My “9 Year Old Genius”

In our most recent video for our Sing the Bible Kickstarter Campaign, there’s a shot of our son Ben, that was super fun to put together. He’s wearing his brother’s glasses, a green “standard school attire” collared shirt, and a Hogwarts student Halloween costume robe. In case you didn’t catch all the details, here’s the picture in all of its silly glory.
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Ben is actually 8 years old, but for some reason “9” seemed funnier. If you missed this video altogether, check it out here…

What Is Slugs & Bugs?

This is so fun. Back in the early days of Slugs & Bugs, I hired a friend of mine to help out for a few months with all the phone calls and emails we had to make each day. His name is Alan Stricklin, and he’s got a fascinating life.

He is a gifted audio guy, and worked deep in the belly of NPR for years, until making a 180º for the change of pace that contract work on farms and festivals and shipping freighters on Lake Michigan would bring. These days he is the go-to guy for Young Life’s audio needs around the country, and they are lucky to have him.

In addition to all that, as you’re about to hear – he’s also got a brilliant voice. It’s my friend Alan narrating the video below. We had so much fun going over the top, with all of the “In a World” voiceover cliches,  and it was great to have him back on the Slugs & Bugs team. We recorded scripts for two Slugs & Bugs promo pieces, and this is the first one!

Thanks to all the families from our newsletter The Slugs & Bugs Bacon who sent in photos and videos! There was clearly some hard work and preparation behind those signs and photos, and it was AWESOME to have those great pics for this video. They make me smile every time I see them!

Thanks for jumping in and spreading the word about our Kickstarter campaign! Here’s the link to find out more…

Click here for Sing the Bible Volume 2!

For more info about Slugs & Bugs, check out our website at slugsandbugs.com

Sing the Bible Volume 2! LAUNCH!

3… 2… 1… Liftoff!

It is past midnight on Tuesday, July 7, and we’ve just officially launched our Kickstarter Campaign for Sing the Bible Volume 2! We have the best fans in the whole world – and we know this campaign will succeed, but please jump in early so we can get the ball rolling.

Here’s the link to the Kickstarter page, where you can read all about the second installment of our Sing the Bible series.

Click here to see the great new video and Kickstarter page!

This music will delight your family for generations to come. Let’s make it together!
Volume 2We’ll design a final CD cover when we get closer to a finished product, but we have decided on a dark blue. Do you like the color scheme? Let us know what you think! And stop by our Kickstarter page to choose your reward today!

 

Sing the Bible Volume 2 – Verses!

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As you may have heard, we’re about to launch our Kickstarter campaign for Sing the Bible Volume 2. We are currently waiting on Kickstarter to approve our page, and then we hope you’ll help us start spreading the word like crazy.

To give you a peek into what’s coming, here are a few of the Scriptures that we’ve already found melodies for. They may not all make the CD, but they are all in the running.

Psalm 90:14
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Isaiah 41:10
Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Deuteromony 6:4, 6-7
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  — These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Psalm 25:4-5
Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.

Matthew 6:25-26, 28-33
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 And if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you— o you of little faith?31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the people who do not know God run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Isaiah 40:28-31
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Psalm 32:1-5
 Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,[b]
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
When I refused to confess my sin,
my body wasted away,
and I groaned all day long.
Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

Matthew 5:16
Let your light shine so that men might see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.

2 Corinthians 5:17 
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new has come!

Mark 16:15
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Philipians 2:3  
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves

2 Corinthians 9:6-7
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Eph 2:8-10  
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 3:14-19
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Isaiah 53:5-6
5 By his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him

 the iniquity of us all.

 2 Peter 1:3-4
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

1 John 3:18-20
18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

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Thank you for helping us spread the word! As you know, in this new world of independent music making, we are all in it together, and you guys are ninjas at crowdfunding. Thanks for being the best supporters in the whole world! We could not make this music without you!
I hope you are excited to see the verses we’ve made into songs, and stay tuned. The Kickstarter launch is right around the corner!!

What I Learned About Legacy at My Grandfather’s Funeral

Pic with DadoBack in the 1930’s, in a little town called South Pittsburg, Tennessee, little Johnny Goodgame caught his brother Charles smoking cigarettes. Instead of telling their mother, Johnny made Charles do his chores, including fetching the coal for the fire. That clever boy eventually became Dr. John T. Goodgame Sr. and my grandfather. All the grandkids called him “Dado.”

I heard that story and many more last weekend in my hometown of Clearwater, FL. as we celebrated his life. Dado passed away on May 22, at the fine old age of 94, and all the stories about him shared a theme: Dado was awesome. He weathered tragedy and overcame enormous obstacles early in his life. Those experiences, combined with the transforming power of the gospel, shaped his character into a quiet, powerful force. Stories told at the graveside affirmed all that we already knew about Dado. He was joyful. He was devoted. He was incredibly generous, but with no taste for public praise. He was humble; passionate in his convictions but also willing to learn and grow. And he loved Jesus.

My three kids stood at the graveside and heard those stories. They sat in pews and heard a few more, and the stories are still soaking in as we’ve talked about Dado on and off this week. The stories are changing my kids. Dado’s story is becoming part of their foundation, and that’s a powerful gift.  Pastor Willy Rice, in the eulogy, said, “You can’t buy a legacy like that at Walgreens.” And he is right. But you can build one right where you are.

Rich or poor, fat or thin, cat person or dog person, if Dado’s story teaches me anything, it teaches me that anyone can build a legacy. Anyone who clings to The Solid Rock of Christ, and allows His love to rule in their heart will leave a legacy worth building upon, and every sunrise gives us another chance to begin or keep pressing on.

At the funeral, Amy and I sang an a cappella version of Great Is Thy Faithfulness. The lyrics resound as a testimony of the faith my grandfather knew. Having seen him reach the end of this race, my faith has been strengthened even more. Dado was forgiven. He had a peace that endured. He had God’s own presence to cheer and to guide. He had strength, he had hope, and he was blessed beyond measure.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!  (Great Is Thy Faithfulness, verse 3)

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12 

Dado w/ grandkids

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Sing the Bible Volume 2 Approaches! (1 way to help now)

Very soon, there will be many ways to help as we launch our Kickstarter* Campaign (by mid-June!) for Sing the Bible Vol. 2

But for now, there’s one particular way. We’re tweaking our Kickstarter rewards, and we need your input. We’ll definitely include the usual rewards of CDs, CD bundles, CD and DVD bundles, concerts, etc. BUT,  if you have any other ideas for good rewards for Kickstarter contributors, please leave them in a comment below. Don’t be afraid to be creative! We’d like to know if you like posters or ornaments, but I’ve wondered what we have yet to think of… Though just this once, resist the temptation to be silly. That could snowball real quick.

For a bonus 2nd way to help, “Like” the Slugs & Bugs Facebook page. In addition to all the fun videos and other posts, we often post important notices about official S&B happenings there.

Thanks so much!!

Randall

*(What is a Kickstarter Campaign? – It’s a form of crowd funding, where fans pre-order CDs and other rewards to help fund the creation of the new project. Brilliant, right? Slugs & Bugs has successfully crowd funded our last 3 CDs, so we literally can’t do this without you.)

Back from the United Kingdom!

The Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.
The Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.

The Slugs & Bugs UK tour left a powerfully deep impression. But it was not from the concerts, even though they went spectacularly well. It was not from the castles or ancient cliffs of Wales. It was not the rolling fields of yellow oil seed flowers. It was not the delicious traditional Sunday Roast or hearty and satisfying Full English Breakfast. It was not Big Ben, not Harry Potter Studios, not the Van Gogh paintings hanging in the National Gallery, not even the moving visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, where I strained my neck from staring up to see ALLELVIA painted across the choir lofts, my eyes brimming with tears.

Of course, it was the people. We met and made fast friendships with scores of wonderful people like Grace Forsythe, who traveled 8 hours round-trip to retrieve us from Heathrow with a smile and served us two spectacular home-cooked meals in Liverpool because she loves Jesus.  I will remember Upney’s Pastor Johnny – with the quick lilt and humble confidence forged in the damp beauty of Northern Ireland. He’s funny. And he made us lasagna from scratch. I’ll remember Pastor Phil and his wife Monique – South African transplants to the Welsh seaside. Months earlier they saw us singing in our living room in Nashville through the magic of an online concert. Last week I sat in their living room in Wales and learned that I enjoy Rooibos tea, black, no sugar.

Then there was Ginger and Beth – our gracious and hardworking hosts at the American Air Force Base near Cambridge. Two enlisted women volunteered at the Slugs & Bugs merch table. They were so helpful and friendly with Livi. We arrived late to Winchelsea School in Dorset, but Tim (Assistant Head) and his staff didn’t even blink. They are used to improvising since it is a school for children with special needs. This concert was one of my favorites, again, because of the people.

I’m leaving many out, including my own kin (Grace and Michael Freeman – I’m looking at you), but the truth is, all our hosts went above and beyond to care for us, and none more than Tom and Rachael Hart. Tom is a associate pastor at a church in Dagenham, east of London. Tom and Rach contacted many churches about booking Slugs & Bugs, and because of their hustle and trusted reputation, we doubled our number of concerts. Then, they arranged details for every show – serving as the Slugs & Bugs “UK office.” Then, they decided it would be better for Livi and me if they provided the entire sound system for every show.  That means loading their PA, driving us all over the United Kingdom in their Honda CRV, setting up, running sound, and tearing down for every concert. 

Are you getting this? Did I mention they’ve got 2 girls under 4 years old? That means the grandparents pitched in as well, keeping the kids while Tom and Rach served us for two weeks. Add to all that, Tom and Rach are warm and hospitable companions, quick to laugh at my attempts at UK accents and even quicker to sound like Forrest Gump for laughs at their own expense. They deeply love Jesus and his gospel, and I’ll be forever grateful that Livi got to see them sacrifice with such joy and patience. I already liked the Harts before this trip. Now, for the Harts, I would fight a rabid badger to the death.

The point I’m finding in this post is, this tour was a massive effort, and many hands got dirty. The people of the Slugs & Bugs UK tour, are many. They are pastors and pastors wives, cooks and drivers, soldiers and missionaries, farmers, parents, grandparents, and cousins. People phoned newspapers, knitted spiders, painted backdrops and hung fliers. These people have kids and families and fiancés and some are in wheelchairs or they’ve recently lost loved ones. Some are battling depression, fatigue, or chronic pain. And they all came out and had a blast making much of Christ and little of ourselves. There is so much joy to be found among friends who take Jesus seriously, because that means they don’t take themselves very seriously at all.

I heard one British dad volunteer confess, “This is terrifying,” before launching into ‘I Wanna Help.’ In the end he wore a huge grin.

Thank you, people of the United Kingdom. Six months ago this tour was a dream. Now it is a memory as we’ve hit the U.S.A. ground running. Next week we launch a Kickstarter Campaign for Sing the Bible Vol. 2. But today I’m thinking of all those people we met in England and Wales. Many of them brought home Slugs & Bugs CDs. If they are tucking in kids tonight, they have a few new lullabies they can try.

Our Father, in heaven, hallowed be thy name...”

Here’s a few fun pics from our tour through the United Kingdom!  We’ll be back in 2016!

Slugs & Bugs on the Isle of Wight!
Slugs & Bugs on the Isle of Wight!
With the Harts at the National Gallery (off Trafalgar Square)
With the Harts at the National Gallery (off Trafalgar Square)

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Livi and our first new friend in the UK. Grace drove from Liverpool to Heathrow to pick us up, and she was delightful company for two jet lagged yankees.
Livi and our first new friend in the UK. Grace drove from Liverpool to Heathrow to pick us up, and she was delightful company for two jet lagged yankees.
Livi and Rachael on the seaside cliffs of Wales.
Livi and Rachael on the seaside cliffs of Wales.
This Anglican Church (St. George's) is over 1000 years old.
This Anglican Church (St. George’s) is over 1000 years old.
Scale model of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Scale model of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Vincent Van Gogh painted this painting. But that was a while ago...
Vincent Van Gogh painted this painting. But that was a while ago…
Amy and I on the tube, after a long,
Amy and I on the tube, after a long, “fab” day in London.
A
A “proper” Sunday roast at a pub in Wales.
Saying goodbye to Harry Potter Studios
Saying goodbye to Harry Potter Studios
The only existing photo of the Harts setting up the sound system... this was concert #5, in Stowmarket.
The only existing photo of the Harts setting up the sound system… this was concert #5, in Stowmarket.
Pastor Tom Hart with daughter Jodie running sound in Dagenham.
Pastor Tom Hart with daughter Jodie running sound in Dagenham.
A few brave men, shaking off that infamous
A few brave men, shaking off that infamous “British reserve” for the kids…
Livi and my cousin Grace Freeman at the Henry VIII Hampton Court Palace
Livi and my cousin Grace Freeman at the Henry VIII Hampton Court Palace

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Looking for some awesome music to listen to with your family? Cool. We’ve got some. 

To purchase our word-for-word Scripture CD, Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs, click here.STBcover

Subscribe to our mailing list (to get discount coupon codes and FREE coloring pages!) (click here)

The Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.
The Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.