A Baptist, an Anglican and a Presbyterian Walk into a Monkey Bar – Episode 3

In Episode 3, Russell Moore, Thomas McKenzie, and Russ Ramsey discuss coming to Jesus “like a child.” In Luke 18 (and in two other Gospels), Jesus says, “whoever will not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Russell Moore is the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. His book  Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel is a must-read for Christians in the United States of America.

Thomas McKenzie is the pastor of Church of the Redeemer in Nashville, TN. He is my pastor, and the author of The Anglican Way, the go-to guidebook for the Anglican tradition.

Russ Ramsey is an author and associate pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN. He just released Struck – a wonderful book about marriage, friendship, a heart surgery, parenting, and living a life of faith during trying times. Highly recommended.


Psssst… Slugs & Bugs is Kickstarting 2 new Scripture CDs right now.

It’s only up for a couple more days, so join Slugs & Bugs on Kickstarter TODAY!

A Baptist, an Anglican and a Presbyterian Walk into a Monkey Bar – Episode 2

In this second installment of A Baptist, an Anglican and a Presbyterian Walk Into a Monkey Bar, we chat about humor in the Bible, and ask, “Is silliness a virtue?”

Russ Ramsey is an author and associate pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN. He just released Struck – a wonderful book about marriage, friendship, a heart surgery, parenting, and living a life of faith during trying times. Highly recommended.

Russell Moore is the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. His book  Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel is a must-read for Christians in the United States of America.

Thomas McKenzie is the pastor of Church of the Redeemer in Nashville, TN. He is my pastor, and the author of The Anglican Way, the go-to guidebook for learning about the Anglican tradition.


Psssst… Slugs & Bugs is Kickstarting 2 new Scripture CDs right now.

Click here to see! http://bit.ly/STBVol3

It’s only up for a few more days, so join Slugs & Bugs on Kickstarter TODAY!

A Baptist, an Anglican, and a Presbyterian Walk Into a Monkey Bar – Episode 1

Last week, my friends Russ Ramsey, Russell Moore, and Thomas McKenzie met me in a pre-school classroom in Nashville to have some fun and talk about family.

We recorded four short episodes, now titled “A Baptist, an Anglican, and a Presbyterian Walk Into a Monkey Bar.” Here is the first one, on the exciting subject of Scripture Memorization. Don’t miss it.

Russ Ramsey is an author and associate pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN. He just released Struck – a wonderful book about marriage, friendship, a heart surgery, parenting, and living a life of faith during trying times. Highly recommended.

Russell Moore is the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. His book  Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel is a must-read for Christians in the United States of America.

Thomas McKenzie is the pastor of Church of the Redeemer in Nashville, TN. He is my pastor, and the author of The Anglican Way, a guidebook for the Anglican tradition.


 

Psssst… Slugs & Bugs is Kickstarting 2 new Scripture CDs right now.

Click here to see! http://bit.ly/STBVol3

It’s only up for a few more days, so join Slugs & Bugs on Kickstarter TODAY!

Our Struggle! (Ephesians 6)

Ben Goodgame and Zeke Mitchell came into the studio yesterday and sang like champs. They gave their all for 2 hours straight, singing on 4 different songs.

Oh, and they are both 9 years old.

And, they are both from Ethiopia!

Ben and Zeke have been friends for as long as they can remember. On the night my son Ben (and I) arrived home to America, Zeke was one year old and waiting with his family in our front yard. The Mitchells (and a bunch of other families) sang hymns and prayed for us as Ben began his new life in Tennessee, leaving behind his old life in an Ethiopian orphanage.

Both of these boys were born into a struggle. The first two years of Ben’s life were filled with  more hardship than all my 43 years put together. And yet, their struggle is the same as mine. Their struggle is the same as yours.

Here is Paul, in his epic letter to the Ephesians.

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…

And here is Ben and Zeke, puttin’ on the armor…

This song will appear on Sing the Bible Volume 3, releasing later this year, and Kickstarting RIGHT NOW! Join us on Kickstarter today, and fill up on Scripture music for yourself and for your family. Here’s the link to click and share: http://bit.ly/STBVol3

For more about Slugs & Bugs Family Music, visit our website at www.slugsandbugs.com.

Singing the Bible with Monsters

Franky and the Count (and the Monstermobile)
Franky and the Count (and the Monstermobile)

On Sing the Bible Volume 1, friendly monsters (and kids, and friendly bees) joined me in singing Deuteronomy 6:5.

On Sing the Bible Volume 2, Dracula and Frankenstein dropped by the studio again and joined me for our Ten Commandments song.

(On Sing the Bible Volume 3, they are likely taking a break from the studio, though I’m sure they’ll be back eventually.)

Over the years, I’ve been asked about those choices a few times, usually by someone who thought it seemed strange – maybe even wrong – to include something as silly or as scary as “monsters” on a CD about the Bible.

And I totally get it. It is kind of strange.

Then, a few weeks ago, I received a very thoughtful email that prompted me to gather my thoughts for a reply. Since I’ve just (today!) released the video for our Ten Commandments song, I thought today would be a good day to share that reply here.

About the monsters, I’m glad you asked this very fair question. On a practical theological level, I handle it like Veggie Tales handles Bob and Larry, avoiding the issue of salvation for them because they are not real, of course.

As I’m sure you know, mild scariness is one of the ways we introduce the concept of danger to kids – through games like peek-a-boo and “I’m gonna get you!” chase games. Ironically, it’s (of course) also one of the ways we have fun. 

For me, reared as I was on Sesame Street (Cookie Monster, The Count, and Grover’s “The Monster at the End of this Book” come to mind) – it is easy for me to use monsters for mildly scary / humorous purposes. 

That said, there are deeper message at work. First, do not fear… maybe the Bible’s most frequent admonition. Also, things are not always as they seem. What may at first seem monstrous may prove otherwise, so be slow to judge. 

Third, I’m thinking of the great passage from Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton about bogeys and dragons… his point was that fairy tales show that there is something stronger than darkness. In all of the way S&B uses monsters, it is with a similar spirit – that the context of the Gospel overwhelms fear. 

Finally, I go back to examples like Sesame Street’s Grover and Bugs Bunny’s abominable snowman. By incorporating “monsters” into fun settings, we bring them onto our level, which allows not only freedom from fear but the beginning of empathy for the “other.” (These are friendly monsters!) And after all, no one I encounter daily is completely evil. most everyone I meet is a mixed bag (like me)!

I wouldn’t say monsters belong in songs about the Bible, though I might say they are already there. With another nod to G.K. Chesterton, “I” am what is wrong with the world. If there are monsters, then they are inside me, and inside you. Thank God in Heaven for the terrible and merciful and ultimate victory on the cross. His victory sets us free to live lives of love and self-forgetfulness. Because of Christ, we are monsters no more.

 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20


Help Slugs & Bugs Kickstart more Sing the Bible songs right now! http://bit.ly/STBVol3

Join Us On Kickstarter!

It’s official! We have launched our 4th Kickstarter campaign for Slugs & Bugs!

Here’s the link to visit the page nowhttp://bit.ly/STBVol3

In the first two days, we have already climbed to 35% of our goal. Woohoo! Of course, we need to get to 100%, to make sure everyone gets the new Sing the Bible CDs.

If you haven’t heard already, Slugs & Bugs is Kickstarting TWO Sing the Bible CDs at the same time. I’m recording with my producer and friend, Ben Shive again, and you can follow along here or on Facebook as I post new behind the scenes videos as we record.

The first CD will be Sing the Bible Volume 3, and the second CD will be Sing the Bible Christmas. Both will be word-for-word Scripture songs all about Jesus.

Sing the Bible Volume 3 will focus on the life, words, and mission of Jesus. Here are a few examples:

  • Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
  • He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation… (Colossians 1:15-19)
  • I am the vine, you are the branches… (John 15:4-5)
  • The Samaritan woman at the well / Jesus gives living water… (John 4:5-14)
  • Parables from Matthew 13 (The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, a treasure hidden in a field)

Dwelling on these verses has been a rich blessing for me, and some of these new songs have become my favorites I’ve ever composed.  Right now, “More Than Conquerors”—the new song from Romans 8:35,37-39 is my MOST favorite song I’ve ever written.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship
or persecution or famine or nakedness
or danger or sword?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

That is the best news the world has ever known, and I never get tired of singing about it. It’s hard to get all the way through without breaking down into tears.

Sing the Bible Christmas will focus on, well, Christmas! Here are a few of the verses we’ve chosen:

  • Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given… (Isaiah 9:6)
  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God… (John 1:1-4)
  • The Word became flesh and dwelt among us… (John 1:14)
  • When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his son born of woman… (Galatians 4:4-7)
  • My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices… (Mary’s Song from Luke 1)

One of the fun quirks of Sing the Bible Christmas CD will be the musical style. Both Ben and I are big fans of the jazz piano music from the Peanuts Christmas Special. And that sound from the Vince Guaraldi trio heavily influenced my writing for this project.

Please visit the Kickstarter page for more info, behind the scenes video footage and early demo videos of the new songs! And then, please choose a reward (lots of great options) and support the making of TWO new Sing the Bible CDs from Slugs & Bugs!

Wait – I almost forgot. Please share about this campaign! Pass this blog post around, and others that tell the story.. Here’s the link http://bit.ly/STBVol3 to copy and paste into an email if you’d like to share the campaign with friends and family.

Thank you everyone!

Randall

 

 

Sing the Bible Volume 3!

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I can hardly believe it, but it’s almost time to launch our Kickstarter campaign for Sing the Bible Volume 3 AND Sing the Bible Christmas! Ben Shive (producer) and I have already begun outlining song forms and it’s starting to get very exciting.

If you’re on our our mailing list, you  know the theme for Sing the Bible Volume 3 – the life, words and mission of Jesus – and maybe you’ve even submitted a bible verse request.

We’ve received requests for well over 200 verses, and our goal is 14 songs, so we may not get to them all, but if there’s a verse on your mind, please type your suggestion in the comments. I wrote a song this morning  (When You Give To The Needy – Matthew 6:2-4 ) from a request I received today! (I’m looking at you, Lauda Harmon of Charlottesville, VA!)

Here are the songs I’ve written so far for Volume 3, many from your suggestions.

I Am the Way – John 14:5-6

I Am the Vine – John 15:4-5

Sermon on the Mount/Beatitudes – Matthew 5:1-12

The Kingdom of Heaven (Parable Song) – Matthew  13:31-32, 44

More than Conquerors – Romans 8:35, 37-39

Bread Alone – Matthew 4:4

Our Struggle – Ephesians 6:12

Living Water – John 4:5-14

Jesus Christ is the Same – Hebrews 13:8

Get up! – John 5:5-13

Be Kind and Compassionate – Ephesians 4:32

When You Give To The Needy – Matthew 6:2-4

Our hope is to raise enough through Kickstarter to record Volume 3 AND a Sing the Bible Christmas CD. And if things go through the roof on Kickstarter… a classic Slugs & Bugs Silly Song CD.

But we’ll start with 14 songs that point to the life, words and mission of Jesus.

Stay tuned, and be ready to help us spread the word! We’ll announce it here on the blog as soon as we launch on Kickstarter!

(If you have Scripture verse request -feel free to leave your verse in a comment! If you’ve already made a request through the Newsletter or our Facebook page, I’ve definitely seen it!)