David was a bluesman


So says Glenn Kaiser, former frontman of the REZ Band: … if one were to place the songs of the Book of Psalms in catagories, “laments” would be the largest of them. A full 57 of the 150 lyrics in this biblical book speak about struggle, problems, negative situations. They cry, shout and beg for deliverance. David and the other writers of these lyrics had much in common with a slave culture many years and miles removed from them. Then he writes: As a musical form, blues is basic. Twelve-bar tunes (an entire verse or chorus typically contains 12 measures, three chords) are basic, simple and direct. Regardless of tempo and production, it’s immediate and most of the time, pretty earthy stuff. Which is to say “unpretentious”, real. As was stated in the opening paragraph, blues is based on the human voice. If one examines standard blues music, one readily hears a guitar, harmonica, keyboards and sax- when soloing (playing melodies)- playing and sometimes echoing a succession of notes that could have just as easily been sung. Even the foundational instruments- drums and bass- many times mimic phrasing right out of the average blues singer’s repertoire. As a music minister, all of the above is not only touching for me, it also offers a wonderful vehicle through which to communicate the messages I am convinced God wants my audience to hear. The whole thing is worth reading. I really like what I’ve heard from Glenn’s Cardboard Box CD.  If I can get a copy, I’ll do a review soon.


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How $25 feeds 250


Here is a wonderful opportunity for your worship team or choir to serve the poor in Jesus’ name. Cross International has partnered with grassroots Christian organizations located in some of the most impoverished areas of the world.  We provide food to children and families who would otherwise go hungry, and possibly starve to death. By presenting a song and distributing envelopes, your worship team can significantly impact the poor with a minimum amount of details and difficulty. Harmony of Hearts provides choral and solo arrangements free of charge to be presented by your church choir, soloist, or team for a worship service as special music or an offertory.  We also have accompaniment tracks, video, and audio Scripture readings by James Earl Jones that reinforce serving the poor; you may use whatever you deem helpful and appropriate. There is no cost for the materials.  You discuss the work of Cross International by distributing brochures and say a word with the presentation, and perhaps print our website in the bulletin.  We track any response and provide you with the results to report back to your congregation. Just think:  if 10 people provide $25 apiece, your church will feed 2500 people in the name of Jesus. So little will do so much for those in great need. For a free Preview Packet of music and worship materials for your church, email your request to me today. If you are ready now to present a song, order free music & worship materials on-line here (please provide me with a date for your presentation). Serve the poor through your music ministry by contacting me today.


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Two types of thinkers: which are you?


Good post from Mike Hyatt in which he splits how we approach things into “abundance” and “scarcity” thinkers: According to Hyatt, abundance thinkers: They believe there is always more where that came from. They are happy to share their knowledge, contacts, and compassion with others. They default to trust and build rapport easily. They welcome competition, believing it makes the pie bigger and them better. They ask themselves, How can I give more than is expected? They are optimistic about the future, believing the best is yet to come. They think big, embracing risk. They are thankful and confident. Scarcity thinkers: They believe there will never be enough. They are stingy with their knowledge, contacts, and compassion. They default to suspicion and find it difficult to build rapport. They resent competition, believing it makes the pie smaller and them weaker. They ask themselves, How can I get by with less than is expected? They are pessimistic about the future, believing that tough times are ahead. They think small, avoiding risk. They are entitled and fearful. I know which I prefer to be, but this helps me to think through the issue a bit. How do you think others perceive you?  Generous or stingy?


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How to tell if your worship is asleep


Sometimes those who plan our worship are sleepy. The prayers are self centered. Song texts are all focused on personal concerns. The preaching avoids the issues that concerned the prophets. Our services are safe and predictable. The only time we get aroused is over small stuff, such as music styles or carpet color, not the bug stuff, like justice, mercy, and the weightiness of God. When a church is asleep it enters worship with a forgetfulness about the lostness of the lost and the brokenness of the broken. It loses touch with the fact that we live in 911 world. Even today, the world is in a state of emergency racked with tremendous suffering and pain. As we gather today, one-sixth of the world lives in absolute poverty. Each year nearly 1 million children are sold or forced into the sex traffic trade. This house thousands will die from starvation. Hundreds from malaria, malnutrition, genocide, and HIV/AIDS. Some time ago I read that in the last hour 2,738 people died from starvation, 342 people died from malaria, 76 mothers died from childbirth issues, 9,582 babies died from induced abortion, 8,898 infants and children were abandoned, and 20 Christians were martyred. Worship should wake us up to the reality of a just and holy God who will judge the world in righteousness. Yet he is also the God who hears the cries of the needy. Don Sweeting, excerpted from Waking Up:  Worship and Justice in a Messed-Up World, The Gospel Coalition blog.


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New Scott Wesley Brown song & video


Do you remember the last time you heard from Scott? Me neither. I almost forgot about him until I saw this video posted.  The explanation of the song (below the video) is worth reading. Scott says about the video: Carl Sagan said, “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”  Richard Dawkins said, “The entire thrust of my position is that Christian theology is a non-subject. It is empty. Vacuous. Devoid of coherence or content…” The Apostle Paul said, “God’s eternal nature and deity have been clearly perceived in his creation (Rom. 1:20) and the psalmist said, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament his handiwork.” (Ps. 19:1) My prayer is that “I Believe In God” would be a rally song for the Church against the rising tide of Atheism in our culture. In a sense this worship song fits into “apologetics”, a defense of our faith in the Triune God and his marvelous works!


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