Tates Creek Christian Church

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Archive for the tag “Don Seevers”

In Everything Give Thanks

In this season of focusing on thanks, we can reflect back on being part of a church or family group where we sat in a circle and told the others about those for whom we were thankful.  Or perhaps there were other items of thanksgiving shared such as a job, an item or an honor we had received, etc.  Many times we heard a lot of repetition as we went around the circle.  We certainly do not want to doubt the sincerity of those who participated, but I find that those who have faced adversity in their lives seem to have a better and deeper understanding of true thanksgiving.  We hear their testimonies of how God brought them through these adversities and we are moved to a deeper level of thanks for what we have and what God has done for us through His Son.

There are two people in Scripture that stand out to me as those expressing thanks through extreme adversity.  In the Old Testament, one who stands out is Job.  Most of us cannot even begin to imagine his life.  He is a good and prosperous man who loses everything that we all hold dear.  These losses include his offspring, his health and his property.  God allowed Satan to take these things from him and yet Job said these famous words:  “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.  The Lord giveth and the Lord has taken away;  may the name of the Lord be praised.”  Job 1:21  Later, God allowed Satan to cover Job’s body with painful sores from head to feet.  His wife wanted him to curse God and die!  His closest friends dialogued with him and yet Job preached back at them.  Read through all 42 chapters and you will see that God blessed Job again by doubling all he had enjoyed before his time of testing.  Job is an outstanding example of thankfulness.   In the New Testament, I think of the Apostle Paul.  Much of the New Testament was written as divinely inspired from God through the pen of Paul.  He wrote many of those letters from prison where he was beaten and suffered in chains for his faith and testimony.  Yet, Paul continued to praise God and share the Gospel with the churches in different cities where he had planted congregations.  After Paul had persecuted Christians, he went through a dramatic conversion and completely turned his life around to win thousands of people to Christ.  Paul, like many of the Old Testaments prophets, was not always popular.

He spoke boldly the message of the Cross to those who were his enemies.  He also had his mysterious “thorn in the flesh.”  Yet, in many of his epistles (letters) Paul offered genuine
thanksgiving to God.  You can read his prayers of thanksgiving throughout his letters, including Philippians 1:3-5.

And today, I think of those who are suffering for their faith around the world.  So far, we have it pretty easy in the United States as Christians.  Then there are those who are suffering physically and especially those who are ravaged from cancer.  In my own family, my brother Mark, and his wife Cheri, are both dealing with cancer.  Here in our church family, we have many suffering from disease and especially cancer.  One of my good friends at Tates Creek was struck by cancer earlier this year at age 29.  I have witnessed his testimony of appreciation and thanksgiving for those who have ministered to him through his posts on Facebook.

Now, remember the group where we sat in a circle?  If we were to do that today, I would hope that we would be able to sincerely express our thanks in a deeper way.  Yes, it is very difficult to be thankful through the hard times.  But the hard times can make us stronger and more thankful for the important things.  This song, from the pen of Lanny Wolfe, is a great reminder to us.

In Everything Give Thanks

In everything give Him the thanks, all the thanks. In the good times, praise His name, in the bad times do the same; In everything give the King of kings all the thanks! With all the good things that had come his way, It’s no wonder you could hear Job say: ‘The Lord giveth and He taketh away, I’ll give Him thanks;’ But when the tables were all turned around, And Job’s world came crashing down, His faith in God caused Job to say, ‘I’ll still give Him thanks!’ When troubles come, and there’s no one around, Satan tries to tell me that God’s let me down; Through every dark hour the best thing I’ve found Is to give my God thanks; For He has never failed me yet, so why should I start now to worry or fret? In everything I won’t ever forget to give God thanks!
Don Seevers, Worship Minister

Focus! Focus!

We have all heard this imperative given by our parents or a teacher.  As students, we are often distracted from keeping our focus on matters of importance by outside distractions in the classroom.  Not only do school students struggle with focus, but adults do as well.  I really like my iPhone 7, but I realize that I must keep attention focused on what is important at the time.  I confess that it is easy to become distracted when one or more chimes or sounds are emitted from the phone tempting me to look at it.  After all, studies show that most of use our phones more for other things than talking to someone!  We have work email, Facebook, and text messages, other apps, etc.  I also must say how aggravated I become when I am in conversation with someone and they make the phone their priority.  I understand that emergencies occur, but if we are honest, most of those “phone chimes” can wait.     Throughout my 40+ years of leading music and worship ministry, I have been asked on many occasions, “how do you keep your focus and still worship when leading from the platform?”  Well, I will be honest and tell you that it takes a lot of work!  On many Sundays, it is not easy especially when something goes wrong with the sound system, a CD won’t play, a microphone won’t work, a soloist is ill or people come to me with lots of questions and sometime concerns that probably could wait until after the service.  It does take work to worship!  It takes lots of work and not only for me, but for all of us.  As I move through the different responsibilities of being a leader in worship, I still must also worship.  It can be done and I can still enjoy worship.     I mention these two examples as a reminder that as Christians and as a Church, it is easy for us to be distracted from what should be our main focus.  We must focus on the lost!  Any church that forgets that will soon die!  We must focus on serving Christ and others!  A church that focuses on itself will also soon die.  We must focus on study as we open the Word and see what God has to say to us.   A church that focuses on other things other than the Word will die at some point.  Finally, we must focus on the example of Jesus Christ.  Some churches are distracted with doing good things in the community and around the world but forget to keep the focus on Christ.  May we all learn to focus AND focus on the right things.  Focus!  Focus!

~ Don Seevers, Worship Minister

Worship Ministry

We ended last season with great momentum in the Worship Ministry and we saw over 40 participate in our Summer Choir.  Now, as we gear up for the fall and Christmas seasons, please allow me to share  opportunities for involvement.  With several younger families attending our traditional service, we welcome younger singers and instrumentalists to become a part of our Worship ministry options.  We offer child care and children’s programming on Wednesday evening and Sunday morning, so you can participate knowing that they have wonderful care.

The Worship Choir is the most visible part of our ministry.  This choir has approximately 45 singers involved on a regular basis.  We provide choral music in our 9:30 AM service on Sundays throughout the year.  The choir sings a wide variety of music and also presents concerts for special seasons of the year.  We have participating singers that range in age from early 20’s to mid-80’s.  We would love to have you join this wonderful fellowship if you can sing a part and can commit to this important ministry of leading in worship.  We rehearse on Wednesdays at 6:30 PM from September through June.

T3CPO is the name of our church orchestra.  This instrumental  ensemble started in 2004.  We play monthly in the 9:30 AM service and usually accompany the Worship Choir in their special concerts.  With some of our members going away to college, we especially need the following instrumentalists to join us:  trombone, french horn or alto sax, trumpet, and clarinet.  We rehearse on Monday evenings at 6 PM throughout the academic year.

Our hand bell choir is named Rejoicing Ringers.  They ring monthly in the 9:30 AM service.  We are always looking for additional ringers and are in need of two new people to join the group this year.  The hand bell choir rehearses on Sundays at 4 PM.

We appreciate those who help with our Sound/ Video ministry in our Sunday morning services and special events (concerts).  We are always hoping to add more to the team.

If you are interested in any of these ministries, please contact me and I will direct you to those leading.

~ Don Seevers, Worship Minister     don@tatescreek.org

So Blessed

Last month we focused on subtracting “distractions” that keep us from being the servant of Christ we need to be. This month, we are looking at good ways to fill the gap provided by removing the items that distract us. We can all think of “things” that would be good to add, but today I am thinking about the people who are blessings.
When we look at the Beatitudes in Matthew 5, we find descriptions of people who need Christ. We should fall into at least one of those categories. As I look at the people described, I must focus on my interaction with each of these people described. Let’s take a look at each one:
Verse 3—How can I be an encourager to those who are “poor in spirit” or those who are discouraged?
Verse 4—When someone passes away, will I have a shoulder for “those who mourn” to lean on and know that sometimes I don’t have to say anything, but just be there.
Verse 5—We should encourage the “meek” or those who are enduringly patient. There are other definitions for this word, but we all probably need a little more “meekness”.
Verse 6—Wow! We need to hang around those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness”. Learn from them.
Verse 7—How hard it is to show “mercy”! How kind are we to people, even when it is difficult to love them?
Verse 8—Purity is so difficult in this world with so many polluted hearts. Pray for purity and holiness.
Verse 9—”Peacemakers”. We certainly need these people in our world and in our churches. Enough said.
Verse 10—Most of us do not know what it means to be “persecuted”. Many Christians outside of our country know this personally. We need to pray for Christians outside our borders and those who minister to them.
Verse 11—This verse hits the remaining areas: those who “insult” us, those who “persecute” us and those who “lie” about us. Do you feel blessed to know these people? This is a tough one.
Verse 12—REJOICE! For great is our reward.

~ Don Seevers

Minus 1…Minus 2…Minus 3

Even though I have had access to a calculator for many decades now, I still go through the discipline of subtracting amounts in my checkbook by using math skills taught to me in grade school. I always subtract (and add) amounts, THEN I check them with my calculator. Rarely is there a mistake and I guess I hope that by continuing to do this simple exercise, I will keep my mind a bit sharper as the senior years approach.
That is fairly easy for most of us, but subtracting things that distract us from the important things in our lives seems a lot more difficult. If we are honest, we have added more and more into our schedules throughout life and we seem overwhelmed. Do you remember the statement that computers would make our lives a lot simpler when we heard that “line” back in the 1970’s and 1980’s? Haha! That didn’t happen, did it? We are just able to do more and more things, but the computers really didn’t make our lives much easier. (I say that as I compose this article on my personal computer in my office.) Am I grateful for a computer? You bet! Our phones are computers now, but we just spend more and more time on them.
So what do we subtract when we feel overworked and overwhelmed? I cannot answer that for you, but I can guarantee you that there are things we feel are necessary that could be removed and we would be just fine, perhaps even better than we are right now. Perhaps we are involved in too many work activities. Or it may be too many commitments in the community. It may even be too many things at church!
Whatever that may be for me and for you, we need to be honest with ourselves and make hard decisions that will free us up for a better and deeper relationship with God, His Son, our family, and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We all have gifts and sometimes we find we are too busy to use the gifts given to us for God’s glory. Wow! That is really sad…too busy to enjoy using what God has given to us.
One more thing: I hear over and over again about people who have vacation that they do not use. They feel guilty about using it because there is so much to be done at work. I was taught many years ago that stepping away to relax and refresh actually makes me a better and healthier worker. I believe that Scripture teaches us that we need time to refresh. Just do it!

~ Don Seevers

Momentum…Rebuilding the Wall

The book of Nehemiah is one of my favorite Old Testament books.  Most of the 13 chapters of this book are told in a first person format as Nehemiah reflects back on this wonderful episode demonstrating the power of God when His people depended and trusted Him.

I almost hesitate to say anything about building or rebuilding a wall given our present political environment, but this story is too good to ignore.  This is a story of a man of God with a desire to rebuild the wall and gates surrounding the city of Jerusalem and his mission to give his life to do so.  Against many odds, the people rallied around Nehemiah to complete this monumental task in just 52 days!  This angered Nehemiah’s enemies even more.  Please don’t name your children Sanballat or Tobiah!  These are just two of the jealous men who worked against the workers led by Nehemiah.  There were others as well and the concerns were so great that half of the workers continued rebuilding the city walls while the other half took up arms to protect the workers.  People got behind this cause.  They had momentum.

Have you ever been a part of a work that grew due to momentum?  I have.  The church I served from 1993 through mid-2001 was such a church.  In 1993, the church averaged between 500 & 600 in attendance.  Five years later, the church averaged around 1,850—1,900 with some Sundays exceeding 2,100!  Against the odds of not having enough parking, parking on grass lots during the rainy season, parking across the highway (not a quiet street!) and dodging cars going 55 or 60 mph, we grew.  Against the odds of being understaffed, not having enough classroom space, and having to add more services because of parking problems, we grew.  Our building seated 1,100!  We could seat our congregation in 2 services, but had to add more services so people could find a parking spot.  In spite of a minister struggling with a drug addiction problem, we grew.  Why?  We gained momentum and those attending were willing to look beyond these problems and see that God was in the midst of this work.  People invited their friends and colleagues to come and be a part of this work that God was blessing.  Was it perfect?  Certainly not!  The church has now relocated and averages over 2,800 on Sundays!  Momentum is a valuable tool in God’s work and seeing beyond the “now” and seeing what can be in the “future”.

Don Seevers

Leaving a Legacy for Christ

When I found about this month’s theme for the Current, I was excited since I am so happy with the legacy of my family.  Both of my grandfathers were elders in their local congregations and my parents met at a church youth rally back in the late 1940’s.  This was the beginning of our family legacy.

My parents attended Bible college together and made a lifelong commitment to go into the ministry.  Through the encouragement of our parents, other family members, and faithful church leaders, all four sons graduated from Cincinnati Christian University and then committed to the ministry.  Most of us started in youth ministry then moved to other areas.  Even though there is a lot of musical talent in my three younger brothers, I was the only one to commit to full time worship ministry.  My younger brothers all continue in full time preaching ministry currently serving in Crittenden, Kentucky, Portsmouth, Ohio, and Lancaster, Ohio.

My father retired from full time preaching ministry in 2008 at the age of 78, but then returned to preach in a church near South Shore, Kentucky, at the age of 80.  Even though only part time at the church, they have grown from 11 attendees on his first Sunday (including my parents!) to 70 or more people worshipping in that church in the country.  My dad will turn 87 in July!

We have traveled as far away as Arizona, Florida, Virginia, and northern Indiana to serve and we are grateful to be within a few hours of each other at this point in life.

When I think about the sermons we have all preached, the baptisms we have been privileged to be a part of, and the thousands of lives touched, I am profoundly overwhelmed with that legacy.  I should mention that I have several cousins and an uncle who have also served in full time ministry.

That is our story, but what about yours?  We each have a story to tell as we seek to multiply the ministry of Tates Creek Christian Church or wherever we may serve.  When we look at the Scriptures, we see that the story did not end with the book of Revelation.  The story continues with us.  That is God’s Plan.  I pray that each of you is leaving a legacy for your family that includes the desire to see each family member a part of God’s family.

Don Seevers

Christ Lives Through Me

One of the solos that I have enjoyed singing for many years is the song, Christ Lives Through Me from the musical, A Good Life, by John W. Peterson & Don Wyrtzen.

The song is based on Galatians 2:20a“I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. “ 

Here are the lyrics:

O glorious, wondrous, matchless truth that in the Word I see—

The risen Savior, glorified, lives out His life in me!

I yield to Him and reckon self as crucified and dead,

So that the life of Christ my Lord may be outlived instead.

Christ lives through me! Christ lives through me!

By the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power, Christ lives through me!

This is the path of power divine for service here below —

The only real, effective way to count for God I know.

‘Tis by the Holy Spirit’s power that He abides with me;

And as I to His Lordship yield He gives me victory!

Christ lives through me! Christ lives through me!

By the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power, Christ lives through me!

This song is a powerful testimony of what can happen in our lives as we yield to the will of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit.  We all have so much that has been given to us, but for so many, it seems difficult to make a commitment to use those gifts willingly.  When we do, we become the hands and feet of Christ.  We should live to serve Christ and encourage those who need Him.

We multiply the ministry of Christ and His Church each time we serve others and hopefully that service will prod them to do the same in someone else’s life.  Multiplying our ministry is not always easy, but if we stick with those we are discipling, it can be exciting to see what can happen from our investment in them.

Don Seevers

Upcoming Musical Programs

Composer Mary McDonald Coming to Tates Creek

Please mark your calendars right now to attend our worship services at 9:30 AM and 6:00 PM on April 2.  The outstanding composer and artist, Mary McDonald, will be with us for the entire day.  Mary is one of the premiere choral and keyboard composers in our country.  You have seen her name many times in our bulletin as she has composed or arranged 22 pieces of choral music in our library and our recent Christmas cantata, Jesus! The Advent of the Messiah, was a new work composed by her last year.

In addition to her work as a composer, she is an outstanding pianist, organist, and conductor.  And…Mary is a lot of fun!  She loves to laugh and tell great stories.  More importantly, Mary is a strong Christian and loves to tell the story of Jesus and His love through her musical gifts.  When not traveling, she is involved in a local church music ministry in the Knoxville area.

She will be working with our choir on Saturday, April 1, as we prepare to present her music in our Sunday morning worship and the concert.  Please note the concert will start at 6:00 PM that night!   We have looked forward to Mary’s time with us for a long time and pray that you will do your best to be here and bring friends with you.  We also plan to invite area churches to join us.

Metrognomes Present Their Spring Concert

On May 5, at 7:30 PM, we will host the Metrognomes for their annual spring concert.  Due to a scheduling glitch, they were unable to perform in our recent Christmas Collage, so we hope you will enjoy their spring concert as they present a lot of big band and jazz tunes.  We have developed a special relationship with this excellent band and their director, Doug Oatley, former music teacher at Tates Creek High School.  Doug has recruited many of his outstanding former music students to play in this ensemble.  Our own church member, Willow Cooper has played in the band for several years. Bring a friend and prepare to tap your foot to their rhythms.

Don Seevers

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

I cannot think of Christmas without associating the event of Christ’s birth with music! Whether it is remembering a children’s concert where those participating are wearing scratchy, uncomfortable costumes while struggling to remember their lines, or listening to a familiar Christmas cantata by the local church choir wearing robes, we can all go back in our memories and fondly remember sharing those experiences with our family and church friends. We all offered our best efforts.
Then, as I grew up, I was accompanying the choir on the piano. That was followed by singing in college choirs and presenting more difficult Christmas music to hundreds of people who made the drive to the city of Cincinnati to enjoy the celebrations provided by all the college choirs and instrumentalists. Again, those are memories engrained in my mind and heart. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything.
Now, for the past 40 years, I have been directing choirs and orchestras in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and for the past 12 years in Kentucky. The pleasure of leading those hundreds of singers and instrumentalists fills my heart and soul with joy. In addition, I have enjoyed seeing and listening to countless Christmas concerts presented in churches, orchestra halls, and college campuses as I always try to attend at least two concerts in local venues. Yes, Christmas and music are inseparable for me.
It seems that most people are open to hearing about Jesus and His love through Christmas music! That is why we encourage you to attend our Christmas concerts and more importantly invite friends to join you. You will find most people will join you and they will be blessed. Here are the opportunities for our congregation and friends this year:

Annual Christmas Collage ~ December 11 at 4:00 PM
Including the Worship Choir, T3CPO,
Rejoicing Ringers, Worship Ensemble, and some Special Guests!

Chris-Myth Busters ~ December 18 at 5:30 PM, MMC
Children’s Ministry Presents their Annual Christmas Musical

Christmas Eve Worship ~ December 24 at 4:30 & 6:30 PM
Our services will conclude with communion & candlelight.

Come back on Christmas Day for one worship service at 9:30 AM.

Don Seevers

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