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Welcome to the 12th Family Worship Newsletter, 31 December,
Previous newsletters are available on the website archives at
With relentless "Humour spots" in-between every item...
FW Site stats
Recent site additions
Story behind the song
Worship into 2000 and beyond
Whilst this is strictly speaking the final newsletter of 1999, I'm
writing it a few days into 2000 (not wanting to risk sending it at
the end of the year in case the bug bit!) and I hope you had a
wonderful Christmas and New Year celebration. Living a short
distance away from Greenwich (in fact, the Prime Meridian crosses
the end of our road, just outside a Pizza Hut...!) we spent
midnight with 50,000 or so other people up on Blackheath, which is
a high parkland, overlooking Greenwich and the River Thames, and
the atmosphere and the sight of the fireworks all around were just
incredible. Watching the news coverage throughout the day, I was
very struck by the sense of unity and goodwill that was expressed
from city to city (I would love to have been in either Sydney or
New York, given a choice), and nation to nation, and I was
thrilled at the thought that the world was united in marking a
moment in time that belonged (like all moments) to Jesus.
Wishing you and your family every blessing, success and happiness
for 2000 and into the future.
FW Site Stats
Visitors continued through December at an average of 200 per day,
with very high peaks between Christmas and New Year.
Newsletter subscriptions are approaching 1000 people - welcome to
Recent site additions
The seasonal Christmas page (and special section in the KidsZone,
featuring skating snowmen!) was a big hit during December, but if
you missed it, you missed it! However, you can still listen to a
demo of a song written especially for the season and the turn of
the Millennium - "Peace Child". Check it out at
New FTP facility. If you play mp3 files and are familiar with FTP
(File Transfer Protocol), then do check out the new Family Worship
FTP site, which contains a huge number of songs in mp3 format for
free download. ftp://familyworship.org.uk - also available for
download is a single text file containing lyrics to all the songs.
The Prayer Zone is being well used by children, teenagers and
parents, and if you have a moment to visit and pray for some of
the requests, then that would be wonderful. For example, here's a
prayer request we received from a 10 year old girl today: "Please
pray for my eye it is all swollen and I do not know what is wrong
with it. It hurts sometimes when I blink. It has been like this
for about three days. Please somebody pray for it."
The judge was in a kind mood as he questioned the prisoner. "What
are you charged with?" he asked.
"Doing my Christmas shopping early" replied the defendant.
"That's not a crime" replied the judge. "How early were you doing
"Before the store opened"
The song-by-email facility has proved tremendously popular, and
several thousand songs were requested last year. Coming soon, the
facility will be enhanced (using automation on the web server) to
give an almost immediate response (at present the songs take up to
5 days to be processed as there is a fairly high degree of manual
intervention to process the requests). At the same time, we will
be adding lyric files in PowerPoint format (for those hi-tech
churches who use computer projection systems!) and adding .pdf files as
an option for the sheet music files.
These features will be available in the next couple of months, and
in the meanwhile, you can continue to request songs in the usual
As the little boy climbed onto Santa's lap, Santa asked the usual
question: "And what would you like for Christmas?" The child
stared at him open mouthed, horrified, and then gasped, "Didn't
you get my e-mail?"
Story behind the song...
This month, "Dance on the streets" from FW3, which is the most
popular of the Family Worship songs on mp3.com at the moment.
I'm gonna dance on the streets
I'm gonna sing in the rain
For the Spirit of God
Is poured out again
I'm gonna shout it aloud
I'm gonna let the world know
That the river of God
Has started to flow
And we sing Jesus, Jesus come
Oh we will lift your name on high
You are the Son of God, Saving One
Jesus, Jesus, come
Copyright (c) 1996 Daybreak Music
The story is a very simple one - I wasted to write something
up-tempo that children and adults could dance to, that would be
both a celebration of what God is doing now in our lives, churches
and nations, but also looking forward to the day when revival hits
our streets, so that the world will join in the dance. The vision
of the river flowing from the throne of God is a common biblical
theme that seems to crop up in many worship songs - old and new.
I heard a story about a joint church celebration involving a few
hundred people, held outside in the north of England where the
worship leader had suggested using this song. The event organiser
had said that surely it was asking for trouble, singing outside
with the line "...sing in the rain", but the worship leader told
him not to worry - it was a metaphor for the rain of God's Spirit,
and not literal rain. Sure enough, however, at the very moment in
the service when they began to sing the song, the skies opened and
the rain fell! The worship leader told me that it became a
powerful time of worship and celebration as they took the physical
rain as a sign of God's promise of the spiritual rain that is to
You can request this song by email from
listen to it at
and a full-CD quality MP3 file is now available at
A Sunday school teacher was carefully explaining the story of
Elijah and the false prophets of Baal. She explained how Elijah
built the altar, put wood upon it, cut the bull in pieces and laid
it on the altar. 'And then Elijah commanded the people of God to
fill four barrels of water and pour it over the altar. He had them
do this four times,' said the teacher. 'Now, said the teacher,
'can anyone in the class tell me why the Lord would have Elijah
pour water over the bull on the altar?'
A little girl in the back of the room raised her hand and said,
"To make the gravy!"
Worship into 2000 and beyond
One of the issues that is discussed from time to time on the
various worship email discussion lists around on the Internet is
"what is true worship?". It seems particularly appropriate to ask
that question as we enter a new year in a world where the pace of
change seems to be ever increasing, and the trends in music, style
and culture seem to challenge and defy us to keep up. Whilst I
believe passionately in the need to make our church services and
worship culturally relevant, particularly to children and young
adults, it does seem that sometimes the real heart of worship can
escape us, as individuals and as churches.
When the woman at the well asked Jesus where true worship was to
be found (John 4), Jesus told her that a time was coming, and in
fact had arrived, when true worshippers would worship the Father
in Spirit and in truth. In applying that principle, which is as
relevant in 2000 as it ever was, it becomes clear that actually
the outward form of worship is incidental to the fundamental
activity. If it is the Father that we're worshipping, and if we're
doing it in the power of the Holy Spirit, enabling our spirit to
glorify and magnify God, in truth and integrity, then we'll be
Of course, the words that we speak and sing during times of
personal and corporate worship are very important, because they
need to be full of truth, and inspired by the Spirit, and
likewise, the music needs to be anointed to assist rather than
hinder or distract us. However, it's interesting that we can use
exactly the same songs in a service one week, and there could be
very little sense of the presence of God or of true worship taking
place, and the next week, the presence, power and worship seem to
take off. What has made the difference?
Paul's advice in Romans 12 that we "offer our bodies as living
sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God", which is our "spiritual act
of worship" may be a clue. If worship is not happening during the
week in the day to day lives of the individuals in a church, then
it's less likely to take off on a Sunday morning. The challenge,
especially for those involved in leading services, leading
worship, and ministering in any way in the church, is to be those
kind of worshippers who are engaged in worship hour by hour, day
by day. "Whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name
of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him"
(Colossians 3:17) The enemy will always try to trip and destroy
those involved in worship (look at the example of David) and it
saddens me tremendously when local and national worship leaders
and songwriters "fall" - it can be a tremendous pressure to
maintain integrity, and we need to pray continually for each other
and for leaders.
One of my strongest desires and dreams is that the younger
generation should learn how to be true worshippers, and I'm so
grateful for the example of people like Matt Redman (whose song
"The heart of worship" sums up far better much of what I'm trying
to say here) who can inspire the rising generation to seek after
God with all their heart. The challenge for each of us is to be a
true worshipper ourselves, and to provide a role model for
children and youth to emulate. Your style, taste in music, and
level of gifting and ability do not really matter - your heart
May God bless us and be gracious to us as we seek to truly worship
A grandfather and his small grandson were praying side by side in
church. The little boy was mumbling in a barely audible voice, and
his grandfather said: "Speak up - I can't hear a word you're
saying". "Oh don't worry" said the boy, "I'm not speaking to you!"
We have had around 20 songwriters express an interest in
submitting songs to the new Showcase section on the website, and
the pages will start appearing in February, so if you are a
writer, then there's still time to check it out at
This is a completely free service with the simple aim of
encouraging song writing at a grass roots level in the church by
providing a wider forum for songs to be heard.
This is an (allegedly!) true story about when Billy Graham arrived
in a small town to preach. He needed to post a letter, so asked a
small boy where the Post Office was. The boy told him, and Billy
Graham thanked him, and asked if he'd like to come to church that
evening. "You can hear me explain how to get to heaven". "No
thanks", said the boy, "you don't even know how to get to the Post
Graham Kendrick will shortly be releasing a major new album called
the Millennium Chorus, and there is a great new congregational
version of one of the songs, "This is the year", on his site,
where you can also register for details of the Millennium Chorus
initiative, which has already been televised in several countries,
and will be shown in the UK on the BBC later this year, and in the
USA, and many other countries. Performers include Jennifer
Holliday, Michael Crawford, Bob Carlisle, Michael W. Smith and
Kathie Lee Gifford, and the songs are incredibly powerful, with a
particular emphasis on the place of children and the way they are
treated in the world.
More great links sent in this month include a worship songwriter's
and a great new UK christian directory at
If you have a website that you would like us to cover in future
newsletters, please email
River of Life Discount Christian Bookstore, US distributors for
the Family Worship resources are online with a great site
featuring an ever-increasing range of worship recordings,
songbooks, etc. (including soon, for the first time in the USA,
Brown Bear Music) Check it out at
Don't forget that Family Worship, as well as loads of other "grass
roots level" ministries are featured in the christian sections of
mp3.com - http://www.mp3.com/familyworship
and new this month, http://www.mp3.com/brownbearmusic
Humour spot (last one...)
As reported in our local paper, school children were asked what
inventions they thought the 21st century might bring. Here are
some of the genuine answers.
"Scientists will discover that carrots are actually very bad for
you so we won't have to eat them any more"
"In 20 years time, teachers will be robots. That will be good,
because if they give you too much homework, you can switch them
"You can choose your baby on the Internet before you have one"
(many a true word...??!)
"You will be able to wear a watch that senses how you're feeling,
and tells you what to do" (Isn't this what mothers are for?!)
"You can fold your house up and carry it around with you, and when
you wake up, it will say 'Good Morning'"
This newsletter is written by Mike Burn and is published by Family
Worship Resources, part of Ichthus Christian Fellowship, London,
UK Copyright 1999, Mike Burn. Inclusion of links and quotations
does not imply full endorsement of the contents. The newsletter
may be forwarded or reproduced in full or in part providing that
the source is acknowledged.
Send comments or queries, or suggested articles or links for
inclusion in future newsletters to
Thanks for reading, and if you've made it this far, or even
just skipped to the end before hitting delete, blessings to you in
PS I came across this anonymous old poem for a new year...
I do not know, I cannot see,
What God's kind hand prepares for me,
Nor can my glance pierce through the haze
Which covers all my future ways;
But yet I know that o'er it all
Rules He who notes the sparrow's fall.
Farewell, Old Year, with goodness crowned,
A divine hand hath set my bound,
Welcome the New Year, which shall bring
Fresh blessings from my God and King.
The old we leave without a tear,
The New we hail without a fear.
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