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.
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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.

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.

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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)

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).

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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)

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

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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)