Worship Together with Shawn Thomas
Lifestyle • Music • Spirituality/Belief
Welcome to "Good News!" - Monday, October 24, 2022
Digital Print Edition
October 24, 2022
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Good News on Worship Together

NOTE - "Good News" will appear on the Worship Together feed as a digital publication for the next several weeks as Shawn sets up his new home base in South Carolina.  The weekly video broadcasts will resume soon.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.



Incredible Athlete Becomes First Person with Down Syndrome to Complete Grueling Ironman World Championship

Chris Nikic

(Courtesy Blaze Media - Cortney Weil)

Chris Nikic has done it again. After he became the first competitor with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon back in 2020, Nikic has now become the first and only competitor with Down syndrome to complete the Ironman World Championship, which returned to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, this year after a two-year COVID hiatus.

An Ironman is an especially challenging competition, both physically and mentally. It is composed of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile road bike race, and a 26.2-mile marathon run. Each of those segments is an arduous task in and of itself. An Ironman stacks those races back to back to back. In addition, the Ironman World Championship, which began in 1978, requires all participants to finish within 17 hours, through heat, humidity, and all the mosquitos and other natural elements that often coincide with such conditions.

Last Thursday, Nikic finished the race with plenty of time to spare. He clocked in at 16 hours, 31 minutes, and 27 seconds, making him the 2,265th competitor out of 2,314 total to cross the finish line with an official time that day.

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For Halloween You Can Rent the 3-Story Ghostbusters Headquarters–And Even Wear the Suits

Ghost Busters Headquarters

(Courtesy Good News Network - Andy Corbley)

There’s something strange in the neighborhood, and it’s up for rent.

Sony and vacation rental company Vacasa are taking bids for the holiday rental of a fully-furnished, fully-functional, and fully-frightful Ghostbusters headquarters.

A group of friends can win a three-night stay at a recreation of the building set used in the famous 1984 movie in Portland, Oregon.

The private two-bedroom, three-story firehouse built in the early 1900s includes all the comforts of home with a full kitchen, multiple living quarters and endless Ghostbusters features, including a scientist-approved Ghost Containment System and a Dark Room where guests can develop and analyze photos of the Scourge of Carpathia.

The beds are freshly made, the ectoplasm has been expertly cleaned up, and the pantry is stocked—with StayPuft marshmallows and cheezy crackers (as long as Slimer doesn’t get to them first).

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College Wrestler Jumps On Grizzly's Back To Save His Friend During Attack

Wrestlers survive bear attach

(Courtesy Sunny Skyz News)

Two college wrestlers survived a grizzly bear attack in Wyoming while hunting over last weekend. They stuck together to fight the bear off and lived to tell the tale.

The incident occurred on Saturday in Cody, Wyoming, when the two men encountered the bear at close range while they were in heavy cover antler hunting west of the Bobcat Houlihan trailhead on the Shoshone National Forest, the Wyoming Game & Fish Department said in a press release.

Kendall Cummings said he jumped on the grizzly to try and get him off his friend, Brady Lowry.

"I grabbed and yanked him hard by the ear," Cummings told Cowboy State Daily. "I could hear when his teeth would hit my skull, I could feel when he'd bite down on my bones and they'd kind of crunch."

The two men were somehow able to break free from the attack and call 911. One of the victims was flown by helicopter to a local hospital while the other was taken by an ambulance.

Both men, wrestling teammates at Northwest College, reportedly underwent multiple surgeries after sustaining major lacerations to the body and face.

But Lowry and Cummings are both counting their blessings and consider themselves lucky to have survived.

"I don't know what I'm going to pay him back, I don't. I owe him everything," Lowry told the Cowboy Daily Press regarding Cummings' heroic actions that saved his life. "We'll be best friends for the rest of our lives."

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Pet Stories! - Cute Dog Walking Around Golf Course has Collected 6,000 Lost Golf Balls Which Are Donated to Charities

Good News Pet Stories

(Courtesy Good News Network - Andy Corbley)

An eagle-eyed pooch has become an expert at finding lost golf balls in London, so much so that he’s helping provide golf charities with the balls they need to teach kids around the world.

Charles Jefferson must have felt he hit a hole-in-one when one day his dog, a cavapoo named Marlo, emerged from the bushes with a pristine tour-grade ball on the puppy’s first visit to a local London golf course.

Jefferson, a top-level amateur golfer for four decades who used to work with the European Tour, realized that a retrieved mint condition Titleist Pro V1 retails for around £3.50, and that his Marlo might have a unique ability for finding lost balls.

He spent the next six years walking up and down courses with Marlo, watching and chatting, and getting out in the open air.

Between Mitcham Golf Club and Wimbledon Common Golf Club, Mr. Jefferson and Marlo filled dresser drawers with golf balls, but rather than a single instance of selling around 600 to a mate, he never had any interest with the “retrieval market” a cottage industry that’s cropped up around recovering golf balls.

As an advertising and branding agent, Jefferson leapt at the chance to turn Marlo’s abilities into a force for good after he heard of a donation drive to promote the prevention of litter from lost golf balls.

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Passion and Resurrection - A short film feature presentation by Worship Together

"Passion and Resurrection" is visual, dramatic, and musical interpretation of the scriptural accounts leading up to Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

"Gethsemane (Theme from Passion and Resurrection)" is an original song that appears in the film.

Featuring the voice over talents of Kris Saracelli and Brian Ladd.

Live chatted 04/10/2024
Take 5 Worship Break - 4-10-24 - "Forever"

We're back!
Scriptures for today: Psalms 118 and 136

Welcome to "Take 5" where we take just a few minutes in the middle of our week to pause and worship God. Thanks for joining us and being a part. Please feel free to comment and share in the LIVE CHAT starting right at noon.

God bless,
Shawn

00:03:52
Welcome to "Good News!" - Monday, April 8th, 2024

Start your day off with "Good News." This program highlights news headlines and stories that are about good news, good people, and the goodness of God. The broadcast is available weekly beginning at 7am (EST) every Monday morning - a great way to kick off your week!

Check out the Annual Supporter Option giving you full access to all content including "Content+" material like the upcoming short-film release, "Passion & Resurrection."
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Want see ALL of the Good News Episodes every week?
Link to ONE MONTH FREE Supporter Level:
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Links to the stories covered in this episode:

https://www.sunnyskyz.com/good-news/5372/Meet-Laverne-Biser-A-105-Year-Old-Eclipse-Chaser-Excited-To-Add-The-13th-To-His-List

https://www.foxnews.com/us/florida-police-officers-complete-grocery-delivery-arresting-delivery-driver

...

00:10:11
WT Podcast, "Songs and Expressions" (Part 3) - "Clapping in Church"

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Worship Together Podcast
Episode 15: "Songs and Expressions" (Part 3) - "Clapping in Church"

To listen to the first episode in this series, "Worship Songs VS Contemporary Christian Music" (Part 1), click here:
https://worshiptogether.locals.com/post/5064010/wt-podcast-songs-and-expressions-part-1-worship-songs-vs-contemporary-christian-music

To listen to last week's episode, "Worship Song Snob!" (Part 2), click here:
https://worshiptogether.locals.com/post/5129726/wt-podcast-songs-and-expressions-part-2-worship-song-snob

Check out all of our Podcast episodes as well as our other content and programming at https://www.WorshipTogether.site.

WT Podcast, "Songs and Expressions" (Part 3) - "Clapping in Church"
WT Podcast, "Songs and Expressions" (Part 2) - "Worship Song Snob!"

[Click Play Below]
Worship Together Podcast
Episode 14: "Songs and Expressions" (Part 2) - "Worship Song Snob!"

To listen to last week's episode, "Worship Songs VS Contemporary Christian Music" (Part 1), click here:
https://worshiptogether.locals.com/post/5064010/wt-podcast-songs-and-expressions-part-1-worship-songs-vs-contemporary-christian-music

Join us next week for Part 3 of "Songs and Expressions" with, "Clapping in Church" - available beginning at noon(EST) on Fridays.

WT Podcast, "Songs and Expressions" (Part 2) - "Worship Song Snob!"
WT Podcast, "Songs and Expressions" (Part 1) - "Worship Songs VS Contemporary Christian Music"

[Click Play Below]
Worship Together Podcast
Episode 13: "Songs and Expressions" (Part 1) - "Worship Songs VS Contemporary Christian Music"

Join us next week for Part 2 of "Songs and Expressions" with, "Worship Song Snob!" - available beginning at noon(EST) on Fridays.

WT Podcast, "Songs and Expressions" (Part 1) - "Worship Songs VS Contemporary Christian Music"
WELCOME NEW WT MEMBERS!

It's always so great to get to welcome new folks into our Worship Together family. We're grateful you're here. Thank you for jumping on board with us.
@Lindad4mcc @Lizz2004 @MAMA5898 @janeday @morphy44 @Ksaracelli @Ramdhan @DonnaAbsher @SarahNerd @FitPaul1 @BGConservative @JStockton @rcangelose1

Now that you're all set up, you can access the feed in a couple of different ways.

ALSO - you can access previous programming and shows (on-demand) https://worshiptogether.site.

Welcome to all - If you have any questions, send me a message at [email protected].
God bless,
Shawn

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Back Behind the Mic for GOOD NEWS This Monday!

Join me this Monday, April 8th as we kick back in and start our day, and our week off right, with some Good News! Available for streaming anytime after 7:00am. See you then!
Shawn

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Coming up THIS Thursday! "Did the CHURCH Hurt You?"

Tune in this Thursday, April 4th, any time after 6pm for the latest episode of "Thomas Takes." This month's topic is, "Did the CHURCH Hurt You?"

"Thomas Takes" is a supporter only broadcast.
Try out being a support for one month free at:
https://worshiptogether.site/index.html#features04-c

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Don't Overlook this Aspect of Leadership

You know one of the most overlooked concepts in leadership? Trust. People want to trust who they’re following. They won’t follow long if they don’t. You might think that’s a given; And it might be, but I don’t think it should be. 
 
Most of us think of trust very little if we do at all. Or we assume we have it because of the position we hold. But we all know that holding a position doesn’t mean you hold people’s trust. That takes work. As leaders, we ought to keep that in mind. 
 
Although it does take work, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Trust comes from relationship. It comes from getting to know people, and maybe more importantly, letting them get to know you. 
 
Have you ever wondered why people love your pastor so much and follow him so easily? It might be because he’s a great leader, but it’s more likely that people feel like they can relate to him. 
 
When he preaches, he is not only getting in front of everyone so they see his face and using a microphone so they hear his voice – you do both of those things every week too – he’s also sharing about his life. He uses sermon illustrations about his kids and talks about his wife. You get a glimpse into his life. That builds relationship. It builds trust. 
 
As worship leaders, we need to learn to do the same thing. Knowing that you wear skinny jeans and like to sing isn’t enough. Give people a glimpse of your heart as their leader.
 
Here’s an easy way to start: Choose a song that means something to you personally to lead in worship next week. Before you lead it, tell your church why it means so much to you. It’s that simple. If you sing originals at your church, even better! Talk about the story behind the song – why you wrote it.
 
You can also do this by intentionally reaching out to people in your church. Ask people to coffee, join a small group or hang out in the lobby. Let people know you want to know them. Remember, you’re the leader. It’s on you to take the first step.
 
You might not see results from this right away, but over time you’ll begin to see people lean in when you speak. You’ll begin to see people try new things when you instruct it. Folks will begin to understand you’re more than a guy with a guitar. You’re a leader. You’re a pastor. You’re a shepherd. And they can trust you because they know you. 

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February 28, 2024
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How to Hear the Voice of God

How do I hear from the Lord? I think that's a question every believer asks at some point in their faith walk. And it's an important one! At the end of the day, the answer simple: listen. But that's probably not very helpful. And simple doesn't always mean easy.

Even when people talk about hearing the voice of God they talk about a “still, small voice.” How do you hear that?! I have a hard time hearing people who are speaking at a regular volume (too much loud music!), how am I supposed to hear God when I can’t see the expression on His face or watch His body language to help? It can be tough, and I certainly don’t get it right all the time, but it’s worth practicing. 

Below are 3 experiments to help you hear the voice of God. They're simple practices, but will be very powerful if you commit to them. 

When you try these, do so as Jesus instructs in Matthew 6:6: "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." He will be true to His word. 

 

Experiment #1 Ask the Lord a Question in the Morning

This first experiment is intriguing because it’s designed to keep you engaged in prayer all day, listening for God to say something. Try it one day. Pray in the morning and ask the Lord a question. Ask Him to speak to you throughout the day. Hang on a few minutes after you ask though – He may very well answer right then and you might need a new question. 

If you do this experiment, start with something simple. Not because God doesn’t answer the major, life altering question you really want to ask, but because you’re learning to hear His voice. While you’re learning, it will help to start small and learn to trust that it is indeed His voice you’re hearing. 

Here are a couple ideas of questions to ask:

“Lord, what is something you’re proud of me for?” 
“Who have you put in my path for me to minister to today?”
I’ve even heard of folks asking God which pair of their shoes He likes the best!

Really, when you’re starting out the question isn’t all that important - it’s learning to listen for the answer.

 

Experiment #2 Try Prayer Journaling

This is a very similar idea to Experiment #1, you’ll probably want to have a question in mind. 

Begin by journaling your prayers. Write as if you’re writing a letter to God. Then when you’re finished, ask your question. Here’s where it gets interesting: After you place the question mark at the end of the sentence, put a set of quotation marks. That’s an act of faith, telling God you trust that He will speak. THEN write everything down that comes up in your heart and mind. Don’t pick and choose. Don’t assume it’s not God. Just write. You’ll be surprised at what comes up. When you are – that very well might be the Lord. 

 

Experiment #3 Silence and Solitude

The third experiment is probably one you’re more familiar with. You’re probably familiar with the concept at least: Silence and Solitude.

Carve out time to sit in silence with no distractions. Ask God to meet you there. For me, I usually need to go somewhere to do this. There are too many distractions in my house: my guitar, my phone, my tv, laundry, dishes, etc. When possible, I like to get to a river or a lake. I think something about that setting makes me feel like I’m living Psalm 23. I have to leave my phone in the car too. The only thing I really ever take is a journal, pen, and bible. Sometimes not even that. There, in the stillness and silence I pray, for me it’s usually out loud for a while. Then I wait and I hope to hear from the Lord. 

When I can’t get away, I often take lap or two around my neighborhood. I get weird looks sometimes because a neighbor will walk out of their house while I’m praying out loud, but besides that it works out pretty well. I’ve learned the secret to silence and solitude though, is silence. Sometimes I think we don’t hear God because we don’t shut up long enough to. 

 

I understand that different denominations and traditions have different views on hearing from God. I also understand it’s a concept way too big to cover in a blog post. That’s why I’m just sharing a few ideas. No matter your view, I encourage you to try. It will never hurt to try to understand how our Heavenly Father communicates with His children. I called the three ideas above “experiments” because God speaks to different people in different ways. For me, it’s typically in the silence and in studying His Word (by the way, take everything you think you hear back to scripture!), but I know for many others it’s journaling. For others it’s questions. Don’t over think it. I believe God will honor your desire to hear from Him. 

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February 06, 2024
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A Tool for Personal Prayer and Worship

I recently read of a prayer tool called Examen. Have you heard of it? The concept is one that was familiar to me, but I never knew it had a name or that people have been praying this way for hundreds of years! I love this way of praying because it leads you to worship. It’s all about reflection. It’s all about remembering. And much of worship begins with remembering. 

Here’s a basic overview of Examen

Often prayed at night, Examen is, as you might imagine, an examination of yourself. It’s a way of replaying your day with the Lord: the day’s events, interactions with others, conversations with your spouse, attitudes you had, actions you took, everything you can think of. Intentionally praying through every detail of your day can help you to see where the Lord showed up, where you missed His voice, and what you need to praise Him for. 

If that sounds complicated, don’t worry. It’s not. In his book, How to Pray, Pete Grieg lays out a four-part roadmap to follow: Replay, Rejoice, Repent, Reboot.

REPLAY
Begin by replaying the day’s events in your head. Tell the Lord about your day. Ask Him to highlight things for you. What stands out? What events took place? What made you happy or sad or anxious or angry? Personally, I have to do this out loud or I’ll get lost in thought somewhere!

REJOICE
Spend time praising God for His goodness. Where are places He clearly showed up in your day? Were there random acts of kindness? Are you healthy? Did He answer a prayer you prayed weeks ago? Do you have a roof over your head? Praise God for the obvious and not-so-obvious things. Search for things to rejoice for!

REPENT
Let the kindness of the Lord lead you to repentance. Where did you misrepresent Christ? Where did you see a need and ignore it? Where did you just blatantly sin? If I’m honest, I skip the repentance piece of prayer more often than I should. It’s painful. But sin separates us from God. Repentance is a step in reuniting us to Him!

REBOOT
Make a decision to live for Christ more fully tomorrow. Ask for a greater sensitivity to His Spirit! Ask to see His movement and hear His voice more clearly tomorrow.  

That’s it. Reply, rejoice, repent, reboot. I said earlier that much of worship begins with remembering: remembering who God is, remembering His faithfulness, remembering the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. But worship requires something else, so I like to add a fifth step to Examen: RESPOND. We remember and then we respond. After seeing where God has shown up, respond in worship! Declare the goodness of God, your hope in Him, your thankfulness for His presence, etc. 

There are 550 references to remembering in scripture. Examen helps us to be intentional. It’s tool for prayer, but it’s also a tool for worship. A tool that helps us to remember the love, the goodness, the faithfulness, the sacrifice of God every single day! Try it this week!

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