Worship Together with Shawn Thomas
Lifestyle • Music • Spirituality/Belief
Welcome to "Good News!" - Monday, October 31, 2022 (Happy Halloween!)
Digital Print Edition
October 31, 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.



Family Decorates Front Lawn with a New Halloween Scene Every Day in October

Halloween Scene

(Courtesy The Week - Catherine Garcia)

Every October, this Texas family and a cast of skeleton characters put on a show that delights neighbors and passerby. It started in October 2020, when Steven and Danielle Dinote and their kids A.J. and Anthony bought several skeletons at a Halloween store in San Antonio. Wanting to have some fun during the first Halloween of the pandemic, they started arranging the skeletons in the front yard, with A.J. putting one against the lawnmower and Danielle making it look like another was walking a skeleton dog. The family turned this into a competition to see who could make the best scene, changing it every day. Neighbors who walked by would often stop and say "it was the highlight of their day," Danielle told Today Parents. The family decided to make this an annual event, and neighbors soon dubbed their home "The Skeleton House." It takes between 30 minutes and an hour to set up each scene, which include props like clothing, wigs, and instruments. So far this month, the skeletons have played Twister, gone camping, and golfed. Being able to tap into their creative sides brings joy to the Dinote family, and they work together to make each scene come alive. "We made a rollercoaster for the skeletons last year we named One Flag," Steven said. "I spray painted PVC pipes for tracks and made cars from cardboard boxes. My son decided the roller coaster needed restraints which we made from pool noodles."

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Dwayne Johnson Surprises ‘Real-life Hero’ and Brings Him on TV to Honor His Services

Dwayne Johnson

(Courtesy Good News Network - Andy Corbley)

An opportunity to meet Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a once-in-a-lifetime moment, but charity superhero Yuri Williams got so much more than just a handshake when The Rock decided he wanted to do something special for him.

Soon to hit the silver screen as a superhero himself, The Rock surprised Yuri on live TV, brought him back to the Good Morning America studio to give him special tickets to see the premier of Johnson’s new movie, “Black Adam,” raise awareness for Yuri’s work, and add another suit to his costume collection.

Williams is just one man, but he’s many heroes—Deadpool, Spiderman, and The Mandalorian are all costumes he puts on to put a smile on the faces of the people in need of one, whether they be the homeless, sick children, elderly, or veterans.

GNN reported last year that his place at the at the forefront of fun has helped his charity, A Future Superhero and Friends, organize toy drives, blood drives, school supply giveaways, youth art fairs, and so much more, and they’ve done it in all fifty states.

Much of his work is taken up by visiting children with special needs, or who suffer from serious illnesses.

“Yuri’s literally like the first person to put a smile on A.J.’s face,” said mom Katrina Morgan, whose son has cleft lip.

After struggling with depression during, and after his mother’s passing from cancer in 2009, Yuri decided the best way to recover was to channel his pain into relieving others’.

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Police Officers Go Beyond Call Of Duty To Help Grieving Woman

Police Officers Go Beyond the Call

(Courtesy Sunny Skyz News)

Police officers in Nebraska went above and beyond the call of duty when a grieving woman needed extra help.

What started as a rescue call ended with an act of kindness thanks to a pair of La Vista police officers.

Officer John Danderand said they arrived at Karen Ressegieu's home where they found her husband unresponsive. After multiple rounds of CPR, medics declared her husband deceased.

"She had a lot going on, she had some neighbors stopping by trying to figure things out, get information from her. And she had mentioned about three times that she had to get a cake frosted, they were supposed to attend a funeral that morning," Danderand said.

The officers frosted the cake for Ressegieu and then delivered it.

Sgt. Kraig Gomon snapped a couple of pictures to serve as a memory down the line. They captured a part of the job that goes on behind the scenes.

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Pet Stories! - Pit Bull Saves Chihuahua Puppy From Drowning In Pool

Good News Pet Stories

(Courtesy Sunny Skyz News)

Security camera footage in São Paulo captured the horrifying moment a chihuahua puppy fell into a pool and could not get out on her own.

A 5 -year-old pit bull named Athena heard the commotion and immediately jumped into action to save her.

The puppy she saved is only 3 months old.

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The "Good News" Digital Print Edition is a Worship Together publication.
A Ministry of "Aaron's Revival Project."
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Live chatted 06/12/2024
Take 5 Worship Break - 6-12-24 - "I Believe"

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

00:05:01
Live chatted 06/05/2024
Take 5 Worship Break - 6-5-24 - "Gracefully Broken"

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

00:05:47
Welcome to "Good News!" - Monday, June 3, 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!

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https://www.sunnyskyz.com/good-news/5432/Missouri-Fifth-Grader-Raises-Over-7-000-To-Erase-School-Meal-Debt

https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/coldplay-singer-gives-fan-with-arthritis-lift-to-show-such-a-nice-man/

https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/baseball-mega-star-bryce-harper-helps-a-random-guy-ask-a-girl-on-a-prom-date/

https://www.sunnyskyz.com/good-news/5383/Happy-Ending-After-11-Years-In-Shelter-Dog-Finds-Love-And-Family

00:09:43
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!"

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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"

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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"
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This Thursday! - Thomas Takes

Tune in this coming Thursday, June 6th any time after 6pm eastern time for the latest episode of Thomas Takes. This month's topic is "Faith and Truth - This is NOT an apology."

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My kayak copilot!
I tried to explain it's just a one-seater, but Murphy wasn't havin' it. 😆🛶🐾

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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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