Thirty Years of Worship Ministry

I well remember that long hot drive from Athens, Georgia, back in June of 1988. Our young family was moving to middle Georgia so that my husband could begin his ministry as the new Music Minister at Second Baptist Church. I was driving our big old green 1978 Ford LTD, and the air conditioner had quit working. My youngest son Jonathan was so hot his curly hair was wringing wet. My husband was driving a truck loaded down with boxes I’d been packing for days. Our oldest son Jeremy, 6 years old, was riding in the rental truck with the kind men who had come up from our new church to help us move. Jeremy was quite a conversationalist (and still is a talker) and this momma was actually wondering what in the world he may be telling those guys in that U-Haul! (Jeremy is a Pastor so God was preparing Jeremy even then to use his gift of words to preach God’s Word!) We had no idea the great goodness of God that was ahead for the Morton family. He has blessed us beyond what our young hearts could have even imagined. Gary started leading worship on church staff at the age of 16, so he has led worship for 45 years, 30 of them in one amazing church!

Sunday, June 3, 2018 was a day of celebration for Gary as our church family celebrated his 30 years as worship pastor. God has blessed us by allowing us to serve this wonderful church all these years. What grace! Both our sons came to faith in Christ here, were baptized here, and both of their weddings were also at Second Baptist. There is a sweet peace about being in one church and community for 30 years. They are truly our Second Family!

Our sons had a special part in the service as Jeremy preached, and Jonathan shared about his dad’s ministry and then prayed. Gary and I sang with the choir.

Our pastor and his wife, Jim & Stephanie Perdue presented us with gifts and they were so sweet to include our five grandkids in the presentation! It was a very emotional day, but a day with hearts full of praise for God’s tender mercies and faithfulness in our lives. Gary and I hosted lunch following the service for our family who came to celebrate with us, and some special friends who have supported us all these years. It was a sweet time!

I love these two pictures of our amazing choir and orchestra, approximately 25 years apart! The first picture below is from the early days, what us old timers at Second Baptist fondly call “The Red Church.” Red pews, red carpet, red choir sashes, red curtain over the baptistry. RED, that’s it. You know how long someone has been at SBC when they say red church!

This picture is from Christmas 2017 and our choir/orchestra’s beautiful night of worship. (We moved into our “new church” October 3, 2004). There are some folks that were in the choir above and are still in the one below! Me included! I have loved singing in my husband’s choir for 41 years…

This picture is also from the early days at Second Baptist, and the event was a children’s choir awards program. Jonathan was about 5 in this picture. 

After serving 30 years as worship pastor, Gary is now transitioning over to Senior Adult Pastor. He will continue as Executive Pastor, a role he has had for over 25 years. We are grateful “beyond beyond” for the privilege to stay at our beloved church and in this new ministry. (Ephesians 3:20-21).

I’m thankful to have been by his side all these years, and plan to be by his side in his new ministry. I’ve been retired exactly one month and I am loving my new season. Lots of new, lots of change, but thankful for the blessed truth that Jesus Christ is the SAME, yesterday, today, and forever! (Hebrews 13:8).

And another joy…looking down the back row of the choir and seeing my sweet man singing in the choir he has led for 30 years! God is good and I am so thankful!

Gran Jan

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2017 Scripture Memory Team – December

It’s the last day of 2017 and I’m plugging this last post in before the clock strikes 12 midnight. My goal for 2018 is to blog more – and I really look forward to that! The year 2018 is shaping up with two BIG events on the calendar. One for my sweet husband and one for me! That post will follow very soon. God is so good! 

In 2017 we celebrated five events that ended with a zero: Gary celebrated his 60th birthday in February, in June we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary, in October we celebrated living in the country for 10 years, my 60th birthday rolled around in November, and then 3 weeks ago I celebrated 20 years serving in women’s ministry at my church! 60+40+10+60+20=190 years of life and love!!!

So on this cold rainy Sunday afternoon here in middle Georgia, I am closing with my last two memory verses for 2017.  

December 1 – Ecclesiastes 7:8 (CSB Version)

The end of a matter is better
t
han its beginning;
a patient spirit is better
than a proud spirit.

December 15 – Luke 1:37 (Amplified Version)

For with God nothing is
or ever shall be impossible.

These two passages are full of hope and full of confidence in Almighty God. As I look forward to 2018 I know the end of a matter is surely better than its beginning. As we end 2017, I can say yes to looking back on the faithfulness of God in my life. I know that a patient spirit will guide me into 2018 and… nothing is OR EVER SHALL BE impossible with God! What can you even add to that. As 2018 rolls in tonight, I am trusting God and this powerful truth to hold me close.

I pray you will do the same! 

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What Is Truth?

Whatsover

The woman featured in this short clip below is very special to me. Her name is Beverly Skinner. [She leads in women’s ministry at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.] God used Beverly in my life at a conference I attended last year for women’s ministry leaders called Selah: A Retreat for Women who Lead Women.  I purposefully went alone to the conference. I really wanted (needed) to have time to think and just be. The drive to north Georgia was great, providing lots of “windshield time,” lots of time to be alone, to sing, to pray, and to ponder. I haven’t ever met a stranger and was blessed to make many connections among the women’s ministry leaders who also attended. A very precious, special group for sure. The most important connection for me was with the Holy Spirit. He assured me and confirmed in my heart that I was to continue leading in women’s ministries at my home church.  I went to the retreat with eyes and heart wide open, seeking a word from The Word.

I ran across this clip on Facebook this week where Beverly was teaching at a women’s event in south Georgia. The event, Flourish, is the women’s ministry from CrossPointe Church in Valdosta where Lanelle Rogers is the Director. She also attended the SELAH retreat! It really resonated with me, and I hope it will with you too.

Truth Has a NAME! It is Jesus! The One and Only.

GranJan-BlogSignature

 

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Appearance on Life Today with Beth Moore

LifeTodayBethI’ve had some wonderful opportunities in my lifetime – blessings straight from the Hand of God. This privilege I am sharing today actually happened back in October 2015. I was a guest on the Life Today show with my amazing friend Beth Moore. We taped on October 9 & 10, and then the episode aired December 21, 2015 and has also repeated a couple of times since then. I wanted to share this blessed opportunity on my blog to preserve the memory for my grandchildren. I know my grandmothers’ stories of faith and I want my grandchildren to know mine!

It came back to my heart again recently through a connection via “the Internets.” 🙂 A friend at church, Debbie Shepherd – told me she had seen a post on Instagram where a woman was talking about “seeing this lady on TV talking about having an Audience of One.” Debbie knew about the Life Today program and she shared the Instagram post with me. I checked it out and lo and behold it really was from the Life Today ministry program where I had shared my story. So the sweet connection in cyber space with Becky Strahle was another blessing and an answer to my prayers that the Lord would use this amazing opportunity He had given to me.  Becky makes these awesome cuff bracelets and graciously sent this one to me. You can find her at Farm Girl Paints

Audience of One

It all began when I received an email from Beth Moore’s assistant, Mrs. Kimberly McMahon. She said that the Life Today show on which Beth Moore regularly appeared as a guest was looking for someone to come on the show alongside Beth to help introduce a revised study entitled Fully Alive. She knew I could suggest some women that had been touched, blessed and encouraged by the Bible study ministry from Beth and Living Proof Ministries. As I pondered for a while some ladies came to my heart, so I asked for their permission to submit their names and contact information to the folks at Life Today.

Fast forward a couple of days, and I myself received a phone call from a producer at Life Today, Mr. Steve Baldwin. He interviewed me and several other women and then later that day called and actually offered ME the opportunity to fly to Dallas to appear on the program with Beth! I was a bit shocked and also very excited, all at the same time. Arrangements were made quickly and before I knew it, I was headed to the Atlanta Airport for a whirlwind trip. I pulled out of my driveway on Friday morning October 9th in the wee hours of dawn and returned home the next evening on Saturday about 9:30 PM, about 38 hours of fast-paced delight! Every detail came together with no effort. I was even off work on that Friday so there was nothing but open doors for the wonderful privilege to share my story with Beth on Life Today – of how I discovered the JOY of Living Free. Freedom through salvation in Jesus Christ!

I’ve shared my testimony of coming to know Christ here on my blog before.  Last summer, July 7, 2015 actually marked the 30th anniversary of the day He Called My Name.  So as Beth so clearly stated in our time on the Life Today program, my story wasn’t as messy as hers, but we both desperately needed His Saving Grace.  The link below, “More Than a Good Girl,” is the entire program from that wonderful day:

MORE THAN A GOOD GIRL

Here is also a promotional video that capsules the program:

I am so thankful thankful thankful for God opening these doors and I pray that He will continue to use our stories of salvation in Christ, our testimonies of saving grace – to point people to Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, the Life! Know your story, be willing to share and as the Word of God says in I Peter 3:15 says – be ready.

1 Peter 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts,
and always be ready to give a defense
to everyone who asks you
a reason for the hope that is in you,
with meekness and fear;

John 14:6
Jesus told him,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one can come to the Father
except through me.

Jan-Beth

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TASTING GRACE – A Mentoring Ministry in the Kitchen!

Psalm 34:8
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

Even with all the ways for people to connect through social media nowadays, nothing replaces a face-to-face conversation. And there is something REALLY special about gathering around a good meal at the table. TASTING GRACE wants to do just that! TASTING GRACE is a new ministry of encouragement for women of all ages to connect and share together while learning cooking (and life) skills. My sweet friend Jan Hamil and I are so enjoying this outreach. The book of Titus exhorts the older women to teach the young! We get together and cook and talk and laugh and share. I’ve heard many women say over the years that the “quilting bees” of long ago were good for women to share and connect, and it wasn’t all about the quilting! Women need women like never before in our social media driven society. I’m thankful to have the blessing of sharing my life’s experiences (and love for cooking) with these precious young women. When I was a young pastor’s wife I had the same blessings from older women in my life, but we didn’t know it was mentoring. We were just doing life and it happened along the way, nothing forced or organized. It was just the pure joy of coming alongside another woman to be an encourager. You can’t get that from a computer screen, or texting, or an iPhone chat. I certainly don’t want to take away from modern technology, because I sure do love my convection oven, Kitchen Aid stand mixer, dishwasher, and air conditioning! We wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun at TASTING GRACE if we’d had to chop wood to load the stove before making these biscuits! Can I get a witness? 🙂 But these are GIRLs – Girlfriends In Real Life!

These pictures are from my church’s (Second Baptist)   April 11, 2015 session of TASTING GRACE in one of our big old church kitchens. Learning to make homemade biscuits was on the menu. [Our Winter session included two different soups, cornbread, and a delicious Honeybun Cake.] Our devotional was from John 6 where Jesus talks about the True Bread of Life! We are meeting again in July and October also with much deliciousness and delightful conversations planned.

IMG_3858 IMG_8909 IMG_9391 IMG_9392 IMG_9398 IMG_9400 IMG_9401 IMG_9402

TASTE & SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD!

GRANJAN

 

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Scripture Memory Team Verse 5 – March 1, 2015

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My heart has been stretched with emotional swings this weekend…sorrow from the sadness of a funeral to the joy of a wedding, both events within a few hours yesterday and all with people we’ve known and loved for many years at our home church, Second Baptist, Warner Robins.

We began Saturday morning by attending the funeral of Dirinda Maxwell, a precious 51-year-old woman and friend who lost her battle with cancer. Her service was a true celebration of her life and the confidence that it truly was well with her soul. Dirinda was a cheerful and content woman of faith. Her funeral began with the congregation singing “10,000 Reasons – Bless the Lord,” and ended with “I Will Rise.” Pastor Mike Dorough shared a verse that had blessed Dirinda on her journey the past few months. I immediately knew it was going to be my memory verse for this post today.

Nahum 1:7

The Lord is good,
A stronghold in the day of trouble;
And He knows those who trust in Him.

Here is the link to the Living Proof Ministries post for the Scripture Memory Team, Verse 5 from Beth Moore.

The wedding of Nick and Hannah Prieto was beautiful. Nick is a young worship pastor that we’ve been blessed to know almost his whole life. My husband Gary prayed a blessing over them at the wedding. It brought back so many memories of our wedding. I was a young girl marrying a music man too and I didn’t know much of anything except that I loved him and wanted to spend my life with him. Now almost 38 years later we’ve had a great day at church, he’s still leading worship and he’s still my music man and I still love him with all my heart. God is so good to me.

Love and prayers for the Maxwells and the Prietos tonight. God knows those who trust in Him.  Nahum 1:7

GRANJAN

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Pastor Appreciation at SBCWR!

October is Pastor Appreciation Month! Second Baptist Church Warner Robins is blessed with seven awesome pastors and they are all featured in the video below! As a Pastor’s wife, I say thank you to everyone that had a part in this (Kevin Cher, Lindsey Myers and others).  

I wanted to share this video to introduce them to you! I am married to wonderful worship/executive pastor Gary Morton and he has served at Second Baptist, Warner Robins, Georgia for over 26 years.  WE LOVE OUR CHURCH! Thank you also to Pastors Jim, Mike S, Matthew, Dawson, Jimmy, Mike D, and Ben! You are a blessing to so many folks! Thank you for leading and loving us!

Love & Blessings,

Gran Jan

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