Tag Archives: music

Another Year Is Dawning

I saw a Twitter post yesterday highlighting the first verse of this 1874 hymn by Frances Ridley Havergal, called Another Year Is Dawning. I’ve never sung it before, but I’ve been captivated! Check it out:

1 Another year is dawning:
Dear Father, let it be,
In working or in waiting,
Another year with Thee;
Another year of progress,
Another year of praise,
Another year of proving
Thy presence all the days.

2 Another year of mercies,
Of faithfulness and grace;
Another year of gladness
In the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning
Upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting,
Of quiet, happy rest.

3 Another year of service,
Of witness for Thy love;
Another year of training
For holier work above.
Another year is dawning;
Dear Father, let it be,
On earth or else in heaven,
Another year for Thee.

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SONG: Wesley’s Prayer

Below, I have inserted a link to a new song based on the traditional Wesley’s Prayer that I have fallen in love with. I heard it for the first time at the Wesleyan Covenant Association’s inaugural event in Chicago in October 2016. Check it out!

Here’s the traditional Wesley’s Prayer as well.

“I am no longer my own, but thine.

Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.

Put me to doing, put me to suffering.

Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,

exalted for thee or brought low for thee.

Let me be full, let me be empty.

Let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

thou art mine, and I am thine.

So be it.

And the covenant which I have made on earth,

let it be ratified in heaven.



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All Possible Means

This was my pastor’s letter for the August newsletter from Clarks Mills UMC.n2014-08a

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

  — 1 Corinthians 9:23 (NIV)

      The Clarks Mills church has a long history of using creative ways to get God’s message of love out to people.  We’ve held Vacation Bible School’s using themes and dressed up as angels, or island natives, or weird animals. Throughout the years, we’ve used flannel boards, stuffed animals, soloists, special music groups, choirs, instruments, dramas, games, computers, videos, audiobooks, stories, and interactive events like ‘Night in Bethlehem’ and ‘Journey to the Cross.’

Some may wonder “Why?” Why not just preach sermons and teach regular Sunday School classes? Why do we have to do all these other things? Well, we got the idea from the Bible.

We all know the Bible shows people lecturing or preaching pretty often, but the Scriptures are also filled with examples of people using stories and parables to get the message to their listeners. Jeremiah used pottery, Ezekiel acted out the siege of Jerusalem,  Jesus made up stories to illustrate his points (parables), Paul talked of wrestlers and racers, and John describes dragons, beasts, scrolls, and  seals. God even had the prophet Hosea choose a wife based on God’s need to teach the people a lesson using Hosea and Gomer as an example! They used whatever means necessary in order to get the message of God out to people.

No matter how different it might appear, no matter how many times something might have been done before, the prophets and teachers in Scripture assessed what their situation was in their setting and, under the direction of God’s Holy Spirit, used the means necessary to proclaim the unchanging truth of God’s word.

At Clarks Mills UMC, we want to get the message out in whatever way we can. Come and join us… you may meet a weird animal, hear the word acted out like a reader’s theater, see a Jewish High Priest (Caiaphas), or hear angelic voices… but you’ll definitely hear the word.

Pastor Dayton


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A tune that’s been running through my mind…

This Christmas, I find myself returning again and again to the carol: Angels from the Realms of Glory. I ‘hear’ it in my head, I sometimes catch myself humming it, I was even whistling it one day! But I never sing it (except during church) because I know the music, not the words.

Today I actually looked it up in our hymnal (#220). And now I love this song even more!

As a pastor, I get tired of songs or poems or readings that just tell you something… but that’s it. You know, the reading done because it’s this holiday or that and Mrs. McGillicuddy likes to have that 52 stanza poem read every year on that day. Or the song that says “I can’t wait until I can tell you about my special day…” and then never does tell you about it.

This song is SO different from those descriptions! First of all, it is a story song… almost a ballad kind of idea. If you take all the verses of this song, you have the high points of a complete story (in this case, of Jesus’ birth). This isn’t one of those songs where you can easily get away with just singing the first and the last verse! Or you’ll miss a big piece of the story!

Secondly, I like the way the song is actually addressed to someone. While many hymns and ‘churchy’ songs are addressed to God, many times they aren’t. Think of ‘How Great Thou Art’ where the whole thing is addressed to God, as opposed to a song like ‘Amazing Grace’ which speaks about God and God’s grace.

This song is aimed at those that will encounter God… It is addressed to the angels who were in the primary role of being spectator, to the shepherds who were in their usual role of being the outcasts, the sages (or wise men) who were the intellectual (and probably even rich!) people of their day, and the saints… which is the very term the apostle Paul used whenever he spoke of people who followed Jesus and accepted him as their Lord and Savior. THAT’s US!!! We encounter God, through the birth and life of Jesus, in just the same ways that those shepherds, angels, and even sages did. We come and we worship him. We give him the gift of our attention and our presence. We make him more important than anything else.

This Christmas, I pray that we all come to a deeper understanding of OUR role in the Christmas story. The angels, the shepherds, the wise men, and even the Holy Family itself are all incomplete without us… the ones who believe in Jesus and accept Him as OUR Lord and OUR Savior. We are part of the Christmas story!

And thousands of years later, the invitation still calls out to all…

“Come & Worship…
Come & Worship…
Worship Christ The Newborn King!”

Christmas Eve service starts at 7:00 on Dec. 24th… Come & Worship With us!

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Reformation Polka

A friend of mine, Nathan Eshelman, just shared this ditty with me in honor of Reformation Day…

[Reformation Polka]

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Next Great American Band

I have friends who faithfully follow American Idol and even blog about them. I’ve never seen much reason to bother with such fad shows… until last night.

There’s a new twist (from the same folks behind the American Idol craze I understand) where the competitors are bands, rather than individual acts. The show is on FOX on friday evenings at 9:00 and is called The Next Great American Band.

As I said, I saw part of one Americam Idol show once and I must have just caught a bad act because I’ve never since wanted to watch again. But my wife and I had decided we were going to attend a Christian concert sponsored by the Family Life Network with a group called Denver and The Mile High Orchestra this weekend and we found out the concert was cancelled because they were in Los Angeles for this competition.

Having heard the band’s Christmas album a couple of years ago and fallen in love with their integration of Christian with Christmas performed with a big band flavor, I DEFINITELY HAD TO watch!

I also really liked the Clark Brothers and Sixwire. I thought the kids group was cute… but then realized they were boys and weren’t trying to be cute. I didn’t like their music… it sounded like pre-pubescent voices trying to imitate something they once heard. Which is pretty much what the judges said as well.

To tell you how much this competition caught my attention… I actually called the number on the screen and voted for Denver and his band! And I look forward to next week in order to watch again!!!

Anybody else watching this? Any thoughts?


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Remembering September 11th

Country singer Alan Jackson sings a wonderful song that asks a powerful question: “Where were you when the world stopped turning?” about the events of 9/11/2001. Here we are at the five-year anniversary of that horrific day and people have been asking that very same question again: “Where were you when you found out about the terrorist attacks?” Personally, I was on the phone and the person I called told me about the planes crashing…and the terror. We quickly finished talking and I left to watch the news.

Our foster daughter, Cass, who would be moving in with us in just a couple of months, was sitting in school in the little town of Shanksville… and felt the earth shake when Flight 93 crashed into a field less than two miles from her school…

How about you? Where were you? And what were your initial reactions? Your first thoughts? What did you do next?

Jackson runs through a series of questions asking what people did next: “Did you dust off that Bible at home?” Did you “Open your eyes and hope it never happened, close your eyes and not go to sleep.” Did you turn off the TV violence, give blood, buy a gun, or go home and cling tight to your family…

You know, this ‘singer of simple songs’ is really on to something… we each had choices to make following those events. In the book of Job, the Bible teaches that even when our world crashes around us, we still have choices as to how we respond. We couldn’t control what those terrorists did, but we ARE in control of how WE respond… We make the choice of how we deal with fear and terror, uncertainty and anger, just as we’re responsible for our choices in every other situation in our lives.

Just like this song says, some people did respond by turning for protection by buying a gun. Others responded by wishing the whole thing had never happened, or being overwhelmed by such fear that they couldn’t sleep at night. Some responded by seeking for ways to help, by giving blood or sending money, or not far from here where one of the planes went down by serving meals and making donations. Some turned to God in prayer, at church, and by reading their Bibles.

Even as Christians, we faced those same kinds of choices didn‘t we? We had to choose who to run to, who to talk to and share our feelings and emotions with, and what to do next. And like everyone else, we immediately felt alone… And that’s where we Christians have our first advantage over others… For we believe in Jesus, who is called “Emmanuel,” which means: “God with is.” (Matthew 1:23). People were asking “where was God?” and the truth is that He was there in the planes, He was there in the towers and in the Pentagon. He was there with YOU when you first heard and then walked through those mind-numbing next few days and weeks. Jesus said “I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20)

Secondly, our protection in this sin-sick world, is never going to be found in guns or more violence… Even our military attempts at silencing this or that particular terrorist will never be completely successful, but God reminds us that He is our “refuge” and our “strength”… He is the “ever-present help” we can turn to in times of trouble and not be afraid. (Psalm 46:1-2)

Third, Jackson’s chorus echoes words of truth we read in the Bible that say “perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:18) and of “faith, hope, and love.” (I Corinthians 13:13) Our fear will give way to peace, even in the worst of circumstances if we can get closer to our God… about whom the Bible says “God is Love.” (I John 4:8). Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Go to Him, get closer to Him, read what His word has to say, pray and talk with Him, and feel His peace.

–adapted from “Pastor’s Ponderings” by Dayton D. Mix, Trinity UMC, Patton, Sept. 2002


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