Worship Together with Shawn Thomas
Lifestyle • Music • Spirituality/Belief
Welcome to "Good News!" - Monday, November 7, 2022
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November 07, 2022
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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.

Veterans Day This Friday

For Her Next Act, Texas Grandmother Becomes a Commercial Pilot

Grandmother pilot

(Courtesy The Week - ABC-7)

Tamaron Nicklas is back in the cockpit, right where she wanted to be. Nicklas spent nearly eight years in the Air Force, where she was a pilot who learned how to refuel several types of aircrafts. She was able to fly around the world, stopping in Guam, Australia, the Philippines, and Korea, but after the birth of her third child, it became too hard to balance her home life and career. "I really actually struggled with it for a while after I'd walked away, just in that you know, that it's your identity," Nicklas told ABC News. After staying grounded for 24 years, Nicklas, now a grandmother, decided to return to the sky, taking a job as a flight instructor. She was then hired as a pilot by Southwest Airlines, where her husband has been a captain for 30 years, and arranged to sit alongside his wife during her first flight. Nicklas hopes her story encourages people to return to careers that they once loved. "If you've been away from it and think it's insurmountable, not attainable, take the first step," she said. "There's no reason you can't do it."


Young Girls Who Met on a Ship Sailing for America 75 Years Ago are Reunited: ‘I could never forget her’

75 year reunion btw to girls from ship

(Courtesy Good News Network)

It’s not uncommon for reunions to take place within a few years of the initial event—or maybe ten to twenty years after the first meeting. But a reunion after 75 years is truly astounding.

That’s exactly what took place recently between immigrants Lena and Yolanda, who were young girls when they first met during a 14-day ocean crossing.

In April of 1947, both the young girls were emigrating with their Italian families to the United States. They met each other aboard the Saturnia, a ship sailing toward America’s Ellis Island—and became instant friends.

In the last few years, Lena’s youngest son Steve had been researching their transatlantic voyage, and uncovered the actual ship’s manifest online.

Lena, now 85 years old, had always remembered the name of her sailing buddy, Yolanda. So, Steve diligently searched for the whereabouts of her friend, who had remained only a memory frozen in time.

Lena left her hometown of Pallagorio when she was ten years old. Nine-year-old Yolanda left her home in Belmonte—a 2.5 hour drive between them on today’s maps.

Lo and behold, Yolanda was still thriving—and the two girls, now matured, had been living within 2.5 hours of each other their whole lives.

Steve found Yolanda’s phone number and left a message on her answering machine explaining that her childhood sailing buddy wanted to get in touch. Covid-19 and other obstacles delayed the reunion, but finally a time and date were set.

Yolanda‘s son Rich drove his mom across state lines from her home in Weirton, West Virginia, to Lena’s house in Meadville, Pennsylvania, where they greeted each other at the front door, embracing with tears of joy.



She Built a $15,000 Cottage in the Back Yard For a Brother With Autism: ‘The change has been incredible’

Builds cottage for brother with Autism

(Courtesy Good News Network)

A woman built her brother a little house in her back garden and says it’s been a “game-changer” to give him the independence he needs.

Tiffany Chou moved back to Hawaii from New York City to look after her 33-year-old brother, who has autism, after hearing that he was unhappy in his residential home.

The siblings, who are both adopted, hadn’t lived together for 15 years, so Tiffany was apprehensive about what it would be like because Chris’s behavior could be “challenging”.

To better deal with that, the 36-year-old sister and her boyfriend decided to build Chris his own cottage in their back yard after moving to Maui.

“I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when I moved back and took in Chris,” said the accessory designer. “He can be a bit noisy and overwhelming so we decided if he had his own independent space, just seconds from us, that would be ideal.”

There was a little structure in their garden, which they tore down to begin the construction—and she and her boyfriend managed to put the cottage together for just $15,000.

Chris got to chose the colors of his house and helped out initially with the build, which was completed in three months.


Pet Stories! - A Farmer Was Injured Saving A Puppy. His Town Rallied To Bring In His Harvest

Good News Pet Stories

(Courtesy Sunny Skyz)

A farmer in Frost, Minnesota crashed his car while swerving off the road to avoid a puppy. He saved the dog, but ended up with serious injuries.

His community came to the rescue, harvesting his crops for him.

A German shepherd puppy ran into the middle of the road causing Scott Legried, 50, to crash into a cornfield. He suffered multiple injuries including a broken shoulder blade, broken ribs, two cracked vertebrae, a collapsed lung and a concussion.

"I got knocked out and when I came to, I couldn't move," he told The Washington Post. "I couldn't even reach up to get my cellphone from the dash of my truck. I remember saying, 'Lord, I'm going to need some help here in the next five or 10 minutes'."

A motorist driving through the area found Legried and called 911. He was taken to the hospital.

Doctors told him he would need several months to recover before he could drive a tractor again. This meant he would not be able to bring in his October harvest of soybeans and corn.

When his community heard the news, they organized a plan to harvest Legried's crops. More than a dozen farmers from Frost and surrounding towns showed up at Legried's farm with their combines, trucks and grain wagons. Others organized lunches for the group. They also chipped in to mow Legried's lawn and feed his dogs while he was in the hospital.

"This is a busy time of year for farmers, so it meant the world to me," said Legried, who lives alone. "But I guess I really wasn't surprised. I'm lucky to live in a community where people have always looked out for each other."

Frost is known for being a quaint, close-knit community. Only 198 residents call it home.


The "Good News" Digital Print Edition is a Worship Together publication.
A Ministry of "Aaron's Revival Project."
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"Gethsemane (Theme from Passion and Resurrection)" is an original song that appears in the film.

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Welcome to "Good News!" - Monday, April 8th, 2024

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WT Podcast, "Songs and Expressions" (Part 3) - "Clapping in Church"

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

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

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Episode 14: "Songs and Expressions" (Part 2) - "Worship Song Snob!"

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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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Episode 13: "Songs and Expressions" (Part 1) - "Worship Songs VS Contemporary Christian Music"

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

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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?"

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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.

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!

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!

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!

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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