Village Voice - April, 2005

Sing Any Note!

“Sing it out!  Sing any note! It doesn’t matter whether you sing the wrong note –sing it out loudly!” 

This is often the admonition of Dianne Webster, our choir director. When we choir members are struggling with a new piece, we often sing tentatively, trying to hear the notes of the piano or those sung by a more experienced member before daring to lend volume to our own voices. The results are disgusting.

“Sing out! The only way I can correct mistakes is if I can hear them!”

When we go ahead and let it out, we are often pleasantly surprised that we had the right note after all, but the worst that might happen is that Dianne spots the error, and teaches us the right note. Even before a performance, Dianne may be confident enough to ask us to sing out, because we have rehearsed well enough that even the wrong note will at least be in the right chord.

Hitting the wrong note in the right chord may not be what the composer intended, but there will be no dissonance, and it will sound much better than no sound at all.

We should apply Dianne’s choral advice to our daily Christian living. As Martin Luther once said, “If you sin, sin boldly!” We can become so fearful of sinning that we are incapable of any action at all. We know we are going to do things we will regret. We know there is simply no way we can live without making mistakes. Yet, we go about living life so tentatively, so fearful that we may do something displeasing to God (or to our fellow Christians) that we dare to do nothing at all. We become useless.

This may be what John had in mind when he wrote the angel’s admonition to the church at Laodicea:

"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:16) 

Sing any note with passion and, right or wrong, I can work with it, says the Lord, but sing no note at all and you may as well leave the choir.

Just as the choir members must dare to risk singing the wrong notes if we hope to learn to make good music, Christians must learn to risk sinning a little if we hope to do God’s will.

Dianne can handle the wrong notes and make the whole choir sound better, but can’t work well with no notes at all. God can handle the sins of enthusiastic disciples, but can’t do much with Christians paralyzed by fear of sinning. In fact, we are likely to commit the greater sin if we focus too much on “not sinning” rather than on doing God’s will with a little sin mixed in.

I am reminded of obstacles encountered in early mountain biking, thinking to myself: “Oh no! Look out! Don’t hit it, don’t hit it, go around it . . . look at how big it is . . . Bam!” Mountain bikers are taught that when you see an obstacle in the road, you should not focus on avoiding it, or you will surely hit it dead center. Instead, focus on the path you want to take.

God calls us to follow His path. It is better to occasionally lose our way or get a few bruises than to play it so safe that we make no progress at all. So long as we want to follow His will, a few wrong notes along the way can be corrected, and if we practice enough the inevitable wrong notes will land in the right chord.

                                                                                                                        -- John Mitchell


Recently I received the following thank-you letter from the Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Daniel Vestal, who spoke in our church a few years ago.  Dr. Vestal wrote:

            Dear Bruce,

            On behalf of the individuals and churches who are engaged in missions and ministries
            through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, allow me to thank Village Baptist Church
            for your recent gift of $2,243.02 to the Offering for Global Missions.  We are grateful
            to God for the continuing support of people who believe in the Fellowship’s mission and

            Just a few weeks ago our Coordinating Council met in Atlanta.  We heard reports of
            how our missionaries are being the presence of Christ in Southeast Asia to victims of
            the tsunami.  Last week CBF and Buckner Baptist Benevolences signed a Memorandum
            of Understanding to minister to children at risk on the African continent.  Also last week,
            the leadership of the China Christian Council was in our office sharing what God is
            doing in China and how they value their relationship with us.  Next week, Dr. Frank
            Adams, the General Secretary of the All Africa Baptist Fellowship, will be in our
            offices to explore our continuing ministry in Africa.

             I share all this with you to give you a glimpse of how God is working though this
            renewal movement, and to inform your prayers.  Please continue to pray for us and
            with us, and thank you again for your generosity and support.

            Grace and peace,

            Daniel Vestal

 That $2,243.02 donation represents our church’s 2004 Christmas Offering for Global Missions.  It is part of our continuing support for and partnership with such missionaries as Ralph and Tammy Stocks, serving among the Romany Gypsies in Eastern Europe, and Robbi and James Francovich, serving with the Banjara Gypsies in India.  We also support through our budget missionary Katherine Cooper, serving in Cameroon through the Wycliffe Bible Translators.   In addition we support the Baptist World Alliance through our church budget, and the humanitarian relief work of Baptist World Aid with our Thanksgiving Offering for World Hunger.  Most recently, our Easter Offering was designated to the Bridges of Hope Mission Offering of the Alliance of Baptists, part of which is used to support the Baptist Convention of Zimbabwe.

 All of this is to say that the outreach of Village Baptist Church, through these and other mission partners, extends literally around the world.  This summer Linda and I, along with Michele and Mark Miles, will travel to Birmingham, England to attend the World Congress of the Baptist World Alliance.  The World Congress meets every five years for mutual encouragement and fellowship among the worldwide family of Baptists.  Already thousands of Baptists from 79 nations have registered for the World Congress.  Anticipated attendance is 10,000-15,000.  This year also marks the centennial anniversary of the Baptist World Alliance, which was founded in London in 1905.  Here is a preview of what we will experience in Birmingham, taken from the Baptist World Congress web site.

 A Baptist World Congress could be described as a Baptist Olympic Games without the medals.  There are 43 million Baptist Christians in 200 countries of the world and this five yearly Congress is an opportunity for as many of those as possible to join together for a life changing experience. A Congress is a very colourful experience where you will be mixing with and surrounded by fellow Baptists of all experiences and cultures, many often in their magnificent National costumes.

The Congress programme begins on the evening of Wednesday 27 July 2005 and officially concludes late afternoon on Sunday 31 July 2005.  The programme includes:

 Perhaps others would like to join us in England for the Baptist World Congress this summer.  To find out more visit the Congress Information Site: