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)

IMG_7044

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

——

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.

Slugs & Bugs is UK Bound!

london1Just a quick post today. Livi and I are minutes away from boarding our Virgin Atlantic flight to London.

Last night some dear friends called us and prayed for us over FaceTime. It was a caring gesture and was deeply meaningful for us. Our friends prayed that the gospel would take root in the hearts of those who hear us, and I’m writing this to ask if some of you would pray the same thing.

Many of our concert hosts in England are voices in the wilderness. In England and Wales, there are not churches on every corner, filled with people, like there are in Nashville and so many cities where we play in the US.  Please pray with us that our words would be made attractively peculiar by the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit. Pray that the fun and silliness of Slugs & Bugs will reflect the peace and joy that comes from our rest in Christ, and that my words will be clear and true.

To paraphrase Tim Keller, Livi and I are carrying dynamite. Pray that we would handle it with care and that God would use our foolishness to make his wisdom known. Thanks so much. – Randall

We Are All Baptized.

Baptism

 

Praise the Lord! All three of our kids were baptized this past Sunday. Our daughter, Livi, is 14. Jonah is 12, and Ben is 7. The service was amazing, because God is amazing, and I am so thankful.

I’ve rewritten this post four times now, and each time it gets smaller. Here’s the point:

We were frustrated. I lost sleep. Amy and I argued. Our children have been communion-taking believers for years. Multiple baptisms were scheduled and cancelled because of my crazy tour schedule and “whyever” else. The details don’t really matter, since the point is frustration with God.  Can you relate to being frustrated with God’s timing? Have you ever wondered, “Why is this so hard? It doesn’t make sense!”

Finally, we found a weekend when I was in town, and the baptism was scheduled for this past Sunday.  We got them up early, I made omelets and each kid got a Krispy Kreme donut (chocolate covered). They had memorized their answers to the few questions they would be asked. I found myself becoming thankful that each child was at their present age and level of understanding.

Then, unbelievably, the Scripture reading for the day was the baptism of the Ethiopian courtier. That passage appears once every three years in the lectionary calendar. Did I mention that Ben is from Ethiopia? Father Thomas McKenzie preached a powerfully moving sermon on the sovereignty of God and our salvation through adoption. It was an unforgettable service. There were tears of joy. All my past frustration and angst was gently revealed as simple unbelief. There were tears of repentance.

I wanted to share this story because I need to hear it myself, again and again. God is faithful. You cannot thwart his plans, but you can miss out on the joy and peace that comes from resting in him, and trusting in him. I often do. But I’m not missing out today. I pray that you won’t either. Praise the Lord.

—–

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)

Birthday Week Roundup / New Song

Thanks to all of you, Slugs & Bugs had an outstanding birthday week!

1. Hundreds of new people heard S&B for the first time and joined the Slugs & Bugs family through our 50% off sale

2. I wrote and introduced a new Scripture song – (see video below, with a passage chosen by you guys!)

3. We gave away dozens of poster downloads to our subscribers

4. We were featured all week on Haven Today – broadcast on over 600 stations around the world

5. We released Sing the Bible chord charts and performance tracks in our webstore

6. We wrapped up the week with two great concerts in the beautiful Salt Lake valley in Utah. (Livi took this picture right outside the church parking lot!)LiviUtah

 

So thanks again for stopping by and helping us celebrate our 5th Birthday! Here’s the new song we posted on our facebook page last week. It’s Philippians 2:14-16 (word-for-word from the NIV translation).

———

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)

Slugs & Bugs & Haven Today

HavenGuys

Recently I got together with the kindhearted folks of Haven Today – a radio program helmed by Charles Morris and broadcast to over 600 stations around the world! We talked about Jesus and parenting and our Sing the Bible CD. They were gracious and friendly folks, and they fit right in at the Rabbit Room where we did the interview.

Check out the video on their site, and from there it’s easy to find the entire interview – just released this week!.

http://www.haventoday.org/all-about-jesus-blog/helping-kids-know-bible-194.html#.VTcPTKZahzf

———

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)

A Birthday and a Song

BirthdaySale

Today is a big day for Slugs & Bugs.

On April 22, 2010 Slugs & Bugs Family Music became an official entity. I performed a Slugs & Bugs concert in St. Peters, Missouri that month and in every month ever since (except January, 2013).

We’ve been celebrating all week long with this HUGE sale (see above image) – every Slugs & Bugs CD download is 50% off. Basically, you get the entire 70+ song Slugs & Bugs collection for $20. CRAZY! We also released chord charts and performance tracks for Sing the Bible, and Sing the Bible on iTunes.

Today the big news is the song creation on Periscope. It’s happening tonight at 7pm Central Time – but here’s a little back story. Slugs & Bugs fans from all over the world have weighed in on our facebook page, voting on the Scripture verse they’d most like to see made into a song. And tonight, I’m going to write a melody for the winning verse while folks look on and give feedback in real time on Periscope. Follow me at @randallgoodgame (If you can’t make it at 7, follow my Periscope profile and watch the recorded feed anytime in the following 24 hrs).

What is Periscope? Periscope is a free, live streaming app. If you’ve got an Apple Device, you can get it. I don’t think other devices work with it. But I’ve been wrong once or twice before.

I hope you can come check out the songwriting session. I may play a couple of new songs while I’m there, we’ll see. You can pop in or out anytime. It’s definitely going to be an experiment, but whatever I come up with, I’ll record and post as a video on Thursday morning.

Till then, thanks for listening and helping spread the word!

Randall

 

 

Birthday is Coming!

Birthday is ComingWednesday marks the official 5 year mark for Slugs & Bugs Family Music!

Woohoo!

We’re doing all sorts of stuff this week to celebrate our birthday. Starting yesterday we’re having a RIDICULOUS sale (50% off!) for downloads through Friday!  We’re releasing Sing the Bible chord charts, performance tracks, writing new songs, and releasing new videos, and now you can even get Sing the Bible on iTunes! 

One other cool thing happening is kind of an experiment. I thought it would be cool to celebrate our birthday by giving birth to a new song. So, tomorrow, April 22., at 7 pm central time, I’m going to log on to Periscope (a live streaming site) and write a Scripture song for Sing the Bible Vol 2.  If you can log into Periscope (I think it may only be for Apple/iTunes devices so far…) you can witness the creation of the song in real time!  From wherever you are! What a crazy world.

If you can’t watch on Periscope, you can still participate by helping me pick out the Scripture verse. Make a suggestion on our facebook page! Find the recent post with a list of Scripture verses, make your suggestions and like others. Tomorrow night I’ll write a melody for the verse that is liked the most!

If you do want to follow along at 7pm CT next Wednesday, just get the Periscope app and follow me @randallgoodgame – I’ll go live at 7pm Central Time and I’ll post the new song Thursday morning on the Slugs & Bugs facebook page.

So, to recap, here’s how you can help us celebrate…

1) Spread the word about the huge 50% off discount to all your friends and loved ones.

2) Go to our facebook page (like it!), find yesterday’s post about Scripture songs, and choose 3 scripture verses (in the post) that you’d like to see turned into a song!

3) If possible for you, download the Periscope app (free) and join in the songwriting experiment on Wednesday

4) Share this blog post!

Thanks so much everyone! It’s going to be a great week for Slugs & Bugs Fans!