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Welcome to the 14th Family Worship Newsletter, 29 February 2000
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
Creativity in worship
FW Site Stats
Visitors to the site have averaged around 400 a day through February - welcome to new subscribers.
The most popular pages in February were the Songs page, the Song-by-email page, the KidsZone, and making a new entry at number 4 this month, the brand new Songwriters' Showcase.
Recent site additions
With Easter approaching, this new page includes suggestions for Easter services, including songs, drama, creative ideas with links to relevant sites. Also featured is the song "If we were to keep quiet" (see story behind the song below) which is an ideal song to use for Palm Sunday.
The showcase is now live, featuring 10 songwriters, from the UK, USA, Canada and New Zealand. There is a great range of songs and styles, and the pages are well worth checking out. More writers will be added each month.
The FW songs page is the most visited section of the website, and it has recently been re-designed to make it easier to select songs in a particular style (eg. up-tempo praise songs, reflective worship songs, children's action songs, etc.) and another new feature is the top 5 chart.
All of the songs are available as RealAudio, and most are also available as MP3 files for downloading.
Ten things to ponder...
1. Why is the third hand on your watch called the second hand?
2. If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever know?
3. If Webster wrote the first dictionary, where did he find the words?
4. Why does "slow down" and "slow up" mean the same thing?
5. Why does "fat chance" and "slim chance" mean the same thing?
6. Why is it call "after dark" when it really is "after light"?
7. Why are a "wise man" and a "wise guy" opposites?
8. Why is "phonics" not spelled the way it sounds?
9. Why do you press harder on the buttons of a remote control when you know the batteries are dead?
10. How come abbreviated is such a long word?
The sheet music for songs will soon be available for download in two new formats: Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (.pdf) and Microsoft Word.
At present, we provide sheet music in JPEG format, which can be viewed and printed in any Web Browser, but the compression means that the printed pages are not always 100% clear. By offering these additional formats as options, if you have Adobe Acrobat Reader or Microsoft Word then you will be able to view, download and print free, higher quality sheet music.
A man joined a special order of monks that where only allowed to speak, two words every ten years. The first ten years went by and when it was his turn to speak he said "hard bed"
The next ten years went by and this time he said "cold food" After the next ten years he said "I'm leaving", the head monk replied "I'm glad to see you go - you've done nothing but complain since you got here!"
Story behind the song...
This month, "If we were to keep quiet" from FW1 - based on Jesus' Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem - an ideal song for Palm Sunday.
If we were to keep quiet
the rocks they would cry out
If we were to stay silent
Then the stones would surely shout
But now we've seen the Lord of lords
We won't keep quiet any more
Because Jesus is coming soon
Once he came to die upon a cross
Now he reigns, alive for evermore,
Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest heaven
Jesus is coming soon
Copyright (c) 1993 Chasah Music
There's a huge, dramatic rock face on the edge of the Pyrynees mountain range in the South of France, where my own church, Ichthus, has a small church plant. The rock face is called La Serre, which means Jagged Edge and it's a beautiful sight, especially at sunset, where the rock is silhouetted against the sky, strong and defiant.
I wrote this song, looking at the rock one day, thinking that in its way, it was already expressing praise to its creator in heaven. France is one of the least-reached nations with the gospel in Europe, and less than 1% of the children there attend church or Sunday School. I'm desperate for the children of that nation to find Jesus, and so find the reason to join nature in praising God.
The song is based on the words that Jesus spoke during the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem. The Pharisees criticised the noise that the disciples and crowd were making, and were indignant at the sight of children shouting "Hosanna" in the temple. Jesus said that if they kept quiet, the stones themselves would cry out. I don't know about you, but sometimes I can imagine the bricks in our church buildings are struggling to hold it in!
Children are instinctively noisy, and whilst there is a need for order in our churches, homes and communities, often the life and energy is un-necessarily squeezed out of children as they grow up, and they can end up as inhibited adults. It's my belief that we need to encourage children to use their natural energy, and help them to channel it into worship and praise. We need to allow children the freedom to be who they are, and become who God wants them to be.
A newly married man asked his wife, "Would you have married me if my father hadn't left me a fortune?"
"Darling," the woman replied sweetly, " I'd have married you no matter who left you the fortune"
Creativity in worship
I was reading the account of the building of the tabernacle recently in Exodus (I started a read-through-the-Bible-in one-year-schedule, so if it's February, it must be Exodus!) I was struck by the amazing diversity of talents, gifts and crafts that were used in the construction of a place where worship was to be offered, and was visualising how beautiful it must have been.
The description of the way that Aaron was dressed too is just incredible - an explosion of striking colour, fine materials and costly jewels.
Often our worship is mainly aural, that is, it involves music, singing and speaking. However, many people also respond well to visual aspects of worship, and I love the diversity of gifts that can be used in corporate and personal worship: banners, dancing, visual aids, computer projection (animations, still pictures, or video), painting, and so on.
Recently I was part of the worship team at the Kingsway Children's Ministry conferences in the UK, and as well as the band on stage, the worship was tremendously enhanced by a dancer, who used banners, to interpret the music and words, adding a visual element to the songs. (See "check out" below for details of her website)
Sometimes, as with musicians, creative artists can struggle with motivation and pride, and it's good to remind ourselves that the aim of everything should be not to draw attention to the artist, but to help the congregation to focus on God.
If you are someone who contributes in any kind of creative way in worship, then it can be helpful to think of yourself as a signpost: the purpose of a signpost is not to draw attention to itself, but rather to point to the destination.
Particularly for children and teenagers, having visual aspects in worship can help to keep them engaged and attentive. Let's use all of the means available to us to create a modern-day tabernacle - a place where the Living God may dwell.
A pastor decided he wanted a dog, but it had to be a very righteous dog. So he advertised accordingly. A seller responded, and he met the seller, who reassured him that the dog was the most religious animal he had ever seen.
The pastor said 'Show me', so the seller commanded the dog, 'Pray!' Immediately the dog put his paws together and bowed his head. 'Worship!' The dog jumped around waving its paws in the air.
'Very impressive,' said the pastor, 'but what is he like in terms of normal obedience?' 'Try him', suggested the seller. The pastor fixed the dog with a stern look and said: 'Heel!'
Quick as a flash, the dog jumped up, put one paw against the pastor's forehead, covered his eyes with the other paw and bowed his head in prayer...
A few years ago, when I had just started writing songs, I had a picture for the way that songs can be used in the local church scene. The picture was of a sailing boat on the ocean, full of people. The wind was blowing, and everyone in the boat could feel the wind, but it was only when the sail was raised that the boat began to move.
Writing a song for a local congregation is like raising a sail - it can catch the wind of what the Spirit is saying to the church, and help to move it forward.
One of the strongest aims of FW Resources is to encourage songwriters at a grass roots level in the church to write for their local setting. Often worship writers will have ambitions to write songs that will become "worldwide hits", but sometimes one has to question the motivation!
It's far more appropriate to "blossom where you are planted". If God wants to take a song and use it more widely, then he will find a way, but you can really make a difference at the local level, so concentrate on serving your own church, and trust God to develop and bless your writing in his way and time.
There is a prophetic word from Marc DuPont which is being circulated widely on the Internet at present, and whilst we have not had the opportunity to test or validate the word, it does seem to be resonating with many worship leaders and pastors all over the world at the moment, so you might like to check it out, especially if you are a songwriter, or feel God is prompting you to become one!
The word is called "A time for new songs" and can be found at
A man needed to call home, but the only pay phone he could find was in use. So, he stood to the side and waited until it was free, thinking it would only be a couple of minutes.
Five minutes went by, and still the man was on the phone. He was just standing there holding the phone to his year but not saying a word.
Ten minutes later, he was still not talking.
Fifteen minutes later, he still wasn't talking.
Finally, the waiting man tapped the guy on the shoulder and asked if he could use the phone. "I really won't be long and I really need to make a short, but important call."
"Hold your horses," responded the man using the pay phone, covering the receiver. "I'm talking to my wife."
The Christian Family Network is an excellent UK-based site for the whole family, with areas of interest for parents, kids, teenagers and grandparents, a free weekly newsletter and links to great resources.
As referred to in "Creative worship" above, there is an excellent site from Marie Bensley - check it out at
Kidsource was published last year as a follow-up to the highly successful Source. It contains over 400 songs from a wide range of writers which are ideal for use in children's worship. Available in the USA and Canada from http://www.riveroflifecbs.com and in the UK from your usual supplier, or http://www.kevinmayhewltd.com (website under construction, but you can order by email now)
Pastors and church leaders seeking the latest and best online resources for ministry and life in general have a new page on the Internet. The free Church Leader Internet Portal (CLIP), located at
is a comprehensive start-up page with hundreds of practical links and several features specifically designed for anyone involved in church leadership.
If you have a website that you would like us to cover in future newsletters, please email
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/jopuleston
Humour spot (last one...)
A Sunday School teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six-year olds. After explaining the commandment to "honour thy father and they mother," she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?"
Without missing a beat, one boy (the oldest of a family of seven) answered, "Thou shalt not kill."
This newsletter is written by Mike Burn and is published by Family Worship Resources, part of Ichthus Christian Fellowship, London, UK Copyright 2000, 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.
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Thanks for reading, and if you've made it this far, or even if you just skipped to the end before hitting delete, blessings to you in Jesus' name
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