Category Archives: Witness

Ordained to Preach

1 Timothy 2:7-8

7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
8 I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

What are you ordained to do? The word ordained here means to put or place. Where have you been put or placed by God. I bet you never even knew you were ordained! Well, think again! God has ordained you as well.

Now Paul mentions three things he was ordained as: a preacher, an apostle and a teacher of the Gentiles. We will get to these later. This shows that we can have several different callings. So now I want you to think about your different callings, your different ordinations! How many are there. Can you think that big.

Let’s start with your family. What are you called to do in your family? If you are the head of the house, whether male or female, you are called to provide for your family (2 Timothy 5:8). You are called to raise your children in the ways of the Lord (Proverbs 22:6). You are called to teach your children as you rise in the morning and sit to eat and walk by the way (Deuteronomy 6:7). If you are a husband you are called to love your wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). You are called to not provoke your children to wrath (Ephesians 6:4) or discourage them (Colossians 3:21). Husbands, you are called to understand your wife and honor her (1 Peter 3:7). Wives, you should respect your husband (Ephesians 5:33). Proverbs 31 lists 17 characteristics you should be following on a daily basis. Children of any age you should honor your father and mother (Exodus 20:12).

Each family member has a different call on their life. Living within this dynamic group so closely knit together can be very rewarding and very trying. Similar personalities usually clash, and similar callings will do the same. We must all recognize the gifts, talents and callings of the other in order for the family to fully function. We must also realize that one person can bring dishonor to the whole family, and the father especially can bring the whole family down (see Joshua 7). Let us all search out the best in each member of our family and edify them in a way that makes them want to share their calling with the world. Your work is never done.

What are you called to in your community? You are called to witness to the lost, to heal the sick, to deliver those that are oppressed and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord (Isaiah 61:1-2). You are called to clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty (Matthew 25:34-40) and do unto others as you would want them to do for you (Leviticus 18:19). You are to work as unto the Lord, not unto man (Colossians 3:23-24). You are to honor and respect those in authority over you (Romans 13:1-10). You are to pray, intercede, supplicate and give thanks for everyone around you and for all those in authority over you (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Your work is never done.

How about in your church? Usually we think this is where our calling lies. Are you on the worship team, the worship leader, the one who runs the overhead projector or puts together the bulletins? Do you teach Sunday School, play the piano, help in the nursery or greet at the door? Are you an usher, a deacon, an elder or the church secretary? Do you help clean, cook, wash dishes or do yard work? Work around a church is never done.

We are all called to many types of ministries. We all have many types of gifts. We are all able to minister in many different ways. Yet we all must function together. Romans 12 talks about many gifts the body of Christ should be endowed with. 1 Corinthians 12 does an excellent job of showing the various gifts and talents the body of Christ is empowered with and explains well why we should work together similar to the way our human body does. Yet even after this description Paul says love is the more excellent way (1 Corinthians 13).

I challenge you this morning or evening or whatever time of day you are reading this, to make a list of the ways you are ordained, or put or placed in a position to serve God. I’ll start. Psalmist, writer, dishwasher, clothes washer, house cleaner, chauffeur, grocery shopper, lay minister, evangelist, worship leader, songwriter, edifier, peacemaker, witness, neighborly, husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, friend– I think that does it fairly well.

Paul lists three things. First he says he’s a preacher. The word used here is one that denotes a person like a town crier in the old days. Someone who goes around the street telling them news items. In Paul’s case, he was heralding the wonderful news about Jesus Christ and the salvation He offered. I can about see Paul walking down the streets of a city saying “Jesus Christ died for your sins” or “Get saved today” or “Be filled with the Spirit of the living God”. The crowd would gather as he walked along reciting various things to get them interested in what he had to say. And by the end of the day he had a crowd to preach to and he would share the wonderful gospel message. He was a master preacher.

Second, he was an apostle. This denotes someone who is sent by another. In Paul’s case, he was sent by Jesus himself when travelling on the road to Damascus. He received a clear calling when his eyes were opened that day in the house of Ananias. Jesus told Ananias Paul would suffer much for the kingdom of God that he had put through such suffering. He was sent by Jesus Christ to deliver the message to the Gentiles. He went to city after city taking the message to the Jews first and they rejected him. The stoned him, the mocked him, they left him for dead. But the Gentiles heard him, repented and were saved. He was a master apostle.

Lastly, he was a teacher of the Gentiles. Who of us can argue with that statement. Paul’s writings are used by every denomination and every church at some time or another. Countless books and blogs and sermons have come from his teachings. He wrote more of the New Testament than any other author. We who are not Jews are all considered Gentiles and he has taught us for centuries. I would guess Paul had no idea what his words would be used almost 2,000 years later to instruct newlyweds, used at communion, to save the lost, to give instruction in righteousness, holiness and Godliness. If you told him then that his words would still be teaching non-believers to accept Christ, he probably would have said “Yeah- right!” He was and still is a master teacher.

Do you have any idea how far your legacy will reach? What have you produced that can last that long? Have you trained up your children to love the Lord, and are they training their children? Perhaps generations down the road they will look back and point to their great-great-great-great-great grandparents as the ones who started them off right. Do you write a blog that teaches Christian principles? Perhaps decades down the road someone will come across one of your writings and give their heart to God. We need to reach out whenever and wherever we can to touch hearts and minds for Jesus Christ.

Lastly, Paul charges us to lift up holy hands and pray without wrath or doubting. I am curious here why he says without wrath. I understand the part about not doubting. We should never pray in doubt, but always in faith. Prayer is our faith put into action! Doubt has no place in prayer. It also has no place in worship and the lifting of our hands. Those who come to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Doubt has no place here. Neither does being angry at God, and perhaps that is what the wrath stands for. We can be angry at God, just don’t pray to Him or praise Him in the middle of that anger. Pray when you have cooled down and have a level head. We do not effectively communicate when we are angry, do we? How can we expect anything from God if we don’t come to Him on His terms? That would be like walking into your bosses office when he was in the middle of a very important meeting and arguing with him that you deserved a better raise then you got. That would not sit well, would it? It might even get you fired! God is not going to fire anyone, but He also will not respond to your prayer if you come presumptuously. It’s easy to come on His terms. Why do so often refuse to do that?

This day might be a day of discovery for you. Perhaps you never thought much about all the various ways you serve God. Maybe you have never looked at your family like I have described. Maybe you have never taken into consideration your role in the lives of those around you. We are all ordained into His service. He has put us where we are for a reason. Find that reason and then do it with all your heart. There is nothing in this world more satisfying than know ing you are walking in the will of God!

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Bear Good Fruit

Matthew 7:15-20

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them

Genetic engineering these days is fascinating. I remember quite a few years ago visiting the Land O’ Lakes Answer Farm in Duncombe, Iowa. I was there to write an article for an Ag Issue our local shopper did every year. When I asked them what they did there, I was amazed. The have a weed plot across the street from the main facility. On this weed plot were several different types of weeds that corn can come up against as it develops. They test various chemicals to see what will work best against that weed to kill it’s growth.

Another thing that fascinated me back in the early 1980’s when I visited with them was how they worked with the corn to make it resistant against pests. Those of you who don’t know farming don’t realize how many different pests there can be out there. These pests attached themselves to the seedling or the stalk and can eat through it and destroy it. There is a constant search for the most resistant seeds.

Genetic engineering in plants has come a long way since then. I’m sure the same strategies are also used in apples and oranges and other crops. They are used for livestock as well. Anything to get a better yield. But no matter how much genetic engineering they do, a corn plant will always yield corn, and apple tree will always produce apples and a cow will always give birth to a cow. You will know them by their fruit!

In the creation account found in Genesis, one of the things that is said about the vegetation is that it has it’s seed inside itself (Gen 1:11). All living things are this way. The seed inside is what is seen as the fruit outside. That seed is what is reproduced by the plant or animal. God put the seed inside so that when anything comes forth from that particular plant or animal, you would know what kind of animal it is from what is produced. It’s a principal we all take for granted and easily overlook.

Jesus says to be careful we do not fall for the deception of false prophets. There are many who are preaching a false gospel in the world today. I know I have a Catholic friend reading who believes the Protestant church is a false doctrine. I would say the same of the Catholic Church. We disagree wholeheartedly and have had lengthy conversation about the subject. I will not get into that argument today. I preach Christ and Him crucified. That is the central message of the Gospel that we must stick to. It is when we veer off the track that we can easily get into false doctrine.
For example, those who say that we are saved by grace, and once we are saved we can go our merry way and not follow Christ are preaching false doctrine. Christ tells us we must follow His commands to get to heaven (this is part of the next lesson). The woman taken in adultery had her sins forgiven, but Jesus also told her to go and sin no more (John 8:11). We cannot accept Christ and ask Him for forgiveness only to pick up those sins again. Once He cleanses us, we must stay cleansed. Philippians 2:12 tells us we must “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” God helps us along the way but we have an obligation to Him to walk in the Light as He is in the Light (1 John 1:7). There is nowhere that the Bible says this is optional.

There are others who say if you are not baptized by immersion your will not go to heaven. They say that your salvation is not complete until that baptism takes place. This is false doctrine. If that is true, than they are also saying that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was not enough to save you. I’m here to tell you that His sacrifice is enough. He gave His life so you could be saved. He did not say you had to be baptized as well.

There are many other preachers out there who bear the testimony of false prophets. Anyone who says you do not have to follow Christ’s teaching is a false prophet. Anyone who says the Bible is antiquated and we have to take it with a grain of salt is a false prophet. I hear there is a new movie coming out named “Corpus Christi” in which Christ and His disciples are pictured as homosexuals. False prophets for sure. The New Apostolic Reformation is one to really be careful of and stay away from. There are many false teaching in this church that closely mimic truth.

Jesus said we shall know false teachers by their fruit. The problem we have today is that many false doctrines so closely mimic the truth, a lot of the fruit looks real good to eat of. The NAR is a great example. Many of these churches are thriving and growing even though they teach so many things contrary to scripture. Their fruit looks good. Many churches that have been walking in the truth for years are falling for the deception. These are perilous times. Jesus said in the last days even many of the elect will be deceived (Matt 24:24). So how do we know?

You shall know them by their fruits. If what they are saying glorifies God and the Word of God, that is good fruit. If they are preaching Christ crucified as the way to heaven, that is good fruit. If they are preaching the resurrection as a way to eternal life, that is good fruit. If the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) is evidence in their lives that is good fruit. If they adhere to the tenants of scripture and don’t make up their own gospel, that is good fruit.

Those who are bearing false witness and putting forth bad fruit will eventually meet with judgment. Christ says they will be hewn down and cast into the fire. I believe that he means what He says. Anyone who says there is no hell, and God will not send anyone to hell is a false prophet. Christ is pretty clear here and in many other places where he spoke of the torments of hell. When we deny there is a hell, that is false teaching because it does not line up with what Christ taught.

Anyone who says you can be a part of the kingdom of heaven without being born again is a false prophet. Jesus was very emphatic. He said “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” (John 3:3). That sounds pretty straightforward to me! How can we believe anything else? Anything else goes against what Jesus said and is false teaching. The fruit we must look for is if it lines up with what Jesus said. He said He is the way. The Baptist church is not the way. The Mormon church is not the way. The Catholic church is not the way. Your church is not the way, nor is your denomination. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the father except by Him (John 14:6). That is what He said and that is truth. Anything that says different is false teaching and we must beware.

The last part of this post is just as important. Make sure your fruit is good fruit. Make sure you are teaching and preaching the things that Christ did and that His Word still does today. Make sure you are doing good works, saying things that minister grace and thinking on those things that are good. Make sure you are walking in the Holy Spirit every day, seeking His guidance. The previous two and a half chapters tell us what good fruit is. Be fruitful!

The Narrow Gate

Matthew 7:13-14

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

It saddens me to see what is going on in the church as a whole these days, and I think it saddens God as well. When the church was established, a standard was set by our Lord Jesus Christ that we live above the world, yet in the world. That we should turn our backs from the worlds ways and follow Him, even if it means turning away from our family and friends (Luke 9:23, Matthew 10:38). We are to come out from among them and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17). We are to put away the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life because they are not of God (1 John 2:16).

Let’s start with one of the most glaring of the attacks against the church in our times: the LBGTQ (hope I didn’t miss a letter) community. Churches are folding left and right to this group of people. This community is bent on having to be accepted as they are, no questions asked, in every capacity the church has to offer. Ordained, youth leaders, deacons, marriage counselors – every area. They are determined to make same sex marriage be OK and demand it be performed by anyone they might decide to ask. They are determined to make Christians go against their moral foundation to serve them, even if they can get the service easily somewhere else. It is eroding the very fabric of our society.

The bible is clear on what the narrow gate is here. The narrow gate is traditional marriage between a man and a woman. The narrow gate is cleaving to one another for a lifetime. The narrow gate is to love one another through good times and bad, sickness and health, richer or poorer, until death do we part. The narrow gate leads to life.

The wide gate is just give up because we don’t love each other anymore. The wide gate is marry anyone you like, no matter what sex they are. The wide gate is fool around and swing with as many as you want. The wide gate is the world and it leads to destruction. It destroys lives of the parents, lives of the children and the fabric of our society. More and more you see kids with two sets of parents. More and more you see children to apart by a world that has no sound foundation. The church has as many divorces as the world outside. Why? This should not be so – not by a long shot. The wide gate is everywhere. The wide gate leads to destruction

Then there is the acceptance of these individuals in the LBGTQ community. Many denominations have decided they are due every right and privilege that anyone else has. The Methodist church is riddled with this philosophy, and their churches are falling left and right. Lawsuits are brought against churches, schools and businesses who don’t fall to their demands, and the3y are being won. Our legal system has even said they are OK.

The narrow gate is that God created make and female (Gen 1:27). There are no more than two sexes, and the difference can be seen anatomically. God did that so there would be no doubt which was which. The narrow gate leads to life.

The wide gate is be whoever you want to be and we will make sure this world will give you all it’s benefits. The wide gate is to not let parents talk to their children about being male and female as they were born, but to let them go the way they want to and just grin and bear. The wide gate is to turn aside and do nothing, say nothing and hear nothing as we slowly drift from the standard that our society has believed for it’s entire existence. The wide gate leads to destruction.

Then there is the question of creationism vs evolution. Evolution was theorized in in 1859 in Charles Darwin’s Book “The Origin of the Species.” The scientific community latched onto this idea because it could explain God out of the picture – they loved it. Evolution says that man evolved over millions years from protozoa in the ocean. He was the first to speculate the age of the earth was that long. In the 1927 the Big Bang Theory stated that the universe came out of one big simultaneous event, something Augustine said back in the 4th century. Augustine said it was God. Now the scientific community had to take one more stab at God. Taking Genesis out of the picture by saying it is a false account also takes God out of the picture of being in charge. Creation says the earth is 13.7 million years old

The narrow gate says God created the Heaven’s and the Earth (Gen 1:1) out of nothing, in essence a Big Bag. The narrow gate says the earth is 6,000 years old as the Bible says. The narrow gate says man was created individual, as were the animals and the plants. The narrow gate says that God did it all in six days. The narrow gate says we have dominion over all the earth. The narrow gate says the Light came before the Sun and the Moon. The Light is Jesus and He was here from the beginning. The narrow gate leads to life.

The wide gate says we are just descended from apes. The wide gate says we are no better than the plants and animals, and that we should make sure they are protected above all else. The wide gate says we are not valuable. The wide gate says that man is capable of destroying what God created. The wide gate says that Genesis just cannot be taken as truth, we must believe man’s wisdom and not God’s The wide gate deems man’s wisdom to be higher than God’s in all things. The wide gate leads to destruction.

The last I will mention is morality. What is moral? What is just? What is right and what is wrong? Answers to these questions are challenged everyday by man. They are challenged everyday by a society that moves farther and farther away from any standard of living. They are deteriorating at a rapid rate around the world.

The narrow gate says that God has a standard. That standard is the Ten Commandments. Then there is the Golden Rule on top of that. If we could love by these two rules, all other rules would be unnecessary. The narrow gate says God’s ways are moral and right. The narrow gate says God executes judgment. The narrow gate leads to life.

The wide gate says that anything goes. The wide gate says that we do not have to be oral by any standard that already exists. We can make the standard as we go, The wide gate says whatever you think is right and Ok is right for you. The wide gate has no foundation in any kind of truth. The narrow gate leads to destruction

These are just a few things we have to consider. There are many more. What it boils down to is whether we believe the Word of God or not. Today, man is exalting his wisdom above Gods wisdom. In our schools our children are taught man’s wisdom, not God’s. It is sad and it is so wrong. As we trust more and more in man’s wisdom in our schools and our churches, more and more people will head to the wide gate.

Which gate are you headed toward? Are you walking in the wisdom of this world You are headed to the wide gate. Are you accepting this worlds idea of moral behavior? You are walking toward the wide gate. Are you discounting the truths of the Bible for what man says happened all those years ago? You are walking toward the wide gate.
Are you trusting in the Lord and His Word for the wisdom you walk in? You are walking toward the narrow gate. Are you walking in the morality God set forth in His word? You are walking toward the narrow gate. Are you a believer in the Genesis account and all the truths delivered there? You are walking toward the narrow gate.

And, last but most important. Are you a born again, Spirit filled, bible reading, praying and worshiping Christian, walking in the word and doing everything you can to obey it’s precepts? Have you accepted the atoning blood of Christ as your sacrifice for sin? Have you asked God to forgive your sins and have you repented and left them behind you? Are you a witness to His mercy and grace with all you come in contact with? Are you eagerly awaiting His return, knowing He could come any moment? You are walking toward the narrow gate!

The wide gate leads to destruction. The narrow gate leads to life.

New Web Site coming online

I would like your help, my friends.  I am developing a new web site that will be a hub for all the various things God has me doing these days, and there are a lot.  This site link to the following online tools that I have been using:

This blog – Bible teachings will continue (Currently the Sermon on the Mount)

“The Psalmist” (God inspired poetry)

“The A.S.K.Principle” web site – https://theaskprinciple.com – my new book web site where the book can be purchased from me

My YouTube channel – Containing many VERY rough clips of choruses and songs I have written plus my cancer testimony video.  I am also hoping to do some teaching on this channel as well.

My Facebook page – also called the Psalmist – this is  basically a mirror site to The Psalmist on WordPress.

This new site is petegardner.net

This site will carry reblogs from my current online presence plus much original content you will not see anywhere else from me.  God is moving me further into this writing world.  This is not intended to be another WordPress site that you will follow.  This is more a pure web site. You will be able to comment and like things posted here. My hope is you will visit, leave comments as you do, and give me feedback as the site is developing.  We have some things in place and a lot more to do.  Please stop by!

Thank you.  You have no idea how much I appreciate all of you!

Pete

Walk With Him

Wil you walk with Jesus today?  Will you allow Him to guide your steps?  These two questions should be in our minds all the time.  I have a tendancy to put me first and do the things I want to do.  It is built into my human nature.  As each day begins I have choices to make.  They are the same everyday.  What will I wear?  Does my face look presentable?  What will I have for breakfast?  What will my atittude be?  Hundreds of choices to make, and I make them rapidly and often with barely a thought. Then I am on my way in our pursuit of a good day.  I hope for the best results from decisions I have made and will make.  These days, I am working from home.   I must allow time for every task that I have to do.  There is breakfastm exercise, blogs, map work, housework, reading, correspondence, groceries…the list goes on and on.  All decisions I must make.

In the middle of all these decisions, I need to oout God!  Yes, even the groceries.  I wan to buy healthyy things so I need His guidance.  I want to be frugal, so I need His guidance.  I want an opportuity to witness in the store, so I need His Holy Spirit and His wisdom.  I want to help someone, so I need His discernment.  I want to walk worthy, so I need His guidance.  There is nothing I do that does not need Him there, walking alongside, helping me.

In order to have His presence with me all the time, I must keep my mind on Him.  Prayer and praise are key to my existence and fellowship withe Jesus.  Meditating on His word is my inspiration.  I can allways know He is there. because His word tells me He is (Deut 31:6).  I can aways know He willl guide my path, because His word tells me so (Prov 3:6).  I can always know hHe will light the way, because His word is a lamp (Psalm 119:105).  Wherever I go, He is there (Psalm 139:7-12).

So I will determine each day to walk with Him.  To talk with Him.  To tell Him I am His own.  I know He will be there for me.  And when I do this I can walk in victory no matter what storm may come or what obstacle comes before me.

How about you?

Cancer Recovery Update

It has been a couple months since I updated you all on my progress.  As I said in the last update, I am now in remission – there is no sign of any Myeloma cells in my body and the doctor said if I was thoroughly examined, the doctor would not know I ever had Myeloma.  God has wiped out the enemy and made me new!  What an awesome God we serve!

I am still undergoing maintenance chemo therapy, and will be until October of 2018.  As  a result, my immune system is still shot and I have to wear a mask whenever I am outside or in public places.  I also still have neuropathy in both my feet and the outside parts of my hands.  I have no pain with the neuropathy, (Praise the Lord – most people do!) Just a numbness in the affected areas.  Of course, I am believing God for a complete healing in that area as well, while the doctors say most likely not.

Through this entire bout with cancer (diagnosed in March of 2016) I have been saying the same thing – “God has been merciful to me”.  I see His mercy everywhere I turn.  From getting the diagnosis before my health went bad or I had any pain, to God restoring my arm to full use (I lost use of my right arm and no one could explain why), to an amazing wife who has been the best caregiver in the world. Mercy has been hovering over me every day.

Why did God allow this in my life?  To draw me closer to Himself, and it worked tremendously!  Through the poems I have written (over 1,000) and my studies through Philippians, Ephesians, the Psalms and now James it has been an amazing journey.  I was lackadaisical in my faith and devotional time before this.  Now I am doing a daily bible study with a friend and I am studying James and other scriptures every day.  I have gotten involved in this wonderful community on WordPress and am learning from all of your posts.  So many of you have become good friends.  It is incredible what God has done in my life because I have had the time to reflect more on Him.

I am thankful for this time He has given me – even though it involved allowing cancer into my life.  I am thankful for all of you who encourage me and uplift me with your comments and your posts.  I am thankful that I hear the voice of God within me more clearly than I ever have in my life.  He has been so good, and so merciful to me.

If you are going through a hard time, perhaps it’s even cancer, know that God wants you to turn to Him through this difficulty and draw you closer.  Closer than you’ve ever been to Him.  Listen for His voice, and He will speak to you and tell you how much He loves you.  Follow Him and He will lead you out of the valley you are in.  He is right there with you, even if you can’t see Him, feel Him or hear Him.  Sometimes God works the most when He is quiet.  Be patient and allow God to perfect you during this time.   He knows the plans He has for you, and He never fails! He is always doing everything for you good, even if you can’t see that.  Trust Him.  Don’t depend on your own understating.  See Him in all things. He will lead you on the right path.

Be blessed

 

 

 

Upcoming Event!

On Wednesday, November 8th at 1:00 pm Central Time I will be on a local Christian radio station sharing my testimony about the cancer battle I have been going through. The interview was already tapped at my home, and I’m sure you would enjoy it if you can join us. I believe the whole interview will fit into an hour time slot, even though the actual interview is only about 25 minutes, in 4 parts.

You can hear the broadcast where you are by going to https://kinshipradio.org and clicking on the “Listen Live Icon”.   I hope many will be able to listen in!  If you have friends or loved ones who are battling cancer, invite them to listen as well!