The Greatest Story Ever Told

This is the Sunday the Worship Choir presents our 2017 Christmas Musical, “The Greatest Story Every Told.” This 40-minute musical will be the message in narration and song for our 11:00 worship hour. The choir began rehearsing for this back in September with the hopes of giving you a wonderful Christmas blessing. We hope that you will invite your friends and family to enjoy the re-telling of this great true story of love, redemption and hope.

Thank you for the love and support you poured out for me this past Sunday when Kristen and I were ordained. You all will always be linked to God’s calling in my life. I pray I can honor that calling well as God leads me to acts of service for Him and for your behalf in the spirit of Ephesians 4:12-13 “… to equip his people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

Creation Sings

The worship choir rehearsed for several weeks to prepare the anthem, “Creation Sings” for you this past Sunday. As we watch the glorious colors of fall emerging from the earth, we are reminded of the creation song our heavenly Father orchestrated for us. This symphony of creation began with the dawn of time and played through the reconciliation of man to God through the life and sacrifice of Jesus. The finale will conclude in heaven when all of creation proclaims, “one resplendent theme: The glory of our God and King.” 

Faithful Fall

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Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.”

Matthew 9:29

Sometimes having a catchphrase for a season helps to serve as a focal point in our spiritual journey. I’d like to challenge you to have a “Faithful Fall.” In Matthew, chapter 9, we read about the miracle healing of the blind men. Jesus poses the question, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They reply with. “Yes, Lord.” Jesus then touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” This fall is a prime opportunity for us all to grow in our faith. Carefully consider all the requests you are giving to God and do a self-inventory of whether or not you feel that the level of faith you are giving to God would justify a miracle answer. I think we could all stand more faith in our lives! 

How do we grow in our faith? Here are a few steps we can do to increase our faith:

1. Request boldly without fear

2. Don’t worry or be anxious after you give your requests to God. When a worry comes to mind, simply state, “I trust in you.”

3. Be persistent in “knocking at the door” and believing.

4. For every doubt you have, replace it with an account of His faithfulness to you or one of the over 300 promises written in God’s word.

Our Legacy of Faith

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Excitement is in the air as we look forward to the awesome Homecoming celebration we will share with family and friends on October 1st. One of the blessings we will see is the way that God unites our hearts no matter how many years or miles separate us. We have a rich legacy of faith and heritage brought to us through the faithful lives of those who served with us. It will be a grand reunion to see those familiar faces as well as to honor those who have gone on to glory. The glue that holds us together is the scripture preached this past Sunday from Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” He never changes and the love we have for one another and ministry we have together is established on that truth. No matter where we serve we are all on the same team working together for the glory of God. So, “Through Jesus let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifice God is pleased.” Heb. 13:15-16

In His Time

I pray our Kairos themed year has challenged and blessed you. This focus has impacted my life in several positive ways. Looking through the lens of time has reinforced how precious and significant the gift of time is. It is the one commodity that you can never get back and if we use it wisely, God can do supernatural work through our giving it over to Him. I used to think that I just needed to work harder to cram in more work for God in the minutes God has given me in a typical day. I realize today that when I give Him the best of my day – the first fruits in time, prayer, focus and quiet listening that he multiplies the productivity of my day. He streamlines my time into making better choices by choosing things each day that are of value my spiritual health, physical health, relationships, and ministry to others through my work and service to others. Ultimately, our life is the best expression of worship we can give to God through simple daily choices and listening for His “appointed times” along the way. Ecclesiastes 3:1 states,

“There is an appointed time for everything and there is a time for every event under heaven.” 

We are entering the season where the Worship Choir will take a summer rest and the Worship Team will lead in their absence from June through mid-August. I hope you will express your appreciation to the choir’s dedication, time investment, and excellence they demonstrate throughout the year in leading worship, special music, and cantatas. We have such a talented group and I am very blessed to both love and lead them!

-Deborah

The Lamb has Overcome

Dr. Deborah Herring

Dr. Deborah Herring

What a glorious season to worship and rejoice through music! This Palm Sunday we will celebrate many Hosanna’s to the coming King. The congregation will sing, “Hosanna (Praise is Rising)” as the youth lay down palm branches. Then the children will joyfully shout, “Ho-Ho-Ho-Hosanna,” and finally the choir will proclaim, “Hosanna with All Glory Laud and Honor” as we trace the journey of Jesus from the triumphal entry to the journey through His agonizing sacrifice on the cross. 

Easter Sunday will be the victorious celebration of the Risen King! The choir will be presenting the musical, Forever Glorified by Marty Parks, which traces the final week of Jesus’ ministry on earth, conquering death. The Lamb has overcome and He is forever glorified! Come hear the message proclaimed as we worship together. He is risen indeed!

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;

Death is strong, but Life is stronger;

Stronger than the dark, the light;

Stronger than the wrong, the right.

Faith and Hope triumphant say,

Christ will rise on Easter-Day.

 

While the patient earth lies waking,

Till the morning shall be breaking,

Shuddering ‘neath the burden dread

Of her Master, cold and dead,

Hark! she hears the angels say,

Christ will rise on Easter-Day.

And when sunrise smites the mountains,

Pouring light from heavenly fountains,

Then the earth blooms out to greet

Once again the blessed feet;

And her countless voices say,

Christ has risen on Easter-Day.

 

Up and down our lives obedient

Walk, dear Christ, with footsteps radiant,

Till those garden lives shall be

Fair with duties done for Thee;

And our thankful spirits say,

Christ arose on Easter-Day 

 

~Phillips Brooks, “An Easter Carol”

 

Worship Makes Us...

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

I am excited about the transformation I’ve seen in our congregational worship this past year. I’ve witnessed a genuine excitement and authenticity in the way we sing, pray, study God’s word, share and express ourselves in both personal and corporate worship. I encourage you to a self-inventory to see if you are growing in your expressions of worship. True worship can transform your life! Bob Kauflin suggests in his book, Worship Matters (p. 143-150) that there are six ways that worshipping God on Sunday mornings can transform our lives. I’ve condensed the list below for you:

Worship makes us:

Humble - When we see a glimpse of God’s glory, we stand in awe of his presence.

Secure – We discover that as we surrender to the Lord, that God is in ultimately in control of our lives and nothing can separate us from His love.

Grateful – We realize that God’s amazing grace and sacrifice for us has given us a new life abundantly filled with his presence and gifts if we open up our eyes.

Holy – We acknowledge that God is Holy and calls us to be Holy, confessing our sins and forgiven as pure, clean, spotless lambs.

Loving – We are motivated in the light of God’s love for us by laying down His life that we are called to extend that same love to others.

Mission-minded – Worship reinforces our desire to share the good news, obey the great commission and share the source of love, joy, and truth we receive through him to others.

I hope you will see the transformation taking place in your life through worship as we come together as God’s family at RBC.

All for Him,

Deborah

Worship Transforms Our Lives

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Dr. Deborah Herring

Dr. Deborah Herring

I am excited about the transformation I’ve seen in our congregational worship this past year. I’ve witnessed a genuine excitement and authenticity in the way we sing, pray, study God’s word, share and express ourselves in both personal and corporate worship. I encourage you to a self-inventory to see if you are growing in your expressions of worship. True worship can transform your life! Bob Kauflin suggests in his book, Worship Matters (p. 143-150) that there are six ways that worshipping God on Sunday mornings can transform our lives. I’ve condensed the list below for you:

Worship makes us:

Humble - When we see a glimpse of God’s glory, we stand in awe of his presence.

Secure – We discover that as we surrender to the Lord, that God is in ultimately in control of our lives and nothing can separate us from His love.

Grateful – We realize that God’s amazing grace and sacrifice for us has given us a new life abundantly filled with his presence and gifts if we open up our eyes.

Holy – We acknowledge that God is Holy and calls us to be Holy, confessing our sins and forgiven as pure, clean, spotless lambs.

Loving – We are motivated in the light of God’s love for us by laying down His life that we are called to extend that same love to others.

Mission-minded – Worship reinforces our desire to share the good news, obey the great commission and share the source of love, joy, and truth we receive through him to others.

I hope you will see the transformation taking place in your life through worship as we come together as God’s family at RBC.

All for Him,

Deborah

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I love the start of each year. It is a reminder that God makes all things new. My scripture verse for the year is Philippians 3:13-14:

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Dr. Deborah Herring

Dr. Deborah Herring

As we start the new year our energies should be focused on pressing on towards higher goals in Christ Jesus. Those goals are ones that go beyond earthly recognition and focus on those character traits that will last for eternity and help us to accomplish what God has purposed in our lives for His kingdom. I have to remind myself to let go of my past … that long list of imperfections and personal disappointments and press on towards the finish line with the tasks and goals that God is giving me on a daily basis. I pray this year that as we join together in our goals and purposes that God will do a mighty work through us that will make an eternal impact!

Thank you to all the singers, musicians, kids, and leaders that made the Christmas season such a wonderful experience this year! John and I also thank you for the many gifts and expressions of encouragement you extended to us!

Thanksgiving is fast approaching!

Behold, I am the God of all flesh; is there anything too difficult for me? Jer. 33:27

Thanksgiving is fast approaching with Christmas just around the bend and we have some exciting news and events planned. I am happy to announce that the worship band has a new guitar player, Ashleigh Moore, who will begin playing with us this Sunday. 

We hope to see you next Thursday evening, November 10th at 7:30 as the RBC Worship Choir sings along with the Emmanuel College Concert Chorale in their fall concert. You will hear some lovely anthems along with a sacred jazz work where I will be performing a solo with the Jazz Ensemble and Chorale. Later this month during our Thanksgiving service on November 20th, we will have the pleasure of hearing the organ in worship! Jared Cobb has been preparing an organ/piano duet with Beth Chitwood and will also be accompanying the Worship Choir. Finally, the choir and children are busy preparing for our Christmas musical Sunday morning, December 11th. You will not want to miss it!

When I feel overwhelmed by life, as I often am this time of year, I am reminded by the words of Jeremiah 33:27. Nothing is too difficult for God.  We are invited to partner with him in the ministry of giving to others and he will supply what we need to accomplish His mission. May you enjoy the ministry of giving and serving this holiday season with a thankful heart.

Bitter-sweet

We’ve been having fun with a different mix of music for the summer. Special thanks to our praise teams for their hard work and for all of you in the congregation for singing wholeheartedly and learning some new songs. This Sunday we will dive into our gospel roots as our gospel team leads and provides special music. Come for a foot-stompin’ good time!

My heart has been bitter-sweet this week processing through the news Caleb presented to us on Sunday. He has such a beautiful heart and loving, pastoral nature that I will miss him dearly! He has such a sincere passion for God and genuine affection for our church family that fear he will be very difficult to replace. As he moves on, I pray the blessing of Jude 2, “May mercy, and peace and love be multiplied to you.” I will remember the purity of his smile, the laughter of his goofy VBS outfits and Monkey-play with Alice, killer competition in board games, kind eyes, gentle smile, warm hugs, loving encouragement and the harmony we shared as we worked together as staff. I know that he and Amber will make a dynamic team as they become husband and wife and will continue to grow God’s kingdom together. Much love to you Caleb!

Blessings to all,

Deborah

Re-set

It was wonderful getting a chance to get away for some renewal last weekend and have an opportunity to see how God is reflected in nature as we step into His sanctuary. From the Blue Ridge’s colorful rhododendrons, mountain laurels, azaleas, pines, streams and rock formations to the coast’s ocean waves, colorful variety of shells, sparkling mica beach sand edged with grasses, wild morning glory, primrose, gaillardia, and mimosa all show the handiwork of their creator. God uses his creation to renew and restore our souls while making us aware of the evidence that He is more powerful than we can imagine! I was so grateful for the experience and a chance to hit my “re-set” button to gear up for summer activities.

Our intern, Emma Parham, was kind to fill in for me last Sunday and has completed her official internship time with us. Since this was a non-paid opportunity, we have a chance to give a love offering in appreciation of her ministry to us this coming Sunday. I’m sure you have seen her involvement in all areas of the church music ministry with youth, children, adults and leading worship. It is evident that the Lord has blessed her with talent and a keen passion to serve him. Please take the opportunity to thank her personally!

I am also grateful to the Worship Choir’s fantastic season this year, especially in their work and performance of the High Lonesome Mass. I couldn’t be prouder to have such a wonderful choir. I hope they enjoy some time off this summer and in the meantime, I’m looking forward to VBS next week, Fine Arts Camp the week following week and summer praise teams!

Blessings to all,

Deborah

The High Lonesome Bluegrass Mass

    We hope you will join us at 5:00 on Sunday, May 1st at First Baptist Church, Athens, for a fun and enriching evening of singing. It will be a unique opportunity to hear a new traditional choral high mass setting that draws upon the rich history of our Southern Appalachian folk heritage. The live bluegrass band and congregational hymn singing will be sure to uplift and inspire you. I am very proud of the hard work our choir members have invested in learning this difficult music. We began working on the choral mass in January and are looking forward to finally being able to combine efforts with Emmanuel College’s Chorale and the choir of First Baptist Church in Athens. So, Come Away to the Skies with us as we trace the roots of our faith through the ages of the past and into the present. We have enjoyed sharing several specials from the program with you these past few weeks and you can be on the lookout for more songs to come.

    As we look ahead into our summer music programming, please let me know if you would like to be involved in the summer praise teams and band. We will begin forming groups in May to transition into services by June.

He is deserving of all praise! 

Deborah

Great Joy!

“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you have refreshed the heart of the saints.” Philemon 1:7

This past Sunday Rev. Profitt preached on Philemon 1:4-7. He used this text to elaborate on these three traits of a holy friend: One who keeps you accountable and challenges you when the warning signs of sin appear in your life; a person who recognizes and cultivates areas of giftedness in your life; and someone who helps you dream and have vision for the future. A friend always has your best interests and well-being in mind. Last week I celebrated 9 years of ministry with Royston Baptist. Throughout these past 9 years, you all have demonstrated these traits to me and you have refreshed my heart. Here are some of the more specific areas I appreciate: 

• A loyal, committed, talented, and hard working choir. 
• Wonderful youth and helpful teachers who encourage kids to sing to the Lord
• Encouraging and supportive church leadership who have hold me accountable and have given me the freedom and grace to grow and learn over the years. 
• A loving, wise, and understanding pastor teamed with great staff who work together to accomplish our mission here at RBC. 
• A church family that has been receptive to changes in the worship format, style and creative elements as well as one that has loved me and my family both in the challenging and joyful seasons on my life.

Thank you for the past 9 years and I hope you all will continue “refreshing the heart of the saints” as we work together to grow God’s kingdom here in Royston. May the fruit of our labor impact the world with the message of hope!

With love and gratitude,

Deborah

From Our Minister of Music

This weekend our family was finally able to take some time to get away to the mountains. Each of us desperately needed a break from our jobs, houses and daily obligations in order to refresh, reflect and just “be.” It is always during these times that I wish time would just freeze for a little longer so I can soak in the bliss of the presence of love in the beauty of God’s creation. I try my best to take it all in and en-case it in a memory capsule so I can pull it out on the most frantic of days, but it is just not the same. When I am watching the last of the morning mist evaporate from the face of the lake or the last sunset over the ocean, a sadness creeps over me. I remind myself not lose the joy of the moment by allow-ing my thoughts to distract me and to stay in the present. I tell myself that the present (now) is the present (gift).

So often this is how we approach worship. We feel the warmth of our God family round about us and are soaking in the joy and love that is flooding flowing in music, scripture, prayer and the atmosphere of the room and then the thoughts of the next day’s work agenda, lunch, or what needs to still be accomplished at home before the weekend ends begins to steal our experience. It takes discipline and focus to allow ourselves to stay in the present but if we do, His presence will give us an everlasting gift – a present that far outweighs even the most idyllic vacation.

May His love, peace and joy fill you through and through!
Deborah

Praise the LORD, My Soul

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Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5
Psalm 103:1-5 is a wonderful model of true worship. Some-times we get sidetracked in worship by the music style, structure, leaders or instruments and miss the point. Everything is irrelevant if we neglect to set aside the time to honor the Lord. The model given us in Psalm 103 is more than weak lip ser-vice. The Lord is not concerned with how great you sing or even if you know the song, but if you are pouring out your praise to Him and blessing Him with all your inmost being. Are you recounting all His blessings over you? Do you remember where you were before you knew Him? Are you recalling the love and compassion He has for you and how He has given you so many desires of your heart? It pleases the Lord to give us good things and only He can truly renew our youth.

This summer we are experiencing some different worship styles on Sunday morning. Whatever style is presented, I en-courage you to honor the Lord in that moment. Whether you are singing, praying, reflecting, or reading scripture, don’t get sidetracked by distracting thoughts. The worship service is our very best effort to steer you into an encounter with the Lord, but only YOU can praise the Lord with all of your inmost being.

It is an honor to serve with so many true worshippers at RBC and I greatly appreciate all of you who are involved in leading worship and all of you who not only model heartfelt worship in our services, but also in your daily lives.

Gratefully,
Deborah

Sing to the King

Thank you for your enthusiastic worship Sunday morning!
You poured out your hearts declaring God’s greatness in the worship songs and hymns, the choir sang perhaps their most powerful anthem ever in the medley, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” and Beth Chitwood played the skillful and passionate, “The Majesty and Glory of Your Name.”

It was exciting hearing you sing one of the new praise songs we introduced in “The Story” sermon series: “Sing to the King.” Kori Esco originally sang it beautifully as a solo before
we learned it as a congregation, and on Sunday you sang with confidence as we declared the victorious text,
Sing to the king who is coming to reign
Glory to Jesus the lamb that was slain
Life and salvation his empire shall bring
and joy to the nations when Jesus is king
Come let us sing a song
a song declaring we belong to Jesus
He is all we need
Lift up a heart of praise
sing now with voices raised to Jesus
Sing to the king.
For his returning
we watch and we pray
we will be ready the dawn of that day
and we'll join in singing with all the redeemed
Cause Satan is vanquished and Jesus is
king! (CCLI#1927526)

I truly hope that these words encourage you throughout the week. Sing of God’s victory as you recall Jonathan’s message, “Never Give Up!” We will be transitioning into summer praise teams on June 7th. If I have not already contacted you and you are interested in being involved, please see me.

Because of His great power,
Deborah

The Choir Story

There once was an awesome choir who had faithful members who came together to sing their hearts out every Wednesday evening from 7:00-8:15. When they gathered together to sing, something marvelous would happen. As the notes emerged from their throats the angels would catch these random notes and stack them together into beautiful harmony.

Occasionally there were notes that were unsuitable to be stacked into the celestial chord. These were silenced, embellished with golden timbres, and refitted into their proper place. They were experts at making the average, ordinary, volunteer choir singer sound like a professional.

The choir’s zealous director would often tax the angels’ skills by selecting what turned out to be overly-challenging music for the singers, but eventually the director grew in perception and the choir grew in their musical ability so that the angels did not have to wear themselves out in miracle-making. As the years passed, the RBC Sanctuary Choir angel position became one of the most sought after posts. The gold the choir produced in their loving hearts for one another and to the Lord outshone that of the angels. They found themselves mesmerized and inspired by the joy and beauty of these humble singers.

Come experience YOUR story in this story, Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19). Choir practice begins this Wednesday, August 20.  No experience necessary.

 We can’t wait to see you there!

 Deborah