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A Little Bit Country and Little Bit Rock and Roll

music

In previous posts, I have shared the joy music brings to my heart and to my husband, Jim’s heart. Jim and I are music lovers and our interest in music is not one specific category. Yet, there are times when Jim will lean more into one direction of a particular artist and style that is not really my thing but I respect what he likes and will listen with him.  In return, Jim does the same with me. When these moments occur I recall the Donny Marie show where they would sing “I’m a little bit Country and I’m a little bit  Rock and Roll.”  

Donny and Marie

Jim and I have learned to respect each other’s heart and taste in music. It is through this respect of musical tastes we have learned more about each other and there are times when we will come to like a particular artist or song that the other likes. The times when we come to like one of the other’s favorite artist, song and/or genre comes out of that respect we have for each other. It is through the listening to the song that we learn about the other’s soul and what fills their heart up with joy or simply makes them happy.clarinet

In today’s time we have Traditional and Contemporary Worship Services. No one particular service or music is better than the other. It is a church’s way of offering to feed the many needs of the soul. When I think of the differences in worship, I think of the Donny and Marie show when they would sing; “I’m a little bit country” and “I’m a little bit rock and roll.” We have those who like the old traditional hymns and those who like the latest song that is hot on Christian radio. And, there are those who are like myself that just love it all.

Music of love.

It is in the feeding of the soul through music is where it is important to realize that as musicians who are leading in song no matter if it is Contemporary or Traditional that it is not a performance for the congregation to see but it is a leading of song from the soul. In other words, when we sing as musicians it is important that we are singing to praise God and it is from the soul and not a weekly performance that we feel obligated to get up and give. It is a time of  putting self aside and allowing the Holy Spirit fill us  up and to spill his wonderful joy and grace out in song and encourage those around us to lift their voice in song.

Tyler Perry

This past weekend, Jim and I watched two Tyler Perry plays at home. We love his plays because of the messages that he gives through his characters in unconditional, love,  forgiveness and simply that God is the Master of our life.

Not only do we love the message of Tyler Perry’s  plays,  we love the music. There were a couple of times when watching the plays this weekend and listening to the music in these plays  that Jim and I had tears in our eyes because the music spoke to our hearts and souls. Though the people were playing certain characters in the play when it came to singing it went beyond performing. The words they were singing were  written in a script for them to sing. Yet, they were singing from deep within the soul.  They believed what they were singing.

music is shorthand

As you journey in the days ahead, don’t look at the music leaders and/or choir in worship as a time of performance, instead, listen to the words they are singing. Allow the lyrics to touch your soul and fill you up with the Holy Spirit. If you are a worship leader and/or choir member, don’t look at that worship hour as one thing to check off your list. Instead, feel the lyrics you are singing from your soul, ask the Holy Spirit to shine through you so people will feel God’s mighty presence and will want to join you in song.

Ephesians

Realize that it doesn’t matter if you are “a little bit of country” or a little bit rock and roll.” What matters is that you know that you are standing in the presence of God and you are allowing him to feed your soul through music. Not only is your soul being fed but you are also witnessing to those around you your belief in a Mighty God.

“Sing to the LORD a new song;

sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Sing to the LORD, praise his name;

proclaim his salvation dad after day.

Psalm 96:1-2

Watch and listen to this video from start to finish. Chris Tomlin does a beautiful job of incorporating the traditional in with the contemporary. 

“Don’t Forget The True Lyrics”

Jim and I are lovers of music. We like all genres of music from jazz, classical, country, gospel, Christian contemporary  to pop/rock. In our DVD library we have concerts that we like to pull from time to time and enjoy. He and I also enjoy going to concerts.

As I watch these concerts whether it be on television, DVD, or in person, it always gives me a chill when the artist performing stops singing and points the mic out to the crowd allowing the crowd to finish the lyrics to the song that is being performed.  I can only imagine what it feels like to stand on stage listening to the words of your own song being sung back to you.

The other night Jim and I were attending a concert when this very thing happened more than once during the performance. As the artist pointed the mic to the audience to finish the lyrics to the song, I thought about God and the words he has written for us.  If you read many of the Old Testament Scriptures such as the Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes, you will see that these are lyrics not only worth reading but worth repeating. Can you imagine how God feels when we repeat his lyrics in a prayer, in a talk or just reading them aloud to print them on our hearts? I imagine he smiles when we remember the lyrics he gave us to sing back to him in praising him for what he does in our lives. He listens with great care when we sing back his lyrics that are asking him to take care of our hurts and needs.

Many artist have turned scriptures into song. It is these songs that make us reflect on our relationship with Christ. The songs remind us of the greatness of our God and all that he can do for us if we ‘only trust him’. I know in my heart that there are certain songs that hold a special place in my heart. There are those that remind me of special people in my life, those that  remind me of special events in my life, those that have brought me comfort, and then there are those that just simply make my soul smile.

How about you? Do you have special artist, music or lyrics that holds a dear spot in your heart? Maybe you are an artist and have experienced audiences reciting back the very songs you have written and/or performed. No matter the concert, the performer or the lyrics and how much we like the music, we must never forget the true lyrics that God wrote especially for you and me.

My challenge for you today is to allow your soul to sing back to the Master artist the lyrics that have given you comfort, that have reminded you of God’s provision and/or those that put a special pep in your step as you begin your day.

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; 

With singing lips my mouth will praise you.

Psalm 63:5

Blessings

Play It Through

This picture popped up on my Facebook news feed the other day.  Immediately, as I laughed, I recall the many times in high school band when a piece of music was put in front of the group to site read. I never will forget the moans and groans when the piece was first handed out. Before playing the piece, we were given time to look it over and our director would sometimes point out potential trouble spots. Then, the time came to play the piece for the first time. Oh, it wasn’t a beautiful piece the first time played. Over time and multiple practice sessions, however, the piece would begin to sound more like what the composer meant for it to sound. Some of those pieces that were thrown down to site read eventually became the best played and favorite pieces of the band.

In life, there are times when we are asked to site read. In other words, we are put in situations that we know nothing about but have to do something right then and there. It is in that moment that we have a choice to either walk away and do nothing or we can jump in, look over the situation, listen to our director, and play it through.

As I write this, I am reminded of the times I walked away versus the times I listened to the director and played it through. Interestingly enough, the moments I walked away, in retrospect,were sources of my greatest regrets.  The pieces given to me looked too difficult and I then missed an opportunity to grow.  But, the times I have chosen to listen to my director and play it through have become the most precious of moments in my life. Not only were they precious moments but in each one I could look back and see where God molded me and how it was in those moments of playing it through deepened my relationship with him.

Has God given you a piece of music to site read? Are you moaning and groaning because the task looks too difficult? Maybe you are debating if you should stay and play it through or just walk away. Before you decide to walk away, may I suggest that you talk  and listen to the director. There is no a doubt in my mind that God has blessings in the midst of the task he has put before you. Who knows, it could turn out to be one of the most precious memories of your life not to mention a wonderful opportunity to grow in your relationship with your Creator.

“I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Parachute Pants and Big Hair

If you have read past blog posts that I have written, you will know that music is a love of mine. There are songs that strike the heart chords, there are those that tell a story and there are those that really get me to thinking. When I hear this song and watch the video, I can’t help but laugh to myself.

There is not an event mentioned in the song that I don’t remember. Yes, I was in my formative years when  big hair was in (though I opted for the popular Dorothy Hamill haircut), parachute pants, swatches and leg warmers were considered most fashionable. Along with the fashion statements, I remember the Dukes of Hazzard being filmed just down the road from where I lived, people getting their first microwaves and the moment Star Wars  came to the big screen.

Me...."it was 1980 something."

By growing up in a minister’s home, I mark my milestones and where I was living to such events that I have mentioned. Anytime I hear an old ( I mean classic) song on the radio, I will look over at Jim and tell him where I was living when the song was popular and then I begin going down memory lane. I will share about friendships, where I was in school, and people who  had an influence in my life during that time period.

Needless to say, since I have joined Facebook, I have re-united with many friends that have now crossed my path not one time but twice in my life. In re-kindling these friendships, I realize that these people God placed in my life were and are a part of molding me into what I am today.

We all have something that triggers our memories. Some are good and some are not so good. However, we must realize that it is the good, the bad, the ugly, parachute pants and big hair that mold us into who we are today. Just as a potter molds his clay, God is continuing to mold us in his likeness day by day, event by event, and person after person.

Today, I encourage you to count the blessings God has given you. Thank him for the people he has placed in your path and has had an influence on who you are today. As you reflect on your memories, remember to learn from the ugly ones but turn them all over to God and move on. Then, enjoy the good  memories and feel your heart smile.

Blessings                                                                                                                    

Let’s Be Real… He Still Loves Us!

This song is taken from a Hawkins’ favorite move, “The Fighting Temptations.” In the movie, Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s character, ( Darrin) is a person who returns home at the request of his aunt who has just passed away.  Before arriving to his South Georgia hometown, he has lost his job in advertising for passing himself off as someone he wasn’t.  This seems to be the theme throughout the movie.

Darrin is asked to direct the church choir at his aunt’s final request. Needless to say, there is not much of a choir to work with and he is left at grabbing at anything to get a choir ready for a choir competition that will soon take place. Throughout the movie, you see Derek continuing to pass himself off as someone other than himself but as he does, the real person hidden deep within gradually comes to surface. Not only does the real person within come to surface but you see the cast of characters that eventually come together and make up a choir.

choir

The choir is made up of people who have made mistakes, who are considered outcasts of society,and some with low self-esteem.  As the movie unfolds, you see this group of unlikely people bond together and lift their voices in praise. The words to the video above sum up the plot of this story quite well, “I may not be good enough but He still loves me.” In their singing and coming together, they all begin to realize that their past does not matter and  where they come from does not matter. But, what does matter is that God loves them when others have doubted and lost faith in them.

We are all sinners. If God treated us like we should be treated for what we are doing or have done, we would be in a lot of trouble. As Christians, we have been forgiven.  As we walk through the days ahead, let’s keep that thought close to our hearts and show the undeserving God’s wonderful grace and love.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all you iniquity, who heals your diseases

who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:1-5

Blessings If you have not seen the movie, “The Fighting Temptations”, I encourage you to view it and see how it teaches us all how to be real. Meet People Where They Are Today You Will…. via Jonathon Pearson

Calling To Say “I Love You”

“This is my command: Love one another” John 15:17

 

I Just Called To Say I Love You was a popular Stevie Wonder hit song in the early 80’s and it is still heard a lot on the airways today.  As the holiday season progresses,  phone calls are made to family and friends that cannot be together for the holdiay. The calls usually consist of up dates, well wishes to one another and to simply say “I love you.”  For me, not only do I make and receive  calls to for the holiday but I get a special  phone call  each day at lunch. On his lunch break, Jim gives me a call.  The phone call is a simple mid day reminder that he loves me and is thinking about me. After many years of being together, my heart still smiles when that mid morning phone ring comes through.

If you think about the lyrics to this song, it can be and is a reminder that God loves us. He calls us everyday to tell us that he loves us. He does this by waking us up, answering or not answering a prayer, and through the interactions that we have each day.  He gave us the ultimate phone call over 2000 years ago when His Son was born in a manger and then later died for our sins. (John 3:16) Today, anticipate His phone call and may your heart smile when you hear His ring and answer His call.  Not only be aware of God’s calling you to say I love you, but as this year comes to an end, give someone a call and tell them you love them.   Your phone call will not only make their heart smile but your heart will also smile.

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