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Welcome to the 21st Family Worship Newsletter, 30 September 2000

Previous newsletters are available on the website archives at


FW Site stats
Recent site additions
Coming soon
The most popular first letter for a worship song?
Songwriters' encouragement
Check out...
Newsletter information

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

FW Site Stats

Newsletter subscribers are now over 1,600 - a special welcome to new subscribers.

Visitors to the website suddenly jumped to at an average of over 700 people a day through September, with a peak day of over 1,000 visitors for the first time. We discovered the cause for this was that, after first submitting a request for a listing 20 months ago, Family Worship is now included in the most visited site on the Internet - the Yahoo directory.

In fact, we have been listed in several categories, and especially in the UK version:, where a search for 'worship' currently returns the FW site top of the list. We're honoured...!

Recent site additions

With Halloween approaching, you may like to check out our special page for children, which gives the facts behind the day, and suggests ways to deal with it.

Humour spot
I was gone of business for a few days, and my wife reported that my dog really missed me.  "She spends the night at the front door, awaiting your return," she said.

"What an example of true love," I replied.  "I wonder if you'd be that concerned about me?"

"Honey," my wife answered, "if you were gone overnight, and I didn't know where you were, you can be sure I'd be waiting for you at the front door."

Coming soon

FW4 - "RISING GENERATION"  (provisional title)
We are in the final planning stages for the next Family Worship album - FW4. Provisionally titled "Rising Generation", as with all the previous albums, there will a wide range of songs and genres: some songs are more overtly child-oriented, some youth-oriented, and some adult, but all are ideal for use in Sunday-morning worship or other times when all ages are present.

Family Worship has always been a grass-roots initiative, and every album has included debut songs from new writers (some of whom have gone on to sparkling musical careers; most of whom, however, have yet to give up the day job!).

We are keen to hear songs from anyone who would like to submit them for consideration; the only criteria is that they must be original songs that are suitable for worship, and ideally have been "road-tested" in your local church.

If you are interested, please send the songs to the address shown on the FW contact page:

Deadline is 25 October; many thanks to those who have already submitted songs.

Humour spot
A new father was left in charge of his baby for an afternoon. After a couple of hours, the baby started crying, and despite everything the father tried, he couldn't calm it down. Eventually, he took the baby and drove frantically round to his Mother's house. As he handed her the baby, she could tell immediately what was wrong - the poor baby's nappy (diaper) was overfull.

"Didn't you check this?" she asked. "Yes, of course" he replied, "but it says on the packet that these nappies are good for up to 10lb, and there can't be more than a couple in there!"

The most popular first letter for a worship song?
I was chatting recently with one of the compilers of "The Source" - a compilation songbook which aims to put the best of worship songs from all over the world, old and new, including many hymns, together in one publication. He was describing how, during the process for short-listing the songs for volume 2, they had arranged them alphabetically, and an interesting observation was made. The most common first letter for the songs was the letter "I". The letter "J" came second.

In itself, there is nothing necessarily alarming about this statistic - after all, many of the Psalms start with "I" - "I waited patiently for the Lord", "I will exalt you my God and my King" However, it does reinforce a concern that many worship leaders and pastors have expressed in recent years: has our worship become too self-indulgent? Is it more about us and the way we feel rather than about God?

I heard a great preaching illustration from an elderly Scottish preacher a couple of years ago, which rang totally true for me, and I have repeated it several times since. It concerns a tendency of many people, husbands in particular, in the way that they choose gifts. For example, I often give my wife a CD for her birthday, and she'll unwrap it, look at the cover, and then look up at me and say: "Thanks darling - um, you like this band, don't you?!"

In other words, I've bought her a gift that in fact I will rather enjoy myself. The Scottish preacher's point was that this is exactly the way that many Christians approach worship today. We present our gifts and offerings to the Lord, but in a way that, consciously or not, brings us more enjoyment than him.

The style of music and choice of songs can be one symptom of this tendency. Many contemporary worship songs are experientially focussed, that is, describing how we feel, or would like to feel. Again, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that - love songs can be an essential ingredient of worship, but we also need songs that are full of objective truth, and songs that tell aspects of the gospel, if we are to avoid our worship becoming unduly inward focussed and irrelevant or inaccessible t
 visitors to our services.

Some of the older hymns, that have stood the test of time, are full of lyrics that are both poetically beautiful, as well as scripturally sound, and objectively true for all time, rather than subjectively true for a moment in time. As we finalise the selection of songs for FW4, I am very mindful of the responsibility the church currently has, especially towards children, to get the content and heart, far more than the form, of our worship right, by which I mean worship that will please God fir
t and foremost.

I don't profess to have got this right in respect of the songs from our first few albums, nor can we guarantee to do it with this one, but at the very least, we'll be trying to look carefully and objectively at the validity of any of the songs that start with the letter "I" !

The Source and The Source Newsongs, as well as Kidsource, are available from Kevin Mayhew Ltd,, and contain a number of the songs from the various Family Worship recordings and writers.

Humour spot
A girl who had a food allergy was discussing it with her friend.

"So, you're allergic to peanuts?
"Yes - they bring me out in a rash"
"And egg products?"
"What about cats?"
"I don't know - I don't eat cats!"

Songwriters' encouragement

In the UK recently, a 73 year old man made education history by completing his degree in the longest time - 28 years. He's announced now that he will start on his PhD.

Friends of ours who have been working for the past 23 years to translate the Bible into Turkish (a language for which there was no modern translation) recently completed their work.

British Rower, Steve Redgrave, entered the Olympic record books in Sydney last month, becoming the first athlete ever to win gold in 5 consecutive games in an endurance event.

These days, as a songwriter, I sometimes get frustrated if I can't finish a song in a few hours! The above examples are a challenge to keep going, and not to expect instant results, but to persevere and work hard to achieve an end result.

If you're someone who has written in the past and given up, or started songs but never quite finished or used them, why not consider having another go? Your creativity may be just the thing that your church needs right now.

Humour spot

As Gayle was getting to know Jim and his family, she was very impressed by how much his parents loved each other.  "They're so thoughtful," Gayle said.  "Why, your dad even brings your mum a cup of tea in bed every morning."

After a time, Gayle and Jim were engaged, and then married.  On the way from the wedding to the reception, Gayle again remarked on Jim's loving parents, and even the tea in bed.  "Tell me," she said, "does it run in the family?"

"It sure does," replied Jim.  "And I take after my mum"

Check out...

SOLIDROCK - new UK Christian portal and Internet Service Provider

If you are based in the UK and would like to try a new Christian ISP that provides fast, free, reliable local-rate dial-up access to the Internet, and donates a proportion of the call charges (that you pay as usual to BT) to churches and charities including Tear Fund, then check out
It's simple and risk-free to sign-up online, and the process does not affect any existing dialup arrangements or email accounts that you have already. Especially if you are with AOL or Freeserve, then Solidrock claim that their first time connection rate is exceptionally reliable, so the frustrating engaged tone should be a thing of the past.

A brand new album called "Undone" is out soon from Nameless Music - check them out at

A new site from a UK company that specialises in providing stage lighting and effects for Christian events and churches is 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. Check it out at

Don't forget that Family Worship, as well as loads of other "grass roots level" ministries is featured in the Christian sections of

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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