I knew to do.

“Because I grew up in a solid Christian family and a solid church, I had been taught enough about God and His character to know with my mind that He is trustworthy.  But now He was inviting me to know Him with my heart, to experience first time His faithfulness. God did not answer my prayer the way I wanted. Not at all. I still wish my daddy had not died. I wish he was here today, 12 years later. I wish he could have seen me graduate high school and college.  I wish he could have walked me down the aisle at my wedding. I wish I could just call him on the phone and talk to him about stuff.  I miss him more now than I ever have.

“But, despite all of that, God is faithful. And who am I to question or doubt that for a moment? God is the smartest, most intelligent, most brilliant mind that ever was or ever will be, and the love He has for His children is too great to be measured. He owes me no explanation for why things happen. I exist for His glory and His glory alone, and when my daddy died, God began pouring songs into me that have ministered to tens of thousands of people and have drawn people into a closer relationship with Him.  He has been glorified through my daddy’s death. He has been glorified through me choosing to trust Him despite my pain and despite my lack of understanding. And He is glorified every time I share my testimony with others. And His glory is what’s most important – it’s the reason behind everything that exists and everything that happens.

“So, as painful as it still is, I can hang my hat on that. I’m satisfied in knowing that one day, Jesus will make all things beautiful, and the pain we’ve experienced here will seem like a flickering moment, instantly fading away in light of the joy that’s to come. Hallelujah!”

In this video, In Their Own Words: Shelly E. Johnson, Shelly shares how she was inspired to write the song “Power of the Cross” after spending time in a women’s shelter.

Shelly’s song “All Things Beautiful”  can be heard and purchased at LifewayWorship.com or on  iTunes.  Her four-track EP, Power of the Cross, will be available August 14, 2012. For updates and to see Shelly’s blog, visit shellyejohnson.com.)  Shelly will be lead worship in cities this summer in GA, TN and NC. (Click here for her schedule).

 © Laurie Winslow Sargent. Laurie is the editor for Finding God Daily, a multi-book author/contributor and magazine article writer. She blogs for parents at  ParentChildPlay.com and for writers at  SellYourNonfiction.com and is on Twitter as @LaurieSargent.

FTC Disclosure: Finding God Daily’s editor participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Occasionally books or music will be linked from our site to Amazon.com if we believe those will help nurture faith in our readers. Any small commission generated will be donated to Right to the Heart Ministries to help support FindingGodDaily.com, ThinkingAboutSuicide.com or GodTest.com.

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