Fond memories of serving Christian Life Church in Milton, Florida from 2002 to 2005. We had a young family way back then and I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Middle School ministry, Discipleship Training (as a trainee) and some elementary school-aged ministry (Sunday morning worship and Vacation Bible School). Thanks to the Air Force we continued to move and serve at other churches, so this post is all about remembering a few highlights during Zoë’s assignment to Hurlburt Field, Florida (at this point I’m retired and working as a software consultant).
Here’s a link to the page that captures Discipleship Training memory verse songs and VBS 2004.
Discipleship Training, 2003
The lack of quality of the discipleship training songs is a bit distracting. These weekly renditions were recorded on my Boss 16-track hard disk recorder in our dining room. I had very few tools back in those days…that’s my excuse anyway. The truth is, these little songs helped us memorize scripture. I had a cassette duplicator and made a dozen copies of each to pass out to our training cohort. When You Pray (song #2), based on Matthew 6:6 and Don’t Be Anxious (song #8) based onPhilippians 4:6-8, are still my favorites. The recordings leave much to be desired (i.e., they suck), sorry about that, but the verses still remind me of important scripture that is buried deep in my heart (song #3), I Seek YouPsalm 119:10-11. At the time, I dutifully memorized2 Peter 3:18 (song #1) and recorded the commercial-like song. Since then I’ve studied Peter quite a bit more and have come to know and respect this Apostle. I still pray for the ability to do as he requires in 1 Peter 3:15-16. Song #5 is pretty weird, but I have to say, I remember 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and the important lesson these few verse contain. Songs #4 and #6 are difficult to listen to, yet they serve as a reminder that these tunes were there to serve a purpose: help memorize scripture. That leaves song #7, Temptation, based on 1 Corinthians 10:13. Here Paul is teaching his fledgling church in Corinth a lesson that we struggle with today and I’m glad this verse repeats itself in the back of my head,
No temptation has ever seized you except what is common to man,
God is faithful He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can stand.
But when you are tempted, he will always provide a way out
So that you can stand up, you can stand up to it.
Once again, the recording is sketchy (at best), but it still rings in my head when temptation arises — that was the point of these songs. They were there to remind us of important scripture passages. Surprisingly, no record label has tracked me down for these! 🙂
Vacation Bible School, 2004
I still remember approaching Pastor Johnny Williams about writing the music for VBS. This was a big deal for Christian Life Church. They had a very positive reputation for high quality VBS that attracted well over 300 children from the area, pretty cool for Milton, Florida. We were there for VBS 2003 and I just thought this was something I could do. There are several things I remember about this experience, but the most significant include Katrina’s (second daughter) sign language adaptations of the lyrics and subsequent teaching these songs and motions to the children. She did a fabulous job and ended up leading worship for KidZone in Virginia on our next assignment.
Another fun memory was the final recordings of the songs. I wanted to have children’s voices on the recording, so the “choir” you hear on the recordings are actually just the children from three families (more than a dozen enthusiastic voices). Yes, I know some of the timing is a bit off, but it’s real and it was really a blast putting this together. I wish I had a recording of 350 children singing and signing these songs on that final VBS night. They filled the stage and really did a great job. So much fun!
The theme for VBS was Extreme JC, so we climbed, swam and ran fast to this energetic song to get them started. We taught them the fruits of the spirit in Fruity Blues (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and goodness, faithfulness, thankfulness and self control) based on Galatians 5:22-23. Yes, I still remember these in order. It Will Be Done was was one of the key teachings for this VBS and though this is a kid’s song, it is a good reminder that we can do all things with God, it’s our choice to get on His team! Because You Say So I Will is so much nicer than this recording indicates. Maria Pool did a fabulous job of singing this (along with her 6 children!) and Kelly Toole’s flute was perfect. I remember Kelly coming over to our house to record it. She was probably 17 or 18 at the time (???). When I answered the door she asked if anyone else was home because she was not allowed to enter a man’s house alone. Such great parents! Yes, our girls were all there, but I still remember how she honor a very reasonable rule that was in place to protect everyone. Thanks Kelly! She listened to my keyboard rendition of the flute part and we recorded it completely with very few takes. I hope she’s still playing. When I initially thought about this song, I intended it to be a rock-style song, but this turned out to be a very contemplative style song. I still remember the children sitting on stage as they sang this song–they really brought it home.
Special thanks to Pastor Bailey Dickerson (rocking piano), Pastor Johnny Williams (drums) and Nathan Black (lead guitar) for their support in recording these tracks. And thanks to Maria Pool (lead vocals) and Kelly Toole (flute) on Because You Say So I Will.
Thanks for the Memories
I’m not entirely sure why I’m writing this post this morning, but I am very thankful for the great memories at Christian Life Church. Thanks Pastor Doug Holmes for your music and solid Bible teaching. Thanks to the many friends we made during our short assignment and time at CLC. God Bless.