Tag Archives: Music

Thursday Picks ~ 5-25-2015

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well..

Judgment is a Lazy Substitute for IntimacyMichael Kelley
Judgment is lazy. …when judgment rears up; that’s when I’m tempted to make a snap evaluation of a person based on a given snapshot I see before me.

What I don’t know is the truth of the situation… I don’t know, and I’m content not to know. That’s because judgment is, frankly, easy.

It takes no time. It takes no real effort. And it certainly takes no sacrifice. It is based purely on assumption. This is why you could say that judgment, among other things, is a lazy substitute for intimacy. And this is not the way of Jesus.


Most of these are way too common…

5 Ways Ministry Leaders Start the Journey to Failure
Ron Edmondson
One of the hardest things I do in ministry is interact with those who are no longer in ministry, but wish they were. They’ve been derailed. They messed up and either they got caught or the guilt got the best of them and they confessed.

In recent years, I’ve had numerous ministry friends who lost their ministry due to moral failure, poor leadership, or simply burnout…

Watching this process over the years there appear to be some common reasons failure occurs. It doesn’t start at the failure. It starts months – and, perhaps years – prior. My hope is if we expose some of them we can catch a few people before it is too late.

So, let me ask, do any of these apply to you? …


Is Performance A Dirty Word? (And What it Means for Worship Musicians)David Santistevan
IS PERFORMANCE A DIRTY WORD-In more conversations than I can count, I’ve heard performance thrown around as a dirty word.

“This is not a performance. This is worship.”

I get where these comments come from. Matter of fact, I’ve said them myself. What I want to guard against is demonizing performance. If you play music in your local church, there’s no need to avoid the word performance or think of it as something less than true worship.

Performance and worship don’t need to be mutually exclusive…


Not quite as intimidating as the original…

(But I gotta admit, these guys are pretty good.)


Just like at the movies…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMDUvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcwNTIyXzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

The One Thing That You Can Do To Encourage More Congregational Singing

https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/made/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/congregational-singing-2_350_233_90.jpgWorship leader, is congregational singing a priority to you? Do you actively encourage it?

I ask because I understand that it may not be, and that’s ok.

I have attended churches where it was obvious that the leader did not expect me to sing. The service was moving, powerful, and well-planned. The sermon was engaging and challenging. The music touched me deeply. I worshiped.

But I didn’t sing.

Congregational singing was not a priority, and that’s ok.

It’s not my preference, but worship isn’t about my preferences.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_48wEL1X8iP4/TLy3nIejg-I/AAAAAAAABHo/nBLiuQRp7U8/s400/05+-+Part+of+the+Congregation+singing.jpgBut that’s why I asked the question. Because if congregational singing isn’t important to you, you needn’t read any further. This post isn’t for you.

However, if congregational singing is a priority for you and your church, as it was for me in my ministry, then I have a suggestion.

It’s more of a plea, actually.

Please put the songs in a more singable key.

That’s it.

Now, I want you to know that I don’t agree with most of what I read about why congregational singing is waning. I don’t think projecting the music along with the words will help. I don’t think the answer is to stop doing new songs. (I responded to one article which touches on many of these complaints. You can read it here.)

But I do believe this one thing with all my heart…

People won’t sing with you if you deliberately exclude them.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but the recordings of most popular music (including popular worship music) is pitched in a low range for female singers and a high range for male singers. The result is that the vocals end up in approximately the same range. It’s a range we like to listen to. Now we may let loose and do our best to sing along in the car when no one else is around, but we know we sound awful. Because the songs are in a range most non-musicians and inexperienced singers are uncomfortable with.

The thing is, most of our worship leaders are experienced musicians who are comfortable singing in the pop music range. In fact, they prefer it because it allows them to be more expressive.

But it doesn’t encourage congregational singing at all. In fact, it does the opposite. It discourages participation. People may even want to sing, but they won’t be able to.

I know this because I really, really want to sing. I want to belt out my praise at the top of my lungs. I’ve been around the musical block a few times. I know what I’m doing. So sometimes I can find a harmony that feels right, or an octave that works. But there are many times when I simply can’t participate. I’m motivated. I try. I know what I’m doing. But many times I still can’t find anything that I can sing.

I guarantee that most of the people in the congregation who aren’t motivated, who have to be encouraged to try, and who don’t know what they’re doing, won’t participate.

Now, because I’m a man, what I’m about to say isn’t known through experience, but it seems to me that the women in our congregations are somewhat more flexible in their vocal range than men. What I mean is, if a male worship leader is singing in a very high range a female congregation member can generally sing with him in her lower octave, in a prime unison with the leader, and it can sound awesome! The men of the congregation, on the other hand, must either choose to sing in a high falsetto to stay with the leader (which will feel silly to him), or resort to a lower octave which, for a man, just isn’t going to be as expressive because it won’t have enough power for him to really even hear himself.

The third alternative is that he simply won’t try to sing at all. When you factor in the cultural bias that singing isn’t a very manly thing to do anyway, you can see why so many will choose option 3.

So, how do you determine what key to use?

I’m glad you asked.

A congregation will feel most comfortable if you keep the melody of the song in a range from about Bb below middle C to the D in the staff. You can go a little lower in quiet times and a little higher at big musical moments. Locate the highest and lowest notes in the song and find a key that puts the melody closest to this range. (This would be easier if worship leaders would use lead sheets instead of just lyrics and chords, but maybe that’s another blog post.)

I realize that many younger worship leaders will likely pooh-pooh this advice, but before you do I challenge you to try it. Consciously pitch your songs this way for a couple of months. You might not feel good about it because it may not be in your own sweet spot, but yours isn’t the sweet spot you’re aiming for.

Is it?

Please remember that our congregations are not filled with trained musicians or singers. We do them an extreme disservice when we expect them to sing along with a song that is completely out of their range.

They won’t do it, and I don’t blame them.

I plead with you to let us sing!

Lloyd

 

Singing In Church

Image may contain: 6 people, crowd and wedding
This is a picture of people singing in church. The church is in Sidlaghatta, India. The band was playing, the people were singing, the song was repetitious (even though I couldn’t understand the words) and the volume level was easily 120db. It was awesome!

Last summer there was one of those snarky “bash-modern-worship” posts making the rounds. I share the author’s concern about congregational singing and have some of my own thoughts about why it seems to be declining (I may share those in a future post), so, I read it. It made me mad. It just rubbed me the wrong way, so I just let it be.

Then one of my friends sent it to me and was interested in hearing my response to the article. I don’t like the article, but I like my friend, so I decided to read it again and jot down a few quick responses and send it to him.

I came across that document today.

It seems many of these same complaints (along with the same condescending attitude) still persist, so I decided my response to my friend might make a worthwhile blog post.

What follows is a slightly edited version of what I wrote for my friend…


Some thoughts and responses to Jonathan Aigner’s article, “Why WOULD Anyone Sing in Church These Days?”

“We began by changing our understanding of corporate worship. It’s not for the church, it’s for those who aren’t part of the church.”

https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/files/2016/09/singing-in-church.jpgI admit that this has been a struggle throughout my career. Who do we plan Sunday morning for? Where I’ve always landed is that we plan the service as a time of worship for believers, but with the knowledge that unbelievers will always be there. Consequently, we do everything we can to help them understand what we’re doing and saying. We use new music, and modern art forms and references, not to appeal to unbelievers, but simply because we’re planning services for believers in the 21st century, not the 17th.

“…we’ve decided that the singing alone is the “worship,” followed by preaching or teaching time (NOT worship)…”

https://redeeminggod.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Singing-in-Church.jpgAgain, I admit that I’ve heard the music set referred to as “the worship time” (I’ve even caught myself doing that) and that’s a mistake. But it’s simply not true to say that we teach that “singing alone is worship.” Every week we participate in the Lord’s Supper, give material gifts in the offering, listen to scripture preached and taught, sing together, listen as others sing, watch a video, celebrate baptism and more. We teach that everything in the service is worship and try to explain how that’s true.

“So, while music was once simply a way to add dimension to our sacred storytelling, we began to exploit its emotional appeal, suggesting the feelings it could evoke to be authentic spiritual connection.”

Seriously? I would suggest that music has always been used for its “emotional appeal.” And, why not? Certainly, worship is far more than an emotional experience. But how can worship ever not involve your emotions?

“Our cultural ability to make music has decreased steadily since the dawn of commercial recorded music…Now, most churches have given in to the cultural decline of music appreciation. Instead of training many of our own, we hire a few to stand up and perform from the stage.”

I think I know what he means by “make music.” It’s the music he likes and approves of. Anything else doesn’t even deserve the term, in his opinion.

https://themondayheretic.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/worship.jpg?w=620Here’s the thing: We have a whole generation of young people who do know how to “make music.” Their notation style is not that of the classically trained musician. They may not be able to read notes on a musical staff, but they’ve learned to improvise from a lyric sheet and chord chart, and play by ear. Most classically trained musicians struggle with all these things. How is this not “making music”? The accusation he makes above about not training our own strikes me as absurd. Training our own is exactly what we do. And, in order to “make music” the way he describes, it would necessitate exactly what he decries: “hiring a few to stand up and perform from the stage.”

I suggest that the training of our own should also involve retraining some of our musicians to be able to hold their own with these young musicians who are improvising from a chord chart. Sadly, most of these folks are either unable, or unwilling to do this. In fact, many would consider it beneath them to do such a thing.

Most churches have trouble putting both types of musicians together in one team. I believe (in all modesty) that this has been one of my strengths. I have worked over the years to combine these people and train them to work together. It hasn’t always been easy, but I believe it has been worthwhile.

Also, as an aside: since when was the church’s mission to foster “music appreciation”?

Oh, and one more thing: he uses the word “perform” intentionally as a negative term. This really gets under my skin because it’s all performance. What we have to teach (and maybe don’t do well enough) is that the congregation is expected to “perform” as well. If the leaders (musicians, singers, preachers, tech crew, ushers, greeters, etc.) don’t “perform,” they’re not doing their job. We’re all there to perform worship.

“We have a rich history of hymns and songs dating back centuries, set to beautiful, singable melodies with a rich harmonic framework, a group to which each generation added their best. Then we decided we didn’t need these anymore.”

What about this generation? He can’t have it both ways. Either each generation gets to add their best or they don’t.

“So, we stopped empowering those among us who do read music to use those gifts. And we stopped expecting anyone else to learn.”

See my thoughts on reading music notation above.

“We used to have these majestic and beautiful instruments, with infinite musical palettes…”

“Majestic and beautiful instruments” that could only be played by a single, classically trained musician hired to perform.

“What’s more, few of these leaders it seems are capable of just plainly, accurately singing the melody. Some of them croon with a whiny, closed-mouthed tone, turning every vowel into an ee-ended diphthong.”

Ok, crooning? Really? For that I just offer you 3 words: George Beverly Shea. Also, I think his musical arrogance and bias really comes through in this paragraph and I would just stop reading here…

Lloyd

 

Weekend Picks ~ 3-24-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Keep the main thing the main thing…

Production or Virtue?Bryan Elliff
productivityYes, there is no doubt that we need to be setting and achieving godly goals. And there certainly are times when we need to examine our productivity. However, should we act as if our production were God’s chief concern? I think not. What he cares about far more is virtue.

By virtue I mean the kind of person we are, our character, the carefully-cultivated dispositions of our heart that manifest themselves in our everyday actions and reactions. It is not always what you accomplish that matters, but how you do it, why you do it, and ultimately who you are even when you can’t do it.


Are Christians in the USA Persecuted?Scot McKnight
Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 10.31.28 AMFor today I want to trot out what I read recently in Mary Eberstadt’s little book It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies.

My contention is that we should distinguish between breakdowns of genuine freedom of speech and persecution of Christians, we should recognize that some in the latter think their freedoms are restricted in a way that is not only un-American but hostile to faith, and it would be good if we could at least have a reasonable conversation about these distinctions and the reality of the latter. To call this alarmism simply doesn’t help and it’s yet another good time for us all to read some Rich Mouw on civility, beginning right here: Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncommon World.

Here is some stuff from Mary Eberstadt’s It’s Dangerous to Believe


9 Things That Are Still Great About Facebook
Cheryl Magness
9 Things That Are Still Great About FacebookFacebook has had a bad year. From the nastiness of the 2016 presidential campaign, to the increasing difficulty of sorting real news from fake, to Facebook’s practice of filtering and controlling what you see in your news feed, Facebook has become the social media site everyone loves to hate.

I regularly see posts from friends who say they are looking to cut back their Facebook use and spend more time on real life. It’s a good goal. It is far too easy to give social media too much time. There is convincing research suggesting we are becoming physically addicted to our devices. So taking steps to limit and manage the way we use social media is smart.

Yet with all of its problems, Facebook still has a lot going for it, and I for one am not willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Here are some of the ways Facebook continues to be a positive presence in the lives of many…


I deeply love and respect every senior pastor I’ve had the privilege of working with, but I have experienced a few of these in 35 years of being a church staffer…

Eight Things Senior Pastors Do that Demotivate Staff PastorsMarty Duren
demotivation sadness frustrationI have been both a staff pastor and a lead/senior pastor; I have both given and received, been the victim and the victimizer. Being honest, I’ve probably been the offender more than the offended.

It is imperative when in the lead role to lead the rest of the staff well. Being human, and sometimes lacking a full palette of leadership skills, results in a staff who is less-than-enthusiastic about coming to work, carrying out the vision, or supporting the lead pastor. They’ve been demotivated. From years of being on staffs, leading pastors, talking with senior pastors, and talking to staff pastors, here are a few ways I’ve seen a lead pastor can demotivate the staff pastors…


How can you not love this guy?

How Steven Curtis Chapman Fought Through the Tears to Play ‘Cinderella’ Again
Steve Curtis ChapmanIn 2008, Maria, the adopted daughter of Christian musician Steven Curtis Chapman, was accidentally struck by a car driven by her brother and killed. She was the inspiration behind Chapman’s hit song “Cinderella.”

Before his first concert after her death, Chapman had said he would never play “Cinderella” again, but something changed that night with his sons in the band.

In this excerpt from his book Between Heaven and the Real World, Chapman describes what happened next…


Clickbait costume drama…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/clickbait-costume-drama.jpg
Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 3-23-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

I’ll be following this series. Could be interesting…

The Diffusion and Influence of Contemporary WorshipMichael Lee
The Diffusion and Influence of Contemporary WorshipIn part one of this short series exploring research related to the diffusion and influence of the contemporary worship, I will point to some recent findings as it relates to current congregational practices and correlations to congregational growth…

Besides the rapid increase in the adoption of contemporary worship forms over the past 15 years, which will probably not come as a surprise to anyone reading this, more interesting are the conclusions offered in numerous iterations of the FACT studies that the adoption of contemporary worship is correlated to congregational growth and vitality. Here are some excerpts from several studies…


The always challenging and insightful Carey Nieuwhof…

7 Things Christians Should Give Up To Reach Unchurched PeopleCarey Nieuwhofgive up
So many church leaders (staff and volunteer) struggle to lead beyond the preferences of the church members. And as soon as they try, they get inundated with complaints and angry emails. Too many Christians feel like it’s their right to have a church that caters exactly to their tastes and whims, and millions are paying the price for that (including unchurched people).

Catering to the preferences of members is a terrible idea for three reasons.

First, it’s killing the church…

Second, it’s an unwinnable game…

Finally, and most importantly, it’s just wrong…

When your preferences keep unchurched people from the promise of Christ, it’s time to change your preferences.

Here are 7 things Christians should give up to reach unchurched people…


Moms and dads change the world…

Maybe We’re Raising World-ChangersMelissa Edgington
…maybe for now I just need to keep plugging away at the little things God has entrusted me with. This is where I learn to be more like Him. This is where He shows me how real love operates. This is where He demonstrates that His glory is all that matters. And, who knows? Maybe one day He will do something big through me.

Or maybe He already is, I thought, as I watched my firstborn’s eyes dance at the idea of changing the world.


Here’s a little gem that made me smile this morning…
Paul Schaffer and Bill Murray: Happy Street


 

Spring break reality…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9aaXRzLzIwMTcvMDMvWml0cy4yMDE3MDMyMV85MDAuZ2lm
Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Monday Picks ~ 2-27-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

I Wish Christians Would Argue MoreTrevin Wax
LightstockNo, I’m not being sarcastic or saying this with an eye roll. I mean it.

I want Christians to argue more and fight less. To take it a step further, I’d even say that fighting less depends on our willingness to argue more and better…

Instead, we see quarreling…where people are personally offended that someone else has a different opinion, so they dig in in order to defend the point of view they already accept.

Why does this happen? For three reasons…


The church is jazz…

The Art of CommunityManuel Luz
Version 3There’s nothing like jamming in a jazz trio. Especially when the players are good and the band plays tight. There is an immediacy of every moment of every song.  Every groove percolates. Every solo is an adventure.  Every song is a work of art.

…the jazz trio is a metaphor for Biblical community. In true Biblical community, there are all of these components—selflessness, dialogue, grace, mutual submission, synergy, improvisation, and shared passion. It is necessary—even commanded—in order to play the music that is the healthy, functional Church. The Church, the Bride of Christ, is intended to birth the music that cares for the lost, loves the world, makes disciples, and worships the Living God. It is an improvised symphony, alive and breathing, bathed in the mystery and wonder of our shared journey with Him.


Noteworthy…

Tim Keller Stepping Down as Redeemer Senior Pastor
Kate Shellnutt
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/75733.jpg?w=620Later this year, Redeemer Presbyterian will no longer be a multisite megachurch in Manhattan, and Tim Keller will no longer be its senior pastor.

Keller, 66, announced at all eight Sunday services today that he will be stepping down from the pulpit. The move corresponds with a decades-long plan to transition the single Presbyterian Church in America congregation—which has grown to 5,000 members since it began 28 years ago—into three particular churches.

His last day as senior pastor will be July 1.


I was saddened recently to witness two mutual friends break up on Facebook. One shared an introspective post concerning his fear as a man with dark skin in today’s cultural climate. Instead of caring and trying to understand, the other unfriended him because of the “negativity” in his newsfeed. What has happened to us?

Curiosity, Crossing Cultures, and Breaking Down BarriersBarnabas Piper
http://theblazingcenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/hands-698561-1700x866.jpgThis is equally the most comfortable place to be and the most awful. By no choice of my own, I was born into and with little enough effort I have achieved a place where I can spend every day thinking nothing of how others live, think, survive, and navigate culture. They navigate around me, not me around them. It is a place of passive superiority that soaks deep into the soul. How easy. How terrible.

This is not what God intended…

Curiosity is the bridge between neighbors of different races because it is built on genuine interest and honest questions. It seeks to know the other person with no agenda or ulterior motive. Curiosity allows us to humbly admit ignorance of another’s way of life, perspective, or experiences and then humbly listen when they share. Curiosity assumes the veracity and validity of another’s pain or joy even if it doesn’t understand precisely because it doesn’t understand.


Almost too accurate to be funny…
http://assets.amuniversal.com/ccdd76b0d43401344eb0005056a9545d
Dilbert – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 1-19-2016

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Selling Birthrights Darryl Dash
170119Esau’s story isn’t a one-off. It’s repeated every day…

It only takes a few minutes to trade something of eternal value for what will only provide a moment’s pleasure. It’s like the man in Washington State who sold a rare coin collection, worth over $100,000, at face value. He paid for a pizza with a Liberty quarter that’s worth up to $18,500.

Stupid, but no more so than the man who trades in decades of marriage for a dalliance, or a fruitful ministry for a moment’s pleasure.


I read The Shack a few years ago and I have to admit, I was quite moved. As with most popular works like this, critics abound. Theology scholars can pick it apart (and they should, it’s their job and we should listen to them), but I believe there is value here anyway. On one level, it’s a cheesy work of Christian fiction. But on another level, it’s a metaphor that paints a picture of the Godhead, not in multisyllabic theological terms, but in a tangible human way. For me, the value was in helping to bring God near. I’m curious to see if the movie does the same.

Why ‘The Shack’ Is So ControversialRelevant Editors
You’ve probably seen the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of William Paul Young’s wildly popular novel The Shack recently going around the internet. As is probably expected, the movie, which hits theaters in March, is reigniting the controversy surrounding the book.

If you’ve been around Christian circles long, you know this controversy isn’t new. But if you may not know—especially if the controversy is news to you—what exactly all the fuss is about.


Fear of the Working ClassGene Veith
616px-AlfredPalmerRamagosa…I see this problem as a pathological form of classism–bigotry against people of a lower social class than yourself.  Classism used to be a taboo like racism, with which it has lots of similarities, but no more.

The working class used to be the base of the American left and the Democratic party.  Ironically, this phobia or classism of today’s liberals against the working class was arguably what elected Donald Trump, as Democrats wrote off industrial states like Wisconsin in order to pursue millennials, techies, and other cool people.

The left has come a long way from “workers of the world unite!” to the fear of plumbers.  At least there is little danger today of a Communist revolution.  Today’s left has become far too bourgeois.


A longish profile of a fascinating guy…

How Kirk Franklin Is Pushing the Boundaries of Gospel
Vinson Cunningham
Franklin (seated) blends secular sounds with an uplifting devotional message.
One of the problems, he said, is gospel’s dual role as artistic endeavor and as purveyor of religious experience. “They don’t come to gospel for the production or for the beats,” he said of his audience. “They come because they wanna be ministered to. So sometimes it’s, like, Well, if that’s all I’m good for, what do I do with all these ideas, and these creative dreams, and growth I want to do as an artist? I wanna give you Jesus, but I wanna give you Jesus with an 808. I wanna give you Jesus with some strings.”


Map of the modern brain…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/associative-memory-function.jpg
Wrong Hands

Designations of Seasonal Ariose Vocalizations

Designations of Seasonal Ariose Vocalizations
Couched in Verbiage Chosen with a View to Obfuscate,
Consequently Providing Personal Amusement
in the Process of Providing Said Vocalizations
With the More Common Designations

In other words, name the Christmas songs.
For the solutions, click “Listen Here” after each title.
This will take you to one of my favorite versions of the song.
Have fun!

1. Quiescent Nocturnal Period of Time (Listen Here)

2. The Primary Birthday (Listen Here)

3. Elation Directed Toward the Orb (Listen Here)

4. The Lilliputian Lad Who Was a Rhythmic Instrumentalist
(Listen Here)

5. Ourselves, the Sovereign Triumvirate (Listen Here)

6. Unremarkable Municipality in the West Bank (Listen Here)

7. The Thing Manifested Itself At a Point In Time Midway Between Dusk and Dawn When The Atmosphere Was Free of Obstruction (Listen Here)

8. Festoon the Concourses (Listen Here)

9. My Solitary Yuletide Yearning is a Matched Set of Anterior Dentition (Listen Here)

10. A Fortnight, Less 48 Hours, of Noel (Listen Here)

11. The Vibrations of the Idiophones Were Detected By My Auditory Nerves On the Twenty-Fifth of December
(Listen Here)

12. I Have Hopeful Expectations of a Holiday Devoid of Color
(Listen Here)

13. Consecrated Period of Darkness (Listen Here)

14. Can You Identify This Neonate? (Listen Here)

15. Let Those Who Are Filled With Fidelity Amass (Listen Here)

16. Are Your Aural Perceptions Equivalent to My Own?
(Listen Here)

17. Pay Attention, The Spiritual Couriers Are Performing
(Listen Here)

18. The Legendary, Portly, Perennial Gift Giver Is En Route
(Listen Here)

19. Take an Expedition Beyond the Timberline to Broadcast the News (Listen Here)

20. Group Salutations for a Jocund Observance of the Deific Incarnation (Listen Here)

Bonus:
The Psychiatrist’s Three Room Apartment  (Listen Here)

Merry Christmas!
Lloyd

Monday Picks ~ 11-21-2016

Picks Monday

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

I have to constantly remind myself of this…

Encourage One AnotherDane Ortlund
…the great privilege we have when we gather with other believers—other obnoxious believers, other theologically imprecise believers, other spiritually sleepy believers, other frustrating believers, other sinning believers—is of passing on horizontally a taste of what we’ve been given vertically…

The question, then, is why do you speak the words you do? Why do you speak the way you do? What is the aroma of your words? Are you spraying bullets, forgetting God has set down the gun rightly aimed at you? Do you speak to others the way you wish to be spoken to? What kind of speech has given you life as you consider meaningful relationships in your past? Do you ever—ever—look another human being in the face and say to them the following words: “May I tell you something I admire about you?”


I highly recommend this introduction to a sermon by my friend, Steve Cuss…

The Elephant (And Donkey) In the Room and the Kingdom ManifestoSteve Cuss
https://multihatpastor.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/cropped-steve-cuss-banner-print.jpg
In God’s kingdom, powerful people always move toward powerless people. Jesus was the very model of finding marginalized people, humans that society had deemed unclean or unwelcome and welcomed them into community…None of us who encounter Christ stay the same.  Behold the old has gone and the new has come. In Christ, you are a new creation. The church exists as an outpost of God’s Kingdom welcoming all humans and honoring their inherent dignity and value.

Russell Moore said, “We’re not getting anywhere as long as we gather in church with people we’d gather with if Jesus were still dead.”

I understand that recent days have caused a great deal of harm and damage, but we as a church are part of a global Kingdom. Many are concerned that the values of the Kingdom are being lost in our country today and quite honestly, you have every reason to be concerned. You are not wrong in your analysis. Nations rise and nations fall and no one knows if we are rising or falling right now. … Historically in nations that are falling, the privileged are the most surprised. But the church does not need external cultural judo christian scaffolding to prop it up and keep it animated from the outside. What I’m saying is, the church does not need a culture to share its values in order to be the church.


I wish our president-elect would learn how to respond from his vice president-elect…

Pence on Getting Booed at ‘Hamilton’:
That’s What Freedom Sounds Like
While being interviewed on Fox News Sunday, Pence said, “My daughter and I and her cousins really enjoyed the show. ‘Hamilton’ is just an incredible production, incredibly talented people. It was a real joy to be there. When we arrived we heard a few boos, and we heard some cheers. I nudged my kids and reminded them that is what freedom sounds like.”


The powerful seduction of ‘powerless’Seth Godin
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Where do conspiracy theories come from?

…People make up inane theories about various cabals that are secretly controlling this or that.

In fact, the more information and leverage we each have, the more inclined the culture seems to embrace stories of puppetry, conspiracy and control.

Because it lets us off the hook…

She’s been quoted a million times, but people don’t really listen to the essence of Marianne Williamson’s quote: “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

This is enervating. It would be so much more comforting if it were up to someone else…

On the other hand, knowing that we can connect, publish, inspire, lead, build, describe, invent, encourage and (especially) teach, means that there’s no one better than us and no time like right now.

And if it helps, go find, organize and connect with others who feel as committed as you do.

Of course it’s frightening. But it’s important and it’s our turn.


Important stuff for church leaders…

“I Want My Old Church Back!”—Five Responses
Thom Rainer
i-want-my-old-church-back-five-responsesBut change is difficult. These members want their old church back. They want to do things the way they’ve always done them.

That church of the past, however, will not return. The pace of change is faster than ever, and it will only increase.

How do we respond to these hurting, and sometimes, angry people? Here are five responses…


Our Sunday worship at WOCC began with this song yesterday. I love it! In fact, it’s still running through my mind…

You have bought me back with the riches of,
Your amazing grace and relentless love.
I’m made alive forever with you, life forever
By your grace I’m saved,
By your grace I’m saved.

Little House on the Prairie…
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Bizarro – Click image for a larger view.