Friday, November 6, 2015

Golden Words...

I can almost imagine golden apples growing from the tree in the picture above.....which reminds me of a Proverb:  "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." (Prov. 25.11)

We'd like to share some "fitly spoken" words that have lifted our spirits recently!

"I just wanted to take a minute and share how FBS has ministered to me. I just turned 17 and am a senior in high school.  For as long as I can remember, my family has had conservative music standards.  A while back, I was feeling discouraged because I  felt like I had exhausted my family’s list of "check-able" music.  Last October, your group came and performed for our harvest banquet.  Right away I knew I had found my new "go-to" album.  Your music is fresh and is still conservative!!  One can easily hear your passion through just the expressiveness of your voices.  I know you guys probably get encouraging messages all the time, but I just wanted to join the rage!  Thank you!!!" 

And one more... 

"I heartily recommend FBS to any church or group to host for a concert or to purchase their music.  In this day it can be difficult to find a variety of conservative music.  FBS is not “stuck in a rut” (i.e. all their music sounds the same).  They work with a variety of writers and arrangers to produce diverse songs that are Christ honoring and spiritually minded.  These songs are not written in a conservatory, but rather produced in the trenches.  All the collaborators are in full time ministry.  [Their songs are] more of a spiritual diary that we all can identify with."  – Music Director, Wisconsin

I'm not much of a philosophizer (.....more of the flighty sort, actually), but when I read these reviews I thought, "Yes!  Precisely!  They are catching on to what we hope is a hallmark of our music ministry -- fresh, real, alive......yet still conservative!"  What a joy to read these encouragements!  Thanks to these two, and others, who've taken a moment to pen these "apples of gold" for us!

To read more recommendations & testimonials, 
visit our website.

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Change of Plans for the BETTER!

A few weeks ago, we learned that the Composer Symposium that we had attended last year and registered for for this fall, had been cancelled.  Yet, no sooner did we find out the news than we heard Mr. Joseph Martin would attempt to save the opportunity, replacing it with an even more personal and customized time of learning at his own home.  Score!  With a smaller pool of about 5-6 people (including Heidi and I), we are eager to get more one on one time with 3 or 4 men who have made their mark in the sacred music industry.  We should also have ample opportunity to present the music we have written since last year's symposium, with the potential of publication (the song "Let My Heart Be Quiet" is currently being prepared for publication in Hal Leonard's spring release 2016 -- an opportunity that largely came about from our private lesson with Joe last year).  God has been so gracious in allowing these opportunities!    

Sunday, August 9, 2015

2015 & 2016 Upcoming Travels

We are excited at the line-up of churches in our 2015 - 2016 schedule so far!  Would love to see YOU if you are in the area!

Ladies Quartet (Heidi, Heather, Hannah & Stacy)
August 28  (Fri. PM)  Emmanuel Baptist Church, Naperville, IL 
August 30  (Sun. AM)  Lifeway Baptist Church, Ellettsville, IN
August 30  (Sun. PM)  Grace Baptist Church, Muncie, IN

Ladies Quartet (Heather, Christa, Rachel & Sophie)
October 7  (Wed. PM)  Faith Baptist Church, Waukesha, WI 
October 8-9  (Th-Fr)  MACS & WACS Educator’s Conference, Wisconsin Dells, WI
October 9  (Fri. PM)  Tomah Baptist Church, Tomah, WI

Family Tour (Fullers & Schopfs)
October 16  (Fri. PM)  Victory Baptist Church, Kokomo, IN 
October 17  (Sat. PM)  Bethel Baptist Church, Georgetown, IL
October 18  (Sun. AM)  Colonial Hills Baptist Church, Indianapolis, IN
October 18  (Sun. PM)  Crosspointe Baptist Church, Indianapolis, IN
October 20  (Tues. PM)  Franklin Road Baptist Church, Indianapolis, IN
October 21  (Wed. PM) Thompson Road Baptist Church, Indianapolis, IN
October 22  (Thurs. PM)  First Baptist Church, Rockford, IL
October 23  (Fri. PM)  First Baptist Church, Palos Hills, IL

Florida Weekend Tour
March 18 (Fri. PM) Maranatha Baptist Church, Sebring, FL
March 19 (Sat.) Sun Coast Baptist Church, New Port Richey, FL
March 20 (Sun. AM) Woodbridge Baptist Church, Wildwood, FL
March 20 (Sun. PM) Open Bible Baptist Church, Orange City, FL

Ladies Quartet Tour
April 8 (Fri.)  plans in progress
April 9 (Sat. PM) Southport Baptist Church, Kenosha, WI

April 10 (Sun. AM) Berean Baptist Church, Beloit, WI
April 10 (Sun. PM) East Delavan Baptist Church, Delavan, WI
April 11 (Mon. PM) OPEN
April 12 (Tues.) Heritage Baptist Church, Woodstock, IL
April 13 (Wed.) Brookside Baptist Church, Brookfield, WI
April 14 (Thurs.) OPEN
April 15 (Fri.) Minnesota Baptist Association Ladies Retreat
April 16 (Sat.) 
Minnesota Baptist Association Ladies Retreat
April 17 (Sun. AM) Faith Baptist Church, LaCrosse, WI
April 17 (Sun. PM)  Calvary Baptist Church, Rochester, MN

Washington State Mini-Tour (Schopfs & Schopfs)
April 27 (Wed.) Grace Baptist Church, Kennewick, WA
April 28-30 (Thurs.-Sat.) Christian Heritage Conference, Redmond, WA
April 30 (Sat. PM) Monroe Baptist Church, Monroe, WA
May 1 (Sun. AM) First Baptist Church, Bainbridge Island, WA
May 1 (Sun. 6PM) Manchester Community Church, Port Orchard, WA
May 2 (Mon. PM) OPEN

Friday, July 24, 2015

"A Bit of My Heart" Ministry Update.....Keep Swimming!

So, we sit down at dinner the other night and my husband breaks out in this soliloquy by T.C. Hamlet:
Two frogs fell into a can of cream
Or so I've heard it told.
The sides of the can were shiny and steep,
The cream was deep and cold.
“Oh, what's the use!” croaked number one.
“Tis fate, no help's around.
Good-by, my friend!
Good-bye, sad world!”
And weeping still, he drowned.
But number two, of sterner stuff,
Dog-paddled in surprise.
The while he wiped his creamy face,
And dried his creamy eyes.
“I'll swim awhile at least,” he said,
Or so I've heard he said;
“It really wouldn't help the world,
If one more frog were dead.”
An hour or two he kicked and swam,
Not once he stopped to mutter,
But kicked and kicked and swam and kicked,
Then hopped out, via butter!
Perseverance. An elusive quality to me growing up. Did I tell you I hate to exercise? Really, exertion in any form. (Oh, and I really like donuts.) Not exactly the “sterner stuff” sort like Froggie #2.
Yet, a strange feeling of unwavering perseverance has welled up within me with the development of Forever Be Sure. This opportunity to “give expression” musically to the thoughts and feelings of a maturing, God-loving, Scripture-saturated believer is becoming one of my greatest joys. To be sure, there's been lots of “kicking and swimming.” Yet at each slump, God has sent timely encouragement that keeps confirming this ministry as one among other foreordained “good works” in God's good purpose (Ephesians 2:10). So we keep swimming! God's grace has abounded toward me as keeping this passion in check during this very busy season of motherhood often pushes me oh so close to Himself! 
May I share a few FBS highlights on the horizon?
First off, we are so eager to complete our new CD entitled, “Even There.” The line up is 5 re-vamped songs from our discontinued Anchor CD and 10 brand new ones! Why discontinue our first 2 CDs? Once we finally took full ownership of the CD recording & engineering process (after album #3), we felt our CDs made a significant leap in quality. With top-notch software, we are now able to record and edit in a way that produces the best sound for a group that doesn't travel full-time together and can't afford a live orchestra. Though we still have much to learn, we are very grateful for progress! So we keep swimming!
Another vital part of our growth as composers has been the education Heidi and I received last fall at the Composer Symposium in Austin, Texas. I can't tell you how much that has shaped our song writing going forward! We have registered again for this Fall and are eager to build upon the relationships we've made with very influential people in the publishing world.
Speaking of publishing, I am thrilled announce that my song, “Let My Heart Be Quiet” is scheduled to be published next Spring through Shawnee Press! For those who are unfamiliar, Shawnee Press is one of the largest publishers of choral and instrumental music in the world.  Every choir director who subscribes to the Shawnee Press's choral club should receive my printed song in their hands next Spring to be previewed for potential use. Great exposure for FBS!
No sooner is our music being published than our first opportunity to publish the work ofsomeone else drops into our lap. God has perfectly lined up our desires to produce an intermediate piano book this year while still keeping other FBS initiatives spinning. Plans are being set to print about 20 of Mr. Peter Wright's piano arrangements in a 2-book series entitled "With Spirit” – a very fitting description of his energetic style!  
This whole collaboration bug is definitely on the verge of biting me! The new found joy of working together with other like-minded musicians and lyricists is becoming a thing of intrigue and excitement.  I am very eager to watch how the Lord will use our Lyric Writing Contest to allow others to “give expression” to the ways in which God has been revealing Himself to them.
And marketing. Ah, the needful task of marketing. I am thankful to look back on a year of high-intensity marketing with progress in view! By God's good allowance and blessing, we've nearly tripled our Facebook following, more than quadrupled our subscriber list after the re-start last summer, seen steady monthly sales, and made connection with many more friends in the music world. Who knew a simple desire to write & share our music would entail so. much. more. than simply writing & sharing our music?
(Oh, and about that fund raiser we announced last week..... nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? We've decided to let it ride for now without making a big push. The need remains for a portable sound system and funds for orchestrations, yet we rest content to trust the Giver to provide in His timing. Keep swimming!!)
More exciting exposure/ministry prospects are on the horizon as we've been welcomed to present our music at larger conventions. We are currently scheduled for a 2-state Teacher's Convention this October and for the Christian Heritage Conference in Washington State next April. We are exploring a few other exciting potentials which we will share once plans have been confirmed.
Lastly, with the increase in shorter mini-tours we have needed to widen the pool of singers who share our love Christ, ministry, and music! Through research (confession time: My name is Heather Schopf and I am a Facebook Snooper) or natural connections, I am very pleased to have found two new gals eager to hop on the FBS Tour Bus this Fall! (Introductions soon to follow!)   
Wow. Just writing all this out confirms that a) I am long-winded and b) there's a LOT happening at FBS right now! No wonder it's been hard to keep the lid on my enthusiasm! Yet, as with all ventures confined to this life, I am reminded that FBS is not everything. If this email never makes it to your inbox before the Lord blows the trumpet – we'll meet in the sky, right believer? THIS is the event we await. In that moment, we will gladly leave everything behind....unfinished music scores, my Kawai piano, our collection of CDs and printed products......never to wish it back......only to marvel at Him Who gave us reason to sing!  Even so, Lord, come "Take us Away"!
Thanks for reading!  Until then, we plan to keep swimming here at Forever Be Sure!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Only Famous One

I recall my child's response upon hearing the news that we would be featuring their cheerful, child-like voices on an upcoming CD.  It went something like, "Really!  Now I will be FAMOUS!"  Well, not quite, dear.  

Upon further reflection of this alleged fame, it is true that lately I've been spending a good bundle of time getting the name of our ministry "out there" -- which I suppose could be interpreted as fame-seeking in it's loosest sense.  For good or bad, making new friends is the name of the game when it comes to the world of marketing, of which I've immersed myself in for the past 6+ months.  That fact will not surprise those on our email list (subscribe HERE!) or those who regularly see Facebook posts of sales, video sharing contests, newsy items, lyric videos, FREE STUFF!, blog articles.......and the list goes on.  We rest heavily on the Lord for His timing and will, yet long to be good stewards of our growing collection of music -- the physical commodities which hold years of testifying of the sweet taste of our Lord's goodness.  As much as marketing may seem like fame-seeking, may ours only succeed insomuch as we make our Great God famous!

Which leads me to my kitchen stove top.....

Above this well-frequented place in my home hangs a chalk board with a verse that I can't bring myself to replace quite yet.  Why?  Because daily I am reminded of the stark and glorious truth that there is only One Famous Person.  While the broccoli steams and the spaghetti noodles soften, I am reminded that the Lord's Name "endures forever" and His fame "throughout all generations".  Being that I can only remember the names, much less anything more, of just two of my great-grandparents (yeah, I'm not so much into genealogies), I'm pretty confident that my name will soon be forgotten after but a few generations.  Yet, the Name and fame of our Great God will span all of time and will someday be the great Topic of Heaven.  His fame will never cease to tarnish on into eternity.  PRAISE HIM!  

So, here at Forever Be Sure we will keep on seeking new friends -- friends who share our passion to make HIM famous in our small circles, as we live out our short lives.  "Your Name, O Lord, endures forever."  Psalm 135:13

Friday, January 9, 2015

Lyric Post - "Take Up This Battle With Me"

My appreciation is ever deepening for those who battle alongside me in spiritual warfare (which, by the way, is happening every day, all day -- see I Peter 5:8).  Though many live in close proximity, I know a good handful who live hundreds of miles away, taking on my battle in their own living room, bedroom, backyard, or wherever they happen to be when the Holy Spirit prompts them.  Some days the fighting is just plain hard.  And it's during those days that I really cling to comments like, "I'll be praying for you", not because the sheer sentiment causes a warm breeze of comfort to perk up my emotions, but as if I was really, truly depending on their prayers that day, that moment, to think right and do right.  To expound, this thought touches deeply on a truth that believers today so desperately need to embrace: we need each other.  I wonder, though, if this "neediness" is being lost because we have forgotten about the war.  It seems our war-awareness is only awakened on the occasional sermon out of I Peter 5 or Ephesians 6.  Eventually, oblivion or apathy sets in and we ease back into being easy bait for the enemy, giving even less thought to the vulnerability of the soldiers beside us.  Do we realize who we are up against?  Do we realize what is at stake if we and our prayer warriors do not fervently, faithfully fight?  For some, it may be a sudden fall.  For most though, destruction looks like a slow crumble toward a life for which we were never created. 

These thoughts bleed out in the song below, "Take Up This Battle With Me".  I am so grateful for those who prove their faithfulness to me and the cause of our Captain through prayers on my behalf.  I am privileged indeed to have brothers and sisters in Christ who regularly take up the fight with me, and for whom I hope to return the same faithful love.  We are in this together!    

Take Up This Battle With Me

Words & Music by Heather Schopf          

Many heavy heartaches are hid behind a smile;
I have been the warrior who kept it all inside.
Sometimes the noise of battle, though silent in a crowd,
Will shake the world inside me – it clamors, oh, so loud!

So I say, 
“Take up this battle with me, your fiercest weapon wave
And help me fight the war with prayers in Jesus Name!
And when I see you falter, when enemies pursue,
I'll make your battle mine – I will pray, dear friend, for you.”

Doubts will dance inside us, they're never far away.
Demons dart around us, relentless in their play.
If lurking in the shadows the hungry Lion roams,
How could we be so foolish to face it all alone?

We are one together – this the Church and I;
One in Christ forever, we're marching side by side.
Only then together dare I press along;
The enemies I'm facing are far too strong!

Sheet Music for this song can be found HERE.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Time to Hit Restart....Again.

In the world of computers, when all else fails – you hit the restart button, right?  For whatever reason, the programmed brain of a computer often sets itself aright by that one simple click.  Or maybe just a simple “refresh” will untangle all the multitasking and put her back on the right track.

Back to real life though, is anyone else tiring of hitting “restart” over and over and over again?  Is it possible to just hop on the steady incline toward a life of consistency with only a few minor, easily-surmountable bumps on the way?  Can we all just stop getting so excited for the clock to hit midnight on January 1st so that FINALLY we can start a new way of living that will ensure a consistently victorious life in 2015?  A year is just too long to have a mess-up in the middle of March.

Fortunately, amid my longings to ease the battle and settle into spiritual steadiness, I was met with a very familiar passage of Scripture.  The Lord gently reminded me that “renewal” is simply par for the course on our spiritual journey and that HE would provide all the strength, motivation, “wind under my wings”, needed to run, walk, and fly unwearied.  He would even give me that starter boost to “mount up” on each new start.  And the one simple requirement: to humbly, actively wait on the Lord.

Isaiah 40:28-31 (NKJV) is so precious to me:

Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Our compassionate Creator never forgets the day he formed us.  Taking the simplest substance, He created man and infused HIS breath, life, and power into it.  A few thousand years later, nothing has changed about our feeble make-up OR the power needed to turn a bit of dust into something, someone, that can fulfill our Creator's purpose for our lives.  We forget, we faint, we even utterly fall.  Yet, His promise of renewed power and spiritual vigor still stands for every failure, every mess-up mid-March, every dejected spirit that longs for stability and strength.

Don't be discouraged if you find yourself needing to hit “restart” a good handful of times this year.  Our Good Shepherd is in the business of restoring our souls (Psalm 23:3) and renewing our strength (Isaiah 40:31)!  May you embark 2015 “in the strength of the Lord God” (Psalm 71:16)!