Faith News

European Chorale Ministry 2019: Final Thoughts from Doc

By Dr. R. Irving Van Hooser

Since 2010, the Europe teams have memorized, been challenged by, and sought to apply Paul’s words as penned in II Corinthians 2:7-10: “But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For to God, we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life.  And who is competent for this?  For we are not like the many who market God’s message for profit.  On the contrary, we speak with sincerity in Christ, as from God and before God.”  (HCSB)  This year, as in the past, these verses have proven to be an apt descriptor of our ministry in Europe.

Sunday, in our church, the congregation sang “Grace Alone.”  Although I’ve led that song in worship, and even included it several years ago in our chorale program entitled “Grace Alone . . . Faith Alone,” yesterday for the first time I saw the text as a reflection of the last twenty-six days of ministry in Europe.  While the words stuck in my throat, my heart overflowed with praise to God for the recent reality of this hymn.  At one point, I actually chuckled my praise with the phrase, “Every mountain we will climb,” as I reflected on three days of back-to-back mountain climbing.  Here is the full text:

Ev’ry promise we can make, ev’ry prayer and step of faith,
Ev’ry diff’rence we will make is only by His grace.
Ev’ry mountain we will climb, ev’ry ray of hope we shine,
Ev’ry blessing left behind is only by His grace.

Grace alone which God supplies,
Strength unknown He will provide.
Christ in us, our Cornerstone;
We will go forth in grace alone.

Ev’ry soul we long to reach, ev’ry heart we hope to teach,
Ev’rywhere we share His peace is only by His grace.
Ev’ry loving word we say, ev’ry tear we wipe away,
Ev’ry sorrow turned to praise is only by His grace.

Grace alone which God supplies,
Strength unknown He will provide.
Christ in us, our Cornerstone;
We will go forth in grace alone.

Word and Music: Scott Wesley Brown and Jeff Nelson

© 1998 Maranatha! Music (ASCAP) (admin. By Music Services, Inc.)

ARR. UBP. CCLI #330731

From the inception of the “Encourage One Another” program last summer, to the presentation of the program both in the States and Europe, it was all of God’s grace.   From the application of the program’s truths from the first song to the last both to ourselves and our audiences, it was all of God’s grace.  From the first concert in Breda, Netherlands, to the last in Munich, Germany, it was all of God’s grace and for His glory.

My thanks go to the many donors who made this trip possible, to the prayer warriors who held us up before the throne (especially for the last concert – your prayers were answered), to the missionaries who labored tirelessly in preparation for and during our time there, to the many friends both old and new who attended our concerts, and to the team (my colleagues in ministry) who faithfully kept on going despite the weariness of the flesh.  Moreover, with Paul, I say, “. . . Thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”  Soli Deo Gloria!