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Welcome to the June 2001 Family Worship newsletter
http://www.familyworship.org.uk

Previous newsletters are available on the website archives at
http://www.familyworship.org.uk/newslett.htm#archive

Contents
========

FW Site stats
FW4 update
Recent site additions
Out of sight, out of mind?
Scripture spot
Story behind the song - "Christ before me"
Check out...
Newsletter information

With relentless "Humour spots" everywhere


FW Site Stats
-------------

Visitors to the site continue to average around 800 per day, with
regular peaks of over 1,000 people a day. Song downloads from mp3.com
per month average around 12,000, and sheet music downloads from the new
facility at ScorchMusic.com were around 1,000 for June.

Newsletter subscribers are around 2,050 - a warm welcome to new
subscribers.


FW4 update
----------

The response so far to the release of FW4 - Rising Generation has been
encouraging. Stocks hit UK Christian bookshops in early June, and the
album is featured in the July edition of Wesley Owen's "Just in"
magazine, and also in "Juice" - the monthly magazine for new UK
Christian releases.

If you happen to be visiting a branch of Wesley Owen or other Christian
bookshop, then we'd be grateful if you'd have to look to make sure that
the album is on display, and if they've hidden it in a corner, then when
the manager isn't looking, swap it with the display for the latest
Hillsongs or Delirious album!!

If you've not bought a Family Worship album before, then FW4 is ideal
because the CD also features a free bonus "best of FW" CD with songs
from all the previous albums. (Family Worship is non profit-making, and
income from sales is used to resource future recordings)

We've been busy sending out online orders to the UK, Ireland, several
other European countries, New Zealand, Australia, and the USA. Feel free
to keep us busy - http://www.familyworship.org.uk/shop

Stocks have also arrived now with our online distributor for the USA and
Canada, so you can order from the ever-helpful Vince Perna at the River
of Life Christian bookstore - http://www.riveroflifecbs.com


Recent site additions
---------------------

FREE SHEET MUSIC
The new online sheet music facility has been an exciting new feature -
the system allows you to view, play, print and even transpose scores for
all of the songs from FW4. (We've discovered that the tempos for some of
the songs are a little slow or fast, and are trying to work out how to
set the correct tempo, but you can adjust the tempo manually as the song
plays using the slider at the top of the score, so if what should be a
mellow ballad sounds like Mickey Mouse on helium, you know what to
do...!)

Check it out: http://members.scorchmusic.com/familyworship

FREE WEBMAIL
This has proved very popular - an online mail service (like Hotmail, but
without the spam!) and with the distinctive address -
yourname@familyworship.net

Check it out at http://familyworship.mail.everyone.net

Coming soon...
--------------

We've been looking recently at ways to extend the range of resources
available from the FW website. One of the most popular sections of the
site has always been our series of "How to..." articles with practical
hints and tips for structuring effective all-age worship. We are often
asked if we have any books available which cover the subject in more
detail, and to date have not had anything to offer.

We're excited therefore to be planning to offer some selected titles
from a UK publisher that specialises in books and resources for all-age,
children's and youth ministry. Watch this space for more details soon...


Humour spot
===========

The pastor shocked the congregation when he announced that he was
resigning from the church and moving to another town.

After the service, a very distraught lady came to the pastor with tears
in her eyes, "Oh, Pastor Bob, we are going to miss you so much. We don't
want you to leave!"

The kind-hearted pastor patted her hand and said "Now, now, Carolyn,
don't carry on. The pastor who takes my place might be even better than
me".

"Yes", she said, with a tone of disappointment in her voice, "That's
what they said the last time"


Out of sight, out of mind?
--------------------------

It's been suggested that if you want to find out what a church is really
like, don't just rely on visiting the service, observing the worship and
listening to the sermon, but take the time to visit the Sunday School or
children's work, because what is going on there is an accurate barometer
of the true spiritual state of the church.

At a worship conference recently, Tim Jupp, keyboard player with
Delirious, was describing how their church in Littlehampton has had a
pattern of meetings which would make the above statement redundant,
because there the children and youth stay in the services (every
service, not just once every few weeks) throughout.

That is one model of church service, and I'm not suggesting it is the
only, or right model, for all churches. At the other end of the spectrum
are churches which do have fantastic children's and youth ministry,
which is completely separate from the "main" church, but is alive and
vibrant.

However, many churches have separate times for the children which are
often under-resourced, poorly prepared and of doubtful long term benefit
to the children, or to the life of the church. Please don't take this as
a criticism of the workers and volunteers who staff these activities -
to my mind they are often the unsung heroes of church life. It is more
an observation aimed at the pastors and leaders of some churches, where
the attitude can sadly be one of "out of sight, out of mind". The
worship may be great, the sermons powerful and stirring, but if the
children are struggling and bored, then the church is failing in one of
its key duties - to let the children come to Jesus.

A survey was carried out recently as to the proportion of total church
budgets in the UK spent on children's and youth ministry. The general
results were alarming and depressing: with some notable exceptions, most
churches spent less than 5% of their total budget in this area, in some
cases less than 1%, yet often children and youth will account for
between 15% and 50% of the church population.

Of course spending money is not necessarily the way to enhance
children's and youth ministry, but it is a reflection of the relative
value that a church places on it - "where your treasure is, there your
heart will be also"...

There are no easy answers or quick fixes to this issue, but a starting
point is always an honest examination of the current state of a church,
praying for humility, wisdom, forgiveness if necessary, and then vision
and direction for how best to serve the whole body - from the youngest
to the oldest.


Humour spot
===========

As a new bride, Aunt Edna put a shoe box on a shelf in her closet and
asked her husband never to touch it.

For 50 years Uncle Jack left the box alone, until Aunt Edna was old and
dying.

One day when he was putting their affairs in order, he found the box
again and thought it might hold something important. Opening it, he
found two embroidered lace handkerchiefs and $82,500 in cash. He took
the box to her and asked about the contents.

"My mother gave me that box the day we married," she explained. "She
told me to make a lace handkerchief to help ease my frustrations every
time I got mad at you."

Uncle Jack was very touched to think that in 50 years she'd only been
mad at him twice.

"What's the $82,500 for?" he asked.

"Oh, well that's the money I've made selling the handkerchiefs..."


Scripture spot
--------------

This month, Psalm 8:2

"From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because
of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger."  (NIV)

A very familiar verse in the context of children and worship, and one
that is often quoted by worship leaders just before they do a song for
children! It is the cause and effect of this verse that I most like -
the sound of children praising silences the foe and avenger. We see a
direct example of this in Matthew 21:16 when the chief priests and
teachers of the law were indignant that the children were shouting their
praise to Jesus in the temple.

We desperately need more of the sound of children praising in our
churches - it is a wonderful sound that pleases God, and silences the
enemy.


Humour spot
===========

A man walking along noticed two city workers working along the roadside.
The man was quite impressed with their hard work, but he couldn't
understand what they were doing.

Finally, he approached the workers and asked, "I appreciate how hard
you're both working, but what the heck are you doing? It seems that one
of you digs a hole, and then the other guy immediately fills it back up
again."

"Oh," explained one of the city workers, "the third guy who plants the
trees is off sick today."


Story behind the song
---------------------

With a new batch of songs on FW4, this previously regular newsletter
feature will make a comeback for a few months...

This month, "Christ before me"

Christ before me
Christ above me
Christ beneath me
Christ beside
Christ my vision
Christ my wisdom
Christ my comfort
Christ my guide

I bind unto myself this day
The strong and holy name
Praise to the mighty God of my salvation
Three in one and one in three
I bind unto myself this day the strong name
Of the holy Trinity

Mike Burn
Copyright (c) 2001 Daybreak Music


This song is based on the famous "Breastplate of St Patrick" - a prayer
attributed to St Patrick, the 5th century Irish saint, originally born
in Roman Britain. Captured by Irish raiders at the age of sixteen, and
sold into bondage to tend sheep and swine on the slopes of Slemish
mountain in Antrim, Ireland, his thoughts turned to God, and he spent
many hours in solitary prayer. After six years he escaped, and made his
way home. He relates how in a vision he saw a man who came from Ireland
with letters, and how he heard the voices of the Irish imploring him to
return. Returning to Ireland, his mission there spanned some thirty
years, in the latter half of the fifth century. Ireland, unlike any
other country in Western Europe, was converted to Christianity without
the shedding of martyrs' blood. In his own words, the saint "baptised
thousands, ordained clerics everywhere and rejoiced to see the flock of
the Lord in Ireland growing splendidly." The date and place of his death
are uncertain; tradition says that he died at Saul, near Downpatrick,
Co.Down, on 17 March, the day now celebrated as the national festival.

Having been inspired to read the prayer by seeing part of it quoted in
an email signature, I was inspired by the poetic nature of the prayer,
and the expression of absolute dependence on God, and the strength that
comes from the fullness of Christ.

Wanting to write in a Celtic style, I took the opportunity of a visit to
Dublin to write the initial draft. Walking the streets in the city
centre around Trinity College, it was written, unusually for me, without
a guitar or piano to hand.

Subsequently, I shared the song with a number of other writers and
musicians, and as with all songs, I was looking for ways to improve and
refine it before finalising it. I have to say that I agonised over the
final version probably more than any other song that I had written,
because there were so many good suggestions for how to change it -
melodically, harmonically, lyrically - every which way! In particular, I
was challenged on how authentically Celtic it sounded, so struggled to
enhance that aspect.

The version recorded on FW4 features Irish whistle, played beautifully
by Jason Mandryck (who works, incidentally, with Patrick Johnstone in
compiling the excellent resource for praying for nations; "Operation
World"), and vocals by Katy Trigg and Alex Alder in a suitably breathy,
ethereal Celtic style!

You can hear the track at http://www.mp3.com/familyworship and sheet
music is available at http://members.scorchmusic.com/familyworship


Humour spot
===========

A pastor was preaching an impassioned sermon on the evils of television.
"It steals away precious time that could be better spent on other
things," he said, advising the congregation to do what he and his family
had done: "We put out TV away in the closet."

"That's right," his wife whispered to the lady next to her, "and it gets
awfully crowded in there..."


Check out...
------------

Our favourite UK christian portal, Solidrock, has recently had a site
re-deisgn, which is worth checking out, and if you live in the UK and
would like to use a free Christian ISP that raises funds for churches
and charities including Tear Fund, then check it out at
http://www.solidrock.uk.net

(One feature that we particularly like is the cool email address that
comes with using the ISP - yourname@rockuk.net !)


The UK's only terrestial Christian radio station, Premier Radio, is
collecting signatures for a petition to ensure the renewal of its
license, which is under threat because of the need to convince the
authorities that single-faith stations are as much in the public
interest as multi-faith, or secular stations. You can sign the petition
online at http://www.premier.org.uk


If you have a website that you would like us to cover in future
newsletters, please email
newsletter@familyworship.org.uk

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. Check it
out at http://www.riveroflifecbs.com

Don't forget that Family Worship, as well as many other "grass roots
level" ministries are featured in the Christian sections of mp3.com
http://www.mp3.com/familyworship

Check out the new, free FW Webmail - yourname@familyworship.net -
http://familyworship.mail.everyone.net


Newsletter information
----------------------

This newsletter is written by Mike Burn and is published by Family
Worship Resources, part of Ichthus Christian Fellowship, London, UK.
Copyright 2001, 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.

To subscribe, send a blank email to
FamilyWorshipsubscribe@topica.com

Send comments or queries, or suggested articles or links for inclusion
in future newsletters to
MikeBurn@familyworship.org.uk

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

Mike

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