Articles for Church Newsletter


Music Notes - Spring 2021

March 1, 2021

Around each New Year's Eve, many people make a couple of resolutions for the coming new year. I, too, did exactly that this year. Even though there are plenty of possibilities that I can't even remember, some of them forgotten not long after, it is much better to start the year with new plans rather than to start without any plans.

First, for my physical health, I bought two things: golf clubs and an indoor exercise bike. During the wintertime, the best thing I can do for golfing inside is to work on putting, but the bike gives me a great chance to keep myself in good shape regardless of the weather outside. On the other hand, for my mental health, I started learning and playing chess. I should mention that this was attempted after watching the successful Netflix drama series The Queen's Gambit. Thanks to an online website for chess lovers, I can also enjoy learning and playing with people from around the world.

But what about my spiritual growth? I encouraged myself to go back to my old routine, starting each day reading devotions using Our Daily Bread and reading scriptures designated for each day. Also, I resumed working on some books related to the subjects of theology, worship, and music that I got from the worship symposium at Calvin University and from Pastor Steve.

Although the first few weeks of this new year were going well with my plans, I was challenged by a new message while reading a devotion in the morning. Its title was "Pruned to Thrive," based on the verse "Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful" (John 15:2). It struck me that doing and finding some new activities aren't the only things we can do for our growth. Cleaning up and removing unhealthy or bad habits can be an even more useful way to improve our lives and reach our goals.

During the Lenten season, many people try to give up plenty of things that they usually love and enjoy. All those that practice this can be considered to be "fasting" during this period of time. There are various ways we can try, but the ultimate goal of sacrifice and self-discipline will be the same: We want to approach God one step closer and hear his voice. If we don't offer our efforts to come closer to him, we cannot follow and go with God's guidance. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." This was in reply to Thomas, who said, "We do not know where you are going" (John 14:5-6).

During this Lenten season, we again need to recall how Jesus suffered and sacrificed himself for our sins and how he was resurrected to save us and be with us.

But we should also remember that we should strive to get rid of many things that keep us from learning and listening to God's voice and Jesus' teaching. We should keep praying to God for the wisdom and strength to recognize these obstacles and keep them away from us with God's help.


 

Music Notes - Winter 2020

December 8, 2020

About a week after election day, the weather in Michigan was like early spring, sunny with temperatures sometimes over 70 degrees. During my first year as an international student in Michigan in 1997, I experienced this strange weather in early November. One of my friends told me it's called "Indian Summer."  I thought this was God's great gift at the beginning of a harsh and gloomy winter in Michigan.  

I hope we can have this kind of relief moment when encounter difficult times in our lives ...


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Music Notes- Fall 2020

September 16, 2020

Time flies and the end of summer suddenly came up to us. Even with an unclear forecast for our choir year schedule, I decided to clean up our choir room and choir members' folders. While emptying their folders, I could see what happened in the middle of March this year. Most folders have the same titles of music from months ago, and it reminded me that our choir had to stop singing for service without enough time for warning. They didn't have time to return their music. It looked like a scene...


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Music Notes - Summer 2020

May 8, 2020

Proverbs 16:9 (New International Version) 
In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.  

Ever since the coronavirus crisis struck the United States in mid-March, the first impression I had felt was that all the plans we set up wouldn't be possible without God's permission. Even before this unprecedented situation, it was true that we prayed for good weather and other routine factors for every event we planned and for successful results. But now, with an inte...

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Music Notes - August 2019

September 11, 2019

It has been half a year since I started serving as director of music ministries at Central. I have been happy with all the people in our musical groups and the congregation of Central Reformed Church as a whole. I have enjoyed the excellent musicians in this area too. With these wonderful relationships, I started my musical activities smoothly, with meaningful and graceful rehearsals and services.

During summer time, our musical offerings during services have been fruitful with solo and e...


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Newsletter for Chidren at Central

January 19, 2019

Dear Central Families with Children, 

I started music time with little children on Sunday, January 13th ( from 11:30 a.m. to noon) and it will continue for most Sundays from now on.  For the 3rd to 5th grade group of children (456er Stargazers), Sunday, Feb 3rd is the first day to have fun with me from 11:00 to 11:25 a.m. after service.  

My plan for each different age group of children will be slightly different. For the younger group of children, music time with me is more like having f...


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Take Note - December 2018

December 1, 2018

For Christmas Music Sunday in 2011, our Sanctuary Choir sang two choir pieces written by D. Buxtehude and J.S. Bach. These great composers are important musicians to me for two reasons. J.S. Bach is the greatest composer in western music history, as many people may agree, and Buxtehude may be the most important one Bach learned a lot from. He once traveled 300 miles to listen to Buxtehude’s music on a couple of weeks of vacation and stayed there for some months instead! This was very unusua...


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Take Note - November 2018

November 8, 2018

When I played for funeral services, sometimes I heard Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 read, which is about a time for everything. Whenever I listened to these verses, it let me think about where I stand at the moment, and it gave me a kind of mysterious comfort. According to this message, we don’t have to be too sad and hopeless when we are in trouble. On the other hand, we should not be arrogant when we are successful.

When I started serving First Presbyterian Church in 2011, I was in a difficult tim...


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Take Note - October 2018

September 29, 2018

Music is around us all the time. We celebrate our birthdays with music and send our people to heaven with music. We sing and play instruments when we are happy and we do the same thing when we are sad. God wants us to praise Him with music and God wants to communicate with us through music as well.

While writing this article, I am looking forward to Music Dedication Sunday on September 23. Our Celebration Ringers and Sanctuary Choir will play and sing during service. We will also introduce ...


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Take Note - September 2018

August 30, 2018

While letting a fun summer go, another fruitful autumn is ahead of us! Are we ready to enjoy this beginning of the new church year?

Our first choir rehearsal will be on Wednesday, September 5. I am in the middle of selecting music for both Celebration and Sanctuary Choirs. Planning is a time-consuming job, but it’s a most happy and imagination-filled job for me. Actually, the good results of our music ministry usually starts with this planning process. Without careful and sincere planning...


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