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Sing Out Loud!

When One Purpose went to Moldova last fall we had the amazing privilege of meeting several of Crossover’s church planters and their wives from Central Asia.  They were at Crossover Moldova’s Missionary Training Center (MTC) for some time of refreshment, training, and rest.  We had the opportunity to just sit and visit with the wives a few times before they left.

As we sat and visited with these precious women we learned they were all first generation Christians.  In other words, they were the first of their families to come to know Christ.  I don’t know about you, but I am probably the 10th or so generation.  These precious women and their husbands have accepted a call on their lives to take Jesus to their villages in Central Asia.  These are places where they could, at the very least, be jailed for talking about Jesus.  As they began to tell us about a typical worship service, we just sat and listened with unbelief.  When they meet to worship, they do so in one of their homes sitting on the floor around a table with a prepared meal.  This way, if the authorities come to check them out, they can honestly say they are meeting for a meal.

Here’s the part that really got the three of us.  Whenever they sing for worship, they have to do it one at a time.  In other words, one would take a verse and sing softly and then another and so on.  No wonder while they were at the MTC they worshipped loudly with their voices and instruments.  They laughed and cried and rejoiced.  We would hear them down the hall.  It was wonderful.  Can you imagine not being able to worship as we do here in the United States?  We have so much freedom!

Sadly, I’ve noticed that we take that freedom for granted.  Recently I had some vocal issues that caused me to have to be on vocal rest for a few weeks.  That was so hard for me!  It would even bring me to tears on occasion.  I can’t imagine not being able to worship in that way on a regular basis.  Yet that’s how it is for our brothers and sisters in countries where the name of Jesus cannot be proclaimed freely.

So the next time you have the opportunity to sing in church with your brothers and sisters in Christ, sing out loud.  That’s how it will be when we all join together in heaven.  Listen to this account from John in Revelation 7:9-10:

After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.   And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”

Wives and Mothers First

One of the statements we have each made throughout our 21 years of ministering together has been that our first priority is being wives and mothers first.  While we know God has blessed us with many opportunities to minister together and separately through music and the spoken word, His first ministry for each of us was to our husbands and our children.

Proverbs 31:27 says, “She carefully watches all that goes on in her household…”  That is a verse I believe we have each tried to live by.  God didn’t bless us with husbands and children just for us to leave at home and not care about.  We are each blessed with husbands who support what we do.  They pray for us and support us.  They help us know when to say no to something and remind us, if we need reminding, to slow down.  We couldn’t have lasted these 21 years together as a group if not for the love and support of Jim Beacham, Foster Christy, and Tom Greer.  We are thankful for these precious men and it is our desire that it be said of each of us:  A worthy wife is a crown for her husband… (Proverbs 12:4).

Between us we have seven children:  Jimmy (26), Rachel (23), and Mark (19) Beacham; Ann-Marie (25) and Lolly (22) Christy; and Blake (19) and Jordan (17) Greer.  Add to that the Beachams have a daughter-in-love Lindsey and the Christys will soon add a son-in-love, Tyler.

When we began singing and ministering together, Mark, Blake and Jordan had not even arrived on the scene yet.  What a blessing it has been to watch each of our children grown up  physically and spiritually as each of them came to a personal relationship with Christ.  I would say that for the most part the children think of each of us (who are not their mothers) as “aunts.”  I know we think of them as part of our families.  It has been exciting to watch each of them grow and make their faith their own.  The many times we have joined together to pray for them through the different phases of their lives are countless.  Isaiah 40:11 says, “He will feed his flock like a shepherd.  He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart.  He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.”  We know He has lead us with our young, and now that they are no longer young (nor are we), we are thankful God continues to lead us as we learn how to be mothers to older chilren — not so much parenting, but being there to give wisdom.

I know our challenge to each young wife and mother would be to put your family first after the Lord.  When you have these priorities set, everything else will fall into place.

 

Our Heart

The last song on our second CD, United in Spirit, is “Our Heart.”  Here is how the song starts:

Our heart, our desire, is to see the nations worship.

Our cry, our prayer, is to sing Your praise to the ends of the earth;

That with one mighty voice ev’ry tribe and tongue rejoices.

Our heart, our desire is to see the nations worship You.

(Words by John Dhisum and George Searcy; Copyright 1993 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music/Integrity’s Praise! Music)

All three of us have hearts that are sold out to missions and to seeing God’s word reach the nations.  So, when we recorded our second CD, it was our desire that it would have a mission emphasis.  This was in part because of our love for missions and because of the experience we had on our first overseas mission trip together in 2000 to Brazil.  We had learned four English songs that we had translated into Portuguese.  We learned them phonetically and they were a great resource as we sang in the schools, churches, and on the street corners of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Over the next couple of years as we started praying about recording another CD, we knew we wanted to put a song on it that was in Portugese.  That is how “You Are My Hiding Place” came to be on this CD.  Then as we talked more about it, we felt like the entire CD could be a great tool for God to use to help us share His message to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthews 28:19). 

One Purpose is under the umbrella of Crossover Communications International.  Crossover is a globally integrated church planting movement, which intensely desires to see God glorified among all the peoples of the world.  We have the opportunity every time we are ministering somewhere to share about Crossover and how God is using this movement to train church planters and plant churches all over the world.  We consider it a huge blessing to be part of this movement and love telling groups about the amazing ways God is working “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

In October we will have the opportunity once again to return to Chisinau, Moldova, for the Moldova Ladies Conference.  This conference started five years ago as a joint effort of Joy of Abiding Ministries, Crossover Moldova and Crossover USA.  This will be the third year we have gone as a group.  Two other women will go with us:  Cori and Elena.  Beth will be the main speaker at the conference.  Laura, Cori and I will also teach in the villages and lead workshops at the conference.  Elena will keep us all running smoothly.  One Purpose will also sing at various times throughout the days we are there and for the conference.  This conference and the mini conferences in the villages are a great way to encourage, through God’s word, the wives of our church planters.  These couples are on the front lines of the work to reach the nations for Christ. 

Would you please pray with us as we meet and prepare over these next few months.  Pray that God will guide us as we study His word and prepare the messages He lays on our hearts.  Pray also for the funds to be raised for our airfare and traveling costs.  We each have to raise a little over $1700.  We are trusting God for this provision as we truly believe He has called us to go and share our heart with these women who love and desire to serve Him, too.  To learn more about Crossover, please visit www.crossoverusa.org.

A Bonus

The definition of the word “bonus” is:  A payment or gift added to what is usual or expected, in particular.  Often when we introduce ourselves at a concert or some other ministry event, we will say, “We are best friends who consider it a bonus to minister together.”  You see we truly feel blessed to have a deep and abiding friendship.  One that comes from years of doing life together.  That God would allow us to still be the dearest of friends after all these years — 21 to be exact — is a huge blessing.  That He would also allow us to still be singing and teaching His word together is an added bonus.

Early on we adopted Philippians 2:1-2 as the focal verses of our ministry.  Here’s what the Apostle Paul was saying to the church at Philippi and to future believers:  Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.  When we get together for a rehearsal or meeting, we will often reread these verses so we don’t forget why we do what we do.   We love that God continues to use us after all these years to encourage the Body of Christ through music and teaching His word.  Often, after a concert or conference, we will each comment how God spoke to our own hearts as we sang some of the same songs we’ve been singing for years.  That’s a “bonus” — that God encourages and speaks to our hearts while He uses us to encourage and speak to the hearts of other believers.

Sometimes we wonder how much longer God will continue to use us, then we get another call to sing or teach somewhere.  So, we’ll just keep collecting that “bonus” until He decides we’ve had enough.

 

 

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