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Welcome to the 9th Family Worship Newsletter, 30 September,
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
What's your gift?
FW Site Stats
Visitors continued through September at a steady rate of around
100 per day, and new countries visiting included Uruguay and
Newsletter subscriptions are up to around 710 people - welcome to
Recent site additions
"MP3" is currently the most popular search word on the Internet.
If you are already an MP3 user then you'll know about the
incredibly clear sound quality, and if you've never tried them,
then here's your opportunity, because Family Worship has recently
launched on the world's biggest site for free MP3 files - mp3.com
I've always believed that worship music should be freely
available, and whilst there has been controversy about the use of
MP3 format for music piracy in the secular environment, the format
does present a great opportunity for christian writers to freely
distribute songs for the sake of the gospel and the Kingdom. Well
worth checking out...
The first kids only newsletter was sent recently, and as well as
some great articles and jokes, featured a competition to win free
cassettes! Beckie has really done a great job with this, so if you
would like to subscribe on behalf of a child, email
with "subscribe" in the content, or use the form at
The Prayer Zone for children is a new section where children can
post their own requests for prayer (safely and anonymously), pray
for other children round the world and post answers to pray for
encouragement. Parents have also used it to request prayer for
their own children. Check it out at
After last month's newsletter, we were deluged with song-by-email
requests for Judy Bailey's great song, "I reach up high", and
we've now added another of her songs. "Father, I do adore you" to
the song-by-email facility. This is a lovely, simple worship song
that children and adults will equally enjoy.
A mother had been teaching her three-year-old daughter the Lord's
Prayer. For several evenings at bedtime she practised, and the
mother listened with pride as she carefully said each word, right
up to the end of the prayer. "Lead us not into temptation," she
prayed, "but deliver us some e-mail. Amen."
The was a small boy who insisted that God's name was Harold. When
asked why, he answered: "Because we always pray: Our Father who
art in heaven, Harold be thy name..."
The teaching booklet to accompany the latest FW recording, "Teach
us to pray", will soon be available to read in full online.
Featuring a lovable cartoon character, "Prayer Bear", this
presents clear teaching on prayer in a way that younger children
(age 6 to 11) will really enjoy and benefit from. In the
meanwhile, don't forget that you can order the booklet (prices are
very low) and it is ideal for using in a Sunday school context to
teach on prayer (teaching notes are also available).
A father was reading Bible stories to his young son. He read, "The
man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the
city, but his wife looked back and was turned to salt."
His son asked, "What happened to the flea?"
Story behind the song...
This month, "Prayer can make a difference"
Prayer can make a difference
Prayer can make a difference
Prayer can make a difference
So pray! (x2)
Through prayer our God can heal
We believe in miracles
Through prayer a whole situation can change
Through prayer a person can be born again
Nothing has such power
As a prayer to God my Father
There's noone else who can do what he can
I want to live my life
According to his plan
Copyright 1998 Daybreak Music
As christians, we know that prayer can, and will, make a
difference, but certainly in my own life, sometimes I only
remember to pray after I've tried everything else. There's a
common saying: "Why worry when you can pray?", sometimes I think I
live life the other way round "Why pray when you can worry?" ! We
can often spend so much time worrying, and so little time
praying - it would be great to get it reversed...
Recently, I was changing a flat tyre on a friend's car. Another
friend came up, and she started praying that God would help us
change the tyre. I remember thinking: "Why is she praying - this
is a straight forward job!" However, a few moments later, the car
began to wobble, and as I was lying with my leg partly underneath
the car, loosening the bolts, I quickly rolled out of the way,
just as the car came crashing down off the jack. It turned out
that the hand brake was not on, so the car had slowly rolled off
the jack, and I'm convinced that it was the fact that the other
friend had prayed that had saved me from injury. It taught me a
valuable lesson: that prayer should be our first response in any
situation, no matter how mundane or normal it may seem. This is a
crucial "lesson for life" that we should teach to children, as
well as practice ourselves.
The wonderful truth is that the greatest power in the universe is
available to be released by the simplest prayer of the smallest
child. What are we waiting for?
You can request this song by email from
and an MP3 file is now available at
Letters to God from six-year-olds...
Dear God, who draws the lines around the countries?
Dear God, thank you for my baby brother, but what I prayed for was
Dear God, please send me a pony. I never asked for anything
before. You can look it up.
Dear God, I think the stapler is one of your greatest inventions.
Dear God, I bet it is very hard for you to love all the people in
the world. There are only four people in our family and I can
never do it.
Dear God, If you watch me in church Sunday, I'll show you my new
Dear God, we read Thomas Edison made light. But in Sunday School,
we learned that you did it. So I bet he stole your idea.
What's your gift?
The famous list of ministries listed in Ephesians 4 - apostle,
prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher - strangely doesn't mention
the ministry of worship leader. Nor will you find it in the list
of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. In the modern-day church,
we often talk of "gifted worship leaders", but I sometimes feel
that we've elevated this gifting to an artificially important
level. Don't get me wrong, I think it is crucial that we have men
and women who are able to effectively lead others into the very
presence of God, but the question we need to ask of them is "what
is your real gift?"
It may be that they are gifted as teachers, in which case their
worship leading may reflect an element of teaching that helps
people understand the nature of God more as they worship. It may
be a prophetic gifting that releases the truth of God through the
songs they choose, or the words they speak. Or, it may be a gift
of healing, so that people's lives are touched with the healing
power of God through the worship, even if there is no formal
prayer for healing taking place. Most of the spiritual gifts can,
and should, be released and expressed in our worship at different
times, and all of them are given for the building up of the body.
The world elevates musicians and songwriters to the level of
superstars, and it's vital in the church that we don't do the same
with our worship leaders and writers. Their ministry and gifting
is no more, nor no less, important than that of every other
individual in the church, and it can be helpful to remind them of
that from time to time - pride is a great hindrance to effective
If you are a worship leader, singer or musician, then it is
important to find out (if you don't already know, or are unsure)
what your primary spiritual gifting is - don't rely on "natural
talents" alone (although, of course, all our gifts and talents are
God-given). There is an online questionnaire that can help you
discover what your strongest gifts are. Check it out at:
For those of us who are not classically-trained musicians, here is
a helpful list defining some of those mysterious musical terms...
ACCIDENTALS - Wrong notes
ACCELERANDO - what happens when drummers have to keep a steady
CRESCENDO - A reminder to the musician that he/she has been
playing too loud
GLISSANDO - the way string players play difficult runs
KEY CHANGE - A change in the main pitch or which takes full
effect three to five bars after it is noted in the music
PAGE TURN - a good way to avoid playing the hard parts
TEMPO CHANGE - Signal for the musicians to ignore the conductor
VIBRATO - a way for musicians to hide the fact that they were
playing the wrong note
Why is it that songs can communicate so much more powerfully than
words alone? Take the simple concept of a husband saying "I love
you" to his wife, or a mother to her child. Powerful indeed, but
how much more are the emotions stirred when the husband plays his
wife "our song", or the mother sings a lullaby to her child as it
goes to sleep? God has given us music as an incredible gift, that
is able to stir our emotions, and communicate on a deeper level.
There are however, many more uses for songs than love songs alone.
In Colossians 3 we are encouraged to "teach and admonish one
another, with all wisdom, as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual
songs with gratitude in your hearts to God". Songs can release the
truth, and as we sing, the truth can sink deep into our own
hearts, and the hearts of those around us.
In a society where scripture is rarely learnt by heart any more,
one of the most effective ways of enabling people to learn it
(without even necessarily realising that's what they're doing) is
to set scripture to music. In this way, we can fulfil the command
in Colossians to teach and admonish one another.
I have a deep conviction (hence this regular spot in the
newsletter) that there are many more people in the church who
could and should be writing songs. There's a saying that every
person has at least one book in them that they could write; I'd
like to adapt that saying to suggest that every christian has at
least one song in them that they should sing. Go for it!
When my daughter was about four years old, she had a hard time
grasping the concept of marriage.
I got out our wedding album, thinking that the visual images of
photos would help, and explained the entire service and the day to
her. Once finished, I asked if she had any questions, and she
replied, "Oh. I see. Is that when Mommy came to work for us?"
River of Life Discount Christian Bookstore, US distributors for
the Family Worship resources are now online with a site featuring
a great range of worship recordings, songbooks, etc. Check it out
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
If you have a website that you would like us to cover in
future newsletters, please email email@example.com
Last humour spot
One Sunday a pastor told the congregation that the church needed
some extra money and asked the people to prayerfully consider
giving a little extra in the offering plate. He said that whoever
gave the most would be able to pick out three hymns. After the
offering plates were passed, the pastor glanced down and noticed
that someone had placed a $1,000 bill in the offering.
He was so excited that he immediately shared his joy with his
congregation and said he'd like to personally thank the person who
placed the money in the plate. A very quiet, elderly, saintly lady
all the way at the back shyly raised her hand. The pastor asked
her to come to the front. Slowly she made her way to the pastor.
He told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much and in
thanksgiving asked her to pick out three hymns. Her eyes
brightened as she looked over the congregation, pointed to the
three most handsome men in the building and said, "I'll take him
and him and him."
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
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