Archive for the 'Music Notes' Category
After far too long without time for one-on-one fellowship, we were delighted to have the Wikman family at our house for Memorial Day! What a blessing to spend time together again — the sweetness of the bond we share in Christ with other believers is truly a foretaste of the glory that awaits us in Heaven.
Games… Corn Toss, especially, was one of the weekend favorites.
A sweet time singing hymns and reading the Word together on the porch.
Other moments… including trampoline time with the moms!
We love you, Wilkman family, and praise the LORD for your friendship. Looking forward to the next visit!
Today (April 10th) marks the 100th day of this year! Here are the words of a beautiful hymn, as well as some Scripture passages, that the LORD has used to bless and encourage my heart recently; I pray they will be used thus in your lives as well.
All the Way
Fanny J. Crosby
All the way my Savior leads me – what have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who through life has been my Guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort, here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me – cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial, feeds me with the living bread.
Though my weary steps may falter, and my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before, lo! A spring of joy I see.
All the way my Savior leads me – oh the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised in my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal, wings it’s flight to realms of day,
This my song through endless ages: Jesus led me all the way.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Psalm 32:8
What a blessing it was to journey northward a few weeks ago to take part in the Gen2 Conference! Hosted by Generations with Vision (taking place at the Creation Museum), this conference focused on the millennial generation and why a large percentage of it is walking away from the faith.
Sweet fellowship with many dear friends —
The sessions, presented by Kevin Swanson, Daniel Craig, Ken Ham, Rick Boyer, Norm Wakefield, Brian Ray, Woody Robertson, Israel Wayne, and many others, left us challenged and encouraged. May we each, in the coming days, not only reject the apostasy that is sweeping our culture, but continue pressing onward in the strength of the LORD, seeking His grace, and pursuing lives of godliness for His glory and the expansion of His Kingdom.
An added joy was that Matthew & Amanda were able to join us for the weekend! We treasured the opportunity to minister in song a couple of times throughout the conference, and having them there to participate with us again blessed us immensely.
Other snapshots —
Special thanks to Sarah Bryant for the use of her photos!
The trusting heart to Jesus clings,
Nor any ill forebodes,
But at the cross of Calv’ry, sings,
Praise God for lifted loads!
Singing I go along life’s road,
Praising the Lord, Praising the Lord,
Singing I go along life’s road,
For Jesus has lifted my load.
The passing days bring many cares,
“Fear not,” I hear Him say,
And when my fears are turned to prayers,
The burdens slip away.
He tells me of my Father’s love,
And never slumb’ring eye,
My everlasting King above
Will all my needs supply.
When to the throne of grace I flee,
I find His promise true,
The mighty arms upholding me
Will bear my burdens too.
Lyrics by Eliza E. Hewitt
For the past several months, I have been dealing with some health issues. It is physically hard at times, and often I have wondered why God put these problems into my life. Then, as I read God’s “love letter” to me, I was reminded that these are not problems, but plans that He has for me. “God meant it unto [me for] good…” Then He brought back to memory 2 Corinthians 12:9 which says, “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Every day, I have a decision to make. Will I become discouraged and downhearted because of things that are really my Father’s perfect plan for me, or will I rejoice that He has chosen me to fulfill whatever purpose that He has in mind? “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
I am not capable of bearing this alone. Thus God sent me another note telling me to cast my burdens on Him and He will sustain me (Psalm 55:22). What a joy it is to give the King of all, my little burden, knowing that he will take care of me!
Now I can sing with all my heart “Jesus has lifted my load” for “the mighty arms upholding me will bear my burdens too!”
Dad found the following message (given by Charles Spurgeon in 1875) a few weeks before the Christmas season this year, and shared it with us at dinner one evening. Realizing that it would correspond nicely with the music program we were planning to present in several churches throughout the holidays, we added it to the plan. (As a result, we had the privilege of hearing him read it numerous times.) Throughout the days since then, the LORD has used these thoughts to encourage and bless me repeatedly.
God With Us
“They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matthew 1:23
If Jesus Christ be “God with us,” let us come to God without any question or hesitancy. Whoever you may be, you need no priest or intercessor to introduce you to God, for God has introduced Himself to you.
Are you children? Then come to God in the child Jesus, Who slept in Bethlehem’s manger. Oh, ye grey heads, ye need not keep back, but like Simeon come and take Him in your arms, and say, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation” (Luke 2:29)… Oh man, God comes to you as one like yourself. Do not be afraid to come to the gentle Jesus. Do not imagine that you need to be prepared for an audience with Him, or that you [lack] the intercession of a saint or the intervention of priest or minister. Anyone could have come to the babe in Bethlehem. The horned oxen, I think, ate of the hay on which He slept and feared not. Jesus is the friend of each one of us, sinful and unworthy though we be. You, poor ones, you need not fear to come, for, see, in a stable He is born, and in a manger He is cradled. You have not worse accommodation than His; you are not poorer than He is. Come and welcome to the poor man’s Prince, to the peasants’ Savior. Stay not back through fear of your unfitness; the shepherds came to Him in all their dishabille. I read not that they tarried to put on their best garments; but in the clothes in which they wrapped themselves that cold midnight, they hastened just as they were to the young child’s presence. God looks not a garments, but at hearts, and accepts men when they come to Him with willing spirits, whether they are rich or poor. Come, then! Come, and welcome, for God indeed is “God with us”…
Now, my brethren, to you is the last word: let us be with God since God is with us. I give you for a watchword through the year to come: “Emmanuel, God with us.” You, the saints redeemed by blood, have a right to this in its fullest sense, drink into it and be filled with courage. Do not say, “We can do nothing.” Who are ye that can do nothing? God is with you. Do not say, “The church is feeble and fallen upon evil times” – nay, “God is with us!” Whatever is possible or whatever is impossible, Christians can do at God’s command, for God is with us. Do you not see that the word, “God with us,” puts impossibility out of all existence? Hearts that never could else be broken will be broken if God be with us. Errors that never else could be [proven false] can be overthrown by “God with us.” Things impossible with men are possible with God… Let us live with it upon our hearts: “The best of all, is God with us.”
There is a new year ahead. The days will, undoubtedly, hold uncertainty, pain, joy, difficulty, triumph, and blessing. May we walk forward with confidence in our loving Emmanuel… remembering that God is with us.
What a great joy it was to attend the 2014 Family Economics & Mentorship Conference in Hampton, VA, this past weekend! How can one summarize, in a short post, several days packed to bursting with encouragement, solid, Scriptural teaching, and precious fellowship?! Perhaps the best way to attempt this feat would be to merely touch on the highlights of the event.
Special thanks to Matthew for loaning his darling wife and baby to us for the week while he returned home for work… having Amanda back as an active part of the Neely Team was such a joy! Matthew joined us for the last day of the conference, and what a blessing it was to be all together again.
Each session, presented by Christ-centered, dynamic speakers such as Kevin Swanson, Eric Weir, Steve Riddell, Daniel Craig, Gregg Harris, Anne Miller, and Rick & Marilyn Boyer – was spiritually refreshing and highly practical. Topics included entrepreneurship, sales, godly character, marketing, mentorship, family life, and communication. We all left inspired, convicted, challenged… and ready to continue pressing onward in our various ministries, businesses, and family lives for the glory of our Savior and the advancement of His kingdom.
What an honor it was to be able to minister through music during the conference! Special thanks to David Craig for all of his work in organizing this. His forethought and consideration allowed everything to run smoothly, and left us feeling welcomed and cared for. The music of the Craig and Roche gentlemen was also an incredible blessing to us.
Participating in the vendor hall a perfect opportunity to get to know many precious families. The sweetness of the fellowship was a reminder of the eternity that awaits those who have trusted Christ – to live for endless ages sharing the common bond of His love will be unspeakably glorious! This weekend was truly a foretaste of that bliss. Friday evening, the conference team graciously hosted a pizza party for all of the attendees, allowing for even more fellowship to take place (imagine seeing a total of about 110 Domino’s pizzas piled on serving tables — quite a delicious sight! ).
And, last but certainly not least, the staff at the Holiday Inn Express (where many of the conference attendees resided) also largely contributed to the joys of the weekend. Professional, accommodating, kind, and incredibly friendly, they were used of the LORD to bless many of us.
A final summary… We praise the Lord for His merciful kindness so clearly manifested this weekend on our behalf, and look forward to returning home to apply what we have heard and learned. May He remain preeminent in all of our endeavors.
A few weekends ago, the Lord gave Jessica and me the incredible (and delightful) opportunity to participate with viola and violin in the accompanying orchestra for the Calvary Quartet 20th Anniversary concerts. Under the skilled direction of Dr. Tim Fisher, our humble and hilarious conductor, and surrounded by the hospitable kindness of the Academy of Arts staff (the concerts were held in the Logos Theatre at the Academy’s campus), we thoroughly enjoyed and greatly benefitted from these events. We pray they brought much glory to our Savior and were an encouragement to the hundreds of people that attended over the course of the two evenings.
How grateful we are to have had this experience, as well as for our dear family’s support through the process.
Also, special thanks is due to the Kendall family, who graciously hosted our entire Team for two weekends – plus an extra day for us older ones – so that we could attend the rehearsals and then have a “home base” for the concert days.
A special ladies afternoon on the front porch in the lovely fall weather (complete with cappuccino, zinnias, sweet fellowship, and tons of laughter):
“O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.” Psalm 117
What a joy it was to spend some time getting to know the Vaughn family recently! After “officially” meeting Dr. Vaughn and his sweet team at a harp recital this past spring, a broken arm caused us to contact him again for medical advice. So, following our appointment at his office two weekends ago, we accepted their gracious invitation to join them at their lake house for a couple days. The time together talking about things of the Lord, laughing, enjoying delicious meals, and, of course, spending time on and in the water… was truly delightful. We came home physically and spiritually rejuvenated.
With water-play being the main activity, we didn’t come home with multitudinous files of pictures, but here are a few for your enjoyment.
Thank you, Vaughn family, for allowing the love and light of Christ to flow freely through you. We look forward to future times of fellowship together.
Until then, may the rich blessings of the Lord rest upon you, strengthening your hands to labor for His glory and encouraging your hearts through His Word.
What a joy it was, last month, to celebrate Victoria’s graduation from high school! Such a precious time to be with loved ones — particularly Matthew, Amanda, and our precious little niece, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins — and rejoice in the goodness and grace of the Lord in allowing her to reach this milestone in her life.
The plan for the day was to host, at our home, a dinner and music recital – as has been done for the past three Neely Team graduates. However, the Lord had other plans. With the forecast calling for rain all day on Saturday, two days before we realized that something had to be done! In His mercy, the Lord worked it out that the local church we use for hosting FEW Conferences, and where Matthew and Amanda were married, was available for that day. In a joyous scurry of activity, we prepared as much a possible on Thursday evening for the change. Friday, we left early and were away all day in Greenville, SC, for our cousin Austin’s graduation from Bob Jones University, arriving back home around midnight. Early Saturday morning we headed over to the church to get everything set up and ready… and, as He always does, the Lord worked everything out in good time, providing strength and creativity to accomplish each task.
The evening went well. One of the great blessings of the day was the presence of the Elliott family – Victoria’s beloved harp teacher and her parents – who graciously drove up from Greenville, bringing along the pedal harp, to assist in the recital. We pray that it was both an encouragement to the many dear believers present, as well as brilliant testimony for our Savior to the unbelievers who attended. Below are some pictures for your enjoyment:
Enjoying that precious bundle of blessing and joy (oh, how we miss her!):
Four generations! To God be praise.
Congratulations, dear sister, on your entrance into this new phase of life. We love you dearly and praise the Lord for you! May your eyes continue to be upon Him alone as you move forward into the exciting future He has in store for you.
And, by the way, welcome to the Alumni Association of Sheridan Hills Christian School…