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Welcome to the 3rd Family Worship Newsletter, 25 March 1999


(With relentless "Humour spots" in-between every item...)

FW Site stats
Recent additions
Coming soon
Story behind the song
The need for "team"
Songwriters' encouragement
Check it out...
Newsletter information

FW Site Stats

Visitors to the website topped 2,000 for the first time for the month in March, making a total of over 5,000 since the launch in January. Visitors from new countries included Norway, Belgium, Ireland, Barbados and Israel.

The most popular pages were 1. Lyrics, 2. Songs, and making a new entry at number 3. Songs by email – if you haven’t tried this yet, then give it a go – 12 songs are now available and you can choose to receive any or all of: lyrics, guitar chords, sheet music, story behind the song, RealAudio file and an acetate master. Please allow up to 3 days for the request to be processed.

Subscribers to this newsletter were 50 in January, 100 in February, and now 200. If subscriptions continue to double every month, then I calculate that the entire world’s population will have subscribed by March 2003. (Did you know that recent research has shown that 84% of all statistics are made up on the spot?)

Humour spot
(To be read in a Tommy Cooper accent...) "I was in my car, and I was driving along, and my boss rang up, and he said 'You've been promoted.' And I swerved. And then he rang up a second time and said 'You've been promoted again.' And I swerved again. He rang up a third time and said 'You're now Chief Executive' And I went into a tree. So a policeman came up and said 'What happened to you?', and I said 'I careered off the road"

Recent site additions:

Writer profile now available for Brown Bear Music, including RealAudio samples of some of their songs. BBM will be leading worship again at Spring Harvest this year (the largest UK annual Christian conference), and if you haven’t heard their stuff, then do check it out, especially if you are looking for contemporary worship material, suitable for teenagers and young adults.

Do you know what day of the week you were born on? If not, then you can find out on the Kids Only page. (Why you would want to know is another question, but it’s just a bit of FUN!) While you’re there, send in a joke, or better still, get your children to send one...

New MP3 file added - "A time to mourn" (see story below)

Humour spot

How many drummers does it take to change a lightbulb?
None - they have a machine for that these days.

What's the definition of an optimist?
A guitarist who carries a pager...

Coming soon

A number of the FW songs have been translated into other languages, including Spanish, French,  German, Swedish, Finnish, and others. We will soon be adding lyrics in other languages to the website. If you are interested in seeing songs in a particular language, then please send an e-mail, and if you have translated any of the songs yourself, or have come across translations, then please also e-mail to let me know.  Thanks!

Humour spot
A 6 year-old was asked by her teacher: "What's the capital of Spain?" She replied: "Oh miss, that's really easy - S!"

Story behind the song...

This month - "A time to mourn"

This song evolved over a few months during 1994. Initially, I was personally trying to come to terms with the "Toronto blessing" or refreshing, that was starting to have an impact in many UK churches. One of the results of what happened for many people was to express extremes of emotion – weeping or laughing, sometimes uncontrollably. I wasn’t quite sure about the whole thing, and during a personal time of prayer and reflection, I felt that God was speaking to me through Ecclesiastes 3 – the wonderful scriptures that talk about there being a time for everything. The scripture includes the verse: "A time to weep, and a time to laugh", and it helped me to come to terms with what was going on. (I’m not making any kind of judgement, by the way, on the "validity" of the experiences –  we need to test everything, with spiritual discernment, and need to make wise personal and corporate decisions for ourselves and our churches)

In writing the song, I was wanting to express that there is a time for all of life’s experiences, and in the midst of them, we can seek the face of God, who truly can make everything beautiful in its time. I actually wrote teh song in lovely surroundings in the South of France, and my prayer for the song was that it would help bring healing for those in the midst of painful life experiences.

Tragically, in the same place in France, friends of ours were taking a family holiday a few months later, and the husband suffered a sudden, and fatal, heart attack, leaving a young wife, with their three lovely children. In dedicating the song to him and to the family at that time, it was, and still is, my prayer that God will bring comfort to those who mourn.

My own brother died as a teenager, when I was 6, and I know that there are no easy answers to the question: "why does God allow such things to happen", but I do know that God is good, and ultimately we shall live to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, and in heaven, He will wipe away every tear.

The second verse of the song is an expression of love and worship – whatever happens in our life, it’s still our obligation, privilege and joy to worship Jesus through the best and worst of times…

"A time to mourn" is now available as an MP3 file on the songs page - , and can also be requested via the Song-by-email facility -

Humour spot

This one is true, and funny, but poignant - never give up on your dreams...

A fan of Elvis Presley who wrote to him 39 years ago, finally got a reply from him in January this year. Karen Golz received the letter after it was found among papers belonging to Elvis' landlady. The "King of rock and roll" was in Germany while on US national service as a GI. The stamped and addressed letter was found in the attic and was passed on to an Elvis fan club in Germany who spent weeks tracking down Karen, now 50. "My eyes filled with tears when I received the letter and realised that Elvis had written back to me after all," she said. "When the Elvis Presley Appreciation Society called round to see me and told me what had happened to my letter and handed it to me, I could scarcely believe my eyes. I opened the envelope and there it was. A letter for me all those years ago from my idol. I never stopped loving him." Karen, who lived in Oberhausen, West Germany, in 1960: had written: "It's my birthday soon and if you send me your autograph I promise I will marry you when I grow up." Elvis wrote a personal note at the end of his reply: "May you have a happy 11th birthday - and a lot of "Teddy Bears" (referring to his 50s hit) - your friend Elvis"

Elvis died in 1977, aged 42.

The need for "team"

Whether you call it team, or group ministry, or working together, or body life, or whatever, the fact that we need to work together in the church is inescapable. The very heart of God is in relationship - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In his earthly ministry, Jesus formed a team with his disciples, and set the pattern for kingdom life and work.

In the area of worship, there is a vital need to work as part of a team. Worship leaders and musicians, by their very nature, often struggle with ego, pride and motivation issues, and one of the most effective ways to help overcome those issues is by accountability to a team, and to other leaders. We are instructed to submit to one another in love (Ephesians 5:21), and to submit to those in authority. One of the best tests of true submission is not when we do things because we agree with a leader, but when we do them even if we might disagree. (Of course we must be careful not to be "blind" in our submission, and if we are being asked to do something that appears to contradict the word of God, or we could not in all conscience do, then that is different...)

Paul says in I Corinthians 12 that though we are many, we are one body, and we need each other, no matter what our role or function. It's interesting to note that in the various lists of spiritual gifts, and ministry gifts, in the New Testament, there is no mention of the "Gift of Worship Leading". Sometimes we elevate that position in our churches to an artificial level, when in fact, for a worship leader to be effective, musical gifting, whilst vital, is secondary to spiritual gifting. It is the spiritual gifts that are given for building up the body. For example, a worship leader with a prophetic gifting, or with an evangelistic ministry, or with the gift of healing, will be far more effective than the most naturally talented singer or musician who doesn't know or recognise what their real spiritual gift is. (Of course, natural gifts come from God also, but they can be found in abundance in the world too...!)

There can often be tensions in churches between, for example, pastors and worship leaders, or worship leaders and children's workers, and the enemy will do everything he can to stop the body functioning properly - he would far rather see us tear each other apart, limb from limb. When we learn to submit to one another in love, and so submit to God, and also learn the power of humility and apology, then we will start to see the body really come to life, and do what it is called to do on earth - bring in the kingdom of heaven.

Let me leave you with this question: who do you submit to, and why?

Humour spot
A young boy was in church with his mother. The church knelt down in the pews to pray, and there was silence. The boy tugged his mother's sleeve. "Shhh" she said. "But Mum", he whispered, "who are we hiding from?"

Songwriters’ encouragement

I recently came across a recording of songs called "Sing your heart off", written by children, which are absolutely wonderful. (Check it out at

Hearing songs that children have written reminded me of one of the most potent forces available to all of us to use: encouragement. So many adults have grown up with a belief that they can’t do certain things, maybe because of negative words that were planted in their childhood. How many times have you heard people say, or have said yourself,   something like: "I can’t sing, I can’t dance, I can’t draw, I’m no good at writing…"? Let me say to you that you CAN do some of the things that you think are impossible or beyond you, and it’s never too late to start.

Especially if you’ve ever dreamed of writing poetry, or songs, or music, and have either never tried, or have tried but have kept it to yourself and never shown anyone else, let me encourage you to just take one small step further. Write your first song, or dig out that one you wrote 10 years ago, dust it off and show someone. Then, write another one...

And, on the other side, if someone has the courage to show you something creative that they’ve done, whether it’s a song, a poem, a painting, a story or a piece of drama, then do whatever you can to encourage them. You may well have misgivings about the nature of their motivation, or the level and potential of their skill and gifting, but it’s so much more powerful to first encourage, and then later correct if necessary, than it is to crush someone’s spirit by being negative at the outset. Let’s encourage each other, and, especially, let’s encourage the children.

Humour spot

A preacher needed his home repainted but not having much money, he shopped around until he found a cheap enough quote. Work started, but the painter was greedy and decided to recover some of the profit he had sacrificed by mixing some water with the paint to make it go further. He finished his work, but the preacher could see that he quality was poor and finally got the man admit to what he had done.  Sadly but firmly, the preacher told the painter to go and do it again, saying to him  "Repaint and thin no more"

Check out...

"One Voice"

If your church knows the song "Over the mountains and the sea (I could sing of your love forever…)" then you might want to join with possibly hundreds of other churches around the world who will be singing that song in their service on April 11 as part of the "One Voice" initiative, which has been an annual event for a couple of years now. Check out the details at:

Easter is just round the corner. If you’re looking for a fresh song that works well with children and adults, try "Jesus, thank you for the cross" -

Easter websites are popping up all over the Internet – here’s a couple of UK-based sites to try:   or try a "virtual Easter egg roll (!) at  

Humour spot (last one...)

Things aren’t always what they seem...

A woman came home to find her husband in the kitchen, shaking frantically with what looked like a wire running from his waist towards the electric kettle. Assuming he was being electrocuted, and intending to jolt him away from the deadly current she whacked him with a handy plank of wood by the back door, breaking his arm in two places.  She then discovered that in fact he had been happily listening and dancing along to his Walkman!

Newsletter information
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.

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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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