Each month the men in the congregation pair up and each pair takes a message to a few other families. This program, called Home Teaching, is a wonderful program that brings a congregation together.
This month’s message is about Service. The way of the world today is not focused on the principle of service. It’s an “every man for himself” type of competition. Most are focused on their own needs instead of the needs of others. From my own experience, when I look for opportunities to serve each day, and actually accept the opportunities when they are placed before me, I feel much happier.
Service is church in action. Everyone is benefited by service. There is a special spirit that comes into your life when you strive to help others. It’s more than just giving money to a charity. It’s getting your hands dirty; it’s going out of your way, going above and beyond.
Jesus was the perfect example of service. As President Eyring teaches in this month’s message, “Jesus went about teach His gospel and doing good (see Acts 10:38). He healed the sick. He raised the dead. With His power He fed thousands when they were hungry and without food (see Matthew 14:14-24; John 6:2-13). One of the most powerful teachings on service from the Savior was this –
“But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” – Matthew 23:10-11
Remember, there are two sides to service, the giver and the receiver. The hardest part for me is accepting service. But how can anyone feel the joy of service if no one will let them serve?
Service leads to happiness. It’s a guarantee. Seek opportunities to serve every day, and allow others to serve you, even if you’ve never met. It’s worth it.
“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” – Mosiah 2:17 (Book of Mormon)
*Photo courtesy of lds.org.
Throughout junior high and high school I was lost in the choir room. I. Loved. Choir. Singing in the choir, especially in high school, gave me a sense of belonging somewhere. I was surrounded by good people, who became my best friends, and four years of instruction from one of the best choir teachers in the world. I learned about life, emotion, expression, hard work, sacrifice, success, and love. Most importantly, I learned about myself. I learned that music is tangible. If you let music surround you, you can feel it so much that you may as well reach out in front of you and grab it.
As I’m sure is true with other ensembles, when the group is unified, and not just in tune, but unified in their emotion and expression, lost in the music, there happens a “musical moment.” The standard of this equation is difficult to meet. Every member of the group needs to be completely selfless, especially in choir. But when the equation is met, magic happens.
Finding words to describe the feeling of sharing a musical moment with a select group of other talented musicians is hardly possible.
This musical moment is not solely exclusive to the performers. The audience has every right to be apart of the experience. This is my favorite part of performing. For even just a moment, both the audience and the performers are completely surrounded by the music, captivated by its energy, and momentarily lost in the sound.
In my opinion, music has the power to take us out of this world. When we become surrounded by the music in these musical moments, we are closer to God, even for just a moment.
These are special experiences, little gems of life that are unforgettable. These moments that I experienced with my high school choir now seven years ago still have an affect on me. These are moments I look forward to when I listen to music and perform, and hope that people who may not now understand, will someday understand.
“Music is well said to be the speech of angels; in fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine. It brings us near to the infinite.” – Thomas Carlyle
Photo ~ Mark Mabry
What do you know about True Love? Today is Valentines Day. All of the gentlemen in the world are making preparations for a romantic evening, and the girls are anxiously waiting to be romanced. Of course, this holiday is extremely commercial, but there is a principle present, and if you stop and think about it for a few seconds, you’ll discover it.
Why would anyone go to so much trouble to make someone else happy, if only for one day? Because, from a man’s perspective, he loves her. He wants to see her face when she walks home to see a rose on the table with her favorite candy, and well thought out love note. He wants her to feel special as she deserves to feel so every day. He wants her to know that she matters to him. That she is everything. That without her, he is nothing.
So whether you are planning a romantic evening, or it’s just another night tonight, don’t forget…there is another special kind of Love out there. Love that lasts forever. Love that has no comparison. Love that is yours. Love that is and should be the foundation of all love shared by two people. The giver of such love went through much more trouble than all the men in the world combined on every Valentines Day since its inception. Christ’s infinite love should be the example by which we love those whom we spend our Valentines Days with.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” –John 15:13
I am proud to say that I am a student at BYU-Idaho, the school that is currently getting the media’s attention for a video released as a public service announcement to its students a couple of weeks ago. The following video is a warning against the harmful effects of pornography*.
Though dramatic, the video makes its point clear.
Those unfamiliar with the school should note that students choose when they come to school here, and sign their names to it, that they will live the Honor Code. This code of conduct is in accordance with the standards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The purpose of it is to help students live a higher standard, to be better people, and to stand out when they enter the world. Those who violate the Honor Code are subject to disciplinary action.
Roommates are encouraged to lovingly help each other maintain such a standard of living. When that standard is maintained in a home, there is a noticeable change in the spirit and atmosphere of that home. It is a more desirable place to be. Therein exists light.
Shouldn’t young people who work so hard to live such high standards, to be good, be commended for their efforts, and not ridiculed? Shouldn’t a school be honored for not only educating its students about the different subjects of our world, but also for educating them about life?
This message from the Church is not new. The following video illustrates the impact that pornography can have on the family.
The family is the most important unit in our society. It is an eternal unit. There exists among us an adversary who seeks to destroy families in any way possible. Though these videos depict men as the victims, women are also subject to the temptations of pornography in its many forms.
The fight against temptation is a battle. It has been since the beginning. We as human beings are naturally subject to temptation. Why not help and encourage each other to avoid such things, and instead of letting negative things into our lives, reach out and make a positive difference in the world. No one should be left behind.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to an: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” -1 Corinthians 10:13
*Note that I mention the video is about pornography, and not any acts of self-pleasure, as the media suggests in their headlines. The consequent acts are a common effect of pornography, whereas pornography is the source and the actual topic of the video.
To anyone struggling with an addiction to pornography, please feel free to visit this site for help.
UPDATE- President Clark interviewed about the video. A great interview to read.
A few months ago, I wrote a post-entitled “Why I Go to Church Every Sunday.” This could be viewed as a follow up or a relatable post.
For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, worshipping God in one of over 140 temples that currently dot the earth is quite different than the weekly general Sunday services.
Temples are not a new concept. Since the beginning when Adam built an altar to offer sacrifice to the Lord, man has been building temples as a conduit between heaven and earth. Moses and the children of Israel built a portable tabernacle during their journey in the wilderness. Solomon built a temple also. Each served as a direct link to God. Even Jesus from a young age, and throughout his mortal ministry was found in the temple.
The temple of God is a very special, sacred, and most of all, holy place. It is a place where the world can be forgotten. In fact, nothing going on in the outside world matters in these buildings. Before temples are officially dedicated for service, they are open for public tours. After that, only members in good standing may attend temple services.
Within the walls of the temple, members receive higher ordinances and education with eternal significance, the most significant of these ordinances/ceremonies being the sealing, or marriage. In the church, we believe that a marriage in the temple is a bond for eternity, and not just “until death do you part.”
Once an individual has received his/her ordinances personally, they can then do the same ordinances in behalf of their ancestors. Vicarious work for the dead was a doctrine restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith in the early days of the Church. It was practiced anciently, and it is practiced today.
I go to the temple for many reasons. Firstly, the temple offers peace. Every time I walk in to one of the temples, a great feeling of peace fills me. In the temple, I feel closer to God than anywhere else. In the temple, I learn about who I am in relation to my Father in heaven, and more about His plan for the eternal destiny of His children. Things of eternity are brought into a much clearer perspective. Most importantly, the temple links my family together.
Having not grown up in the Church, my family is not sealed together. My wife and I were married in the temple though, making our marriage relationship eternally bound in the next life. I’m thankful for that special gift and blessing, and look forward to the day when my entire family is a part of such a blessing.
For those who have never been to a temple, I invite you to find the temple nearest you. All are welcome to walk the grounds, and even sit in the foyer of the building. So take advantage, and experience the powerfully spiritual atmosphere that exists there. It’s real. It’s God.
“…I have hallowed this house, which thou has built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.” – 1 Kings 9:3
Please feel free to visit my Ask a Question page if you have any questions about the temple, or the Church in general. I would be happy to answer them.