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Welcome to the 15th Family Worship Newsletter, 31 March 2000

Previous newsletters are available on the website archives at


With relentless "Humour spots" between every item...

FW Site stats
Recent site additions
Coming soon
Story behind the song
Worship and evangelism
Songwriters' encouragement
Check out...
Newsletter information

FW Site Stats

Visitors to the site have increased to around 400 a day through March - welcome to new subscribers.

The most popular pages in March were the Songs page, the KidsZone, the Showcase, and a seasonal favourite right now is the Easter page.

Recent site additions

Still time to check out this new page, with 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" which is an ideal song to use for Palm  Sunday.

Most of the Family Worship songs are aimed to be accessible for all ages, but we often get requests for songs for very small children. With this in mind, we have added two brand new lullabies to the site. In fact, the tunes are two of the best-known melodies in the world, but the words are new, and make the songs perfect for the under-fives.

The showcase has been updated with the next batch of writers, so now features 16 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 are added each month.

Humour spot

Words of wisdom from children...

Never trust a dog to watch your food.
 - Patrick, age 10

When your dad is mad and asks you, "Do I look stupid?"
don't answer him.
 - Michael, 14

Never tell your mom her diet's not working.
 - Michael, 14

You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
 - Armir, 9

If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse.
 -Naomi, 15

Felt markers are not good to use as lipstick.
 - Lauren, 9

Never try to baptize a cat.
 - Eileen, 8

Coming soon

The drama scripts on the Easter page have proved very popular, and we will be adding a number of scripts on various themes over the coming months. All are royalty free for use in church services or children's work.

Humour spot

Church bulletin bloopers:

Announcement in a bulletin for a National Prayer & Fasting Conference
"The cost for attending the conference includes meals"

Barbara remains in the hospital will need more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack's sermons...

Story behind the song...

This month, the new lullaby, "Jesus, you're the morning star"

Jesus, you're the morning star
Oh how beautiful you are
You came down from heaven above
Died to show the Father's love
Jesus, you're the morning star
Oh how beautiful you are

Words, Mike Burn, Copyright 1999 Daybreak Music
Tune - Mozart

One of the reasons I started writing songs was that I had been observing my own children in the context of worship in our church, and realised that many of the adult songs we used were inaccessible to them. At the same time, I realised that many of the children's songs that we used were considered by some of the adults to be inappropriate for them, so we were in a no-win situation.

One aim of the Family Worship recordings was to find songs that were acceptable to adults and accessible for children. It's been suggested that you can't please all of the people all of the time, and in worship, there's an element of truth in that. However, the whole aim of worship is not to please ourselves anyway, but to please God, and so if we can use songs that the whole church family can enjoy, then there's a good prospect of God enjoying the worship too!

So, normally, I try to avoid writing songs that could be labelled overtly as being children's songs. However, I make the odd exception, and while my youngest daughter was still small enough to enjoy lullabies, I decided to write one for her. From the time she was able to sit on my lap at the piano, her favourite song had always been "Twinkle twinkle little star", so it was the natural choice for the tune, and the lyrics are a simple expression of thanks for who Jesus is and what he's done.

If you have small children or grandchildren of your own, or if you work with under-fives, then I hope this song will be a blessing to you.

You can listen to this song at

It will be on the Spring Harvest Little Kids Praise 2000 this year, as well as the FW song "When you pray" (available in May from

and also it has been the featured song at in the children's spiritual category

Humour spot

A boy was watching his father, a pastor, write a sermon. "How do
you know what to say?" he asked.

"Well, God tells me."

"Oh, then why do you keep crossing things out?"

Worship and evangelism

There was a question posed on a worship email discussion list recently as to what was the primary calling of the church: was it to worship, to evangelise, or to fellowship. Answers that were suggested would often be a reflection of the ministry emphasis of the individual responding, and there were compelling arguments as to why one should be considered as more important than the other.

One criticism that is often levelled at the church, particularly in the UK, where attendance has been in decline in most denominations and movements over the past several decades, is that the church is too inward looking. The words of Jesus' great commission to "Go and make disciples" should ring in our ears as a continual directive.

However, it is also true that we were created to worship, and so it would not be right to abandon our corporate worship activities and only hold evangelistic activities - the right balance needs to be found. In fact, the two often go hand in hand, in the sense that the more one worships, the closer one gets to the heart of God, which is always reaching out to the world.

Many churches have found that taking worship out into the open, whether as part of a static event or as part of a march or procession, has had an impact in the spiritual atmosphere, and evangelism has followed on naturally. My view is that church is far too good to keep hidden away inside 4 walls, so the more we can do in the public eye, the better.

During this millennium year, many churches are taking the opportunity to focus their evangelistic efforts, and the more we worship, the more effective they efforts will be. Many nations are joining with each other on June 10 for "Jesus Day", initiated by March for Jesus, and you can find details at

Humour spot

Any accordion players out there? Sorry - nothing personal...

What's the difference between an accordion and a lawnmower?
You can tune a lawnmower

What's the difference between an accordion and an onion?
People cry when you chop up an onion.

What's the difference between an accordion and a trampoline?
You take your shoes off to jump on the trampoline.

Songwriter's encouragement

As illustrated by the lullabies that we've recently added to the songs available from FW Resources, it is not always necessary to write a new tune in order to create a new song! There are many people who feel that they would like to write songs, but feel that they are not musical, or don't play an instrument, so struggle to compose a melody to accompany their lyrics.

If this applies to you, then don't hesitate to take an existing melody and write new lyrics to it. Particularly if the tune is over 70 years old, then there is no restriction from a copyright point of view in using and recording it. (If it's a more recent song that is still in copyright then to publish the music or record the song you would need permission for what is an adaptation of an existing work)

So, if you feel the urge to write songs but have been put off by the musical side of writing, just find a tune that you like, and borrow it!

Don't forget that we are keen to feature songs from all kinds of writers in the Showcase, so whether you have one, two or a hundred songs, do consider submitting them for consideration at

Humour spot

A woman was in the car with her husband when suddenly she turned and said: "Stop! I'm sure I left the iron on - turn the car round or the house will burn down"

"The house won't burn down, dear" said the husband, and kept on driving

"No, I'm really sure this time that I left it on - the house will burn down!"

"No it won't", he insisted, refusing to turn around

"But how can you be so sure?"

"Because I left the bath running"

Check out...

David Lyle Morris, who has sung backing vocals for worship leaders including Darlene Zschech, Graham Kendrick, Noel Richards and Robin Mark, is recording a new live worship album, "Jesus, King of the Ages" this month, which will be released by Kingsway in the Summer. In the meanwhile, you can hear a great studio version of the title track at

Last month's article on creativity in worship prompted much interest, and we have now posted a full article from Marie Bensley on the website at

and Marie's own website is at

For UK christians, a new site is gearing up to offer free Internet access, with a proportion of revenue going to support churches and charities. Should be a good alternative to Freeserve and the other free providers, and you can register for details at

The whole of the New Testament and Psalms is now available in MP3 format for free download. The version is the World English Bible.

If you are interested in justice and alieviating poverty and hunger, check out Food for the Poor's (FFP) redesigned Web site at
FFP is an organization working to eliminate poverty in Latin America & the Carribean

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

and new this month,

Newsletter information

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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