He Has Something To Ask
John Alan Turner had another great message tonight. His gift is well-used in speaking to teenagers (and to me!). I spent a good bit of time with him this afternoon, and one thing about JATurner... that man can ask some questions. He doesn't ask questions like I do. "How are ya?" "What's up?" "How are you feeling?" ... No... nothing so nebulous as that. He asks piercing questions that relate to the kind of person you are. He asks questions that require a moment of thought and that zone in on the key issues of life. His genuine curiosity is only matched by his accurate insight. I have only known a few people in my life who had the ability to see clearly through the muddy issue to the simple (and often painful) truth underneath it all. I like that about John Alan Turner. I look forward to his message tomorrow night at the Orange Grove church in Gulfport. ***************** Another man has something to ask as well. TCS asked some questions about "Praising in the Park". I'll do my best to answer them! Thanks for asking. I'm probably answering with too much info ... but take it for what it is! TCS: How did it start? JD: One of our deacons plays lead guitar in a band called "The Rochelle Harper Band". Rochelle started attending our church some months ago and began writing songs with a spiritual message. This became her passion and for several months now she has written several spiritual songs. The Rochelle Harper Band still played in clubs and other events along the Coast, but her shows took a spiritual turn. Making the decision to focus on the spiritual side of her craft, the Rochelle Harper Band evolved into Band of Faith. Rochelle Harper now performs in the band that bears her name, Band of Faith, and as "Sista Jazz" (20s Jazz standards). Rochelle is very oriented toward peace and love and unity, so she came up with the idea of all of the Christian musicians in the area performing for free as a testimony to the community and also as a means of encouragement and support. They started "Praising in the Park" as an avenue toward having a monthly free Christian festival. Each one would be hosted by a church, in order to help accomodate the vision of recognizing the one thing that all Christians can agree upon: the praise and worship of God. The third PITP will be July 30th at Beach Park in Pascagoula. TCS: Do you get grief from your congregation? JD: Ok, I'll be frank here. No one has said anything against "Praising in the Park" at this point. One person has suggested that perhaps the "Central Church of Christ" as an entity should not be the host ... but that I could be the host. Still, we probably had 30 of our members come out to the park the first time. Since then the event has grown and probably the comfort level will lessen a bit with the introduction of other bands, and our inability to filter everything they say. HOwever, we are not there to embrace each other's beliefs... just each other. In addition, because of some division we experienced five years ago, some of those who likely would have objected are no longer a part of Central. The answer to your question, currently, is NO. TCS: Has it been helpful? What relationships / in what ways has God been working thru it? JD: I think it has been very helpful on several fronts. *Use of talents. Since we are a Church of Christ, Rochelle Harper does not have the opportunity to use her musical talents when we are gathered for worship. So, it does give Rochelle Harper and Gary Boswell (the aforementioned deacon) opportunities to use their talents to the glory of God in ways they have not been able to do before. Some of our teens have served as backup singers as well, giving them some good experience. *It has garnered some positive press in the local papers and radio coverage. Since it is a free event with no corporate sponsors, these outlets feel free to promote the event with no conflict of interest. *It has given us opportunity to meet and talk with strangers in the public parks, rather than just issue scattered advertisements trying to get them to come to church. We want to move into the marketplace. *It has created something interesting at church that gives us a feeling of involvement and outreach. *It is a God-thing. We have no idea what He is going to do, whom he is going to bring together, and what opportunities will present themselves through this gift to our community. *Finally, all of us who are involved in the event are convicted that it is the beginning of a wave of praise that will grow into a culture-shaper, drawing more people to consider a new life in Christ. It has not been a problem-free enterprise, but it has been a great blessing. It is ever evolving. Rochelle Harper is a strong woman with firm principles and values. I personally just can't wait to see what God has in mind. I'll close with some statements from Rochelle: Matt 10:8b, "you received without paying, give without pay". This passage is the motto for Praising in the Park. This is a free Christian Celebration to bring fellowship regardless of denomination and to praise God .... There is music and ministering, and fellow Christians, Bibles available, the Holy Spirit and YOU! ...Let's join together as Christians and raise up our Lord, Jesus Christ as high as we can with our hands holding our neighbor's and our voices in unison as we praise God together. Bring a picnic, a blanket and your voice and join fellow Chrisitans at Praising in the Park. It's a Backyard Mission! Your backyard.