Charity, Love, and Sincerity

Today, Voices In Praise had two performances in Nashville. The first, at a local retirement community, was fairly routine. There were the usual hiccups that are inexorably linked to the tour custom of performing extensively at multiple venues in a compact timeframe; instruments were left on the bus, a resident’s hearing aid caused microphone feedback, throats were sore, and a few entrances were missed. The singers and Holly bore it all with their usual grace, but I was beginning to feel frustrated with what I perceived as a void of true musical breakthrough. This is not to be misconstrued as any form of failure on their part. Their work - be it singing, outreach, or engagement - and their co

KARM

We are now just past the midway point of tour. As one of the kids prayed last night, "Please let time slow down a little bit." We've been posting a lot of pictures of our group having fun but I wanted to share a little bit more about the heart of this trip with you. Because of the venues in which we sing, we're often not able to take pictures. When we go to a homeless shelter or children's home, it's critical that we respect their privacy, so cameras are always left on the bus. We have to tell the story in a different way... On Sunday evening, the choir arrived at the Knox Area Rescue Mission (KARM) to complete service work and sing during the chapel time. We have done this before in ma

Joshua 1:9

Every tour gets a name. It's a gentle reminder to VIP about the purpose of Tour. The titles are often based on song lyrics and rooted in scripture. In the days before we departed, I kept thinking and praying about what words might capture the spirit of this particular mission trip. Here's what finally made its way onto the cover: I put this verse, Joshua 1:9, on the back and used it for the devo before we left home: Ever since then, Joshua 1:9 has been popping up everywhere! Here's Laura's account: Hey all! This week is going great. Along with impacting those we’re ministering to, God has clearly given VIP a beautiful sign this week, and it’s only day four! Prior to tour, I attended a weeke

Adventures with Manni (Silly!)

During free time on Sunday afternoon, most of the group walked around downtown Knoxville. When the kids returned, Scott encountered them in the lobby with a new "friend." If you zoom in, Manni has a note on his chest that reads: Hi! My name is Manni. I like to go on adventures. Take me on your next one. The kids are carrying out this mission with great zeal. In the spirit of the Gospel of Matthew, Manni was naked and VIPs clothed him. They gave him a bath. They carried him on a hike, and refused to abandon him in the wilderness, even when I suggested that he might lead a long and happy life at the Ijams Nature Center. No, The kids insisted on toting Manny around, despite my pleas to recon

Day 2: Sunday Report

Hello families and friends of VIP! The choir kicked off our first full day of tour by singing at the 8:30 service, attending Sunday school, and also singing at the 11:00 service at the beautiful Church Street UMC. The space was gorgeous, acoustically beautiful, and the people were so welcoming and kind. Following the 11:00 service the people of Church Street UMC served us lunch. After lunch the choir split up for some free time: some touring the shops of Knoxville, some working out, some in the pool, and others napping. After free time we departed our hotel for the Knox Area Rescue Mission facilities. This ministry provides shelter, showers, food and other basic necessities for living. Befor

Day 2: Creator of All That is Lovely

One of the things that I love most about music ministry is how, in the process of making music and serving God, deep and lasting friendships are built. This morning, we had the opportunity to sing in worship at Church Street United Methodist Church. I have been friends with their youth choir director, Tim Ward, for many years. Our choirs joined forces and sang at the United States Naval Academy Chapel in 2014. It was great to see Tim and some of those singers again! The setting of today's worship allowed us to do some of our more formal pieces. We opened with a piece called "Music of Living" by Dan Forrest. Strong and powerful, it begins with the lines "Giver of life, creator of all t

Choir Tour 2016, Day 1

Tours is off to a great start! The kids enjoyed their time on the bus, playing games, chatting and napping. We also had a brief rehearsal on a piece called "Travelin Thru" (a perfect song for the bus). At lunchtime, Christina led a lovely devotional on hospitality -- a great message before our first gig at Holston Home for Children in Greenville, Tennessee. We had SUCH a great time at Holston Home. The kids there were a fantastic audience and VIP delivered a strong performance. After we were done singing, Holston Home's Pastor - Abel Carrico - offered an awesome message to all of us. Then, we had pizza and enjoyed visiting with the kids. Our groups mingled well and I think they found lots to

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