A joyful song

By Matt DeBall

Thank you for joining us on this musical and hopeful journey of “Hymns and Hopes for the Holidays.” Though our theme for November and December may seem natural for this season, you may still be asking, “Why are you doing this?”

worship-singingMusic (and singing) is an important component of faith. Hymns and spiritual songs allow us to remember the nature and promises of God, both in the present and for all of eternity. They lift our spirits and allow us to encourage one another. They lead us to and through prayer with God through all seasons. And overall, they move our minds with the melody of the Holy Spirit and guide our hearts to beat in synchronization with the heart of God. It is for all of these reasons that singing helps nurture an attitude of thankfulness and generosity.

As we continue to share beloved hymns and our hopes, we pray that you will be encouraged.

“I sing because I’m happy, (I’m happy)
I sing because I’m free, (I’m free)
For His eye is on the sparrow
and I know He watches me (He watches me)
And I know He watches me.”

Why do the birds sing and chirp with joy? Because they know that God cares for them. Since the beginning of creation, God has sustained all things. Through times of difficulty or comfort, God has walked lovingly with all that He has made.

sparrowsThe beautiful hymn “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” by Civilla D. Martin reminds us of the words of Jesus on (at least) two separate occasions:
> “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care”(Matthew 10:29, NIV).
> “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26, NIV).

God cares about every bird and cares even more for us. This does not downplay the value of birds, but clarifies that God is intimately aware of all our needs and concerns and is able to provide for us.

In remembering that God sustains all things, we are freed to be happy and hopeful. We can think less about ourselves and more about others. We can be generous with all that God have given us because God will continually impart what we need.

As we continue through the holidays, may we be inspired by the birds and sing a joyful song of our own.

About the Author

m-deball-9-2016Matt DeBall is the COMPASS Communications Coordinator for the Ecumenical Stewardship Center. He also serves as Coordinator of Donor Communications for the Church of the Brethren. He has an MDiv from Northern Seminary of Lombard, Illinois and a BA in Communication Arts from Judson University of Elgin, Illinois. He loves running, reading, and napping. He and Chelsea live in Northern Illinois with their Welsh Corgi, Watson, and attend the First Baptist Church of Aurora.

Image credits: pixabay.com

This blog is a component of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s COMPASS Initiative to engage young adults in conversations about faith and finances. Like what you see and want to know/do more? Visit the COMPASS web page, follow us on Twitter, and join the COMPASS community on Facebook.

Talking About Faith and Finances: a bright side and dark side

During September, the COMPASS blog is digging deeper into the topic of conversations about money by sharing different perspectives, questions, and approaches. Today we welcome Dori Zerbe Cornelsen, from the Mennonite Foundation of Canada, back to the blog. She shares about “a bright side and dark side” to talking about faith and finances. See what Dori has to say, and please join the conversation on Facebook or here on the blog by leaving a comment.

money or God

What has more immediate power in your life- God or money?

What has more immediate power in your life – God or money?  When you start your day, what is most on your brain – your to-do list or a to-experience attitude?

I am a committed Christian who tries to live a Spirit-infused life in the way of Jesus.  I belong to a community of believers that cares deeply about faith impacting life.  At the same time, I often close that part of me when I open my eyes in the morning and think about everything that needs to get done that day, week, month…  And even before Monday morning comes, I definitely get the Sunday night blues.

It’s not about the money, I could tell myself, and that might be true.  But part of me knows that I do what I do to earn a living to have a good life.  When that’s the focus, I get drawn into a dark side of money that tells me the key to my happiness is having enough of it (and more).  Looking out for my security, I get more anxious.  Crazy.

In (rare) moments of clarity I get past lists and expectations to a brighter focus – the privilege of having good work and colleagues, and days when really amazing things happen.  When I start here, I bring the values shaped by my faith community into my day, becoming open to a different good life.  It’s not just about me, my performance or my money but receiving and giving enough for all.

My early mentor in my current work, Edwin Friesen, wrote a study guide connecting faith and money called First Things First.  He starts the book with the dark side/bright side rivalry we have with money and reminds us that we need to choose a side – all the time.

Sound too much like Star Wars? Or maybe just enough… 

You can find a link to First Things First on the Compass website – check it out!

dori-zerbe-cornelson-220x220About the Author: Dori Zerbe Cornelsen works with Mennonite Foundation of Canada encouraging and inviting generous living.  She and her husband Rick live in Winnipeg, Manitoba.


This blog is a component of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s COMPASS initiative to engage young adults in conversations about faith and finances. Like what you see and want to know/do more? Visit the COMPASS web page and join the COMPASS community on Facebook.

Image Credit: God or Money